Friday, February 29, 2008

Governor Knee-Jerk

If Illinois is strapped for cash, then how is it that grandstanding Governor Rod Blagojevich always manages to find money?

In the aftermath of the NIU shooting, he saw a showboating opportunity and declared that Cole Hall, where the shooting occurred, will be torn down.* It will cost 40 million nonexistent dollars (in bonds**) that could be better spent in 40 million ways, but then Blagojevich wouldn't get to play the hero. I'll bet he records the evening news just to watch himself.

A thoughtful Tribune editorial suggests that the university and the state take a little time to think about what to do about Cole Hall rather than impulsively plow it under. On Eric Zorn's blog, "Patrick" suggested a memorial scholarship as a better tribute to the dead than a razed building, and there are other possibilities, too. But Blagojevich does everything on impulse, usually pandering to emotions or a particular voting bloc.

I'm not necessarily interested in saving Cole Hall, just looking at all options with some distance from the heat of current events. Heck, they could plow all of DeKalb back into cornfields and it would probably be an improvement. Except the Paperback Grotto. Just leave the venerable adult bookstore standing in the middle of a field, maybe with a historical marker for the city. Porn in the corn.

* That NIU approached the governor with the idea first doesn't change anything. It was a sure bet on their part that Blagojevich would take the ball and run with it.

** To honor the dead, Illinois taxpayers will contribute for decades until those bonds are retired.

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