Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pat Quinn says he supports Peotone

So, in his budget address, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says he supports Peotone. I can tell you, that for me, the speech was pretty surreal.


The birds were singing their frenzied mating songs and scurrying to build nests to hold their eggs. The sweet fragrance of the hyacinths danced on the swift breezes, toward me. The sound of last year's red oak leaves rustled, in their last clinging grasp to the branches before new buds swelled beneath them, setting them free. Amid all that peace and tranquility that is my front yard, here in Arkansas, the voice of  Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn nearly drowned it all out, via Windows Media Player on my laptop computer. 


I heard him speak honestly about the situation Illinois faces economically. He talked of solutions. They all made great sense until he spoke of the $1 billion for economic development, the smallest amount by the way, behind the billions allocated to concerns of the environment and education, and other more pressing initiatives. 


Then he said, "We will build a third airport in the south suburbs of Chicago, and we will build it as fast as humanly possible." The camera panned over to a corner of the room where the black men whose faces I could not make out in the sun-drenched resolution of my computer screen. But, I can only assume they were members of the black caucus, cronies of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., who were applauding wildly. Others were applauding too. The biggest surprise applause to me, came from Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, who has traditionally been an opponent of Peotone. 


I can't help but think that at least some of the members of the General Assembly could have been applauding the fact that Quinn's giving verbal support to Peotone would finally shut Jackson up for a while, though probably not for long. 


I'll give Jackson credit — another Illinois Governor said he supports Peotone. But is that really a big deal? Every governor since Richard Ogilvie, back when Jackson was three yeas old has said those words, with the possible exception of Dan Walker. But, none of them have done it.


Perhaps the reason it hasn't been done is because building another airport, some 40 miles from the city center is a stupid idea. Saying it means nothing. Doing it would count. But, I can't help but think this meritless scheme from 1968 just can't pass muster. There are so many better ideas.