Looking at the various Riverbend area sources for news over the past two weeks, since a rather startling piece of news came out of Olin Corp. regarding the Winchester centerfire operations and the company taking into consideration moving the approximately 1000 jobs to their plant in Oxford, Mississippi, it came as no surprise that there have been several stories about how the different local political operators are discussing how to stop the blood-letting that losing this operation would be to the entire economy of this region.
Only the local and regional politicians and entities are doing this. Once again, no help from the state house, the state senate, the governor. Just "concern" they may - or may not - have noted for reporters who ask them about the possible loss of one-thousand jobs in East Alton and the surrounding communities which would lose several hundred more with the closure of the centerfire operation here.
Again --- stop. The local and regional persons are taking action. The rest of Illinois is sitting idly by and going to watch as we lose this business.
IT IS TIME --- permit me to be the person who has the guts to say this --- TO TAKE ALL OF THE MANUFACTURING FROM CHICAGOLAND/NORTHERN ILLINOIS AND MOVE THOSE JOBS TO THIS AREA.
No, I'm not kidding. They don't support "downstate" EVER, do they?
We have cheaper wages here than in northern Illinois and Chicago. All we have to do is the same thing that the other states and communities are doing: go to the CEOs and CFOs of the manufacturers in the northern half of the state, plead our case to be "a better quality of life" and "cheaper wages" and "you don't have to change your tax status much, just conform to the local county and city wages and you'll be much better off on your bottom line."
Who wants to do this? I can only bet that the people of southwestern Illinois and the Riverbend would look at this and say "we agree, but nobody wants to put up that kind of a fight against those crooks up north."
Don't tell me you don't hear all those naysayers. I sure do. They are whining, "We're too weak to face up to them" or "they'll start raiding our jobs as soon as we take one plant away from them" --- and too many similar cries of "we can't..." because they don't want to take the time to TRY and see if we can get those manufacturing jobs back here.
I, for one, am sick and tired of seeing lazy. I'm sick and tired of being lazy. But when I get told to "quiet down before someone hears you" --- then I get really sick of being around whomever is telling me that.
Look, I was not born to be quiet, as anyone who listens to me personally can attest. I sing, I talk for a living, I write blogs and news articles and manufacture public relations pieces. There is nothing quiet about my life's work. So, please to those who will whine that I'm standing for something wrong --- tell me how wrong you are FIRST for not standing up and making things better, and THEN I will apologize for being outspoken and telling it like it is.
I would gladly apologize for scaring you half to death if only YOU WOULD DO what is necessary to keep the economic engines running.
The problem with this reality --- this isn't just a scene, but the reality of today's world and those whiners who say "don't do whatever it is you want to do" --- is that we all live in it and if we cannot see any one of you taking this stand EVEN THOUGH you know in your minds and hearts that if someone does take this stand our region will have a fighting chance to recover, then , truly I say to you --- it is assured that YOU ARE THE PROBLEM. Yes, if you're not willing to stand up and help, if you're going to whine --- you are the problem. Put up or shut up. You'll be the first ones to say "shut up" and the last ones to "put up a fight" --- so, therefore, you are the problem.
STOP your whining and get off your collective butts and make noise, or we'll be a region without any manufacturing jobs --- in a region with a heritage of great manufacturing plants.
Get on the phone with the CFOs and CEOs of those manufacturers who are in northern Illinois and Chicagoland and promote this region now by saying: "We offer cheaper labor costs, a MUCH BETTER cost of living and doing business, and overall quality of life that is as good or better than what you have now."
If you tell me, personally, the names of companies you want to see here, I'll make the phone calls to the CEOs and CFOs myself. I don't need to be "in power" to make a decision like that. I just need someone to direct me to the person or company and give me phone numbers.
It's the power of the people who know things can be changed for the better who will have a positive impact on our society.
Frankly, I'm willing to be outspoken and tell others what's good about this region, even if I have to be the bad guy who helps steal jobs and bring them here.
And you cannot tell me they didn't do it first. Look at those so-called crooked politicians up there. They certainly didn't do anything...to help our region.