Thursday, March 29, 2007

About work ethic in Carbondale

I was enjoying Dave's entry from yesterday and the pro-Sheila blog he links to there. I thought Brad's comments about being a perfectionist were interesting and after commenting in both of these threads, I realized there was something more to say.

Is it only in Carbondale that promising to work harder would be a campaign issue that is used against you? Can you imagine the job interview where you have two candidates on campus, and the search committee asks each how hard they work. One says, I'll do whatever it takes, work at least 40 hours a week (maybe more) and be there day in and day out to be successful. The other says, I think that I will work for 10 to 20 hours a week, because I have lots of other commitments and family issues. The search committee would say, let's take the 10 hours a week! Not even at SIU does this happen. We all know what a business would say.

When did it become OK to run for public office on a platform of little work and less effort? The work product is effected by the effort, in the most fundamental ways.

Maybe this is what happens when almost everyone is town is a state employee? When did it become a point of pride to work less and do less?

When you can hold two records up next to each other, when did become OK for the person who has done nothing to complain about the person who does a lot?

Is this a sign of a broken culture? Should we be worried?

Why would anyone vote or hire someone who promises to do less and have less accomplishments?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

The only reason Cole is a full-time mayor is that he was fired from his full-time job by Governor Blagojevich. He spent the next two years fighting a legal battle to get his full-time job back and received $150,000 as a settlement for his nuisance suit. People can see through Cole's "I'm a full-time, hard working Mayor" routine.

The real question is why Cole hasn't been able to accomplish more for this city in the last four years?

Peter in Carbondale said...

Actually, Brad seemed to work for about 40 hours a week for the city before he was mayor too. He is single and has more hours to work. You realize he has driven about every important issue in the city for the last 8 years?

What do you expect the city government to do in 4 years, starting from a dead stop. Getting rid of CDBC and starting to change the culture of the city, is about enough.

Never started up anything I guess? It isn't easy to recover from years of sloth.

The results are pretty fantastic in the service business area. The city is doing better providing services, including better roads. The city has removed the worst blighted buildings on our main state highway fed business districts and enacted Carbondale's first TIF district. About every storefront in town that is available for rent, is rented.

The city hasn't fixed the Varsity problem, but the only way to fix it right now is to do "The Tap" part two, but really expensive this time. There are a couple of other buildings that the owners are holding empty for some reason or another (one is my wood shop) on the main drags. The owners of business properties are in a golden age, you would have to remember what it was like 4 years ago to know what I am talking about.

When you talk about what has the city government done, you first have to know what is possible to do. Given what they can possibly do, the last 4 years look pretty good for the Carbondale City Government. Not perfect by any means, but more has been done to improve the city in the last 4 years then in the previous 12, and that is a good metric.

Anonymous said...

Not to stray too far from topic here but I got a real kick out of the editorial in the DE today about the Cole mailer on electricity rates. One quick google search revealed the writer of this article, one
Delio Calzolari
Third-year law student

is actually

Delio Calzolari
Third-year law student..... (wait for it..........)
VP of Law School Democrats under faculty advisor Sheila Simon

I have no problem with someone writing a letter to the Editor and putting down they are a law student but at least acknowledge you are the VP of the Law School Dems and that your advisor is none other than Sheila Simon.

Anonymous said...

When you talk about what has the city government done, you first have to know what is possible to do.

What's your expertise in this matter?

Milton said...

You wrote:
--People can see through Cole's "I'm a full-time, hard working Mayor" routine.--

If by "see through" you mean, driving by city hall on a Saturday morning and seeing his car in teh parking lot, then yes, I "see through" his hard working Mayor routine. The guy is all over city hall, ask any city employee. In fact, some of them wish he would go away so they wouldn't have to work so hard.

You wrote:
--The real question is why Cole hasn't been able to accomplish more for this city in the last four years? --

Why are you so cynical about this mayor? In the last 4 years this town has come a long, long way. We have new roads, lower taxes, and more businesses. What else do you want? That is a serious question by the way. I hope you answer it. Here is is again for those that don't like the current Mayor, "What else do you want?"

Peter in Carbondale said...

I thought it was clear, my expertise is that I'm smarter then you are and I know more. Haven't you been reading my blog?

Hey Milton, stop talking sense.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was clear, my expertise is that I'm smarter then you are and I know more. Haven't you been reading my blog?

Highly doubtful. How do you propose to prove it, smart guy?

Anonymous said...

Where are these new roads everyone is talking about? The only new roads I know of are the ones on the Northwest side of town that lead to dead end streets where there is little traffic. Call me when they do something about Chautauqua.

We have more retail. I think that's great - I really do. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what Cole did to bring them here. Do you think Bed, Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, PetCo, and Kohl's came here because of work Cole did? If so, please point out what he did to bring them here. One thing I know he did do, was tell Target to get lost when they wanted to put a store in the old K-Mart store that is now going to be Dick's Sporting Goods. I don't know about you, but I'd rather have a Target than Dick's. Which one do you think is going to generate more revenue for the city - Dick's or Target?

What happens to city services when the next recession hits and our sales tax revenues go down because people won't be shopping as much? We will have to fire the police and code inspectors that Cole proposes to hire. You cannot count on that sales tax revenue to always be going up at the rate that it is currently. Well, I guess you can if you think we aren't ever going to have an economic downturn.

The property tax, whether you like it or not, was a predictable and stable form of income for the city. Under Cole's plan, we are spending like most Americans - spending what we have and not worrying about tomorrow. That's a bad way to live your life and its a bad way to run a city.

tired one said...

anonymous said... :"What happens to city services when the next recession hits and our sales tax revenues go down because people won't be shopping as much? We will have to fire the police and code inspectors that Cole proposes to hire."

What's wrong with that? Would you prefer hiring people for life in the city hall?

Peter in Carbondale said...

Target wanted the city to clear away the old store and build them a new one. The number I heard was a $6M package. Given Sheila's allergies to any aid or breaks to business, I wonder what her position would be on a package like that?

I guess if there is a massive recession and sales tax revenue goes down, that the city will be faced with the possibility of figuring out a new or improved source of revenue. How long would that take? Maybe 15 minutes. As they say in the business magazines, betting against the American consumer isn't something that has worked for many years. Even though there are lots of reasons that Western Civilization could fail and collapse, it would be silly to put your eggs in that basket. I agree that the city should have a contingency, if there is a meltdown. Where it would be a little painful, it would be easy to correct fairly quickly. It would be great to have a full time mayor worrying about this and making sure that if conditions change, that the city reacted.

About why the city is now full of retail. I have written about this in detail many times. The Mall turned around on the Neil Dillard era tax break for The Gap and Old Navy leading the way. I have written in detail about the Kohl's store coming to town. In summary, when city hall doesn't act like jerks, you might get new businesses. The key was the decision to fire the CBDC and bring that work in house and then executing at a high level. Of course, that we can thank Brad for figuring out what to do and really doing it.

It isn't the city that is creating those business opportunities, but it is the city government that was driving them away. There is so much wealth in the USA, when cities execute well the get their fair share or more.

At the moment Carbondale is really rolling in the business sector. Talk to people who have businesses in town, they don't want to see Sheila become mayor. They are happy with our direction and hope it continues.

milton said...

Anonymous, you didn't answer my question. Here it is again, "What else do you want?"

Am I to assume you want a property tax? Am I to assume that Sheila Simon wants one too? Is that what you are saying, that Sheila Simon wants to reinstate the propery tax and that you are in favor of it?

If yes to the answers above, what do you propose the city should do with the money it collects until the recession hits. Do you believe that that your money is better off with the city? Do you think they will simply save the collected money until the next recession?

Regarding roads -
Have a nice - smooth - drive down Sycamore street on the north side of town (right in Sheila Simon's neighborhood). Apparently you live near Chataqua, me too. What's wrong with it? It's paved out to Tower as far as I can tell.

Anonymous said...

"Talk to people who have businesses in town, they don't want to see Sheila become mayor. They are happy with our direction and hope it continues."

Funny, I can think of more than handful of business owners who don't share this sentiment.

RE: Target. All we have is the mayor's word on this issue. Its nothing but a good example of how he tries to do things without the approval of and input from the council. Maybe it was $6 mil, maybe it wasn't. Maybe one of the council members would've had another idea on how to deal with it. But since he never said a word about it to them -- til the last LoWV Forum -- we'll never know.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Business owners who are for Sheila, name them? We are a Democratic town, of course some are. But do name a few.

Target - all we have is people's word. Almost everything we know is from people's words. Are you saying he chased them off, instead of having the glory for getting Target to come to town? Seems against Brad's MO doesn't it? It just isn't reasonable.

I find both Brad and Sheila to be incredibly truthful. They are both spinning the positions. Sheila is a better politician and far superior at making weird stands seem reasonable. The problem with Brad is that he tells the truth, straight out, no BS. If he could spin like Sheila, he would be better off.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you didn't answer my question. Here it is again, "What else do you want?"

REAL code enforcement. Housing in this town is the worst I've ever seen in any college town I've been.

Cole has had 4 years to do something - anything - about it, and he's done nothing. He panders to the slumlords, and pays off people in power with political favors and contracts, such as borrowing $6 million to do road work in Carbondale in areas where it isn't needed just so the head of the union gets a little payoff.

Peter in Carbondale said...

Looks like the city spent the last 4 years cleaning up the business stock, I think you are about to get your wish. I hope it doesn't turn into a speed trap situation.

Anything else or are you a one issue voter?

Anonymous said...

Tearing down four or five buildings amounts to "cleaning up the business stock"?

In four years. Four years and this is what we get - a few empty lots downtown.

What's his encore? What's the big plan for the next four years?

Peter in Carbondale said...

You would have to pay attention if you want to figure things out. Have you driven down Giant City Road lately? Checked out the new construction?

More houses built in the last 4 years then the previous 15 (I think that is the number).

Two heads are better then one. A mayor at work all day and the city manager all day. Good results, but you have to have an open mind to see the truth.

Milton said...

You wrote--
REAL code enforcement. Housing in this town is the worst I've ever seen in any college town I've been.

Interesting how your one issue happens to coincide with one of Sheila's main campaign points. A bit of the tail wagging the dog? Nevermind.

I don't like the shape a lot of the houses are in, but I think that is more a statement about where we live than anything else. This is one of the poorest areas in the country. Let’s not forget that you can do code enforcement all day, but there's no code that says someone needs to paint their siding or landscape their front yard. Most of the blighted houses are going to be leveled before they are fixed up, the numbers just aren’t there for remodeling this crap, but that won't happen until renters no longer want them. Code enforcement does nothing to alter this course.

Regarding roads--
The numbers pan out. A bond (including interest payments of course) issued on asphalt roads is actually cheaper than maintain the tarring and chipping each year on those same roads. So you get a nicer road for less tax payer money. If there's a payoff to "the head of the union" let me know, because it seems the union just lost an annual work project (the tarring and chipping). By the way, care to name who this "head of the union" is or is this another straw man argument?

Anonymous said...

Business owners who are for Sheila, name them?

-Rhett Barke
-Rebecca Whittington
-Phoenix Cycle
-at least one bar owner (I don't know if they want to be outed, so I'm not going to do it)

There are more, but that gives you a sampling. I wholly expect a post from you now complaining that these people are "lazy" and "stupid" because that's what you do when people don't agree with you. Try to refrain for once.

Peter in Carbondale said...

A lawyer, a lawyer (lawyers in two person partnerships aren't business people) and a guy who is pissed about the new bike competition? Never would have guess that lawyers would be supporting a fellow lawyer.

Like doctors are Repubs, lawyers are Dems.

Let me call you an idiot, for putting this list forward. You don't have anything better?