Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

28 February

RR lawsuit


Spike,

I've talked with an individual who has first-hand knowledge that BNSF will not proceed with finding a tenant for the shops until the lawsuit is settled. The City Council started this fiasco and only the Council can end it and get on with improving our City. It takes two members to bring up the issue.

Irritable on West Hill


Rumor on the street is that there are prospective tenants and the City Council knows it. It appears that the City Council is turning a blind eye to redevelopment to proceed with this no-win lawsuit. And that makes me mad to have egos get in the way of creating the jobs we so desperately need.

I question whether it's the railroad's job to find a tenant for the shops. What is their incentive? To get sued again if the new tenant doesn't do what the City wants?

This is a public relations nightmare and only the City Council can fix it.

Spike

12:07:23 - SPIKE - No comments

Slagle’s Defiant Arrogance


Saturday I wrote of Arrogant Incompetence pertaining to Slagle and Power’s continued manipulation of Burlington and specifically, their involvement in the lawsuit debacle.

Today’s quote from Burlington City Manager Bruce Slagle is a glaring example of Slagle’s arrogance.

When asked about the BSNF motion to transfer the railroad lawsuit to the Surface Transportation Board, Slagle said, “In my opinion, the question’s been asked and answered.”

Well Bruce, that question WAS NOT “asked and answered.”

The railroad asked the Judge to consider the premise of moving the case to the STB during his consideration of the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. The judge didn’t have a motion in front of him to move the case to the STB.

The Judge has that formal motion now and there is nothing that the City can argue that won’t ultimately result in this lawsuit being heard by the STB.

So, if this isn’t arrogance on your part spouting off to the newspaper, what was it?

Incompetence?
11:53:12 - SPIKE - No comments

Even The President Loves Spike


Spike:

http://www.drudgereport.com/flash3wsb.htm

Alternate media gets thumbs up from the President
. Old king makers like Dan Rather and the Citizen Delaney are finding it harder to ignore the truth to promote their agenda.

Are you expecting an invite to overnight in the Lincoln bedroom?

GH

If we get a hit from POTUS, we'll post it to confirm the rumor. But, I think there might be some critics of Spike reporting live on White House computers.

Spike


11:25:28 - SPIKE - No comments

27 February

Honeymoon Over For Scott And Thomas


Reuse of Railroad Shops With Lawsuit Hanging Fire?

Both Councilmen Scott and Thomas said during their campaign they would not interfere with the past Burlington City Council's decision to go forward with the railroad lawsuit. That was then. This is now.

I believe that you both need to rethink that idea. Afterall, from what we hear on the street there are reuse possibilities for the shops. I find it very difficult to believe the railroad will participate with the City or anyone else if that lawsuit is still a bone of contention. Why should they?

You need to send a message to everyone worldwide that Burlington is open for business and that you made a mistake based on misrepresentations of others.

This lawsuit has to stop. The region is spending $300-400,000 to hire consultants to help turn this downhill slide around. You can begin to reverse the death spiral the moment this lawsuit is dismissed.

If the Chamber and Hinkle are afraid to ruffle the feathers of their attorneys, I'm not. People have forgetten Hinkle is represented by Scott Power's law firm as is Southeast Iowa Regional Planning.

And it is troubling that the Chamber has never openly criticized the City for the lawsuit. But Chamber members criticize us for airing their dirty laundry. You can't have an effective economic development group rendered ineffective by conflicts of interest.

It looks to me like Scott and Thomas have no choice but to act. We cannot go forward with this ill-conceived railroad lawsuit. We have no viable case, no viable lawyers and no money to pay for it.

How much more do you need to say, No!!
05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

BNSF Motion To Move Surface Transportation Board


Motion Available For Download - Click Here

Once again, we get the opportunity to see the details of the railroad lawsuit play out. It is a story that we would not see if we only had the advertiser to get our information from.

Like most motions the railroad has presented to the court, the motion to move the case to the STB has numerous clues of how this will ultimately play out. You won't hear the warning signs from Power or Slagle or even that Sore Loser King. But they are there.

Here a few gems and possible relevance.

(STB) “referral helps secure “desirable uniformity” and takes advantage of “expert knowledge” in cases raising issues “not within the conventional experience of judges..” The local court may not have the specialized knowledge to decide this case.

“Primary jurisdiction serves judicial economy because the dispute may be decided within the agency (STB), thus obviating the need for the courts to intervene.” Money will be saved by moving the case to the STB and that intervention may eliminate the need for the local court to have a trial.

“Significantly, the Eighth Circuit has expressed its strong support for invoking the doctrine of primary jurisdiction (being heard before the STB), and for the advantages of expertise and uniformity that it affords." You can't have 100 differnt judges ruling a 103 different ways. Controlling railroads IS a matter of national security not local meddling.

“referrals (to STB) serve to “avoid conflict between the courts and an administrative agency arising from either the court’s lack of expertise with the subject matter of the agency’s regulation or from contradictory rulings by the agency and the court.” The railroad doesn't need a ruling contradictory to established case law.

“….as BNSF has suggested, if this Court has questions about the reach of the governing federal law, it should refer the case to the agency whose job it is to interpret that law. Other courts have not hesitated to do so.” If you have questions, go to the agency that specializes in these matters.

“Judicial economy would be also be served if the entire case were stayed pending the STB’s decision on the referred issues.” We don't need to spend the money on a trial AND have a hearing before the STB.

“The STB’s decision may resolve the case altogether, and, at the least, it will narrow the scope of any remaining proceedings before the Court.” After we get done smashing the City they won't want to go any further.


01:35:00 - SPIKE - No comments

25 February

Lawsuit Takes Step Towards Surface Transportation Board


Taxpayers Are So Screwed By Egotistical Incompetence

On Friday the BNSF filed a motion in Federal Court asking the Court to transfer the lawsuit to the Surface Transportation Board in Washington, D.C. This is really bad news.

Burlington cannot afford a hearing at the STB. Scott Power is not competent to represent Burlington at the STB in any manner, including carrying the briefcase for a Washington lawyer. It will cost $500,000 to get a real lawyer to take this case before the STB. If you could find one willing to take a losing case. Good lawyers don't like losers.

By moving the case to the STB it also opens the door to resolve the case without further court proceedings. I believe there is little doubt the railroad will win at the STB. There is too much case law that has been made over the last 130 years that will shoot down any City “theory.”

The railroad also asked the Court to delay the April trial until the STB has conducted a hearing and ruled on the case. So plan on another year of Power milking the fees while acting as the liaison with the Washington lawyer.

Burlington cannot afford another week with this lawsuit. We have paid enough money to Power and put up long enough with Slagle’s incompetence.

It’s time for the City Council to stop this madness. Sore loser, nobody King accuses me of no solution to the problem. Here are the real solutions, nitwit.

1. Fire Slagle and Power.
2. File a claim with Power’s malpractice insurance company for the legal fees.
3. Drop the lawsuit immediately.
4. Pay the railroad’s legal fees to get their help to redevelop the shops property. You’ll be money ahead even if it costs $250,000.
5. Work with Angelou Economics and Lockwood Greene to salvage what is left of this town. We need real professionals not a bunch of giggling academics.

Every item you don’t do on this list will cost this City and the taxpayers millions of dollars and valuable time we could more effectively use to compete in the real world.

00:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Bid Farewell to “Barge Laden” - Laden With Lies


Spike,

There is some good to the plan for a land-based gambling operation. The unsightly blight resembling a box on a boat will be banished from Burlington's riverfront. Visitors wishing to see the river will be able to find a place to park. People would be wise to remember the promises that put this craft of tasteless kitsch in Burlington.

The gambling barge was supposed to be the mainspring of downtown Burlington' rebirth. People would be drawn back to the blight and businesses would follow. Tourists would be packed shoulder to shoulder just like Main Street in a Disney park.

The Hotel Burlington, later sold for $1.00, would return to its glory days when wealthy visitors would alight from the Exposition Flyer and check into S. E. Iowa's finest hostelry.

Horse drawn carriages would provide a romantic ride from the hotel to the gambling barge. These carriages would jostle through streets crowded with pushcart vendors selling hot dogs and souvenirs. Burlington would get rich in the bargain with all the related businesses.

How much of this ever came true?

Keep this in mind when faced with the promises being offered up regarding a land-based casino.

KL

It never will be like the promises, it’s more like a magic kingdom. If you keep in mind, magic is just an illusion.

An economy based on gambling is less than magical. It’s VooDoo economics.

Spike



00:02:00 - SPIKE - No comments

24 February

Clueless in Burlington


Spike,

Bill Ell tells the public that the proposed gambling palace is not a "city project".

When water, trash, and sewer fees go up, it's the water board's decision. When school levies increase, that's the board of education's call.

When the Bondo bridge was being slapped together and the city spent thousands, on mandatory overtime; for a city engineer, it was a state project. The “mess” (Edit) of southbound Roosevelt and Agency, Roosevelt and Division, Roosevelt and West Avenue and eastbound West Avenue are all state projects.

Business is lining up to leave the area, but that problem belongs to the chamber of commerce, grow greater burlington, and the economic development entities.

Are there any more? For the past three years, at least, ALL high priced projects, ALL tax increases, ALL lost jobs, and ALL overtime expenses have not been CITY projects or CITY Council concerns.

"We have no control," is their typical response.

Well, here's mine: GET OUT!! We, the Citizens of Burlington, obviously don't need you. You are as useful as teats on a boar hog.

Here's a newsflash for you prancing debutantes, and something you won't read in the editorial pages of the Hawkeye: IF it happens inside Burlington city limits, IF it affects the residents, IF it impacts the bottom line, then IT is a city project and a city council concern.

That philosophy is called effective city government and it is sorely lacking in this council.

Un-inspired
04:52:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Back To The Future II


Spike,

The plot line of Back To The Future II a man of small mind gets key to making a fortune at gambling and becomes rich and powerful thereby turning his community into a living hell.

Biff Tannen, or Randy Winegard? How about both?

Who has the Delorean ready to fly and set things straight again?

DF

How about our drunk Mayor ready to fly in his Jeep at Burger King?

Ooops, wrong story.

Spike
00:19:00 - SPIKE - No comments

23 February

Gambling Pitfalls


Read ‘Em and Weep – Bankruptcy Statistics

Gambling Takes From Community Says Creighton University


Spike:

Check out bankruptcy data by county in Iowa, click here. The trend is disturbing. Des Moines County is right up there in the race of disgrace.

Is it all due to casinos? You cannot honestly say casinos alone are responsible. The general economic decay as high paying employers flee is to blame as well. However, when gambling was sold to the public the story went that casinos would bring prosperity. Where is the gain?

Methodists and Mafioso may have different views on the moral issue. Morality aside, look at the results. Academics at Creighton specializing in Economics and Law came to the conclusion that the longer a casino operates; the more it takes from within a community. Click here.

Only a fool believes gambling in a community with little outside drawing power is economic development. They are no different than the afflicted; milking cash off credit cards so they have money to gamble with. A harsh day of reckoning awaits both.

JK

It’s interesting that the bankruptcy filings follow the gambling counties. Gambling proponents will say casinos are located in populous areas that just happen to be co-located near casinos that have job loss.

Then you read the thoughts from Creighton University.

I think the Creighton ideas appear valid. The longer a casino operates, the more it takes from a community. That works in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, other gambling meccas and even larger cities that survive because of bigger customer turnover.

There is just so much water in our jar. And our jar is not very big.

We’re going to get this casino deal whether we like it, or not. It’s all about money. To the tune of $89,000+ per day until the money runs out.

Spike


13:34:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Lawsuit Billings Understated


Spike,

I see the city’s lawyer is still playing games with the lawsuit bills. Didn’t the Advertiser say we had spent about $97,000 the last time the taxpayers paid the bill?

That would make the costs about $166,000 for the lawsuit, not the $143,000 they said this morning?

Stay on this.

DF

The crap surrounding this lawsuit gets more unbelievable everyday something happens. I thought the costs were around $100,000 LAST APRIL when Power last submitted a bill. So you could be close. And you have the billings for January and February to add to this total.

But who knows. These same people were the ones that lied to us about the lawsuit being about jobs. Or, was it money? Why would they tell us the truth now given their pattern of behavior for lies and deceit?

“That’s None of Your Damn Business,” Power said on September 19, 2005 regarding the billing for the railroad lawsuit. I guess it still isn’t our business since Power didn’t provide a detailed accounting for his recent billing. I guess when you have something to hide from everybody you need to hide it as long as you can.

What really upsets me is the dumb ass behavior from Slagle and Worden. Slagle told Power to submit the billings but not in a manner to jeopardize the lawsuit. Wake up Bruce, there is nothing that will affect this lawsuit now. The City is going to get a beating they will never forget. And we are never going to let your despicable behavior and mismanagement be forgotten. You are culpable whether Ell and Edwards like it or not.

Then Mini-Me Worden can’t explain the claim for Power’s billings being filed under the letter “E” instead of the letter “A” for Aspelmeier, Fisch, Power, Engberg and Helling, Power’s law firm.

So, we have the Assistant City Manager and Budget Director that can’t explain why the computer software the City uses to PAY BILLS doesn’t list the claims in alphabetical order. Worden’s comments included “it’s kinda weird.”

Don’t you think you should find out? If your magic software can’t spell, how the hell do we know it can add? I guess it doesn’t matter to Worden unless it interferes with his golf game. I’ll bet Worden could tell us what he shot last round at Flint Hills!

I only have one question. How are we able to verify that Power spent all of the time he said he did working on this lawsuit if we can’t have a detailed, line item copy of his billings in a timely manner?

It seems to me that we have to place an enormous amount of trust in a part-time employee that has a losing record of courtroom experience to not run up a huge bill for chasing theories.

And we get to pay for Power and Slagle’s screw-ups.

Spike
11:33:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Ad Revenues Spike For Editorial Coverage


Spike

The editorial in the Hawkeye Thursday morning about the Casino just about made me sick. I do believe if we are to have it, Randy Winegard will share in the profits more than anyone else. I think Randy is fair and he is a good guy.

I also believe that there are some major issues with too much gambling. Some will choose to ignore it because our government itself is addicted to the revenue.

The Hawkeye's editorial was one sided and did not do their readers justice. That is disappointing.

With Fun City advertising almost daily in the Hawkeye and Catfish Bend, a Hawkeye customer too, don't you think this is influencing Delaney's writings? It's so obvious it stinks. He just isn't doing his job in a fair way.

I spoke with one of the board of directors of a local bank and he told me that he is aware of several bankruptcies due to the boat and no other reason.

When our leaders become addicted to gambling revenue, we are in big trouble. Adults are poor role models. Is it a good role model to fill up with beer and poor your earnings into a slot machine? And we ask why the kids turn out the way they do!

Why would they call the Casino something that it is not and the council sits on their hands without saying a word? It is not a moored vessel or tied up boat. It is a land based Casino. Do they have to tell an untruth to get this passed?

Does this council support something untruthful? It sure looks like it.

Anonymous

I was surprised at the advertiser's cavalier attitude about gambling. But you can't expect much from people that sit at a desk to write a story. Lots of things fail to happen in this town because people don't get out and see for themselves what is going on. Or act upon it when they do.

Meanwhile, down on Main Street the anonymous writer of that editorial was quick to tell us to stay home if we don't want to lose our money gambling at the casino. It is obvious they don't have a clue about what it takes to make an $89,000 per day revenue stream; LOTS of losers.

I wonder how the editors would like being told to stay out of the Sombrero if they didn't want to become drunks. The Sombrero would be bankrupt and another Burlington institution of higher education would be gone.

It's all about the money. Ad revenues for a full page ad are probably $2500+ each. So do the math. Every time you see a full page ad, add another $2500 to the advertiser's revenue stream.

It's all about the money. And it is easier to overlook bigger issues when you have beer money.

Spike

04:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Dresser Rand Announces Restructuring


Tuthill Energy Systems Integrated – No Direct Word On Murray

On Wednesday Dresser Rand announced the restructuring plan for integrating its steam turbine business with the steam turbine assets of Tuthill Energy Systems.

The Dresser Rand press release did not specifically mention whether the Burlington plant was spared.

We’ll keep you posted.
03:19:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Cost Of Votes


Spike

Local state Senator Tom Courtney was on KBUR Wednesday. Courtney informed the public that Mike Blouin will have the support of the powerful AFSMCE union employees. This was also reported in the Des Moines Register.

Some of the studies have shown that our strong unions have actually hurt us here in Iowa. Will Blouin be good for all of us in Iowa if will he take care of the government union employees first?

Should the rest of us get our check books out? It doesn't matter if we are a Democrat or a Republican, Blouin will be obligated to this union and we will pay the bill.

TK

00:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Boat Ramp Fees


Spike,

The word has been out that Tim Scott wants boaters to have to pay to use the city's ramps and docks.

Would it be okay then for the users of his beloved disc golf course in the park to also pay a fee to play. Recreation is recreation.

PC

00:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

22 February

Murray Contingency Plan?


Spike:

You are right that all stops should be pulled out to retain Murray Dresser Rand. What happens if Dresser Rand abandons Murray? Is there management at Murray willing to propose a buy-out of the facility with the ability to make it go on its' own?

You can not compete against 3rd world labor mass producing widgets. Murray never has fit into this mass mold.

There is a lot of Engineering and production talent at Murray worth saving. Custom engineering and production is the future for American manufacturing.

If a Murray buy-out and local management is honestly viable, what of the necessary financing? Are local banks willing to take the lead? If they wish to spread the risk, would they work to build a consortium to arrange financing?

You are right about Murray being worth a fleet of Catfish Bend gambling barges. Are local business leaders ready to pull their heads out the slot machines?

GH

If there is a viable market to support a stand alone Murray we can find the people to run it. Dresser Rand will take everything that is theirs. But you can't extract the knowledge that goes with making this type of machinery.

If there is a market, you can create a better line of equipment with the people we have here.The guys that bought Dresser/Murray are investment bankers. They don't care about anything but money.

Financing is another issue. We don't want the local banks involved. For them, thinking regionally is about what's going on in Middletown. Thinking globally is branching out to Des Moines.

People at the state and national level realize the true value of these jobs to the local and world economy. Funding can be obtained; it just won't be locally and may be internationally.

All of this requires hard work with progressive, forward-thinking, open-minded professionals that know how to do something other than lunch. The core professionals are sitting in the Murray building right now. No Wall Street raiders can take that away from Burlington.

The only reason to rely on a gambling based economy is because it is easy pickin's. You don't have to work hard with progressive, forward thinking, open-minded professionals that know how to do something other than lunch. You don't have to risk your billion dollar paper portfolio. You won't miss lunch or golf.

It can be done. And done exceedingly well. If there is a market. And from what I can research, there is a real world wide market for their machinery.

It is hard work. The best rewards come from hard work. You want to show the world that Burlington is ready to play ball, save these jobs. That's how Topeka sniped our railroad workers. Now show the world we're in the game.

Spike

12:02:21 - SPIKE - No comments

Murray's Future


We're hearing rumblings that the Murray Dresser Rand plant is on the block for possible closure. We don't know how things are really going, but I have to guess that negotiations are taking place.

If there was ever a time for the state and city to dump their pocketbooks upside down, this is it. We have had abuse of incentives in several major projects locally including the ethanol plant. And West Burlington is a TIF district nightmare of abuse.

The Murray jobs are worth 100 times the ethanol plant jobs and 1000 times Catfish Bend jobs in incentive value. High tech manufacturing and engineering jobs have to be retained at all costs. We should match New York's incentive package. We do have a better mouse trap.

05:06:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Conflicting Interest


Spike,

Is it possible to get a list of the people who hold stock in the riverboat and the soon to be built casino? I'm wondering who these people are and how connected they are with the decisions that have been made.

I've lived in this town long enough; I can tell when something is not quite right. What is the real story? Do any of these people have connections that would further the cause? I'm willing to wager on it.

BB


I'd like to see that list, too. I agree with you, there are names on that list connected to all of these casino plans and are way too close to the deal.

I know for a fact that there was a local banker that was very involved with the casino committee efforts to see that gambling was renewed a few years back.

I don't care what anybody has to say about that. If these local banks won't/can't/refuse to invest in local businesses, they have absolutely no business being involved in Catfish Bend in any capacity. That's not a community leader and it sure as hell isn't a banker.

Spike
01:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

New Middle School


It is time to stand up and shout: “Stop The Bus.”

Spike -

$32 million (for starters) for a new middle school on Sunnyside and Roosevelt? Why a new palace complex on valuable commercial ground? Why only blocks away from the WB school district? Is this an attempt to force a consolidation with/closure of WB schools? Or is it just because Mike Book hisself (pardon my grammar, I went to Burlington schools) lives off Sunnyside?

I do not understand this focus on bizarre ultra-modern architecture, “green space,” outdoor sports fields, and other frills that have nothing to do with the basic education so sorely lacking in Burlington schools. And what is this weird talk about doing a “public service” by demolishing the mobile home parks? Is Herr Book some eugenicist trying to exterminate the impoverished mongrels? When his overspending is helping to create that poverty?

I know that in the past, James Madison was the least energy efficient building in the school district.
Horace Mann was a beautiful building and it had its own large park for recreation. Oak Street is a fine building with a huge lot.

Even the old Burlington High School (I refuse to call it Apollo) is a perfectly usable low cost building with its own Clark field house and Bracewell stadium.

This “Newer and Fewer” boondoggle has been perhaps the biggest waste in Burlington history. The relative quality of education in Burlington schools keeps dropping.

LK

I think you could invest a lot of money in several buildings that would do just fine until there is money to pay for this new school. It's like buying a used car with poor gas mileage instead if buying a new car. You can buy a lot of gas for the cost of the depreciation of driving that new car off the lot.

Rumor on the street is that they want to build this new school where the trailer park is at Sunnyside and Roosevelt and will have to use eminent domain to get the property.

I think we need to focus on what we teach. Not where we teach.

Spike


00:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Great Mistakes Of The Press


Spike:

Here is a web site that the local Advertiser should be a regular contributor to.

When the Advertiser pulls their next major error of hilarious proportions, this site needs to be alerted. The infamy of the Advertiser should be shared with the world.

FG

www.regrettheerror.com will tire of our emails.

Spike
00:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

21 February

KBUR Misses Story News - By A Week


Hearing a little discussion this morning on KPCS Big Show 1150 AM about KBUR’s news department reminded me of Monday’s almost week-old leading news story at noon on the Clear Channel.

Apparently, someone at Clear Channel just picked up a week old newspaper to read last week’s story. The lead story was about the railroad lawsuit ruling last Tuesday in federal court regarding the motions for summary judgment being denied by the judge.

The most glaring error erupted when KBUR pronounced that the ruling on the summary judgment was a ruling to dismiss the entire lawsuit.

I guess Clear Channel doesn’t have a leg up on the newspaper for timeliness. Or accuracy.

07:55:35 - SPIKE - No comments

Burlington's Casino Investment


Spike:

When all these new casinos come crashing down like the price of tulips, what of the City's investment in the waterpark part of the gambling complex?

The IRS running a chicken ranch in Nevada some years back comes to mind. If the private investors go broke, could the City end up running a casino?

Given the City's track record at running anything, I doubt if they could run a casino for long.

DF

The City run a casino? They can't run the sewer and garbage departments effectively.

But after Scott Power sues the casino for yet another Congressional misappropriation, we will have bundles of money to cover the debt and still offer free ice cream albeit somewhat watered down.

Spike

06:43:53 - SPIKE - No comments

Illegal Aliens


Spike,

First off Mexico is not a poor country. It has the fifth richest economy in the world, and by sending its teeming masses to our country, that status keeps on rising. Mexico has more resources per square mile than the U.S. and plenty of money to take care of its own people.

Illegal aliens are actual criminals who come into our country illegally. They are not illegal immigrants, not undocumented immigrants, not migrant workers, and not day laborers - they're illegal aliens.

Illegal aliens are not necessarily coming here to work. Lou Dobbs recently reported that 33 percent of our prison population is now comprised of non-citizens. Plus, 36 to 42 percent of illegal aliens are on welfare. So, for a good proportion of these people, the American dream is crime and welfare, not coming here to work.

The Center for Immigration Studies estimates that the average Mexican illegal alien costs U.S. taxpayers a whopping $55,000 each. What kind of a bargain is this? Illegal aliens absolutely do not contribute more than they cost.

Without illegal aliens, the price of agricultural products and other goods and services will not soar. The definitive study on this subject is the University of Iowa's "How Much Is That Tomato?" The study concludes that since labor is such a small component of the end-price of agricultural products using minimum wage workers instead of illegal aliens would increase prices of agricultural products by approximately 3 percent in summer and 4 percent in the winter…hardly the making of $10 head of lettuce, $25 hamburgers, $1000 per night Days Inn hotel rooms like the pro-illegal alien lobby claims.

The economy dies not depend on illegal aliens. The only thing illegal aliens are contributing to is the collapse of our economy and making the rich richer.

Consumers are not benefiting from lower labor costs. Again, it's CEOs and business owners who benefit from taxpayer subsidies for their illegal alien workers. The big three automakers say they moved so many jobs to Mexico because their labor costs are 80 percent less than in America. Anybody notice the price of new cars spiraling downward under NAFTA?

It's time Americans wake up and smell the coffee on this illegal alien issue and demand that our government seal the boarders and protect us from this invasion of undocumented illegal aliens, who are criminals because they broke our laws to enter the United States.

Worried

Illegal aliens are a huge problem that we don't have much first hand exposure to. Your statement, "They are not illegal immigrants, not undocumented immigrants, not migrant workers, and not day laborers - they're illegal aliens" is very appropriate.

If you want to immigrate to the U.S. do it legally. You can't even visit New Zealand unless you have a return flight ticket in hand when you arrive.

NAFTA is another huge problem but for different reasons. Ross Perot was right. All we can hear is a "giant sucking sound." Only it isn't just coming from Mexico, but from all over the world.

The free trade rhetoric is crap. We don't play in an arena of free trade. We trade in an arena of nationalized industry hiding behind trade barriers for our U.S. products. Or, we subsidize a product and slap a tariff on it to protect the industry. That's not free trade.

Brazil produces ethanol far cheaper with sugar cane than we can with corn. As seen with our local ethanol plant, labor isn't a major production cost factor when you compare making ethanol with sugar cane versus making it with corn. Without a government subsidy and a protective trade tariff, there is no industry. Ethanol has the potential to bankrupt the very farmers that we want to succeed with higher return for their farm ground.

Granted we have additional by-products to sell, but is it the best use of our land? Could we produce a product that yields a higher return for our land use? Should we use some of the best farm ground there is and produce a $3.00 per bushel product with it?

Bio-diesel is another tail wagger that could get our farmers into a huge financial boondoggle. Now we take our $9.00 per bushel crop and try to compete with an Arab shiek that can lower oil prices so far as to bankrupt an entire industry. Take that $9.00 crop and find a better return for the farmer.

All that comes from research, advanced use of technology and advanced manufacturing techniques. That's what we do better than any other country in the world. That's how we compete.

It will never come from exploiting illegal aliens. But the costs associated with illegal aliens diminish our ability to focus on what the real economic problems are and fix them.

Lou Dobbs gets it and not enough lawmakers understand it. We all need to listen. Then fix it.

Spike
06:35:47 - SPIKE - No comments

20 February

Casino Questions


Spike,

Maybe you can answer these questions.

How can this new casino to be built and the boat in Ft. Madison operate under one license? They will be two separate units. They should have two separate licenses.

They will have to have two separate liquor licenses, right? There was a big lottery last year for new casino licenses and the powers that be think they can automatically get one because of these plans.

Now as I recall when gambling came to S.E. Iowa this area couldn't support two casinos. But, now everyone thinks it can.

The new casino in Riverside, the one in LaGrange, Missouri and the two here will saturate the market. The first to go will be the boat in F.M.

What will the people in F.M. think of this? Losing a tourist attraction. I don't think the big wheels in F.M. care. They just want more money in their pockets from their investment in the casino.

If this all comes to pass do you think they will let me flood my basement and open up a gambling parlor?

After all, that will be economic development and the city will get its cut, wink, wink.

ITC

As I understand the way things are now, there is one license held by the Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission.

I think what the SIRCC intends to do is apply for an additional site (Roosevelt Avenue) to be added to their existing license. They might not have to have a new license since they will operate in both locations they already have a license to do. Maybe someone will email us.

Both casinos will need separate liquor permits since they are in different cities and counties.

I think you have the right idea about the boat being closed after a certain period of time. They will move the boat to Fort Madison, then will add some cruises to run up costs, the market will be diluted from the other casinos and then to cut costs, the boat floats away.

If they really believe the market is $57,000,000 a year for these 2 casinos, then I would just as soon see it go somewhere else. I can’t get excited about this expansion. There will be a major downside to this deal for everyone other than the investors in the casino. And the existing $32,000,000 in gambling revenues from Catfish Bend won’t leave Iowa like it does now with the Kehl family ownership.

Keep in mind Winegard and the investors in this transaction gain another casino with the Clinton casino. No one from the advertiser has asked what the revenue stream is for Clinton.

And I believe the Kehl family also owns majority interest in the Riverside Casino. I don’t know if that is part of the Winegard Catfish Bend buyout or not. Rumors on the street say it is.

We have enough gambling. They have enough revenue from the locals. And with a casino every 100 miles you can only rob so many piggy banks until they’re empty.

Then what?

Spike


02:31:20 - SPIKE - No comments

19 February

Appearances


Spike

You are exactly correct. There is a conflict of interest with Dave Walker on a voting board that involves his boss Mr. Winegard. The decision would have been unanimous regardless.

The proper thing for citizens that sit on any board that has voting power, is to abstain when there is a conflict of interest. Walker knew that the vote would pass and he should have abstained and there would have been no story.

Citizen

Now we just have to figure out what Dennis Hinkle has to do with the decision making process.

Spike


13:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

More Money For Schools

I can't believe that one day after getting a money blast from the library, the Burlington Superintendent flops his hands out wanting money for a new middle school. The bucks need to stop right here.

I would think that a highly educated leader in charge of educating our youth should have a better grasp of sound financial management than he apparently does.

This town and school district are out of money. We're bleeding jobs. We can't stand more tax hikes.

The new schools that have been built are great. But we don't need any more monuments to one man's tenure. And I don't want to hear, "What price do you place on your child's education?"

After watching the Olympics and seeing what athletes from all over the world have endured to succeed, as far as I'm concerned we can plop these kids' butts on a bale of hay in a heated circus tent.

It's what we teach these kids after we foster the need to learn. Right now, those kids have Oak Street. Until we have the money from a tax base that can support another new school, we better focus on motivating the student to learn, adjust their curriculum to keep pace with the rest of the World to compete and not rely on where their desks are as an excuse.

13:22:55 - SPIKE - No comments

Headline In The Hawkeye Written By 3rd Graders?


Spike,

I noticed the headline in the Hawkeye on-line that said the following:

"Wapello council poo–poos sewer payment plan"

This sort of thing from the so-called professional media? Are they trying to be cute or do they have 3rd graders writing headlines?

The legacy media sinks further and further into irrelevancy everyday. WB now has a fledgling alternative media website. We can only hope that Lee county soon will get on board.

I noticed a few days go that Ft. Madison has erected a HUGE brick and concrete sign on the south edge of town that has to be seen to be believed. Anyone know how much the monstrosity cost the taxpayers of that beleaguered community?

Something FM folks will probably never read about in the "Daily Disappointment". Legacy media south of the Skunk the makes the Hawkeye look positively competent and non-biased by comparison.

CQ

Either way, it's just crap. And that sign, made for a city of 250,000 taxpayers, not 10,000.

Spike

02:33:00 - SPIKE - No comments

18 February

Interest Or Conflict Of Interest?


Hi Spike,

I cannot get over attorney Michael Rashid, and Dennis Hinkle saying they're is no conflict of interest between Dave Walker and Randy Winegard. What do they think; people are ignorant?

Well, I should stop right here, because no one in Burlington obviously cares what they do.

If you don't think they're is a conflict of interest you don't know much about Burlington. But besides that, I will tell you they're is no conflict between Dave Walker and Randy Winegard, only INTEREST.

And to the lawyer and Hinkle I can't believe you would let that kind of statement be made public, it just makes you guys look IGNORANT. But, you guys could care less because you are laughing all the way to the BANK!

People of Burlington have got to wake up someday, because sooner or later they're going to pull the rug out from under us about something we really care about and we are not going to be able to stop them.

The people of Burlington who care about this town need to get organized and stop this kind of BULL S***, WAKE UP YOU DUMB A****.

Run the thugs out of town!

THANKS SPIKE

OJ

I read the story and honestly believe Walker at least considered what he was doing.

What I cannot believe is Walker had to ask Hinkle what he thought. What the hell does Dennis Hinkle have to do with this story or setting policy for the casino? Obviously, Hinkle’s input was also wrong in thought.

Regardless of the possible lack of a legally defined conflict of interest, Walker should have abstained from voting because of the possible appearance of a conflict of interest. And if he had done that before the vote, there wouldn’t have been a story.

That’s what makes a story like this less palatable.

Spike

17:22:21 - SPIKE - No comments

Railroad Lawsuit Ball In City Hall Now


According to an Order filed Friday in U.S. District Court a telephone conference call will take place on March 1, 2006 to determine whether or not a settlement conference should be scheduled between the City and the BNSF.

This is it. Time to stop the bleeding. If we were smart, we would pay the railroad’s legal fees and try to mend the fence. After all, any reuse of that building is going to depend on having the railroad’s total co-operation. We will be Powerless (pun intended).

Because if we don’t settle this debacle right here, right now, you can mark my words in big crayon letters:

Thelma and Louise will have nothing on the crash that is coming in April. Cleanup will consist of nothing but mopping.

And all us poor saps are going to pay for it.

00:33:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Advertiser


Spike,

Do you think Delaney can write an editorial about anything other than GW Bush? Maybe he could branch out a little bit? You would think he would have learned in writing school to diversify. What a cake job he has!

Keep up the good work

A-non-e-mus

It makes for an easy column. Delaney could tell us how he took his week away to rethink how they do their job. Lockwood Greene told us his newspaper has a negative influence on Burlington.

Delaney should be trying to explain their new editorial direction to regain respect from the community. Or maybe he would want to expound on how this little old blog is "littering" the internet again.

There are a lot of columns he could write, but probably never will. His nose seems stuck too far up the City's rear end to write what really needs to be said.

Spike

00:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

17 February

So Much For Efficient Library Operations


Mothball It Until They Have Real Money

Spike,

Well, I see the Library is asking for more and more money. I seem to remember the Library board saying that it wouldn't cost any more money to operate the new one than it did to operate the old one, due to the efficient way they were going to be running it.

I knew that was BS when they said it, but I thought the Mayor also told them, at the time, that he wouldn't buget any more money for operations after the new one was opened.

So.....what?...now they're asking everyone else to pitch in? The people turned down the new library twice---but they just went ahead and built the darn thing anyway.

Now they want everyone to pay more and more for it. Makes me sick........perhaps I need to find a pet project and force the public to pay for something that I'm interested in, but not them.

LK

I tried to make sense of the Library's demands for more money but I couldn't get by the 300% increase in fees in 3 years for West Burlington and Danville residents. What are those people thinking?

If the Library Board thinks we can support that kind of robber baron tactics, they're crazier than I thought they were. Who generated this marketing idea?

Apparently the Library Board's boasting of equal operating costs was untrue. It is another shining example of monument building regardless of sound financial management.

If you have a 300% increase in projected operating costs in 3 years and the library isn't even finished, it is glaringly obvious they didn't have a clue of the actual costs when they started to calculate the costs for the new building.

People tell me that costs are out of control down on Main Street. This fee demand (and yes, it is a demand) does more to suggest that all of the rhetoric they want us to believe is less than truthful when it comes to being on budget.

Maybe we should mothball this project until we raise some revenue from a source other than the taxpayers or Randy Winegard. Wait a couple of years and see what happens.

Spike

01:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Daytona 500 Sunday On KCPS


Tune in Sunday to KCPS 1150 AM to hear the Daytona 500.

01:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Saving Grace


Spike,

Next year the City Council, Mayor, Slagle, and the Chamber will pretend they were the driving force behind Vista Bakery buying the Aldi warehouse building and expanding their operations – even though the will have had nothing to do with it!!

They will be trying to save face, and Vista will be the Saving Grace. The pay scale may be different, but they will still employ a large number of people in the area. How much longer can Burlington, or SE Iowa afford to have such an inept City Manager and City Council??

Thanking you in advance, Vista.

A-non-e-mus

Since you mentioned it, Vista/Lance Cookie bought Tom's Foods the snack food company. It would be an opportune time for someone to approach Vista and ask them to expand the Tom's line of the business in West Burlington to support a Midwest and Pacific Northwest market expansion.

But that would take a year and a plan and lunch and a trip to Italy and whatever else becomes a reason to do nothing.

Spike

00:43:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Why Not in Burlington?


Spike:

Did S. E. Iowa ever resolve its' lack of telecommunications capacity? If not, why not? If the capacity is available, is anybody exploiting this resource? Others in Iowa are.

An Iowa start up in Cedar Rapids is looking to hire workers at $11.00 per hour with no special skills other than basic proficency in English and keyboarding. The firm is even looking to use unused space in a downtown using a new downtown pilot project called the Downtown Job Catalyst Program.

They are going to crearte 110 jobs and maybe 70 more paying $11.00 an hour to start.

The last I knew, there was no shortage of unused space in downtown Burlington.

GF



00:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

16 February

Hospital


Spike,

JK wrote:
"I wonder if you have noticed in the advertiser lately that it seems that there is about one stillborn baby a week at Great River Medical Center? Now I don't know the specifics but to me that sounds a little much.

I know when my sister had her baby there, she had a lot of trouble and so did my niece. In fact, we feel the only reason she made it at all was with the grace of God. After about two weeks in intensive care in IOWA CITY she got a LOT better.

Anyway I was just wondering if you had noticed, or if anyone said anything to you about this? I am just curious. I like to report oddities in the community to the public."

So let me get this straight, since our City managers, newspaper and city lawyers are inept that has somehow bled over to our hospital staff?

Give me a break Spike, not everything is a conspiracy

CN

Our reader noticed what he believes is something unusual. He clearly went on to state, "I like to report oddities in the community to the public." If our reader wants to write us about something he thinks is unusual, we welcome it. He is entitled to his opinion.

Some people believe we inject conspiracy into most everything we write about. You wrote thinking we somehow suggest a dead baby conspiracy is the result of others' incompetence. We posted your email because that is your opinion and we welcome it. You don't get the opportunity to do that many places without the fear of retribution if you criticize the wrong people.

I don't have time to dissect what goes on at the hospital. I'm glad it's here. I'd like to hear the real story about the hospital windows, how the installation was rushed and how much it cost.

I'm happy that Iowa City is as close as it is and there is regular bus service for those that don't/can't drive there. Not everything goes as well at the hospital as they want us to believe. Medicine is a very inexact science. That's my opinion.

Slagle, Power, Edwards and several at the newspaper are incompetent for various reasons.

That's a fact, not a conspiracy.

Spike


17:44:47 - SPIKE - No comments

Library Needs More Money


The Burlington Library wants more money from the County, West Burlington and Danville. They don't understand everybody was Tapp(ed) out.

If Hoschek, Diewold, Hinkle and Tapp hadn't given away the exhorbitant tax abatements for the ethanol plant, the library would have the money they now seek. And the fire district would have had their fire truck to fight that fire at the ethanol plant.

13:34:48 - SPIKE - No comments

Burlington Is At All Time Low


Great One:

Since you still live at the scene of the crime, do you believe the City will back off their loser lawsuit? Who keeps driving this? Is it Power's ego? Is it the drunken Mayor and other political elements? The judge has warned them.

Perhaps I should have kept quiet on historical documents. Since there is no summary, Power may have been alerted to a new venue to run up his "research" expenses.

GH

It's Power's ego, Slagle's attempt to save his job, Edwards's arrogance, Ell's ignorant bliss and EVERYONE'S lack of balls to put their foot down. The council has lost total focus of who is in charge. When they want advice they ask Power. He smokes ‘em and gets paid still more money.

They don’t even have the guts to demand Power produce a detailed accounting of his billings. That’s our money they are blowing in the wind.

These guys are no different than the Al Capone stranglehold on Chicago with his minor gangsters slopping up payoffs from the locals; feeding Burlington's big ego machines (literally and figuratively) of incompetence.

I got criticized last week for using the word incompetent. I was wrong.

They are GROSSLY INCOMPETENT. Taxes rise, but we pay less taxes because of a rollback not core competence of management skills. And Slagle will probably get another fat raise to match his big chair “because he is raising a family.”

How about we trimmed 2% of the budget resulting from the sound management of assets and keep people employed? What would the next $100,000+ do for the City that will be rolled into Power's pocket?

Custer's Last Stand still comes to mind - "there's no Indians out there." We’ll see how arrogant this bunch is about May 1st. Then they can tell me how wrong I was.

Spike


01:19:30 - SPIKE - No comments

Gross Mismanagement Leads To Move


Spike:

In order to pay off the high benefits and salaries of city management the citizens of Burlington will now have to pay more for less, again.

Burlington, without a doubt, has the worst city management anywhere in the surrounding area. This constant raising of fees is nothing more than an indication of extremely poor management.

This city just makes me sick when I think about the stooges running city hall. Their answer to poor management is raise taxes or fees to cover their lack of performance.

Over the past ten years Burlington has gone down the tubes as a result of just plain rotten city management. City management's only method of making ends meet is by reducing services and raising taxes and/or fees.

I'll be looking to move out of this dead beat town ASAP and believe me I won't miss Burlington at all. A person can only stand so much mismanagement.

Illinois has so much more to offer I really don't understand why I live in Iowa anyway.

FFS

If we still had Sore Loser, Blow Hard, Has Been Chris King sitting at the table, he'd tell you to leave. And his attitude is so pervasive among the quagmire of entrenched staff at City Hall, I can't blame you for leaving.

Their attitude sucks, the newspaper's attitude sucks and when citizens are surrounded with all of this negative crap like the consultants told us we needed to change, you either turn into an alcoholic or move out of town.

There is no City management; only big chairs to fit their big, fat salaries. There is no performance even on the golf course. They don't even get better doing that. Incompetent golf.

The rest of the world IS doing something. Be part of it. You will prosper if you take your Iowa work ethic with you.

Most of our naysayers think we write all of these emails. That's how nieve these boneheads all are. And that's why they don't get it and we're in the mess we are.

Spike


00:54:22 - SPIKE - No comments

Hospital News

Hi Spike

I wonder if you have noticed in the advertiser lately that it seems that there is about one stillborn baby a week at Great River Medical Center? Now I don't know the specifics but to me that sounds a little much.

I know when my sister had her baby there, she had a lot of trouble and so did my niece. In fact, we feel the only reason she made it at all was with the grace of God. After about two weeks in intensive care in IOWA CITY she got a LOT better.

Anyway I was just wondering if you had noticed, or if anyone said anything to you about this? I am just curious. I like to report oddities in the community to the public.

Thanks Spike

JK

I hadn't noticed but since you mentioned it, it does seem like I have seen more newborn deaths. It is strange.

Maybe someone closer to the White Palace can shed some light on it.

Spike

00:33:49 - SPIKE - No comments

15 February

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Replay In Federal Court


Judge Warns City of Weak Case – Suggests Settlement

Scroll Down To See Court Order

The Judge presiding over the railroad lawsuit ruled Tuesday denying both the City and railroad’s Motions For Summary Judgment. The Judge also denied the railroad’s motion to exclude the “expert” testimony of George De Hague, a former railroad shop’s worker.

What was very apparent is the Judge’s warning to the City that they better take a hard look at what they are about to jump into. All 3 issues raised by the Judge are wake-up calls for Power and the bunch over at Dewey, Screwem and Howe.

Quoting from item II. “Defendant (BNSF) asserts multiple grounds for defeating the City’s theories for relief. All are more fact-based than dependent solely on established principles of law.”

The Judge is saying 2 things. I can’t grant your Summary Judgment because it isn’t a clear-cut case of just the law allowing the Summary Judgment; there are facts to consider.

More importantly, the Judge is warning the City the BNSF has multiple reasons to defeat the City’s theories of relief. Sounds like a 7th grade science experiment gone bad. Power is playing with theory, not facts.

Quoting from item III. “The City’s motion for partial summary judgment runs headlong into BN’s factual contentions….The City, for its claim, must prove many disputed facts, such as whether this is public trust land that the City can claim…”

Another clear warning to the City. The railroad has facts and the City has to prove many disputed facts. That’s an awfully tall order for a bunch of inexperienced real estate lawyers. Another science project burning the house down.

Lastly, in Item #1, “The court denies that motion, but the De Hague documentary testimony does not rise to the level of establishing any facts conclusively when the entire record of documentary evidence is considered.” What DeHague has to say is nice, but not that nice or relevant.

The City has no expert witnesses in the grand scheme of what the Judge is going to want to hear. So the Judge will allow whoever shows up as witnesses for the City to testify so the City can feel good about their case.

The Judge strongly suggests settlement. Me too. This deal is over.

This is a losing situation handled by losers. We don’t have a lawyer with a winning record at trial running this lawsuit. We are scaring potential companies out of town before they move here.

We are going to have our lunch handed to us as the railroad kicks our collective asses out of the courthouse in April. And all of the taxpayers are going to puke all over our shoes when we see Power’s exorbitant legal bill for his 3rd grade exercise in futility.

Maybe our reader is right, Edwards fits the mold of Krook better than Al Capone - old legal papers and gin.

With Edwards’ usual arrogant tone of a drunk, we will be told that everything is fine and we have a winnable case.

That dog don't hunt anymore. No money for sidewalks but money for Power's retirement fund.

00:20:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Plug The Power Meter


City Bleeding Legal Fees Must Stop

I wonder if legal counsel for the City of Burlington knows of these documents?

You could run the meter for a long time wading through 5,000 cubic feet of historical documents. Add to that the expense involved related to their being in Chicago and you have a holiday for excessive billing. I wonder if Power checked the personal papers of C. E. Perkins in the Burlington Public Library? No matter how much research, it is of little relevance or value.

The Surface Transportation Board (STB) is not interested in History 301 term papers. The STB is interested in seeing America's transportation arteries are not threatened. Small town political hacks and their lap dog ambulance chaser should expect to be treated no different than a farmer waving an 1850's waiver saying all trains must stop to let his cattle cross the tracks at his convenience.

The railroad knows this. They have more important legal issues to handle. BNSF has done the citizens of Burlington a favor by cutting to the quick for a resolution.

The citizens of Burlington need to hammer the City to jump on this favor and drop the suit. A sickle needs to be taken to any elected official stupid enough to trust a local general practioner of law on an arcane legal matter without a second opinion.

Power should be ordered to produce detailed billing for his services, paid what he is ethically due and dismissed.

GH

You can bet the railroad knew of these documents. The City's arrogance is never hindered by facts. If this case runs its course, we won't need to worry about the casino generating enough income to keep the city from dying. There won't be anyone living here.

Spike



00:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Latest Federal Ruling






00:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

14 February

Truth Stranger than Fiction. Mike Edwards & Mr. Krook


Spike Thinks More Like Eliot Ness After Al Capone

Dear Spike:

In the City of Burlinton's remake of "Bleak House," the drunk Mayor Edwards cast as Krook does do justice to the Mayor's real life love of liquor.

"An eccentric rag and bottle merchant, whose love of collecting piles of old legal documents is surpassed only by his passion for gin," is how the BBC web site describes Dickens' Mr. Krook. Not mentioned in the BBC's brief character sketch is the fact that Krook is an illiterate.

I find this Krook comparison to Mayor Edwards role in City of Burlington VS. Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway a case of truth being stranger than fiction. Perhaps Mayor Edwards will exit the current remake like Mr. Krooks does in the novel.

After drinking vast quantities of highly flammable liquor, Mr Krook is consumed from the inside out by his vice.

Spontaneous combustion may be Burlington's last hope since felony drunk driving appears unable to make the drunk Mayor exit the stage.

KL

Edwards' passion for old Power legal documents and his passion for gin are apt parallels. And in a few weeks the City will have a whole new pile of old Power legal documents along with a big bill. But I'm not sure Burlington is quite as sophisticated as Bleak House.

Since it is Valentine's Day, I see Edwards more like Al Capone squeezed by the IRS or doing time on a drunk driving charge. Leading his goombahs with his Lieutenant, "Frank Nitti" Ell, "Bottles" Slagle, "Greasey Thumb" Courtney and "Hinky Dink" Tapp until the Feds knock down the door.

It will look like Eliot Ness raiding a 1920's speakeasy. Smashed booze bottles, Flappers out the front door of City Hall, the Model A's idling in the alley ready to make a run for Burger King with Ell now looking like Boss Hog riding shotgun in the "A."

The only one left behind will be "O'Banion" Hoschek, looking for free drinks.

Spike
02:33:31 - SPIKE - No comments

All Hail Agriculture


Spike:

People forget why Commerce and Industry are tolerated in Iowa.

Commerce and Industry are permitted only to pay everybody else's taxes. City residential taxpayers benefit to a great extent from this persecution, but the main gainer is agriculture. Can you imagine the money that would be raised if agricultural land were taxed at 100% of its honest value?

Iowa reaps what it sows. Technology continues to drastically reduce the number of farmers needed. Iowa is right at the bottom when it comes to new business creation. Why are the brightest and best leaving? Why is Iowa's population relative to the rest of the nation shrinking?

If some other state is not going to tax the hell out of you to keep living in the past, who needs Iowa?

Senator Courntey is doubtless too dim of wit to make the connection. Marxist rhetoric at party soviets does not aid his affliction. This is not to say change will not come.

People are fleeing those areas the ag tax breaks are supposed to aid. Follow the demographics. Those areas that grow in numbers are those where persecuted Commerce and Industry have been growing. Redistricting is changing the balance of political power every decade.

The question is, can Burlington and other backward looking areas of Iowa survive until that balance tips?

GH

Most people don't realize manufacturing in Iowa is bigger than agriculture. Maybe when the ground and water reach the point of a no return manure pit someone will realize that maybe they should have looked at something other than ethanol, bio-diesel and confinement farms. If they want to pollute, leave and go somewhere else. Stay out of Iowa.

By that time it will be too late for manufacturing to save the day.

Spike
01:46:27 - SPIKE - No comments

13 February

Iowa Taxes Are a Mess


I have to give Ron Fields another positive mark for his story on Sunday about taxes. The Iowa business tax structure is a mess. If Courtney had any juice he'd be working on that instead of tending the weeds around the Capitol.

I have heard so much crap from Edwards and Ell about "commercial development, in-fill commercial development, commercial property pays 100% of their tax base and 100%, that' what they pay."

I could scream. Don't these boneheads understand that I don't like paying 100% of the taxes when I provide jobs in the community. Whether it is 5, 25, or 500 jobs, 100% is not fair and equitable when I foot the bill. Why would I build here?

Edwards slops up to my tax burden like a suckling pig, noise and all. Reminds me of Hoschek knee deep in the trough of food I bought.

There is only one solution, build in the County. Get someone else to feed Edwards, Courtney and Hoschek.

02:58:16 - SPIKE - No comments

Taxes Up In Burlington - Giant Mirror In City Hall Obscured By Smoke


Taxes are up in Burlington and Slagle spins it to "we'll pay less."

This chest beating about the City budget is baloney. The City gave concessions and paid to get the contracts renegotiated a few months ago. That cost us money to save money. Anybody seen the balance sheet for that little smoke trick?

Now the ONLY reason we will pay less taxes next fiscal year is because of a change in the State rollback. Slagle, Mini-Me and the rest of the department heads didn't make any substantial reduction in costs. At least none you could see.

If there were any cuts I think they were hidden by the reflection off Slagle's mirror and Mini-Me's smoke. What else could it be? Golf? Or lunch?

02:55:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Bank Follow-Up


Spike,

In response to Fred and 7’s remarks on bankers in the Burlington market, I believe there is opportunity in Burlington for bankers to get out and help the small businesses in the area expand or start small businesses.

Hopefully, the two new banks coming into the Burlington market (Farmers Savings Bank and Iowa State Bank) will force all lenders/bankers to get the lead out. Is it possible banks shy away from small business loan, because of the large failure rate of small business?

FYI to all readers, there are a bunch of fake 20’s and 100’s floating around SE Iowa. Do a quick check of your cash, check for the security features, i.e. the watermark, the strip between the bill, the color shifting ink on the lower right hand side of the bill.

Turn in all fakes to the County Sheriff or your local bank, unfortunately you won’t get reimbursed your money

A-NON-E-MUS

P.S. Keep up the good work, and turn the heat up on our local politicians.

The small business failure rate is pretty steep. I think Fred and 7 from KCPS Big Show 1150 AM were discussing the absolute lack of committed bankers for established businesses with a track record. If you are going to help a community grow, you have to get out from behind the desk, out of the bar and away from the golf course.

And don't forget Valley Bank. Even though the business bankers are in Bettendorf they do have an agressive group.

Spike



02:47:08 - SPIKE - No comments

Railroad Lawsuit Dramatized on IPTV

Spike:

The City of Burlington VS. The Burlington & Missouri River Railroad..ah.. The Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad...ah... The Burlington Northern Railroad.. ah ah ah ...Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, thank your for finally remembering your line Mr. Power, has been dramatized and is running as a television series.

Public Television is currently airing Charles Dickens' "Bleak House" on Sunday evenings.

Watching this tale of the havoc wrought by a muddled legal action, one's mind sometimes tries to connect Dickens' characters to principals in the City of Burlington's ill advised legal misadventure.

Mayor Mike would make a perfect Krook. Though manipulative and devious, Mr. Talkinghorn is far too intelligent a character to be accurately portrayed by Power.

A J. D. is not needed to figure out what happens. Didn't any of the principal political figures in Burlington ever take a course in Modern British Literature to know the outcome of such stories?

The series runs 15 episodes and is currently aways along. Fear not, the plot of "Bleak House" will be resolved on television long before the people of Burlington figure out the final tally of their "leaders'" folly. Since the book has been out it paper back for more than a few years, I will surmise.

Futures are wasted in the hope of a winning settlement. Lives are ruined. Fortunes are lost. When all is said and done, nobody wins but the lawyers.

DT

You mean somebody already made a movie out of this? Darn, i thought I was going to be rich!

Couldn't Edwards play the drunk? All good stories have a drunk. Or, maybe the Mayor? After all, he's playing both parts now.

Spike

02:38:19 - SPIKE - No comments

10 February

Power.google.usgov.icc.stb.HUH?


Spike,

Has the City of Burlington's Perry Mason yet figured out that the Interstate Commerce Commission is no more and what the Surface Transportation Board is? If so, when will we know what this lesson has cost the taxpayers?

TH

Your guess is as good as mine. The advertiser has even fallen for the old "we've got double super secret witnesses" routine of Power's. Witness disclosure was months ago.

It is amazing that if you propogate smoke long enough even Jimmy Olson loses sight of the trail.

Where's the itemized, detailed bills Power? And why the hell isn't the City Council demanding them?

Spike
02:21:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Regional Airport Resolution Revisited


Supervisors’ Airport Resolution Differs From Newspaper Account

Spike,

Was the advertiser’s ace writer even in the Court House on Tuesday? I got my copy of the Des Moines County News Thursday and their reporter tells a completely different story about the Supervisors’ airport use resolution.

What’s the matter with that Jimmy Olson?

A Nonmous

Well, I had to run out and get a copy of the Des Moines County News to see for myself. You are right. The story is different and is testament to Blow and Beck instilling a little common sense into the unfinished grand plan of others regarding the airport.

The Supervisors resolution states that any County employee traveling on County business shall depart and return from the Burlington Airport. Seems simple enough. Help pay the bills. I wonder why doesn’t the City have a mandate like that?

The Supervisors also asked the Chamber, “all government entities, business concerns, institutions of higher learning, and the citizens of Southeast Iowa, West Central Illinois and Northeast Missouri to pass similar resolutions and openly support usage” of the local airport.

Why didn’t someone else think of this? It seems like with all of these high paid, “professional” administrators someone would have figured that out before now.

But, these same people are the ones that brought us the railroad lawsuit. Don’t expect changes overnight.

And about The Des Moines County News, if it was a little easier to find a copy of your fine newspaper you might sell more papers. Especially with your reporter’s excellent writing skills.

Wake up Delaney, there are wolves at the door. And they are hungry. And we are going to start tossing them the bones.

Spike

02:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Mayor Edwards Doing A Good Job?


Spike,

If the writer thinks that Mayor Edwards is doing a good job, I would hate to see his idea of a bad job!

BT

You should read some of the radical emails we get from his followers. They act like Edwards is the 2nd coming of Jack Daniels.

I'm afraid he wouldn't meet Jack's quality control standard.

Spike


02:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Lockwood Greene Report


Spike,

I've just started reading the Lockwood Greene report. On page 4, item 2 under:

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION
It states:

"...the public sector leadership in Greater Burlington is not nearly as active and effective as in the benchmark cities, furthermore, private sector leadership is present but less than fully engaged."

Gee, talk about stating the obvious.

They had to PAY someone $100,000 to make that observation?

Spike would have done it for free.

-Falcon

What is important to remember is that we are paying these people $100,000 for their Rolodex of names, clients and contacts. The Rolodex is a gold mine of information. With that information we can negotiate our future.

Spike


01:41:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Police Officer Resigns Amid Controversies


Former Police Sargeant Tod Walker resigned from the Burlington Police Department last week allegedly over a mailbox he flattened on Mason Road with his truck. Although rumored, we have been unable to verify that Walker might have been intoxicated when the mailbox met its demise.

Walker is most well known as the Shift commander on duty the night our drunk Mayor Edwards was observing his belly button lint in the Burger King parking lot.

Our sources maintain that there was a phone call made to someone during the traffic stop before Edwards was allowed to call his wife and get a ride home. Was it Walker? From one drunk to another? With Walker’s resignation, the details will be covered up as a personnel issue. Unless Walker makes any more court appearances.

It sure does cast a huge question mark over the Edwards deal. Especially in light of the public defender case that is going south for the city.

Rumors are flying that Walker is headed to Fun City as head of security. Imagine that liability issue. Makes me want to take my grandkids out there.

It seems very ironic that alcohol has played a role in the destruction of two peoples’ careers.

What is worse is that guys like Walker give every cop a bad name. And no one should bear another's label.


01:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 February

Not Everybody Is Incompetent


Spike,

I don’t like you calling people incompetent. Not everybody is that you attack.

Mayor Edwards has done a good job as our Mayor.

CK


OK. Maybe incompetent is too harsh.

However, I find certain individuals do not posses the necessary skill sets to perform the required minimum tasks for the job they were hired to perform.

I guess I could write overpaid, underskilled.

Dictionary.com says:
Incompetent - adjective
1. Not qualified in legal terms: a defendant who was incompetent to stand trial.
2. Inadequate for or unsuited to a particular purpose or application.
3. Devoid of those qualities requisite for effective conduct or action.

I chose “incompetent” for brevity at the keyboard.

As for Edwards, he does not posses the necessary skill sets to perform the required minimum tasks for the job he was elected to perform due to his predilection for alcohol.

Spike

00:07:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hoschek Must Go, Not Blow!


Spike -

I hope no great competent hope runs against Blow. Losers and fools by all means should step up for destruction, but not anybody with ability. Those with ability, your County needs you, just not now.

If anybody with the ability wants to be Supervisor, hold off for a crack at Hoschek. A good candidate needs to take on Hoschek in a party primary. Another good candidate needs to run as a Republican.

Should Hoschek's party turn a blind eye and not replace their weakest link, there would still be an able person to vote for in November. Should Hoschek be defeated in the primary by an able challenger, it would be a refreshing change to choose between two who can do the job in the general election.

Remember, when Hoschek is defeated, Des Moines County wins.

GT

Please no panic, everyone remain calm, the storm may go around us.

I just want to reinforce to everyone, Hoschek may not be around to run against. His unseating may come sooner rather than 3 years from now.

Spike



00:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

08 February

Where's The Budget?


Hidden City Budget Allows Less Critique & Review


Spike

You are correct in asking where the City is in regard to the budget. The longer Worden/Slagle wait to present it to the council, the less time the council and the public has to dissect or criticize it.

That's what they want. They have spent too much time and money on this lawsuit that important duties or services are neglected. They (City Management) act like they are really concerned when we have plant closings and citizens lose their jobs. It is just an act. They don't really deep down care because they have their jobs that are protected.

If they cared, they wouldn't cut services every year, and then raise property taxes to pay for their pay increases. The tax increases are not going for more services. And your correct about Edwards' annual crying about the state cuts.

Burlington taxpayer

It seems funny that we had a preliminary look at the budget from the county over two weeks ago.

The County does that without a highly paid "professional" administrator. And without crying about unfunded mandates.

Spike


11:53:06 - SPIKE - No comments

ALDI & Our Future


Southeast Iowa Drops Another Cylinder With ALDI

It must have been difficult to hear and believe GWB during the State of The Union Address talk about the strong economy in the country and all the new jobs.

Believe me, it is going full blast everywhere except in the rural Midwest. There are generally not enough raw materials to keep up with the demand in many areas of the country.

As long as there is not an Interstate within 10 miles of Burlington it will continue to dwindle and bleed. Logistics is key in business and being close to your customer base is even more important.

Anyone in the way of the gambling at Pzazz need not cry when your taxes go up and up and up. I hope someone with a brain is negotiating with Winegard. I lot of good things could be had by the taxpayers if the right negotiator is in place, i.e. tax relief, educational tools and infrastructure improvements.

With regard to the casino.......like the old saying goes..........When all you have is lemons, make lemonade.

Start squeezing Burlington !!!!!!!!

It may be your only hope.

HT

We have American manufacturers competing with their suppliers for raw materials. We have worldwide shortages of steel, concrete and long haul truck drivers.

Regions of the country are doing extremely well. Portions of Iowa are doing very well.

But in Southeast Iowa we can’t get our act together. We need a year to assemble a plan. Have any of these people ever had to think on their feet?

Whenever we criticize someone involved in this abyss, we hear the argument, “he’s a good/nice guy.” So what?

We’re not running a beauty contest. We are in a war to save this city from these “nice guys” that have tipped the table to the point the checkers are sliding off.

Don’t tell me “he’s a good guy.” Even “good guys” can be extremely incompetent when they work in an arena that the rest of us know nothing of.

You need to get involved. Our "leaders" can't get it done.

Spike

04:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

City Budget


I have been harping about the City budget for months. No one has taken a hint to let us know how the City budget looks for Fiscal year 2007.

Does anyone know? You would surely think by now that anyone paid a fat salary within the birdcage would know about the budget. I can tell you one thing. Power’s legal bill will bring a $100,000 hole to fill.

I would imagine that we are going to get the same old crap from Slagle and Mini-me. Last minute, nothing we can do, Lost Keys babbling his usual cut services malarkey. Edwards crying about unfunded mandates.

And there isn’t one person with the guts to tell the taxpayers something. No visible effort to control the costs. No effort to make the staff reduce department costs.

After I heard Edwards’ imitation Monday night of a budget scholar, I guess we’d get a better answer if we all went drinking with him. As long as we got our answers before he got punched in the face or drove off to Burger King.

Spike
03:08:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Winter Olympics TV Links

Friday the 2006 Winter Olympics start.

For the local NBC TV Guide, click here. Then click on the TV Listings button and customize it for your local NBC affiliate.

For the individual Event Schedule, click here.

01:13:39 - SPIKE - No comments

07 February

Fred & 7 To Dissect Lockwood Greene Report


Fred & 7 both agreed to dissect the Lockwood Greene Competitive Assessment Report and discuss it over the next few weeks on the KCPS Big Show 1150 AM weekday mornings from 6-9 a.m. Where Burlington gets their morning news.

This is one of the single most proactive moves by people that want to see something positive happen instead of waiting a year for a written plan that will be obsolete by the time it is delivered. Time this community can ill-afford.

Now if I could get Fred to podcast the Big Show for his long distance listeners he’d be Xtreme cutting edge AND proactive. I’d even buy the software for him.

To read the Lockwood Greene Competitive Assessment Draft Report, click here.

The report is about 1.1Mb and will download as a PDF file.

After you read the report, send us your opinion. We value it and will share it if you wish.

02:38:36 - SPIKE - No comments

Casino Deal Not So Welcome


For almost 2-1/2 hours Monday night the City Council heard a long string of people voice their objections to Winegard’s Casino plan. Several residents told stories of suicide, debt, crime, bankruptcy and a myriad of other social ills that follow gambling like the plague.

It seemed apparent that the Council tried to look like they were listening, but their minds were made up. They voted 4-1 to approve the development project.

Funny thing though, I didn’t see one of the many investors that have made a tub of money down there to support the project.

Why is that? After all, the boat does about $32,000,000 a year. That’s about $89,000 a day.

You would think one investor would have the guts to stand up and support this cash cow. That is, unless they didn’t want the stigma of being associated with gambling.

02:33:50 - SPIKE - No comments

Fred Takes On Local Bankers


On Monday’s KCPS Big Show 1150 AM Fred & 7 made several salient observations about the current economic situation in Burlington.

Fred jumped head first and took the local banks to task for not providing the necessary capital for local businesses to succeed and the need for those businesses to look outside of the community for banks that are progressively managed and operated by bankers that understand what business is all about. Fred needs a gold medal for that.

Fred is absolutely right. The banks in Burlington have a dismal record for refusing to fund most worthwhile small business ventures. Small business is the growth factor in the American economy and has been for the last 20 years. And we're more than 20 years behind.

Burlington banks are mostly run by people that have neither the skills nor inclination to want to fund anything other than houses, cars, motorcycles, boats or anything else with a title. That’s all they know. Everything else is voodoo economics.

These bankers sit on every board they can find to glean every ounce of information in case they might miss out on something. Not that they would invest mind you. They are just nosey. And if a real deal comes along, they would have first dibs on schmoozing for the business.

Fred spoke the truth. If you want to compete in the real world, you gotta get out from behind the desk.

02:31:38 - SPIKE - No comments

Aldi Bakery & Warehouse Closure


It appears Mississippi Bakery (ALDI) will reopen temporarily Tuesday. Final closure of the facility may take as long as 4 months. The bakery is for sale and the company does not expect any buyers.

Employees are free to leave for new jobs but will not be replaced so the shutdown may come earlier.

All plans were announced at the 11 a.m. employee meeting.

The Aldi warehouse will relocate to Minnesota next year and transfers will be available for warehouse employees only.

When I drove by this evening it seemed strange not to see the building lit up. Another ghost is entering the downtown landscape.

Time is of the essence.


02:28:28 - SPIKE - No comments

Lockwood Greene Draft Report


To read the Lockwood Greene Competitive Assessment Draft Report, click here.

The report is about 1.1Mb and will download as a PDF file.

01:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

06 February

ALDI Bakery AND Warehouse To Close


We have reconfirmed that the ALDI Bakery is closed with final closure to occur in one week to 4 months.

The ALDI warehouse will close and move to Minnesota. Transfers will be available to warehouse employees only.

More to come later.

Spike
16:16:27 - SPIKE - No comments

ALDI Bakery Story


Spike,

The bakery is open baking bread. What's the deal?

GH

We received our report from a contributor that has provided reliable information in the past. If our contributor was fed bad information to embarass him or us, I will post that scurrilous individual's name and email right here for everyone to see.

I don't like people jacking with me or the veracity of the information we post.

I'm not going to stop. I will get to the bottom of this. You mark my words.

Spike


14:01:35 - SPIKE - No comments

ALDI Bakery Closes


Spike:

All production at Mississippi Bakery (Aldi's) ceases as of 4 A.M. Monday morning. All orders are cancelled and all employees are to meet at the loading dock at 11 A.M. Monday.

This will be a loss of more good paying jobs.

KL

This really is bad news. I don't care how we cut it. We don't have a year for Hinkle and the crowd to get their at collective acts together.

We can no longer afford to rely on a bunch of academics to solve problems that need experienced economic development professionals.

Spike
00:22:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hinkle Wants Another Year To Act On Unknown Plan


We've Waited 18 Months - What The Hell Is Another Year?

According to Sunday’s article regarding the Lockwood Greene draft report Grow Greater Burlington leader Dennis Hinkle said, "It's really huge that this process ... initiates dialogue and a collective vision of where we need to go, and identify key areas of responsibility," Hinkle said. "This is a community process. It's not just a chamber problem or a city problem."

Hinkle went on to say that a plan of action could be put into place by 2007.

I don’t understand a bit of that. If you’re so overwhelmed with what needs to be done, then get somebody that knows how to manage the process.

It’s time for this feeble, pass-the-buck reasoning that has gone on in this town for as long as I can remember to stop. People that are in charge are going to be held accountable.

I have news for the crowd in the gold Mercy tower. You better get out from behind those desks and start to do something. We don’t have another year to act and I don’t want to hear about whose job it is. You’re the supposed economic development professionals. Start to act like it or get out.

Maybe Hinkle could tell us what he is going to do in the 1-year lull. Lunch?

Spike

00:18:00 - SPIKE - No comments

2 Sentences Is All


Problems At The Newspaper Not Elaborated On – Business As Usual

This isn’t an article about the people involved. This is an article about the Hawk Eye’s continual tabloid approach to selective journalism making us all slaves to what they consider is newsworthy and what they think we need to know.

This is about Delaney’s lack of editorial control/direction towards his editors and his apparent lack of motivation to improve the paper’s position to somehow affect the renewal of Southeast Iowa. This is about covering up stories that are news worthy. It also is about reporter laziness.

In Sunday’s articles about the Lockwood Greene economic development report the fact that the Hawk Eye is a detriment to the community was mentioned in each article, in one sentence without any further comment. Here’s why people develop a “hang dog” attitude.

Story #1
Spike had learned that a Burlington Police Department Sergeant has been demoted to Patrolman over at least one alcohol related incident involving a motor vehicle. We have been told that officer appeared in court last Monday.

Apparently that same officer was involved in the incident at Burger King with our drunk mayor, Mike Edwards. That same officer could have political ties that lead directly to the leadership of the Des Moines County Democratic Party, including Edwards.

Maybe now Quirk can go get the rest of the records from the Edwards deal and not take any crap from the police department when he demands them. And if I were the City, I wouldn’t be getting any ideas about firing this cop. You have an obligation to help him seek treatment and recover.

Where was the Hawk Eye cop reporter hiding when all that went down?

Story #2
Speaking of another botched story. Where are the “hundreds of victims” the newspaper reported in their unsigned editorial regarding the catering jobs scandal? In Saturday’s paper only 28 people are listed on the criminal complaint as victims. Why did the newspaper mislead the public on the number of victims? Did they mislead us to sensationalize the story to sell more papers?

Was the Hawk Eye cop reporter asleep on this story, too?

Story #3
Several months ago we reported about a large teen party where alcohol was a problem. Why did the newspaper cover the story up? Was it because the party was at the home of a Hawk Eye features editor?

The teens involved had blogged about the party and the Deputies that had shown up to break up the party didn’t arrest obviously drunk, underage partygoers. Most were allowed to drive home from the stories circulating on the blogs. The kids made fun of the cops. The kids laughed about being drunk.

When concerned parents and SADD members met with the Sheriff, the Sheriff admitted the situation wasn’t handled properly. And that was that. Well, at least for now.

Where was sleeping beauty for this story?


So if you wonder why the hang dogs’ heads hang so low, these are just some of the reasons that you're going to read about in the next few months.

We have several other stories that we have uncovered that should outrage the community. I would imagine some heads will roll at the city and county level along with a couple of others for good measure.

The first step in planning any future is to cut the gangrene from the body. If you don't, the infection spreads and the patient dies.

Dr. Spike is open for business. And I've got my bone saw and scapel and no anesthetic.

00:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 February

Business Editor Wants Feedback


In today’s business section Business Editor Ron Fields wants feedback for his article about the Lockwood Greene report on Burlington.

I’ll give Fields a positive even though he barely mentions the impact of the newspaper’s negative reporting on the region’s attitude. Fields isn’t the problem down on Main Street. The editor and his minions are the problem.

And Ron, if you really want an accurate reflection about the state of affairs in Burlington you would be better served by getting more haircuts. Your barber has a better insight to the precarious position of the local economy instead of the fat cats you hobnob with.

19:28:38 - SPIKE - No comments

Tired Of No Bid City Design Deals


Spike,

I am tired of reading about Metzger Johnson getting ALL of the city's engineering and design work. Now no-bid Slagle lets them into the auditorium rehab. It smells too much like a good old boys locker room.

HJ

You're right, but the city doesn't have to bid for engineering and design work since it falls under professional services and is exempt from the bid process. And today's contract is not to exceed $142,000.

I'll bet when they're done the bill is within $4,000 of the maximum.

It's just all wrong. No innovative design, a lawsuit on the horizon for the botched job at the County Home and a monopolistic hold on this city is more than we should have to endure.

Slagle needs to get off his lazy butt and earn his fat salary, or is that vice versa? Just because he can spend that much money unsupervised doesn't mean the council should let him squander one dime.

Spike

19:14:23 - SPIKE - No comments

03 February

The Face On The Bar Room Floor


Spike,

Last week it could have been Edwards' face on the bar room floor. And the consequences for his appreciation for rising dance artists and excessive drinking come to mind.

If Edwards’ did fall off the rehab truck at a strip club in Gulfport I am thinking it might have tragic consequences much like the real face on the bar room floor. His work would become a tourist attraction in Gulfport. Burlington would lose again.

Non Amous

The difference is that drunk was an artist, not the Mayor!

Spike


05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

ReHab Headlines


spike,

"Statue Enters Rehab," proclaims the Advertiser. General Corse in bronze is to be loaded on a flatbed and hauled to Chicago to be made whole again.

Is there room for the Mayor?

Like the statue, the malted hops and barley Mayor better be strapped down. Temptation awaits just across the bridge. Strip bars, liquor stores and late closing hours may cause a last leap of desperation as the truck rolls through Gulfport.

RF

At one time I was foolish enough to suggest rehab before this last Edwards fiasco. But unlike your optimism, I feel you can't teach an old horse new tricks. He needs to be locked up to dry out.

Spike
03:50:00 - SPIKE - No comments

What’s Going On At The Depot?


We hear that Southeast Iowa Regional Planning’s Brian Tapp is about to force the depot project down our throats without any public opinion. I don’t think the feasibility report was even presented to the public.

I don’t place much reliability in Tapp’s ability to plan what should be done at the depot. After his attempt to annex farmland around Donnellson without regard for the City’s wishes, I don’t think he will tell us what he really plans to do about the depot.

The depot is a landmark architectural design. A misguided amateur shouldn’t ruin it. No matter how much Tapp would like us to believe he knows what he is doing there are question marks behind his name.

From what I hear about another deal Tapp was involved in, longevity might be an issue for completion. And with the same old Metzger-Johnson group waist deep in the public trough, it should look like a Scott Power bill before we're done.

03:08:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Child Fingerprint Readers Not So Good


According to a report published on WestBurlingtonCity.com the use of fingerprint readers by our kids is flawed in concept and design. Biometric design incorporates a scanner to read your child's fingerprint maybe to pay for his school lunch.

Falcon makes a scary point that if your child's fingerprint is stolen, it is stolen for life. The report cites using a Gummy Bear or bag of water to bypass the scanner.

Maybe we just better back off this fingerprint idea for awhile. Security is just a little too loose to be safe.

03:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Is Trousil Running For Supervisor?


Word on the street is that West Burlington Mayor Hans Trousil is seeking the Des Moines County Supervisor seat held by Ed Blow.

Rumors indicate Trousil is already circulating nomination papers and will join one-time loser Heland and 2-time loser Diewold in the local battle.

I think all 3 can try. But all 3 will lose. Blow has a base of people that these guys can’t touch because Blow does what is right for the citizens of Des Moines County. And Blow takes accountability to a level few people scribe to; including all 3 of these candidates put together.

02:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 February

Otis Edwards Popped In The Face?


Old Habits Hard To Break

Spike,

I heard from a pretty good source that Mr. Edwards took a pretty good punch in the face in the last week from another patron at Otis Cambells Bar. Just wondered if anyone else has heard this story.

I know the police were never called so there is no public record. I am sure the bar would hate to lose a good portion of their income with Edwards, so it was kept quiet.

Wasn't he suposed to swear off drinking AGAIN? Oh, wait, I am sure that he was drinking Pepsi. Sorry.

SP

We can be glad it was Edwards punched in the face and not someone killed when he left the bar.

There are two very troubling concerns with this story.

1. Was Edwards drinking again? He swore off drinking. Did he break that promise less than a month after making it?

2. What makes Edwards' business so valuable to one bar that they protect him from the law? That's a lot of drinking for a bar to take such a strong stance.

I'll bet they will feel different when Edwards' actions invoke the bar's dram shop liability insurance to cover them after continuing to serve Edwards'. In Iowa it is illegal to serve a drunk patron.

It's coming. Just a matter of when. Maybe Falcon can add to the story line.

Spike


05:16:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Educating Hoschek


Spike:

Supervisor Hoschek has no idea what he is doing when it comes to the Regional Airport, or much of anything else for that matter. For $31.95, the County can teach Hoschek the basics of air transport.

If Mrs. Hoschek will send a nice throw rug from home, I am certain the adults on the Board of Supervisors can find Timmy a spot on the Board Room floor to pursue his continuing education. During public sessions, people can stop by and see if Hoschek has grasped the idea that planes, not dump trucks, fly.

The Advertiser could do a feature on continuing education for elected officials. How nice that those they favor are on a path of self improvement.

Even if this teaching aid is beyond Hoschek's abilities, the $31.95 should prove a good investment. Keeping Hoschek occupied at something other than trying to be a Supervisor diverts him from doing damage.

LK


This is a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, I'm not sure any amount of money spent on educating Hoschek is money well spent.

But it sure would keep him from making trouble out in the grown up's room. So I guess it does average out in the citizens' best interests.

Spike

04:55:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Lee County Next!!


WestBurlingtonCity.com - Welcome

Congratulations to West Burlington are in order. A new public forum is now available for the free exchange of information of local concern.

When is Lee County to get a similar service? Somebody down there needs to do for Lee County what Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and the BBC did for Eastern Europe. Single party dictatorships claiming to rule in the name of the masses hate the free flow of information.

Spike, know you of any web site that gives good advice on how to set up a blog and maintain confidentiality? It may give sufficient confidence to some potential freedom fighter in Ft. Madison who will strike back against the forces of darkness.

Who knows, a Lee County site may help keep tabs on the drunken Mayor of Burlington when he goes on his next "cultural exchange" mission to Ft. Madison.

Like cock roaches, unworthy elected officials and others who profit from public ignorance prefer to work in the dark. Technology is illuminating their activities and giving them no place to hide.

Yesterday, the Soviet Union. Tomorrow, Southeast Iowa.

KL

04:09:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Progress Or Perish - Not Just Telegrams!


Economic Development Need To Wake Up

Spike:

I trust you are old enough to remember Western Union telegrams. They are no more.

Who remembers the old Western Union office on N. Main with clattering teletypes? Sounders rattling influenced by coiled wire requiring operators to transcribe were before my time. At least Western Union saw what was coming and refocused on becoming a communications based financial services company.

I hope the economic development consultant's report wakes up Southeast Iowa to stop living in the past. Auto plants and other now relatively low tech manufacturing is not the future. Low skill service work, i. e. Black Jack Dealers, is no solution either.

Those who wish to live in the past are condeming their community to becoming past tense.

"What hath God wrought?" The answer is a moving target.

GH


These people don't know there is flip side to their flat world. I have had a lot of feedback from the retreat. It doesn't sound good. Lots of silence. Stunned monkeys come to mind!

Spike



03:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

County Pay Raises


Spike,

I see the Des Moines County approved some pay raises for its elected officials. I believe some of the raises are warranted, but can you tell me when Patrick Jackson successfully prosecuted a case, or has he just surrounded himself with a lot of Asst. Co. Attorneys to do his work for him?? As I recall he had some high profile cases that went nowhere.

Thanks, as always keep up the good work.

FT


I don't know if he does much trial work. By the time you get 4-5 murder cases to try, somebody better be managing the mess. The costs to try these cases are unbelievably astronomical.

I'd rather have a business manager. I really resent the pay raise for Hoschek. $500 a month for that trough hog is $600 too much. Hoschek is absolutely worthless and in a few weeks you will see why.

Spike


02:11:00 - SPIKE - No comments

01 February

WestBurlingtonCity.com Opens Today – Thousands Expected


New Blog Hits West Burlington - Another Fiefdom In Peril

Newspaper Suffers Another Blow To Readership


According to a press release embargoed until 12:01 am today, the newest member of the blog world is WestBurlingtonCity.com.

Quoting from their website:

“Having trouble sorting out all the political spin in the West Burlington Iowa Area?

This is the site for you.

We will dig until we uncover the truth.

We will find out about the back room deals that cost you tax dollars.

Then we will report the truth to you without all the 'spin'.”

Falcon


“Back room deals that cost you tax dollars.” I can’t wait to see what this is all about.

I love it. The no spin zone lands in West B. Another fiefdom is in peril. I smell a little Spike in there. After all there is a little Falcon in all of us.

Welcome Aboard

04:26:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Newspaper’s “Negativism” Detriment To Economic Development


According to sources that have read the Lockwood Greene report from last week’s retreat, the newspaper was listed as being a detriment to the community because of their negative reporting style.

Now I don’t know how much money Lockwood Green was paid, but I think we told our readers about this a long time ago. And we did that for free.

If things don’t change down on Main Street you can spend all of the money you want and you will never develop the proper attitude needed to make this community a better place to live or a community someone will want to move to.

Stay tuned. There is a lot more of this report that will be aired out.

03:55:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Nussle Loses Campaign Support Over Touch Play


This story is about bullies, not the Iowa Governor’s race.

William Krause, the owner of Kum & Go convenience stores withdrew his political support and campaign funding for Jim Nussle in Nussle's bid for Iowa’s Governor. Krause pitched a hissy fit over Nussle’s thoughts on removing touch play gambling machines from Iowa, including Kum & Go stores.

Nussle was right. Gambling revenue is not the key to “Iowa’s entrepreneurial future.”

As for Krause, he can come get his 2 day old Krispy Kremes and leave town. 41% of Iowans want these machines removed. 27% want them capped at current numbers.

And a lot more of us don’t like to be gouged for gas or donuts.

03:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Hoschek Says He Will Support Airport – Then Votes No!


Hoschek Still Incompetent

Des Moines County Supervisor Tim Hoschek recently agreed to support the Southeast Iowa Airport Commission and endorse its activities.

During the Tuesday Supervisor meeting Hoschek was asked to vote to approve Dan Wiedemeier to fill the County’s position on the board. Hoschek voted no.

Keep in mind that Hoschek had no candidate, didn’t look for a candidate, wanted a Democrat on the Board, then changed his mind to declare a woman should be appointed and then voted no on the only candidate to offer their time.

Way to go you trough hog! I’m glad to see that you are still incompetent and unable to form complete rational thoughts.

How the hell do you deliver the mail in the right mailboxes? And Tim, this is not funny or cute.

01:44:00 - SPIKE - No comments