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July 19, 2006

Malin inclined to pay partisan bill; not me

It's the picture that keeps popping into my head.

It was on the front page of the QCT on Tuesday, the day after Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Davenport.

It's an ugly thing, depicting two Davenport police officers towering over two ladies of considerable years. The ladies are dutifully following orders to remove the flimsy little sticks from the American flags they were waving as they trudged with other political marchers along River Drive. Collecting the little sticks was necessary for the security of the vice president, the officers said. (Picture)


This is what we paid for? We citizens of Davenport picked up a huge chunk of police overtime on Monday, so that aged ladies could be deprived of little flagstaffs? To protect a man who was two full blocks away, ensconced behind a small army of Secret Service agents and local police officers?

I want my money back.

Probably won't get it though. Probably will get stuck with tabs from both ends.

Mr. Cheney's visit was purely an affair of partisan politics. No press conference, no speech to the chamber; just a quick trip to a private home for a pricey fund-raiser for congressional hopeful Mike Whalen. There are rules about such things: On such partisan trips, the cost is to be borne by party or candidate. Come next round of campaign finance reports, we'll discover how much we taxpayers got in reimbursement for the veep's journey.

I've looked at such reports at various times. The reimbursement figure sometimes strikes me as being kind of light, given the complicated logistics of moving a president or veep around and providing security, reasonable or not. I'm guessing the cost of a couple of planes and the small army of security comes close to matching Mr. Whalen's take, whatever that amount turns out to actually be.

Couldn't the national party have just given the amount directly to Mr. Whalen, and skipped the trip?

That would have at least spared Davenport taxpayers whatever their contribution to the tab turns out to be, since Craig Malin, our city adminstrator, told the QCT he's inclined to pick up the costs. Story said he described the security expenses as the “cost of a community being worthy of visiting.”

Excuse me?

A 'community being worthy of visiting' does not pay overtime to send out police officers to force aged citizens to dismember the little flags they wave in patriotic protest.

A 'community being worthy of visiting' does not send officers into the streets who are so poorly trained and instructed that they understand their task to be ordering aged citizens to dismember the little flags they wave in patriotic protest.

A 'community being worthy of visiting' does not send officers into the streets who are so poorly trained and instructed that they understand their task to be to even temporarily detain a newspaper photographer recording their actions in a public place, as the QCT says happened on Monday.

A 'community being worthy of visiting' does not stick its taxpayers with the bills for a partisan fund-raiser.

Mr. Malin's inclinations aside, I think the city council needs to send a bill for police overtime to the Whalen for Congress committee. And if some Dem of such bigwig status requiring extra police comes here for Bill Braley or anybody else, they get a bill, too.

Our cops are busy. Plenty of real work always stacking up. The politicians want them for purely partisan affairs, the politicians can pay.

QCO comments on this column

Posted by jcb at July 19, 2006 05:31 PM

Comments

John,

Noticed you have to be a subscriber to read the full Passing Parade now. What's with that?

Posted by: greg at July 20, 2006 05:22 PM

This post's continuation goes to QCO, in order to consolidate comments. QCO link should be open; in case it's not, I'll do continuation here as well.

Posted by: jcb at July 20, 2006 08:33 PM