Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Editorial: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

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Thumbs Up ... to Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms for giving it to us straight in his condition of the city address this week.

The mayor touted successes in luring commercial development, which resulted in $30 million in new private investment. But he also acknowledged revenue for the city is flat and it has struggled attracting retail business, especially at the vacant Watchtower site.

A deal to lure Walmart there fell through in 2016, and the former shopping area has languished since.

Thoms said the city may have to look at options other than retail for the site. That's bound to be a disappointment for those who have yearned for greater shopping choices. Rock Island is uniquely without many of the amenities other cities in the area take for granted. But the Watchtower site is crying out for some kind of redevelopment. We hope the city can find just the right tenants.

Thumbs Down ... to the decision to again deny credentials to progressive blogger Laura Belin to cover the Iowa House. This isn't the first time that Belin, who runs the Bleeding Heartland web site, has been refused credentials, which allow reporters access to certain parts of the House.

The refusal comes from the House clerk, but it can't escape anybody's attention that the chamber is controlled by Republicans, some of whom don't like Belin's reporting.

Belin is a progressive, but anybody who has read her blog knows that her analysis is rigorous and so is her sense of duty to the truth.

The fact is, it is not at all uncommon for journalists to take a side in today's media culture, and they still are credentialed to cover campaigns and government.

For the Republican-controlled House to continue to put up this kind of roadblock is ridiculous.

Thumbs Up ... to the generosity of Rosemary Woodward, whose estate left $2.1 million to the Rock Island Community Foundation. The bequest was announced this week.

Woodward passed away last May at the age of 93. She worked as a school nurse in the Davenport School District and in other places. A family member said Woodward and her husband, who died in 1993, had financial success with stock investments.

Now, area organizations will benefit from their good fortune and dedication to the community.

"Her life of service will continue" through her estate, family attorney Mark Schwiebert said.

We are all the better for it.

Thumbs Down ... to those who continue to warn the world about the dangers of global climate change. Analysis by the federal National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed the last decade was the warmest on record.

In fact, 2019 was the second warmest year on record, just shy of the 2016 mark.

"These trends are the footprints of human activity stomping on the atmosphere," Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said, according to the New York Times.

Those who continue to ignore the evidence and stand in the way of progress betray future generations.

Thumbs Down ... to the Houston Astros players and management who were responsible for the sign stealing scandal during the 2017 and 2018 baseball seasons.

The fallout from the scandal led the Astros this week to fire manager A.J. Hinch and General Manager Jeff Lunhow. The Boston Red Sox parted ways with Joey Cora, who was an Astros coach in 2017, and the New York Mets fired Carlos Beltrán for his connection to it.

Throughout its history, baseball has had players try to gain an advantage over the opposing team in one way or another. But the use of electronic equipment and other technology to steal signs is a leap beyond the usual gamesmanship.

We're glad to see MLB take the steps it did. However, it seems to us the punishment still falls short.

Beltrán was an Astros player in 2017, but he seems to be the only player who's been called to account.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said it would be difficult to punish players, noting some now work for other teams.

That seems pretty thin to us. If Major League Baseball truly is about accountability, then it ought to make those who took part in this scandal — all of them — pay a price.

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