The same old story


-Bumper sticker of the week: Caution! I don’t brake for right-wing nut jobs.


-Quote of the week: When it’s all over, I just want to break even.


-Tastes like chicken: How did chicken and shrimp ever become a pair? You go into a restaurant and they got chicken and shrimp. Chicken don’t go with shrimp. You don’t want your shrimp to taste like chicken. Everything tastes like chicken. You want shrimp with scallops, or shrimp on a skewer, or shrimp on a salad. You want shrimp boiled, or fried, or grilled or on pasta. You don’t want it with chicken. I want shrimp with more shrimp. Or tequila.


-Can restaurants save a town? We got a lot of restaurants in town. It’s about our fastest growing industry. Personally, I like that. I love to eat. I remember places where we go by the restaurants. People think that Ft. Myers Beach, Florida is great because of the weather, or the gulf. I think it is great because of The Pink Cadillac, The Beached Whale, or The Mucky Duck on Captiva Island.   Here in Galesburg we have some good places to eat. Downtown, I like the Landmark. Of course, I’m a bit bias, since my son is the chef. They’re cooking up a mean Tuesday night special. Three-four course meal. You won’t find any better. Chez Willy’s is always good. I’ve never gone wrong there. Q’s Café is an excellent lunch spot. The owners are good people and the food is both good and surprisingly different. Not the same old fare. I like that. The Rooster is another good lunch spot. They carry a good variety of things that are always tasty. New China has been a downtown staple for many years. You can’t go wrong with the egg foo yong. The Pizza House has been around longer than Carl Sandburg. Hammers is a place I don’t think about very often, but, in my opinion, they have the best pizza in town, their Sicilian hybrid.  And I like Joy Garden, although I usually get take-out. I have never had lunch at Inn Keepers, but if it is anything like their pastries, you can’t go wrong. Crappy’s, McGillacuddy’s, Budde’s, all bars that serve good food.  Then surrounding downtown there is Acapulco, an excellent Mexican restaurant, Jalisco’s, where I have never been disappointed, Old Peking, the best buffet in town, Rib Shack, a Galesburg landmark, and a hidden jewel, Delinos’. Now, you add that all together, and you got a pretty good eating experience. It’s helped us, but it hasn’t saved us. I would move to a place just because of the restaurants, but a lot of sane people wouldn’t. They look for such odd things as diversity, good government, cleanliness, good schools, reasonably priced real estate, good and accessible  health-care, temperate climate, natural attractiveness, transportation options, high quality jobs, low crime rate, decent roads, nice and vibrant public spaces, interesting and well maintained parks, places to sit and talk and meet people. People look for attractive libraries, book stores, good shopping, fast and efficient internet connections. Some people even think that towns should foster and encourage a progressive, creative, problem-solving, inclusive community atmosphere. Frankly, I think all of that is poppycock. Give me restaurants.


-Speaking of tourism: Tourism will not save Galesburg.  It will help the restaurants, which, as you can see, I am very supportive of. But tourism will not make us a viable, survivable, West-central Illinois city. Now, that being said, will a National Railroad Hall of Fame help us. I would say, yes. If it is placed downtown, it will not hurt us. How much it will help us is probably being overestimated, but even 10,000 more people coming to Galesburg each year won’t hurt. The question still remains, in fifty years, will there be anything else here?  Building a National Railroad Hall of Fame is easy as compared to breathing life back into a city that is slated for extinction.


-To listen, you have to give up the notion that you already know everything there is to know. That’s a horrible thing to have to do. We each like to think we have it all down pat. One of life’s hardest lessons is to understand that my way is not the only way. But still,......Sorry, I told you it was a hard lesson to learn.


-Visioning sessions: I saw that the city manager was “Bragging” about how successful the visioning sessions were out at Carl Sandburg College. I attended two of them. They were highly scripted and had no time for public comments. The break-out sessions were also highly moderated and scripted. I saw no African-Americans at the sessions I attended, no one with an income below $20,00, and few other minorities. I saw two young males with long-sleeved, white, shirts, making me suspicious.  We will hear the same old story from these sessions: Dress up the downtown, for the third time, support the National Railroad Hall of Fame, and keep giving our tax dollars to GREDA. Anyone suggesting otherwise is negative, foolish, and should shut-up and follow along.  I would challenge the city manager to hold the same sessions downtown, with a bit different agenda and a whole lot less control. See what some of the rest of the folks have to say. I put the whole thing in the category of more of the same. Innovation, creativity, and thinking “outside the steel cage,” was not apparent to me.