Railroad Town USA
— Bumper sticker of the week: We’re making enemies faster than we can kill them.
— Quote of the week: “As I grow older, more and more of the economic and political details keep pushing in, and I wonder what became of that early inner quietness that allowed me to move out of my own center.” Joseph Campbell
— Positive peeverism: A Railroad Hall of Fame. $60 million. That’s a lot of bananas. I’m not totally convinced a Hall of Fame is the best use of that kind of money for Galesburg, but still, it’s something. I would give the dream about a 25% chance of being realized, but the dreamers deserve credit for having the dream and trying to convert it to reality. What would life be without a dream?
— Speaking of railroads: With the possibility of a Galesburg Railroad Hall of Fame, it would probably make sense to go all out capitalizing on the theme. I don’t know exactly what that means, but since we are already railroad impaired, we might as well go for it. A summer-long railroad celebration, with two or three weekend musical events, fashioned after Burlington. How about one or two observation decks to watch the trains? Maybe two or three weekends at the museum, with story telling, railroad art, model train swap meets. How about a weekend long hobo train ride from Galesburg to Kansas City and back? Railroad Town, U.S.A. High energy, positive, community involved economic development. Throw in an intermodal transportation center at the new industrial park, and bingo, we’re back in business.
— Current Peever boycotts:
• Wal-Mart: Too big, lousy pay, no or poor health-care benefits, and not small business friendly. A Super Wal-Mart is not what this community needs. Watch for the concessions as this thing develops.
• McDonald’s: Continues to capitalize on feeding our young people poor nutritional choices.
• Philip Morris: Wants us to believe that cigarettes are no longer their major product. In fact, on their website they encourage us not to use their product, knowing full-well that it is extremely difficult to not do so, due to addiction. They never once have suggested that maybe what they need to do is not produce cigarettes in the first place.
• Coors Beer: The Coors family have been supporters of right-wing organizations for decades.
• WGIL: They continue to air Rush Limbaugh. In fact, they have a picture of him in their lobby. Anyone that plays Limbaugh’s trash doesn’t deserve your ear. It causes deafness and brain atrophy.
• I would tell you to avoid buying clothes made in foreign sweatshops, but we’d all end up running around naked, which would not be all bad, but would have a clear downside.
• Halliburton and Bechtel: Both busily making billions from the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
• Many brand name American companies are under attack around the world, including Marlboro, McDonald’s, Exxon-Mobil, Monsanto, Budweiser, Starbucks, and General Motors. This appears to be mainly due to the Bush/Cheney world domination theme.
— What economic development is not:
• It’s not a bunch of white guys sitting around a table deciding what is best for a city.
• It’s not something that should happen behind closed doors. It affects everyone and should be decided by as much public input as possible.
• It should not be a giveaway fest. “We’ll build in your community if you give us this.” I say go away.
• There has to be some kind of measurable result. Otherwise, why keep spending the money?
• In the final analysis, economic development is not much more than a scam. Companies will move or start their businesses in places that are friendly, progressive, diverse, with good schools, nice parks, efficient health-care, and an energetic atmosphere. Short of an ocean, or mountains, or year round warm weather, that’s about all it takes. Well, that and cheap labor, and maybe a strip joint or two.