Best of the Quad Cities 2009: Civics and Government Print
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Wednesday, 01 April 2009 07:30

Local elected public official

1. Rock Island Mayor Mark Schwiebert

2. Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba

3. U.S. Representative Phil Hare


Best local elected public official

Mark Schwiebert

A bold prediction: Mark Schwiebert will not win this category next year.

The Rock Island mayor since 1989 (and a city council member for eight years prior to that), Schwiebert opted to not seek re-election this year, and his last day as mayor will be May 4. And he promises to take a "six-month sabbatical" from boards and commissions, he said last week.

Best local elected public official - Rock Island Mayor Mark SchwiebertBut you should take that with a grain of salt, as Schwiebert was appointed to Governor Pat Quinn's Taxpayer Action Board in March, and he attended its first meeting on Friday. Methinks that perhaps Schwiebert isn't the retiring type.

He's been immensely popular in Rock Island: In his first campaign for mayor, he garnered 72 percent of the vote in the general election, and since then he's never gotten less than 82 percent.

Asked about his accomplishments, the mayor cited things both inside and beyond Rock Island: the regional partnerships that advocate for the Quad Cities as a whole, public/private partnerships such as the city's revolving-loan fund and the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation, and the reinvention of downtown.

He struggled when asked about things that didn't get done, but he eventually expressed disappointment that Rock Island's population hasn't grown as much as he would have liked.

He acknowledged that The District of Rock Island - formed in 1992 - might need to reinvent itself again because of the difficulty in satisfying "a constant appetite for something new."

But he stressed that city's downtown has done amazingly well for an amazingly long time. "It's really had a good run," he said.

And, of course, the same could be said about Schwiebert.

- Jeff Ignatius


Unelected local public servant

1. Bill Fisher

1. John Kiley

3. Cathy Bolkcom


Most transparent local government

1. City of Moline

1. City of Rock Island

1. City of Davenport


Use of local funds

1. City of Bettendorf

2. City of Rock Island

3. City of Davenport


Downtown project

1. Armory Waterfront Park

2. Rock Island District

3. Freight House Complex


Local not-for-profit

1. American Red Cross of the Quad Cities Area

2. United Way of the Quad Cities

3. Churches United of the Quad Cities Area


Local radical

1. Todd McGreevy

2. Cathy Bolkcom

3. Devin Hansen

3. Mike Mickle


Place to volunteer

1. American Red Cross of the Quad Cities Area

2. Animal shelters/humane societies

3. Habitat for Humanity

3. Meal sites

3. United Way of the Quad Cities


Best damn thing about the Quad Cities, period

1. Mississippi River

2. People

3. Jumer's Casino & Hotel


Local controversy

1. Davenport Promise

2. Smoking Ban

3. Pachino Hill


Most benevolent Quad Cities-based corporation

1. Deere & Company

2. Modern Woodmen of America

3. Alcoa


Most benevolent Quad Cities-based corporation -- Deere & CompanyMost benevolent Quad Cities-based corporation

Deere & Company

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain. - Arabian proverb

Which is a poetic way to trot out the old chestnut "actions speak louder than words." Cliché? Sure, but as usual, there's a substantial kernel of truth there. And in the case of the top three vote-getters in the "most benevolent Quad Cities-based corporation" category, there are likely enough examples of those actions to fill the entire paper. In the interest of brevity and benevolence, here are some of the area agencies and institutions that have benefited over the past year or so from these deserving Best of the Quad Cities winners.

Deere & Company

While Deere declined to provide the River Cities' Reader with a list, recounts some of its more general efforts to be a good corporate citizen. Among other things, the Web site lists sponsorships of: FFA, Jaycees, and minorities in agriculture organizations, and support of employee volunteer programs involving Junior Achievement, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, and other community organizations.

In addition, according to the Moline-based company's Web site, the John Deere Foundation donates to health and human services, education, arts and culture, and community-development efforts.

Modern Woodmen

Kim Woodward, spokesperson for Modern Woodmen of America, sent a detailed accounting of the insurer's efforts in and around the area.

Modern Woodmen supports among many other programs and organizations: Plant A Tree Quad Cities, Habitat for Humanity, Festival of Trees, Bald Eagle Days, Join Hands Day, Community Service Award, and Matching Employee Donations.

The Rock Island-based corporation's Contributions Assessment Panel has granted funds to: American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Buffalo Bill Museum, Family Resources, Junior Achievement, Midwest Writing Center, QC Area Women's Leadership Initiative - Literacy Project, Quad City Arts, Quad City Symphony, Rock Island Art Guild, and Skills Inc.

Additionally, the company's Capital Fund made donations to: Bethany Home, Center for Active Seniors, Development Association of Rock Island, Figge Museum of Art Foundation, Moline Public Library, Niabi Zoo, and Scott County YMCA.


John Riches, Alcoa Davenport Works spokesperson, says that the company supports among many other programs and organizations: AIDS Project Quad Cities, Red Cross of the Quad Cities, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley

Child Abuse Council, Family Resources, Friends of the Davenport Public Library, Greater Quad Cities Telecommunications Corp. (WQPT), Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities, Handicapped Development Center, Junior Achievement of the Heartland, Martin Luther King Center, Living Lands & Waters, Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, Niabi Zoological Society, Two Rivers YMCA, and United Neighbors.

In addition to those grants, Alcoa gave an emergency grant of $25,000 for the Red Cross to help with the flooding last year.

According to Riches, the plant also supported employee participation in Xstream Cleanup, a tree planting project with the Bettendorf Trees R Us organization, and a cleaning and painting project at Humility of Mary Housing.

As part of their 60th anniversary, the plant and Alcoa Foundation funded the 60th Habitat house built in the Quad Cities. The foundation provided $45,000, and the plant provided $25,000 for the project. "We had hundreds of volunteers work on that project from July through December," he wrote.

Beyond the Alcoa Foundation dollars, Davenport Works also invested money from local operations in support of a number of organizations and events including: United Way, Alcoa Jr. Bix, Red Cross Family Safety Day, March of Dimes, Genesis Health Foundation, Reading Adventures, Newspapers in Education, Trinity Health Foundation, American Heart Association, John Deere Classic, Skip-a-Long Child Development, Scott County Family YMCA, River Action, Gilda's Club, Quad City Arts, Illowa Council Boy Scouts, Bald Eagle Days, Quad City Airshow, Mississippi Valley Fair, Quad City River Bandits, Bix Jazz Festival, Mississippi Valley Blues Fest, and Bettendorf Family Museum.

- Shawn Eldridge

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