The 2002 Iowa Legislative Session began Monday, January 14, in the midst of serious budget constraints. Both income- and sales-tax revenues are lower than expected, flatlining growth for the state and jeopardizing such line items as education, Medicaid, and affordable health care, to name a few.

On Christmas Eve of 2001, another dear and cherished friend of my family died, Jim Ven Horst. Jim was 88 years wonderful.

Jim wed two lovely women in his life. His first wife, Florine - with whom he had three childen, Joe, Roger, and Debbie - died almost 20 years ago.

On December 29, 2001, my husband Todd and I had the privilege of witnessing our news and arts editor, Jeff Ignatius, marry to his beautiful bride, Pamela Kennerly, in Springfield, Illinois. It was an occasion for true celebration because their union holds all the magical promise of real and abiding love.

Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin, in concert with the Economic Development staff, has wasted no time responding to a September city council mandate for staff to prepare a course of action relative to the city-owned property at 53rd and Eastern.

Davenport had another dismal civic failure on the part of its citizens with the disgraceful voter turnout for the mayoral race November 6. A pitiful few bothered to vote, practically guaranteeing a continued apathy on the part of our elected officials toward the broader public concerns.

Suzie Martens, a dear friend of my entire family, passed last week amidst the comfort and love of her family. Suzie had battled cancer for years, and battle she did. She actually survived much longer than her doctors predicted, but those who knew her were not remotely surprised.

Throughout America, economic development has become a primary focus
for communities of all sizes. Growth has become the predominant goal if communities are to survive. The question becomes: What kind of economic development can be sustained in communities where population growth is slow or stagnant? This is one of the main challenges that face Davenport's new city administrator, Craig Malin.

The Reader has been publishing since 1993, which means we've witnessed a fair number of elections. None has been so fraught with dirty politics than Davenport's 5th Ward race between incumbent Wayne Hean and his opponent Bill Holgerson.

Next week, Davenport voters will have the opportunity to vote for their new mayor and city council. A precious few of you bothered to turn out for the primary, so now you have to live with the slate of candidates before you.

By the time this column goes to press, the results of Scott County's referendum for the proposed River Renaissance project will not yet be decided. I can only hope that Scott County voters at least go to the polls on this important issue.

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