Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

30 June

Why Is The City Attorney So Far Behind In Billing?

KR writes:
I wonder why the Burlington city attorney is so far behind in billing for their time? The paper says the bills he just submitted are more than 2 months old. How come?

Maybe bad business practices?
13:39:51 - SPIKE - No comments

All BNSF Lawsuit Bills Due Today

Even Though City's Fiscal Year Ends Today Legal Bills Probably Held Over

I would imagine that things are just a beeehive of activity at City Attorney Scott Power's firm today getting all of their legal bills padded, copied and sent to City Hall.

The City's fiscal year ends today and the results are sent to the State Auditor. All of the City's expenses for the year should be tallied.

All of them.
09:27:06 - SPIKE - No comments

Hoschek Hides Behind "Spend Locally"

Hoschek Voted Moments Earlier For Out-Of-County Contract

Provincial Thinking Lauded As An Excuse

According to this morning's newspaper, Des Moines County Supervisor Tim Hoschek voted against a contract approved to Mobile Nursing from Fort Madison to provide companion and homemaker services because the company isn't from Des Moines County.

"To me, it's more important to spend our money in the county," Hoschek said. Hoschek made the statement before the supervisors voted to approve the contract.

What the newspaper didn't tell you is that Hoschek had already voted on a contract awarded to a company located outside of the county a few minutes earlier.

Like we reported Tuesday, Hoschek voted against Mobile Nursing because of his ongoing conflict with the CPC Director.

Hoschek wasn't prepared on Tuesday and didn't have a grasp of what the issues were when the supervisors sat down to vote on these contracts. A fact that is all too common and underreported.

What is more problematic is Hoschek's provincial thinking. No wonder he has trouble with being unprepared. He still thinks the world revolves around Des Moines County.

09:18:42 - SPIKE - No comments

28 June

Supervisors Meeting Another Duh Moment For Hoschek

Supervisor Terribly Unprepared For Significant County Business Decisions

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Des Moines County Supervisors, Supervisor Tim Hoschek was in his usual form - way behind the learning curve from the rest of the supervisors.

Multiple contracts were up for approval before the new fiscal year starts July 1. One important contract to be approved was the county’s insurance coverage. Supervisors Ed Blow and Bob Beck along with the county budget director have spent the last 2 months researching the County’s insurance coverage. Numerous premium increases drove the county to a new insurance carrier.

Hoschek walked into this morning’s meeting expecting the other supervisors to educate him on the issues. His usual, I‘m here now, tell me what I need to know. Never mind I haven’t been involved, I was trough surfing at Steamboat Days, doesn’t cut it anymore with anybody at the Court House, let alone the other Supervisors.

Then, if Hoschek hadn’t been embarrassed enough by his ignorance of the insurance issues, he proceeded to a new level of incompetence by voting yes to some, but not all, of the 8 mental health contracts without any rationale for his vote other than not liking the local CPC Director. Hoschek's usual, "conflict of interest" is wearing real thin.

Hoschek likes to be a figurehead and have everybody else carry him. Today, that didn’t work. Unprepared is unprepared. Why doesn't this guy learn?

Or, did he just have a duh moment?

18:33:31 - SPIKE - No comments

23 June

Breaking News – Court Grants BNSF’s Motion

Judge Quotes Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - A Novel Approach

Other Shoe Will Fall

U. S. Federal Magistrate Bremer signed an Order moments ago granting the BNSF’s motion to reopen the pleadings so the correct railroad entity could be added to the lawsuit. The entity Scott Power missed when he rushed to file his error ridden lawsuit.

Apparently, the judge could clearly see what Scott Power didn’t. The BNSF Railway does have a presence in Des Moines County, Iowa. Power had stated, “there is nothing of record in Des Moines County, Iowa evidencing Defendant’s (the railroad’s) assertion that BNSF Railway Company has any interest in the real property at issue in this case.” See our June 8 posting.

And the Judge’s rule book for Civil Procedure apparently has Chapter 19 in it. Something I guess Scott Power’s rulebook didn’t have.

This lawsuit is not about the railroad having more money to fight Broke Ol' Burlington. It’s about good lawyers practicing good law supported by relevant case law.

Or, in this specific instance, just following the rules. Something our City Attorney has repeatedly demonstrated he has a real hard problem with.

But something Federal Judges have a real passion about.

10:03:12 - SPIKE - No comments


12 Year Light Bulb Dimly Lit

SF writes:
In reading the Hawkeye this morning it appears Mr. Hoschek is the consummate politician. I will not go to Hawaii at the expense of taxpayers. Did the light bulb just go on Tim? It’s only taken 12 years!!

Lots of trips over the years, and nothing but a verbal recollection of what happened during NaCo conferences. (Maybe he can’t put together a coherent sentence)

It must be a re-election year. Just wait, at some point during his campaign, he will make the comment that he still has some work that needs to be done.

Maybe he could apply for one of those city manager positions that are open?

Please somebody run against Timmy.

Before we rejoice in the hope that Hoschek's light bulb came on, consider the intense amount of commotion that surrounded his "decision." It makes you wonder about what other decisions Hoschek has made in the dark that the taxpayers aren't aware of.
08:46:03 - SPIKE - No comments

21 June

Public Service Announcement 3

More City Manager Jobs Available

Recent job openings and wishful thinking that Slagle could qualify.
Downers Grove, Illinois
Gainesville, Florida
Columbus, Nebraska
Parson, Kansas
Greeley, Colorado

Send your stamps to Slagle at City Hall.

20:23:14 - SPIKE - No comments

What The Hell Is Wrong With The Burlington City Council?

"It's About Jobs, It's About Money" Slagle Gets A Raise!!!!!

Spike Throws Up All Over His Shoes - Hell Must Be Freezing Over

As absolutely incredulous as it may seem, the Burlington City Council voted UNANIMOUSLY to give City Manager Bruce Slagle a pay raise, an increase in his car allowance and his retirement. What the hell is wrong with the City Council? Was the air conditioner set too cold? What were you thinking?

"Lost Keys" Ell wanted to give him a BIGGER raise. I guess his way of saying thank you for a good job in repeatedly lying about the railroad lawsuit to the citizens and the newspaper. Slagle even lied to the public about the don't vote for Tim Scott sign. Doesn't anyone see a pattern here?

I am absolutely disgusted with the whole bunch. To reward a conspicuous liar like this is beyond my comprehension. Next thing we know, they'll raise Scott Power's hourly rate.

Vote for 3 new council members this fall. And demand they fire Slagle next year when his contract is up for renewal. That's the way you reward a liar. Fire the bum and the council members that tell us he's worth it!

That's the only hope for this city.
02:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

20 June

Public Service Announcement 2

Post Office Hiring Summer Rural Temps Statewide

Hoschek Already Qualified

Announcements have been posted at local post offices for temporary summer rural mail carriers. Since Hoschek needs something to do maybe he could get some more hours with the post office and keep him from trough surfing this summer.

After all, everyday he is working at the post office is one less day he is a burden to the taxpayers.
20:43:36 - SPIKE - No comments

16 June

Public Service Announcement

Current City Manager Job Openings

As a public service announcement to the citizens of Burlington, we will list the current city manager jobs that are open around the country.

Mesa, Arizona
New Port Richey, Florida
West Linn, Oregon (City manager relieved of her job. See, it can happen.)
Tacoma, Washington

All good golf cities. He could take "Lost Keys" with him.
15:46:57 - SPIKE - No comments

14 June

Hoschek Reportedly At Steamboat Days Trough

Some things at Steamboat Days just never change

It has been reported on Norad Radar that Des Moines County Supervisor Tim Hoschek is deep in the crowd glad handing everybody and their dog again this year.

Spike operatives alerted us to the distinct possibility that you could be accosted by Hoschek's flailing arm near the front gate. Other reports placed him near the beer tent looking for a freebee.

I'm surprised he has time to get his work done up at the Court House. Or, is that slipping for trough time?

We all know one thing. He isn't doing it for free.

14:41:20 - SPIKE - No comments

13 June

Hoschek Missing At Hawaiian Luau

Instead, Hoschek Headed To Big Island In Johnboat For a Beer
FFS writes:

I heard on the news today that a convention for county officials will be held in Hawaii next month. Many counties across the country are not going because of the high cost of airfares and luxury hotels.

I hope our county officials aren't wasting taxpayer dollars for this one.


After his neutering, Hoschek looks at these trips a little bit different. Cook County Commissioners (Chicago) are under the heat for their upcoming trip.

Interesting analysis in that story from the Chicago Tribune. "Commissioner Mike Quigley (D-Chicago) said he attended one of the association's conferences years ago and did not find it worth the time or money. "At a time when you're in fiscal crisis, it's like rubbing salt in the wound to go to Hawaii," Quigley said."
10:05:12 - SPIKE - No comments

12 June

Pattern Of Behavior & Judicial Expediency

We received some mild criticism of our Friday new flash because one reader felt that after reading a similar story the next day in the newspaper, our reader thought the City lost the motion regarding the railroad’s counterclaim regarding the 1985 agreement.

Our reader said the City hadn’t lost “anything.” Apparently he was confused.

The City has lost several times.

1. The City wrongfully filed the lawsuit in Des Moines County District Court. The Federal Court rightfully allowed the case to move to Federal Court. Everyone except the Burlington City Attorney knows that railroads are federally regulated and litigation against any railroad belongs in Federal Court.

2. The Court agreed to delay the trial date.

3. The Court allowed the over length (long) brief to be filed.

The City is going to lose the next motions hearing. Two things will happen.

A. The Court will allow the BNSF Railway Company to enter the lawsuit because the Court realizes the City didn’t initially sue the right party. This saves time, eliminates having to hear another lawsuit, best utilizes Court resources and saves everyone money. That’s judicial expediency.

B. The Court will allow the railroad to file their counterclaim against the City because the BNSF Railway Company has the right to answer the City’s original complaint. And it was supported with relevant case law.

So we base our enthusiasm to tell the story in what has been a pattern of behavior. The City continually screws up and we are going to tell our readers about it.

That pattern of behavior is not going to change.
21:34:00 - SPIKE - No comments

10 June

Breaking News - Court Grants Railroad's Motion Today

Sharp, Shiny Axe Is Closing In On Scrawny Ol' Chicken Neck

U.S. Federal Magistrate Judge Bremer granted the BNSF's motion to file their Overlength Brief. You can read what the Judge allowed to be entered here on Burlington Derailed.com dated June 8.

The Judge must have agreed the world is not flat and the railroad's arguments must have made more sense than the City's nonsensical diatribe about “there is nothing of record in Des Moines County, Iowa evidencing Defendant’s (the railroad’s) assertion that BNSF Railway Company has any interest in the real property at issue in this case.” Except the railroad tracks and cars.

This ruling continues to pave the way for sanctions against the City. Sanctions can be ordered up to 14 days after the case is tried in court.

I guess it is important that you always sue the right party.

And that like the railroad, you support your position with lots of relevant, on-point case law to substantiate your claims.

So the taxpayers pay for another $5,000 exercise. Providing we don't have to pay the railroad's legal fees. If that happens, just triple the legal costs for the City's learning curve. And we're a long way to trial.

09:51:35 - SPIKE - No comments

Did City Council Know - When Did They Know It?

Ever Elusive Answers Still Missing

Did any of the City Council know about the November 18, 2004 letter from the BNSF attorney to Scott Power? Did Bruce Slagle know about it?

If not, why not? Why is the boss always the last to know?
09:50:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 June

Burlington City Council

6:55 pm
MW writes:
Hi Spike:

Over the past few years I have written many letters to the editor concerning the elected officials in Burlington and their lackluster performance. These people have swindled the local population out of untold millions of dollars through poor performance and dreams of grandeur.

The new library will be a tax burden of unheard proportions because of the decline in population and other means of communications such as the Internet where information is more or less instant. This is one reason the library got into the video business, which takes up a large amount of space in the current facility.

Do you have any idea who pays for the live video cam pointed towards the hole in the ground just east of the Mercy Building? What possible reason would someone have a camera there 24/7?

I hope taxpayers aren't picking up the tab. Remember this library was voted down by the taxpayers in a fair vote but our city hall cronies felt they could one better the voters; so I think it's only fair that these same people pick up any additional cost over the current library expenses. It was voted down and I for one couldn't care less about it. The citizens of Burlington already pay a premium for living here although there's nothing premium about living in Burlington anymore.

Your doing a good job Spike, keep up the good work,

Unfortunately, there's no performance clause for elected officials other than to get out and vote, whether it be by voting at your local precinct or placing an absentee ballot in the mail before election day. The most important thing you have to tell your friends is that the status quo isn't working and their vote can make a difference.

The rubberstampers need to be shown the door. If the next batch of 3 don't measure up, show them the door. Or ask for a recall and throw them out early. "Lost Keys" Ell, unfortunately, is here for a few more years. When he hints for re-election, pack his bags at the door and tell him he's done enough damage to this City. Go home and look for his own keys. Leave the City keys alone.

16:19:00 - SPIKE - No comments

No Justice

OJ writes:
9:13 pm
You know talking about all the wrong Slagle, Power, the Council did on the illegal RR lawsuit does get a lot of people exited!

But keep in mind none of them have to answer for anything they do that is wrong. Even if they are found guilty of a rule or infraction or law, all they get is a reprimand by the ethics committee.

In my mind none of them have to answer for any thing they do, Therefore they do what they want. Keep up the good work.

In most cases that would very true. And in cases that we haven't even brought to the public's attention yet, these slippery little fellows have wiggled back in their holes pretty quick.

But, what no one has considered is a taxpayer lawsuit against the City and City Council, both as the public entity AND as individuals. Slagle, Power and the rest of them could all be on the hook for their apparent knowing circumvention (maybe conspiracy-more than 2 people knew about it) of the open meetings laws by conducting an illegal closed session meeting. Not once, but twice. And when you get into discovery in civil court, it's open season.

These people can be legally held accountable. They have just bullied the citizens too long. They are screwing up at a faster and faster pace & their lies are catching up with them one day at a time.

Sometimes when the worm wriggles too hard, he finds himself in a noose.

No justice? No, just delayed.

16:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

08 June

Railroad’s Reply To City’s Resistance - Met With The Double Barrel

Power is Going Be Billing Lots Bigger Bucks After Railroad’s 10 Page Motion

Power Needs 4 “World Is Flat Experts” On Next Conference Call With Judge

Folks, we could try to pick the myriad of zaniness from the lurid details in this recent court filing. It would be boring after awhile and incomprehensible to believe if read in total.

But there is one perfect example of why I believe this City is headed down a one-way road to perdition with this ill-conceived lawsuit spearheaded by Scott Power.

On page 2, Introduction, we see what the competency level is for the legal counsel the citizens of Burlington employ. And where the newest members of the flat earth society have truly excelled beyond my wildest expectations.

The railroad cites the City’s last filing. Power had stated, “there is nothing of record in Des Moines County, Iowa evidencing Defendant’s (the railroad’s) assertion that BNSF Railway Company has any interest in the real property at issue in this case.” (I agree with 7, just maybe the railroad cars)

Then do about 3 minutes research at google.com (located here on BurlingtonDerailed.com as a convenience to our readers) and punch in the search term: “BNSF predecessor railroads” without quotes.

Select item #1 - "Predecessor railroads to the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway" A pdf history file will download.

Then drop down to item #3 - Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway: Information From Answers.com

Then you only need to go finance.yahoo.com and type in: “bni” as the ticker symbol to skim the BNSF annual report and a whole lot more.

Total legal prep time: 30 minutes.

So, in a matter of a few minutes, the world is no longer flat, dispelled in one fell swoop by common sense. And this provincial thinking that the world revolves around this town hits the fan.

And now you know why you should be upset.

I wonder how much we paid for this "flat world" thinking?

22:38:04 - SPIKE - No comments

Railroad's Double Barrel Reply

Power's Billings About To Go Plum Out Of Sight

The City didn't sue the BNSF Railway Company when it filed its lawsuit. The BNSF Railway Company was the successor to the Burlington Northern Railroad. Something Power should have known before he filed the lawsuit.

The railroad clearly explains that to the Court.

22:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

07 June

3 Stories* Hit The Fan This Morning - More Will Follow Later Wednesday

Don't Miss The Exclusives

*Something hit the fan..........

23:47:09 - SPIKE - No comments

What Did They Know And When Did They Know It?

Scott Power Told In November “There is no legal or factual basis for the City’s current suit.”

Railroad Planned Sanctions Against Power and City – Sanctions Still Possible

Filings Tell Power To “So Advise Your Client” of Intended Railroad Action

City's Lawsuit "Conspicuously Absent" of 1985 Agreement

A Certified letter written by the BNSF attorney to Burlington City Attorney Scott Power on November 18, 2004 surfaced in a recent federal court filing. Contents of that letter and other documents paint a lot different picture of the City’s lawsuit against the BNSF than what has been portrayed to the public.

The letter to Power states, “ The City and Railroad resolved their dispute over the title to the property and certain portions of the deeds from the City to the Railroad or its predecessors in 1984.”

“The City agreed in pertinent part of that the Railroad’s right to use the property “shall be deemed to be the permanent and exclusive and right of (the Railroad), unimpeded in any way, for so long as the property is used for railroad purposes.”

“The Railroad continues to use the property at issue in the current litigation for railroad purposes.”

The letter continues on to say that the railroad was prepared to file a motion for sanctions should the City not drop the lawsuit since “there is no legal or factual basis for the City’s current suit.” And Power to “so advise your client” of the intended railroad action for sanctions.

So the big Watergate questions remain.

What did City Manager Bruce Slagle know and when did he know it? Did Power advise “it’s about jobs” Slagle of this letter or its implications?

Did the City Council know about it? If so, when? If they did, why wasn’t this disclosed to the public?

Is there anyone left in City Hall paying attention to this mess? I’d hate to think that the people of this community and the elected City Council are afraid of a bunch of bullies and thugs.

23:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Mayor Mike Edwards Caught Up By “It’s About Jobs” Comments

Lawsuit Called Improper

A letter written by the BNSF attorney stated the City is trying to improperly “leverage” the railroad into returning the lost jobs.

Cited in the letter and the motion for sanctions, Edwards' comments regarding the lawsuit clearly indicate motive was punishment for the shops closing. Probably some of Courtney's advice-Hang 'em, hang high.

The letter states, “The City commenced the current litigation in response to what it perceived as a the Railroad’s decision to close the West Burlington Shops. Indeed, at the time the City commenced this action, the Mayor, yourself (Scott Power), and members of the City Council clearly expressed the City’s purpose in pursuing litigation against the Railroad as an attempt to leverage the Railroad through litigation and damage claims into reopening the west Burlington Shops. While I will not attempt to recite all of the statements, the following are representative of those appearing at the time:”

"The reason for the suit is to bring back the jobs," Mayor Mike Edwards said. "It's that simple. The railroad has been a good employer in this community for a number of years and we'd like it to remain so. That's what the essence of this lawsuit is all about." The Hawkeye (March 5, 2004)

“It's not known how much the city could receive as compensation for the breach of contract through the courts, "but I hope it's expensive enough for them to change their minds," Edwards said.” The Hawkeye (March 5, 2004)

“Mayor Mike Edwards, however, reiterated what he stated during a press conference March 4 that laid out the city's intentions: The suit is about jobs.” The Hawkeye (March 25, 2004)

(In response to allegations that the city brought the suit to recover monetary damages.) "Nothing (else) could be further from the truth," he said. The Hawkeye (March 25, 2004)

“Although language in the lawsuit indicates the city is seeking a monetary settlement, city officials hope to win a judgment high enough that the railroad finds it more beneficial to return the jobs to Burlington, Edwards said. "That was the ultimate mission from the get-go," he said. "If we could get these jobs, we'll have done more than anyone in government's done in the last five years." The Hawkeye (March 25, 2004)

Now, months later, the railroad can also call Slagle, "Lost Keys" Ell, Tom Courtney and Senator King to testify that the lawsuit is about jobs. Or, was it money? Imagine how confused the judge will be. He'll stop this nonsense.

And I guess this will go down as one of Burlington’s finest mayoral moments.

22:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Railroad Turns Up Heat

City Attorney Sues Wrong Party

Where do we start? There's so much to report we have to break things down into pieces.

The latest series of motions filed in the BNSF lawsuit reads like City Law Students Gone Mad – The Sequel. It’s more than even Spike can believe.

In the last federal court filing posted on BurlingtonDerailed.com, picked up later by the local newspaper, the BNSF filed a motion to add the BNSF Railway Company to the City’s lawsuit. Burlington City Attorney Scott Power and his band of assistants had overlooked yet another minor detail in their haste to file the lawsuit.

They had forgotten to sue the railroad. Instead, the city sued Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. Seems Power didn't do his history research.

Now, the BNSF has brought this issue before the federal court. Along with a myriad of other details the boys on 3rd street hadn’t quite gotten right in previous filings.

It seems we just keep paying and paying and paying for things not done right.

If we go to the dentist and he pulls the wrong tooth, we sue the dentist.

We go to federal court and we have a bunch of misfiled, sloppy and incomplete documents presented to the court, the taxpayers just get to keep paying the bill.

There is something really wrong with this picture and it’s about time the mayor had the guts to be a leader and started raising hell and demand some answers from Slagle and Power.

But unfortunately, there is more to the story to prevent that.
21:09:35 - SPIKE - No comments

November Certified Letter To Power & Motion For Sanctions

Was This Letter Withheld From City Council?

Mayor Edwards Quoted - Did Edwards Know He Had Been Quoted?

Did Slagle Know?

Why Was This Letter Sent Certified?

21:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Lawsuit Update Coming Soon

Check Back Later
13:47:12 - SPIKE - No comments

Horace Mann Residual Value

What's It Worth When The Smoke Clears?

MW writes:
With the school board saying that they're going to take the money and run instead of rebuilding, that should mean that building and the land next to it(the football field) should only be worth $7,000.

13:43:42 - SPIKE - No comments

Breaking News - What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?

Follow The Money!

In light of the recent Watergate revelation, we now have to ask the question we had hammered into us over 10 days by the media's rehash of the Watergate break-in and Deep Throat revelation. What did they know and when did they know it?

People knew lots of things. But when?

See us later today for all the details or tune into KCPS' Morning Show tomorrow morning.
09:04:19 - SPIKE -

04 June

Local Attorney Makes Good Case For Railroad Lawsuit

That’s Why We Have Lawsuits – Conflicting Opinions

In this morning’s newspaper, local attorney Steve Crowley makes some excellent points about the role lawsuits play in civil law albeit from a litigator’s perspective.

Crowley says we should ask these questions. "What am I arguing about and why?" "How much money, sweat and tears am I willing to spend on this dispute?" "Can we settle this matter?" "Can we find common ground and resolve our differences?"

Points well made. Trouble is, the City was never willing to negotiate a resolution. The City refused to meet with the railroad to look at any resolution. How can you morally obligate thousands of taxpayer dollars to a lawsuit without trying to resolve it first?

I think Mr. Crowley would agree that legal counsel can’t withhold material facts from their client. Facts that are germane to the case.

Facts that could have swayed the vote to even enter into a lawsuit. Scott Power didn’t tell the City Council about the 1985 agreement. I'd fire my lawyer for that.

Crowley goes on to say the railroad isn’t evil, just a portion of corporate America. A corporate America that can do whatever they want without fear of accountability.

While corporate America may appear to take advantage of everything, I don’t think it is true in this case. The BSNF didn’t have enough locomotive maintenance work to support 2 facilities. Excess capacity = excess costs.

The BSNF has a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to manage their operations and assets in such a manner to reduce costs. Something our City Council should learn from and demand from their staff.

No public corporation can subsidize a local economy with shareholder money. And no court is going to make a public corporation do that by returning jobs to the community.

And contrary to Crowley’s thoughts, the BNSF never made money with the West Burlington Shops. The huge costs of those operations appear on the expense side of the ledger. Those costs are not income.

Mr. Crowley goes on to paint a picture that somehow, the railroad has received the benefits of corporate welfare from Burlington. That’s true.

The City deeded the railroad property in exchange for land to expand the railroad in the mid-1800’s. If it weren’t for the railroads and the economic impact they brought with them, there wouldn’t have been the Westward Expansion.

In exchange for this land, the railroad provided millions of dollars in wages, taxes and collateral business to the local economy for 150+ years. How long must a corporation pay before it has paid its supposed debt?

Every court has upheld railroad land grants were repaid long ago. A fact that anyone charging by the hour to litigate a case like this should already know.

There was never “free” land. There was a land exchange contractually paid for by building and operating a railroad presence for 150+ years. We received our return from the railroad’s investment.

Most of today’s economic development leaders seem pleased when a new company comes to town and the development dollars contributed to that company are repaid in 5 years worth of economic impact. Most deals don’t last that long.

So in response to your thoughts, I offer your questions again.

"What am I arguing about and why?" "How much money, sweat and tears am I willing to spend on this dispute?" "Can we settle this matter?" "Can we find common ground and resolve our differences?"

No one ever asked these questions. That’s the first step to openly evaluate litigation as a solution.

The step after resolution failed. A step Burlington never took.

10:46:43 - SPIKE - No comments

03 June

Privately Funded Travel For Iowa Legislators

Limited Spending By Most Legislators – Except Those With The Most Spending

Possible Sources For Hoschek Travel Money Uncovered?

As the result of an ABC investigation, MM wrote BurlingtonDerailed.com yesterday outlining privately funded expenditures for trips made by our legislators. So we had to do a little digging.

Political Money Line has identified privately funded expenditures by politicians over the last 5 1/2 years. Most of the money spent comes from lobbyists.

618 total respondents comprised the Political Money Line survey. Iowa lawmakers faired pretty well for the ones that disclosed what the source of their travel funds were.

What was surprising was that 3 of our Iowa Congressmen didn’t itemize their spending.

Questions remain about travel cost sources and itemization for:
#143 Tom Latham (R): disclosed six trips at a cost of $40,792. No itemization.
#234 Steve King (R): disclosed one trip at a cost of $25,853. No itemization.
#281 (if listed) Leonard Boswell (D): disclosed seven trips at a cost of $19,241 to ABC, but for some reason is not listed by PoliticalMoneyLine.com. No itemization.

Fiscally responsible travelers:
#321 Tom Harkin (D): disclosed five trips at a cost of $15,599. Understandably, a New Zealand trip ate up $8,855 of his total in airfare alone.
#429 Chuck Grassley (R): disclosed five trips at a cost of $7,966.
#441 Jim Leach (R): disclosed one trip at a cost of $6,895.
#579 Jim Nussle (R): disclosed one trip $1,044.

A few notes. Boswell, Harkin and Nussle all came to Des Moines for the World Food Prize underwritten to an extent by John Ruan. Grassley went to the NRA Convention. Leach made one trip to Switzerland for the World Economic forum where he gave a presentation on American legislative perspective. Nothing surreptitious here.

Des Moines County Supervisor Tim Hoschek would fit in about #547 on this list, which is pretty good. Except he is using taxpayer money instead of private funds. And we don’t get an itemization of what he spent our money on.

Maybe we could talk some private source into paying for Hoschek’s trips so we don’t have to. Hoschek’s Hawaiian Holiday in July is looming in the future.
14:06:13 - SPIKE - No comments

02 June

KCPS's Fred News Flash Verified

KCPS Morning Show's Fred Hits Nail

Spike Directly Applauds Senator King's Conduct

Amid widespread speculation on KCPS's Big Show this morning, Fred suggested that Spike had indirectly paid Senator King a compliment for his stand regarding the deteriorating condition of the Burlington Police Department building.

Let the dams burst, dogs howl and the babies cry, that is what happened. I know it may seem disengenious to our dastardly ways. But Senator King did something right whether "Lost Keys" Ell or anyone else in the city likes it.

Is it enough to get the Senator out of Spike's doghouse? Absolutely not, but at least he's trying. And not covering this up like the rest of them are so quick to do.

And who knows, maybe Power can go file a lawsuit against somebody for those bricks moving without his permission.
15:12:03 - SPIKE - No comments

01 June

Chicken Little Said The Sky Is Falling

Let’s Hope It’s The Sky and Not The Police Station

As Usual Slagle Knows Nothing - It Was OK 10 Years Ago

“Lost Keys” Ell Says “Quiet Everyone”

Senator Chris King and Supervisor Ed Blow have one thing in common. They both recognize a problem.

There are serious problems with the building that houses the Burlington Police Department and the Des Moines County Attorney. The walls are bowed out and the floors aren’t flat. The building is moving.

Bricks standing vertical are strong when held together by mortar. Mortar is the glue. When things start sagging and bowing it isn’t a questions of, if? It’s a question of, when?

“Lost Keys” Ell is upset that the Senator didn’t huddle with him to get his sagely advice on how to handle a cover-up. Bruce Slagle says he doesn’t know about it. Which I find extremely hard to believe since the city sends their maintenance crews to make the doors fit as the building has settled further.

Building engineers can put load sensors and laser sensors on that building and will find out what is moving and how far. We can spend thousands of dollars to investigate. Or, Slagle could walk (or ride with Mini-Me) down to the building’s northeast corner and just look up at the north and east walls. You won’t see any flat spots. Nothing plumb or square.

Maybe it’s time to consolidate the police and sheriff departments in another building not under the City’s control. Then integrate the police and sheriff department under one umbrella not under the city's control. Sheriff Mike Johnstone wants to retire. Police Chief Dave Wunnenberg can handle both departments.

But that all makes too much sense. Even if it is that simple.
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