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Cole Stear, 10, a student at the Black Hawk Special Education Center, shakes hands with Happy Joe Whitty during the annual Happy Joe’s Holiday Party for children with special needs at the TaxSlayer Center on Tuesday in Moline.

Thumbs Up ... to Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch for giving plenty of notice of his decision not to seek re-election next year. Klipsch, who took office in 2016, told the City Council this week that he wants to spend more time with his family.

"I had a wonderful time during Thanksgiving with my wife, four children, their spouses and our 10 grandkids," the mayor said, according to Times reporter Bill Lukitsch. "This special time with all of us together clarified and further reinforced how important my family is to me.”

We understand the inclination to step aside from a time-consuming job, and we wish the mayor well.

Klipsch’s announcement comes nearly a year before voters will be asked to choose his successor.

It is unusual in this city that an incumbent isn’t on the ballot. So often when that’s the case, the mayoral election is as much a referendum on the record of the person sitting in the mayor's chair as it is a chance to have a wide open debate the city’s future.

Now we have that opportunity. And we believe there are plenty of things to talk about — riverfront development, affordable housing, the condition of the city’s infrastructure, the safety of our streets, the well-being of all our residents and our ability to compete economically with other communities across the state, to name just a handful.

We are grateful to the mayor for the lengthy notice because on occasion politicians planning to step aside will wait until the last minute to do so, anointing a successor behind closed doors while keeping their own plans under wraps until the last moment. That tends to discourage potential candidates who are willing to compete for an open seat but not against an incumbent.

We’re eager for this debate to begin, and we’re grateful to the mayor for providing plenty of opportunity for a wide variety of voices to weigh in.

Thumbs Down … to Republicans who control Wisconsin's legislature. Over the past week, they've reacted to the election of a Democrat, Tony Evers, to be governor by moving in a lame duck session to limit his powers before he even takes office.

The legislative package not only would limit the governor's powers, but those of Josh Kaul, the Democrat who was elected the state's attorney general.

According to Politifact Wisconsin, part of the package includes reversing a set of new powers over administrative rules that the legislature handed to Republican Scott Walker in 2011.

Top Republicans in the state are saying now that, perhaps, they gave too much power to Walker seven years ago and now they need to make a correction.

Funny how they are acting only after Walker lost to Evers. Do you suppose any of this would be happening had Walker won?

Thumbs Up … to Happy Joe Whitty and the Happy Joe's Kids Foundation. Again.

Hundreds of special needs children gathered at the Taxslayer Center this week for the annual bash featuring pizza, ice cream, dancing — and fun. For four decades, this has been a Quad-City tradition. "These are our favorite days of the year," Lawrence "Happy Joe" Whitty said in a news release announcing this year’s event. "Many of these kids have grown up coming to our parties, and for some, it will be a brand new experience. We love seeing their smiling faces.”

We know firsthand what a great event this is. It’s sponsored by the Happy Joe's Kids Foundation. There also are lots of other organizations that lend a hand.

 Thanks to all of them who add this special dose of cheer to the holiday season.

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