Davenport mayoral candidates not shy about expressing their views

Originally Posted Online: Nov. 02, 2013, 11:36 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 04, 2013, 2:34 pm
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By Stephen Elliott, selliott@qconline.com

DAVENPORT — Three candidates are vying for the position of Mayor of Davenport in the Nov. 5 general election.

Incumbent Bill Gluba will square off against former alderman Keith Meyer and write-in candidate and former Davenport mayor Phil Yerington.

Each candidate is not shy about expressing their views, and Mayor Gluba's challengers have not hesitated to criticize.

Both Mr. Yerington and Mr. Meyer both criticized the mayor in his handling of trying to get a land-based casino in Davenport.

"The mayor's job is to facilitate the process, making sure that there are no ethic or legal violations," Mr. Yerington said. "Because of the infighting with the RDA (Riverboat Development Authority) by the mayor and city administrator, Davenport came very close to losing the gaming license."

"The casino pursuit was embarrassing to Davenport," Mr. Meyer said. "The RDA is responsible for the gaming success in Davenport. They should have been allowed to be the lead agency on the relocation of the land-based casino."

Mr. Meyer said Mayor Gluba should not have directed city administrator Craig Malin to investigate the city's ownership of the casino back in 2012, citing a $380,000 bill the city paid a Chicago-based accounting firm for a study on the feasibility of casino ownership.

"The study was not authorized by the city council," Mr. Meyer said. "It should never have happened."

But, Mayor Gluba said Davenport's Rhythm City Casino has been neglected for years, with decreasing revenues and lack of attention paid to it by its owners, Isle of Capri, forcing the city's hand.

The casino process, Mayor Gluba said, has, "been a good thing, because after years of neglect, we are finally going to get the casino off our riverfront and onto a land-based development somewhere along the interstate.

"As a result of this process we are now completing, we will generate millions of dollars more in revenue for area nonprofits and the people of Davenport."

On other issues, Mayor Gluba said the city is consistently recognized for its professional and sound financial management and budget practices.

"Our police and fire departments are nationally accredited and provide outstanding services to the people of Davenport evidenced by the fact that according to the FBI, we have seen a 40 percent drop in crime over the last six years," Mayor Gluba said.

But Mr. Yerington, a 30-plus year veteran of the Davenport Police Department, said public safety has been cut, specifically the hours of public lobby access at the police department.

"The input and suggestions of our public employees is a powerful resource," Mr. Yerington said. "They feel that their voice is not being heard, and I would implement the same employee suggestion program we ran when I was mayor in the late 90's."

Mr. Meyer has had run-ins with Davenport Police and with the mayor. Mayor Gluba asked a Davenport Police officer to escort him out of one council meeting after the mayor said Mr. Meyer was making personal attacks.

In February, a Scott County District Court jury found Mr. Meyer innocent of a misdemeanor count of assault while displaying a weapon. Mr. Meyer said his neighbor allowed tenants to park on Mr. Meyer's land and regularly dumped garbage near the start of their jointly owned driveway.

Mr. Meyer was accused of taking a shotgun from his home and displaying it in a threatening manner toward the neighbor, John Fahs. Mr. Meyer represented himself throughout the proceeding.

"The public is not welcome at the Davenport City Council meetings and instead, is ridiculed," Mr. Meyer said, adding, "I would like to see the development of a Citizen Review Board over the Davenport Police Department."

As for economic development, Mayor Gluba said he wants to continue working with the leadership at the Rock Island Arsenal to create a global logistics center of excellence and a regional industrial hub for advanced engineering and manufacturing on the island.

"This could help preserve our largest employer and retain and expand jobs at the Arsenal," Mayor Gluba said.

Both Mr. Yerington and Mr. Meyer said they want to see more infrastructure improvement. Mayor Gluba said the city has spent more than $45 million on major sewer improvements, "and will continue to address this long-neglected problem in the future."

Davenport mayoral candidates:

Bill Gluba

Age: 71
Address: 2421 N. Gaines St.
Occupation: retired real estate salesperson
Education: B.A., St. Ambrose University; M.A., University of Iowa
Political experience: Currently serving a third term as Davenport mayor. Served as state representative, state senator and chairman of the Scott County Board of Supervisors. In 2012, was a member of the electoral college in Iowa.

  Phil Yerington

Age: 60
Address: 1000 Blythwood Place
Occupation: Retired. Was a Davenport police officer for 30 years.
Education: A.A . degree from Black Hawk College; B.A. degree, St. Ambrose University
Political experience: Four years as mayor of Davenport from 1998-2002. Ran for Scott County Sheriff in 2004.

Keith Meyer

Age: 70s
Address: 1012 Marquette St.
Occupation: Owner/operator of Black Lab Crossing, a native Iowa Winery since 2003
Education: B.A. from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa, and Masters Degree from Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
Political experience: Former Davenport third ward alderman from 2003 to 2007. Ran for alderman in 2009. Ran for mayor in the 1980s. Long-time citizen advocate, involved in legal proceedings with the Iowa Utilities Commission in reduction of rates paid for lights and gas in Iowa.


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