Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peotone Airport and old soup

Normally, perseverance is an admirable trait, except in the case of old soup.

Will County Executive Larry Walsh apparently tried to stir the soup that is the Peotone Airport. It sits in a rusty old pot filled with withered ingredients, boiled down so many times, that there is little left of it.

Walsh recently traveled to Springfield and Washington, D.C., His trip was likely little more than his effort to try to bring the soup back to a boil. That isn't perseverance, though—it is more like futility. The soup pot sits on an old broken stove that can barely ignite a spark. Cooking soup needs fire, and there is so little heat left.

Walsh's trip is likely in response to statements by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood who said as much during a recent visit to Will County. While LaHood and the rest of the country is talking about high speed rail, a full-course meal by comparison, Walsh continues to stir that rancid soup.

At the same time, Walsh's trip and the subsequent local headlines that followed, had the added benefit of sticking it to the opposing party, something Will County partisans are always up for.

Just a few weeks ago, Republican County Board Chairman Jim Moustis suggested de-emphasizing the Peotone Airport which he categorized as becoming a distraction. He even considered reconfiguring the county board to two-person districts, recognizing the difference between the east and west sides. He cited the proposed airport as an example, stating that less-populated areas of eastern Will County who oppose the proposed airport should have their own representation rather than being included with portions of faster-growing areas where residents are more neutral on the project.

Walsh apparently met Tuesday with Susan Shea, IDOT's director of aeronautics, in Springfield. He later went to meet U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Florida in the nation's capital. Mica chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Both are already supporting chefs in Walsh's soup. In fact, Shea is probably taking credit for the recipe, even though it was passed down to her from her predecessor Kirk, (make jobs for myself and my friends) Brown.

Mica added a few ingredients into the broth back in the day that former Congressman Jerry Weller invited him to Will County's kitchen. Those were very different times. The ingredients weren't quite as withered as now.

Shea and Mica—it is doubtful these chefs have anything new to add to Larry's soup.

Interestingly, there has been no mention of Walsh stopping by the White House to talk soup with his poker-playing pal, the President. Perhaps Mr. Obama is too busy with an entire banquet full of issues to deal with his buddy's old soup.

So, despite headlines in the local papers, Walsh's trip was largely much ado about nothing.

He attended the County Executives of America legislative conference. That was likely the purpose and focus of his Washington trip. This is just more about the same old soup still trying to simmer. There are no new ingredients in enthusiastic voices; no nourishment in the form of jobs to stave off unemployment.

So, the result is just a little more stirring of the same old pot. The only difference is that the smell is getting worse.