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Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story
Not All Kids Think Alike
In the past week we have gotten a bunch of emails about the teen alcohol problem. Many of the emails were from students. Most of the emails made a valid point.
We were referred to a site
that had a posting about BurlingtonDerailed.com and the letter was very well written. Many of this writer’s thoughts are parallel to ours.
Not every kid is a problem. Some kids see the problems. Some can write about it peer-to-peer. This is one such letter.
With more letters like this, these kids will find what’s behind door #2 without Spike.
Good job, Al.
Roosevelt Road Rage
I happen to know the girls that were involved in the car incident. They were very upset. Being an adult there are many other ways he could have handled that situation. After all, "two wrongs don't make a right"
Hopefully, the police department is still investigating. I can't imagine they aren't. Cases like this sometimes move along slowly. We'll just keep asking for more details like what type of car, when did it happen and a description of the driver.
Maybe the witnesses from the Dairy Queen will come forward.
If you want to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and possibly collect a reward.
17 Arrested In Teen Party
You missed the teen party last Friday night. Your article didn’t make much of an impression.
We didn’t miss it. We didn’t have any facts to go on, only bits and pieces. In fact, one Xanga site had a story about 2 boys running scared through the woods down to 34 and hitching a ride home. Another post said one kid made $20 bucks giving people a ride home. Must have been a banker's kid.
I heard that over 50 people took a breath test resulting in 17 arrests including 3 kids 14 years old.
Mission 13 To Space Station
Expedition 13 Commander Pavel Vinogradov and Flight Engineer Jeff Williams began their mission Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. EST. They launched aboard a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Joining them for several days before returning home with Expedition 12 is Brazil’s first astronaut Marcos Pontes.
Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Saturn Ring "Propellers"
NASA Press Release
This collection of Cassini images provides context for understanding the location and scale of propeller-shaped features observed within Saturn's A ring.
Careful analysis of the highest resolution images taken by Cassini's cameras as the spacecraft slipped into Saturn orbit revealed the four faint, propeller-shaped double-streaks in an otherwise bland part of the mid-A ring. Imaging scientists believe the "propellers" provide the first direct observation of the dynamical effects of moonlets approximately 100 meters (300 feet) in diameter. The propeller moonlets represent a hitherto unseen size-class of particles orbiting within the rings.
The left-hand panel provides broad context within the rings, and shows the B ring, Cassini Division, A ring and F ring. Image scale in the radial, or outward from Saturn, direction is about 45 kilometers (28 miles) per pixel; because the rings are viewed at an angle, the image scale in the longitudinal, or circumferential, direction is several times greater.
The center image is a closer view of the A ring, showing the radial locations where propeller features were spotted. The view is approximately 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) across from top to bottom and includes a large density wave at bottom (caused by the moons Janus and Epimetheus), as well as two smaller density waves. The footprints of the propeller discovery images are between density waves, in bland, quiescent regions of the ring.
The propellers appear as double dashes in the two close-up discovery images at the right and are circled. The unseen moonlets, each roughly the size of a football field, lie in the center of each structure. These two images were taken during Saturn orbit insertion on July 1, 2004, and are presented here at one-half scale. Resolution in the original images was 52 meters (171 feet) per pixel. The horizontal lines in the image represent electronic noise and do not correspond to ring features.
The propellers are about 5 kilometers (3 miles) long from tip to tip, and the radial offset (the "leading" dash is slightly closer to Saturn) is about 300 meters (1,000 feet).
The propeller structures are unchanged as they orbit the planet. In that way, they are much like the wave pattern that trails after a speedboat as it skims across a smooth lake. Such a pattern is hard to discern in a choppy sea. In much the same way, scientists think other effects may be preventing Cassini from seeing the propellers except in very bland parts of the rings.
See PIA07790 and PIA07791 for additional images showing these features. Click here
to get started.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.
For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/home/index.cfm. The Cassini imaging team homepage is at http://ciclops.org.
Euphronios krater Returned To Italy
The Euphronios krater
, a 2,300-year-old vessel by Greek painter Asteas had been in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles until November 2005, when the Getty returned it to Italy. Looted in 1971
the vessel was returned after the Getty curator was indicted for dealing in stolen artifacts.
Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Reverse The Roles
Road rage on Roosevelt Avenue should be a lesson to teenagers on how things work in Burlington. Imagine a reversal of roles in the "high class car salesman" incident.
What would have happened if the car salesman, had pulled a stupid on the teenagers and the teens had chased him down to spew forth verbal abuse and threats? The police report would have been a beginning, not an end.
Doubtless the young involved would have been tracked down. Their parents would have been involved. A trip to the cop shop for all would be in order. The County Attorney would be consulted concerning assault, or even a "hate" related incident. In the end, charges may not be filed, but a J. D. file would be started on the teens.
Would the lead on a news story read, "Local teens terrorize businessman?" Would there be an editorial about unruly youth? The car salesman does a lot of business with the local Advertiser.
If the car salesman in question behaved inappropriately and is forced to answer for his behavior, it is only because the public has been made aware. It is to the Advertiser's amazing credit they ran the letter to the editor.
Thank you Spike for an even more open forum free of ad revenue influence.
The point of the lesson is power and position in Burlington carries perverse privileges as long as people are kept unaware. If you do not believe me, just ask the Mayor.
We aren't going to let this incident die. We've been on these kids' butts the last week and some of them deserve it for their behavior.
But even if it was a car load of kids that were all the subject of posts, I will see that this website stays on this until something happens. The kids have rights, too.
Road Rage On Roosevelt
More information has come in regarding the road rage incident near Fun City. According to a report received last night, a carload of girls attempted to make a turn across Roosevelt Avenue into oncoming traffic. The young driver realized her mistake and corrected.
Apparently the girls pulled into the Fun City parking lot and the driver of the other car, identified as Brad Deery according to our report “got in their face, pointing his finger, screaming things like "I am going to kick your asses….I should tie you all up and run you over….just because you are girls doesn't mean I wouldn't do anything to you" and then he allegedly kicked the girl's car.
The same report stated the girls have been to the Burlington Police Department on two occasions to follow up on the incident. The report alleges the police department has failed to act.
I can’t imagine the police department would shelve this complaint especially in light of the Edwards incident.
But if they are, then a full-scale investigation needs to happen. Our initial report indicated that there were witnesses to this road rage incident in addition to the girls in the car.
Those involved, can email us. We will not disclose your name or personal information.
I don’t think this is over until all the facts with answers, are uncovered.
And speaking of road rage, has anyone else seen the Hook trucks hauling drywall through town driving agressively and running stoplights, especially at the Main Street off ramp from eastbound 34? It happens ALL the time and I am not exaggerating. Be very careful.
Lawsuit, Teen Drinking - What Story?
Hey Spike, It’s been a while since we have talked. I will keep it short.
The city will lose the railroad lawsuit, 1985 says so. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.
BHS football players want to beat your ass? How many time outs do they get? Does this include the booster club parents? What a joke. BHS had one of the best high school football coaches in Iowa history, and he even cut his losses.
Parents need to know what is going on with the internet and this site provides excellent information on what’s going on in and around the community. Keep up the excellent work Spike, you have my support.
Thanks. All we can do is inform and state our opinion. It takes a community to effect the change that is desperately needed. You can only imagine how deep the mushrooms and asparagus would be if we weren't around.
The lawsuit is a lost cause. Like Fred on KCPS’s Big Show 1150 AM said this morning, “I want to get behind it, but Scott Power has lied to us... we haven't won anything with this ruling today...all we have done is get the OK to have our ass kicked in court."”
The sad part is that the whole town seems to be imploding right along with the lawsuit.
Real Cost of Drinking - 215,000 Alcohol Related Deaths A Year
The responses you've received from high school students show a complete ignorance of the cost of alcohol consumption. According to a University of Michigan study alcohol causes:
*35,000 auto accident deaths
*15,000 in non-highway accidents
*40,000 deaths due to liver and brain disease or suicide
*125,000 in other alcohol-related conditions/accidents.
*Two-thirds of all homicides are committed by people who drink prior to the crime.
*Two to three percent of the drivers on the highway are legally drunk on a typical week-day, and four to six percent on nights and weekends.
Spike, that's 215,000 alcohol related deaths a year.
When I was in high school MADD illustrated it this way: 3.7 times more people die annually to alcohol than the entire American deaths in Vietnam.
Put into today's terms - 84.87 times more people die annually to alcohol than the current total of Coalition deaths in Iraq.
But then what can we expect when parents and government officials act the same way and even condone the behavior as some sort of "rite of passage".
Just curious, how many letters have you received from the parents of the kids who's blogs were featured on your site?
Keep up the good work.
Sign Me: Dry and Proud of It
We’ve had one letter from one mother regarding her offspring’s blog, posted on March 27. I mostly caught hell and she rationalized her daughter’s actions with several ideas.
Cost of Litigation
I haven’t written about the costs of the railroad lawsuit in awhile.
Power’s known billings are about $180,000. Scott Power bills the City $115 hour.
I would conservatively estimate the railroad lawyer’s are $500 an hour here in Iowa and $1250 an hour in Washington, D.C.
Since the railroad attorneys are approximately 4.34 times the hourly rate for Power, we can estimate the railroad has spent about $781,000 on a straight time comparison. Now, if you factor in competency, the number of hours will be lower so the total cost might be about 20% less or about $624,800.
Add to this number the fees for the Washington lawyer from the World’s 6th largest law firm. His billings this month to prepare for this hearing will probably be about $25,000.
Always keep these numbers in mind as the lawsuit plods along headed to St Louis
to the 8th Circuit Court Of Appeals and never forget the City may have to pay for the railroad’s legal fees one day.
The City will never win this lawsuit. Never. Ever.
Adults Can Be Just As Dangerous Behind The Wheel
Well, congratulations, and hats off to Dennis Caulfield for the best letter to the editor you have ever written sir! (Tuesday, the28th) It is really a shame that 16 year old girls had to endure what they did, from that "high class car salesman" from the west end of town.
No matter what happened or what the infraction, it could have been handled in a adult manner, without the yelling and screaming and cussing and the threats! What in the hell is wrong with people today?
You can sign me,
I hope he doesn't get away with it a day longer!
Supposedly, Brad Deery confronted these girls after the 16 year old driver made some mistake and almost hit him. So he pulled a u-turn and chased them down and threatened to kick their asses. There were several witnesses who indicate Deery even went so far as to pull open the car doors and stuck his head inside the car, yelling and screaming!
If Deery did in fact open those car doors, that is serious.
If you have more details about this incident, email us. Your name will be kept confidential.
And a word to teenagers in general. I don't care how invincible or righteous you think your actions are, there are people in this world that don't care you're 16 years old and an inexperienced driver. And that includes your local car dealer.
This incident is a perfect example.
Tilling Towards Tomorrow - Mushrooms And Manure
As Burlington continues to shrink, large areas are becoming available for redevelopment. Preparations should be made for the ultimate destiny of what was once a small urban area. Dust to dust. Downtown to farmground
There is currently no shortage of vacant lots and the number is growing daily. Not only is what was once the core opening up, residential areas of South Hill are offering up areas large enough for hog confinements. What remains of what once was great, could be turned into high value crop production.
Vacant tombs such as the "million dollar" former YWCA building have potential
Basement areas that once housed a swimming pool can be converted to carp aquaculture. Boarded over windows keep out light and with the addition of manure and spores, you may grow mushrooms. The area's proximity to local elected officials and Iowa's Oldest Newspaper make mushroom farming a natural fit.
As Burlington's decline continues, areas converted to agriculture should go through a process of reverse annexation. Police, fire, water and sewer should not be maintained where there is not the population density to support them. Streets already in the process of becoming gravel lanes may become the county's domain.
It is not fair for those who insist on living in the past to ignore their responsiblity. Those responsible for the problem should not leave a mess for future generations to clean up.
The time to begin the conversion process is at hand. The fate of Roscoe and Latty await.
City Little Leaguers Against Roger Clemons
A friend of mine first told me about this site. It has more information than we read on the Hawkeye editorial page. The Hawkeye editor seems to choose sides and ignore some of the facts. That is poor journalism and an injustice to our local citizens. He should be hammering the City management over this BNSF lawsuit. He tells the County Supervisors that the taxpayer dollars are precious.
You are correct about the City's list of witnesses. They are nothing but an opinion. Powers may be a good local attorney and I don't even know about that, but he is out of his league in terms of railroad knowledge and the BNSF's top lawyers in the country.
It would be like a little leaguer going to the plate against Roger Clemon's 95 MPH fastball. Even the little leaguer knows when to bailout.
Power and Slagle know that they made a mistake, but they also know that their ass is on the line. And it should be!
Not Sore Loser King
The e-mails from the teens that you are suspicious about could not have been the former councilman's. You said yourself that they appeared to be written with an adult vocabulary in an adult style. The key word here is ADULT.
Couldn't have been King!
This is the first time I have observed your site and I just have to say that you must be a very bored 'person' to spend your entire day criticizing and puting down our community as a whole. If you don't agree with the political situation why don't you get up from your computer and run yourself, since you obviously think you know everything about this town.
Also people make mistakes in life. It's only human to have a bad judgement. Only by making those mistakes are people able to see the outcome and the consequences that come with them. Let people live their lives and stop trying to change society. I know you wont take what i say into consideration because you are pigheaded and set in your ways, but i hope that this put a different perspective into your writing.
I also believe that this cite has exploited high school students to the maximum. It is not your place to track down "supposed underage drinkers" and expose them to the community. I'm only wondering if you have any children or if you plan to have kids, because I would love to meet these perfect and well behaved children. Or maybe they would just be another teenager that makes mistakes.
I'm not ashamed of what i said nor am I ashamed to admit that I've made mistakes in my life as well. I hope I get a response to this email
junior at Burlington High School
P.S -I have saved this email, and if you do plan on putting this on your site or depicting what I say to anyone I hope your mature enough not to change it. I wrote this email to get a response from you and I would appreciate none of the words to be changed, deleted, or edited.
Thanks for your email. You can email your opinion anytime.
Since you are a junior in high school I might assume you are 16-17 years old and entitled to your opinion about anything and are welcome to contribute. The fact that you admit to making mistakes shows that you maturing and capable of deciding right and wrong.
The fact that you aren’t 18 makes you subject to your parents’ control and laws have been written that legally define what you can and cannot do. What you lack is the lifetime experience of decision-making. That you need to be patient with.
Since I am considerably older and a lot wiser than you would like to believe me to be, I can run a website anyway I want to make people think. If you don’t like my opinions, just hit delete. I haven’t exploited anyone. Your fellow students exploited themselves by posting information on the World Wide Web about their drinking and drug abuse.
Although you may think you have the solutions for the problems we outline each day, you need the practical experience that leads to the decision-making process to effect change. When you have that you will then find that change is still not easy.
As for changing your post, I am mature enough to try to edit our contributors’ emails to correct spelling and punctuation. In respect for your wishes, I have not done that.
Large Wad Of Anonymous Emails
We got a boat load of emails from imposters and out right story tellers.
We even got an email from the grave. Jerry Garcia wrote to tell us what a good job we were doing. But he had a conflciting email address so we can't post that one.
Teen Drinking Not New
Dear Spike(or whoever),
I am a student at Iowa State University and a graduate from BHS. I do not condone drinking, yet I do not feel that teen drinking is something new. This being the case, I do not think it is fair to talk negatively about my generation.
I was wondering what percentage of people drank when you were in high school and how much they consumed. I do not believe that the legal drinking age of 18 years should skew your results in comparison with today's underage alcohol consumption. I believe it can be directly compared.
I would say when I was in high school the number of kids who drank more than once a month was probably around 1 in 3. If you believe back in your day the number was a great deal lower than that, then we may have a problem. If this is the case, then I urge you to spread more light on this dark subject.
As for the internet sites, it's just a bunch of kids having fun. I don't see much danger in them. They are no more dangerous as driving down the road. Let the kids be able to share their stories if they want, they might as well post them for anyone to see if this stuff is going on.
P.S. Keep in mind, high schoolers are very immature. I was immature in high school and you probably were too. Whoever wasn't immature in high school probably did not have too much fun. (not to say you need to drink to have fun).
Teen drinking is not new by a long shot. That was never stated as the revelation of my blog research. I found not all teenagers meet the level of serious alcohol abuse.
The revelations in this story line were teen attitude, the amount of alcohol consumed and the frequency it is consumed. All of those factors combined equal disaster.
In answer to your questions, kids did drink when we were in high school. A very small proportion of kids drank with any frequency. It never approached your thoughts that 33% of the kids today drink on a once-a-month basis.
The stories I read on Xanga.com indicate a frequency significantly higher. And the alcohol consumed is far greater. I don’t ever remember 14-year old kids drinking like they are today.
After a myriad of parents wrote positive emails about uncovering this darker side, I know that these blog stories aren’t isolated incidents. The emails also confirmed the concern over attitude and the lack of common sense in today’s teens and young adults.
That is the bigger concern. You can’t take common sense and pour it from a bucket and expect it to take hold. If you have doubts, look at the mess Burlington is in. We have drunk for a mayor that hasn’t learned his lesson after 4 DUI’s.
Same goes for the invincibles threatening to kick Spike’s ass. These are football players. They are supposed to go out every week and represent Burlington High School to the best of their abilities.
What these guys don’t understand is that they also represent the taxpayers of this community that fund their weekly activities. We don’t owe these football players anything except a swift kick in the ass when they start threatening members of the community. Especially when they write about peeing their pants when they’re drunk.
No one is immune to the impact this drinking problem is having on society. That is a genuine concern many people have. In your lifetime you will see people taken to rock bottom for alcohol and drug abuse. You will see your tax money used to help some. But the majority will continue to be a drain on society and your billfold.
Lastly, what these kids don’t realize is the whole world can read their blog. Everybody including those that have ulterior motives. Somebody needs to sit these kids down and graphically illustrate the real world risks of telling your name, address, birth date, etc. What the hell is the matter with these kids? This isn’t their private little playground.
The Burlington Police Department has an internet safety program. Every kid needs a shock and awe campaign of internet threats.
It’s not an easy problem to overcome. And the rationalization you did it too, doesn’t fly in my opinion.
Railroad Loses Motion To STB - Here We Come 8th Circuit
The Judge just handed down his order denying the railroad's
to send the case to the Surface Transportation Board.
If you think this is over and the city won, you're wrong. In his order the Judge refers to assembling facts for the 8th Circuit Court Of Appeals. So the Judge knows where this is going.
I'll stand by this morning's opinion. The City will never win this case.
Hang on Betty Lou, it's gonna be a rough ride.
Railroad Lawsuit Ruling Due Soon – No Money To Pay For This Mess
It doesn’t matter when the Judge rules, how the Judge rules or what he rules on, before this is all over the railroad will win this case. It will be won at the Surface Transportation Board or U.S. Supreme Court.
It will be won because the City had no case to begin with. And it will cost an absolutely unbelievable amount of money.
I begrudge every taxpayer’s dime that has been spent and every dime that will be spent. And I hold everyone involved fully accountable for this boondoggle.
You just don’t get it.
Where Are City's Expert Witnesses?
"Power's Secret Legal Bills Biggest Travesty Ever Perpetrated Upon Citizens"
Now that Power has finally released his witness list, I wonder how long it will be before the city council received the itemized bill for services. I'm hoping that the council will not give this bill the same diligence they gave the current budget, and rubber stamp the thing, based on the assurances of Slagle, et. al.
I have no doubt that Power has witheld the information, intentionally, to achieve this effect. I see nothing in the witness list that justified his and Slagle's level of secrecy. The list brings another question to the front: None of the people listed are experts on railroad law. Why?
If this is the best Power can bring, then the city appears to have an excellent malpractice case. Then again, Power has five fools for clients.
I'm glad you corroborated my thinking on the witness list. You can tell a lot about the merits of the case by the company Power doesn't keep. Two things pop to mind. Not much thinking and no expert witnesses for the City.
I sincerely doubt that even if Power were to solicit railroad law experts the good experts wouldn't touch this case with a 10' pole. instead there will be a few well meaning locals to jabber about what they've heard and not much more.
Then you get Cahill to explain what he thought the 1985 agreement meant and the railroad lawyer from New York to explain what he thought the 1985 agreement meant when all of the a sudden the Judge throws his hands up and says, "Ahah, preponderance of the evidence. What does the 1985 agreement say? Mr. Power your 1985 agreement is pretty clear. The previous case law is pretty clear. Mr. Power, get outta my courtroom."
Nothing warranted Power and Slagle's insistence on secrecy except the two of them covering their asses. It's about time the citizens started to realize that.
Power's secret legal bill is the biggest travesty ever perpetrated upon the citizens of Burlington.
County DHS Site Questions Answered
Salvation Army Wanted Better Access To Clients -
Why Not Human Services?
The Hawkeye editor gave the County Supervisors a public spanking over this DHS issue. The owner of the current building along with some other downtown supporters criticized the move out of the downtown.
Some are rightfully saying that we need a people base for the downtown. The more people we can draw to the downtown, the better. That's true!
The confusing and disappointing thing is that these "same" people supported the Casino to move from the downtown. The Casino probably brings in more people to the downtown than any other facility. The Downtown Partners and the Hawkeye supported the Casino move.
When the Casino Boat was first pitched to our citizens, we were told that it would bring in thousands of citizens that will eat at the downtown restaurants and visit the downtown businesses.
If this is true, then these people that are criticizing the Supervisors for the DHS move, should have made some noise about the Casino going to Roosevelt Ave.
If this is not true and they just spend their money and leave, then maybe the Casino is not as good for the Community businesses as promoted.
The supervisors were trying to get the best value for the taxpayers. The Hawkeye jumped on this move from the downtown, but gave the Casino it's blessing.
They would have to agree that this is inconsistent, if they were honestly looking out for the downtown.
Now you can see why the advertiser has gone so far down hill. It is led by a writer that doesn’t check his facts, loses focus of the issue and doesn’t care to use spell check.
According to Delaney’s juvenile fit for attention Saturday, the Supervisors are just plain nothing but trouble when they don’t tell Delaney their every move. Delaney accused the supervisors of not even looking at any other building to house the Department of Human Services.
Delaney was hammered on KCPS’s Big Show 1150 AM Monday morning by Supervisor Chairman Ed Blow, Fred and 7.
From Blow’s account the County looked at 3 schools, consulted with Millard Company on their available space and the old Hy-Vee building. And the supervisors spent over a year looking at property that best suited the needs of the County, not Downtown Burlington. After all, that’s why Blow and Beck were elected. And seems strange that Delaney failed to mention his buddy Slagle’s indignant indifference when asked about other possible sites downtown.
The decision was also based on being closer to their client base on Agency Street. Something the Salvation Army recognized and the advertiser fully endorsed.
And you are so right about the advertiser clapping their flippers over moving the casino out of downtown to Roosevelt Avenue.
Maybe we should fill a vacant building downtown with a newspaper. Maybe the new newspaper would bring a publisher that checked his facts before he spouted off on local issues.
And maybe the new guys would better support local economic development efforts instead of being such a negative player about anything they don't understand.
We need to know how to say, "No News Today, Today We Create Mayhem" in Latin. It should be the sign carved into the brick below The Advertiser down on Main Street.
Who do you think you are? If you are so unhappy living in the city of Burlington, County of Des Moines then why don't you move across the river to Illinois? Maybe they would like you over there to heckle all their "elected" officials. Elected being the operative word.
It seems as though you only have two that are at all acceptable to you. One of which is an embarrassment to our County and the other just doesn't have a clue what is truly going on. Ed Blow reminds me of Larry, The Cable Guy with his "Get'er done" mentality and dress code. What a joke and embarrassment?!?!?! Literally!?!?!
Why don't you put your mouth where it needs to be and run for office yourself? You talk about our City Management as if you are some sort of an expert so perhaps you with your almighty intelligence should go ahead get on the City Council. That is if you could get elected!!
Now Mr. Spike I am smart enough to realize you could delete my mail and continue badgering everyone but if you have as much guts as you seem to convey then I would like to see this as part of your Blog!! Thanks in advance.
Well, I’m pleased to see that you support our website and that you now realize your cousin/brother/uncle/son (CBUS) is less than qualified to handle the job he was elected to do.
I’ll tell you who I am. I am a taxpayer sick and tired of Timmy’s lack of fiscal understanding or responsibility.
Speaking of job performance, how many of the 12 years in office did Timmy contribute to higher taxes? How about Timmy’s elected lifetime of slopping in the trough of the public dollar? How much money has your Timmy pissed away going to Washington, D.C. trying to be a big dog? What has Timmy ever brought back from Washington other than a handful of his own business cards and soap from the hotel?
Ed Blow has done more to straighten out this county with David Miller and Bob Beck in 3 years than Timmy has in his lifetime. As far as the "Get'er done" mentality, good thing Blow has that attitude instead of being like Timmy just living by the side of the public trough glad handing anyone stupid enough to listen to him and keep filling his bowl.
The only get ‘er done Timmy knows is his expense account. And he does a good job of bleeding that dry each year not because he has to, but because he can. That tells me more about Timmy than all the family letters written ever will.
Taxes dropped this year because of Ed Blow, Bob Beck and David Miller. They realized that the status quo of pork chop Timmy meant needless future tax burdens. The steps taken to lower taxes, Timmy voted against. Just like voting against the airport. Timmy made money driving out of town to his meetings. He doesn’t now.
You keep watching this website. After we release the Timmy story that’s coming, write me another letter about how righteous Timmy is. We’ll see how the wind blows then.
And by the way, do you have any information on the property swap made so Timmy could finally call himself a Des Moines County taxpayer after all of these years of not being a taxpayer?
With the World Wide Web I can live anywhere and still illuminate Timmy’s dim bulb. So moving across the river won’t solve the problem of “where’s Spike?
I hope I have answered your questions.
F. E. C. Moves Not to Regulate Spike
It appears Burlington Derailed as it currently is operated is not covered by Federal Election Commission
regulations. Nobody has bought paid political advertising at Derailed for federal office. When Courtney runs for Congress, I doubt if he will attempt a purchase.
Spike 1 Intoxicated tyrants 0
And this ruling will start to mold new policy at the state level.
BHS Football Team Wants To Kick Spike's Ass
In your defense, those BHS Football players threatening to kick you ass, should use that tough talk on the field where they were 0 for 10. The only asses getting kicked were theirs - week in and week out.
Impressive record. I can't ever recall a team that bad. Must be the defective beer bongs they're using.
BHS Football Team Seeks "Victory"
The Burlington High School Football team wants to beat your ass. I imagine as a group they could pound the hell out of an individual. As a team, they make a good conference door mat.
I know an 90 year old lady with a walker that might be able to make that guy pee his pants without being drunk.
Nostalgic Look To The Future
Remember Woody Payne's bar on Washington Street? It you could crawl to the bar, you could get a beer.
Pabst, or Pepsi, age was not the determining factor. Junior High kids used to go there after school. It was also a good place to buy drugs. Lots of fights and other crap.
The cops did little about it for years. After an under age girl "committed suicide" by hanging herself from a door knob upstairs, public pressure spearheaded by the victim's family finally closed the place.
Is the under age drinking problem that much greater today than it was decades ago? There is no doubt it is better advertised by youths access to computer bulletin boards. Has the tolerance level for the problem increased over time?
One thing is certain, under age drinking is training a whole new generation of local leaders. Threats to kick your ass made by those upper arm measurements exceed their I.Q. means Burlington appears insured a steady supply of Mike Edwards types to choose from for public office.
Has SL King Found New Home On Teen Blogs?
Writing Styles Similar To Finger Prints & Web Addresses
Over the past few days we have received several suspicious emails that claimed to be written by Burlington High School students and others with unique concerns about our teen alcohol story.
What was suspect was the use of ambiguous names, bogus email addresses, non-profane adult vocabulary usage, phrases and other clues to indicate an adult writing style.
When I compared these emails and writing styles to those found on Xanga.com and MySpace.com it became readily apparent that the writing style was not that of 14-18 year old students, even those claiming to be the email authors.
So I sent samples of the emails to a friend that has the methods to examine writing styles by computer. I should have the results back in a week to 10 days.
To spice things up a little, I sent along some of SL King’s more lucid website postings along with a few others that like to harass us. Normally I wouldn’t care about this type of foolishness. This time I do since King’s name popped up during the Xanga.com story and language used in some xanga postings were mirror reflections of language King has used before, almost word for word.
So the answer to an email question is, I don’t need to know who you are. The comparison of writing style is accurate and not as complex as you might think. And it lets my tech geeks do geek things like shop for pocket protectors.
City Manager Applicants - No Golfers Wanted
When we interview for the next City Manager, we should ask if they like golf. If the answer is yes, move to the next candidate.
Then we should ask if they have a problem working a full 5 day schedule. Work ethic and examples for the other City employees start at the top.
We have larger problems than Goose poop. These people are paid excellent wages to work, not to golf.
It's about that time when Salgle and Mini-Me start hitting the links. I suppose there will be a few celebration drinks for their pay raises and wool pulling for another year.
Kudos For Spike And Hawk Eye
The Hawkeye did a good job with the Sunday editorial about teen drinking. Your site exposed the problem too. There is a problem.
Parents must do a better job at setting a good example. When parents continue to abuse alcohol by getting drunk, they set a poor example. There is nothing wrong with a couple of drinks if your of the legal age.
Our kids are exposed to drunkenness that seems to be accepted. There are way too many activities that include drinking. These kids are exposed to so much and some parents and elected officials don't help much with the environment that they provide. It is an issue that needs some attention.
Good for Spike and the Hawkeye.
This cyber-bullying thing is real problem for children. The response to Friday's post has set off a whirlwind of hate, foul language, threats to beat Spike's ass and more. And that is just from players on the Greyhound football team.
Raise Your Right Hand and Promise Not to Point and Laugh
What, Spike's name not on the City's great railroad lawsuit witness list? Since they know not whom to call, will they subpoena?
I figure with all the money they are wasting on this lawsuit, local leaders would at least try outing Spike in the process. The Election Ethics Board filing failed to do the trick. Why not try a court of law? Make their nemesis appear.
If the City puts Spike on the stand, they may find out who Spike is. The risk is cross examination. If Spike is on the stand, he may be forced to tell many things the plaintiff wishes would remain unsaid.
I suppose the defense has grounds to claim the case should be thrown out based on the plaintiffs' insanity. Spike is a recognized expert on the incompetence of local leaders in Burlington. Unlike the City, the railroad's case is solid. The railroad has no reason to confuse the main issue. Spike for defense? It is not likely.
Who cares about the City's witnesses? It is City Officials under oath that will be the real show. Talk about whores in church; nothing sweats like a politician under oath.
When the railroad asks if jobs, or money, is the reason for the City's action, what will be their response? Will they plead the 5th like others in organized crime? Will they resort to perjury and try hiding it by redefining the meaning of words like "is" ? Will they simply go catatonic?
If Power calls forth the ghost of Charles Elliot Perkins and then Slagle and Edwards step forward with the Ouija board, the sanity issue may be brought to the fore by the judge. Case dismissed.
If this happens expect no City Council meetings for a while as a result of court ordered Psychiatric evaluations.
Spike Exploiting Xanga.com Abusers?
An anonymous visitor sent an email to BurlingtonDerailed.com -
I would like to start off by stating that you have no right exploiting minors like this.
Secondly, a couple of those people (whom of which are not minors) are of legal age to be doing what they happened to be writing about, not that it is any of your business anyway.
I know you already know everything, but apparently Xanga is something you are unfamiliar with. Xanga is just a fun way of communicating with local peers, we don't intend on having people like you, for instance, observing, let alone linking our xangas to other local conservative adults.
This whole entry is ridiculous, I can't believe you could be this ignorant. If you really want to see a change made or have awareness rasied, go out and raise money for organizations such as SADD, JEL, etc. don't sit anonymously behind a computer screen and type about how bad teenagers are today.
Thanks for your time,
17, attendee of Burlington High School
I guess I’m confused about whether you support underage drinking or don’t think it is fair to get caught. If you don’t want your story told, then don’t get on the World Wide Web and tell us how much fun it is to get drunk and then drive all over Southeast Iowa and West Central Illinois.
Don’t show the world the Greyhound logo on a football helmet when you’re talking about being drunk and peeing your pants like a little kid. I guess you have no pride in the meaning of pride or teamwork. If you did, you wouldn’t take the rest of the team down with you to the level of a street drunk. I don’t pay school taxes for the image of school property to be used on the same page as a drunk talking about peeing his pants. Last time I peed my pants was when I was 2 or 3 years old.
And I guess I’m confused. I missed the part of Iowa law where anyone under the age of 21 can legally drink in Iowa, especially 17 year olds. The oldest person in the links we posted is 2 months away from being 21 years of age. You are all under legal age to drink.
And when you drink and drive as many of you do, it is my business. Not only are breaking the law, you are a hazard to everybody else including me.
What really surprised me the most wasn’t the drinking; it was how much you are drinking and how dumb you all are about your personal information.
With all of this said, I find your email very suspicious and suspect. Your email came over to us with your supposed email address, full name but as an anonymous message.
You have seemed to take an enormous amount of effort to send an anonymous email but then tell me your name. Your email is written with an adult language style and spelling errors similar to SL King. And for that reason your name does not appear because it could be a forged message.
So, I suggest that before you chastise me, it might be a good idea for you to share these ideas with your parents and have them email me for a more meaningful dialog.
And for your information I have donated to SADD. Maybe you should attend a meeting.
When In Doubt - King Will Be A Fool
Not Just Teens - Parents & City Leaders Need To Step Up
You know what they say; "better to remain quiet and be thought a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt".
Of course I'm referring to Senator Kings' latest "deep thoughts". I've always known he was an idiot, just didn't realize how big! (not referring to his bowling pin figure)
We all know that under-aged kids drink. But I don't think a lot of parents knew about the personal diary websites, and once again you've done a great service to this community. I think it's a good idea for parents to be aware of this new online community that wasn't here when they were young. It's most certainly a dangerous place. And as usual, dumb*ss King missed the point. Shees, what a moron.
And an interesting note from the feature editor Criss Roberts. I'd forgotten the party was at that residence. The only thing that SL King wrote that made ANY sense was the last part about the parents stepping up to the plate. Lets face it, most of the time that is where the responsibility lies; the parents. Right, Criss?
As usual Spike, keep up the great work. Kids will always experiment with booze.
It's our "leaders" I'm worried about! One day this town will see through the alcoholic fog and realize there is more to life than getting drunk and gambling.
I only hope there is enough resources left for the city to continue when this happens. At the pace we're on, I doubt it!
After reading your list of names that will testify for the City, I didn't see Edwards name on the list. Maybe BNSF will call Edwards to the stand.
Edwards stated that he or the council was not aware of the most recent 1985 agreement between the City and BNSF before the lawsuit was filed. This agreement is important. They voted and made a decision to file a lawsuit without this information? This question will be asked in court.
Edwards said all along that it was about jobs. Slagle then stated it was not about jobs. Is this about jobs or the money?
There seems to be a lot of inconsistent statements by the City.
There are tracks going through towns from coast to coast that do not get rent. It was the way the railroad system was set up. What makes Burlington so special? BNSF could fight this for years, and we cannot afford to do that.
Edwards isn't on the witness list for the simple fact he is a known drunk and neither party wants him to try to explain it to us the way SL King does. And earrings have a way of disenfranchising the judge.
It's pretty bad when the mayor of a community has no veracity in the courtroom. Or, anywhere else for that matter.
King Can't Keep His Yap Shut
King is an idiot, to be sooo stupid as to tell the world that his mother didn't watch him good enough and he drank when he was 3! The xanga.com sites you posted now say you can't make them stop drinking and a few have gotten threatening.
You must have touched a nerve because the language has gotten foul.
Keep up the good work.
Just consider the source. Intolerable meaningless.
Down On Teachers? Not Hardly!
Regarding the Burger King Incident: If Mike Edwards received "preferential treatment" that night, then so have I, and so have one hell of a lot of other people in this city -- most of them nobodies like me. It seems to me the REAL difference is that when it happened to us it didn't become a front page news story. I guess you already know this, Mike -- er, I mean, Spike -- but if the police in this city cited or arrested everyone who was eligible, they'd have to double their staff -- both officers and support staff -- and still pretty much work the whole force around the clock. Probably they'd still be way behind, have to let a few vandals and shoplifters go. And the county jail -- way too small. The court house? The public defenders' offices? The county attorney's office? Probably have to annex West Burlington just to house it all.
Regarding teenage blogs and teenage drinking: One mother wrote in to say "we got drunk on a quart of beer?" Since my 17-year-old daughter's Xanga was one of the sites you linked on your page, I'm guessing many of the parents of Burlington's high school bloggers are somewhere around my age ... and our generation f****** invented the kegger! I'd say the "blind-eyed parents" are the same ones who'd like to pretend they never blew chunks behind the shelter house at 40 & 8 park or in somebody's back pasture; the same ones who'd like to pretend their kids are perfect -- or if they're not, that it's some other kid or some other parent who's at fault.
The staff at BCHS are hardly blind to or apathetic about underage drinking. Ask any BCHS athlete who's been disciplined for just attending a party where kids were drinking, or for being with someone who was intoxicated at a school event. There are some terrific people working very hard at BCHS, and they are already shouldering too much of the blame for What's Wrong With These Kids Today.
Web logs ARE like diaries -- these kids, much like most of the adult bloggers out there, intend the content to be read by their friends and peers. And thank you, by the way, for pointing out the danger of predatory interest in the sites, then publicizing them to a whole lot of people who would never have had occasion to see them. If you kept a diary, Spike, I wonder what we could read in it about your junior year ... too bad your mom didn't have a keystroke logger.
Nazis in the schools and a police state at home won't fix These Kids Today. But we could try talking to them. It's amazing what words can do.
Glad to hear from a parent. Maybe you’re informed. Many parents aren’t.
1. You’re not the mayor and you weren’t elected to represent the city. So you can present whatever kind of image you want for yourself to the community. Quite frankly, you are the only person who has written and ever gotten “preferential treatment.” And you won't get anywhere with my opinion of our drunk mayor.
2. Mike is not Spike. You need to stop listening to that jackass King. He is a sore loser perpetuating his inadequacies by slinging lies for losing the election and landing in last place.
3. Why should taxpayers pay for your public defender if we start arresting more drunks? Just because you’re caught drinking doesn’t obligate the taxpayers to paying for your lawyer.
4. Maybe you did keggers. Did you go around threatening people like little gangsters? Did you write about being drunk and peeing your pants for the world to see? Did you photograph and then post pictures chugging beer when you were 17? In fact, some of the drinking is being done by 14 year olds. Surely, you don’t condone that?
5. Something is wrong somewhere in the school system when the open discussion of breaking the law is allowed to occur on computers paid for by the taxpayers. If they want to communicate they can get a piece of paper and a pencil. Or, maybe just talk to each other. Even an analog phone will work.
6. If you had so much concern about predators trolling these sites, then why does your daughter have personal information posted? I’ve known about Xanga.com and Myspace.com for about 10 days. I first visited Xanga.com a week ago. These kids were doing this a long time before we came along.
7. Talking is something that many parents don’t do and better get to doing. And the first thing to discuss is common sense because the lack of common sense seems to be a real problem for today’s teenagers and parents.
8. The best solution for the teachers is to just have a drunk student arrested. Make that simple. Why ruin another child's educational environment for a drunk?
9. I can't decide if you are condoning the teenage drinking problem or have you given up on stopping it? Some of these problems can be overwhelming for a parent.
Quirk, Hansen, Sweet & Seery Lawsuit Witnesses
Dan Cahill, Rigdon & Slagle Named Too
It should be real fun in Federal Court for the advertiser to get the real story. Hawk Eye employees Jim Quirk, Mike Sweet, Bob Hansen and Tom Seery have all been named witnesses in the railroad lawsuit.
Also included in the Who’s Who’s of Burlington star witnesses are Dan Cahill, Jerry Rigdon and Bruce Slagle.
1. Dan Cahill, Attorney, 205 Washington St., Burlington, IA 52601. Mr. Cahill will testify to support Plaintiff’s case in chief or in response to Defendant’s testimony or evidence or Defendant’s counterclaim concerning his employment by the City of Burlington in the early 1980's and his investigation, research, negotiation, drafting, and execution of the 1985 Agreement between the City of Burlington and Burlington Northern, Inc. and related issues.
2. Jerry Rigdon, Former Mayor of Burlington, 1600 Heisey, Burlington, IA. Mr. Rigdon will testify to support Plaintiff’s case in chief or in response to Defendant’s testimony or evidence or Defendant’s counterclaim concerning his involvement as a councilperson and later Mayor in the research, negotiation, and approval of the 1985 Agreement between the City of Burlington and Burlington Northern, Inc. and related issues.
3. George DeHague, retired, 2812 Shamrock Dr., Burlington, IA 52601. Mr. DeHague will testify concerning his knowledge of the Burlington shops facility as well as numerous other shops facilities on the CB&Q, Burlington Northern, and BNSF systems as an employee and labor representative from approximately 1940 until his retirement in 1984 and thereafter as a member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Worker’s. Mr. DeHague’s testimony will presented by Defendant, which is unknown at this time.
4. Bruce Slagle, City Manager, City of Burlington, 400 Washington Street, Burlington, IA. Mr. Slagle will testify concerning the past and present use of the Burlington riverfront and his knowledge and involvement in the events leading up to and following the closing of the Burlington shops in January 2003 and matters concerning the shops generally.
5. Dr. Rudolph Daniels, Dept. Chair, Railroad Operations Technology (retired), Western Iowa Tech Community College, home address: 4501-14 Southern Hills Drive, Sioux City, IA 51106. Dr. Daniels will testify concerning the railroad shops in Burlington, Iowa and commencing in approximately 1855 through January 2003 and its relative importance with other railroad shops on the CB&Q, Burlington Northern, and BNSF systems consistent with his written report. Mr. Daniels’ testimony will also include, as necessary, rebuttal of evidence or testimony presented by Defendant, which is unknown at this time.
6. Kevin M. Pollard, Real Estate Appraiser, Roy R. Fisher, Inc. - Appraisal Consultants, 2010 E. 38th St., Suite 201, Davenport, IA 52807-1155. Mr. Pollard will testify consistent with his findings and conclusions as set forth in his appraisal report dated December 20, 2004.
7. Richard J. Heyland, Assistant General Chairman, System Council No. 16 IBEW, 3030 140th St., Wever, IA 52658. Mr. Heyland will testify concerning the nature and scope of repair and maintenance activities conducted at the Burlington shops during his tenure there as an employee and labor representative.
8. Jerry Miller, Smith Engineering Associates, Inc., 1115 Summer St., Burlington, IA 52601. Mr. Miller will testify concerning his preparation of a map generally depicting the south accretions area of the Burlington riverfront including the real property in dispute, including acreages. Mr. Miller will also provide foundation testimony with regard to a CB&Q Station Map dated October 3, 1944.
7. Bob Hansen
Burlington Hawkeye Newspaper
800 South Main
Burlington, IA 52601
Mr. Hansen will testify as to statements made by the City or its representatives as reflected in the newspaper articles marked as exhibits in this case.
8. Jim Quirk
Burlington Hawkeye Newspaper
800 South Main
Burlington, IA 52601
Mr. Quirk will testify as to statements made by the City or its representatives as reflected in the newspaper articles marked as exhibits in this case.
9. Michael N. Sweet
Burlington Hawkeye Newspaper
Burlington, IA 52601
Mr. Sweet will testify as to statements made by the City or its representatives as reflected in the newspaper articles marked as exhibits in this case.
10. Tom Seery
Burlington Hawkeye Newspaper
800 South Main
Burlington, IA 52601
Mr. Seery will testify as to statements made by the City or its representatives as reflected in the newspaper articles marked as exhibits in this case.
Give Away the Advertiser - Read Shopper's Spree
Assuming Citizen Delaney gets his paper for free, he is getting his money's worth.
Comparing the ratio of real and accurate news to advertising, the Shopper's Spree is a better product at a better price.
Playing With Its Prey
I remember a cat we had as a kid. It was an excellent mouser and rabbit hunter. Whatever kitty caught afield, would be brought to the door half dead and tormented until boredom set in and the victim was eaten.
Is the railroad dragging around the mouse it has caught as a trophy? Will the delays stop when the railroad is done displaying the would-be predator that has become prey?
How long until the City treasury is empty?
The City treasury IS empty.
The mouse had more of a chance than the City does.
Why The Delay Friday?
Why the secrecy about the teen drinking? I had my hopes up that it was a Hoschek story. What gives?
I wanted the kids in school so the parents had time to read the blogs before the kids changed the website content. And from the looks of it, they read it. Two sites have changed their content. And a whole lot of parents have looked and emailed.
But never fear. We saved the pages.
Hoschek is still out there for the plucking. Be patient Grasshopper, the man with many hands will soon have fewer pockets to pick.
What's Next In Lawsuit?
I hope Edwards does not get elected to anything again. To think that Courtney and Edwards are our representatives just makes me shake my head.
I wonder how much further the City will take this BNSF lawsuit. They could be getting us into a financial situation that we can't handle. We need to cut our losses and get out of this.
Keyloggers To View Internet activity
Keyloggers are the answer. Some can be downloaded for free for 30 - 60 day trials. I got a real education when I installed mine. You need the keylogger because not everything is included in Xanga. Some of it is relayed through instant messaging. Keylogger picks up all of that too. It will also give you the user codes and passwords.
Xanga is basically a place to tell all your stuff, feel sorry for yourself and brag about your lovelife. It's also a place to generate a lot of drama and name calling.
I've seen some major cyber bullying going on.
You will find a lot of stuff on My Place as well. Nearly every Xanga teen has a page on My Place with tons of pictures. The pictures range from drinking and sexy poses to pets.
I've heard from the kids that Fun City is weird because some the drunken adult patrons follow the teen girls around and try to talk to them. Kids say something needs to be done.
I read Derailed everyday and want to thank you. Please don't publish this because I could lose my job.
I'll try to get some links to the keyloggers posted. I noticed the kids refer to going underground to communicate and figured it was instant messaging.
Arrest Made At Teen Party
There were indeed arrests made at that November party. Read the police reports published in The Hawk Eye that weekend. One would have been (Edit) the unwitting host and another young man (Edit). There was a serious of disciplinary actions taken both by the school and parents as a result of the part which took place at our home while we were out of town. I assume you will correct your error.
Criss Roberts, feature editor
The Hawk Eye newspaper
Burlington, Iowa, 52601
Thanks for writing. The story wasn't directed at your child as much as it was a representation of how prevelent the drinking is and in this specific case, the failure of the Sheriff's Department to stop kids that were drunk from driving home.
Maybe you could pick up the story line and research the subject since you have a vested interest in the results.
Teens, Alcohol & The Internet In Burlington
Booze, Drugs, Sex, Curfew, Lying, Scheming And Mayhem
We Saved The Linked Pages - Parents Do The Same
After the mayor was found impaired in the Burger King parking lot and received preferential treatment for his inability to drive home, we started to get emails of all sorts detailing how teenagers and underage drinkers were seriously abusing alcohol in Southeast Iowa.
Several concerned mothers wrote detailing parties, teen alcohol abuse, unlimited access to alcohol, blind-eyed parents, high school staff looking with blinders on and the use of the internet by these kids to openly discuss their illegal activities.
When I was sent a link to Xanga.com - Burlington Blogring
, a popular website where anyone, including the perverts, can start their own personal blog, I was totally shocked. It was like reading someone’s intimate diary with far too many personal details being openly written about without regard or common sense.
I tabled this story for a long time because it has the potential to become a quagmire. After several emails showed up this week and discussion with our lawyers, here’s the story.
You have to read the blogs and make your own decision. You will read about an enormous amount of booze, drugs, after-curfew travel, sex, strippers, lying, scheming and general mayhem. All of these kids appear to be under 21. As one mother stated, "When I was young we got drunk on a quart of beer." You will see these kids knock down kegs.
These blogs are a dangerous playground. It is a feeding ground for personal information. These kids have absolutely no clue what they are doing or the potential danger they could place themselves in.
All I can say is every parent needs to install keystroke software, deploy strong passwords and then monitor his or her kids' internet usage on a regular basis.
Then parents need to crack the whip on alcohol usage. Don't use the mayor as a role model.
The Burlington School system should follow Mediapolis in banning the teen blog sites on school computers.
After you read these blogs decide if you want to be a part of the solution or part of the problem. Believe me, the problem is catastrophic. Get involved, right now. If you can't talk to your kids, get somebody else to.
teen booze party, cops, no arrests
cops and breath tests
- nice shot of a BHS Football helmet and Greyhound logo behind the post about wetting his pants after drinking too much
8/28/05 & 9/05
guzzling beer, road trip drinking
2/22, 2/21, 1/30, 1/26
Lead Story Delayed Until 8:15
Our lead story will be released at 8:15 am this morning.
The Price of STB Proceedings
According to a STB press release the filing fees have increased on some transactions regarding transportation transactions and disputes.
The new fees effective April 19, enable the STB to offset expenses and reflect changes to overhead costs.
Filing fees included a $40,700 increase for major financial transactions. The 2006 update complies with a congressional directive included in the FY2006 transportation appropriations legislation that the STB raise $1.25 million in fees to cover a portion of its budget.
If a formal complaint is filed the fee could be as much as $10,100 just to get the paperwork in the door.
Isn't this fun?
KCPS Promotes Last Ditch Lawsuit Weapon
In response to the KCPS 1150 AM call for grass roots action to end the railroad lawsuit, we have employed our best and brightest to derive the best weapon to bring the railroad to their knees. No expense was spared.
Uranus For 7
Tomorrow Is The Day
I want every reader of this blog to tell 10 of their friends to read BurlingtonDerailed.com Friday. Our posts will go up starting at 7:15 Friday morning.
We have been working on an intertwined story line for several months. The story started when our drunk mayor was found in the Burger King parking lot after a night of drinking and bar-hopping. A lot of you wrote us telling other stories.
I believe the stories will shock every parent. They shocked me. And if you parents aren't shocked, you're part of the problem with today's children.
It will also explain why our students are lagging behind Iowa and the world in education.
Fred Wants Grass Roots Level Response
On this morning’s KCPS Big Show 1150 AM Fred & 7 promoted a grass roots level response to the railroad ratcheting up the heat.
There is only one response to Fred’s battle cry. Go to work and pay your taxes. That’s all you can do until election time.
Like a Big Show listener said, “Even the federal government doesn’t mess with the railroad.”
County Assessor Needs To Look At Cahill Building
Stop The Whining - You Sound Like Peg Bundy
I think the Des Moines County Assessor better get his ace fair market appraisal team fired up to do a new assessment of Cahill and Wittkamp's white elephant YWCA building. If the building isn't worth a million dollars, say maybe it is worth $600,000, that would generate twice the tax revenue that it does now.
If it is worth a "million dollars or more'" the County should take it as a donation. And then sell it (contract in hand) for half the value and apply the money to the HyVee building.
At least this way we would stop Cahill's incessant whining. Gosh, that's annoying. He sounds like Peg Bundy.
Advertiser Misleads Readers
Spike Solves Advertiser's Problems
The headline in today's advertiser regarding the firefighter was totally and utterly disingenuous to its readers. The headline led you to believe the City won the case.
The City didn't win its case. The court only upheld the one-day suspension.
The contrived case Scott Power and the City manufactured against the firefighter fell apart like confetti with admonishment from the court for good reason. The was no basis to the case. The City's own medical examiner sided with the paramedic.
I think I have figured out why things are so sloppy on Main Street. Delaney and his editors don't have to pay for the paper. If they had to buy it with their own money, things would change.
Council To Have Another Secret Meeting?
I wonder when the City Council will schedule their next double super secret meeting to discuss their fate?
Won't matter, we know the outcome. Now we are just going through the motions and I don't mean the paper kind.
Typical - Power Places Blame On Railroad
Slagle Pipes Up With Usual Silliness
In Wednesday’s advertiser City Attorney Scott Power blamed the BNSF for cancellation of the settlement conference. Slagle piped up with his profound, “see if there was some middle ground.” What a crock of crap!
You had middle ground Slagle, but your arrogant ass attitude refused to meet with the railroad before the lawsuit was ever filed. You lost that opportunity and now your job is on the line, as well it should be.
Power and Slagle need to get a mirror and stand directly in front of it. Those are the faces of lies and deception peering back.
After awhile, even the smallest dog is going to bite when you poke him. Imagine the biggest T-Rex when it bites. Then multiply by a factor of 4.
Burlington is going to be tastier than an Omaha Steak. A belch and a fart and this will be over.
Don Henry says we all should sing KoomByYah. Bring a shovel, Don! If want to jump on the City wagon, go ahead. But you’re going to shovel the crap from the ponies pulling the wagon. I’m not.
KCPS Hammers Out Lawsuit Details
On Wednesday’s Big Show 1150 AM Fred and 7 dissected the railroad lawsuit.
I think we can clear up some points raised.
There will be no rent paid. The City doesn’t own the property. The City sold the property to the railroad for money and stock. If the City owned the depot, why did the City buy it from the railroad?
Any settlement conference can be cancelled if it is apparent to the presiding judge that the parties are too far apart in settlement numbers. There was no harm for anyone by this cancellation.
The City could file a claim with Power’s malpractice carrier for the fees paid to Power. For the increase in malpractice premiums, Power would probably refund his fees.
Money to pay the lawsuit is not an issue in this case. The City has no case.
Sabotage or destruction of railroad property is a Federal Crime investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security. You will go to prison.
The City will not win this case.
The Surface Of Jupiter's Moon Europa
Reddish spots and shallow pits pepper the ridged surface of Jupiter’s moon, Europa, in this view combining information from images taken by NASA's Galileo spacecraft during two different orbits around Jupiter.
The dark spots are called "lenticulae," the Latin term for freckles. Their similar sizes and spacing suggest that Europa's icy shell may be churning away like a lava lamp, with warmer ice moving upward from the bottom of the ice shell while colder ice near the surface sinks downward. Other evidence has shown that Europa likely has a deep melted ocean under its icy shell. Ruddy ice erupting onto the surface to form the lenticulae may hold clues to the composition of the ocean and to whether it could support life.
NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/University of Colorado Image
Pick Your Caption
Choose any of the following:
What hell hath they wrought? Local citizens search for salvage among City finances after railroad ruling.
Drunk at the throttle. Local Mayor's "jobs" effort reaches inevitable conclusion.
Crew claims signals said they were on the right track. Shaken State Senator pulled from locomotive denies responsibility, "I was just along for the ride."
Mayor Calls for Ride Home After Falling Asleep at Throttle. National Transportation Safety Board Investigating Reports of Alcohol Consumption on Duty.
City Attorney's Misreading of Rules Found at Fault. Power promises to Read Books Next Time. Citizens trying to assess damages.
Bums Asleep in Out-of-Control Locomotive Ruled Accountable. Trespassers Still Blame Railroad.
Railroad Authorities Report Municipal Wreckage Along Their Right of Way Will No Longer Threaten Operations.
Railroad Judgement Wreckage May Release Toxic Tax Lien. Burlington Residents Rush to Gather Remaing Valuables and Join Thousands Who Have Already Fled.
Or, how about - Anybody seen my keys?
If you have a better captions, email it to us.
Image Is More Than A Painted House
Former City councilman and current Hawkeye writer Don Henry had an interesting article in today's (Wed.) Hawkeye. Don makes some very valid points. I agree with his comment that encourages property owners to spruce up their property. If all residents and business owners would clean up and repair things, our City would look better. The City has done a decent job of removing junk cars from yards. They should not let up in this effort.
Henry doesn't like citizens questioning anything which I think is short sighted on his part. The citizens have the right to disagree with local elected officials and voice their displeasure. It is citizens that keep our government honest.
Henry seems to believe we should all march in step or get the hell out of the way. This isn't the Army, Don. If Henry is serious about our City's image, he should have started at the top; inside City Hall.
Just about every week for the last year we have opened our Hawkeye to read about the different lawsuits that the City is involved in. I don't blame the Hawkeye for reporting this, but what image does this give our city?
We have the BNSF lawsuit that our City manager and city council decided was a good idea. We are taking a veteran paramedic to court, when his patient and other witnesses stated that he did a good job. This is ridiculous and nothing more that a power struggle that hurts our image. We are part of the lawsuit that takes a longtime local business owner Ken Floyd to court over dumping our garbage in Lee County, when we know that Lee County trash haulers have unloaded at our landfill. The Mayor Edward's incident was an embarrassment to our entire City.
These are our leaders? These city management and elected officials have warned our citizens that visitors looking at Burlington will read the papers. Who is causing the damage? They should look in the mirror.
When a team is doing poorly and the image is damaged by decisions made by the team leaders, they usually fire the coach. We need a new coach to lead us. A new coach that can bring back the trust and the confidence to this community. Image is more than a painted house.
This stunning false-color picture shows off the many sides of the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A, which is made up of images taken by three of NASA's Great Observatories, using three different wavebands of light. Infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope are colored red; visible data from the Hubble Space Telescope are yellow; and X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are green and blue.
Located 10,000 light-years away in the northern constellation Cassiopeia, Cassiopeia A is the remnant of a once massive star that died in a violent supernova explosion 325 years ago. It consists of a dead star, called a neutron star, and a surrounding shell of material that was blasted off as the star died. The neutron star can be seen in the Chandra data as a sharp turquoise dot in the center of the shimmering shell.
Read More: Click Here
Cut The Crap
In one of the City Council’s less informed moments we are now a few readings away from banning the feeding of ANY animal within 500’ of Lake Starker. Fearing an outbreak of reasonableness, the council agreed 4-0 with the Parks Department to the food ban.
Doesn’t anybody know that feeding the geese has nothing to do with it? When a goose eats it has to have water to wash down the food and grit to digest its meal. Shortly after they drink water, they poop. Kinda like my Uncle Harry.
Will someone measure that distance or the City install some nice big signs? Will Scott Power call Smith Engineering to get another survey? Will Power sue the geese for crapping in the park? Was Crapo Park a land grant?
You want to cut the crap, drain Lake Starker. No water, no geese. There isn’t a goose alive out there that can exist solely on handouts unless the bread truck upsets.
Otherwise, read a book about waterfowl because you just don’t get it. Another law won’t stop thousands of years of instinct or a goose’s colon.
Reader Upset Over Seatbelt Announcement
I have not said anything for a while, but yesterday when I read in the advertiser about what Lt. Commander or Admiral or Master Luttennegger said about people in Burlington were not where he wanted them to be on the seatbelt situation according to public safety.
Well, I am all for public safety, but not coming from the BPD after the little deal with the drunken Mayor and the cop who ran over the mailbox. And I am waiting for the outcome from a few other cases before I vent on this all corrupt police force and county attorney's office.
As far as I'm concerned they are all no good and I'm going to prove it soon. Believe me SPIKE I do not care for the BPD as much as almost all of the city council and staff. This city is run by idiots and people who think they are above the law. I hope that they’re soon will be some kind of justice for all of them thugs and bums!
It was surprising to see that one person decides what the appropriate safety level should be for the community.
Wouldn’t it just be better public relations to announce that people need to buckle up and not speak like we’re all your minions?
And since we’re discussing law enforcement, there seems to be about one arrest per day showing up at Fun City. Maybe that casual alcohol atmosphere isn’t so innocent as everyone wants us to believe.
What Did They Know And When Did They Know It?
I listened to KCPS Friday morning and I heard Ed Blow tell listeners that the Supervisors held a meeting back in November when they started to look at the old HyVee building. If that is true then Heland's remarks are really out in left field and uncalled for.
Another friend of mine told me Jimmy Olson from the Hawk Eye knew about the HyVee deal early in negotiations. It doesn't surprise me that the paper decided to fabricate a big scandal to sell more papers. I guess they didn't read their mention in the consultants report about negative view on things.
I only hope the Supervisors go ahead with their plans. Heland in a moo-moo, that's a riot.
"I Will Not Skirt The Issues"
I sure hope County Supervisor candidate Jeff Heland does not sue Fred and KCPS over the Heland skirt comment. Heland was mad last week. Heland should have a thicker skin than that.
We all know that Fred is a supporter and promoter of the downtown. Fred knew that if Heland got a new skirt that it would have to be made at Burlington Tent and Awning, a downtown business. Heland could campaign wearing the skirt with a slogan, "I will not skirt the issues."
I forget, do the stripes go up and down, or across?
70% Say "No" To Library Fee Increase
WestBurlingtonCity.com reports that 70% of the respondents to a West Burlington survey were not willing to pay the increase in user fees requested to use the new Burlington Library.
I hope the people of West Burlington realize that they are all are now outcasts in the eyes of the library management. Don't let that upset you.
This not a debate about building a new library. This argument is about the apparent deceptive methods used by the library board and managment to ram this project through regardless of its fiscal viability.
First increased user fees. Then a rummage sale of library property to pay for "new computers." The library just got new computers with grant money.
If I need computers to run my library, when I ask how much is this going to cost, I expect to see a line item in the budget that clearly describes the cost of new computers.
Seems like the library was in such a flurry of misinformation, they forgot that it says Burlington Public Library. And the fact that the library project is well over a $1 million dollars (I've heard over $2 million) over budget in construction costs doesn't lend any credibility they have a clue to what they are doing.
Courtney & Edwards Behind Heland's Run
Years ago, Heland used to exhibit himself better in public. Not that Heland ever made a great deal of sense, he simply had better sense around a reporter, or open microphone. My how the mighty have fallen.
Who is pushing Heland to run against Blow? Am I correct to suspect an Edwards/Courtney production in pursuit of the elusive free lunch for all? Has Heland been logging a lot bar time with Edwards? If so, it would explain general brain softening.
When Blow blows his competition away in the primary, what will be the next scheme of the aforementioned dysfunctional duo to turn Des Moines County into a North Korean style workers' paradise?
Their efforts so far have helped pushed the area to near third world status.
I believe Heland is running at the insistence and support of Edwards/Courtney/Hoschek. Heland wants to do something to help the citizens and fell into Courtney/Edwards open arms.
Courtney/Edwards/Hoschek promoted the railroad lawsuit. Blow was trying to save the jobs.
Courtney/Edwards/Hoschek were behind teaching the railroad a lesson by filing a lawsuit against them. Blow was trying to negotiate without a lawsuit. A lawsuit is the last thing to do when all else fails.
Courtney and Edwards have gotten this City in a mess. Neither one have sense to understand, or care, what they have done.
I expected more from Heland. He wouldn't write an insurance policy without taking an application, why would he criticize and specifically target Ed Blow without getting the facts first?
Heland represents the type of uninformed candidate we don't need in the Court House. Ben Diewold is another uninformed candidate we don't need in the Court House.
We have Hoschek. That's all anyone should have to deal with.
Have any local politicians
Mixing silver and gold bracelets is no-no.
Is Local Media Creating A Local Uncle Miltie?
Is KCPS wondering what is up Jeff Heland's kilt? Is macho man Heland in an uproar? Are they creating Uncle Miltie
Too bad Burlington is not big enough for a real television station. Radio does not really do a comedian in drag justice.
Heland Out Of Closet
Totally Irresponsible Comments Land Heland In Hot Water
After making outlandish, completely uninformed comments last week on KCPS’s Big Show 1150 AM, Supervisor Candidate Jeff Heland was criticized for not debating Supervisor Chairman Ed Blow about the old HyVee building purchase.
After hurriedly hanging up when Blow got on the phone, Fred from the Big Show said, “Jeff Heland ran like a frightened school girl the minute Ed Blow called…. I could almost hear the wind blowing up Heland’s skirt as soon as Ed Blow called.”
During Friday morning’s Big Show Heland called in and cried like a baby about the remarks made whether Heland wore a dress or a skirt. 7 opined that Heland might, in fact, wear a moo-moo and not a skirt.
Friday afternoon Heland told a county employee that “Ed Blow was going to be arrested.....Ed Blow is going to jail" over the HyVee deal.
Then at the corn beef and cabbage bash Friday night Heland said that he was going to sue KCPS, Fred and 7 for defamation of character and slander. I'm not sure if it was the "wind blowing up his skirt" or the "moo-moo" comment that has seemed to rankle Heland’s modesty.
Heland’s remarks were made before the cabbage was served so cabbage wasn't the cause for his gaseous outburst.
So I guess Heland is out of the closet and into the courtroom. As for his political career, it’s over. Jeff Heland mentored Sore Loser King in his failed attempt to get reelected when King finished in last place. I guess we can expect the same finish for Heland.
Maybe we need to plan a trilateral legal fee fundraiser for KCPS, Spike and Blow. I suppose Heland will start a blog and use the same lawyer as SL King.
Some things just never change and the results are the same. Losing the election.
Is Power's Future In Montana?
Burlington is not the only unit of government unhappy with the BNSF Railway. The Governor of Montana sounds mad
. Is Governor Schweitzer mad enough to sue?
Should Montana go to court, Power should perhaps be looking west. He can honestly claim experience at suing the railroad for a small unit of government. Power need not lie to the folks in the land of the big sky. He should simply ignore stating the results of his experience.
If the Governor of Montana has not heard of Power's experience, the railroad may well tell him.
Once the railroad is done with Power and the CIty of Burlington, the railroad will run the City's scalp up the flag pole as a warning to any state, or local, governments thinking of playing plaintiff.
Liars Not Loved In Federal Court
From my non professional observations, judges do not like liars.
Bearing false witness is no way to make friends and influence people in the courts. The city claiming "jobs" have not been an issue in the railroad lawsuit is a laughable lie. It is the premise on which Burlington's elected officials sold the lawsuit to an ignorant public.
Lying to achieve a goal in the legal system has implications for even the powerful. Bill, "I did not have sex with that woman," Clinton has been ordered never to darken the door of the Supreme Court with his law license. Slick lies in the political arena are seldom appreciated in the legal.
The taxpayers of Burlington have been lied to. All should prepare to assume the bent over position. If you want vengence, remember the guilty come the next election
Singin' "Nearer My God To Thee"
Glad to be FROM Burlington is telling the truth. The sad thing is, this truth is not news. As usual, the Advertiser ignores the truth to support the ever declining status quo.
Drive out anybody that might cause growth has been the prime directive in Burlington for years. The pathetic pests that pass for a local power structure fear any new idea, or individual(s), who may upset their status. The names have changed over the decades, but their game remains the same. This power structure rests secure in their ignorance thinking nothing can hurt their position.
The ship is going down by the bow. Check the Census Bureau web site on population estimates since 2000. Burlington is right on track to loose another 3,000 who refuse to become victims by the time the next count is taken in 2010.
With their deck chairs strapped to the stern, the local powers that be consider the surface tilt in their martini glasses a minor inconvenience worth tolerating to protect their exulted position. After enough have fled to the life boats and escaped, will they wake up when they have to get off their ass and mix their own drinks?
When waves claim the last inch of the railing, these fools will be thrown into the freezing water just like those they love to look down on. When they drown, those most responsible deserve no pity.
The band is playing the last song of the last set. The tune sure as hell ain't "Oh, Happy Days."
Wow! This is what Burlington has come to? What a Shame!
As a young man in his late twenties living in NYC I always wanted to retire after making a name for myself in my hometown in Burlington.
Anyone ever been to Gary IN? Used to be a large populated industrial city. NOW, whoa! It's gross, scary, unsafe, down and out a BAD place. Hopefully Burlington WILL not become like that.
I'll have to go and retire in Orlando.
Screw The Politically Correct Hawkeyes
The politically correct crowd in Leningrad, a.ka. Iowa City, have deemed the Hawkeyes are not allowed to play teams with indian mascots as it "...is trivalizing and demeaning to native American culture."
By virtue of conference membership, they have been forced to play Illinois.
Go Illini!!! Scalp the Hawkeyes!!!!!!!
The Hawkeye and the public should give the County supervisors and the entire staff the credit they deserve for finally managing without a tax increase. We have seen some high tax increases in the past at the County level.
I believe Blow and Beck have been the ones to help make the change. The facts are in the tax bill.
Looking at our tax bill from last year the school district had a 7 1/2 % tax increase. We voted for the sales tax levy so they could build the schools and they said it would keep our taxes down. Then they stick it to us with a 7 1/2% tax increase.
I'm not sticking up for Hoschek, but school board member Tom Greene should do a better job with the school district budget before he criticizes the other government officials. The school district is jumping our property taxes more than the City or the County.
These are facts! Not everybody can afford the increases like Greene and Richardson and I don't see why we should vote for them again. Thanks for the site.
BNSF Wants Separate Hearing For Legal Fees & Damages
BNSF filed a motion Friday to split the lawsuit into 2 separate actions.
As a result of the City’s lawsuit, the railroad filed a counterclaim against the City for breaching the 1985 Agreement and for filing a frivolous lawsuit. The railroad now wants to have their arguments heard for legal fees and the contract breach.
Now the railroad wants to split their claims for judicial expediency and cost efficiencies. The filing also indicates their will be no jury for the trial.
This is an ominous foreboding of things to come. This is not legal posturing for settlement. This is the real McCoy.
More to come.
Iowa Loses In Final Seconds
So much for this year. This is what arrogance gets you.
Iowa Ahead By 4 At The Half
Iowa is ahead by 4 after a slow 1st half. Up by 14, Iowa let it slip to a tie and squeezed ahead by 4.
KCPS Spring Fling Auction Friday
The KCPS 1150 AM Spring Auction is Friday, March 17. Click here
to see the auction items that include - Fun/Fitness - Food - Home/Furnishings. - Electronics - Miscellaneous.
No oil socks this time and the scanner has not been sold as of 5:00 a.m.
Good News At Mississippi Bakery?
We have been informed that a representative of Boone Bakeries was scheduled to tour Mississippi Bakery Thursday morning and someone from another bakery is set to tour sometime in the future.
That is truly good news. We welcome any company that wants to locate in Burlington and reopen Mississippi Bakery.
And a word to those folks looking. Don't judge all of our citizens by those we take to the mat everyday on this website. We have good people that will work hard and make loyal employees.
We want your jobs.
Lawsuit Gets More Ridiculous
City Now Claims Lawsuit Never About Jobs
I swear it never ceases. It’s like a daily dose of Groundhog Day
. In Wednesday’s federal court filing, the City now claims the lawsuit was never about returning jobs to the shops. One week it is and the next week it isn’t.
My choice excerpts of the City’s claims for our readers follow in quotations.
“BNSF continues to assert that the City is somehow attempting to regain the jobs lost in the closing of the Burlington shops or force BNSF to move the shops back to Burlington. Once again, there is absolutely no such claim made by the City in this litigation”
Other than we have Edwards, Slagle, Ell, King and Power publicly admit the lawsuit was about jobs. In fact, Edwards said he wanted to make it so bad on the railroad that they would find it cheaper to return the jobs than pay the money. All the railroad has to do is have each and every one of these boneheads testify and have them read to the court their statements made to the newspaper or radio.
“…the City is requesting that fair and reasonable compensation be paid by the railroad for use of land owned by the City and its citizens which this multi-billion dollar company is now using for free.”
Just because the railroad operates a multi-billion dollar company is now a good enough reason to make the railroad pay rent for property the railroad already owns? What's the matter with these fools?
“The best case result for the City will be an order requiring this company to pay a fair and reasonable amount of rent for use of riverfront property owned by the City and its citizens.”
What about the property deed? Doesn’t the City recall selling the property to the railroad or the deed the railroad holds on the property?
“These figures are estimates only and were obtained from an MSN Money Report on 3/13/06.”
Oh, that’s rich. The City’s dream team has to resort to estimated financial information obtained from a “reliable online source.” I guess this should be a clue to quality of research Power does for trial. Maybe Power should Google "railroad land grant case law 101."
Then the City cites 2 prior cases, not involving railroads, where federal law does not preempt state law when resolving some matters. The City is totally oblivious to the fact railroads aren’t a local manufacturing company. Railroads are linchpins to the World economy. They always have been and because of that enjoy freedoms in operations that manufacturing and industry aren’t allowed to claim.
That’s enough. I can’t stand anymore of this. We are going to get creamed before this is over.
Think no sidewalk program for 200 years.
Advertiser Ignores Lower Taxes
Delaney Promotes Building Conspiracy Instead
Buried deep in the newspaper was news that the Supervisors lowered our taxes this year. Isn’t that a more important story than the old YWCA?
I am retired and lower taxes mean I might be able to afford something else I need. Fortunately, I am healthy. Many of my friends can’t afford the newspaper. I tell them there isn’t anything in it to read anyway. It always amazes me how silly Mr. Delaney is when it comes to choosing what they think I want to read.
If Mr. Cahill thinks his building is worth a million dollars, why doesn’t he sell it to someone that thinks the same way? Why would he give it away to the county? Does he have so much money that he afford to give away a million dollar building?
When I am at the library all I see are pigeons flying around that old building.
None of Your Business Who I Am
Success Story Not Built On Newspaper
Business Owner Screwed Once, Moves On
Glad to see Burlington is still being told how to think. And the newspaper is still the bunch of mealy mouths they always have been.
If the idiot that wrote the editorial in Thursday’s newspaper doesn’t know anymore about trying to do a real estate deal in Burlington than he apparently does, no wonder he hides behind his anonymous editorial. He should stay under his pile of old papers.
We tried to buy a downtown building and before I got the contract signed by the downtown business group they sold it to one of their buddies for less money. The buyer was self-employed. We had 5 employees and were growing. And the newspaper editor was involved in covering the story up and then ran a big feature story on the new business.
That company still has 1 employee while our company has 42 employees and annual sales over $15 million. And since our move out of that hellhole our lives have flourished and our attitudes are positive.
I’m sorry to hear that the good people of Burlington still have that negative influence from the newspaper crowd drinking from the horse trough at Bartel’s.
And something else, what reason would the newspaper have to help Burlington keep those railroad jobs? The newspaper is based in Kansas. The newspaper owners are in Kansas. Where do their loyalties lie? If you read the editorials and articles it sure seems to me the newspaper would have taken a more proactive approach than they did to help solve the problems.
Spike, you can write the well-deserved criticism of the Burlington power base from anywhere. You’ll be better off if you can move away.
Life will be better. You can still blast those jackasses anytime you want because they will never learn and the newspaper will never report the news they don’t want you to read. They are a 3rd rate newspaper in a dying market and don't have enough sense to contribute to the success of the region instead of capitalizing on the problems, their typical response.
Glad To Be FROM Burlington
Iowa Lottery Department Totally Out of Control
According to a newsletter received from State Representative Heaton from Mount Pleasant, the Iowa Lottery Department was granted "charter status" 2 years ago making the department completely independent of the Legislature.
All legislative oversight and authority is gone. They can hire and set their own salaries.
A month after they received this new status, Lottery Director Stanek's paycheck went from $180,000 to $220,000. His current salary is $283,000.
Stanek last informed the Legislature that his target was 4,000 TouchPlay machines. On Tuesday, the legislature discovered that his target had moved upwards to 10,400 without notifying the Legislature.
Talk about self-serving bums overstating their worth; averaging $50,000 per year pay raise for a third level bureaucrat.
Not only should the legislature reel in the Lottery Department, they should fire Stanek. Stanek not only looks like a hoodlum, his self authorized pay raises indicate he is a hoodlum and shouldn't be in charge of money.
Cohoon and Cohoon?
I assume you picked up on the same last names.
, vice president of sales for Moss Distributing in Des Moines, said he also expected legal action. "There is far-reaching economic recourse to the state that has not been estimated at this time," he said. "That's going to be hard to sell to the public - that they are going to pay for in taxes."
Blood to Dennis, or coincidence?
KCPS Spring Fling Auction Friday
The KCPS Spring Auction is Friday, March 17. Click here
to see the auction items that include - Fun/Fitness - Food - Home/Furnishings. - Electronics - Miscellaneous.
No oil socks this time, but fun for all.
YWCA Valued At $300,000 On Tax Rolls
Mysterious Million Dollar Property Value Shrinks By 70%
Sources say the Cahill-Wittkamp white elephant YWCA building is on the tax rolls at about $300,000. That's a far cry from Cahill's $1 million dollar value he placed on the property in Tuesday's Supervisor meeting.
Maybe we should ask the County Assessor to do a fair market valuation for that property if it so valuable.
Think of all of that tax revenue Cahill and Wittkamp aren't paying if that building truly is worth $1 million dollars.
Heland Gases Up
Active site you have here.
I was listening to KCPS this morning. Heland called in to criticize the County supervisors for not following the open meeting rules. He may be correct, but I also believe Heland is doing it for his political gain.
The City has done the same thing. Heland should speak up when the City does the same thing.
When Supervisor Blow called in to the radio show, Heland quickly said he had to go rather than debate Blow. I thought Heland would discuss it more. He usually talks forever. When Heland said the action could be criminal, was a stretch. I believe the elected officials should follow the law, but I believe it was an over sight. They were trying to get the best deal for Des Moines County taxpayers. It looks like a smart move and they should not be forced to take over an old building downtown, just to stay downtown.
Heland started the conversation by asking Fred if he read the article in the Hawkeye. I didn't hear Heland bring up the article about the job the County supervisors and the staff did to lower the tax levy. Great job County!
Jeff Heland was beyond his usual voluminous gaseous output. I listened to Heland expound on his limited knowledge until Ed Blow called in and as Fred from KCPS’s Big Show 1150 AM so eloquently put it, “Jeff Heland ran like a frightened school girl the minute Ed Blow called…. I could almost hear the wind blowing up Heland’s skirt as soon as Ed Blow called.”
Jeff Heland hasn’t attended any recent Supervisors’ meetings. Ben Diewold has attended a few meetings. So that makes Diewold more knowledgeable than Heland in current county affairs.
That is a less than enviable position to be less informed than Diewold. Heland should get his facts straight, then question the action. Kinda like the advertiser. Get the facts straight, then write the story.
Gift Buildings Are Never Free
Never look a gift building in the mouth, or something like that. Dan Cahill and Rod Wittkamp’s offer to give the County the old YWCA should be treated as any gift horse. Don’t look too hard and never at the teeth or bones.
To hear that Cahill believes that old building is worth a million dollars is laughable. It might be worth a million dollars when applied to Cahill and Wittkamp’s tax return but is sure as hell isn’t worth a million dollars to anybody, especially the County.
And quite frankly, I would be real concerned if my accountant allowed an overblown appraisal for that deduction to be entered on my tax return. I’d have to sleep at night worried that the IRS was coming for an audit.
Like most buildings downtown, there are only worth what someone will pay. And in the case of the old YWCA, that’s about $50,000.
If you had a use and $250,000 to fix it up.
Apology To Retailers
This is an open letter to area retailers:
I'm sorry if your sales are slow. The reason I'm not spending money in your stores is simple. Since I work in the private sector, I haven't had a pay raise in 3 years. Since this area is economically depressed, I don't see getting a pay raise for another 3 years (if I can last in this area that long).
The only raises I've seen are on my utility bill, on my gasoline bill, and of course, my tax bills and service fees. These price increases have totally eaten up all the "extra" money I have. As a result, I can only buy the basic commodities.
I guess the only thing to do is to give these city, county, and state employees more money. Pretty soon, they'll be the only ones left in the area. Then they can tax themselves to death.
Or maybe we can ALL work for the city. Then we'd all have good wages and killer benefits. Is there room for everyone on the public payroll?
I'd say to our leaders (and I use that term very loosely), I've never seen this town look so dead!! Drive down a busy street in the middle of the day. There's no one there!!
I think before we build a bunch of new schools, we'd better wait a few years and see if there's anyone left to fill them!! I don't mean to sound so negative. I'm just trying to be realistic!
Burlington is being mismanaged to its very real death!!
I want to stay in Burlington, I just don't know if I'll be able to afford it!!
Someone help us!! We need it!!
Way to go!! Kudos to Tom Greene
Tom Greene was right, no way should Tim “Hog Trough” Hoschek turn in an expense report for his latest vacation. Let’s see what type of grant money he comes back with (in hand) before paying for his vacation.
Let’s stay prepared to vote him out when his number is up! It’s time for a change. Hopefully, Tim will be able to sell his old horse blinders on ebay. Tim take off the blinders for the rest of your term and see what you been missing.
The way things are going Hoschek’s time at the plate (literally and figuratively) is winding down. Oh, and those horse blinders, Hoschek thinks they're sunglasses!
Headlines Should Read “Stop Slop”
Advertiser Misses Story – Headlines Should Read “Hoschek Slops In Taxpayer Trough”
Local Taxpayers Paying For Hoschek Vacation
It is apparent the advertiser would rather promote a derelict property conspiracy than tell the story about their favorite political endorsement Tim Hoschek.
As we reported Hoschek went to Washington, D.C. for the annual NACO Conference. Hoping he would bring us some money Hoschek brought home a $2000 bill for his visit.
His trip in March 2005 cost taxpayers $1,719. He didn’t bring any money to us from that trip.
He flew out of Burlington this time and his airfare was less than last year. We have yet to see whether or not he brought us any money this year. But don’t hold your breath.
The taxpayers receive no tangible reward for that nitwit going to Washington. If the truth were known we’d probably find out that Hoschek is a bigger liability in Washington than he is here in Burlington.
Remember, Hoschek is the guy that files an expense report for driving to the Court House to do his job. And Hoschek is the guy that ran out of travel money and wanted the Auditor to inappropriately transfer money to his account from another Supervisor’s account.
Hoschek is free loading bum that the taxpayers subsidize. It’s time for him to go.
Courtney Lacks Direction
I did not see Senator Courtney's letter to the press. Courtney pushed for the minimum wage increase because this lower paid class cannot live on this amount.
Then he votes in support of the Touch Play machines that are easily accessible to this same group of citizens. Not all, but a lot of these citizens earning the minimum wage are also on some state supported program and are also wasting their money on these Touch Play machines that Courtney supports.
The government is becoming addicted to the revenue. If citizens want to go to the Casinos and gamble their money away, they can do it. But we should not have these machines on every street corner.
We need more regulation on gambling, not less. First, we had the boat that did cruises and they sold the public on the bells ringing up and down the river. We had a dollar limit. They got gambling passed and then those rules floated down the river. Now they want land-based Casinos.
There is too much gambling in Iowa now. Parents that are out gambling do not set a good example for their children to follow. We want to convince ourselves that this is a good thing, when it is not.
Families and marriages get hurt. Citizens and the Mayor that stated at the council meeting that these problems seem to be very limited or not happening, are just wrong. The problems are there.
I'll listen to a Pastor before I listen to a Mayor with his reputation. Some people make their decisions in life based on money, not what is right.
Letter from the Extreme End of the Earth
Thanks for fixing the link to Senator Courtney's letter to encourage disciples in Keokuk. The Gate City could have saved a lot of ink and trees if they had printed nothing more than a return address as "The North Pole". The message would still be conveyed.
If the Senator wishes to build a constituency by preaching economic fairy tales, he should be given a desk at the post office late every November. All those letters to Santa Claus could use an answer. There is no reason every kid should not expect to receive gifts valued in excess of the gross national product of the Netherlands.
I cannot wait to see some of the Santa Courtney's replies:
There is no reason you should not expect to be given a new Indy Car, Lear Jet, Abrahms tank and 32 geared mountain bike this Christmas. It is all those evil rich people who are not letting Santa Courtney give them to you.
If you can convince enough mommies and daddies to elect Santa Courtney as Governor, nobody in Iowa will ever want again.
My first decree as your Governor will be to make all jobs in Iowa pay $500,000 per hour. This will eliminate poverty and make all the dreams of every boy and girl in Iowa come true. Iowa will be so wonderful; everybody will want to move here. Then Santa Courtney can make even more people happy.
Never grow up and learn to think for yourself. If you do, Santa Courtney's magic will no longer work and Iowa will be an unhappy place.
I noticed you live in Lee County. If you want every day to be Christmas, go to the County Auditor's Office every fourth October and help print up Santa Courtney's campaign material using county paper, ink and printers.
If you are good little elf, they may let you vote at age 6 under a dead man's name.
Ho, Ho, Ho. Eat the rich.
Burlington Schools In Toilet
What is going on? According to Falcon
, the Burlington schools are in the toilet.
I don't have clue. Maybe top bureaucrats have lost touch of the business they're in. They sure don't understand finance.
Follow A Better Leader Than Courtney
Like the Iowa Senate, the Iowa House has agreed that Iowa Lottery Touch Play Machines, a slot machine by any other name, should be banned. Voting to retain the slots was Cohoon
Has Rep. Cohoon sunk to the level of Sen. Courtney? I have always held Mr. Cohoon in higher regard than his clueless Senate counterpart and am most disappointed by this vote.
Courtney's Expanding Kingdom
Courtney's unwelcome intrusion into Keokuk shouldn't be something new. People in Keokuk should be used to such contact with the Iowa Senate. Small minds think alike.
Fraise is no great intellect. Fraise's attribute is he usually just sits there looking stupid. Courtney loves to verbalize his ignorace. Lincoln warned about being better to be thought a fool than opening your mouth and proving it.
Is Courtney running for Governor by advertising his ignorance beyond the Burlington Advertiser?
Today, Keokuk. In 2010, Iowa!
Rumor is Courtney is grooming Edwards to run against Cahoon. Wouldn't that be a recipe for disaster? And sources still say that Fraise is about to retire from office.
Link To Courtney Letter Fixed
The link to Courtney's letter is fixed.
Courtney On Letter Tangent In Wrong Direction
I guess I am puzzled about a letter
to the editor of Keokuk’s The Daily Gate City newpaper published yesterday.
Courtney attacked State Senator Larry McKibben from Marshalltown for not getting a minimum wage bill passed in committee.
What is disturbing is that Courtney wrote a letter to a Keokuk newspaper about a Marshalltown senator when he represents Burlington.
Hey Courtney, shouldn’t your constituents know about this first? Why are you filling in for Fraise?
School Deficiency Reflects Community
Ring Of Educational Shame
I took note of FFS' comments and comparisions on School District performance. Drawing concentric circles around where the gambling barge docks, have you noticed how performance improves with distance from the center?
By far more important than the teacher is the parent. What motivation has been given to a child before they enter school? The results reflect what Burlington has become.
The large stock of cheap housing left by those who have fled is attracting an increasing welfare class. Kids coming from these areas are generally way behind in school.
While Burlington schools are far better than Chicago, or E. St. Louis, parents reinforcing the idea that the world owes you, are ruining their childrens' chances in the world and doing the same for others in class with their kids. If you want to escape the welfare cycle and do the same for your kids, dump the attitude at the state line.
The natives are not blameless. Bitching at the table that all change is bad does not encourage learning. Learning is all about the new and unkown. Possiblity is all about new directions.
Seeking others to blame for your situation is a bad lesson. We are primarily responsible for who and what we are. Claiming some rich guy is to blame because your job maintaining stage coaches is no more is getting you nowhere. Kids pick this up. When they hit a bump in the learning process, they should be trained at home to put forth the extra effort, not blame the teacher.
Avoid gambling. How many tell stories in front the kids about all the money they "won." Kids are not wise enough to realize nobody talks about their losses. They do not know the old man put in $5,000 before hitting that $500 "jackpot.
Kids get the idea that sucess is based solely on chance. Sucess is based on hard work and informed decision making, not slot machines. Why try at school if all in life is pure chance?
Electing idiots as leaders sets one hell of an example. Putting semi-literates, marxists and drunks in charge sends the message that ignorance and intoxicants are the path to the top of the pile.
Schools are a reflection of their community. If smaller, small towns in the same county can do better, Burlington needs to take a long, hard look in the mir
It appears the quality level of our student "product" falls within these parameters. So then it might follow that if you expand the gambling den, the distance for unacceptable achievement will increase. Watch out West Burlington, Danville, Mediapolis, Yarmouth, New London and Biggsville.
Edwards to Rock Island? Which side of the river will they travel? No offense to the folks in Mediapolis, but the bars along the Illinois Great River Road are more numerous and unique. I hope Campbell and Slagle like strip bars.
Where is Power? Jimmy Olson at the Advertiser made no mention of Perry Mason Power going along. Does Jimmy Olson assume everybody knows the City Attorney will be taken along? I hope the three named ambassadors to Rock Island make no such assumption and take off without Power.
Power should remain in Burlington where his skills in real estate law could be put to better use. Resolving a garage location dispute between homeowners, or sending threatening letterhead notices to keep barking dogs quiet are deep legal issues that challenge Power.
A drunk Mayor, an ever-ready-to-overstep-his-authority-bush-league-Mussolini Slagle and only one Councilman willing to acknowledge a mistake has been made, make an unlikely trio. On them rests the hope that Burlington's self-inflicted, ongoing tragedy will finally reach a conclusion.
Not that who goes really makes much difference. What, if anything, will remain in the City Treasury for at the least the next decade is all up to the railroad. All we can do is wait and see what the tab is for gross incompetence and play ground level political posturing.
TouchPlay Small Business?
The Iowa Senate voted 40 to 10 against lottery slot machines. In the minority was Sen. Courtney
I suppose if you believe in Santa Claus and gambling as economic development, Sen. Courtney's vote makes sense. Let the kids on their way home from school see how it is done. There is no need to work hard in school and advance. All you need do is pour in your lunch money and push those buttons. It is nice to know Sen. Courtney wants our children to learn by example.
If slot machines on every corner are outlawed, how will Iowa make ends meet?
Maybe Sen. Courtney could introduce a bill requiring the state to sue every railroad in it without cause. Say it is about jobs, but budget the proceeds in advance.
I liked the part about Courtney thinking 6,000 installed TouchPlay machines with 4,000 more on the way is a "small business mattter." Another example of Courtney's complete and total lack of awareness.
School District Proficiency Rankings
Well, the Burlington taxpayer has been robbed again and this time it's the school system doing the robbing.
What a slap in the face to the taxpayer to be robbed of their hard earned money for a school system that can only achieve a bottom rung in the ladder of proficiency. Why did Burlington need new schools when it produces third world results. A barn and a bail of hay to sit on would produce the same results.
All this political correctness and the NEA has ruined our once great public school system. Public schools in Burlington verge on the realm of daycare center status.
Why do we have a superintendent and a assistant superintendent costing the taxpayer in excess of $200,000 a year? What have they done to increase test scores? Where the hell do the parents fit into the equation?
I would suggest no more new schools or tax increases until these figures improve to the 90 percentile bracket. I would also recommend firing one of the so called superintendents because it's just not working nor is it necessary to waste an additional $100,000 plus per year to provide an office for another unneeded bureaucrat.
The results of the attached data indicate a very poorly run school system and a disgrace to the community that's robbed to support it.
As reported this morning on WestBurlingtonCity.com
Percent of Des Moines County 11th Grade Students Proficient. Data provided by Iowa Department of Education (2004)
3. West Burlington 79.57%
4. State Average. 76.85%
3. State Average. 78.34%
4. West Burlington 70.97%
3. State Average. 89.78%
4. West Burlington 85.96%
This ranking is just incomprehensible. It sure seems to paint an inferior product being produced by our "underpaid" teachers.
Add to this dismal ranking is the mind numbing quest to build a new middle school and you have a recipe for more taxes. Why not just name the high school Mike Book High School and resolve that part of the problem?
Tear down reason and replace it with incompetent grandeuer.
Everybody Goes – What Is There To Hide?
This afternoon the Burlington City Council will meet in closed session to discuss the settlement conference next Monday regarding the railroad lawsuit. I would imagine that there will be a very concerted effort on the part of Slagle and Power to limit who goes to the meeting. I can hear it now, “It just isn't done this way.......You need to appoint one member to represent the City...Too many people will be confusing....The Judge will never allow it.”
Every Council member has a moral and ethical duty to attend the settlement conference. Burlington citizens have been lied to for 2 years about this lawsuit. After all, the Council is the client. Not Slagle, not Power, but the citizens.
When the Council hears these catch phrases, I hope they keep in mind what Slagle and Power really mean.
“It just isn't done this way” – not if we want to keep control of the City from the citizens.
“You need to appoint one member to represent the City” - If you all find out how inept we are, we might get fired.
“Too many people will be confusing.” – if you all go we can't keep our stories straight.
“The Judge will never allow it.” - The Judge will not allow Slagle and Power to misrepresent the truth to the Council.
Never forget this lawsuit was started in the cloak of an illegal, closed session City Council Meeting conducted to circumvent the laws of Iowa. The Council has been admonished for that closed session meeting by the Ombudsman without comment to the public.
Always keep in mind that the lawsuit was filed by the City after refusing to meet with the railroad. A lawsuit is filed when all else fails. Now, arrogant incompetence has placed the City in jeopardy of having to pay the railroad's legal fees.
If there is a time for the Council to get their collective heads out of the sand, this is it. This is the time to let overinflated egos go by the wayside and old fashion Iowa common sense prevail.
Education Quality Versus Cost - What Happened Here?
Here's an educational piece published by the Just The Facts web site, under the education heading. It just goes to show the quality of public education currently available here in the U.S. and the high cost of failure.
Web Page: "Education.
" By James Ruoco. Just Facts, 1998. Revised 12-30-05.
"Costs / Performance
* In 1997, 14% of all government resources in the United States went toward education. According to former Education Secretary, Lamar Alexander, one third of U.S. high school seniors can read proficiently, one quarter can barely read at all, and 80% are not proficient in math.
* Between 1960 and 1998, the cost of education in the United States, in real dollars adjusted for inflation, has risen 200%. During that same time, SAT scores have declined over 60 points.
* 46% of private school budgets go to teacher pay. If public schools paid teachers the same percentage, the average public school teacher's annual salary would jump from $38,509 to $54,421. (Figures are for 1998) (3)
* On a test administered by the "Third International Math and Science Study," U.S. high school seniors placed 18th out of 21 nations on a general test of math and science. Cypress, Lithuania and South Africa were the 3 nations who performed worse. Asian countries, which typically excel in math and science, did not participate. The report was released on February 24, 1998 by a team of researchers at Boston College."
Cyphering Needs Improvement?
I guess I probably forgot to carry the one when figuring his statistics. And he probably forgot that President Clinton signed the executive order increasing the presidential salary from $200,000 to $400,000. However, the President is on call 24 hours a day, every day for that money.
Teachers, unless they choose extra assignments such as coaching (for which they are also paid extra) get to call it a day when they leave school. And the stress of being President - wow. How many times have we seen a youthful, dark-haired man take office and be almost gray-haired in a couple years?
Comparatively, teachers really have it made. If I could go back and do it all over again, I'd probably be a teacher. Or a city manager. I hear they do OK in the job market as well.
Just The Facts
I don't think there is too much heavy duty concern at the school house unless the buses are running 2 hours late.
And we sure know of one City Manager that reaps the rewards of incompetence. Oh, I forgot the local mantra, "I like him, he's a nice guy."
Nice guys sometimes finish last. But we have proof that even people that aren't nice guys still finish in last place.
Teacher's Gross Wages
"Just the facts, man" needs a little education on reading comprehension. The hourly wages I referred to in my post were, in fact, gross wages. My mention of the deductions was to clear up yet another fallacy that teachers don't pay for their benefits (insurance and retirement). I'm sorry that Just couldn't fathom that from my writing.
As for the rest of his post...I'll get to that after I stop laughing about how he thinks teachers make more than the President.
No wonder our kids are having so much trouble in school. Maybe we should change the President's program to "No Parent Left Behind."
Iowans Gambled $8 Billion In 7 Months
According to a story in today’s Des Moines Register
Iowans gambled over $8 Billion Dollars
from July 2005 until January 2006.
What in the world are you people thinking? Gambling is sucking the life out of Iowa. In million dollar bites.
Imagine what that money could do for education, economic development, health insurance and a better Iowa.
Tell your legislators to ban TouchPlay machines this week. We have to stop the bleeding somewhere.
Teacher’s Pay - Apples To Apples
While SK brings up great concern over teacher pay, he or she has a few fallacies in the argument. Salaries or wages can ONLY be compared at gross levels. I don't know of people who say, "I make $xx.xx per hour after taxes, retirement, insurance and other deductions." No, we say, I make $18.35 per hour. Now that's based on an 8-4 day (with one hour lunch/recess) and a 190-day contract.
Another point is performance pay. In the "real world" that we call the private sector, employees are monitored constantly for performance. We don't get the chance to "know what's on the test" and goof off the rest of the time.
There are more ridiculous arguments in SK's letter, but I don't have time this morning to change the world!
I'll agree that teaching is an honorable profession, but based on a per hour rate, teachers make a bunch more than our President!
Just the facts, man
Teaching Is A Choice
Teacher SK seems to have a poor attitude. The teachers pick their profession and they know going in that it will not pay like many professions. Teachers also select this profession because of the time off that they do receive. Some complain all the time, while others do not.
There are teachers that are able to take a several day vacation during the winter breaks and a couple month vacation in the summer time. That is an attraction to the teacher profession. They are able to spend more time with their children in the summer months. That is a bonus that many do not have. Their pensions are very good.
If SK doesn't think it is worth it, she/he should join the private sector. Nobody is chaining SK down. The teacher pay ranks lower because many states have larger Cities in population (Chicago), etc., which must pay higher because of the cost of living. These Cities have several thousand teachers which raise the State average. Iowa is a little different in that regard.
There are a lot of good things about the smaller Iowa too. Travel time to work may be a few minutes compared to an hour or two in the traffic. Crime rates are lower. SK's daughter should consider these things too, before she listens to a parent with a sour attitude. There are also some very good teachers who appreciate their job and never complain.
Education And Property Taxes
Not Enough People = Not Enough Taxes = No New Middle School
Sure, I'll be happy to write some more about this topic. Let's talk about property taxes. I hate them! I hate paying them, I hate how the city spends the money, and I hate having to scrape together two payments each year to cover them. They're higher than they need to be, and I would love it if we could move schools off the property tax roll.
But then where would we get funds for our schools?
Sales tax revenue? Sure, it sounds good at first. But what happens when there is an economic downturn in the area? What happens when some of the smaller retailers close up due to lower sales and lower profits? What happens when the county's sales tax take drops 15%?
State income tax surcharge? Sure...YOU tell the people in the community that you are going to raise their income taxes. Go ahead...I'll get the basket to carry what's left of your body. You can join Senator King on the sidelines.
Property taxes, as horrendous as they are, happen to be the most stable and reliable way of funding education. Revenue from property taxes fluctuates, but much less than revenue from the other two sources. Planning a budget requires some stability in sources of income and expenditures. With the state having moved to a two-year funding formula for schools, we can now do some realistic long range planning to try to gain economies of scale with our equipment purchases and personnel contracts. We can work to stabilize local levies so that homeowners and business owners can budget their tax expenditures more accurately and perhaps plan their budgets better.
I agree. We need more businesses here in the state. We need more people here in the state. Without folks making babies, we will not need as many schools, and therefore folks like me will be handed walking papers. But there are some things that folks look at beyond local property taxes. A number of folks are like me. I open enroll my kids to a different school, one that has better educational programs, a more experienced teaching team, and can offer my kids a better shot at a 21st century education with all that it entails. I checked out two districts and passed on them because of their poor facilities and bad reps in the area. Wonderful football teams, but little tech investment, poor graduation rates, and absolutely terrible support from their communities. I can't be the only one doing this, can I?
When it's all said and done, Spike, I can pretty much work anywhere. I choose to work where I do because of my kids. It's their future that I'm trying to get off to a good start.
You make an excellent case against building a new middle school. Not enough people = Not enough taxes = Not enough money for a new middle school.
People would be far more tolerant of spending $5-10 million dollars to rebuild Horace Mann than they will to have the school board ram another fat tax increase down our throats.
The schools need to improve the quality of the student first. Like I said before, you can do that seated on a bale of hay in a circus tent.
One thing for sure, this community has no room for more taxes.
Teacher's Pay And Vacation
I want to point out something. You mention the three months vacation that teachers have. Two things come to mind.
First, when I worked in the private sector, I only had 2 weeks vacation each year. That's it...not a drop more. My last day of work before the vacation I got a vacation check in addition to my regular paycheck, and I went off to enjoy my hard earned two weeks. Now that I work at a school I get a wonderfully long three months (actually, not quite three months, but close enough) of unpaid time off.
Note that word...unpaid. Where I come from, vacation is paid time. I'm not paid for the three months I am off. Therefore it is not vacation. It is unpaid time off.
Imagine your employer closing your place of business for three months each year, sending you packing off to enjoy your time off with a wonderful handshake, a thank you for the year of hard work, and we'll see you next fall. No pay. None. Not a drop.
So, we either save up money during the year or get a summer job. But please, don't insult us by saying it's vacation. Folks get paid for vacations, Spike.
The second issue with that is that most teachers I know would LOVE to have year round schooling. Other countries have that, and its one reason they spank our butts on most every comparison of student performance. We have LONG advocated for a longer school year.
But, just ask some folks up north of here what happened when they had the temerity to suggest that school start in mid-August. A couple of schools suggested that a few years back (Wapello and L&M, I think) and they each had over a hundred folks show up at the board meeting to protest against it. Hey folks...if we want to compete with Japan, Germany and Finland, we may have to give up some time at the Iowa State Fair or miss that Memorial Day vacation trip.
However, there are a few folks who want to expand the school year but don't want to pay for it. But then there's always folks who want something for nothing.
We need to add a month to the school year. Just to catch up. Parents will find out vacation isn't as important as they think one of these days.
Somewhere in this discussion I guess I need to add that we all make choices when we apply for a given job. You know what the job description entails when you apply. It's a conscious choice.
American Students - Lack Motivation, Self-Discipline Or Work Ethic
USAToday covered an overlooked factor in education reform. Read it
and see what you think.
There's the argument for performance against the world bar.
What's The Next Step For Education?
I'm not sure where your reader got that $30.75/hour figure, but let me give you a bit of an idea what our school district pays.
A newly minted teacher with a BA will be paid $24,400 his/her first year with us. That's for a 190 day contract, with the hours being 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM. That's 1520 hours of work at $16.05 per hour.
Now, out of that you deduct the following:
Insurance: $375 per month for single, $1002 per month for family.
IPERS: $125 per month
Social Security & Medicare at the usual rate
State and Federal Taxes
But this is entry level, so that might not seem too out of line with other entry level positions. Of course there are only 5 paid holidays, not several weeks of paid vacation as your other reader implied.
But let's compare apples and apples. Your reader mentioned a dentist. This is a post graduate position, usually with a doctorate at a minimum. Your reader mentioned that the dentist makes on average $35.51 per hour.
At our school, a teacher with a Masters plus 30 hours towards a Doctorate (the highest education level covered on our pay scale) would make $32,208 his/her first year at the school. Break that down to hourly based on the 1520 hours of work, and that comes to $21.18 per hour.
But hey, teacher pay is all about seniority, right? So let's say that same teacher with the MA+30 sticks it out for 36 years. The salary at that point is $58,560. Now at this point the teacher is just a few hours short of Doctorate and has more seniority than any other teacher in the building. That teacher makes $38.52 per hour.
Now, let's add to that the issue of continuing education. I spent 10 years working in the private sector. When my boss wanted me to attend a class to learn more about my job, he paid my tuition, loaned me the company vehicle, paid my hotel room, gave me a little stipend for food, and still paid my hourly wage while I was at class. He knew that with me knowing more about my job I would do that job better and, in the end, be more productive for the company.
But state law prohibits teachers from receiving pay while they attend the college classes they must take to maintain their certification. They cannot have their tuition paid for by the school. Neither can hotel accomodations or travel be paid for in most cases. And, as any quick perusal of a college catalog will show you, graduate hours are $300+ per hour, which means that a 3 credit hour course will run $900 plus books. At $16.05 per hour that comes to 56+ hours of pay...nearly a week and a half.
Finally, let's talk performance pay. Teachers here in Iowa consistently produce a product that ranks in the top ten in the nation...many times in the top 5. Yet their pay ranks between 35th and 42nd depending on how you measure it. Seems to me that if we are going to base pay on performance then at least the average needs to put us somewhere around the top 15, wouldn't you say?
How to measure performance? Right now the big tool is the ITBS/ITED testing program. Believe me, teachers don't want to be told they have to teach to a test. Imagine if you work every day, eight hours a day, for 190 days, and then your boss tells you that for the next three hours you will be evaluated on your performance. But that happens to be the time your machine breaks down, or a bad batch of raw material comes through, or the replacement operator up the line from you messes up and the pieces coming to you are not to spec. Doesn't matter, your boss marks down how poorly you did for those three hours, and that is what goes into your record...your public record. God and everyone reads on the Internet how badly you are performing. Never mind that for the other 1517 hours of the year you are doing great, and that your product ranks 8th in the nation at the end of the year. Those three hours are what you are judged by...what you are paid by...and what Joe Blow complains about down at the corner grocery store.
Now, are there problems in education? Sure there are. These problems need to be fixed. Yes there is dead wood in the profession. Yes the union sometimes has way too much political headwind and not enough professional concern. Yes there are times when teacher convenience outweighs student performance. But these are the exceptions to the rule, and if you base regulations on the exceptions, pretty soon your system fails. Imagine if you based your plant production schedule on the performance of the poorest operator with the poorest machine.
My child wants to teach. I'm all for it. The profession is wonderful. But I'm encouraging her to go to another state when she graduates. She loves Iowa, but Iowa does not care for teachers. The pay here is terrible, and the market is much better for teachers in other states. After all, that is what a business is all about, and as our President tells us we need to start operating education more like a business. So my daughter will likely look at states that have hiring bonuses for teachers, or those that pay above the national average. In other words, she will do just what Blue Bird Midwest, Exide, and lots of other businesses in the area do...she will go where the money is.
That's sad. She's probably going to be a first rate teacher. But, that's Iowa's loss. Our legislature and taxpayers want to pay teachers like Mississippi and Alabama do. Fine...but don't expect the good teachers to sacrifice and stay here when others aren't willing to share in that sacrifice.
You illustrate some issue that might never change.
Teachers, like others, look to a metro area for things other than just money when considering their city of employment. Arts, music and entertainment are just a few. Shopping and food add to the decision.
We can never compete with higher cost of living index areas for wages. It costs more to live there. School districts know this and pay accordingly.
Performance arguments won't get far with me. I guess I have always demanded performance in my own life and in the lives of my collegues so I don't have much flexibility to listen to sub-par performance.
With a 190 day contract and 3 months of vacation it is hard for most people who work year round with anywhere from 1-4 weeks of vacation based on seniority to empathize with the teacher's pay issue.
It is sad that your daughter can't find the pay level she hopes for here. But if we don't have an increase in the working population of the community making babies and a stop to the monument building, teacher's pay will be a moot point.
The things you can change are the issues of continuing education. That seems to be more important than the pay. That you can hammer at the legislature and hope they listen. The only mantra I've heard is more pay. You'd have more cash if you didn't have to pay for continuing ed.
You cite the production of a high performance product here in Iowa. The only way to gauge that is by testing. Are we teaching the test? Or, are we educating the students? That's some thing I want to know without all of the fluff everyone throws out.
Then let's look at the performance levels of students from other countries. We don't do so well. It seems to me that we need to teach core subjects with an iron hand instead of a noodle.
There are no easy fixes. But I know this. If we don't crack the whip and fix the education system, your geat grandchildren will be waiting tables for the rest of the world.
Senator Courtney's brilliant leadership helped get the city into the current lawsuit debacle. Should the Senator be allowed to tag along to any settlement? He shares in the responsibility.
When asked to take a burro along with other dignitaries on the Pioneer Zephyr's
historic non-stop run from Denver to Chicago, Ralph Budd, President of the CB&Q said, "Why not? One more jackass on this trip won't make any difference." The railroad knows how to handle jackasses.
By the way, if they need a stable boy to muck out the baggage car, what is Big Mouth King doing these days? At least the voters made sure that idiot has no say on a settlement.
CB&Q Public Relations Photo
To see where "Zeph" rode click here
for a Quicktime Virtual tour of the baggage compartment. Click and hold your mouse button down to get a full tour. Zoom in on the wooden crate to see Zeph.
City Management Raises In Budget?
Does this current City budget with the sidewalk program scrapped again, include salary increases for City management? They are already paid enough and if they don't like the salary freeze, let them leave.
The council should work for the citizens first and that hasn't been the case the last few years. If they vote for salary increases, we should not vote for any of them again.
I don’t know about staff salary increases. So that probably means they are all getting a raise.
They shouldn’t. Not until they update the reasons for using a 1994 document to explain this year's budget woes.
Do you know Iowa ranks 41st in the nation for teacher’s salaries? Yes, in the Nation! Yet our children test very well on the ACT and SAT year in and year out.
Don’t squawk about teachers salaries until you have actually taught in the classroom.
What was very troubling to me is NEA seems to be a very well oiled political action organization. If you want to be a voice for the teachers’ union, fine. If you want to tout education needs, form a separate group. It would seem on the outside that the NEA is self-serving to its members.
I could start a huge debate about this and write for weeks. So I leave these questions for everyone to answer.
Do we only teach children to take tests and score well?
Do we teach students the minimum necessary to meet graduation requirements and no more?
Shouldn’t teachers be exposed to a performance standard just as any other employee?
Shouldn’t teachers that go above and beyond (and there are a lot) be better rewarded than the slackers that just show up (bunch of them, too)?
Do we prepare our children to compete in a worldwide market?
What expectations and responsibilities do the students have to perform?
As far as teaching in a classroom, I have. But the students were smart, highly motivated individuals that wanted to be there and could keep me on my toes. That makes things a lot easier
That is a distinct advantage and probably, an unfair contrast.
Time For Insanity To Stop
Freeze City Management's Pay
The local elected officials read this site and just maybe they will listen to some reason. The City lawsuit against BNSF has not been a good thing. It has cost far more than the original estimate. BNSF has the resources to take this lawsuit to higher courts. Our cost will only escalate out of control. Slagle says we will see how it plays out. That is a cavalier attitude with other citizens money. It needs to end! They are spending OUR money.
Effort in new jobs at the BNSF shop need to happen. It will not happen as long as this lawsuit continues.
Our City council acted to quickly and did not weigh out everything. It was a poor decision and poor leadership and information from the City attorney and the City manager. Some council members were cocky and we are all paying for it. The council should have known about the 1985 agreement. Somebody should be held accountable.
The citizens have seen fee increases and programs abolished because the City did not have the money. The council needs to freeze all City management salaries.
If we cannot find money for a sidewalk program because we are broke, wage freezes should happen with management. We need a council that has the guts to make these decisions. The $150,000. in attorney and court cost would have paid for our sidewalk program for 10 years. I hope they are proud.
Nobody said anything about Slagle getting a raise because he is raising a family. Probably another dirty little secret kept from us.
Mayor Should Go – I Don’t Think So
I think the mayor should go to the lawsuit meeting. He has negotiated down at the Case company.
You never take a drunk to negotiations unless it’s his plea bargain.
All Councilmen Need To Attend
Your idea is a good one. All of our city councilmen need to attend that meeting about the railroad. If there really are any decisions to be made they should be made by the council and not the city manager or the city attorney. They don’t run the city; they operate the city.
Keep up the good work.
Sign me - None of your business who I am
You can’t empower one person to make a decision like this, especially Slagle and Power. That’s why there is a council of 5 people.
They all need to see what kind of a mess this city is in. The only way to keep the process honest is to have them all attend.
Teacher Salaries - The NEA - Political Action Committees
Time For Performance-Driven Goals And Incentives
Who’s driving the school bus, Spike? The needs of the student or the needs of the teachers?
Recently the governor and other state legislators have brought up the issue of teacher wages, which is an annual tradition, perpetuated by the NEA and other teacher unions. Remember, the NEA is a union, and the prime goal of the union is not education but more jobs, higher salaries and more schools that require more tax funding.
If it is teacher quality, instead of class size, that really matters, should we not raise the meager salaries many teachers receive, to recruit better qualified candidates? Like other education myths, this seemingly plausible argument does not stand up to close scrutiny.
Teacher pay, computed on an hourly basis, is not all that meager. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average elementary-school teacher in 2002 made $30.75 per hour. That is considerably more than other public servants, such as firefighters ($17.91) and police officers ($22.64). It is even more than highly skilled professionals, such as biologists ($28.07), mechanical engineers ($29.76), and chemists ($30.68), dentists ($35.51), and nuclear engineers ($36.16).
Not only do teachers reap benefits like shorter days and longer vacations, but these hourly rates do not include health and retirement benefits, which tend to be higher for public employees than for those in the private sector. Admittedly, these rates do not count hours worked at home, but there is no reason to believe that teachers bring home significantly more work than do other professionals.
This is especially true since most professionals can increase their income by doing more preparation at home, while teachers who take work home cannot expect to earn any more than teachers who never do: Teacher pay is based almost entirely on the number of years taught and the advanced degrees held, not on teachers’ effectiveness. Until we connect salaries to performance, with meaningful merit-pay systems that identify and reward excellent teachers, raising teacher pay is unlikely to have any meaningful effect on teacher quality.
The National Education Association maintains one of the five largest federal Political Action Committees, called NEA-PAC. The NEA spends $39 million a year on 1,500 field organizers to promote its goals, which are namely more members, higher pay and benefits coupled with higher taxes for more and more schools while providing an education that lingers at the bottom when compared to other industrial nations of the world.
When is this school insanity going to stop?
"Reprinted by permission from FACTS & OPINIONS, a quarterly newsletter of Public Interest Institute."
Who Will They Send? Send Them All!
Does The City Really Have A Case? Time To Find Out!
On Wednesday’s Big Show on KCPS 1150AM Fred & 7 tried to discern who would represent the City during the settlement conference with the railroad on March 20.
Even though the Court’s instructions say there must be one person with the authority to settle, you can have as many people there as you want, or need, to settle the lawsuit. A vote of 3-2 speaks as one person in the eyes of the Court.
Most settlement conferences occur with the opposing parties in separate rooms with the judge shuffling back and forth between rooms passing tea leaves among the parties.
The entire City Council needs to be there to discuss settlement. Slagle and Power have proven time and again that they cannot be trusted. The future of this community cannot be allowed to pass through their hands.
Part of the settlement conference process is hearing from a judge that you do/don’t have a case. Only with the entire council in the courthouse will the Council be able to get the overall picture of what the relative merits of the City’s case really are. No more hiding for Power. He will have to present his argument to the Judge in front of all of the Council members.
The Judge will present the strengths and weaknesses as he sees it for both parties.
Only with the full Council in attendance will the truth be uncovered. Power and Slagle can’t cover their butts in this deal.
Anything other is just a continuation of the same old crap.
SL Website Dead For Accurate News
I see the SL King website has died. Do you suppose reporting about the strong case the city has against the railroad got smashed when the BNSF hired a Washington lawyer? Didn’t he tell us how he wasn’t going to focus on the negative? I suppose he thinks the lawsuit at the dump and the fireman lawsuits aren’t as important since it’s tornado season.
I am sure he has his propeller hat on to know when to leap into motion.
Nice picture of Pink Panther Power. It is very appropriate.
One of the all time senseless sacrifices in military history tied into the greatest senseless legal battle in local history. People never learn and end up paying dearly for incompetent leadership.
Courtney Clone In New Jersey
New Jersey Legislator Tries Unmasking Spike
It appears other states have legislators as dumb as Senator Courtney. New Jersey Asemblyman Peter Biondi is sponsoring a bill
to unmask anonymous bloggers. I guess "free speech" according to Biondi is free as long as he can destroy those who do not agree with him. Somewhat like Courtney's failed attempt to unmask Spike and rid Courtney's name from BurlingtonDerailed.com.
Government does not like critics. Government loves controlling information. Imagine the internet under Dr. Goebbels
The quickest way to keep your name off this website is to straighten your act out and be accountable for your behavior. Otherwise, history will be repeated.
Boys From Brazil Running Burlington
The Wall Street Journal ran an excellent article 3-6 on ego maniac local elected officials squandering resources in Latin America. The article was all too familiar.
Local treasuries are bursting thanks to a commodity based boon. Local officials are not concerned with promoting public health and safety, etc. The local boys are building monuments to themselves. One city where half the residents have no plumbing has a new stadium. Concrete iguanas are commissioned. They will draw tourists.
Despite massive losses due to graft and corruption, a message is sent. Ego maniacs never forget to remind the public whom to worship. A new bull fighting ring has a sign praising the Mayor. Another Mayor is publishing full color pamphlets showing himself in front of the Vatican during an "economic development trip" to Italy.
Peru, Brazil, etc. it all sounds like business as usual in Burlington. Are the Boys From Brazil
If there is no boon, raise taxes and casinos from which to skim more taxes. Ignore aging infrastructure nearing collapse. Who needs sewers and paved streets. Build a Rec-Plex and water park in a casino. They will draw tourists.
Never give a full financial accounting that might expose your corrupt buddies. Fight a losing war with the railroad in the name of class struggle to divert people's attention from your incompetence. Take trips to Italy in the name of "economic development."
Not all are happy in Carman Miranda land with the waste. Reformers are trying to educate local officials about proper priorities and budgeting. Local journalists are being told to closely monitor local public expenditures and inform the public. When will Southeastern offer the same for local elected officials and Citizen Delaney?
While others struggle to escape being third world, Burlington embraces a slide into it. How else do you explain the drunk Mayor's overwhelming re-election?
Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Burlington's drunk Mayor may look at Latin America as the land of opportunity after too many scrapes with the law. He should study the fate of his fellow outlaws. Latin Americans sick of egotistical public waste have already lynched one Mayor and several others have been lucky to elude mobs seeking similar justice.
Will it take a length of rope to turn things around in Burlington?
When considering your thoughts we are reminded of another little dictator's nonsense and where he wound up. "What luck for rulers that men do not think" - Adolf Hitler. We know where that got him.
We are empowered by thoughts from someone who understood. "The people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their government whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution." - James Madison
Railroad Brings Out The First Big Gun
In a motion filed in Federal Court Monday, the BNSF has requested the Court admit an attorney from a Washington, DC. law firm that has about 1400 attorneys on staff in 13 offices around the world.
I’ll tell you how much trouble the City is in. When I went to the search page for the attorney joining the case, there were 4 pages of last names beginning with the same letter as his last name. Never mind the attorney’s credentials are a tailor made fit for this case.
Herman Melville once said, “I saw the opening maw of hell.”
Do you suppose Melville confronted these guys in another lawsuit? Moby Dick would be eaten alive if he got into the same car as a Washington lawyer.
Wake up Council!! If the railroad pushes a claim for sanctions, you can triple my estimate for potential costs. This is the real deal of poking a big dog with a switch.
There won’t be a sidewalks program in Burlington for the next 175 years.
If you have still have doubts, here’s a future image for you.
Slagle Forgets To Change Calendar – For 11 Years
Budget Explanations Sorely Lacking
I watched 4 minutes of the City Council meeting until I fell out of my chair laughing at Slagle’s budget expertise.
Slagle gets up in front of the crowd with his whiz-bang graphic showing the loss in tax revenue. The slide Slagle was using to explain the current 2007 budget problems showed the loss of $680,000 in tax revenue when Iowa thankfully repealed the tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment – IN 1994. Yes, 1994!!!
If we lost that revenue 11 years ago it has absolutely no impact in what we are doing today. In fact, it reminds me of the Edwards/Courtney/Hoschek’s unfunded mandate mantra broken record gibberish.
I guess Slagle is in some kind of warp in the time space continuum. Either that, or Slagle is not rising to the level of competency needed to perform the required tasks for a salary of that dynamic magnitude.
West Burlington Police Union Writes Contract
As reported on WestBurlingtonCity.com
, apparently the Mayor and City Council let the local police union write their new contract.
Did I miss something here?
That's what you get for drinking Burlington water!
Survey Starts Today - Voice Your Opinion
Today the official Angelou Economics Survey period starts for Southest Iowa. To participate click here
or www.synergyseiowa.com .
The Southeast Iowa Regional Economic Development Consortium hired Angelou Economics to "develop an Economic Recovery Plan that creates an effective regional economic development effort and positions Southeast Iowa significantly ahead of other regions."
Fortunately, Angelou does more than lunch so we have a chance for a real boost. And if you have an idea you won't be shunned because you live outside of Burlington.
If you are interested in providing additional comments or other ways of contributing to the Southeast Iowa Strategic Plan, there is a contact link on the survey page.
Things can't get better if you don't voice your opinion.
Just Look In Their Faces
When you travel to the progressive areas of the country the first thing that you will notice when arriving back in Burlington is the pervasive “hang dog” attitude. Just walk the aisles of Wal-Mart, Shop-Ko or the mall. Just look at people’s faces and their demeanor. They all look like they ran over the dog leaving the house.
I travel on business and notice the attitude of busy people that are really doing something other than telling us they are. They’re excited about their projects, their life, and their free time. They enjoy every aspect of life.
Attitude adjustment is like a budget deficit; we can’t fix it in 10 minutes. It was a long time in the making and it will take a long time to fix.
Same with Burlington. People have no confidence in their local government to act responsibly. We have witnessed a total meltdown of City Hall in the last 3 years.
A reader sent over a copy of The Harvard Business Review with a great article about what our expectations should be for public trust to return to public officials.
Right now, we aren’t even in the running. The City has been rendered ineffective by lack of leadership, direction and the absence of accountability.
The rest of the world is moving forward. We are deep in a quagmire that no one wants to admit even exists.
If you have any doubts, just look in the people’s faces.
Can't Believe It
I just can't believe your information is accurate about the council fighting the railroad lawsuit when they could put people to work instead. If it is true, why would the mayor stand for it, isn't he a union rep at Case company?
You need to check your facts.
There are rumors from reliable sources that say there are companies that want to move into the shops property. Last week, one of our readers wrote that the railroad won't negotiate on the property until the lawsuit goes away.
If our readers are right, why would you continue to litigate? Afterall, we are throwing $1 million to Dresser Rand to stay in town. Why wouldn't we try to add more jobs?
It is nothing more than incompetent egos at work. And the workers in Burlington that need a job are paying for it.
Mother Goose Tale
Bureaucrats bureaucrats where have you been?
We've been to Des Moines to visit the Guv.
Bureaucrats, bureaucrats what did you do?
Attended a luncheon and then took a snooze.
Governor Vilsack was honest. If you want to grow a local economy you must be open to change, creative and innovative. The boys from Burlington have been told this before. They have been told this by others for who knows how long. They just do not like what they hear.
If you pretend to comprehend what has been said, hold more meetings, golf outings and road trips, maybe the story will change to one you want to hear. What the boys from Burlington want to hear is pure Mother Goose.
If you simply sit on your ass, new business will flock to your town, pay outrageous tax levies and put up no defense if you bring unjustified law suits against them. This strategy has been tried for decades with disastrous results. When the cow jumps over the moon, this strategy may be viable.
Until then, the good old boys from Burlington should all be driven from their comfy castle and replaced with a skinny cat from the pound. The cat may do more than frighten a mouse. The cat may actually catch one.
You let us down. The paper has a big article on the railroad lawsuit today. I clicked over to see your spin on it and there was nothing about it.
I’m tired of writing about it. I’m tired of hearing a bunch of drunken liars led by an incompetent part-time employee of the City continually mislead the citizens of Burlington. And I’m tired of Hinkle, Tapp and the Chamber monkeys all sucking up to these miscreants to cover their own inadequacies.
I’m tired of telling everybody that the City is going to get their ass handed back to ‘em in a lunch pail at trial.
I’m tired of correcting Quirk’s spin on this case. He is doing better, but he can do a lot better. This morning’s sidebar misdirects the significance of the 1836 agreement. Railroad use is a “public use” of lands. Therefore the City was able to transfer the property in title and deed to the railroad. That’s why the railroad collects rent. That’s why the City has no claim and basis for the lawsuit. The railroad owns the property and will continue to do so until it is no longer used for railroad uses. See title info below.
Our regular readers have heard this before. The railroad will hammer the casket shut on this town. Not only because they can’t be fighting a lawsuit in every town along their tracks but also because this lawsuit is all wrong.
Never forget, the City refused to meet with the railroad. Bruce Slagle was overstepping his authority then and he has numerous times since. Right along with Power.
On top of that, I have chest pains. Hoschek is in Washington peeing away my tax money acting like a big shot.
So give the advertiser their due today. They pretty much wrote the basics of the Judge’s order. Everything except the ultimate trial outcome.
We already have told you what that is going to be.
From Federal Court Filings:
Lingering Chest Pains
I really have to take it easy the next few days. Chest pains.
Des Moines County Supervisor Hoschek is in Washington, D.C. for the annual National Association of Counties meeting. All I can envision is Hoschek face down, malingering in a trough of steak, lobster and booze for the next few days, embarrassing us all with his continuously outstretched hand and brown ears.
As you all remember Hoschek is a member of the NACO Transportation Steering Committee, along with 90+ other dues paying members of NACO, even though he voted against joining the Southeast Iowa Regional Airport Commission.
Other than Hoschek coming home 15 pounds heavier and carrying a big brown bag, don’t count on him bringing any money back to us. But he will have a fresh stack of business cards. And out of his 1000 new business cards he took along, I would imagine 990 of them will still be in his pocket.
Hy-Vee Dollar Days
If the old Hy-Vee is so valuable, why has nobody purchased or leased it?
Purchasing retail buildings for government use is very rarely a good idea. It means permanently removing them from the tax rolls, a loss of millions of dollars. It is just this kind of economic thinking that has got Burlington in its’ present situation.
Local government is throwing tens of millions of dollars at various spending sprees as if money were no object. You would think the local economy was just booming and the population growing rapidly!
BTW, did you like the pic of Slagle and Hinkle buddying up to Vice-President Vilsack? Do you remember 8 years ago when many locals thought that having a Mt. Pleasantian Governor would somehow help SE Iowa? Now he even wants to move the prison away.
Even though Edwards touted in-fill commercial development he hasn’t quite grasped the meaning. Someone has to actually move into an empty building for in-fill.
The tax loss is never easy, but we have a lot of empty buildings and the County needs more space. Don’t worry about the spending spree; we’re going to make millions from the railroad lawsuit.
I saw the picture. I think the Governor has Hinkle in the vise grip of “you better do something other than lunch, we’re spending a lot of money down there on consultants.”
Slagle has that “deer in the headlights look” vying for the opportunity to tell the Governor the lawsuit is about jobs.
When you make a sitting Governor wait for 18+ months to meet about helping with economic development; don’t expect a warm reception. I think the Governor did say the prison will stay in Fort Madison.
Conspicuously absent in the photo is our mayor. I guess he didn’t make it pass the metal detector with his six-shooter in his boot. Either that, or he missed the bus because he had a long day at work and fell asleep at Burger King.
Was it About Jobs?
How close is this link
to the "jobs" argument for suing BNSF? Was the lawsuit about jobs?
After the Mayor's 5th drunk driving rap and subsequent parole, maybe he can openly devote himself to this group's aims. It appears the drunk Mayor has done all he can to support these aims in his elected position.
"People over profits." It is better to starve in the name of economic justice than to adjust to a market driven economy. I guess I am past living in the past.
If still a young person able to swallow a jug of cheap bourbon, this might make sense. Unfortunately age has imparted too much wisdom and the liver has grown too weak.
Edwards' militant activites were featured in a Socialist online news story. Edwards' irrational, radical thoughts are not considered to be much of anything significant.
Victory in the Eyes of the Delusional
How Will They Make It Look Like They Won?
When the City gets its hindquarters handed to it by the railroad, what will the spin be?
We could have kept fighting. In the interest of not wasting public funds, we pulled back after making our point. Even though we did not receive all of what we sought, the citizens of Burlington proved they will not be bullied. To rephrase a claim of victory from a lost war, we had to destroy the City Treasury in order to save it.
Incompetence of the City Manager and City attorney being accepted facts, it was elected City Officials who gave the go ahead. Do not forget Senator Courtney as cheerleader-in-chief urging a jihad against the railroad.
Courtney will try to hide, claiming his turf is Des Moines as the true cost of the Senator's folly becomes apparent. This slaughter of the ignorant is something Burlington taxpayers can ill afford.
Until the people of Burlington stop electing and employing drunks, degenerates and special education alumni, things will never get better.
We will be told stories for years about how close we came to teaching the railroad a lesson. Shoot, Lost Keys Ell will wait 7 months to tell us we lost. Edwards will get poked in the mouth a couple of times telling about how the big one got away. Gatemouth King will post 25-30 erroneous stories about the details that only he knows.
I can’t quite get that image of Courtney in a cheerleader’s skirt from making my Cheerios climb out of the bowl and run. That was an image I didn’t need.
The County would be getting a bargain on the Hy-Vee building. It is a good building and worth more than $700,000.
Some of their employees have said Hy-Vee offered the City the building a few years ago for free for the library. Hy-Vee would have had some tax benefits and the City would have a good free building.
This was kept quiet by the City. The City wanted to build the library downtown and said they did not want to take this building off the tax roll. What a nice gift that would have been.
Regardless, the public should have been aware of this. The Hawkeye knew about it.
The simplest solutions are not the most desirable with the spuds in City Hall. The library had to keep it quiet. They were in the middle of building a legacy monument without regard to costs.
Gatemouth King Spills The Beans On Hy-Vee Deal
Rush To Beat Spike Typical of Sore Loser’s Irresponsible Reporting
In one of the better examples of Sore loser King’s usual irresponsible reporting style, Gatemouth King spilled the Hy-Vee story over on his dying website Tuesday. Des Moines County has been negotiating a deal to buy the old Hy-Vee story on Agency to use for County offices.
On this morning’s Big Show on KCPS 1150 AM Fred & 7 attached the moniker of Gatemouth to Sore Loser.
Last week Gatemouth took us to the mat on the Dresser Rand story we were running then had to change his headline because he didn’t get the facts right and we did.
If Gatemouth wants to run with us he better slim down and wise up. We had the Hy-Vee story over 60 days ago and sat on it to avoid having any detrimental affect on the negotiations.
I wonder if his reporting for Pritchard is as error ridden as his blog reporting?
What Instructions Were Given By Council?
If things stayed on the timeline, about 15 minutes ago the lawyers involved in the railroad lawsuit were to have a telephone conference to see if there is any common ground for a settlement conference.
There are questions to be answered.
What instructions were given by the City Council to the City Attorney regarding the settlement conference?
Did the City Council even participate in this decision-making process?
Plan For Combined Law Enforcement Endorsed - With Conditions
At Monday’s City Council work session Police Chief Wunnenberg raised the subject for combining local city, and possibly the County, law enforcement agencies into one group.
I think that is an excellent idea providing that Burlington has nothing to do with it. This type of operation can only be run by the County to keep Burlington’s grubby little paws off the funding. We all know they can't manage money at City Hall.
From what we hear it’s no secret that Sheriff Johnstone wants to retire. After the fiasco with the jail slush fund being used to circumvent State rules on budget expenditures, I don’t think Johnstone should manage a larger, countywide department.
Wunnenberg can orchestrate and manage the transition period and is very capable of structuring the changes to make it work. By the time the project comes to fruition, he’ll be ready to retire. Then the West Burlington Chief could step over to head the group.
So the only question remains is, do we have to have a Sheriff? If we don’t, fine. If we do, we find options. Can the Sheriff’s duties be transferred?
But any way we do it, the money can’t slip through Bruce Slagle’s hands. If it does, we will all feel the squeeze.
Outrageous Library Costs
I was reading WestBurlingtonCity.com
and I just couldn’t believe what I was reading about the library costs in Burlington compared to other cities of comparable size in Iowa.
The costs at the Burlington Library are outrageous compared to these other cities. The costs run 68-80% HIGHER
than these other communities and they want to raise the rates even higher.
I guess since the Library can’t get any more money from the City Council I guess it will holdup the surrounding communities.
A Better Plan
I find it interesting that there are letters to the editor at the advertiser voicing their opinion against the casino expansion. But I haven’t seen one letter from any investor supporting the casino expansion plan.
An interesting perspective described that for the $60 million dollars the casinos are expected to rake in each year that means there will be $60 million dollars of losers to drive that revenue.
The letter went on to say that it might be better to see that money used to help the local area rather than be distributed to the investors.
Seems to me like a good plan. Imagine what that money could do instead of being trickled out to the communities.
If we are going to let this project consume the city we should get a bigger cut. 10% of the revenue would be about right.