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Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten

 Carlsten

Thumbs up to Michael Carlsten, recently named Davenport's new fire chief.

The weird back-room politics of former Chief Lynn Washburn's departure have for months dominated the discussion Davenport Fire Department. Carlsten's selection should calm things down as the various legal disputes between Washburn and City Hall work through the process.

Carlsten, a 24-year veteran of Davenport fire knows the department's inner workings. And his previous experience running other departments mean he was prepared day one for the assignment.

Carlsten was a strong choice, precisely when Davenport Fire needed it. 

Thumbs down to Gov. Bruce Rauner for yet another failure to lead.

Illinois' Republican governor won't say whether he would back a state ratification of the long-stalled Equal Rights Amendment. The center-right politician is battling conservatives angered by his handling of abortion and immigration. And he's facing Democrats frothing over his role in Illinois' continued budgetary morass.

We supported Rauner because he was precisely the kind of Republican the country needs. He's business minded. He's not interested in waging a culture war. He's a man whose party has abandoned him. And that's unfortunate.

But, decades ago, Illinois was key player in stalling the proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee women equal rights. The country has changed. And Rauner should muster Republican support in the Illinois House in order to ensure its passage. 

Thumbs up to BettPlex for a strong soft-opening.

Also known as TBK Bank Sports Complex, the new hub for all things youth athletics started hosting games earlier this month. So far, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive.

But BettPlex is about more than youth baseball leagues. Bettendorf city officials see it as a catalyst for development on the city's northern fringes. And that, should it come to pass, could have ramifications far beyond balls and strikes. 

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