April 27, 2006

The art of persuasion, Quad City style

John Malvik of Moline, a member of the Rock Island County board, didn't like the idea of a group of small town alderman blocking the desires of the big boys, and felt the need to express himself in writing.

In a letter sent to the Silvis mayor's office but addressed to the council, Malvik decided to play the tough-guy card, characterizing his blistering letter as just the start of a pressure campaign against the Silvis alderman. How charming.

"You just gave into pressure from people that you don't even represent, and you voted down a project in another jurisdiction," Mr. Malvik wrote. "Somehow each member of your City Council has to find the courage to stand up and do what's right for our whole area. It is time to stop catering to individuals who have their own selfish motives and care not what's best for our entire community."
"He's entitled to his opinion," Ald. Bob Cervantes, 1st Ward, said after parts of the letter were read to him over the telephone. Contrary to what Mr. Malvik wrote, Ald. Cervantes said he believes there's a large group, not a small group, of dissenters who don't want the pork plant.

"They weren't happy with it," said Ald. Cervantes, who voted against the enterprise zone expansion. "They didn't want it near them. (Mr. Malvik) needs to do a little bit more studying. I don't want to get in a shouting match with this county board member. I listened to every piece of information from both sides."

After the letter was read to him over the phone, Ald. Bob Zesiger, 4th Ward, said, it was " a letter that The Dispatch would like to publish. The Dispatch doesn't publish anything that is against the plant." He wouldn't comment on his opinion of the letter.

"It's hard to comment," said Ald. Bill Fox, 2nd Ward, who voted against the zone expansion. "I don't know this man. I'd like him to come to me face-to-face and call me a 'coward.' I don't understand why one person would call me a coward for listening to our constituents."

Ald. Fox said he received letters from residents in Moline, Hampton and Davenport thanking him for voting against enterprise-zone benefits for the proposed plant.

Ald. Fox said he believes Mr. Malvik's comment about voting against possible zone incentives for a proposed Wal-Mart in Silvis was a threat.

Realtor Tom Dalton, of Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co., has said enterprise-zone benefits are not a requirement for Wal-Mart to locate in Silvis.

Mr. Malvik writes that the council disregarded the community as a whole, created an anti-business atmosphere and only listened to a vocal minority who oppose the hog-processing plant.

"The selfish individuals who oppose the plant would rather see Rock Island County go the way of East St. Louis than agree to a $165 million construction project that will create over 1,000 jobs, spawn other businesses, foreign trade, and improve the overall economy of the area," he wrote. "The `No' vote is a clear signal to anyone else considering bringing a business to to the Quad-Cities that Silvis is against the ideas, ideals and groups that local government should support..."

"I want this to be the first part of an organized effort by the community to change the outcome," Mr. Malvik said in an interview Tuesday. "I don't think they considered the repercussions of their decision.

"I think they have been subjected to enormous pressure from the other side," he said. Silvis "can't go forward without knowing there will be pressure on this side."

Mr. Malvick said the project meet legal criteria to be included in an enterprise zone, and in rejecting the plan Silvis disregarded experts on issues raised about the hog-processing plant.

Silvis Mayor Lyle Lohse agreed the council failed to consider the specific requirements of the enterprise zone.

"I think it points out very strongly that we didn't do what we were supposed to be doing," Mayor Lohse said. "We didn't vote on the enterprise zone because of the pressure exerted and everything else."
"Supposed to be doing"??? Who told Mayor Lohse that they were supposed to approve the "incentives" for Triumph?

In a related article in the Dispatch/Argus, it was noted that East Moline Mayor Thodos is resubmitting the proposal for expanding the Enterprise Zone which gives millions of dollars in tax and fee breaks to Triumph. He said that the only change was reducing the acres to be included from 252 to 117.

Alderman Bob Cervantes was quoted as saying that if they wanted to try it again, he felt there was still 5 votes on the Silvis council to knock it down again.


At 4/27/2006 7:06 AM, Anonymous bigmex said...

I know, and use to like, John Malvik, but screw him and everyone else bashing Silvis. They talk about the "jurisdiction" of the enterprise zone, but WHY do they think all the entities involved get a vote on it??!! We are not automatically obligated to approve every project that comes along, and this one had some real drawbacks.

It was considered an East Moline project, but that wasn't really the case. This thing wasn't going into the population center of East Moline where the Mayor lives. No, it would have been much more in MY backyard in Silvis. And it certainly wasn't going in next to John Malvik's Wildwood home. Too bad, John, but Silvis had ever right to not let them shove this down our throat.

And don't compare apples and oranges. The people looked very closely at the merits of this project and that's why it lost. I have some misgivings about the merits of Walmart as a company, but let's face it, environmental/quality of life impact for this area wouldn't be chief among them. Threatening to derail any such project for Silvis simply as a payback would be childish.

At 4/27/2006 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Zesigner supported Ross Perot. That tells you everything you need to know.

At 4/27/2006 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Political discourse Silvis style:

Councilperson Lopez: "Go to hell and take your pork plant with you."

Councilperson Fox: "I'd like him to come to me face-to-face and call me a coward."

Councilperson Zesiger: Among his gems such as "We popped them in the nose" and "We're set to go 15 rounds" he takes a pot shot at the local paper in which he normally publishes his anti-corporate nonsense. For the chairman of the Economic Development Committee in Silvis, he has a strange way of courting businesses.

And I think the Mayor was referring to what he believes the council members should be doing.

They should talk to the business people in Silvis and consider their feelings. From what I can tell, they absolutely ignored the business community.

They should visit the Missouri plant again if necessary. Three of the four councilmen who visited the plant voted for it. Of the four other dissenting votes, not one visited the plant. Contact the new St. Joseph council, see what they have to say.

They should be trying to compromise with Triumph and the other communities to see if there's common ground. They should be airing grievances and proposing alternatives in an attempt to bring a $165,000,000.00 development and 1000 jobs to the area.

Nah- It's easier to challenge them to a face-to-face, pop them in the nose, go fifteen rounds and then tell them to go to hell.

At 4/27/2006 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cervantis is also an fool. Why he would allow 1,000 jobs to slip through the cracks amazes me. Now he has misgivings about Walmart? Duhhhh.

Please BIG MEX, explain what kind of jobs are okay with you and which are not. And then tell me what you are doing to replace the 1,000 jobs you just threw away? Well, go ahead! Amaze me with your brillance!

At 4/27/2006 1:12 PM, Blogger JohnC Anderson said...

The Malevolent Malvik has it all wrong. The aldermen were not cowards, they were heroes. They stood up to pressure from people like Thodos and the Dodos and the nalevolent Malvik and voted their consciences, voted with the courage of their convictions and with concern for their constituents.

Malvik needs to apologize and so does Mayor Lohse for not coming to the defense of the aldermen who are not only his associates, but citizens of Silvis.

I'll be going to a council meeting this coming Tuesday to say a few kind words about the aldermen and a few unkind, but true words about ol' Mal.
I hope he's there and I hope he doesn't like what he hears.

At 4/27/2006 1:21 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

Did anyone see Channel 8 News last night? What a hoot!
They had a Silvis Alderperson named Evie, Edie? (didn't get the name) ranting on her backyard deck about how Malvik (and everyone else) could "go to hell" and stick it "where the sun don't shine", and she didn't care if the vote on the pig plant came up 10 times, she wasn't gonna vote for it dammit. It was great theatre and the kind of thing that doesn't translate well to print.
The latest rumor I heard was that all the other cities in the TIF District were going to decertify it, then reorganize without Silvis. Don't know if it's true or not, but if it pans out, remember, you heard it here first!

At 4/27/2006 1:56 PM, Blogger JohnC Anderson said...

Incidentally, that was supposed to be "malevolent," not "nalevolent."

I hope you can forgive my little typo. But if you can't then just feed me to the "Pig People" or send me to law school.

Do you know why farmers in Iowa take pains to never drop that eee sound when they cry Sooo-eeee?
They don't want to attract a herd of lawyers.
I just made this up. Yes, I realize it's more than kinda cory, but but at least it's nicer than Shakespeare's "The first thing we gotta do is kill all the lawyers," or something to that effect

At 4/27/2006 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Malvik said, "It is time to stop catering to individuals who have their own selfish motives and care not what's best for our entire community."

Couldn't the same be said about him and the narrow interests who stand to reap profits and/or other benefits from this plant at the expense of tax payer losses and numerous other problems?

Just askin'

At 4/27/2006 10:11 PM, Anonymous Bigmex said...

Well, genius (anon @ 13:10), I don't have to "replace" anything; you didn't have these jobs to "lose." I have a job...and a good one. Sounds like you could use one.

Besides you, who else do you know that would be clamoring for a job in a pig plant? NO ONE, that's who! Within 2 years of opening they'll be advertising on the border of Mexico and pulling them off the boat from Ghana just like Tyson's. I don't have a problem with immigrants, but someone with such a narrow view as you probably does. These aren't jobs for the taxpayers that live here now and would be supporting this.

And how 'bout you offer them to put it next door to YOU??!! Better yet, maybe you should just hold out for a door greeter's job at the new Walmart. ;)

At 4/28/2006 9:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your day any fool could walk into Deere and get "a real good job," but those days are gone Little Mex. For you to pull up the ladder on the next generation is downright pig-headed of you. I hope none of your kids want to stay in the area, as before long there will not be much left here for anyone to do.

Sad, but true!

At 4/28/2006 6:49 PM, Anonymous Bigmex said...

Not hardly, Chicken Little (sounds better than anon, LOL!). I don't work for Deere, ha ha; sorry but that gravy train was long gone before my generation. ;)

I got my good job by finishing college, working hard and on my own merit. If you and your kids think I'm going to I'm going to support pig plants in my back yard so they can drop out of high school for $10/hour, THINK AGAIN!!

It's not my obligation to extend them a ladder in another give-away of my tax dollars. Maybe you ought to try building your own ladder with some education and hard work, just as many others have done to be able to stay in this area??

Quite frankly, I've got no problem with a pig plant. It was just stupid to try and stick it next to a population center...especially for East Moline to do so when it wasn't near THEIR population center. It belongs somewhere out past Joslin or numerous other readily available rural areas.

I'm sorry unemployment has left you so embittered.

At 5/01/2006 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you people even know where this site is? It's not in town! It's in the country. Duh.

At 5/01/2006 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's part of the "City" of East Moline. Country my ass. Duh!

At 5/01/2006 9:39 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, if you consider dozens of acres of tillable land, horses, livestock, and other agricultural stuff lying outside of and apart from an urban area to be a "city"..

As you say, DUH!!

At 5/01/2006 11:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then what's it doing as a "City of East Moline" project? I didn't draw the boundaries. I know exactly where it is- still far too close to an urbanized area. ;)


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