Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The other shoe drops

Mayor Morrissey has been warning us for months (mostly after his re-election ) that a second round of layoffs was on the way. Now it's here.

The mayor's office issued a statement late in the day, well after the 6 PM newscasts, from what I'm told by union brethren, and after the Rockford talk radio stations had yielded to syndicated programming and reduced power for the night.

But the mayor made sure that the Wanxiang (pronounced wang-chung, as best I can tell) groundbreaking was a top news story all day. The press was all too eager to oblige the space/time-killer that made their jobs easier.

How many times is this guy gonna pat himself on the back over something that was only marginally newsworthy months ago? I mean, really, what part of this story is new aside from the gold shovel photo-op? Nothing's new. It's just another attempt to polish a turd.

That's admirable, Larry. Announce that you're eliminating 60 city jobs (30 already through attrition, plus 30 more layoffs) the same day you re-announced you've created 60 for a private company being subsidized by debt to taxpayers. That's music to our ears. Should we thank you now?

Morrissey was recently quoted in the weekly as saying the cuts are nothing to apologize for. Really, Larry? Aren't you about to take another trip to China on the taxpayer dime? I and plenty of others can't even afford to take the family to the Dells, so you probably better not come home without 1,000 PetroChina jobs in your pocket, or we might begin to question your sincerity.

Mark my words, the city is going to be facing at least one civil/human rights lawsuit (re: Barmore), and it won't be cheap. My gut tells me the officers probably fucked up, and we need only look at the county to see how how much something like that affects us.

We're going to pay the Bachman family more than $15,000,000 for the questionable judgment of just one deputy. That figure is sure to rise, because there's still another civil suit waiting in the wings.

As for the latest city cuts, these are union jobs we're talking about, so I can only guess public safety is at stake since they're negotiating new contracts. This is where Doug Block is sure to re-emerge from hibernation for the first time since losing to Morrissey in April.

If he cares about winning an election, Block's sure to run again in 2013. After all, even Larry lost his first bid, but he'll be an even easier, doe-eyed target by the time the next election rolls around.

Larry wants the union employees to suck it up just like the unrepresented employees had to. After winning re-election without the support of the unions, Morrissey has nothing to lose by offering them a Cleveland Steamer now. I talked a lot about this during the mayoral race, and I still say the police and fire unions made a political misstep by not making concessions then, which they're going to pay even more for now.

On the other hand, it's just not right for the mayor and aldermen to take public dollars from public jobs and give them to private companies, but it's their show, and none were voted out of office this year. I suppose we get the government we deserve.

We the Taxpayers of Rockford pay more than our fair share for the services we expect the city to deliver, but they're telling us we're expecting too much because of the drunken sailor spending spree that leaves them broke. Yet the city continues accumulating new debt at full steam so they can offer incentives to private developers that really have nothing to offer us when all's said and done. Sure they can boast new jobs, but at the cost of how many others? It's only the "new jobs" that are mentioned come re-election time, and the challengers are often too inexperienced to have any knowledge of how easily they could overturn the status quo.

Now, after proposing another round of cuts to basic city service jobs, the mayor is gonna skip town for China, but I'm sure he'll send us a postcard if there's another flood.

Speaking of weather, pray we have a mild winter. Snow plowing was specifically mentioned as an operation that will suffer from the cuts. But that could change, because William Charles/Rockford Blacktop is overseeing Rockford's advisory budget committee.

If you ask me, when the cuts are made, my money is on snow plowing being spared. After all, if there's less plowing, the roads won't need to be replaced so soon, and Billy Chuck wouldn't want that.