Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

31 March

Courtney Letter Blasting Iverson Boomerangs to His Feet


Iowa Senator Majority Leader Iverson Questions Junior Senator Courtney

Hawk-Eye Mysteriously Doesn’t Post Iverson Letter To Their Website


Last Wednesday Iowa Senator Tom Courtney took a shot at Iowa Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson in a Hawk-Eye letter to the editor. Yesterday, the Hawk-Eye printed Iverson’s answer. For some reason the letter wasn't immediately posted to the Hawk-Eye’s website.

Courtney’s letter last week was nothing more than his crybaby attitude of being in the minority and nobody wants to work with him. “We’re in the minority, we’re hamstrung, we can’t get a thing done.”

After reading Iverson’s response it appears that Courtney tries to impose his vast imaginary political horsepower and knowledge without “open and meaningful dialog” with his fellow Senators. Funny, that sounds familiar. Hide behind closed doors and advise the City to sue the railroad.

The Iverson letter went on to say Courtney’s time in the Iowa Senate would be better spent “working for his constituents rather than playing politics and spreading lies.”

I guess the Senate is learning what most took for granted. Courtney is all hat and no cattle. I just wish he’d take that hat and pull it down over his eyes, get out of the sandbox and not tell everyone he’s from Burlington. We’d all be better off.


13:49:12 - SPIKE - No comments

28 March

Lawsuit Bottle Rocket Hits New Heights of Absurdity


Ignorance of the Law Is No Excuse - Knowingly Circumventing the Law Is A Crime

Who Authorized This Mess If There Was No Closed Session Vote by The Council?


LAW
Scott Power Says It's An Illegal Lawsuit - "I guess we have taken lots of illegal actions over the years."

Slagle says, "Who’d do that, it doesn't make sense?"

The Iowa Attorney General won't give an opinion on clearly defined law. I think this fully qualifies as a clearly defined law. The city attorneys from Muscatine, Ottumwa and Sioux City don't file lawsuits from a closed session vote, "because the law says so."

Ignorance of the law or circumvention of the law? Everybody else seems to get it right. What's wrong here in Burlington? And how many more lawsuit irregularities are there?

COSTS
Costs of this illegal lawsuit have to exceed $50,000 -
$30,000 reported
$16,000 claim paid in January with no clarification
$8-$10,000+ for the survey from Smith Engineering
These costs are going to continue to spiral out of control.

CULPABILITY
If Power acted on his own, he is responsible. If he knowingly misled the council about the closed session vote AND the 1985 agreement, he's culpable.

If Slagle directed Power to file the lawsuit as has claimed to have authority to do, then he is responsible. If he didn't know about the law, didn't ask or just let it happen, then he needs to hit the road. What good is an ineffective professional manager? Put that $89,000 to use offsetting the budget deficit.

If the Council voted behind closed doors, then the members voting for the lawsuit are responsible and can be fined. If the Hawk-eye's assumptions are correct that Mike Campbell didn't vote "yes" for the lawsuit, he can collect the fines from the rest and make the apologies to the citizens.

Burlington is in the middle of an illegal lawsuit filed in haste while suggesting that somehow this city possesses the magic potion to force the railroad into returning jobs to the community. That logic was flawed when they dreamed it up to cover their greed and it is painfully obvious now that the lid is about to blow off.

The railroad lawyers only have to ask council members whether or not there was a lawsuit vote. That will resolve this lawsuit in relatively short order. Burlington will probably have to pay the railroad's legal fees.

What's left? Nothing except the railroad's legal bills, Power's legal bills and a Forrest Gump reputation that every other city would avoid like the plague, "Stupid is as stupid does."
23:30:09 - SPIKE - No comments

23 March

Council Meets In Another Double Super - Secret Closed Session


Same Dismal Outcome - Power & Slagle Still Employed

Neutered Council Too Weak – Total Lack of Leadership


In less than a week the Burlington City Council voted 4-1 to hold another closed session meeting to discuss the railroad lawsuit. I suppose Power wanted to tell everyone how much money he is going to make from the city when he wins the lawsuit. Or the number of jobs that will be returned to the city.

Or maybe Power/Slagle spent the week trying to develop a cover story. They can look until they are old men and never find it. The monkeys are so far up this tree all they can show is butt.

What everyone has forgotten is that this lawsuit is illegal. The council decided to sue the railroad behind closed doors. That is against Iowa law. Power’s comments were, “I guess we’ve broken the law many times.” Sets a good example from legal counsel. I’d feel real good about that if I was his boss and headed to an expensive lawsuit in federal court.

What is more amazing is that the gutless council rubber-stampers just don’t get it and let Power and Slagle get away with it. After Slagle’s “I’m not getting in the middle” comment last week reeking of immodest, self-effacing a** covering, you'd think one of these thugs, bums and monkeys would see the light about the predicament they're in. Who's running this City? Or better, who's running the City Council?

I am going to remind everyone now until election day that the voters need to kick these bums out of office. Edwards, King and Baker all need to go. When the new members get to the table they need to fire Power and ask for Ell’s resignation. And ask Power’s liability carrier repay the city’s legal fees.

Another amazing thing. We’ve accused The Hawk-Eye several times of their protectionist attitude towards the city.

How many scathing editorials have you seen the south Main Street editorial brain trust whip up on Power, Slagle and the council since Captain Quirk started to uncover this mess?

None.

If that isn’t favoritism, what is it? News?
22:03:33 - SPIKE - No comments

22 March

Tim Hoschek Claims City Hall Brain


Takes Advantage of Another Free Handout

Supervisor Can't Find Installation Instructions - Bills County For Mileage


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21:14:00 - SPIKE - No comments

18 March

Brains Found In City Hall Basement - Please Claim


Former Owners Have No Further Use


21:54:24 - SPIKE - No comments

16 March

Council Meets In Double Super-Secret Closed Session


Charlatan Power Amazingly Still Employed

Ell and King Still In Fog – Won’t Recall their Roles in Lawsuit Fiasco


Burlington City Council met in closed session Monday afternoon to discuss the railroad lawsuit. What is the most interesting is that charlatan City Attorney Scott Power still has a job. I guess the council can’t figure out the reasons he should be driven to the city limits and dumped out. And all of his fees returned to the City coffers.

I would imagine there was no startling revelation that Senator King and Bumbling Bill Ell regained their convenient memory loss about the 1985 agreement with the railroad. I wonder if the Senator will remember by election time? It will never be convenient for Ell to remember, too much work.

But what is more troubling is the council’s realization that there is a shopping list of reasons to throw Power to the curb and they don’t have a clue what the reasons are. Here's our list.
1. “The lawsuit is about jobs.”
2. “The lawsuit is about forcing the railroad to return the jobs to the shops.”
3. “It’s not about the money.” With a $1,000,000 budget deficit?
4. “I have a silver bullet for each and every one of you with your name on it.” Only to follow up with “I never said that” even though witnesses said otherwise.
5. The basis of the lawsuit is the 1858 land grant agreement.
6. The basis of this lawsuit is the loss of the “principle locomotive shops.” He didn’t bother researching railroad history to gather the facts that show otherwise.
7. Sloppy court filings. Power skipped the Burlington shops history lesson chapter in his haste to file his mistake-filled complaint. 2 filings in this case are nothing but amendments and corrections to the most poorly written legal complaint I have ever read or seen. First year law students write better stuff.
7. The 1985 agreement has no bearing on the lawsuit. He'll rely on former council members' memory from 20 years ago to influence a jury. Or is that a smoke screen?
8. All but outright calling one of his employers a liar. When asked about the fact he had had been asked on 2 separate occasions about any subsequent agreements to the 1858 agreement that might impact the lawsuit, Power said there weren’t any. And then said of the councilman’s claim, "Now, that's just not true." If it’s not true, isn’t it a lie? I believe the councilman.
9. Power would rely on 2 of his employer’s sudden memory loss to cover his ass.
10. We can't fire him, we'll lose the lawsuit. Spend $5,000 and get another legal opinion from a law firm experienced in successfully litigating against railroads. The truth will set you free and show the error of your ways. And beg forgiveness from the taxpayers.

Caught like a snake - wriggling & squirming. Why he is still employed? Because the Monkeys, Thugs and Bums don’t have any backbone and can’t stand up to a less than truthful employee that is screwing them, and Burlington, to the wall.

The city council needs to demand Power produce one 3-ring binder of relative information including all case law; in executive summary form showing all of the relative cases, their importance clearly shown in layman’s language and his clearly defined plan to win this case utilizing that information.

Otherwise, it’s just another smoke screen to fatten his wallet. If he can’t express the basis for this lawsuit to assure the Council they have some remote chance of winning this case while spending lots more money, the Council needs to drop this lawsuit and fire Power, Slagle and anyone else for getting them into this financial abyss.

This might all sound pretty strong and you might say Spike should be real careful about his choice of words. Not really, the Hawk-Eye reminds us every day that they can write whatever they want utilizing the 1st amendment at will if it fits their “news” scheme.

And if Power wants to bring a lawsuit against BurlingtonDerailed.com and Spike, we all of a sudden get to dig into all of his smoke-screen horse manure with a flea comb in infinite detail, closed sessions and all. And as smelly as it will be, discovery rules in lawsuits usually reveal lots of things that people wish they had never tried to cover up.

In this case, that manure would be perfume for the citizens.


10:32:55 - SPIKE - No comments

14 March

Senator Tom Courtney 1st Advocated Railroad Lawsuit - Called a "Hangin' Party"


Courtney's Meeting Behavior - "Like a Little Rat on Acid"

Spike has learned that in December 2003 shortly after the BNSF announced layoffs at the railroad shops; Iowa State Senator/Senate Whip Tom Courtney convened a meeting of elected officials at Burlington City Hall. It was described as a "hanging party" for the railroad by several attendees.

Known attendees: Courtney, then Mayor Tim Scott, Bruce Slagle, West Burlington Mayor Hans Trousil, Mike Edwards by phone and others.

At this meeting, Courtney vigorously advocated that Burlington should sue the railroad immediately. In fact, he made it abundantly clear that the City should punish the railroad for the layoffs and spewed union rhetoric at elected officials. Punish the railroad?? For conducting business?? What's wrong with this guy?

Courtney later attended the meeting with railroad executives on January 9, 2004.

We have further heard from attendees of this meeting that Courtney "acted like a little rat on acid. Squirming around in his chair, laying his head on the conference table, walking out of the meeting to take cell phone calls (probably from his wife telling him to get milk on the way home) and making smart ass remarks about the railroad to newly anointed Mayor Mike Edwards in a muffled voice during the meeting."

These comments went on to include "I have been to many meetings and I have never been more ashamed to represent anyone as I was to be there that day as a representative of Burlington. This guy's behavior was erratic and totally abnormal. He was an absolute embarrassment for the City."

With Courtney being the Des Moines County Democratic Chairman and Mike Edwards being the #2 Des Moines County Democrat I guess it is easy to figure out where Edwards went for advice on how to handle the railroad. And it is abundantly clear that Courtney doesn't have any better clue. Clueless in Burlington times 2.

And no wonder the Iowa legislature is a stalemate. The senate whip has a jello whip. I wonder if he stopped to get the milk on the way home?
22:15:13 - SPIKE - No comments

12 March

Coming Railroad Lawsuit Coverup Attractions - Iceberg About to Broach


Senator Tom Courtney's Role in This Debacle
Learn his role in behind-the-scene shenanigans.

Was There A Fleecing of Bruce Slagle?
Fleeced or Floundered? Fish or sheep?
Either way, there are sheep to shear or fish to catch!!

And What About Brian Tapp?
Learn his dirty little secrets in the railroad lawsuit and cover-up. See how he put his 30+ members at risk.
09:03:49 - SPIKE - No comments

Simple Message From a Simple Man


When Political Common Sense Fails - The Common Man Prevails

NJ writes:

A plain and simple message to those powers that be, this site should be a tool for those in charge to get an idea of what is on the minds of those you "serve" in your government positions.

We are not your peasants, we are not stupid, and we are not going to be quiet when incompetence reigns and is spending OUR money.

I don’t see a site that is cheering the Burlington's government astounding achievements. By all means if there is one, please inform me. It seems that the problem with this site is that too many people are too informed and too concerned about the future of their beautiful and beloved city. And if that’s a problem for those in office to deal with then step out of the way, it's 2005 and others are willing to step up to the plate. I know little about the mechanics of local government but I believe a dead person could hardly do worse than many of the things going on today.

BurlingtonDerailed.com is here for a reason, one that seems to be supported by enough knowledgeable contributors to not degrade to the level of flamefest. (thank Spike for that ) It could be a lot worse there are helpful ideas and direction here, but some are too worried about where it came from to take the advice.

It would be nice to see the requirements to run for office and a how-to of running right here on this site. Maybe that would be too much, I don't know.

I haven't seen any partiality as to who gets posted and who doesn't, and I sure don't see any rampant flaming, all I see is a desire for accountability from those who should be accountable.

So stop trying to get the splinter out of the eye of BurlingtonDerailed.com and get a crowbar on that BNSF railroad tie in yours.

Spike:
I think that crowbar could be put to better use. However, you'd ruin a perfectly good crowbar.

We'll look into the rquirements to run for public office. I know there are 2 books on the market that specifically deal with how to do this on a local level. Obviously, none of the 3 stooges read the book. Unlike Patton that read Rommel's book on tank warfare.


08:58:55 - SPIKE - No comments

11 March

State of the City and Des Moines County


What Did I Step In?

Surprise - Candidate Field Empty

9:44 am
SF writes:
Based on the current state of confusion and disarray in the Burlington City Council and Des Moines County Board of Supervisors(not to mention city budget problems), I think the citizens will be hard pressed to find any viable candidates running for office who would want to undertake such a mess. Unless they are as self serving as Mr. Hoschek and Mr. King – but I don’t think they qualify as viable candidates.
20:01:51 - SPIKE - No comments

Did This Really Happen?


Did he really say that?

3 Stooges' Big Rubber Stamp Strikes Again

3/10 10:05 pm
JF writes:
I don't know what's worse, a snake-in-the-grass lawyer or the morons he bamboozled on the counsel. These guys act brain dead and they need their feeding (tax) tubes removed!

I cannot believe Power actually said that he knew about the 1985 agreement when the lawsuit was filed, but only went over the "important" documents pertaining to the agreements with BNSF with the monkeys. Either this snake knew about the '85 contract and couldn't pass up the opportunity to line his pockets with taxpayer money anyway, or he is an incompetent snake who overlooked this very important detail and is scrambling to cover his tail.

"How many days should I take to brief them on everything there is?"(Spike: Power's blather.)

Did he really say that? As many as it takes you arrogant snake. How much has this lawsuit cost us so far? $30,000? And how about Burlington's reputation?

"I mean, there's a tremendous amount of material in this lawsuit," he said. "There are many, many documents, probably 20 or 30 ordinances. We didn't go through each and every document between 1853 to the present time before we filed the lawsuit. We went through the ones that were important, the ones that we're relying on now." (Spike: more Power's blather.)

So, the 1985 agreement wasn't important to this very expensive lawsuit?

That dog don't hunt.


Spike:
Well, that pretty much covers the bases. We want your thoughts about Ell and King weaseling around on whether or not they had read the 1985 agreement after Edwards said he didn't see it until he read the newspaper Saturday morning. What do we have going on there? Ell trying to cover his screwups? Or Ell trying to cover up Power's deceit? Or, are rumors true Ell is waiting for the implosion to become Mayor? And was King even aware of what he was saying?

Don't forget this is election year for the city council. We can fill these seats with better people.

At least we don't have to have order the "snake" software update for our Thug, Bum and Monkey Finder. It was factory installed.

07:21:04 - SPIKE - No comments

10 March

Hoschek Busts Travel Budget


Hoschek Hits Trough to The Tune of $1719

County Supervisor Hoschek's travel expenses for his trip to Washington, DC last week totalled $1,719. Several hundred dollars over budget. I'm sure he has lots of new 8x10 photos for his wall of self-importance. But what did the taxpayers get other than the bill for your trip? Could you write a report about it?
13:51:56 - SPIKE - No comments

Senator King Is Never Going To Get It


King In Middle of Major Anomaly Still Looking for Spike's Identity

Doesn't Grasp His Responsibilities Regarding His Role in Fiasco

Wants to Duke It Out With Spike


4:00 pm
Senator King writes:
"Spike" (aka Randy),
You've had your fun, now it's time to open up to the people. Mike Campbell informed me, to my face, that he assisted Randy Daniel in setting up the burlingtonderailed.com web site. I don't epxect this to show up on the web site, but i'll not be disrespected like you've done and sit back on the knowledge that a man who is bitter about money he feels he is owed is trying to get even.
--Chris King

Spike:
Senator, you just don't have a clue do you?

What in the hell does Randy Daniel have to do with this? He's not on the City Council. He didn't vote to file a lawsuit against the railroad. What does Randy Daniel know that you are so afraid of? You sound like, "But Daddy, he made me do it."

I wish you understood that you should be spending more time fixing your mistakes than worrying about who Spike is. You've beat the elusive Spike's identity to death. Talk about misdirection, smoke & mirrors. You've cried "wolf" too many times.

Maybe you should call a special council meeting so you 3 can resign right after you fire Power and Slagle. You made this mess. We didn't. Time to step up to the consequences for your actions.

Your time would be better spent focusing on your numerous missteps in providing direction to your staff that can't seem to be truthful. You can go along with Slagle, Power, Edwards, Ell and anyone else that cowers to this group of misguided fools. We're not your subjects and you shouldn't take your name literally.

You just keep telling us all how to think. You're the one that needs to start thinking. It's painfully obvious that you haven't been since you keep coming back to explain things one more time.

Going to be a lot of new competition for those cart cowboys at Wal-Mart. Apply early, apply often.
13:46:28 - SPIKE - No comments

Incomprehensible


A Word Used Many Times to Describe The Railroad Lawsuit Fiasco

What Did Bruce Slagle Know About The 1985 Agreement and When Did He Know It?????

And If Slagle Knew, Why Did He Keep Quiet???


This morning's news was not a surprise. This was the tip of the iceberg. We've known the truth and details for months. I guess that old boom-a-rang lit on everybody's toes this morning. And it wasn't surprising to see Senator King and Wizard Ell flopping around like carp trying to decide what bandwagon they needed to get on or off.

I've read the Hawk Eye article 4 times. Power's role just gets more implausible each time.

When you get ready to file a lawsuit you go over it with a flea comb to see if there are any fleas. Only Lone Ranger councilman Mike Campbell questioned what, if any, due diligence was done to see whether or not any railroad agreements were done after 1858. He asked those common sense questions BEFORE and AFTER the lawsuit was filed. Power said there weren't any agreements subsequent to the 1858 agreement. I guess Power didn't want to admit there were any fleas.

And now Scott Power said of Campbell's claim, "Now, that's just not true." I don't believe you, Scott. In Saturday's article you admitted you knew of the a 1985 agreement. Why didn't you tell Mike Campbell (and the other council members) the truth when he asked you and why do you now claim, "Now, that's just not true." Is it untrue that Campbell ever asked you? Or Is it untrue that that he asked you 2 times?

And to shuffle blame to your employer is enough to tell you, "you're fired." Seems too convenient to accuse someone else. Deflection. I think the problem is deeper and you need to be exposed. If you were my lawyer you would have been fired Saturday morning when I read the paper. And I would expect a check for the return of your fees charged in Monday's mail at City Hall.

Power also claims pertinent details were too great to share with his employer. Pertinent details that that directly form the basis of the City's lawsuit. So, let's go file a half-assed lawsuit. OK, let me get my Big Rubber Stamp. Maybe Senator King should investigate ethics violations after he throws away his Big Rubber Stamp.

Scott Power's self-serving rationale "keep 'em in the dark like mushrooms" policy is incomprehensible. I hope when the 3 monkeys - Edwards, King and Ell get recalled/fired/forced from office, whomever is left at City Hall demands a refund for legal fees or files a claim against Power's malpractice carrier. I bet the next step will be the railroad filing a motion for summary judgement and the court orders the City to pay the railroad's legal fees. Time to sell more garbage bags.

Lastly, if Bruce Slagle had any knowledge of this, he should be fired this afternoon and Chief Wunneberg should escort him right out of City Hall leaving the tapes from the Council's closed session behind to be made public. That will eliminate $88,000 from the budget deficit and Doug Worden can handle anything until the smoke clears. And probably afterwards.

If anyone thinks we're afraid to call it as we see it, we're not. These bums, thugs and monkeys are going to hear it. And we're going to fill in all of the details that we can uncover.

I'll bet there are puddles in their shoes today. A vision of leaky diapers on monkeys come to mind. Trouble is, they don't have enough diapers.
10:00:11 - SPIKE - No comments

This Is Going To Be a Huge News Day


Headlines for The Stories to Come -

Burlington City Attorney Caught in Rat Trap - Spike "Stories for Weeks to Come"
Good Job Captain Quirk

3 City Council Monkeys Deciding Bandwagon to Jump On - Or From
We Told Everybody The City Was Being Run by Monkeys
Don't Miss Senator King's Missive Following this Note

Senator Tom Courtney's Advocacy for Railroad Lawsuit Pays Big Dividends
See Why the Voters Need to Retire the Senator
Learn His Role In The Lawsuit Debacle

Hoschek Busts Washington Budget in Annual Soiree
This Shouldn't Surprise Anyone
8x10 Glossies for Everyone

Best News of All - You Read It Here First!

Arrogance, You Better Believe It. Our Thug, Bum and Monkey Finder Works!
07:35:24 - SPIKE - No comments

Hawkeye Reports Passing of Buck


Early Riser Finds the Worms


4:27 am NJ writes:

Per the report of the Hawkeye, March 10, 2005.

The Blame Game Begins!

1985 BNSF agreement news to Mayor and City Council. OO! OO! EEP!!!!!!!! (monkey speak for aw crap)

Actually Spike its all your fault the poor monkey brains were smoking trying to find witty retorts to the questions and opinions made here.

Shame, shame Spike.

Spike:
Only trying to do our civic duty. Thank-you for your support.
04:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 March

Possible Budget Cuts Overlooked

Where Do All the Broken Trucks Go?

How Many Snowplows Does The City Own?


3/9 10:18 pm
DW writes:

Just like to say way to go on everything you're putting out to the public. You're not candy coating anything just telling them how it is. Where is all the money going that we're taking in by the city? If the city has its own mechanics to work on the city equipment then why do they send the trucks out to shops around town to get worked on?
DW

Spike:
Why would we layoff policemen, firemen and librarians when it sounds like we overlooked other City departments? I want to know how many snow plows does the City own?
22:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Senator King Is Telling Us - Again

Profound Wisdom Spewed Forth

3/8 9:20am
Senator King writes:
Spike,

I am assuming you are a registered Burlington voter and, for that reason, I am more than happy to respond to your questions and criticisms, just as I have and would, anyone's. In fact, I appreciate the opportunity to set straight your misconceptions. Perhaps there are more people out there who want to know the same answers. So, thank you.

Spike: The people want to have answers to a whole lot more than just today’s questions. Then they want something done about it. And a lot less rhetoric.

You asked: "Why weren't you or anyone else from the City in Des Moines for Southeast Days?" "Southeast Iowa Days" is a trip planned annually by the Chamber of Commerce. Personally, I plan to travel to Washington, D.C. this year and not Des Moines. I alternate Des Moines one year and D.C. the next. I decided to do this to be as fiscally responsible as possible while still conducting the business of the city through state and federal channels. I correspond with our state representatives fairly regularly and try to talk with them when they are in town because I cannot afford time away from work to travel to Des Moines often. Additionally, I don't think the tax payer would appreciate it.

Spike: If you spend time with Tom Courtney you’re wasting your time and our money. He helped shape your "slay the railroad giant" with Edwards. By the way, could you write a report and give the details of your political exploits on our behalf? I imagine so. That’s the difference between you and Hoschek. Once the flashbulbs go off Hoschek doesn’t know whether he is on foot or horseback.

I was not too "embarrassed" to go to Des Moines and I don't quite understand what that was supposed to mean. I cannot answer your question for any other Council member.

Spike: You SHOULD be embarrassed to run around the Capitol. If you don’t know it, Burlington’s ill-conceived lawsuit with the railroad is the laughing stock of Iowa and is more widely known across the country than you can imagine. You’ve done more to give every other city and town in Iowa a boost in economic development that they couldn’t afford to buy with millions of dollars of advertising. One of the recurring search terms that refers people to BurlingtonDerailed.com is “failed economic development policy.” You monkeys should be ashamed of that word association status.

You asked: "Do you even understand the problem with Hoschek?"
You have a problem with Supervisor Hoschek. The voters, a majority of them, did not. I have no problem with democracy Spike. I pay my taxes just like everyone else and I know that trips by elected officials can be frivolous or productive. But I do wonder...which of the 3-stooges am I?

Spike: Obviously, you don’t understand the Hoschek problem or you would find out and protect your City residents from his erratic behavior. Since you asked, Curly Joe. And the rest – “Larry” Edwards and “Shemp” Ell.

Moving on...the budget deficit was handled by the council and staff and was unanimously approved last night. Are you now calling Mike Campbell a "rubber stamp"? I have not heard much criticism of your favorite council member. Perhaps you're still indebted to him?

Spike: Serious accusations from someone that never shuts his mouth to listen to opinions from his PEERS instead of City staff edict. From what we can tell, Mike Campbell does not own a rubber stamp. If he does it is small and fits in his pocket. Unlike the 2 footer you eagerly dance around with just waiting to rubber stamp anything that Slagle wants you to. All for a banana. Like Pavlov’s dog. If Mike Campbell goes brain dead like the rest of you, I'll take him to the mat just as hard or harder because he let you monkeys lead him astray. "Indebted?" What nonsense. Another of your feeble attempts to deflect attention to that boom-a-rang at your feet"

My budget reduction proposals were discussed by council. Most were not received favorably.

Spike: Then raise more hell and insist they do something other than threaten 5 police officers, 5 firemen and 7 librarians. What a bunch of wimpy-assed sissies, scaring retirees and children with their safety. Did you give Slagle his raise or was everyone drinking a brain freeze Slurpy from Kum and Go?

Interesting point you made regarding city staff direction. I tend to agree with you on this point. Council must do a better job at directing staff, not vice-versa. However, cooperation is also important in the relationship between council and staff. You may "see" a big rubber stamp. But I would point out that you only "see" what you want to see of the small percentage of the work we do.

Spike: Like they say in Missouri, Show Me! If you wield the power then tell these monkeys, no. If you ask me again, it is still no. If you ask me again, you’re fired.

If you don't believe my conduct is "professional," I will do nothing to change that perception because it is, quite simply, your perception of who I am and how I operate. Individuality, to me, is hardly "unprofessional".

Spike: Professionalism, perception, individuality? What in the world are thinking? A $1,000,000 budget deficit that you had a one-year warning of and you want everyone to believe you’ve been to charm school? Senator, don’t drink the minnow water no matter how thirsty you are.

Your "mindless blather" label to my communications could just as easily be turned around and placed on the content of your web site. I respect your opinion and your freedom, even if I do believe your method of getting out your message is cowardly.

Spike: Since you profess to know the true, double super secret identity of Spike, how could you ever accuse us of being “cowardly”? Maybe your crystal ball is more opaque than you think. 'Cause it ain't working as good as you figure.

You stated that I perpetuated a political quagmire to get reelected. Spike, I was not an incumbent. I ran a campaign and I won. I received more votes than the others...how is that wrong? There was no "reelection".

Spike: Maybe a novel approach would be to do your job and do it without regard of whether or not you are re-elected. How profound!

Although I am sure you have a justifiable argument for how raising taxes in an election year could actually generate more votes for me, but I assure you, I pay the same taxes as every other resident in this community and I would rather not raise taxes.

Spike: Apparently you don’t have your bathrobe on (see next paragraph) and hypothermia is setting in because that is the only thing I can possibly derive from this paragraph.

Time is running short and I must get to work this morning. I am amazed an idiot like me has actually held the same full-time, respectable job for nearly five years!

Spike: Please, no political advertisements or self-endorsements.

Have a good day!

--Chris King



20:56:32 - SPIKE - No comments

Spike, How Can This Happen?

Reader Wonders About RecPlex Losses

A City That Can't Feed It's Children

3/8 5:14 pm
MW writes:
Dear Spike:

How can Burlington be having financial problems when the city council went against the voters and gave $700,000 to the new library when surely our city council wouldn't have donated the money if they didn't have it, would they?

I like the monkey idea because a monkey can be trained to do just about anything while our sitting city counsel can't seem to get anything done right. Now they want to help finance a water world amusement park. Where will this money come from? I hope it's their own pockets. We taxpayer's have lost half a million on the RecPlex during its first five years and I wonder where the make up funds came from.

The city manager, as you have stated seems to have faded away to count his money while the rest of us try to make ends meet. Reminds me of the airport manager they brought in who kept getting raise after raise and the airport kept declining and declining to the point we have fewer flights than recent memory can remember. Of course he fled the city leaving the taxpayer to hold the bag. I've always wondered what the regional on the airport sign means. Does that mean that other cities are helping pay for the upkeep of the airport or is Burlington going it alone? The fire station out by the airport is only rented by the city while the taxpayer was always informed during construction that it was a city project. How much is the rent on this fire station? Are the taxpayer's saving money on this rented building?

What was a thriving town is now nothing more than a wimp of what it use to be. Every since it went to the city manager style of government its been a downhill slide for all of us. They old city government system provided a working, thriving town that provided a good life for everyone. Now we have schools with about 50 percent of the children on free or subsidize meals and believe me this really tells a person what kind of town we now have. A town where people can't or won't even feed their children. What's going on here?

The name of the game in Burlington is fast food joints, motels and high taxes. Just what does Burlington offer a working person should one even have a job?

Keep up the good work Spike it's great to hear it like it is.

FFS

Spike:
The monkeys were trained. And they all acted just like they're ordered to. Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. Time for the 3 stooges to get out their 2 foot square "OK" rubber stamp.

You bring up a point that we need to study in detail - the RecPlex. We need the RecPlex for revenue. But we need some solid financial management to correct the accounting for its operation.

The financial excuses last portrayed by City Hall were less than adequate and demands that someone examine the details to see how they write this asset and its value when applied to the City books. Something really smells there and it might be creative accounting.



14:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Possible Budget Cuts Overlooked

Where Do All the Broken Trucks Go?

How Many Snowplows Does The City Own?


3/9 10:18 pm
DW writes:

Just like to say way to go on everything you're putting out to the public. You're not candy coating anything just telling them how it is. Where is all the money going that we're taking in by the city? If the city has its own mechanics to work on the city equipment then why do they send the trucks out to shops around town to get worked on?
DW

Spike:
Why would we layoff policemen, firemen and librarians when it sounds like we overlooked other City departments? I want to know how many snow plows does the City own?
11:55:00 - SPIKE - No comments

City Council Weak - Pay Increases For All

Shame on Citizens for Letting It Happen

3/8 10:04 pm
chaostemple writes:
Hey spike,
I see that city taxes are going to be raised again. How long will it be before before city hall gets their raises (which they don't deserve)?

Once again, holding the line on raising taxes has been pushed aside. I can't believe people that live in Burlington are letting city hall get away with this.

Hey, here is a thought: city employees start paying a portion of their health insurance premium, or maybe they already do. Instead of cutting services, how about trimming some of them wages? It happens all of the time in the private sector.

Spike:
Only one way to stop it. Tell Senator King and Edwards to turn in their sock puppets and stop playing the game when elections roll around. They've made their mark - all with red ink.

08:59:44 - SPIKE - No comments

08 March

Spike Operative Catches Monkey in City Hall


Rumors True - Unindentified Burlington Councilman Exposed

This photo from an unidentified source was apparently taken during last week's council work session concerning the $1,000,000 budget deficit. Rumors have been confirmed. Monkeys are running the City.

05:32:36 - SPIKE - No comments

07 March

Time For Change


Hoschek Needs to Report In - What Are You Doing With My Money?

Senator King & Edwards Asked to Keep Hats Out of Political Ring


3/7
9:44 am
Ace writes:
Given our current money woes at the city level i am very cautious about anything our local government is doing. I would much rather Tim Hoschek go to Des Moines than Washington D.C. We have yet to be presented with any proof that his trips benefit us in any way. Seems to me a trip to Des Moines would cost me far less.

At some point one of our elected officials or their staff may read this site and he or she may roll his/her eyes when they read this post. But lets me honest here...ITS MY MONEY. My taxes go up and my profits go down. Its a vicious trend that has no end in sight that i can tell.

I am 26 years old and run a business here in Burlington, and i am fed up. I am supposed to be young and tolerant...i feel old and abused.

How about a little urgency from our city officials? Keep doing your studies and making motions...push this off and shove us into another year with an even larger debt.

Perhaps i am over reacting. As i look at our city counsel i realize something. In this group of people there isn't one with any experience that makes me think they would be any better for the job than the next guy. Maybe i expect too much.

Mr. King says "throw your hat into the ring". That is funny...its almost like he is trivalizing the election process by saying since almost anyone can run they would all be good at the job. I think he proved this theory wrong.

As far as "throwing your hat into the ring come election time"...i hope the whole counsel decides to leave their hats on. In doing so they would actually be doing their first great service to their city.

Sincerely,
ACE


23:21:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Senator King Chastises Spike


King Feels His Need to Enlighten Spike, Again

Spike Stuns The Senator with “Tell ‘Em to Eat Bologna”


3/4/2005
11:25 pm
Senator King writes:
Spike,
I thought (hoped?) you had wised up and stopped contributing to your vigilante web site. Alas, I see you're back in the saddle.

I did, however, feel the need to point out a big problem with your posts. In one post you complain that none of your local officials attended Southeast Iowa Days but in the very next post you blast Tim Hoschek for going to Washington D.C.! Make up your mind Spike...do you want your local officials to attend these functions or not? You can't have it both ways.

Here's an idea...come out of the closet and toss your hat into the ring for the elections for City Council at the end of this year. Contribute to the solutions if you truly care about the betterment of the community!

Respectfully,
Chris King

Spike:

You always seem to have a need to point something out to everyone. I guess I am just a little person to not see “a big problem” from your perch.

“Vigilante web site?” I guess from your perspective and that of the rest of the monkeys at City Hall BurlingtonDerailed.com could seem like a vigilante website. Stop thinking of us as vigilantes and learn from the criticism. You seem quick to blame and criticize everyone else. That’s boom-a-rang at your feet. Look familiar?

I do have a few questions for you.

Why weren’t you or anyone else from the City in Des Moines for Southeast Days? Cost savings or embarrassment? I think more the latter. Care to share your thoughts on that?

Do you even understand the problem with Hoschek? If Hoschek doesn't know why he is there, I'm pretty sure you don’t have a clue what possible value his jaunts to Washington produce. Do you realize that you’re paying for these trips? Or is your 3 Stooges act real?

And by the way, have you heard there is a budget deficit? What are you proposing to resolve that problem? Or do you plan the Bill Ell approach and plan to cut the fire and police department staff while the rest of the City employees run amuck? Maybe Ell could drive the fire truck and you could handle the hose.

You could make it look like there are no other alternatives. Then the taxpayers will feel good they’re getting screwed by a bunch of political monkeys that are directed by City management? Have you ever acknowledged your role to direct the city staff? All we ever see is your big ‘OK’ rubber stamp.

Then you might ask Edwards how he can endorse Slagle’s pay raise because “he is raising a family” when the guy makes almost $89,000 a year. I have the feeling the families and retirees that are getting by on less than that might have a problem with your tax increase. If the taxpayers have to eat a bologna sandwich for lunch, so can Slagle. After all, it was all of his professional managerial experience that got us in this deficit game. Or did Slagle think he would have a big fat check from the railroad to pay for his problem budget? What happens next year?

I need to “wise up?” Instead of your mindless blather (like your recent rants on the radio talk show with Mike Campbell) why don’t you just get your act together and try to conduct yourself like a professional. Listen before you feel the need to tell us. In fact, don’t tell us anything until you fix something.

As for the closet idea, why would you think I want to try to clean up the mess you and the rest of your gang have made? The changes I have already proposed would be too much like fiscal management unlike the political quagmire you helped perpetuate while covering your ass to get Edwards and you reelected. By the way, where is the Mayor? Does he still work there?

The citizens expect you to make hard decisions to stop this nonsense. Even if it upsets your peers and the City staff. Unfortunately, since it is election year I’m sure you will be looking for the painless approach by just raising the taxes and blame everyone else. Sounds like a Hoschek deal. And you never want to get included in that club.
05:46:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 March

Another Hoschek Failure?

Hoschek Fosters Mobile Nursing vs. Home Caring Services Fiasco

3/4/2005
11:25am
sf writes:

First let me say, I am sure both agencies provide reasonable care for their patients. But why does Mr. Hoschek feel it necessary to have an independent outside source review policy and provide an opinion on which company is more cost effective? Is this going to be another cost to the taxpayers of Des Moines County?

Isn’t this part of his job to determine which company will provide the best care at the lowest cost? Not just in this area, but in all other areas. I would think our most senior supervisor, with all of his expertise in county government, should be able to read a contract and make an (un)educated assessment of its contents.

Maybe the contracts are written in Russian?

It’s disappointing to see yet another failure by Mr. Hoschek that will leave the Des Moines County taxpayers footing the bill.

Got to give him credit, where else can you get full time pay (over 31,000) and health benefits for a part time job?

Keep your re-elect Tim Hoschek signs – he’ll call on you again next election.
16:08:00 - SPIKE - No comments

BNSF Hiring 100 Conductors In Galesburg


Starting Pay about $60,000 - Goes to Over $100,000 After a Few Years

BNSF Railway Co. is recruiting applicants for conductor trainee positions.


If you are interested you must call 309-343-9845 between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8 to be considered for an interview. No calls will be accepted outside of this time frame.

A maximum of 100 pending reservations will be accepted for consideration of an interview for the BNSF Conductor Trainee/National Academy of Railroad Sciences Program positions. BNSF personnel then will pick who is eligible for an interview based on an online application that must be completed by 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Go to www.bnsf.com, click on Careers, then Current Open Positions. Search by Illinois and click on the Conductor Trainee NARS Program position in Galesburg.

Internet access is available at most public libraries and the Des Moines County Extension Office.

Interviews will be March 14 in Galesburg. Time and location will be announced. Minimum requirements include a high school education and you must pass a drug test.

Those selected for the recruitment session will be notified in advance of the time and place of the session via an e-mail from BNSF personnel.
07:45:40 - SPIKE - No comments

04 March

Hoschek Plans to Hit Public Trough During Washington Visit


Hoschek and 90+ of His Committe Members Ready

Priorities Set - Plans More Pictures for His Office Wall


Des Moines County Supervisor Tim Hoschek is leaving for Washington today. I'm sure he plans to waddle up to the public trough while he's there and won't miss any photo ops glad handing some poor soul that can't help wonder how he got elected again. Unlike pigs, his brown face might not be just covered in mud.

Hoschek is one of about 90+ members of the transportion steering committe. I just hope they don't give him the wheel or they'll wind up in the Potomac River. And with 90+ members I'm sure the decision making is definitive.

With Hoschek representing Des Moines County coupled with the City's lawsuit against the BNSF, what more could you need for economic development? Sure is a positive picture in my mind.

I guess the taxpayers will get a chance to read his report summarizing his mission accomplishments when he gets back. If not, the taxpayers will definitely see more photos on Hoschek's wall stroking his ego. Too bad those photos never quite capture his brown nose.
05:37:00 - SPIKE - No comments

03 March

Burlington City Officials Avoid Southeast Iowa Days in Des Moines


Budget Debacle Railroad Lawsuit Just Too Much, Embarassment Too Great

Monkeys Are Missing - Bananas Granted Reprieve


The entourage of Southeast Iowa politicians and assorted citizens were in Des Moines for Southeast Iowa Days on Wednesday and Thursday hobnobbing with the politicians.

Painfully obvious - not one Burlington City official was present. Nada, zip, zero.

Being election year I would have thought Senator King and Edwards would have been strutting around like little neutered roosters. But even they were conspicuously absent. I guess the huge savings in travel expenses will mean less garbage tags they have to sell at the Bees games.
05:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 March

Police & Fire Cuts Unwarranted


Reader Demands Staff Cuts Spread Across ALL Departments

Typical Wimpy Approach To Financial Solvency


7:16 am
Irritable writes:
This is a classic example of the Firemen First principle. Mr. Ell plays his hand exceptionally well.

First we will get an impact statement and then we will use that information to justify a tax increase. And the public will feel all good because we have maintained the public interest and the children are safe. Of course, cross training of personnell or outsourcing of enterprise functions of city government hasn't been discussed yet. What have they been doing the past year?

Reducing the property maintenance staff will be low on the list. Reducing police & fire staffing levels will be at the top. BTW, what would the impact be if we employed fewer janitors or outsourced window washing to a private operator?

Irritable on West Hill

Spike:
I think we can save the staff time to develop their thought provoking impact study. This is a real solution. But we wouldn't want to impose on the empirical wizard.
15:15:36 - SPIKE - No comments

01 March

Senator King Blames State for Burlington Deficit


Ell Wants Impact Statement

Worden Wants to Layoff Library staff

No Comment from MIA Bruce Slagle - Does He Still Work Here?

How Many Snowplows Do We Have?

Spike Wants Someone to Standup to These Monkeys - No More Bananas


Councilman Bill Ell wants an impact statement regarding the effects of manpower reductions and layoffs on city services. "I would be interested in that," Councilman Bill Ell said. "I'd like to know what the ultimate impact would be in terms of service."

Does it really matter, Bill? How about looking at all of the other city departments before the fire department and police department? I guess if you want to influence the voters, impact taxpayer safety first. Then we should be more amenable to a big tax increase. How about 1 person from EVERY department? Wouldn't that spread the impact out?

Senator King wants to blame this mess on the State and the funding demands for the City's pension fund. King said, "It's not a local tax increase.....we have to collect it, we have to take the fall for it, but it's not ours."

Mini-Me Doug Worden wants to layoff library workers. That will surely help the fundraising efforts for the new library.

No comment from Bruce Slagle. MIA - Missing in action. I guess no one wants to ask him why he didn't know about this budget shortfall a year ago. If they can't find me, I don't have to say anything.

Somebody said that Burlington owns 15 snowplows. But the City only employs 8 drivers qualified to drive them. Can anyone explain that if it's true? Could we sell that excess equipment?

All this sounds like the usual irresponsible, ass-covering, blame-it-on-everybody-else but me attitude that these monkeys represent.

It is time to stop feeding these monkeys and show them all, including the mayor, to the door. Maybe the City Council needs to go get their Commercial Driver's License so they can wheel the snowplows during this depression. And it would be a good career move, too.

14:33:25 - SPIKE - No comments