Davenport's opulent "Barley Corn Hall" was built with only two years' proceeds from the notorious saloon/brothel "sin tax" in 1895. The marble plaque in the lobby immortalizes the mayor (former saloon association lawyer/lobbyist), police chief (licensed two brothels in his wife's name), and Alderman Malloy (broke the nose and ribs of a citizen who criticized the council for selling out).
History repeats itself, and City Hall antics continue a century later: passage of the aldermen's code of conduct (illegal for aldermen to "dialogue with the public" during council meetings, or criticize each other - unless pre-approved, in writing, 24 hours in advance); voting to move "public with business" from the end of the council meeting to the first agenda item (before aldermen have even indicated their position, or cast an unpopular vote); creation of a "citizen" Governance Committee, which meets after 6 p.m., behind locked doors at City Hall, contriving how to cut the public's time at the mic but won't have to ax cable-TV coverage because aldermen have already perfected moving important (controversial) hearings out of City Hall and into the back rooms of the Kahl building, River Center, etc.; creation of a "citizen's" Smart Governance Committee, which took four years to get 1,353 signatures (one a day!) to verify that Davenport's other 90,000 residents truly want their voting rights cut in half.
The Civic Federation saved the city a century ago. Let's hope that July 25's artificially jury-rigged four-year-term election generates the same citizen indignation. Vote "no"!
Karen R. Anderson