April 9 ballot includes referendum on Rock Island County board


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Originally Posted Online: March 28, 2013, 7:14 pm
Last Updated: March 31, 2013, 7:03 pm
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Voters in Rock Island County will be asked in an April 9 advisory referendum whether they favor keeping single member districts for the county board.

At present, the board consists of 25 members elected from 25 districts.

In November, a large majority voted in favor of cutting the size of the board to 15 members, with five elected from each of three districts.

The November referendum also was advisory, and Democrats say that according to state statutes the size of the board can only be set once a decade after a referendum.

Rock Island County Board Chairman Phil Banaszek proposed holding the April 9 referendum to keep single-member districts.

He argues that having only three districts would mean that few board members from rural areas or minority communities would be elected.

"You'd end up with a board that would only have people from Moline and Rock Island," he said.

Mr. Banaszek has asked Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan to provide a legal opinion on whether the size of the board can be reduced outside of the normal reapportionment process after the census.

Rock Island County Board member Drue Mielke, R-Coal Valley, is among the Republicans who are pushing for the board to follow the wishes of the voters by cutting the size of the board.

He said he's confused by why Mr. Banaszek would want to hold an advisory referendum on maintaining single member districts if the referendum on the size of the board had no meaning.

"It is single member board currently so why are asking to keep it the same," he said. "I believe it's a tactic to muddy the waters and circumvent the will of the people."

Asked how he would vote in the single member referendum, Mr. Mielke said, "It's irrelevant. They didn't listen the last time so why would they listen this time."














 



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  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




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