I was chairman of the board of the Davenport Chamber of Commerce when it successfully promoted passage of the one-cent sales tax. There was enthusiasm for infrastructure improvements then and, clearly, that enthusiasm remains.

The most recent Davenport Community Survey finds residents give their highest priority to continue improving the city's streets and infrastructure. That is fact.

Approving the "Promise" proposal would divert millions of dollars from such work. That, too, is fact.

The various claimed benefits of Promise are not facts. They are estimates and questionable ones at that.

"The fiscal impact estimates of the Promise are strongly impacted by a number of factors. Therefore, a high degree of uncertainty clouds the fiscal impact estimates of the Promise," the Upjohn report, funded and cited by "Promise" backers, says.

Upjohn warns population change might not be as strong, a decline in school enrollments may be greater, and property values may not respond as favorably as forecast. The more these forecasts turn out to be wrong, the more taxpayers are exposed.

Approving "Promise" would give up money to fund what 77 percent of city residents say they most want to happen for something that warns of "a high degree of uncertainty" of any success.

The Upjohn survey is correct in underlining the number-one importance of a skilled and well-educated workforce to the city and regional economy. Davenport faces a more compelling challenge than access to higher education in addressing that need.

A more useful focus would be on assisting the Davenport schools to improve high-school-graduation rates and scholastic-proficiency rates. Those currently are well below both state averages and those of neighboring Iowa Quad Cities school districts.

Improving that situation would be more effective in attracting and retaining population in Davenport and of more help to its students.

Of what use is a college scholarship to a student not adequately prepared to compete in college?

John Gardner



Villa Arch Will Be Saved

I was so pleased to see the featured image of the Villa de Chantal entry in your February 4, 2009, issue. The photo taken by Dick Koos captured the beauty of the arch entry and the utter devastation of the fire. The entry arch stood tall through the fire and the demolition of the surrounding structures. And thanks to a last-minute decision by the Rock Island Milan School District Board of Education, the entry arch was saved. They called in a stone mason who carefully dismantled the arch entry, labeling each piece for future reconstruction. The school board then gifted the entry arch to Rock Island Preservation Society, a volunteer not-for-profit organization, which is spearheading a project to reconstruct the arch as an architectural art piece. It is the intent that the reconstruction be in a public area where it can continue to inspire both young and old.

For more information or to join in the project, contact Rock Island Preservation Society through our Web site: RockIslandPreservation.org.

Linda Anderson, President

Rock Island Preservation Society

Rock Island

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