Not with a bang but a whimper - quiet conclusion to Muscatine impeachment

I’ll be stunned if this holds up in court after reading Tracy Leone’s previous reports on the unprecedented effort to remove the Muscatine mayor. -promoted by desmoinesdem

There were almost as many journalists in the room as there were Muscatine residents present when the city council voted unanimously on May 11 to remove Mayor Diana Broderson from office in the conclusion of the first impeachment trial in Iowa history. (Watch the video of the meeting, which lasted less than three minutes.)

The special council meeting was called shortly after the deadline for defense and prosecution attorneys to submit their evidence Tuesday, May 2.

The decision to remove the mayor was the single issue on the agenda. The copies of the agenda sitting on a small table just inside council chambers stated that this would be an “In-Depth” meeting. The second item on the agenda after the roll call said there would be “Discussion and Possible Action Regarding Petition to Remove Mayor”. It was followed by four bullet points:

• Post-Hearing Brief in Support of Removal of Mayor – John Nahra
• Finding of Fact and Order on the City of Muscatine’s Written Charges of Removal – John Nahra
• Brief and Memorandum of Law – William Sueppel
• Proposed Decision – William Sueppel

After all this thoughtful discussion from the prosecution and defense, the third item on the agenda there said there would be a time for “Comments”, assumedly from the public.

None of that “in-depth” consideration happened.

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WWTD: What Would Twain Do?

Tracy Leone continues her coverage of the Muscatine City Council’s unprecedented effort to remove the mayor. You can find previous installments here and here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

“We had not time to go ashore in Muscatine, but had a daylight view of it from the boat. I lived there awhile, many years ago, but the place, now, had a rather unfamiliar look; so I suppose it has clear outgrown the town which I used to know. In fact, I know it has; for I remember it as a small place — which it isn’t now.” – Mark Twain, “Life on the Mississippi”

While watching the impeachment trial, I could not help but think over and over again, what would Mark Twain have written about this farce? Twain was eloquent and exacting in his mature writings, but in his youth, he cut his teeth as an author in his late teens and twenties writing travelogues for the Muscatine Journal which his brother Orion helped publish.

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Exhibit WTF

Follow-up to the March 26 post Exhibit Why? This is the second part of Tracy Leone’s series on the Muscatine mayoral impeachment, to be continued throughout the week until the hearing resumes on April 1. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Despite Mayor Diana Broderson’s attorney Bill Sueppel’s motion to remove the City’s impeachment case to District Court, and upon the advice of their prosecuting counsel John Nahra (who stood to gain from the next eleven billable hours of the day’s hearing), the Muscatine City Council voted to hold the impeachment trial as is – with the City Council acting as accusers, judge, and jury.

Prosecuting Attorney Nahra began his case by handing out two-inch thick binders to the City Council and Sueppel full of witness testimony and exhibits. The testimonials were taken at what can only be referred to as a deposition hearing organized by the attorney at the Muscatine Police Station on February 2, 2017.

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Exhibit WHY?

Tracy Leone follows up on the unprecedented power struggle in Muscatine. You can read the charges drawn up by the city attorney here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the Muscatine City Council made history by becoming the first city in Iowa to impeach its mayor. The journey to this day began in November 3, 2015, when the citizens of Muscatine elected Diana Broderson as mayor. 54 percent of the voters chose to have their city led by this political newcomer, a woman with decades of experience working with Muscatine families, and a person who was not employed or supported by one of Muscatine’s leading industries as had been the pattern among previous members of the City Council.

Local reporting gave no indication that this election was controversial or any different from previous transitions of power. The Muscatine Journal reported, “Broderson said her first priority when taking office will be to get the community more involved. She said she wants to form committees for priorities.” Broderson herself was quoted as saying she wanted to, “make sure I get community input on that – not just me deciding what we should work on.”

The newspaper also reported that the outgoing Mayor Hopkins “didn’t appear too bothered by losing – he didn’t show as much grief as his supporters.” In fact, Hopkins called Broderson to wish her well.

Fast forward sixteen months, and we find the mayor and city council sitting in council chambers at 8:00 am on a Thursday morning holding an impeachment hearing.

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This is a witch hunt

Tracy Leone follows up on an intense and probably unprecedented local power struggle in Iowa. For background, read her post from last June, “Take Back Muscatine.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

“This is a witch hunt” – Ann Burnback
“Good old boys club” – Roger Strong
“Not a wise use of our [tax] money” – Osmond Malcolm
“Corporate sugar daddies” – Taylor Williams
“Truly sickened. We’ve elected someone, and you guys have spit on that” – Nathan Baker
“This is the first time in my seventy years that I am ashamed to be from Muscatine” – Judy Rivera
“I fought to have a fair democracy… [not to] have a kangaroo court after election oust our elected officials.” – US Veteran Max Kauffman

These were some of the testimony of the more than 60 people who attended last night’s city council meeting in Muscatine in which the council voted unanimously to begin the process of removing Mayor Diana Broderson from office, just nine months before the next election when the citizens could make such a decision for themselves.

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Dealing with America Inc.

Tracy Leone has been involved with organized labor since 1997 and with elections in Iowa since 2006. Today she shares her thoughts on the path forward for Democrats. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Thanks to Bleeding Heartland for publishing diverse views regarding what the Democratic Party ought to do to get back to the business of winning elections again. While there is no single practice or set of principles to cure all that ails us, there are certainly things that have not been done that contributed to the Democratic failures at all levels of government.

It is urgent that we boldly resist the attacks on our democratic humanistic institutions, whether they come from Republicans or Democrats. Obama’s drone policy, his mass deportations and 5AM raids on immigrant families, his signing into law of Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act that strips US citizen of due process are right-wing policies and we Democrats need to have the courage to criticize when one of our own takes position against our values.

What we now face at the state and national levels means this is not just an intellectual exercise. Our democracy depends on it.

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