Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

31 May

Library Ultimatum

According to Falcon over at westburlingtoncity.com "the cities of West Burlington, Danville, and Middletown received letters from the Burlington Library stating, "We will not provide service to [you] for the previous fee as you propose.

Unless you notify us of your willingness to accept the new fee schedule, our service to your community will end on June 30, 2006."

Wow! That's a great start to regionalism, education and dictatorship.

Watch WestBurlingtonCity.com for the showdown.

04:37:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Advertiser Misses Taps - Slip Sliding Away


How nice the Advertiser has deemed Memorial Day politically incorrect and worthy of no mention. The Advertiser and its' ilk are growing increasingly irrelevant.

Advertising money is flowing to other venues besides daily newspapers. So goes the money. So goes the future.

Will anybody play taps for the Advertiser?


And so goes the past. Ride the dinosaur, miss the electrons. The Financial Times article is indicative of the shot across the bow on Main Street.

I did miss the Memorial Day events. I couldn't find any mention of them in the Oldest News In Print. But I did find the Easter ads.


03:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Drivel?? Quit Your Sniveling!

I guess SL King’s blog must be embedded under the skin of Jimmy Olson #3. Writer Miller from the advertiser proclaimed something about “..drivel on local blogs.”

Last week Quirk was on vacation so #3 Miller had to write the weekly report on the Supervisor’s meeting. It was a very refreshing piece of factual news without the incessant repetition of every unimportant fact since Columbus landed.

But now that the #3 writer is picking on blogs I guess we can only offer to ask him to stick to walkway paint and quit sniveling about blogs.


03:29:00 - SPIKE - No comments

King Is Still Flushing

Just when you think it is nice and quiet from Sore Loser King, he opens his brain and flushes. This time he is telling us about building relationships and economic development.

I honestly can’t believe King is such an idiot about so many things. I can see why #3 Miller from the advertiser is so upset with him.

If I understand King’s history of public relationships correctly:

1. King was placed in the council chair to get the library vote.
2. King supported the Chamber dealings while the law firm representing them also represented Burlington and Regional Planning.
3. King supported this earthworm mentality of Power’s law firm when the County Assessor raised the taxes on the Chamber’s new offices and we found Power’s partners on the verge of suing each other.
4. The same law firm also sued the railroad in an illegal lawsuit that no one will acknowledge was illegal even though Nit Wit knows the State Ombudsman admonished the Council for their illegal meeting voting to litigate.
5. King knowingly participated in the failed economic development effort to establish meaningful dialog with the railroad before the railroad made the decision to leave.
6. Instead of King being proactive, after losing re-election and coming in 6th place, King continued to build relationships with the Chamber by filing an election complaint against the Chamber/Grow Greater Burlington with the Campaign Ethics Board.
7. King participated in a known behavior of inconsistent lies that the lawsuit was about jobs. Or, was it money?
8. Endorses the “good ol’ boy” mentality as a good thing under the guise of building successful economic development relationships. I guess the word "competency" is not important.
9. Endorsed a year’s worth of “Let’s Do Lunch and Not Much More” economic development and failing to meet with the Governor without explanation.
10. Subscribes to the Hoschek School of Influential Thinking - I have their business card so I must be important.
11. Forgot that you can negotiate problems before you have your brains sucked out by an overpaid City Manager and litigious city attorney.
12. King wants us to buy into his professed knowledge of how to grease the wheels of commerce.

All I can say is if it came to greasing the wheels of commerce, I would be hard pressed to rely on Cry Baby King to oil the wheels of my ice cream cart; or manure spreader.

One thing SL King can tell us is how it feels to come in last place in a 6-man race, complain about it and still be a loser that has publicly lied on numerous occasions to the voters.

That is some relationship.

03:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Clean-Up Not Part Of Potential Settlement


Interesting post about Livingston, Montana. Maybe the poster missed the rest of the story about BN's former site is now a Superfund cleanup site. Cancer rates increasing in community.


The Livingston clean-up effort has been a boondoggle for years brought about by both Montana and the railroad's failure to agree on the how it should be done.

There are no problems with the clean-up efforts in Burlington. The railroad took responsibility for the clean-up and I believe it had no bearing or affect on a settlement for the job loss.

The City should never have let their Power overreach his authority. I'm sure the taxpayers of the region would have rather had $950,000 in a trust fund than Scott Power picking our pockets for $200,000+ for an ill-conceived lawsuit that we will never win.

You may not want to believe me. The City will ultimately lose this lawsuit. We are going to pay dearly for it. And it is going to hurt like hell.


01:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

30 May

You're Surprised?


It shouldn't surprise anybody that the newspaper didn't acknowledge Memorial Day. For 2 weeks they've fed off a family's tragedy with their photo and letters to the editor. They didn't care about them. Why should they care about Memorial Day?

I heard they are going to run the Memorial Day paper on Wednesday of next week with some Easter ads.


The advertiser has been wearing the letters to the editor over their photo of the tragic family loss in Mediapolis like a badge. What is interesting is that there are a few writers down on Main Street that are veterans.

Trouble is, Delaney isn't a veteran, doesn't understand and never will. Delaney's column Saturday was his first in about a month so maybe he was so busy preparing that gem that he plum forgot Memorial Day.

I doubt if there were any other newspapers in the U.S. that didn't acknowledge Memorial Day? Even the advertiser's advertisers acknowledged Memorial Day.


03:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

We Get It!


Exellent picture of the Bald Eagle. Your website is a reminder of the sacrifices that our fallen heroes gave their lives for.

May God bless them.


We get it. We acknowledge and appreciate the sacrifices made so that our little website can keep the heat up on the people that need it. The advertiser doesn't. And never will.


03:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

29 May

16:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments

What Happend To Memorial Day?


One of the most honorable and cherished of dates on the calendar, and the local paper cannot (for whatever reason) even mention it on the front page today.

Cover it tomorrow?? Yesterday?? Who cares?

Today, Monday 29 May, 2006 was the date set aside to honor those men and women who have sacrificed their lives to ensure the freedom we Americans enjoy. And not a mere mention of it on the front page of our local paper -- nor any where else within the paper. How sad is it when your own local paper ignores the significance of Memorial Day, yet allows the rants of Sweet and staff to talk down our country and leadership as America fights to protect that what we have for 200 plus years:


Those brave men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country, at minimum, deserve a mention on the front page of our local newspaper on the date attributed to them. It is unfortunate that the editor saw otherwise.


Thanks for writing about that glaring omission. I thought maybe I had last week's paper instead of the Memorial Day edition.

I guess it's not important to the editor or the weekend help. But boy, listen to 'em bitch if they don't have the privilege of exercising their 1st Amendment right to tell us how to think. They all need to read the Constitution.


16:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

26 May

Politician's Image Won't Help Diewold


During the County Supervisors KBUR forum, Ben Diewold said that city council member Bill Ell told him that the most important thing for an elected official is to maintain a good image, to keep public trust.

Not that I disagree with this, but we should ask, why then would Bill Ell vote to retain Mike Edwards as Mayor? Edwards' image that he created and his embarrassing behavior did not earn public trust.

Is Ell serious or phony? We all know that Edwards was not the best person to represent this City and the City's image.


When you seek advice from a politican that hid the fact that his fire department had lost the keys to all of the Burlington schools 7 months earlier, spent over $50,000 to replace them and then hid all of that from the taxpayers and City Council, shouldn't be dispensing advice to anyone.

Image is all Diewold and Hoschek are about; keeping an image to retain their jobs. Competency is not a criteria for either one of them and the voters keep telling Diewold that.

The voters are who Diewold should go to for advice even if it is just a painful history lesson.


14:09:20 - SPIKE - No comments

Negotiations Can Work - What Could Have Been


When the Burlington Northern Railroad closed the Livingston, Montana Shops in the mid-1980’s the community went through a similar process like Burlington did. Up to a point.

The unions were the first to squawk that they were going to sue and then the city jumped on that bandwagon only to stop short of litigation because the city saw a light in the tunnel from one of their community leaders.

A local committee led by the editor of the local newspaper was formed to negotiate an exit plan with the BN. The editor owned 13 newspapers in Montana and a businessman that had the foresight to realize that litigation would be futile and the best alternative was to negotiate a financial package for the benefit of the city and region.

In the end, Livingston was given $950,000 for a public trust fund. Over the last 20 years the trust fund interest has paid for bike paths, ball fields and other citizen needs. And the trust fund still has over $930,000 in it.

It was that newspaper editor’s business acumen and foresight that he could play a role in helping Livingston recover from the job loss that made this work.

I just wish that we had a newspaper editor with similar skills and abilities that realized it is better to negotiate instead of trying to slay the beast with a frivolous lawsuit. Coupled with their continued negative reporting style, the idea the newspaper could assume a role in the rebound of Southeast Iowa is far-fetched.

Negotiations can work can work with that big old billion-dollar corporation. But the lawyers are the last people to call after all negotiations fail. Not the first.

If you have real leadership instead of a manager, you can make lemonade when you are handed lemons.

Sign me - Looking out of town for my own exit strategy!

A newspaper editor focused on the community good with business acumen and foresight? Man, what have you been drinking?

Never going to happen here. Jimmy Olson Sr. will never qualify. The advertiser doesn’t have a clue of the role they could play in rebuilding Southeast Iowa. No vision, no business acumen either.

Furthermore, I don’t think they care. If he did, he'd make changes. After all, he has been told by people other than us.


05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Ft. Madison City Manager Firing


I'm curious about the real reasons behind the firing of the FM city manager.

Based on the quotes that had always been mentioned in the press during his tenure as city manager it seems that he layed out the reality that the city council simply refused to accept. They wanted to spend money that wasn't there and didn't want to hear the cold hard reality of the numbers they had to work with.

This seemed to be especially telling as the most recent budgetary crisis hit and he basically told the city council that services would have to be cut. Seems to me he was working with reality and hard numbers and the city council was living in a world of "we need to do" and "we have a plan for" of various planning and economic dreaming sessions.

And of course the budgetary circle jerk sessions to do pencil pushing gymnastics to avoid doing what was obviously needed which was to cut departments and personnel. He was the guy who actually had to pay the bills and make the numbers work. It looks to me that the city councilmen were the ones who are short on substance and unable to come up with real solutions. They didn't even have a new candidate lined up to take the job. You can bet there won't be a line of talented people wanting to take the job either.

That's the impression one gets about the The FM city manager and and city council dynamics from what is reported in the media anyway.

One never really knows though since we're dealing with "The Daily Disappointment" "The Burlington Advertiser" so who knows. We have to resort to the blogs and the local gossip mill to find out what is actually happening in town.

Spike and Burlington Derailed have done more for journalism in Burlington and SE Iowa than the above Legacy media has in the past 10 years.

If I had to bet on it I'd say he was given the boot because he committed the unforgivable sin in Lee County. He said that city employees would have to be cut to make the budget work. This is just not done.

The city can turn to dust but Ft. Madison will have their whiz bang Library for their pseudo intellectuals and jobs for a raft of City Employees living off the rotting corpse.

The trouble is that basic economics will not be denied. You can't live off that gaming money forever. The boat will sail away soon enough and everyone knows it.

With the new land based casino in B-town there will be no need for it. Eventually the license is going to be renegotiated so no money has to be shared with FM and Keokuk.

At least if they get the bypass done it will make packing up and leaving town easier.


From people in the know Kelly crossed a lot of boundaries he shouldn't have. He told the Mayor and several council members that he didn't work for them.

Then Kelly got involved with Brian Tapp at Regional Planning in some backroom projects that he had no authority to. And he got involved in Lee County political deals, which by law is forbidden for a city manager.

We've had a lot of feedback over the last year. Kelly was supposedly a good number cruncher. He just didn't understand who the boss was and who he worked for (sounds a lot like Slagle).

I think you're right about the casino. Street talk here says Winegard will not get the split license from the Gaming Commission. When that drops, so will the boat. Lots of FTM businesses will suffer.

260 jobs ARE headed to Wabash. The announcement is due real soon. But we need 3-4 of these per year in the area.


03:48:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Activity at Cleveland Volcano, Aleutian Islands, Alaska

NASA Press Release

At 3:00 p.m. Alaska Daylight Time on May 23, 2006, Flight Engineer Jeff Williams from International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 13 contacted the Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) to report that the Cleveland Volcano had produced a plume of ash. Shortly after the activity began, he took this photograph. This picture shows the ash plume moving west-southwest from the volcano’s summit. A bank of fog (upper right) is a common feature around the Aleutian Islands. The event proved to be short-lived; two hours later, the plume had completely detached from the volcano (see image from May 24). The AVO reported that the ash cloud height could have been as high as 6,000 meters (20,000 feet) above sea level.

Cleveland Volcano, situated on the western half of Chuginadak Island, is one of the most active of the volcanoes in the Aleutian Islands, which extend west-southwest from the Alaska mainland. It is a stratovolcano, composed of alternating layers of hardened lava, compacted volcanic ash, and volcanic rocks. At a summit elevation of 1,730 meters, this volcano is the highest in the Islands of the Four Mountains group. Carlisle Island to the north-northwest, another stratovolcano, is also part of this group. Magma that feeds eruptions of ash and lava from the Cleveland Volcano is generated by the northwestward movement of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate. As one tectonic plate moves beneath another—a process called subduction—melting of materials above and within the lower plate produces magma that can eventually move to the surface and erupt through a vent (such as a volcano). Cleveland Volcano claimed the only known eruption-related fatality in the Aleutian Islands, in 1944.

Astronaut photograph ISS013-E-24184 was acquired May 23, 2006, with a Kodak 760C digital camera using an 800 mm lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Group, Johnson Space Center. The image in this article has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast. Lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

NASA Image
00:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

25 May

Hoschek Got Questions In Advance

Supervisors Candidate Forum Tonight 7:00 PM Ch. 18


Ask Hoschek if he ever received question in advance when he was running for office against David Miller back in 1998-1999, for the forum that the Chamber has for all persons running for Supervisor.

They will be holding that forum tonight.


I've heard that story and I believe it to be true.

We have to consider the TV production ramifications. If Hoschek didn't have the questions in advance there would be 90 seconds of silence for each question.

Diewold writes everything down so he might be in a jam tonight. He'll probably try the Hoschek 2-step.


15:50:24 - SPIKE - No comments

Diewold Needs To Be Held Accountable

The Des Moines County Supervisor candidates were on the KBUR talk show Wednesday. Diewold was like listening to Putz Hoschek. In fact, it sounded like Diewold was reading his remarks and not making them.

A couple of week ago in a Supervisor work session Hoschek said that he probably signed papers he shouldn’t have regarding the 20-year tax abatement for the ethanol plant.

I want to know, did Diewold sign any of the same paperwork that Hoschek signed that he shouldn’t have?

Seems to me that the odds of that are real good that what one twin did so did the other. If Putz Hoschek did, odds are real good Diewold did too.

Just seems too coincidental to not have something amiss.

I guess time will tell.

05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Teddy Roosevelt's Thoughts On Immigration

Theodore Roosevelt's ideas on immigrants and being an American in 1907.

"In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to
discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.

But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American......There can be no divided allegiance here.

Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't really an American at all.

We have room for but one flag, the American flag... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people and America itself."

04:42:00 - SPIKE - No comments

24 May

Chamber Lawsuit Connection


I’ve been gone a few weeks and when I read about the Chamber of Commerce and Grow Greater Burlington connection to the city attorney I was shocked. No wonder we never heard any complaints about the railroad lawsuit from Hinkle and others at those groups. They’re all in bed together.

Burlington won’t get better until these types of backroom politics are eliminated. You were wrong Spike. It’s not about the money. It’s about the “Power.” I’m tired of it. And so are lots of other people.


I don’t know how much longer we can continue to fund this craziness.

04:06:00 - SPIKE - No comments

One Down - One To Go

Fort Madison's city manager resigned his position before he was fired according to reports from Lee County.

Now if the curve-in-the-road sentiments would just land here in Burlington we'd be set to try something new; like a new city manager.

It's time to show Slagle the door.

03:11:00 - SPIKE - No comments

The Voice Of Oppression Has Spoken


The Advertiser's advocacy of the City's windmill joust in Federal Court with the railroad comes as no surprise. What was surprising was the length of time it took for Iowa's Oldest News on Paper to commit its' support to keeping growth out of Burlington.

The local powers behind Power's pathetic legal antics want to protect their miniscule minimum wage empires. Low wages in light manufacturing and the service sector mean a higher rate of return for those who own them. I am not talking about just the convenience store clerks and future water park workers.

How much more was a worker at the shops earning per hour than the average Jimmy Olson at the Advertiser? You can bet the Advertiser will never tell you. The Advertiser is probably paying Jimmy Olson less to start than the School District pays a freshly minted B. A. to teach. When do we get an editorial on over paid school teachers?

Cut the crap of the righteous standing up to an evil corporation. Owners of local penny ante operations in Burlington live in abject terror that growth will raise wages. What better way to say stay the hell away than a lawsuit against a major corporation. What Burlington has done guarantees that any future change in the railroad's operations that may have benefited Burlington will be located elsewhere.

More important, the law suit tells any outsider thinking about doing business in Burlington to keep on moving. It is almost as crude and effective as the signs towns used to put up over 80 years ago telling the "coloreds" that remaining in our town after sundown could be hazardous to your health.

Keep others out and pay the locals nothing has been the mantra of what passes for business acumen in Burlington for over a century. The formula has served the George Babbits of Burlington so long, they would never think of changing.

The Advertiser's advocacy of the asinine railroad law suit is further proof that nothing will change except the census figures. Those keep going down.


Everyday I just keep thinking that it can't get anymore bizarre.

Yet it does.


02:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

23 May

Another Lawsuit


I see Burlington is headed to court this week for another lawsuit against one of its own firemen. The city lost the last one after spending $15,000+. How much will this one cost us?

Fed Up With City Lawsuits

That's all the buffoons in City Hall know. Of course, Power will tell us that the case is "winnable."

That's how gullible they all are. Every lawsuit has the potential to be winnable. There is always a potential Quirk in the case.

The real question is the City's position defensible to the taxpayers? Very few ever are.


10:27:29 - SPIKE - No comments

No Taxpayer Money For Another Railroad Lawsuit

Earlier this month the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) asked every county in Iowa to pitch in $2,000 to aid Washington County in it's lawsuit against the Iowa, Chicago & Eastern Railroad over four railroad bridges.

According to an article in Sunday’s advertiser the Des Moines County Engineer is going to recommend that the Des Moines County Supervisors contribute $2,000 to the Washington County lawsuit.

I don’t know what kind of dumb ass thoughts are behind the request for our contribution to this boondoggle fund. But we sure don’t need any dumb ass thoughts to get involved in someone else’s lawsuit with a railroad.

We got screwed on one railroad lawsuit conceived and hidden behind our backs by the thugs in City Hall. We sure as hell don’t need to be sending money to another county to be pissed away by another lawyer intent on padding his retirement fund.

Doesn’t anybody get it?

05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

City/Lawsuit/Taxes/Grass/Heland Sign


Everyone certainly has the right to their opinion, including the reporter who wrote the article about the lawsuit. It wasn't only Quirk's viewpoints.

It had some good points, but overall, I don't agree with the lawsuit or the editorial. The City should have made an attempt to at least have some meetings with BNSF, before they got us into this lawsuit and spent $200,000. of taxpayers money. They act like $200,000 is nothing.

I didn't understand the example used to show that this had no negative impact with new businesses coming to Burlington. Hy-Vee, Billups and Toms(Naifeh's) were already well established in Burlington with over 100 years of combined years. I hope we win so we can get the property tax lowered with the winnings that was suggested in the article.

BB asked about the tall grass on hwy 34. It does look bad, but I believe that is the State's responsibility. They spent their money on employee bonus' and have none left for services.

That is the government bargain that Heland wants us to believe in. More taxes and less services. I did see Heland's political sign on the downtown curb Sat.

I think that is illegal.


04:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

22 May

Advertiser Takes Low Road On Railroad Lawsuit

How Can You Write This Drivel?

In another feeble attempt to convince us to think the way of the goombas in City Hall, Jimmy Olson told us in a Sunday editorial how good it was to spend $200,000+ to sue the BNSF Railroad over the loss of jobs at the West Burlington shops.

Jimmy suggests the City “may decide” to use the money won in the lawsuit for property tax relief. You don’t really believe that do you, Jimmy?

Then Jimmy tells us that filing a frivolous lawsuit against a multi-billion dollar corporation isn’t so bad and doesn’t reflect poorly on the City as a whole or on the possibility that the lawsuit would taint local efforts to attract new businesses.

How ridiculous. I guess Jimmy doesn’t realize the impact this lawsuit has on business people that understand you litigate AFTER ALL OTHER EFFORTS HAVE FAILED, NOT BEFORE. Jimmy doesn’t mention that the City refused to even discuss the job loss with the railroad before filing their lawsuit. Why is that fact so unimportant to the advertiser?

For some vague, obtuse, irrelevant, unknown reason, Jimmy then states that the city didn’t sue Hy–Vee, Billups Tire & Muffler Service or Tom's Market & Meats. I don’t know what Jimmy meant by this and what earthly reason that has to do with anything in his editorial other than a Mountain Dew induced lack of foresight.

Jimmy goes on to tell us the railroad snubbed community loyalty by closing the shops. Jimmy, have you lost track of the hundreds of millions of dollars the railroad contributed to this community over the last 150+ years? Wake up! That’s business.

You would think that someone that endured 2 years of this foolishness would have more insight than what was presented.

But then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, look who gives Jimmy Olson his marching orders.

05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Immigration Service Has It Backwards


The Immigration Service in California has things backwards.

They shouldn't be shooting illegals trying to LEAVE the country for Mexico, they should be shooting illegals trying to ENTER the country from Mexico.


Throughout naval history it has always a made a point to "fire one across the bow."

Not only were the Mexicans shot trying to flee to Mexico illegal immigrants, they had committed crimes while they were on U.S. soil. The Mexican government has a habit of not returning criminals to face prosecution here, so escape to Mexico was their way out.

Now that recreational drugs (including heroin and cocaine) are legal in Mexico, everybody is probably too stoned to care.

I say build that wall. And then lock it to everyone we don't want here.


02:41:00 - SPIKE - No comments

21 May

Fun City Gonna Make Memorial Day Opening?

Hi Spike

I was out on Roosevelt Ave. today and I tell you, I've worked in the construction trade before and to me it looks like Fun City had better hurry up if they want to have the water park done by Memorial day.

That's just my point of view on the site. I'm sorry if I'm way off but it looks like a lot of work left to do.

Anyway, I hope they have a great showing on Memorial Day weekend and make a lot of money.

Thanks Spike

I guess we are just laymen and don't understand real construction deadlines.

I suppose the city will have to make another $50,000+ bond payment in June. I don't think there will be much revenue to make the payment so the taxpayers will foot the bill, again.


14:41:01 - SPIKE - No comments

Mow The Grass


I'm curious; who is responsible for the grass cutting (or lack thereof) on the freeway? What an embarrassment to the city. Our gateway to Iowa looks like hell! It has for the past ten years or so.

Seems to me if we pay our city employees and the ilk so well, we could afford a few bucks to mow the freeway. Or is that why we can't afford to mow the grass?

Anyone in town that doesn't mow their grass is subject to fines, etc. Seems like a double standard to me!!


I wish we could pin this on the Lords of City Hall. I think the State is responsible for mowing this stretch of highway.

It looks like they have started to mow the grass. Last year the grass was a foot tall and seeding out before it was mowed.


14:35:24 - SPIKE - No comments

19 May

Advertiser Misses Boat And Story

In last Sunday’s advertiser, the unsigned editorial took a swipe at the Des Moines County Supervisors for not publishing an agenda for the Supervisor’s Thursday work session. The Thursday work session is a forum for anyone with a concern to air their problems or concerns.

The advertiser tried to make a point that their fair-haired brain trust at City Hall publishes an agenda for the City Council rubber stampers before their work sessions.

I think this is just a ploy to make life easier for the advertiser. If the Supervisors don’t announce something controversial, there would no need for a writer to show up for the meeting.

And last week this new found thought process wouldn’t have helped.

When Hoschek was in the prone position flopping around on the idea of additional tax incentives for the ethanol plant’s expansion project, Hoschek made a series of statements about his involvement in the tax abatement already given the ethanol plant when Hoschek and Diewold were Stupidvisors together.

Hoschek claimed there are rumors floating around that he and Diewold had signed papers concerning the ethanol plant tax abatement that they shouldn’t have signed. Hoschek then verified that the rumors were probably true; there were papers he probably shouldn’t have signed.

Since the advertiser didn’t have a writer at the meeting, the taxpayers have no report of this outburst. I’d like to know what papers Hoschek signed he shouldn’t have.

If the advertiser can’t get their own house in order, how can they tell us how to think? How can they criticize the Supervisors for doing something good?

I guess we’re just supposed to trust Iowa’s Oldest News for the most controversial slant on everything.

04:31:00 - SPIKE - No comments

A Million Comet Pieces

NASA Press Release

This infrared image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the broken Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 skimming along a trail of debris left during its multiple trips around the sun. The flame-like objects are the comet's fragments and their tails, while the dusty comet trail is the line bridging the fragments.

Comet 73P /Schwassman-Wachmann 3 began to splinter apart in 1995 during one of its voyages around the sweltering sun. Since then, the comet has continued to disintegrate into dozens of fragments, at least 36 of which can be seen here. Astronomers believe the icy comet cracked due the thermal stress from the sun.

The Spitzer image provides the best look yet at the trail of debris left in the comet's wake after its 1995 breakup. The observatory's infrared eyes were able to see the dusty comet bits and pieces, which are warmed by sunlight and glow at infrared wavelengths. This comet debris ranges in size from pebbles to large boulders. When Earth passes near this rocky trail every year, the comet rubble burns up in our atmosphere, lighting up the sky in meteor showers. In 2022, Earth is expected to cross close to the comet's trail, producing a noticeable meteor shower.

Astronomers are studying the Spitzer image for clues to the comet's composition and how it fell apart. Like NASA's Deep Impact experiment, in which a probe smashed into comet Tempel 1, the cracked Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3 provides a perfect laboratory for studying the pristine interior of a comet.

This image was taken from May 4 to May 6 by Spitzer's Multiband Imaging Photometer, using its 24-micron wavelength channel.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/W. Reach (SSC/Caltech)

02:05:25 - SPIKE - No comments

18 May

Free Pizza?


Is Diewold buying votes? Free Pizza for employees during their meetings? Who pays for the "FREE"

Hungry 2

I guess it's the Diewold family tradition to go for the chow line vote. I could go for an Arion sausage pizza right now a lot better than I could stomach listening to Diewold hold a brain storming session.

There is a reason this guy lost his last election. And it becomes more apparent the longer the advertiser runs their sizzling exposé on the Supervisor's race.

I doubt sincerely that Diewold paid for the pizza. That isn't the way he, or Hoschek, do business.


11:38:52 - SPIKE - No comments

17 May

Advertiser’s Circulation Numbers Exposed

It’s All About The Money

One of our observant readers found the advertiser’s circulation numbers. Circulation numbers are used to set advertising rates and sell advertising. The BPA is the most reputable circulation audit group.

Theoretically, the higher the number of eyeballs the advertiser has reading the paper, the more money the advertiser can charge for the ad space because they are supposedly reaching more potential customers. Theories are meant to be disproved. In newspaper circulation they most often are.

The advertiser claims to have an average circulation of 20,950 copies and a readership of 41,900, an exact ratio of 2 readers for each 1 paper in circulation.

I have seen a lot of circulation numbers from a lot of different publications over the years and I have never seen an exact ratio. Never.

If these numbers are accurate, I would call them highly suspect for several reasons.

1. Reader numbers are never exactly an even number. And I doubt if the advertiser achieves a 2:1 readership unless you count all of the employees on Main Street having to share one copy of the paper to drive up the readership.

2. When circulation numbers get larger than 2, the readership ratio seldom is ever an equal number.

3. You don’t round circulation numbers off. Whatever the numbers are, that’s what you report in a BPA circulation audit. No one buying advertising should ever believe non-BPA circulation numbers.

4. Readership numbers are pie-in-the-sky opinions unless verified by extensive additional surveys conducted by reputable survey firms including the BPA. I don’t recall any survey the advertiser recently conducted.

5. I don’t believe 2 people read every paper (on average) the advertiser prints. Most people don’t read every page, every day and see every ad.

How many people read the paper is unknown.

So what this proves is that the advertiser is not about the news. The advertiser is about getting advertising in your hands under the guise of being a newspaper.

If you have doubts, how many articles have you seen in the last weeks that have datelines from other cities that appear to be filler between the ads?

And how many national and international stories are reduced to a paragraph stuck in obscurity?

The answers: lots!

It’s all about the money. It’s not about the news.

It used to be. But not any more.

Burlington Hawk Eye

Publish Days: Sun,Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Fri,Sat
Circulation: 20950
Readership: 41900
Staff Title
Steve Delaney Publisher
Steve Delaney Editor
Tom Seibert Circulation Manager

12:38:34 - SPIKE - No comments

The Way They Go Away


Douglas MacArthur quoted an old barracks ballad, "Old soldiers never die. They just fade away." Thus it was for General MacArthur's desire to be Caesar when America liked Ike.

It has been interesting watching he who would be King of Burlington fade away. No matter how much noise he still tries to generate, the public has turned the gain to zero on Chris King.

How will the drunk Mayor go away?

Will it be into a phone pole at a high rate of speed at three in the morning? Will it be from carbon monoxide at the same hour in the Burger King lot some winter's night trying to stay warm while sleeping one off? It is doubtful the voters will ever give the drunk Mayor his walking papers.

How Burlington's greatest public embarassment goes away is not as important as his finally going. Until Burlington removes its drunk Mayor, Burlington will just keep fading away.


04:38:00 - SPIKE - No comments

BNSF Lawsuit And Poster Child


Mayor Edwards and a few others wanted to play tough guy with BNSF. The sad thing is they did it with other people's money. If we lose this, they should resign.

Another thing, Mayor Edwards handing out an award to Randy Winegard in front of a group of distinguished well behaved Boy Scouts? How appropriate!

That is why he should have had the intelligence and guts to at least step back to a council member from the Mayor position.

The Mayor position requires these public appearances and he is an embarrassment and poor role model. The council should have thought of this.


Imagine how Winegard feels being presented an award in front of a group of distinguished well-behaved boy scouts by the poster child for drunk driving!


04:29:00 - SPIKE - No comments

16 May

Why Is Chamber Silent On Lawsuit?


Many wonder why the Chamber hasn't come out against the BNSF lawsuit. The Chamber has to know that suing a former major employer is sure economic development killer.

But then I noticed a list of 2005 Chamber officers.

Brian Helling was the 2005 Chamber Chairman!

Helling is from the City's law firm of Aspelmeier, Fisch, Power, Engberg, & Helling.

That sure explains a lot.


Yep, you're absolutely right. But it's just a small conflict of interest.

If the boneheads at the Chamber and Grow Greater Burlington saw who reads this website EVERYDAY including weekends, I still don't think it would make a difference.

Because the one thing you might not know, Helling's law firm also represents the Chamber. And Southeast Iowa Regional Planning.

Multiple conflicts of interest like this breed silence and backroom deals.

It's great for lunch and golf. But it sucks for getting anything worthwhile done.


11:35:09 - SPIKE - No comments

Railroad Lawsuit Costs Purposely Underreported

I see our crack legal team of Dewey Screwem and Howe submitted another dribble of their frivolous lawsuit costs to the city for payment. Noticeably absent was the bill for March and April.

And the City Council rubber stampers just whipped out their big old rubber stamps and paid the bill without a whimper.

The rubber stampers also paid the costs for the City’s expert witness from Sioux City to the tune of about $6,500. Reports indicate that we got less than 50¢ worth of value from his testimony.

Power’s $1325 in travel expenses for trial week were also paid. I wonder why he didn’t wait 3 months to bill that?

Just wait. It’s coming. And it will be uglier than a hairy wart.

07:51:41 - SPIKE - No comments

Diewold Wild In Handing Out Ethanol Tax Abatement

Ethanol Industry Due For Major Adjustments

Supervisor wannabe Diewold freely told the advertiser’s readers that he and Supervisor Hoschek were playing without much regard for tax dollars when they handed a 20-year tax abatement to the local ethanol plant.

I believe it. Both of them have a history of doing things without much thought or regard and like to skip the rules. Or write down what they have done.

Now the ethanol plant wants to double production and pay no taxes on the expansion. The same group has announced intentions to build new plants in Galva and Quincy, Illinois.

Ethanol produced from corn is the highest cost method of production. Ethanol produced from sugar cane and sawgrass are significantly lower in production costs.

Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts are getting real nervous about the level of investment dollars being drilled into this new industry.

Maybe this is one time to listen. The last thing we need is for our farmer investors to get a real dose of market swing. And business management that move investment plans along like $65 million dollars is chump change, is headed for an old-fashioned country ass kicking.

07:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

School Drug Search A Bust


The paper said the search at the high school was a big success. Yeah, right. Except for all the kids that left before the lock down. And there were several that just walked out since they didn't want to be stuck in a class room and the ones that probably had drugs in their pockets. I don't think the dog's sniffed them!

Then there was the dog that went nuts over the kid’s car because he smoked pot in it the night before. That kid was laughing his ass off as he watched them search his car since he set them up by smoking in the car on purpose.

I am sorry but I think the whole thing was a huge joke. Maybe the random searches won’t be, but this one was.


I would guess the next go around will be different. As for the stragglers, just enact an automatic 5-day suspension and grade hold for walking away. And then saturate the parking lot with cops and block the streets to prevent drive offs.


07:31:00 - SPIKE - No comments

11 May

Burlington's Sen. King OFF TRACK? No, Just Derailed!!


Did the Senator not keep up paying his web bills?? It has been a month since he has spewed his nonsense to his massive following. What will the excuse be this time??

I guess he’s just using the site when he is running for some sort of office. I hope he wasn’t in the car with Mr. Kennedy when it crashed.

Keep up the good work, but especially, thanks for keeping it real.


I guess the Senator's latest loss regarding his complaint to the Ethics Board about our political activity was just too much failure for him to handle. His annual fee will be running out soon and I imagine that will be the end. As well it should be.


11:53:16 - SPIKE - No comments

10 May

Hospital Library Public Access

Hi Spike

Went to Great River hospital today to get a journal report for my daughter's biology report and found out that they have a great health library. Just about anything that has to do with health.

And it is free to the public and they have books and tapes you can check out. And the staff will help you in a lot of ways. They e-mailed them for a journal article and the next day I got it.

Just thought I would let people know about the great little library at the hospital. Anyway, I did not know about what it offered, and it is next to the cafeteria in the basement

Thanks Spike


09:23:47 - SPIKE - No comments

The Perils of Decline


Newspapers across America are losing readers.

Does anybody have access to circulation figures for Iowa's Oldest News on Paper?

As fixed costs increase and readership declines, look for less news and more advertising. Less news draws even fewer readers.

It reminds one of Burlington's over all dilemma. Fixed costs of municipal government keep going up with fewer taxpayers to carry the burden. As taxpayers and businesses flee paying more, the burden increases. Add to it the aggravation of incompetent and drunk leaders. My how the spiral tightens.

Such a cycle cannot run forever. At what point does this cycle reach its' unavoidable conclusion? Who will be left to pay to clean up the mess?

09:11:05 - SPIKE - No comments

The "Other" New Holland

Hi Spike

I was reading the New York times today and it said FORD MOTOR CO is reorganizing its domestic tractor operations. The company will be called Ford New Holland Inc. taking the name of the agricultural implements business that Ford bought from SPERRY CORP. earlier this year.

NEW HOLLAND INC. a subsidiary set up with the acquisition will remain a separate company but be controlled by FORD NEW HOLLAND. It says they will have revenues of $2 billion a year and 18,000 employees.

Hey Spike, will the plant in Burlington be owned by FORD MOTOR CO? Maybe you could check it out,Its sounds great to me but you never know.


I think this is the U.S. New Holland operations that were not sold to the Italian Fiat conglomerate that owns the Burlington plant.


09:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 May

Alcohol Elected Officials and Lies

No Clutch Trouble This Time


How dare anybody not believe an elected official's statements concerning alcohol consumption. The next thing you know, they will be questioning clutch trouble causing erratic driving.

If this keeps up, nobody will be properly trained at the local level to represent us in Washington.


03:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Our Mayor Isn't The Same


The drunk Mayor in the Colorado situation was handled differently. Their Mayor took an alcohol test. Our Mayor did not take a test, but he must have thought he was too drunk to drive, otherwise he wouldn't have called his wife for a ride.

Kept quiet until after the election? That is obvious to the community. Not only did he not resign, our council voted him back in as Mayor.

This is our leader that sets an example for the youth? Our leaders that continue to publicly slop in the beer will only embarrass our City.


02:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Nationwide Epidemic


Drunk politicans appear to be a nationwide epidemic. These clowns must think they are the Mayor of Burlington!


02:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

08 May

Spring Is In The Air and Alcohol Is In The Bloodstream

Kennedy On Way To "House Vote" - At 3:00 A.M.

Lilacs bloom; birds building their nests and the drunken politicians are running amok. From Washington, D.C. to Ault, Colorado.

We’ve all read about Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy crashing into a barrier on Capitol Hill early Thursday (about 3 a.m. – about an hour earlier than Edwards). News stories place Kennedy in several bars, including the Hawk & Dove, earlier in the evening and witnesses say Kennedy was seen staggering from the scene of the accident after "narrowly missing" a police cruiser.

Responding officers were instructed by an official "above the rank of patrolman" to take Kennedy home. I guess that’s easier than calling the wife In D.C.

No sobriety test was given. The police union said that two sergeants who responded to the accident conferred with the watch commander and were ordered to leave the scene without further investigation.

In 2000 Kennedy got into a scuffle with an airport security guard at Los Angeles International Airport because his luggage was too big for carry-on and he was disturbed the guard didn’t recognize him.

In the summer of 2000 the U.S. Coast Guard had to remove a woman from a yacht for her safety after she and Kennedy had some drinks and got into a fight. Kennedy had rented the yacht and trashed it, causing $28,000 in damage.

In April this year Kennedy tries to turn into a CVS drug store parking lot in Portsmouth, R.I., but turns into the vehicle in front of him instead.

This all sounds so familiar. I wonder of Kennedy has ever passed out drunk at Burger King?

Speaking of which, someone said the other day they had seen Edwards at Burger King having lunch.

I said that was impossible. “Why,” they wondered.

Edwards never goes to Burger King when they’re open.

04:50:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Spring Is In The Air and Alcohol Is In The Bloodstream 2

Drunk Mayor Breaks Breathalyzer Machine At 5 Times Legal Limit

Meanwhile, way out West, in Ault, Colorado Ault Mayor James Fladung's blood-alcohol level was at least 0.40 percent when he was arrested last week.

According to the arrest affidavit, officers "observed the (Breathalyzer) results climbing at a rapid rate, reaching above a 0.4 (percent) . . . the numbers were moving too fast for the officer to read and the machine shut off and would not turn back on, as if it was broken."

Fladung has a long history of alcohol abuse and this latest police call resulted in the mayor’s arrest for domestic violence and child abuse.

Fladung’s family refused to post his bond wanting him to “help him sober up.”

At least the Ault Board of Trustees has the sense to resolve the problem. Mayor pro-tem Troy Osborne said, "I think the consensus of the board is they want him to resign."

The Trustees get it.

04:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 May

Who Let The Drug Dogs Out?

Duct Tape Cure For Retribution

Hi Spike

Just got my letter from the principal of BCHS. It said that the first use of drug dogs will be on MAY 11, 2006. Subsequent use of the dog will be unannounced.

I'm glad that they are trying to make the school drug free. But the only concern I have is what if someone sets another person up. The school is not going to care!

The student will be disciplined at school (including the possibility of expulsion with loss of credit towards graduation) and may face criminal charges.

I support it and want Justice, but again I hope that their is no foul play on innocent kids.


You raise an interesting concern for students and parents alike. Kids today are very vindictive if they feel they have a score to settle.

I think that a roll of duct tape might be a good cure for a set-up. Just tape the locker vents shut from inside the locker. Duct tape is strong enough that you would have to cut the tape to gain entry and any tampering would be readily apparent. If someone wanted to plant drugs, it would be harder to do if they have limited access to the lockers.


04:33:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Spiral Galaxy From Hubble

Giant galaxies weren't assembled in a day. Neither was this Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (M101). It is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy that has ever been released from Hubble. The galaxy's portrait is actually composed of 51 individual Hubble exposures, in addition to elements from images from ground-based photos. The final composite image measures a whopping 16,000 by 12,000 pixels.

The Hubble archived observations that went into assembling this image were originally acquired for a range of Hubble projects: determining the expansion rate of the universe, studying the formation of star clusters in the giant star birth regions, finding the stars responsible for intense X-ray emission, and discovering blue supergiant stars.

The giant spiral disk of stars, dust, and gas is 170,000 light-years across or nearly twice the diameter of our galaxy, the Milky Way. M101 is estimated to contain at least one trillion stars. Approximately 100 billion of these stars could be like our Sun in terms of temperature and lifetime.

The galaxy's spiral arms are sprinkled with large regions of star-forming nebulae. These nebulae are areas of intense star formation within giant molecular hydrogen clouds. Brilliant young clusters of hot, blue, newborn stars trace out the spiral arms. The disk of M101 is so thin that Hubble easily sees many more distant galaxies lying behind the galaxy.

M101 (also nicknamed the Pinwheel Galaxy) lies in the northern circumpolar constellation, Ursa Major (The Great Bear), at a distance of 25 million light-years from Earth. Therefore, we are seeing the galaxy as it looked 25 million years ago — when the light we're receiving from it now was emitted by its stars — at the beginning of Earth's Miocene Period, when mammals flourished and the Mastodon first appeared on Earth. The galaxy fills a region in the sky equal to one-fifth the area of the full moon.

The newly composed image was assembled from Hubble archived images taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 over nearly 10 years: in March 1994, September 1994, June 1999, November 2002, and January 2003. The Hubble exposures have been superimposed onto ground-based images, visible at the edge of the image, taken at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope in Hawaii, and at the 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, part of the National Optical Astronomy Observatory in Arizona. The final color image was assembled from individual exposures taken through blue, green, and red (infrared) filters.

Credit for Hubble Image: NASA and ESA
01:13:16 - SPIKE - No comments

04 May

Diewold - A Confused Candidate

After listening to Des Moines County Supervisor candidate Ben Diewold tell Fred and 7 from the KCPS Big Show 1150 AM everything he had done for Des Moines County in his past exploits as a supervisor, I couldn’t help but think of Chuck Griffin’s “hands all over this town” campaign platform from the last city council election.

Diewold claimed he was responsible for establishing the Community Health Center. According to information we’ve received, that’s news to the Community Health Center.

Diewold was appointed Chairman of the Alcohol and Drug Dependency Services (ADDS) Board and then never showed up for the first meeting. He didn’t call and never apologized to those members that sat and waited until the Vice Chairman ran the meeting.

So, it looks to me like Diewold is confused. Confused about what he takes credit for and what his responsibilities are when chosen for leadership.

But that is to be understood. Hoschek endorsed his trough-mate Diewold and we all know how confused Hoschek is about everything except his share of the trough.

We can’t afford to have another confused Supervisor in the Court House. If Diewold is elected the County will be running at 33% capacity and that isn’t good enough for me or Des Moines County.

And I don't want "his hands" all over my stuff.

13:21:27 - SPIKE - No comments

SL King’s Chamber Complaint MIA

Lee County Democratic Central Committee


I read your post the other day and wondered if you heard about the Lee County Democratic Central Committee yet? The hearing for their accounting errors was last year.

Didn’t Sore Loser file a complaint against the chamber for not supporting him in the election?


We keep watching the Ethics Board website to see when they post the final findings. The Ethics website says action is pending subject to settlement discussions.

As for the Chamber, nothing is posted on the Ethics Board website about that complaint. Might be another goose chase. King is pretty quick to squawk the “sky is falling” since his miserable showing in the election.


04:38:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 May

Angelou Economics Survey Results

If you want to read the Angelou Economics survey results, click here to download a 1.8 Mb pdf file.

04:48:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Cost Of Corruption On Economic Growth


I was reading an article about the cost of corruption on economic growth. The author cited some startling figures and used Mexico as a benchmark. The article raises some questions.

Does what applies to international political bodies apply to smaller ones?

Think of a community with a drunk for a Mayor. A community where law enforcement's level of enforcement is based on political and social status. A community where tax dollars are used to sue and thus shake down an outside corporation for refusing to retain a facility and lying to the people that jobs are the reason to sue.

Be it Mexico, or Burlington, the results appear to be the same. Economic stagnation and emigration primarily of the best and brightest.

Like the few families who own most of Mexico, those it a similar position in Burlington will do nothing to stop the corruption. They encourage drunks and fools to run the political system as a way to protect their position from outside interests. They are happy if the peasants they oppress come to accept corruption as a way of life.

As long as the people of Burlington keep electing and accepting fools and drunks as their leaders, they will be condemning themselves to a third world standard of existence.


04:33:00 - SPIKE - No comments

01 May

Death Threats? C’mon On! We Don’t Even Get Death Threats!


I am having a great time trying to figure out who you are, I am having a blast debating with you and your team and your stong supporters. I do respect you and your thoughts. FREEDOM OF SPEACH!

“Although it does upset me when people find the need to assume that I am Spike. I hate to say it, but you are a lot smarter than I am and I would be honnered to known as Spike. But I'm not.

Is there anyway you can post how I am not Spike? Its getting bad. Im getting death threats and am told to stop this "race" to find Spike. But I am not going to give up untill I am 100% certain who you are.

Untill cold hard facts are cold hard facts. When and if I ever find out who you are, I plan to do one thing. Shake your hand, and tell you it has been a rollercoaster race to find you. Ups and downs, but it was fun. No disrespect. Your a very intelligent person.”

From NM’s Xanga.com site –

“who do you think it is? its not mike campbell, the mayor, jim from the hawkeye news paper, and i are working hard to prove for a fact who it is. i know a lot of info and have spent a lot of time, made a lot of phone calls, spent many hours on the phone and internet, send hundreds of emails to figure this out. im 99% sure on who i think it is. I have a lot of info that hasnt been posted and will be in the hawkeye news paper hopefully. going to talk to jim from the hawkeye tomorrow.”


If you have gotten death threats for whatever reason, you need to call the Burlington Police Department and the FBI to file a complaint.

Regardless if it is a childish prank or perceived threat, don’t fool around with it.

Keep in mind, if it is anything other than the truth, the FBI and the police department have the ability to arrest you for lying to them.

It is a Federal crime just as making a death threat over the internet.

As for going to the newspaper, save yourself the time. They have their ideas and we have several Spikes of our own.

Spike is only the messenger. It’s the message that everyone doesn’t want heard.

After all, there’s a little Spike in all of us.


15:00:22 - SPIKE - No comments

Just Annex Mexico

With all of these immigration rallies, the Mexican government wanting to decriminalize drugs and the Star Spangled Banner being rewritten and sung in Spanish, I think there might be a better solution.

We just need to invade Mexico and annex it. We take over their country’s wealth and natural resources.

It sure would be cheaper.

05:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Spike Wins - King Loses, Again!

Here is an email received from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board regarding Sore Loser Chris King's complaint filed against BurlingtonDerailed.com for not endorsing King and Edwrds in last November's election.

The Board has found Spike violated no Iowa Campaign Laws by. The clear ulterior motive of the Sore Loser's complaint was to unmask Spike in the process. King failed at the effort, too.

Another complaint SL King filed against Grow Greater Burlington/Chamber is still pending to the best of our knowledge.

The Ethics Board letter.


The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board (Board) considered the complaint received about the Burlington Derailed blog, the issue of a posting that expressly advocated for or against candidates, and the application of the state campaign laws. As both of you probably know, the court system and government regulators have struggled with the level of regulation that may be applied to the Internet. This is particularly true in the area of the free speech rights of bloggers. As part of the Board's consideration, it researched how other states and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) handle the issue of blogs and the campaign laws. How this issue is handled at the federal level is particularly instructive, as state campaign laws are modeled after federal campaign regulations. However, ultimately the Board has to interpret and apply Iowa campaign laws.

During this time, the FEC issued both an advisory opinion and then adopted federal regulations concerning the application of campaign laws to blogs. After reviewing the state campaign laws, how other states handle this issue, and the FEC opinion/regulations, the Board made the following determinations concerning the King complaint that Burlington Derailed blog was not in compliance with the state campaign laws:

1. That no campaign law/rule clearly applies to blogs. State law does require a "paid for by" on "Web sites" and there are other campaign laws that could apply Internet communications. However, the Board is going to grant the press exemption to Burlington Derailed at this time. This exemption permits newspapers and other media organizations the ability to endorse candidates and engage in other campaign activities that would otherwise possibly be regulated (for example, incorporated media organizations can endorse candidates, while no other corporation in Iowa could do so). In look at Burlington Derailed, only one posting advocated for or against candidates. The other postings discussed local issues.

2. The Board is going to adopt rules that mirror the FEC rules on blogs. For example, the blog has to charge for any political advertising that someone else posts, it has to discuss issues as well as candidate elections, and the blog's site cannot be owned or controlled by a campaign committee. Otherwise, based on current federal regulations and court holdings, bloggers will be free to express their opinions without regulation.

To be honest with both of you, as a campaign regulator I would prefer that anytime a blog expressly advocated for or against candidates or ballot issues the campaign laws would apply. It seems to me that if we can regulate an individual sending out a letter or placing a newspaper advertisement, that the same regulations could apply to the Internet. However, that is not the view of the courts and the general sway of government regulation. My concern is that blogging will not remain the dominion of individuals expressing their opinions. Rather, that campaigns will attempt to skirt the limited regulations that will be in place and we will simply have more underground and unregulated campaign activities (or at least more complaints/investigations on whether or not a particular blog is being controlled by a candidate). The issue of blogging is going to be a much bigger than one posting in a city election. But the Board made its determination and did so in reliance on established laws/regulations/decisions.

I appreciate Mr. King bringing this matter to the Board's attention as it is an issue that other jurisdictions are struggling with and it was a matter of time until Iowa did as well. I also appreciate the responses that "Spike" made to the inquiry. Both of you argued legitimate points of law and raised valid points. I imagine that this type of issue will continue to be debated in the future.

Charlie Smithson
Executive Director & Legal Counsel
Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board
510 E. 12th Street, Suite 1A
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
(515) 281-3489
(515) 281-3701 fax
04:50:00 - SPIKE - No comments