Burlington Derailed — The Continuing Story

30 August

"Area Man Realizes He's Been Reading Fake News For 25 Years"


Spike,

"Part of that regional bent comes through in The Onion's daily-life humor and its stories about "Area Man" (who Tracy says seems to be a Midwesterner).

"I think that's one of the things that separates us from maybe other fake news outlets is most of what we do, actually, is focusing on the everyday minutiae, more so than what's happening in Washington," he says."

Sometimes what is sold as truth is stranger and funnier than fiction.

Compare the Onion to our local Ad Vertiser. All too often the Ad Vertiser's efforts at news are more humorous than the Onion's satire

All things considered, give the Onion its due visa-vi the Ad Vertiser.

The Onion makes no pretense of being a real newspaper. When reading the Onion online, your pursuit of humor is not thwarted by a pay-wall.

The Onion will bring tears of laughter to your eyes. If remember the Hawk-Eye, or have researched library files, the Ad Vertiser will bring tears to your eyes of a different nature.

What once great was is no more.

Clovis Weeping

11:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

A Sobering Look at TIF Districts


Spike:

Here are a few facts about TIF that people should be aware of:

For the duration of the TIF, the other property taxpayers in the City pay for the increased police and fire protection, Emergency Medical Services, mass transit, schools and other public services that the TIF project uses but is not paying for, in other words the taxpayers already burdened by taxes in Burlington and the County pay the taxes required to provide services by the city and county, increases taxpayer tax burden.

Supporters of Tax Increment Financing generally make the following arguments:

1. TIF plans produce economic growth in blighted areas where it is needed.

2. TIF plans provide incentives to go ahead with projects that contribute to economic growth that would not otherwise happen.

There would be no economic growth produced by the combining of the police and sheriff’s departments.

Total cost to combine them would be more than if they remained separate.

That bank building is not in a blighted area which is a TIF requirement.

Taxes generated by the bank building would cease entirely; so who’s to make up the difference, the taxpayers?

Has the city ever shown any results of how TIF helped economically in the city of Burlington?

Has the city ever proven TIF deals have produced the number of full time employees promised?

Has the city ever shown that livable wages have actually been paid as promised by TIF recipients?

Here’s a site to gauge the wages for Burlington: Living Wage Calculator - Living Wage Calculation for Des Moines County, Iowa

Some projects, such as retail strip malls, really don't have much more than a fifteen-year life expectancy. In this case, local governments would receive little, if any, benefit from the TIF plan if wasted on a project such as a strip mall which was what was planned for the Manor at one time.

A.S.

11:12:00 - SPIKE - No comments

I Don't See No Stinkin' Gate


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11:10:24 - SPIKE - No comments

29 August

Race Baiter Al Sharpton Thrives on Fomenting Hate


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10:47:09 - SPIKE - No comments

Burlington's Failure to React Just Compounds The Problem


Spike:

City Manager Jim Ferneau isn’t to blame for any of Burlington’s miserable past poor choices for city manager, several of whom should probably be in jail or barred for life from any political or government jobs in all of Iowa.

We’ve also had city council’s that rank on the bottom of “most worthless in Iowa” for making poor decision after poor decision. And of course, the voters aren’t exactly the smartest in Iowa because they constantly elect non-thinkers, many from the ranks of retired government employees who have never been held accountable or responsible for their actions throughout their careers.

Just look at our current federal government that shows lying, dishonesty, incompetence, irresponsibility and unaccountability will gain you a promotion if caught and never a threat of job loss and of course constant pay if your relieved from duty for a short period of time before you promotion goes into effect.

There are means of reducing the debt by selling off that Rec Plex that has been given a transfusion of taxpayer money every year it’s been in operation totaling over $1,000,000 that could have been used for other more worthwhile purposes. We also have the interest in the Water Park at the casino that we never should have been involved in. Maybe Randy should buy the city out and let us off the hook. Also, if Flint Hills Golf Course is draining the treasury they can sell it off or raise the prices; so that it at least breaks even and might possibly turn a profit.

There’s also the problem of wages and bonus money the city doles out based on some dumb contract that has made government employees so overpaid that it’s sinful and immoral by any standards. All city wages should be frozen until the city can live within their budget and stay there permanently and this includes bonus money for people already overpaid and benefited. Something has to be done to bring city wages back down to the private sector wage range and benefits they unfairly and ridiculously dwarf.

What all this really shows is that a one party system always fails, one only has to look at the failing cities and states in this country to see what party is the culprit in most of the failures. Without both political parties involved in local government is to sign a death warrant for that city, state or country as well as a non-functioning government in Washington.

Now I see where the law center is back in discussion; so here we go again with a stupid money wasting dream of grandeur that will again take prime real estate off the tax rolls by another non-taxed government entity. How much will a combined law center reduce the cost of law enforcement to the taxpayer who constantly gets burned in this one horse town?

As far as TIF goes I don’t think Burlington has ever used it wisely costing taxpayers far more than what is gained by using it with the Manor being a classic example of failed city government and TIF deals.

Burlington is very similar to the operation of the Obama administration with one crisis after another with no one ever being held accountable or responsible for the mess they’ve created or the evil acts they’ve committed against the public trust.

HG


10:42:32 - SPIKE - No comments

The Left's Hijacking of Dr. Martin Luther King's Dream


"The left has hijacked the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King and twisted it into a perverted calling card of big-government activism, political grandstanding, and ideological segregation.

For the last few days, Americans nationwide have been celebrating the 50th-year anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington, but if you looked at the national celebration of the march, you would have seen a long conga line of left-wing politicians and activists dishonoring the memory of Dr. King.

Nowhere among the speakers was one invited black Republican or conservative, but figures like Bill “Rwandan genocide" Clinton, Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson, and Al “I will smear anyone who does not believe Tawana Brawley” Sharpton were at the forefront of speakers, but Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas were somehow left off the invite list.

This shouldn't shock thinking Americans, as we are talking about the Democrat Party, which gave the nation slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, segregation, and Jim Crow. Thus, do you think it is beneath the party officials and activists to ignore black American success stories at the celebration simply because of their politics?"

10:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

28 August

Al Sharpton Holds & Jesse Jackson Pounds


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08:04:04 - SPIKE - No comments

Obama's EPA Chief Deputy Steals $886,186


EPA Official Charged with Stealing $886,186

Hillary Clinton: "What Difference Does It Make?"


Spike:

As a candidate, Barack Obama offered to govern as the most "open and honest" administration in history. Sadly, we've learned at great expense that these empty words are just another example of the corruption of Obama's tenure.

I was reminded again of Obama's dishonest and fraudulent conduct last week when the Justice department released the details of its case against John C. Beale.

Beale is the disgraced deputy assistant administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation at the EPA. He stands accused of stealing $886,186 between 2000 and 2013. You see, Beale had schemed a way to pay himself the nearly one million he stole in the form of salary bonuses.

Beale most recently worked for Gina McCarthy as her top deputy. This is the same Gina McCarthy who was recently promoted by Obama to run the entire EPA.

But you have to ask yourself why McCarthy wasn't held accountable for her subordinate's criminal activity. Is it now standard operating procedure to promote managers who can't spot theft and crime right under their noses?

There are no moral principles in the current administration and this just goes to prove it along with the already many scandals on the books. Of course none of them have been solved or cleared up by this worthless administration yet. Most of the criminals involved have been promoted by the almighty one to much higher levels of authority to fully muddy the trail and enhance the destruction and decay of America.

By the way Gina McCarthy recently promoted Beale’s boss Gina McCarthy to head up the EPA and she can’t even monitor her own deputy who managed to steal over $800,000 in government money.

GW

07:48:00 - SPIKE - No comments

26 August

Misguided Glutton


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10:01:26 - SPIKE - No comments

23 August

NYT Editor - "We Make More Money Selling Newspapers Than Advertising"


Spike,

The editor of the New York TImes was on the Don Imus show this morning and told Imus, "We've had a steady decline for the last 8 or 9 quarters, in fact, last quarter was the first time we made more money selling newspapers than advertising which is a monumental event in itself.

...we don't know where it will bottom out and I'm exploring plans."

The clock is ticking on Main Street.

NM

11:01:04 - SPIKE - No comments

Super Pot Hole - Gator Hole!


Spike:

Here’s a super tire slicing pot hole right where a person would turn onto High St. from Central Street hill leading to the Freeway or High Street. This hole has been there longer than a month and obviously no city street personnel ever go up the hill or reported it if they do.

This is a main intersection for those wanting to enter the Freeway. How can city street personnel not see any of these tire damaging pot holes when they drive all over town apparently fixing pot holes?

I assume the police never go up Central hill either and if they do why haven’t they reported this hole? How can such a high profile Freeway entrance tire damaging pot hole go unreported by someone working for the city?

I guess the high wages and benefits city employees receive are the only attraction for working for the city.

Citizens should be calling city hall constantly when they see neglect of any taxpayer funded city entities and not just let it ride because the city doesn’t always do what’s right and I think the people of Burlington are aware of this.

HJ

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10:40:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Good Doggies!


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09:21:00 - SPIKE - No comments

22 August

Amtrak Exhibit Train Headed to Burlington This Weekend


UPDATED AMTRAK EXHIBIT TRAIN HEADS TO BURLINGTON

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Showcases past, present and future of America’s Railroad

CHICAGO – Amtrak is showcasing its past, present and future in a traveling Exhibit Train that will make Burlington only its second Midwestern stop. The refreshed and updated Exhibit Train follows the popular 40th anniversary version that celebrated Amtrak’s history with a tour in 2011 – 2012.

Following an invitation-only reception, the free exhibit will be open to the public at the Amtrak station in Burlington at 300 South Main Street from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 24 and from 12 noon until 5 p.m. on Sunday, August 25.

The Exhibit Train features displays including workable signals, virtual sleeping accommodation tours and trivia with returning favorite displays including the locomotive stand and horns. In addition, it features photos, uniforms, vintage advertising and memorabilia from Amtrak’s beginning in 1971 to today’s modern-sleeping cars and high-speed rail service. Exclusive Amtrak merchandise is also available for purchase.

The updated Exhibit Train includes two locomotives, three renovated baggage cars and one bistro car, all with a historic paint schemes.

About Amtrak®
Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator. A record 31.2 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2012 on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates intercity trains in partnership with 15 states and contracts with 13 commuter rail agencies to provide a variety of services. Enjoy the journey® at Amtrak.com or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Join us on facebook.com/Amtrak and follow us at twitter.com/Amtrak.

11:59:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Park Money From Railroad Unaccounted For


Spike,

What happened to the $10,000 the BNSF gave to the city at the bridge dedication?

It seems if the city wanted to do something right, they should take a portion of that money and install lights on the steam engine at the depot like some of the citizens want.

That would be a good use of those funds. But I would guess the money is long gone down some rat hole.

Or maybe they could take a few of the Flint Hill's baseball park lights the city has in storage to light the steam engine. But they probably went down the same rat hole as that BNSF money.

Gus

10:45:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Our City In Charge




Spike:

Here’s another example of affordable housing here in Burlington where new residents of suspect means are forced to live while receiving social assistance in the city of Burlington. The house is located on the corner of N. 9th and Linden Streets

This front porch either fell off and was hauled away or the owner of the property removed it rather than fix it for the renter, provided it’s a rental.

Homes of this class are being lived in all across the city from North Hill, West Hill, South Hill and all other areas where city codes are nothing more than a unenforced mess through lack of enforcement, unless the city sees a profit by enforcing some of them.

A house that looks like this is ok according to city codes but don’t let your grass get a bit long or you’ll have to answer to the city dead heads via a orange sticker on your door. A house can be a total disaster and that’s ok but you sure as hell better not let the grass grow too long.

Living in squalor is fine but watch out for the yard folks that’s what’s important in Burlington. By the way the home is owned by a firm located in Richardson, Texas.

Not only is the porch missing but the part of the house covering up the dirt cat house underneath is entirely missing. A picture of the complete house can be viewed on the local GIS site.

A.S

10:39:55 - SPIKE - No comments

Can You See Me Now?


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10:24:52 - SPIKE - No comments

21 August

When Will The Fat Lady Sing?


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02:12:13 - SPIKE - No comments

20 August

Auditorium Labor Cost Contraindications


Spike:

I see where the cost of personnel down at the auditorium for 2013-2014 year is scheduled to be $232,278 for 4.27 personnel which comes out to an average cost per person of $54,397 dollars. Of course the cost for each employee will vary from the $54,397 because the boss is obviously making more than the labor and this cost is not broken out, so we only have the average.

Now the new management is talking about $84,000 for the year and if they use 4.27 personnel as the city does this comes to a mere $19,672 per person average. A cost savings to the taxpayer of about 77 percent in labor per year, can this be possible? If this is the true cost of city labor the entire city work force should be out-sourced because taxpayers are being duped into believing city workers are some kind of super employees and we know this to be false because city wages are based almost entirely on longevity and have little to nothing to do with work performance or accountability especially on the management side of things.

Also, out of the $300,000 subsidy the city pays each year the personnel cost down at the auditorium is predicted to be $232,278 this year or about 77 percent of the city subsidy.

Sheriff Johnstone is right in questioning the move by the city council whose decisions in the past have led to near bankruptcy for the city and a decaying of the infrastructure and a host of other failures in recent years. The city always moves fast in order to keep the public off balance and confused when it gets another of its dreams of grandeur projects that always prove to be losers for the taxpayers.

On another note, does anyone know the actual cost of putting up and taking down the flood control around the auditorium two extra times this summer when the heavy rains had been predicted by the weather bureau in advance of taking it down the first time. Apparently it’s a top secret amount the cost of which will be spread out amongst the different city departments to make it difficult to calculate and never made known to the general public who will end up paying for more bad decision making by city management, as usual. No matter what happens the raises and bonus money will still be doled out to whoever was responsible for the twice made bad decision, once not being enough.

S.A.

13:21:56 - SPIKE - No comments

Our city at work at the expense of our public


Spike,

Maybe Burlington Derailed could hold a contest of pictures submitted of our city at work.

Of course you might not want to let pictures of six city employees standing around watching one guy work count in the contest as its all to common to see!

AD

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13:20:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Swiftboat Diplomacy


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13:19:09 - SPIKE - No comments

19 August

Consolidation of Police and Sheriff


Spike:

Thank the good lord Mr. Broeker is standing up for the taxpayers because the idea of merging the policing forces in a county or anywhere else never pans out at the declared hype level or anywhere near it. Combining of the Sheriffs and police agencies is a mistake already made by many cities and counties across the country.

I would suggest the taxpayers of Des Moines County read the following article: Police Consolidation: The End of Local Law Enforcement? This article contradicts the predictions of the Hawk Eye editorial appearing in the Sunday edition titled, “It can work.”

It states, “In fact, the merger was a budgetary disaster. Conrad estimated that consolidation cost about $85 million. New communication equipment cost nearly $70 million and allowances for new healthcare plans and other benefits ended up costing another $10 million. Hardly a windfall.”

I would also disagree with the TIF use in this county that has done little but raise the taxes on taxpayers who pay for the non-paying business entities who get services such as police, fire, schools and other benefits free for ten to twenty years complements of the taxpayers who in Des Moines County are totally maxed out already and for what to their benefit. How many of the TIF gifts provide liveable wage jobs and benefits to their employees and have they all met or exceeded their number of full time employees or are they loaded with temps?

I think before the city and county jump off the deep end there be an agreement or law that the county and city cannot increase taxes to fund a joint law enforcement centre should it cost any more than the individual costs of the separate divisions as it now exist.

That isn’t to say every consolidation will be as big a boondoggle as Louisville. Certainly there will be cases when the consolidation saved money in the long run, but these cases will be few and far between. Everything will cost more than promised, but local governments will have already surrendered their control over the costs of contracts made for the outfitting of a force.

Look what it cost for the current non-wanted library here in Burlington that was voted down twice but they built it anyway and the cost per citizen for that library in Burlington is $55 dollars compared to about $25 for the rest of Iowa. The old library was high priced also at about $45 per citizen. That means the new library is costing at a minimum about $1,408,000 versus $1,152,000. You can bet because of the demographics that have changed in Burlington there are many citizens that pay nothing at all for library service because those receiving life through government in one form or another is approximately 23 percent of the population or 5,888 citizens don’t pay the $55; so who picks up that $323,840 cost in the end?

If the cost of a combined law enforcement centre is equal to or less than the current separate system go ahead but if it’s going to cost more to combine it no way should they be combined. Taxpayers in this county can no longer support government that is costing more and more every year, just look at our water bill that increases on a tri-monthly basis constantly until it’s proven to be outright extortion.

This idea that government constantly need raises based on nothing but longevity every year is a joke and insult to the taxpayers who seldom get raises and pay for their own benefits far more than do government employees many of which are basically semi-retired their entire careers and that goes for the dimwits in Washington also.

So, I’m very glad Mr. Broeker is on the job protecting the taxpayers from unscrupulous government bullies and a newspaper that seldom tells the truth about anything going on in this town. The Hawk Eye is more like a printed Facebook style of periodical that just omits news that doesn’t agree to its agenda of left wing myths.

Read the entire article on the web page given above that disproves the hype in the Hawk Eye editorial.

A.S.

05:17:00 - SPIKE - No comments

It's Just Old Paper


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04:22:00 - SPIKE - No comments

16 August

She's Still a Junker


What Difference Does It Make?

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05:14:00 - SPIKE - No comments

15 August

Punked Out Harry Reid


Michelle Malkin Explodes: ‘Progressives of Power and Passive Aggressive Punks Like Harry Reid Are Among the Most Racist People on This Planet’




05:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

14 August

Racism as the Last Refuge of Reviled Liberals


Spike,

Mike Sweet of the Ad Vertiser has taken up the brownie defense of a failing president. Critics of Barry Husein Obama are at heart racists.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights are under attack. We currently are seeing offenses that make Richard Nixon look like a founding father. Obama's approval ratings are sinking toward his concern for our liberties.

40 years ago as Richard Nixon sank into the bull exhaust, it is doubtful Mr. Sweet has considered a clown wearing a Nixon mask offensive.

A rodeo clown at the Missouri State Fair wears an Obama mask as part of his performance. The crowd roared its approval. According to Mr. Sweet, the clown and the Missourians are racists.

If patriotism is the last refuge a scoundrel, playing the race card has become the last refuge of liberals defending a scoundrel.

PU

09:36:46 - SPIKE - No comments

Ad Vertiser's Miller & Sweet Foment Racism


Spike,

This week started off with a racially charged editorial penned by the Hawkeye's Randy Miller. On Tuesday Mike Sweet fell off the magic brownie truck into his delirious assertions of racism while defending Mugabe Obama.

All we have heard from the local paper is the racially based defense of Obama.

Who foments the most racism in America? The liberal MSM including the whacko Main Street Media.

The sad part is the gross incompetence in the media to find a tangible defense for someone so inept and incapable of leading this country.

Which brings about the question - Why doesn't MSM want this country to succeed? History says MSM is the first thing shut down in a socialist regime. Don't these idiots realize they are promoting their own demise?

It's more than I can stand.

CS

09:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Obama at it Again


Spike:

I see where that dictator in Washington is granting exemptions to his future failed health care law from his throne with absolutely no authority by law to give such dispensation to anyone regardless if it’s individuals, unions, special interest groups, congress or their staffs or anyone at all. Everyone in America especially those that voted for the law should all be on it just like the majority of Americans who don’t want it.

This character in the White House is out of control with an ego that makes him think it supersedes the Constitution and no one in Washington is putting him in his place. When is this deadbeat congress in Washington going to take back their powers from this guy in Washington who thinks he’s the almighty himself because the congress is afraid of him and proves their nothing more than a group of self-servers incapable of the job they were voted to perform.

When are the people going to demand that these half-wits in Washington obey the same laws they force on the population while they live the highlife in Washington with a set of different laws for themselves and their staffs. Congress has turned into a rest home for worthless politicians who have no intention of doing anything but stuffing their own pockets and living a life of luxury at the expense of the American people. They should also be held to the 40 hour work week and prove to the people they are working 40 hours per week rather than 15 or 20 which appears to be the norm.

Also, I see at the Missouri State fair a clown wore an Obama mask and was subsequently fired along with others and I can’t imagine what the hell he did wrong, unless the hat he wore was not blue. Maybe Mike should go down there and write a few editorial lines in defense of the guy getting a raw deal like the state trooper who drives our governor up here in Iowa.

What’s so wrong with wearing an Obama mask, I can remember when people wore Clinton masks after his “non-sexual” affair with Monica and I also remember other people wearing Reagan, Carter and Nixon masks but they weren’t fired; so just what the hell does it matter if a clown wore an Obama mask? Why must Obama be treated any different than any other president? I can’t think of a president other than Obama that has pissed off more people than he has and on top of that the press has protected him as though he were some sacred cow or some other form of mystic egotistical person.

TR

09:10:00 - SPIKE - No comments

A Little Love Pinch?


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09:01:00 - SPIKE - No comments

13 August

No Kennel for Bo - It's Party Time


Obama's Dog Airlifted to 1% Luxury Vacation on Martha's Vineyard

People - You Can't Make This Stuff Up


"President Obama is on vacation at Martha’s Vineyard and Bo was flown on one of two MV-22 Ospreys, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane."

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10:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Obama's America





Spike:

Here’s a very normal American - Obama style, this is what he wants for America a bunch of dead head moochers living off the few that work to support themselves and their family, the few left that actually represent the real America.

The guy in this video is a classic Obama voter who represent the “low information voter” who more than likely voted for whatever was available to him for nothing that allows him to live without providing for himself, an Obama type of person who old lady Pelosi was talking about when she said something like artist can be artist without worry about where the next meal was coming from and life would be just rosy under the democrats, easy and irresponsible for oneself would go the way of honest politicians while government would take care of all the lazy deadheads in America.

In 2002 Des Moines County had an average of 1,616 households composed of 3,289 recipients or 9% of the population who received $307,110.42 per month for food totaling $3,685,325 for the year. Our population has gone down considerably since 2002, yet in 2012, an average of 4,105 households composed of 8,768 recipients or 21.7% of the population received $1,081,265 per month for food or $12,975,325 for the year. This amounts to an increase of 166.59% in a period of ten (10) years.

It would appear people are moving here just to live off the fat of the land and the pockets of the few that work and pay their own way. These are people who are basically destined to be the new democrats and Obama supporters. My question is what value added has been achieved by these people who move here to live off taxpayers? What are they contributing to the benefit of Des Moines County where they live or to the State of Iowa? Iowa should be trying to get people who don’t make a career out of not working and living off of taxpayers. Unless able bodied people work to support themselves they are of no real value to society and should really just go back to where they came from or get a job and support their own families.

There are even SCC students who have money to party and live the good life on the weekends but still pick up their food stamp card on a monthly basis that frees up more money for their partying at taxpayer expense. No one seems to have a conscience any longer in America and living off the few that work is a means to no end at all and will only kill the country off sooner rather than later.

It cost taxpayers between $80 million and $100 Million per year to support these individuals and families who never came here looking for work and have no desire to earn a living on their own in Des Moines County. Iowa should make it known that if you can’t find a job in Iowa before you come here stay the hell away we have enough of our own problems specially here in Burlington and Des Moines County where government has sold us all out by wasting tax dollars on nothing more than dreams of grandeur.

Here’s where the Des Moines County emigrants came from between 2006 and 2010:

Lee County Iowa----------------------389

Pitt County, North Carolina--------203

Henry County, Iowa-----------------125

Larimer County, Colorado--------- 99

Cook County, Illinois---------------- 81

Since we had an increase of 15 people last year this must mean approximately something like 880 or so prior working citizens left Des Moines County for greener pastures and must have been those who earned their own way and supported their families without government handouts.

It’s very obvious those coming to Burlington or Des Moines County are a liability rather than an asset to the area and will only aid the race towards the bankruptcy of the County and city as these liability rates continue to increase.

This entire mess is what’s driving away the best residents to seek a more livable place where those dependent on government are far less than Des Moines County and with them goes their skills that would have eventually attracted new higher tech jobs while increasing the tax base. There will eventually only be two classes of people in Burlington and that’s government workers most of which are overpaid and benefitted and those living off the government and/or taxpayers. Industrial jobs will continue to deteriorate until there’s nothing left because of no skilled workers around town any longer.

With only government employees left and all the skilled trades workers gone who will pay for the city to survive because better than half the population will be on the government dole and not paying into the system.

Worried

10:15:00 - SPIKE - No comments

12 August

Customer Service Is Dwindling Commodity


Spike:

Well, Saturday morning I went to the bank downtown and while down there, I decided to run over to the post office and mail a small package. So I drove over to the post office and parked. Normally I never use the Burlington post office because there’s always a long wait since only one counter is normally open although there is at least one other counter and maybe two others but there is never or seldom two open at the same time.

In the past there was an overweight man that would come over to the counters and fiddle around but seldom or never open up another counter to help service the long line of customers lined up waiting for service. He would snoop around for a little bit and then just walk away without helping the one person trying to serve a long line of postal customers. I have no idea who the hell this person was but he would never open up another counter which drove me away from that post office years ago because of his just give a damn attitude towards the line of customers as though he didn’t have to stoop so low as to help out at the counter nor reduce the wait by customers.

Personally, I go to the West Burlington post office where they know something about customer service and provide more than one window when required. In Burlington they seem to think time is not important to someone waiting in line fifteen minutes or so to send a package or purchase some of the other products sold now at the post office. One time a woman held up the line far too long looking at different stamps she wanted and the clerk couldn’t even wait on customers who wanted to mail something rather than shop around for stamps used in a collection or something and not even wanting to mail anything.

Obviously, the management of the post office out in Washington is about as dumb as our congress - neither of which have any concept of what’s happening to our country otherwise the post office wouldn’t be as incapable of operating in the black as the congress.

I’ve met many people in Burlington who go to West Burlington to do their mailing chores rather than waste time with the Burlington post office along with their time standing in a long line for service.

I have to admit it also reminds me of the local Wal-Mart another line-waiting organization that never has enough counters open for the customers. I know in Muscatine and Clinton the clerks stand in front of their counter if they have no customers to let people know where to go for checkout without waiting forever.

Burlington Wal-Mart has about the poorest checkout I’ve ever experienced and I’ve been going to Wal-Mart’s long before Burlington ever had one down in Arkansas, back in the 70’s. Old Sam would roll over in his grave if he saw the lines waiting at the Burlington store. Things have really changed since Sam was running the show. The service at the checkout was much better then than now in Burlington, where waiting is the name of the game.

I would think customer service would be job one at the failing post office and the local Wal-Mart but apparently it isn’t given much concern by the post office that survives simply because of taxpayer bailouts year after year required to save the management.

But Wal-Mart has no excuse unless it might be greed by the local management to make his or her store’s bottom line look better to management down in Arkansas rather than their customers who stand in lines for no reason at all, other than incapable management. We all know the Burlington post office leaves a lot to be desired but the failures of the Wal-Mart are inexcusable at best and would be an easy mess to clean up and wouldn’t take a brain surgeon to accomplish.

Poor checkout at the counter is the failure of both of these organizations and others here in the Burlington area. With Wal-Mart there is a possible solution to the problem but it might take some balls to fix it.

The post office will probably never accomplish solvency because it’s nothing more than a government wasteland for do nothing management types who draw big salaries but fail at running a business just as Burlington fails at running private sector business entities forced on the citizens, or basically the home owners who are taxed to death, to cover up poor government down at 400 Washington St.

A.S.

09:48:30 - SPIKE - No comments

Obama Passes The Wallace Baton


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09:30:00 - SPIKE - No comments

09 August

Low Information Voters Stayed Home


Spike:

The recent election goes to show that Burlington residents are really “low information voters” because there are 17,462 registered voters in Burlington and only 12.6% of them showed up to vote against those who would extort money away from them through taxes on utility bills that are already outrageous.

Only 2201 people showed up to vote out of 17,462 registered voters showing people just aren’t involved in local government much at all and could care less how much is stolen from them in the form of fees and taxes to support a government incapable of making sound decisions, a fact proven time and time again.

Citizens in Burlington should know their city government is looking for every chance to raise income they have wasted in the past on their many dreams of grandeur that never seem to pan out and need constant bailing out by taxpayers over and over again. Not counting the massive Manor failure of a few years ago because of their rush to force Imminent Domain on people in the Manor since the law was about to change and they wouldn’t have been able to attempt their get rich quick tax scheme. That dream of grandeur cost the taxpayers over $5 million dollars causing many of the problems currently on the books.

Oh, and by the way, many of the perpetrators lingered around city hall until they retired while others just moved on scot-free of their crimes against the taxpayers. Meanwhile, all the wasted tax dollars can be seen by looking at the failed and falling down infrastructure scattered all over town such as the streets, bridges, unenforced codes, rundown homes, trashy neighborhoods and a host of other Detroit type catastrophic problems.

City government has been shuffling money from one department to another in a losing attempt at getting things done but it always comes back to bite them in the rear end because eventually they run out of the ability to shuffle money. Trying to hide the facts from the voters has come back to haunt them. The citizens should vote on every TIF proposal the city attempts because it just adds to our tax burden over and over again.

We cannot trust city government to handle our money and this has been going on for a couple of decades. Just like the library that was voted down twice and they went ahead and built it anyway and then forced the citizens to cough up $55 per year versus close to half as much the rest of the cities in Iowa pay for library service, usually around $21 to $25 per citizen. Other libraries in eastern Iowa are open on Sunday from 1-5 or so and they pay about half what we pay for library service.

Because Burlington and Des Moines County are Democratic we should be use to crooked government and constant lying when it comes to our tax dollars all of which seem to be a Democratic Party goal regardless of where they control the politics. Illinois would be a good example as would California and many other states that are failing through the same policies as experienced here in Burlington. Policies such as high taxes and fees, miss-management of city government while no one is ever held responsible or accountable for the waste and failures.

Burlington Sucks

06:17:00 - SPIKE - No comments

08 August

Scott Power Bifurcated - City to Rid Pestilence


Iowa's Losingist Lawyer Reduced to 1-yr Contract for Housing Oversight

The day of departure for Scott Power, Iowa's losingist lawyer, is on countdown. The door finally swung hard open and the spring is stretched tighter than Bill Ell's spandex bicycle shorts.

When the door slaps shut in about 361 days, Scott Power should find himself in the middle of Washington Street.

Right where he belonged after he mandated the city sue the railroad.

And right where losers should be.

Spike

12:21:47 - SPIKE - No comments

Rejoice, Rejoice


Spike,

Burlington voters broke the mold. Tax and spent was told no utility taxes.

Finally, a sign people are becoming aware. Finally, a sign of hope for a future.

CU

12:12:02 - SPIKE - No comments

The Morning After in the Drunk Tank


Next? Police & Firemen On Hit List

Cascade Bridge? Last Sighted at Cascade Landing


Spike,

By a reported 82%, Burlington voters told their City Council no new local utility taxes.

Burlington's current City council did not create the bulk of Burlington's current fiscal shortfall. As a reminder and for those not familiar with Burlington's painful past, type some words in Derailed's search box.

Drunk, drunk Mayor, Lost Keys, Manor Mall, Cascade Bridge, Worden, Slagel, Huck's Hole, Senator Courtney, railroad lawsuit, any of these words, or phrases, will get you pointed to the root of the problem.

More taxes is like buying more beer and a pressure washer to repeat the process and clean up the mess. Burlington is shrinking and its population aging. The base to tax is not expanding and those remaining have clearly had enough.

Fire the Fire Department and put the police force at half staff. Repeat the vote for a new tax claiming it is needed for public safety. That well worn stunt is not an option. Voters are wising up.

Burlington's current City Council must finally set priorities. When the Capital-less Theater and other downtown dreamers come calling for cash, just say no. Sell off city owned money losers like the Wrecked Plex. Etc. etc.

Get our municipal debt in order. If you no not, Moody's rating will make the cost of debt service much worse. As the ship rights, prioritize and undertake crucial infrastructure issues that for too long have been ignored. End deferred maintenance to fiance foolish schemes.

The citizens of Burlington must prepare for the pain. Don't bitch if the City makes rationale decisions where cuts must be made.

The mess the good times left will be cleaned up with a brush and a rag. The unpleasant aspects of this task should be remembered when electing new City Council members in November.

Old Grandad

It should be real exciting to see the new version of threaten public safety to soften the tax election results. Dudley Davidson will draw on his vast years of business teacher to expound on a solution.

When the flash is over, the sins of Bill Ell, Bruce Slagle, Mike Edwards and Doug Worden will permeate the stench of an empty bank account.

Spike



12:10:58 - SPIKE - No comments

07 August

Online to Hit the Wall


Spike,

"More than two and a half years later, Ms. Brown has missed the mark. Synergies have long since slipped away. After the magazine hemorrhaged tens of millions of dollars, Barry Diller, the billionaire media mogul whose company owns both publications, publicly called the purchase of Newsweek “a mistake” and the original plan to save it “stupid.” On Saturday, the company announced that it had sold Newsweek for an undisclosed amount to the digital news company International Business Times."

The saga of the once mighty mainstream media laid low continues.

The local Ad Vertiser tries to sell itself online. There is little reason to pay for advertising not reusable for kitty's litter box liner. How many are refusing to pay for the Ad Vertiser online?

The Ad Vertiser's circulation certainly is not growing. In a depopulating, aging circulation market, what rate of circulation decline? The Ad Vertisers's advertising online probably would not sustain the current outlay.

The Ad vertiser's press is probably younger that its readership's principal age demographic. Alas, the press is probably contemporary with the AMC Gremlin. When the press throws a rod though the block, is it the end of the ride?

When Iowa's Oldest News is no longer available on paper, will the venerable name be sold to the Des Moines County News for less than the scrap value of a '53 Nash?

Hornet Hudson


05:37:00 - SPIKE - No comments

06 August

A Minor as a Major Improvement


Is Our City Council Smarter Than a Pre-Schooler?

Spike,

"DORSET, Minn. — Robert "Bobby" Tufts hasn't made it to preschool yet, but he's already been elected twice as mayor of a tiny tourist town in northern Minnesota."

Some of Burlington's elected have done far worse than a preschooler.

Perhaps we should elect a 4-year old to the City Council. The bartenders would know not to serve him at the meeting where City business is settled before the next dog and pony show for the public.

WW

10:29:06 - SPIKE - No comments

Where the Hell's Ell U.?


Spike:

"The Princeton Review’s annual listing of the top colleges in the country has moved Iowa up from number two to number one in the category or party schools — though a university spokesman says the ranking doesn’t make sense."

The University of Iowa is ranked as America's top party school.

Should William Ell University lodge a besodden protest?

Slurpy

10:25:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Ex Post Facto


Spike,

"The Washington Post Co.’s newspaper division, of which the Post newspaper is the most prominent part, has suffered a 44 percent decline in operating revenue over the past six years. Although the paper is one of the most popular news sources online, print circulation has dwindled, too, falling an additional 7 percent daily and Sundays during the first half of this year.

Ultimately, the paper’s financial challenges prompted the company’s board to consider a sale, a step once regarded as unthinkable by insiders and the Graham family."

One of the world's "richest men" has purchased an ailing legacy media company.

Perhaps the Amazon.com tycoon figures the Post purchase as a way to promote a political agenda. There is some logic to that. However, the Post and other legacy are not what once they were. The Post and other ink legacies continue to face greater online competition than could ever have been imagined in pulp's glory days no more.

If the Washington Post's owners bailed out with a strong online presence, who is next?

The Post sold for a reported $250 million. In a few years will the Ad Vertiser bring $250?

JR

10:05:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Obama: Nothing to See Here, Move Along!


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10:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

05 August

Vote No Utility Tax


To Vote 'No' Means Voting 'No' to Gas - 'No' to Electric - You Must Check Both Boxes


Spike,

Burlington City Hall's crying to tax utility bills is pathetic. Claiming the utility tax could go away in five years is fraudulent.

Pass the tax. The Mt. Pleasant Street viaduct is falling down. How many tax increases have we suffered through and Cascade Bridge was neglected to falling down? When do we get to cops and firemen threat?

Vote no. Make the City Council cut back on non essentials. Sell the Wrecked Plex as a start.

Like Detroit, Burlington has been shrinking. Like Detroit, Burlington has raised taxes and shifted money in a shell game to hide deficits. Like Detroit, those rating Burlington's municipal debt are not impressed.

Force local government to face up to some unpleasant facts. If the majority does not vote no on Tuesday, Burlington will be far deeper into doing a full Detroit.

Kwame Kilpatrick

11:15:18 - SPIKE - No comments

Iowa's Losingist Lawyer Scott Power Has Billable Hours Cut


Who'd Know? Did Scott Power Ever Submit a Detailed Statement?


Spike,

I see that the city is finally cutting the dead wood. Scott Power is head out the door on a one-year contract.

It would probably be better to just buy out his contract and send him on his way.

I know it would be cheaper.

PU

11:00:00 - SPIKE - No comments

TIF Devastation Illustrated





Spike:

I would like to know how the city of Burlington intends to pay for the Red Ink shown in the TIF diagram. Since the cost of city services rises constantly due of the inflated cost of government employees, just who picks up the taxes for these 10 to 20 years of TIF?

Maybe Burlington should sell off some of the city owned business ventures that have never produced a profit such as the Rec Plex that has cost the taxpayers at least $1,000,000 in tax dollars for its first ten years or longer for its failure to turn a profit.

The people of Burlington on fixed incomes are being totally devastated by the lack of fiscal responsibility shown by past and present city management personnel and their dreams of grandeur that have just destroyed the operation of the city by spending tax monies on non-essential entities that would be better run by the private sector rather than government that will take tax dollars away from essential city needs and spend it on losing city business ventures. City wages and benefits alone would bar government from effectively running a business, such as
the Rec Plex especially in Iowa where government employees earn on average 45% more than private sector employees doing the same job. The private sector couldn’t afford the cost of government employees to run their business or they’d go broke, just like the city of Burlington has proven.

Burlington has got to get out of the private sector life because their cost of doing business is just too high and of course there is never any accountability or responsibility shown by city management when questioned about their constant losses of tax dollars here in Burlington. The money to run the city efficiently has been wasted on nothing more than dreams of grandeur bailouts for the past decade or longer.

The city will take money from one department such as the street department or another to prop up the losses of their private sector business ventures and expect Burlington’s taxpayers to constantly live with ever increasing taxes and fees to bail them out. It’s time to outsource all Burlington’s ill attempts at trying to emulate the private sector something impossible for them to accomplish and the taxpayers can no longer afford the losses because of mismanagement of private sector entities by government. Taxpayers should also consider outsourcing of city management as another form of cost savings. It may take the private sector to clean up the mess Burlington is in because government employees just don’t have the business concepts to clean it up through good management principles and not constant tax increases.

AS

10:22:00 - SPIKE - No comments

02 August

Spike's Crystal Ball - Burlington's Future With a Franchise Fee


"Increase in franchise fee on MidAmerican and Alliant Energy bills started July 30"

"Though the Cedar Rapids City Council voted in April to amend its franchise agreements with the two companies to allow the city to increase franchise fees, Alliant customers received notice of the increase July 30, as July is the first month of the new fiscal year.

... Alliant works as a collection agency, so to speak, for 31 other cities in the state. She said there are 66 cities in Iowa, total, who have a similar practice associated with Alliant or other companies.

...The money goes straight to the city’s general fund budget.

...city officials said the fee increase would increase revenue generated from the fee from $4.7 million to an estimated $8.1 million.."

What could possibly go wrong with Burlington's planned departure into the honey pot business? After all, our mayor Dudley Davidson says if he is re-elected, the tax fee could go to zero in a few years.

Dudley also told us he would put a stop to taxpayer money going to Huck's Harbor.

If there was a time to glean an aura off the crystal ball, vote Tuesday to send this Burlington Boondoggle into the trash can.

If you need a reason - ask yourself what has your city council brought you other than failed business ventures and zero accountability from the past two city managers for their gross incompetence. What makes you think this is the Golden Egg?

Spike

05:55:13 - SPIKE - No comments

A Museum of Political Incompetence and Intoxication


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Publisher Steve Delaney prods an anxious Senior Ad Vertiser Writer Jimmy Olsen to eavesdrop on supposed secret city council meeting to sue railroad.

Spike,

"If Albany is going to be associated with corruption, we might as well cash in on it," the College of Saint Rose professor said. "Why not embrace it?"

A museum dedicated to political corruption is being proposed in Albany, NY. From the state that brought you Tammany Hall and Congressman Weiner, it fits.

Illinois is too broke to consider such a museum. Illinois does not really need one. There are living history correctional facilities where former Illinois governors are making license plates. Drive by and wave.

What about Burlington?

Burlington's problem has not been so much corruption, but the effect has been similar. A museum to Burlington's suffering would be dedicated to political incompetence and intoxication.

Like Illinois, Burlington does need to erect a new edifice.

The Empty Lot Manor Mall at Agency and Roosevelt, the closed Cascade Bridge, rutted streets, etc. all stand as testimony to what has befallen us. A method of packaging tours to draw visitors with money is all that is needed.

Hopefully, none of those traveling US 218 to tour Burlington will tangle with State Senator Courtney's Corvette as he speeds away from the scene of our slime.

"Throttlebottom" Pabst

05:46:00 - SPIKE - No comments

Fatboy's Legacy


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05:39:09 - SPIKE - No comments

01 August

Barn Door Is Open


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05:32:00 - SPIKE - No comments