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Author Archive

The Real Reason For Republican Voter ID Laws

 

Help Democrat Susan Bangert Oust “Goofy Guth”

iowa capitolWouldn’t Iowa be better off with one less gay-bashing, right wing Republican in the legislature?

“Guth himself is an extremely weak incumbent. In his first election in 2012 he won with only 53% of the vote against a Democratic candidate who didn’t have any time to campaign. He’s known locally as “Goofy Guth” for his peculiar personality and hard-right ideology.” – Iowa Starting Line

ALGONA, IA- Democrat Susan Bangert announced today that she will be a candidate for State Senate in Iowa’s 4th Senate District, which includes Emmet, Kossuth, Winnebago, Hancock, and Wright counties. She will seek the Democratic Party nomination at a convention following the primary, and will face off against Republican incumbent Dennis Guth in November.

Bangert has dedicated her life to serving her community, spending all of her professional life as an educator. She worked in area schools for 30 years as a speech pathologist, and also owned her own small business, Great Minds Learning Center. Her time working with Iowa’s students is the primary motivation behind her run.

“Education is such an important part of a child’s life. I have had the joy and privilege of serving the children in our community and shared their excitement when they mastered a new skill. It is such a thrill. I’ve also experienced the heartache of students who struggle academically. It’s agonizing, and I go home at night thinking, how can we do more to help.”

For Susan, helping means running for office so that she can fight to ensure that our schools get the funding they need to help each and every student succeed.

Susan is a lifelong Iowan. She was born and raised in Forest City, the fifth of nine children. Her father was a factory worker, and her mother a homemaker. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa and Truman State University. Susan and her husband, Kevin, have lived in Algona since 1981, where they started a family that now includes three children and four grandchildren. Kevin also served their community, working for 30 years as a police officer, and spending 25 of them as Algona’s Police Chief, before his retirement.

“I don’t claim to have all the answers. But I will promise you that I will always listen to you, and with your help, seek solutions to our common problems.

I’m running for State Senate to bring people together and keep our state a wonderful place to live and work.”

Susan can be reached at (515) 295-9505 or at bangertforsenate@gmail.com. Residents of the 4th district are encouraged to reach out with their ideas for what Susan can do in the Senate to move Iowa forward.

Amber Morrow
Iowa Senate Majority Fund Director
Office: (515) 244-7292
Direct: (515) 974-1694
Cell: (515) 867-3681
5661 Fleur Dr., Des Moines, IA 50321

Did Mason City Councilors Conceal Information From Citizens Re: Prestage Slaughterhouse Project?

cciAction Alert From CCI:

CCI members reviewed and released 218 documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act request regarding proposed Prestage slaughterhouse

Des Moines, IA. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) are demanding that the Mason City City Councilors vote no on the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse after leaving citizens in the dark.

Following an initial review of public records regarding the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse, which were obtained from the City of Mason City through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, it is clear that city officials went to great lengths to keep the public out of the decision-making process.

Based on this initial review, it is clear to CCI that:

The city intended to rush this project because Prestage is “on a fast track” and the “sooner we get it done the better,” according to an email string between Governor Branstad’s Economic Development Authority and city officials, as well as a handwritten note from an internal city meeting. While city leaders discussed the project for months, the public was deliberately kept in the dark due to concerns about opposition.

The rezoning of the new Southside Gateway Urban Renewal Area was quietly initiated just 12 days after the city was approached about the Prestage slaughterhouse for the purpose of “[providing] TIF incentives for the new pork production plant.” Yet, the city made no mention of Prestage, making it impossible for the public to truly weigh in on the rezoning process.

City councilors are aware of the potential explosion of factory farm construction in North Central Iowa and the problems associated with the factory farm industry. In an email to city councilors, Chad Shrek, President and CEO of the North Iowa Corridor, glossed over the impact of the Prestage slaughterhouse. Yet the same email cites industry analyst Steve Meyer, saying, “filling the five plants (Mason City, Iowa; Coldwater, Mich.; Sioux City, Iowa; Windom, Minn.; and Pleasant Hope, Mo.) being built or remodeled at present would take roughly 9.625 million head of hogs or 8.3 percent more than last year’s slaughter.” This shows that the city knows the implications of the Prestage slaughterhouse to the area.

CCI invites the public to review the 218 FOIA documents, which includes email correspondences, handwritten notes, site plans, project documents, meeting notes, etc. Documents can be viewed online by clicking here.

“This shows that we can’t trust the city councilors. They’ve already made their decision before listening to what the public has to say,” said Dillion Daniels, a Mason City resident. “We’re still calling on them to do the right thing.”

Prestage Farms is a privately held, out-of-state corporation and the nation’s 5th largest pork producer. It currently operates 142 factory farms in Iowa. Its proposed slaughterhouse in Mason City, which would kill up to 22,000 hogs per day, will mean more factory farms and more pollution in Iowa at the expense of independent family farmers, taxpayers, and quality of life.

The Mason City City Council will take its final vote on the proposed Prestage slaughterhouse at its meeting on Tuesday, May 3. CCI members and community members will attend this final hearing to demand that the City Council vote against approving this project.

Taking Back The Airwaves From The Right Wing

Where do people get those crazy ideas?  In Wisconsin, this group gives direct credit to right-wing radio – not Fox News –  for the advancement of Scott Walker.  Now they are organizing and fighting to take back the airwaves in their state.  Iowa has a similar problem. We need to get organized too.

 

DIU Calls For Boycott

Iowa ag summit, 2015 Photo: Gazette.com

Iowa ag summit, 2015 Photo: Gazette.com

BOYCOTT an illegitimate 5-year strategic planning process!

“Harreld and Rastetter have manufactured a crisis that is being used to legitimize their agenda for “transforming” the University of Iowa. Harreld talks about needing “to ask some harsh questions about what we’re going to leave behind” and about the need for “surgical” cuts in programs. What does he mean? Do you really think that he doesn’t already have a plan?”

Now this! The university administration announced on April 20 “an accelerated development process” for a five-year strategic plan. The university community—students, faculty and staff—have been asked to provide input in seven “open forums” in eleven days between Monday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 4. We are asked for our views on the “overarching strategies and goals” for the university.

What’s the rush? Why initiate a serious planning process at this time in the academic year when everyone on campus is at peak effort and then conclude it in the summer when most students and many faculty are off campus?

Does the administration not realize this is the busiest time of the year for students and faculty? Is it unaware that students and faculty have papers to write and grade, exams to write and prepare for, dissertations and theses to read and defend, department business to conclude, faculty governance and evaluation reports to write, and a research mission to advance?!

The Harreld administration was created by an illegitimate process, marked by secret proceedings and the appointment of a patently unqualified president who misrepresented his credentials.

Why should we participate in a bankrupt process to plan the university’s future without due time for deliberation? Do they already know the outcome? Do they want to minimize any impact our views might have?

Harreld and Rastetter have manufactured a crisis that is being used to legitimize their agenda for “transforming” the University of Iowa. Harreld talks about needing “to ask some harsh questions about what we’re going to leave behind” and about the need for “surgical” cuts in programs. What does he mean? Do you really think that he doesn’t already have a plan?

rastetterThe Board of Regents and Harreld do have an agenda! They are pushing it through while we are least able to push back, but they want the window dressing of student, faculty and staff participation.

It is time to say NO! Refuse to be used. BOYCOTT these hastily called forums.

The university community is perfectly capable of planning its future but not according to a rapid timetable and an agenda set by an illegitimate administration. We welcome an open, reflective, and accessible democratic process for setting goals and conceiving ways to defend our public university against the corporate interests that seek to restructure our mission to better serve their interests and reduce the level of public funding (and their tax support).

Contact Person:
Brad Pector
bpector@gmail.com
(847)373-4423

McChesney, Nichols: Billionaires Do Not Care About Us

nichols and mcchesneyTry not to get too depressed by the bummer title of Robert McChesney and John Nichols’ new book, People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy. They say we just have to do two things:  (1) know what is coming and (2) get organized.

“Humanity is on the verge of its darkest hour or its greatest moment.”

“The consequences of the technological revolution are about to hit hard: unemployment will spike as new technologies replace labor in the manufacturing, service, and professional sectors of an economy that is already struggling. The end of work as we know it will hit at the worst moment imaginable: as capitalism fosters permanent stagnation, when the labor market is in decrepit shape, with declining wages, expanding poverty, and scorching inequality. Only the dramatic democratization of our economy can address the existential challenges we now face. Yet, the US political process is so dominated by billionaires and corporate special interests, by corruption and monopoly, that it stymies not just democracy but progress.

“The great challenge of these times is to ensure that the tremendous benefits of technological progress are employed to serve the whole of humanity, rather than to enrich the wealthy few. Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols, authors of People Get Ready: The Fight Against a Jobless Economy and a Citizenless Democracy, argue that the United States needs a new economy in which revolutionary technologies are applied to effectively address environmental and social problems and used to rejuvenate and extend democratic institutions. Based on intense reporting, rich historical analysis, and deep understanding of the technological and social changes that are unfolding, they propose a bold strategy for democratizing our digital destiny before it’s too late and unleashing the real power of the Internet, and of humanity.”

 

Fallon Forum: Keep Fighting Bakken Pipeline

Listen live Mondays at 11 am

Listen live Mondays at 11 am

fallonforum.com

Dear Friends,

In the past three weeks, unlikely coalitions have stopped two pipelines: Palmetto in Georgia and Kinder Morgan in New England. These victories are very encouraging to those of us fighting to stop Bakken, and we need to keep pushing:

– Tell the Army Corps of Engineers to do a full Environmental Impact Statement.
– Circulate our letter to President Obama asking him to tell the Corps to do its job.
– Support legal action defending landowners standing up to Dakota Access.
– Support tribal actions, including the Run for Your Life.
– Prepare for the possibility of civil disobedience.

There’s one more critical action you can take: Support elected officials who’ve stood with us against Dakota Access and against the politicians bought and paid for by Big Oil’s tainted money.

The most vocal, consistent Iowa House member standing against the Bakken pipeline is State Rep. Dan Kelley of Newton. Dan has been with the people in this struggle, and now has a well-financed opponent.

Please take a few minutes to go to Rep. Dan Kelley’s website and make a contribution. He’s up against the very forces we’ve been fighting. Dan’s running a strong campaign, and donations from the grassroots will allow him to buy brochures, yard signs and other materials he needs to get his message out.

And Dan’s message is our message: “It’s clear that the IUB is listening to power and money instead of the people of Iowa, so it’s time for the Legislature to step forward and clarify that eminent domain must only be used for a genuine public purpose,” and “I’m proud to have been the first Iowa legislator to join The Climate Mobilization, a full-scale effort to combat the causes of climate change and to champion realistic solutions.”

So please, go to Dan’s website today and either send him a check or click the “Donate” button. It’s only six weeks until the June 7th primary election, so Dan needs your help ASAP.

On today’s Fallon Forum, we discuss:
– The refugee crisis in Europe, with Michael Luick-Thrams
– How the national political establishment continues to mess with Iowa’s US Senate race
– The frightening number of high school science teachers who deny climate change
– Run for Your Life, with Donnielle Wanatee
– Climate catastrophe in the Mekong Delta . . . and possible lessons for the Mississippi Delta

Listen to the Fallon Forum:
– Live on Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines, IA)
– Outside of central Iowa, listen live here: FALLON FORUM LIVE-STREAM
– On KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames, IA) Wednesdays at 4:00 p.m. CT
– On WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans, LA)
– On KPIP-LP, 94.7 FM (Fayette, MO)

Bill Stowe, An Iowa Hero

“We are in a water crisis in this state… We have sold our souls to the devil..”

 

Sen. Rob Hogg’s Earth Day Remarks

 

Factory Farms (CAFOs) Destroy Communities

Srap-Logo-FINAL-horizVisit sraproject.org

Factory farms, officially called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), make the worst possible neighbors. People forced to live close to CAFOs often report becoming sick from toxic gases produced by decomposing animal waste. They can’t even enjoy their own backyards or open their windows on summer nights because the stench from CAFOs miles away is overwhelming. Residents near CAFOs also report an increase in pest infestations, including rodents and swarms of flies. Family and friends often refuse to visit because the smell is so unbearable.

But it’s much more than the intolerable smell that impacts rural communities. Manure run-off from CAFOs contaminates streams, rivers, and lakes that were once recreation centers and tourist destinations. Over-application of manure on fields near residences also causes their wells to become contaminated, threatening the health of anyone coming into contact with the water.

CAFOs take a tremendous economic toll on communities too. Property values plummet whenever a CAFO moves in. Some owners living near CAFOs have filed property tax appeals and won in court, demonstrating that their homes and properties lost significant value due to these industrial-scale facilities. All CAFOs entice communities with the promise of increased tax revenue, but the falling values of the properties surrounding CAFOs negate any promised increase.

Not only do communities lose income when CAFOs move in, they are also forced to increase expenditures on the development and maintenance of infrastructure, especially roads and bridges broken down by CAFO semi-truck traffic. Once a CAFO shuts down, communities are then left with depressed economies, low property values, and costly, often irreparable environmental damage.

Unlike traditional family farms, which purchase feed, supplies, and building materials from local suppliers, CAFOs typically purchase everything from outside of the region while paying their workers a very low wage. Because local residents are rarely willing to work for the dismal pay CAFOs offer, these facilities encourage low-wage workers to move into communities. Consequently, CAFOs provide little to no stimulus for local economies, while imposing prohibitive costs. Wherever CAFOs come in, family farms are driven out of business–and when family farms and the good jobs they provide disappear, rural main streets become ghost towns.

CAFOs are a resource extraction industry, draining the wealth from communities and leaving behind polluted water, foul air, broken roads, and sick residents. The only ones who benefit from CAFOs are their CEOs and corporate shareholders, whose pockets are lined with profits reaped from polluting the environment, paying workers unfair wages, treating animals inhumanely, and devastating rural economies.