Congressman LaHood is one of the best and it this country's loss to see him retire. I disagreed with him in areas where I had first hand knowledge. It is my experienced opinion that Ray was wrong to twice endorse the Peoria Public Library referendum. It is evident he didn't "go to school" on these $35 million questionable expenditures. Trying to keep up with the "Joneses" while being overly politically correct is seldom easy. What politican can say "no" to libraries while at the same time seeking taxpayer dollars for zoos and museums? Sorry Ray but those of us who understand the Peoria Public Libray situation hope the City Council looks closely at who are using the libraries and in what way before pushing the property taxpayers off a higher cliff. More unsupervised computers are not in the best interests of this community. Nor more easy chairs. These are available at tax-paying B & N.
Ray pushed for a four lane highway; Rt.29, when almost everyone said no. We should have stopped spending another dime on studying Rt 29 when the second "estimated" cost came in at $600 million dollars. The original estimate was $300 million. Sorry Ray, you should have stopped asking for more money to "study" Rt.29 right then. But no, you asked for almost another 1.6 million for further land buying in this corridor and more studies just this year. Instead of "studies" those taxpayer dollars should be used to repair more of our roadway infrastructure and keep that roadbed (Rt. 29) in good repair. Add a couple of "pullovers" so our speedier drivers can pass slower drivers. When asked, IDOT said they never considered building pullovers on Rt. 29 similar to those used in so many states with winding roads.
Why not? There is no glory gained in repairing and updating. You only get major credit when you build new things, not update and repair.
Most everyone who reads my letters and blogs and anyone reading the JSEB knows I strongly opposed the "Highway to Chicago". I had studied enough to know that USDOT had gone from a policy of "mobility and efficiency" to a policy of "feel and function" long before the heavy push to spend what would now be well over $1,000,000,000.00 Sorry, had too many 000's, it's one billion, not a trillion) to destroy farmland, isolate towns and for a trip saving of 12 minutes. And thats a maybe. One thing I do know it would make it easier for Peorians to go to Chicago and suburbs to shop and a quicker run for our illegal drug trade. Out of town shoppers do not pay local taxes. Nor do drug dealers from Chicago or Peoria.
Then there was Ray's effort for the ring road. Lots of money was spent "studying" it over the past decade or so. Now it is back using more taxpayers dollars to study it again. When I asked if a study was made or is being made, comparing it's economic impact to cost, I was told no such study was underway. Hmmmmm.
As an individual I do not support a costly ring road and another bridge. I see it creating more sprawl and would cost 700 million or more of taxpayer dollars. That money can be swpent on repairing our deteriorating infrastructures. It would benefit some people and one major manufacturer. I have asked Peoria County Board Members to take a position on this project and they have so far declined. My opinion is personal but my studied opionion is from a man who spent 36 years in ownership or management in the private sector. I have driven over 1.6 million miles in my lifetime todate. (Refer to my blog on "highways" in my archives dated 8/02/07)
Ray was correct in stating that the City and County Election Commissions should be merged into the county. Where the commission should be located can be decided later. He was hesitant about his position being made public. Elected official always are worrying about getting reelected, who they will please and who they will offend and that is a major problem.
If you suffer from anger and anxiety I recommend that you DO NOT READ "Outrage" by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. This book describes "How Illegal Immigration, the UN, many members of Congress, Tobacco companies, Trade Protection and Drug Companies plus Student Loan Overcharges, are RIPPING US OFF.
For some lighter reading with slightly less anger and anxiety read "The Tin Roof Blowdown" by James Lee Burke and don't forget "Enough" by Juan Williams. Burke's book is based on facts turned out as fiction and Juan Williams is all facts.
Congressman LaHood, to my relief was not even mentioned in Morris's book. But then I believe that Ray is basically honest. Unfortunately, politicians need a lot of money and they must please a lot of different special interests to get reelected every two years. I think a two year term is ridiculous. You no sooner get elected than you are back campaigning again. Then again, 5 years on District #150 board is two years too many.
I handled our State Farm Insurance account when I owned Widmer's. In discussing fair prices for Widmer's to make a profit and stay in business and still benefit State Farm,I told Doug Finn, Purchasing Director for the whole company, that I felt I was "basically honest". He got a big kick out of my statement; he appreciated my honesty, and my business with his buyers increased. My company rendered a service his company sought and we negotiated prices. When a manufacturer I represented tried to go direct, State farm told me to find another source and that they would continue to buy from my company. State Farm is a major account with Widmer Interiors today.
Dick Durbin had one mention in Morris's book and that was positive.
Back in 1994, I asked Ray to get involved in some of the perpetual problems of School District #150. Ray said he "did not get involved in local issues". Later, Ray did get involved in too many local issues such as school locations and library emotional issues. I hope he does not get involved in the local PBC Bond issues as taxpayers surely know that these bonds must be paid off sometime and mostly if not all, with taxpayer dollars.
Overall, if all our Congressmen were as competent as Ray LaHood, we would be a better and more respected country.
Best wishes to Congressman LaHood in retirement. I hope we elect someone to follow him in most of his footsteps.