Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

20 July

Burlington’s Flawed Economic Development Philosophy

Example recently given for impact BNSF Lawsuit has.

In Sunday’s Hawkeye David Maahs, this year's chairman of the Iowa Chamber Alliance and director of the Ames chamber, said “....One thing I've heard over and over since delving into this beat is that economic development and corporate siting is not a process of selection, it's a process of elimination.

One site consultant told me that the first thing he does when trying to pick a community is clicking open the town newspaper's Web site to peruse the goings–on. If he sees strife in the political process, officials who cannot make decisions or a community that's resistant to change, it's an easy town to check off the list.”

So what’s Burlington's scorecard -

Strife in the political process? Indubitably.

Officials who cannot make decisions? More than occasionally.

A community that's resistant to change? A pattern perfected.

And then add our checklist:

Competitive? No need. That bubble was broken with the BNSF lawsuit.

Hubris? Yes, just more of their overbearing presumption of being right.

The future is not good.

16:55:00 - SPIKE - No comments

19 July

The Hawkeye’s Economic Development Philosophy Flawed - Example 2

Notify The Public When It’s Time - Keep the Competitive Edge

During its next session the Iowa Legislature will reconsider a bill to keep economic development deals behind closed doors. That’s where many economic development projects belong. Not in the open for all to see as the Hawkeye thinks.

The public is as uninformed as the newspaper when it comes to the details of what makes a project come to fruition. The public deserves to be kept advised of the project’s overall details, but only as it pertains to use of public funding that might be involved. Not during negotiations.

For every project that comes along there is competition from other cities that want to attract the same project. The competition is using every source of information to garner a competitive edge.

The real world is planning competitive advantage. Don’t hand that advantage to a competitor just to sell a newspaper.

And it’s not economic development’s responsibility to provide the newspaper with a series of stories that, more than likely, will not be reported accurately or portray the essence of what makes the project work or why public funding is needed to make the project work.

If the public is not happy with economic development decisions made by their civic leaders they can vote them out of office. After all, that was what the public entrusted elected officials to do.

Keep the newspaper out of economic development.

20:13:00 - SPIKE - No comments

18 July

The Hawkeye’s Economic Development Philosophy Flawed - Example 1

The Impact of Negative Reporting Surfaces.

Apparently other people have been aware of the impact the negative spin the Hawkeye projects when they promote their archaic ideology of how economic development is funded or supposed to work.

A recent letter to the editor states what many people have felt for a long time. The Hawkeye’s negative reporting is deterimental to economic development prospects.

I guess it will never be clear how the Hawkeye gained such a powerful, all-knowing insight to economic development and what's important.

Did they learn their provincial thinking from the City of Burlington?

Or from Carnac's mayo jar?

22:36:00 - SPIKE - No comments

08 July

Let The Sun Shine In - Not In Burlington

In a forum conducted twice on Wednesday it was made very clear that the lawsuit the City brought against the BNSF is an illegal lawsuit because the Burlington City Council did not conduct their vote to sue the railroad in open session.

Iowa Code demands that the vote to enter into litigation be conducted in open session.

Apparently that law is "crystal clear" to everyone except Scott Power, Burlington's City Attorney. Power maintains that the "railroad would lose."

Maybe he could explain how the railroad would lose when it appears the City Council has broken a law to sue the railroad.

Sounds to me like they have something to hide and their cover has been blown.

If not, prove it to us. Play the closed session tape in an open session of a council meeting for the public to hear.

Or maybe The Hawkeye should file a lawsuit to obtain the tape and expose any wrongdoing.

By the way, who has the tape?

11:32:59 - SPIKE - No comments

05 July

Burlington Mayor Misses the Train - Edwards Doesn't Know The Train Left

Sunday's article from The Hawkeye featuring the mayor of Burlington clearly shows Burlington Mayor Mike Edwards has missed the train of opportunity.

Edwards said. "..Should that" (the lawsuit against BNSF)"fail, sure we're going to talk about money ... I don't want to see them walk out of here scot–free. Their forefathers signed an agreement that's been in effect since 1858 for the use of this property ... No matter what the outcome, I don't believe this should be free to the railroad."

Now in his infinite wisdom, Edwards believes that after the city has sued the BNSF and the city loses, the railroad is going to pay the City some money?

"Scot-free?" The City will be lucky if the railroad doesn't find a way for the City to pay their legal fees.

150+ years of supplying countless generations of Burlington citizens good jobs. That's the payback. Maybe we could have gotten some of those jobs going to Galesburg.

The train left. For good.

Better question is how is this lawsuit debacle going to be funded? I suppose in their convoluted thinking they probably believe they can tap their economic development reserves.


14:38:00 - SPIKE - No comments

03 July

Sunshine - Contracts - Newspaper's Legal Advice - RTA Shutdown?

Just because the Hawkeye believes it, doesn't make it the truth. And just because the Hawkeye says it's wrong doesn’t make it wrong OR illegal. In fact, most of what they say isn't much of anything at all but a rehash of what's been already been beat to death.

Saturday's editorial, "In the open A record of agreements involving public agencies is necessary."

Who made the newspaper a trusted source of accountability? I haven't seen anything in the last 6 months to believe they even know what the problems are. Now they expect us to follow their spear and enter the war?

Southeast Iowa Regional Planning recently entered into a contract to provide management for Regional Transportation. Brian Tapp, in his typical method of operation, brought his contract to the County at the last minute for approval. It appears RTA will operate for about a month with no written contract. Should RTA shut down and deprive its riders of the service because Tapp can't seem to meet a schedule?

How did the Hawkeye miss that?


14:25:20 - SPIKE - No comments

Huff and Puff? No, a Well Deserved Admonishment for Tapp & Hinkle

Brian Tapp and Dennis Hinkle are in the woodshed where they rightly belong.

The Hawkeye says, "Huff and puff Taking SEIRPC director to the public woodshed over Great River plan was a bit much"

Tapp and Hinkle made their mess by ignoring West Burlington when they prepared the Vision Iowa application. Let them explain why this happened to the West Burlington City Council. And everyone else that needs to know. After all, SEIRPC seeks and disburses public money. Why doesn't the Hawkeye think Tapp and Hinkle are accountable for this public money?

What the Hawkeye should have reported is that SEIRPC is to remain a neutral agency to be used equally by all of its members without bias.

Apparently size does matter since The Hawkeye feels that based on size SEIRPC should do what’s best for Burlington and forget about the other 30+ entities they represent. But, since SEIRPC shares Scott Power - the Burlington city attorney - as legal counsel, it appears the mold had been cast for partisan behavior.

Woodshed? Maybe the Hawkeye should send their reporters to investigate the real stories instead of their self-perceived witch hunts while they sit in the City's pocket.

It’s sounds more like the Salem witch hunts, not Midwest common sense. It sure isn't a factual reporting of the story.

14:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 July

Now Hoschek Wants A Contract - He Didn't Before - Why Now?

Sludge. Hoschek election sludge.

While Tim Hoschek sat as Chairman of the Des Moines County Supervisors he wasn't even aware that something had to be done about testing the waste water at the County Home's sewage pond.

Ben Diewold took it upon himself on behalf of the county to employ Dana Schlag, a licensed waste water technician, before the county was subjected to any fines. A verbal contract that has apparently gone well for both parties for 2 years.

Now, Hoschek all of a sudden wants a contract. Gotta have a contract. Election time, that is his God given duty, look good to the voters.

Hoschek has traveled a lot on county business. Does he have a contract with his travel agent?

It didn't matter then. Why let a charlatan tell you it does now?

And the newspaper isn't a source of information. Contracts are enforced in courtrooms. Not the newspaper.

16:31:00 - SPIKE - No comments

01 July

Update on the Traction Motor Study - July 1, 2004

We have obtained a copy of the ERA traction motor study and the Danniel critique of the report. The study was sent to several people for critique and comment.

As soon as we receive that information, we will post it.

Looks like the taxpayers were hoodwinked.

And the circle is drawing smaller.
22:54:00 - SPIKE - No comments