March 24, 2005

The Three Amigos drawn together by Jacobs' WIU "Task Force"

In a heart-warming show of unity, at least to the point of appearing in the same general area with no objects thrown and being in general agreement on an issue, all three Illinois state legislators from the area attended the press conference announcing the formation of a "task-force" to accelerate the planning, financing, and development of the Western Illinois University riverfront campus in Moline.

State Senator Mike Jacobs is spear-heading the "task force" and said he will be appointing members within the next two weeks and the panel should begin making recommendations within 30 days. Jacobs' stated goal is to have students attending the campus by the fall of 2006.

A primary focus of the group will be to find ways around the glacial pace and uncertainty of funding from the state by "... find[ing] money for the campus from traditional and non-traditional sources..."
(what are "non-traditional" sources of money? Counterfeiting? Bake sales? Extortion?)
State Reps. Mike Boland and Pat Verschoore back Sen. Jacobs in his effort.

"I think this is a great jump start ahead," Rep. Boland said.

Between $10 million and $15 million is needed to start constructing the new buildings. The campus will be completed in three phases, beginning with refurbishing the Tech Center.

Rep. Verschoore said he is confident Gov. Blagojevich will maintain a $2.4 million appropriation for the campus.

However, Rep. Verschoore added, "I'd like to get more money than that. We don't want to let the state of Illinois off the hook. We want them to be part of it."
This could prove a very good tack to take for the success of the WIU project. It's certainly shrewd of Jacobs to get out in front on this, and he deserves some credit from taking the risk.
"Blue Ribbon" panels are a dime a dozen, and are the oldest trick in the book for appearing to be doing something when you have no earthly idea what to do.

But Jacobs is to be commended for both setting and publicizing goals. In addition to setting a deadline for the panel to issue recommendations, he also laid out a specific goal for what he expects and when he expects it. It's refreshing to see a politician stake himself to some concrete goals.

And though I'm fairly sure we won't see the Mikes holding hands at a future press conference, at least the attempt to pull in the same direction appears to be being made. We'll have to stay tuned. But if all involved are more dedicated to success than to getting credit, this could be a watershed moment in local politics.


At 3/24/2005 12:23 PM, Blogger ConceptModification said...

In this case, traditional sources are the state, non-traditional will be local sales taxes.

Check out things like who owns the land which the university will purchase, who owns adjoining lands, what tax abatements will they get, what long-term "bond" commitments will be foisted on the taxpayers, what banks attorneys etc. will service the bonds.

At 3/24/2005 1:49 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Excellent list of "the usual suspects" conceptmod. Thanks. It will be interesting to keep those things in mind as this goes forward.
Of course, Deere donated the land and structures on it, as I understand. There's a few residential properties to the east, but pretty much nothing to the west.

At 3/25/2005 9:44 AM, Anonymous corn husker said...

I think it's great that the Jacobs and Boland fued has come to an end! Way to work together to all our legistlative people.

At 3/25/2005 4:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank goodness Mike Jacobs' keeps extending his hand to the bitter Boland........Great job Senator.. Keep supporting our area.

At 3/25/2005 7:59 PM, Anonymous ll cool t said...

Non-traditional sources would be any private money that can be sought out. We have billion dollar grant making foundations, really rich individuals looking to create a legacy, corporations, etc. You can sell naming rights to the buildings, negotiate soft drink and vending deals. You know, i was just wondering if a big university would have a library? DUUUHHH. Maybe the City of Moline should rethink their boondoggle 10 Million dollar library and invest in the University and negotiate access for all city residents. After all it is the city of Moline that will benefit the most from a new WIU. Maybe they could just fund the bond issue for the school from giving parking tickets to the students. Parking Ticket revenue is an integral part of any University funding scheme, you only design about 70% of the needed parking and then put meters on all of the spaces. It's time to think outside the box and Mike Jacobs has challenged all of the local business and governement leaders to do more than fly off to Washington or rent a party bus to go to Springfield. I can see it now....the RiverStone Group Science Building, the Alcoa Auditorium, The John Deere School of Business, the Hunt Harris Lecture Hall, The Gates Foundation Computer Lab, The Teresa Heinz and John Kerry library, The TPC Cash and Carry Cafeteria, Jumer's Gymnasium, can you dream with me. We can make this happen and we can thank Mike Jacobs for giving us this challenge and if we fail we only have ourselves to blame.

At 3/25/2005 9:00 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

LL, you've outdone yourself. I think that merits the Inside Dope "COMMENT OF THE WEEK" award.
Enjoy the warm glow of victory. (that's about all I can offer)

Hunt Harris Lecture Hall? TPC Cash & Carry Cafeteria? Genious! HAHA!

And NOW I finally see the light about the college parking scams. Every single college has the same severe lack of parking and positively fanatical campus cops handing out tickets like confetti.

And here I thought it was due to poor planning when it was a deliberate and major part of their revenue schemes all along!


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