Mayor Frank Klipsch

Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch has been elected co-chair of the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, along with St. Gabriel, Louisiana, Mayor Lionel Johnson. The term is two years.

Contributed photo

Thumbs up to the Safe Passage program, the pending creation of which Rock Island County Sheriff Gerry Bustos announced this week.

The program would permit users to turn in drugs and paraphernalia, no questions asked. These increasingly popular programs are in stark contrast to the draconian nature of the War on Drugs of the 1980s and '90s.

Instead of creating criminals, Safe Passage incentivizes those addicted to drugs to seek out treatment. It also builds trust between users and the police.

The War on Drugs has been a monumental failure. People will seek out drugs so long as stress, sadness and depression exist. Criminalizing drug possession has only driven the problem deeper underground, making it even more difficult to address. It's failure can be measured in the country's world-leading proportion of its citizens locked up behind bars. 

Bustos clearly recognizes all this and is taking laudable steps to address the problem. 

Thumbs down to another potential blow to Iowa's sorry attempt to cut costs on the backs of its poorest residents.

UnityPoint Health officials said this week that the massive hospital firm might not renew its contract with Amerigroup of Iowa, one of two firms that manages the state's privatized Medicaid program. UnityPoint's move would affect 54,000 Iowans.

Company officials cited problems with its contract with Amerigroup, noting that negotiations are still ongoing. A month doesn't go by that doesn't strengthen the case against last year's rushed effort to privatize Iowa's health insurance for its poor, elderly and handicapped.

Thumbs up to Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch for rejecting populist isolationism and representing the region before the United Nations.

This week, Klipsch represented the 80 communities in Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.

Klipsch's trip served to highlight Davenport -- and the entire Mississippi Valley -- as a place of commerce and culture to the world. 

While Klipsch is a tiny player on such a global stage, his effort was a noble one. 

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