Blogs

College sports wants it both ways

A few days ago, a friend repeated a maxim about what it’s like at his work these days:

When the company wants him to do something after hours for no pay, the boss points out this is his calling. But when he asks for a raise, the boss winces and reminds him this is a business.

It’s like that with the NCAA, too. The organization wants it both ways.

Hey lawmakers, let local government govern

When members of the Iowa Legislature show up at coffee shops in their districts on weekends, you won’t hear them talking about not trusting local government officials.

But that is at the heart of a bill that would turn city and county government topsy-turvy and place a straitjacket on the governments that are closest to the voters.

House Study Bill 165 is the product of Republicans who hold a majority of seats on the House Ways and Means Committee. A subcommittee has recommended approval of the bill.

If that doesn’t occur this year, don’t assume for a minute the idea is dead. Watch carefully when the 2020 session is gaveled in, because ideas rarely ever go away when the same party controls both the House and the Senate, as well as the governor’s office.

Important lessons that flowers can teach us

The altar at the First United Methodist Church in Cedar Falls was decorated with bouquets of beautiful flowers last week.

Dozens of people gathered there to celebrate the life of a wonderful woman at the conclusion of her 84 years on this Earth. Those blossoms offered especially poignant symbolism.

Ruth was a true treasure – to her family, to her friends, to her community where she lived, and, when you stop to think about all of the people like her, to the world around us.

Like the phrase encourages us, Ruth bloomed where she was planted.

Let’s stick to issues and forget the labels

If you had your ear cupped just right and were listening closely Sunday afternoon, you might have heard my head explode.

The pressure inside the old noggin has been building for months, thanks to what can be called politics as usual in Washington, D.C., and Des Moines. So, my friends and relatives were not surprised by what occurred about 2 o’clock Sunday.

My cranium could not contain the buildup any longer when I read that U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California was fuming about his visit to a restaurant in that state.

Iowa needs sunshine — on police videos

Sunshine Week will be observed across the nation next week.

The week shines a spotlight on the important role open government and citizen accountability
play in our democracy. Open meetings and open records are the tools that enable the public to
know what their government is doing, or not doing, in the name of the people.

In Iowa, the sunshine next week will be obscured by clouds – at least when it comes to citizen
access to videos recorded by law officers on their squad car cameras and body cameras during
incidents in which police shoot someone or when officers are fired upon.

Let’s see who really is ‘gaming the system’

Last week’s news put furrows in my brow.

As I ruminated on the headlines and details in the news accounts, I came away convinced something is out of whack somewhere.

One of the reports was that Amazon, the online retailing behemoth, cancelled plans to build a corporate headquarters in New York City. The company had said 25,000 employees eventually would work there.

Amazon’s decision came after persistent criticism from some New York politicians and community activists about the amount of incentives the state of New York and the city government were going to give the company – $3 billion, with a “B.”

Reynolds’ amendment deserves our support

Faithful readers of this space know I have not been shy about disagreeing with Gov. Kim Reynolds’ positions on a variety of issues.

But I am here today not to criticize our governor but to praise her – for her courage that is both political and personal.

Politically, Reynolds risks offending some of her staunch supporters with the proposal she made last month to amend the Iowa Constitution to automatically reinstate felons’ right to vote after they finish their prison terms and complete parole or probation.

More politics is not what Iowa courts need

Harold Hill, that smooth-talking con artist in “The Music Man,” persuaded gullible Iowans that “ya got trouble, my friend, right here in River City.”

He arrived in town to sell band instruments and band uniforms to parents who didn’t know they wanted or needed them. But his first task was to sell parents on the notion that a band was the way to keep their kids from hanging out at the pool hall.

Today, the Harold Hills working our state are not concerned about pool halls or bands. But they are again trying to gin up public anxiety about a supposed problem right here in Iowa – that politics, with a capital P, is tainting our court system, especially the selection of judges.

Making laws should not be about convenience

One of the biggest contrasts in public access to state and local governments in Iowa came into focus last week, and Iowans should be concerned by what occurred.

A bit of context: Iowans have long had the right to sit in on almost every meeting of state government policy-making and governing boards and on meetings of their local school board, city council and county board of supervisors.

That law requires a board or council to post the agenda for its meeting at least 24 hours before the meeting. This notice requirement exists to give the public time to offer their opinions on an issue and to arrange to attend the meeting.

While the law does not require government entities to allow citizens to speak at the meetings, most boards and councils, with rare exceptions, do permit public input at their meetings.

You don’t solve problems by taking hostages

I’m not sure you can get Republicans and Democrats to agree on many things these days – not even on motherhood and apple pie.

Some people believe a wall along the border with Mexico is a national security priority and is necessary to stop the movement of migrants into the United States. Others think the $5 billion at the center of the border wall dispute could be better spent on additional border agents, more drones and sophisticated new security technology.

Each of us has an opinion in this debate. But we all should be able to agree on this one point: It is absolutely wrong to hold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent employees of the federal government hostage during this stalemate.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs
Go to top