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|Disclaimers R Us|
|Commentary/Politics - Editorials|
|Tuesday, 24 July 2001 18:00|
Last week’s cover story and editorial in the River Cities’ Reader regarding DavenportOne elicited a phone call from a Davenport city staff member who was concerned that commenting on DavenportOne’s first year in operation without disclosing certain facts relative to the Reader appears to be a conflict of interest for this paper.
What I didn’t say in the editorial was that the River Cities’ Reader is a member of DavenportOne (as well as the Illinois Quad City Chamber of Commerce and the Bettendorf Chamber of Commerce), and the publisher volunteers his time by serving on the Downtown Partnership division and several committees of DavenportOne.
We also own property in downtown Davenport that we are re-developing, and as a result we have a vested interest in what DavenportOne does in the downtown and how it does it. In fact, we should have a seat at the table for that reason alone, even if we were not a member. DavenportOne is significantly subsidized by additional property taxes collected from downtown property owners through a Self-Supporting Municipal Improvement District (SSMID) that was established many years ago. Property owners in the SSMID that choose not to be members of DavenportOne, yet pay into the taxing district, have no voice in how those dollars are spent. It is a unique set of circumstances that DavenportOne – a private, member-based organization – governs and has oversight of the spending of those tax dollars generated from this particular SSMID.
We are pleased to be a member of DavenportOne because we want to be a part of an organization that creates dynamic and positive change in our community. However, we are skeptical because we are unsure of the underlying agendas and economic tooling of this organization. As property owners in downtown Davenport, we feel compelled to address where our tax dollars are going, and how such expenditures ultimately impact the value of our property. As a dues-paying member, we feel entitled to critically analyze the organization. As a newspaper, we feel obligated to do the same, especially when the organization is partially funded with taxpayers’ dollars.
Hopefully, by disclosing the above information, any confusion or misperception relative to this paper’s interest in DavenportOne will be dispelled.
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