Calls to Action
Action 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.
Try 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.”
It doesn’t have to be a model ALEC bill. Branstad is still facilitating ALEC’s anti-public education, pro-corporation agenda with this plan. To him, Iowa’s terrible water quality is just another perfect opportunity to take money from public education and give it to his friends.
Action Alert From Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI):
Branstad’s $4.7 Billion Blunder
Governor Branstad’s plan to steal funds from schools to support “voluntary” measures should be DOA.
Branstad has released his “signature” plan for water quality, and the idea stinks more than the factory farm manure polluting our rivers!
The Governor – now acknowledging that Iowa is facing a clean water crisis – thinks that voluntary measures will work to clean it up. And to support those voluntary measures he has proposed taking $4.7 billion dollars over the next 30 years out of a voter approves fund that supports school and education infrastructure.
We shouldn’t be robbing Peter to pay Paul, especially when it hurts our communities’ schools.
And, we shouldn’t throw tax-payer money at voluntary measures that don’t work. NO industry has voluntarily regulated itself.
We need tough rules and regulations that crack down on factory farm and ag pollution, not public funded measures that let corporate agribusinesses carry on with business as usual.
Help Iowa CCI Action reach 2,000 fans on Facebook. Click here!
IOWA CCI ACTION Fund
2001 Forest Ave
Des Moines, IA 50311-3229
515-282-0484 . www.cciaction.org
DES MOINES – Former Iowa Governor Chet Culver and a diverse group of health care providers, medical professionals, disability advocates, Medicaid beneficiaries and their families will be staging a rally at the Iowa State Capitol on Wednesday, February 24th, to raise awareness of peoples’ concerns regarding the proposed privatization of Medicaid in Iowa.
“Over the last few weeks, hundreds of Iowans have attended town meetings, contacted public officials, and have told their stories in every part of the state,” said Governor Culver. “While we do not know what the federal government will decide, we do know that they are listening to Iowans – which is why it is so important for people affected by this proposal to make their voices heard.”
There are currently more than 560,000 Iowans who currently use Medicaid, and very few have had an opportunity to speak out to our government or to the decision makers. This includes more than 120,000 Iowans with disabilities – people who stand to lose the most with this move.
The rally at the State Capitol is the culmination of a series of town hall meetings and citizen involvement throughout the state in the last four weeks, with one goal in mind – to make sure that policymakers put Iowans first as they determine their next steps.
What: Advocates for Iowa Medicaid Rally
Where: State Capitol Rotunda
Date: February 24th, 2016
When: 2:00-4:00 PM
This event is open to the public.
Action Alert from Iowans for Quality Medicaid
Action is needed ASAP in support of a Senate vote today to stop Medicaid privatization.
On Thursday, February 10, the Iowa Senate will debate Senate File 2125, legislation to stop Medicaid privatization.
In committee, a BIPARTISAN majority of the Senate Human Resources Committee approved this bill.
The bill is certain to pass because every member of the Senate’s Democratic majority has already indicated they will vote to stop Medicaid privatization.
However, the more Republican Senators who also vote to stop Medicaid privatization, the more likely it is that the Republican House will discuss the legislation.
Please contact Senators and urge them to vote FOR SF 2125 when it is debated this Thursday, beginning at 9 AM.
• You can leave a message for Senators at 515-281-3371.
• You can find your Senator at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find
Please spread the news!
Here’s a Message from Iowans Defending Our Universities
Dear friends and allies,
In the midst of a very busy finals week on campus, the graduate students are organizing a protest today – December 17 – at noon to defend our University against threats of violence, sexism and an incompetent leader. There will be a march from Old Capitol Mall to Bruce Harreld’s office in protest.
Please come out and show your support!
In addition, IDOU is calling upon Harreld to dismiss UI Vice President of External Relations and Interim Chief of Staff, Peter Matthes, for his part in questionable no-bid University contracts totaling more than $300,000.
Read more on our IDOU website defendiowauniversities.org.
Iowans Defending Our Universities is a group of students, alumni, faculty, staff, unions, and community members, formed in the fall of 2015 in reaction to widespread outrage over the Regents’ corruption of the search for a new UI President. The group is dedicated to advocating for the integrity, quality, and accessibility of Iowa’s public universities.
Today, underpaid fast food clerks, care providers, adjuncts, retail associates and thousands of women and men across the country are bravely going on strike once again. Along with their supporters, they’re raising their voices to demand $15 an hour, full-time hours and the right to stick together. I believe that their fight is incredibly important. ALL working people should be paid enough to sustain their families.
You can help support our collective call for $15 by submitting a letter to the editor to your local paper. We’ve made it easy by putting together talking points for you. Click here to get started!
I’m guessing you’ve heard people say that $15 is too much to ask for in this economy. But you and I know that it’s absolutely necessary that all men and women have decent jobs with fair schedules and wages that allow them to provide for themselves and their families. Our time, our work and our contributions to the bottom line are all valuable.
Corporate CEOs want us to think that there’s not enough to go around, but their profit statements tell a different story. Let’s take back the conversation from McDonald’s, Walmart and others who don’t want to have a real discussion about what it takes to get by in our country today. Click here to make your voice heard now!
Writing a letter takes just a few minutes, but each one has an impact. By declaring your support for better wages for all working people, together we can make a difference. If thousands of people are brave enough to protest and go on strike on November 10, we should back them up in one clear, powerful voice. Let’s make sure that our communities know that ALL work has value. Submit your letter now!
November 12 is a critical day in the fight against the Bakken Pipeline and we need you there. The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) will hold their public comment hearing where everyday Iowans will have the opportunity to share their dissent to this risky proposal with the three appointed IUB Board Members.
We want to have a huge impact that day. This means we need hundreds of Iowans lining up out the door at the Boone Fairgrounds to tell IUB: No Bakken Pipeline!
Will you join us? REGISTER HERE
When: Thursday Nov. 12 | 8 AM
Pipeline fighters will rally at 8:30 AM before heading into the hearing together by 9 AM
Where: Boone County Fairgrounds Community Building
1601 Industrial Park Road, Boone
If you are in Des Moines, we’d love to have you travel with us! Iowa CCI has reserved two vans to transport folks to the event. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like a ride. There is no cost, but we need you to meet at our office (2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines) by 7 AM to hop in the van. Refreshments will be provided at the Fairgrounds!
Let’s win a clean energy Iowa,
100Grannies For A Livable Future and local coalition Environmental Advocates present a FREE and public introductory workshop with National Community Rights Educator Paul Cienfuegos. In this 4-hr workshop you will learn:
– Why counties and communities can’t keep out harmful activities (like CAFOs, pipelines)
– Why corporations are “people,” with MORE rights than human beings.
– Find out how we can change the system so community rights take precedence and the rights of nature can be protected
– How 200 communities in nine states have already passed legally binding, locally enforceable laws that ban harmful corporate activities and rein in the “rights” of corporations; and we can do it too!
Be inspired and empowered, meet like-minded and socially engaged people in the community, and get informed on the issues! Be the change you wish to see in the world!
Coralville Public Library
Saturday, Oct. 17th.
FREE event–donations encouraged
Paul Cienfuegos, National Community Rights Educator will give an introductory workshop on corporate vs. community rights and how to take back the power!
There is a Facebook post currently being circulated that offers an illuminating analogy. It is posted below.
Also, I would like to pose the question, why is it only gun owners that seem to have NO IDEA that we have a GUN problem in this country? Everyone else seems to get it.
The FB post reads:
“How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hr waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because). Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.
I makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?”
In the meantime, if we want something done about guns in this country, we need to band together and take action. Here are some groups working on the problem to link up with.
http://csgv.org/ Coalition to stop gun violence