By Will Rose
In the recent events regarding state Sen. Dave Syverson’s (R-34) controversial Facebook statement about his daughter dating a “Mohammed from Iran,” something no white, middle-aged father would want for his daughter (I’m being facetious), it reminds me of a not-so-distant time when Syverson made similar statements that had a comparable racial tone to them.
In a report by Chuck Sweeny of the Rockford Register Star, Sweeny commented that Syverson was against a revitalization project in Rockford’s west-side corridor. Sweeny quoted Syverson, who said, “I could do 10 projects for what they want to spend on West State.” Syverson went on to tell Sweeny that “… spending so much money in that neighborhood isn’t a wise use of taxpayers’ money.”
The not-so-funny thing about this joke is that “that neighborhood” has been ignored by the city for years. It has been ignored by congressmen, senators, mayors, the county, and every other form of government for 30 some years. “That neighborhood” happens to have a huge minority presence. “That neighborhood” needs the redevelopment more than any area in northern Illinois. Yet, Syverson’s joke continues to go ignored.
The biggest joke to come out of Syverson’s fiasco is his re-election for the last 20 years. As a career politician in Springfield, he has been one of the reasons Rockford gets passed up for big dollars from the state.
During his tenure as senator, we have seen Rockford on the list of worst cities in the country; and we have had one of the worst crime rates and the highest unemployment rate out of all counties. Not to mention, the Rockford Public Schools’ reputation that is known nationally as “drop-out factories.”
I am not trying to beat down the city of Rockford; I grew up on Rockford’s west side. I love Rockford, and I love its diversity. I think the Forest City has a lot more to offer to the state and the country, but with Syverson’s ability to maintain career politician status and the fact that Rockford has had to suffer with his awesome jokes, it seems like the joke is on us.
Every time we re-elect Dave Syverson, we continue the work of a man who is 20 years behind. He lives in a world where he only sees sustainable growth on Perryville with the wine shops, jewelry stores, big car dealerships, and a majority population of white suburbanites. Dave Syverson doesn’t believe in west-side projects because I would bet he hardly likes the view.
It’s time to show him that all of Rockford needs to thrive, and that’s no laughing matter.
Will Rose is a resident of Machesney Park.our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
From the July 20-26, 2011 issue