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Guest Editorial: Distractions

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted by my father-in-law (and faithful Chronicle reader) Lee Tallman. All comments on this post will be forwarded to him.

During the period of the Roman Empire, gladiatorial contests and executions were held in the coliseum. Their purpose was to entertain the public, and divert its attention from the activities of the government. Today, in the United States, the attention of the public is diverted by the public battles between the Republican and Democratic parties. As in ancient Rome, the contests today have little to do with the activities of government.

The government of the United States serves the interests of important industries: insurance and banking, pharmaceuticals and agriculture, energy and defense (collectively the small businesses about which politicians are so passionate.) These industries provide the promotional campaigns that ensure the election of favored candidates. Members of both political parties participate. Successful candidates are expected to support legislation that is favorable to sponsoring industries. Lobbying organizations provide second careers for retiring politicians.

17 comments to Guest Editorial: Distractions

  • mazr

    This is a perfect explanation why the whole R vs D debate is pointless. Everybody’s dirty.

  • In this scenario

    the Chamber of Commerce would be the svengali.

  • Stating what I think is painfully obvious. So how do we educate the public to ignore the hype and pay attention to the reality?

  • prego man


  • Hey Craig hullinger

    what are your thoughts on this?

    Developer Gary Matthews, who wants taxpayer assistance in the construction of the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Peoria, owes $24,862 in late payments on a revolving loan to East Peoria taxpayers.

    The payments are due on a $150,000 loan issued in 2007 to GEM Terrace LLC for the construction of the GEM Terrace office building overlooking the city.

  • District 150 observer

    I am not Craig, but I suspect the Pere delays and issues are putting quite a financial strain on the developer. Most developers are leveraged to the hilt and don’t have the reserves to outlast the kind of financial meltdown that hit the country as well as the stresses of the Pere development delays. The perfect storm—in a bad way.

  • conrad stinnett

    I think one can only blame so much on the recession. Matthews hasn’t hit a deadline yet and this latest news does not inspire confidence. I say that Matthews has had his chance. Those Council members who voted to support this need to show a bit of leadership and dump this project and this developer ASAP.

  • District 150 observer

    I am happy the PJStar stepped up with this article. There needs to be more, not less, coverage of this development and its progress.

    The problem for the city is a grossly overbuilt PCC and an absolute need for a quality hotel in downtown Peoria. Starting over and trying to find a new developer will not be easy. The city is in a tough spot.

  • conrad stinnett

    I don’t think the City needs to be involved at all. The Holiday Inn was morphed in to a Sheraton 5 Points with no taxpayer money, while the Mark Twain was created without sipping at the tax trough. I do think the Pere needs to be re-modeled, but that ought to be done with private sector funds. The City should be offering encouragement to a Pere effort, but not a dime of taxpayer money. Matthews has gotten enough from the City of Peoria. Time for him to go.

  • District 150 observer

    Conrad, I think Matthews has gotten very little from the City of Peoria. He has not one dime at this point.

    In a perfect world municipalities wouldn’t give a dime for private development. This isn’t a perfect world and nobody–I repeat nobody–has stepped up on the Pere. The line of developers who want to buy and remodel the Pere is a line of one. Gary Matthews.

    I have never come out in support of the deal the city has with the developer, but I understand why they are doing it. They are in a tough spot.

  • General P

    Observer, if private business capital groups or other developers won’t hop on board of this project, why do you feel that the city has to with private dollars? I’m just curious, because usually when private investors won’t get involved it’s because they don’t feel that it’s a sound investment or won’t get enough return on investment to make the project work. So why should the city take on such risk, especially when they shouldn’t be in business of running hotels.

    Now if you are suggesting that we should be because Peoria needs a quality hotel downtown, then with amount of money that Peoria is putting up, we ahould have a piece of ownership in project. They did that in East Peoria with the Embassy Suites and then turned around and sold the convention back to this developer. It was a win-win for the city.

  • wtf.

    Banks are in the business of making money. If they won’t fund a project, and they are the experts, then that should be a clue to any layman with a brain. If we were looking to spend money on our own infastructure, rebuild our neighborhoods that are allowed to decay, and work to eliminate the growing criminal element in our city (these are reasons why we pay taxes) then private enterprise will take care of it self. I assure you if there is money to be made on the hotel project, someone would have stepped in and gotten all the financing without a dime from the city. The same could be said for the warehouse district. Where are the private dollars? These projects and the museum are pushed by a select few, pushed by the various factions of Heartland Partnerships, yet somehow it doesn’t create a conflicting vote. That in and of itself is suspicious. Wait until property taxes go up and additional layoffs occur because of the many on the council who have messed up priorities.

  • District 150 observer

    wtf: The fact that financing is very difficult for this project DOES indicate is is a high risk project. I have said that many, many times. You are preaching to the choir.

    General: The reason the city is involved is because of their huge investment in the PCC and, to a lesser extent, Cat’s wishes. That is why the city is stepping up. You can agree or disagree with the city’s involvement, but that is WHY they are involved. Peoria is not unique in this issue. Cities all over America have been involved in public/private partnerships in downtown convention hotels.

    I have said many times that I think the City of Peoria could have (and should have) handled this much differently then they did.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    Oh so true … let the people have their bread and circus while the city crumbles around them … hauntingly familiar replay of history. 🙁

  • wtf

    I’m not surprised the recession has created problems (for commercial developers) but we need to understand how our local developers perform in relationship with local governments,” at-large City Councilman Ryan Spain said. “It’s something we need to pay attention to.”

    Unfortunately we know how developers work with the city of Peoria. Peoria funds them with our tax dollars leaving us short when it comes for the items we needs. Note the number of shootings over the past few days. The police are frustated. Listen to a scanner for an hour. how many calls are swamping them. Sorry Councilman, your quote says absoutely nothing. You will push your special interest agenda despite even more red flags, just like when you worked on the museum then pretended not to know that there would not be an Imax and the other unsatifactory changes made after the voters relutctantly voted for the sales tax increase.

  • Karrie E. Alms

    wtf: “It’s something we need to pay attention to.”

    exactly …. Paying attention and taking responsible action are horses of different colors.