Randy Evans

When "reasonable" takes a turn that is not

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

“Reasonable” is a word that is used often in Iowa’s laws. Reasonable fees. Reasonable rules. Reasonable efforts. Reasonable force.

But events in recent weeks show government officials are not always following what many Iowans would think the term means. And when government officials deviate from “reasonable,” they should not be surprised if their standing or the stature of their agency suffers in the public’s eyes.

Consider the Linn-Mar Community School District.

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Voters, don't let tv ads mislead you

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com

Televisions are getting larger, but that does not make it easier to decipher the political ads that are as common these days as gnats at a picnic.

There is one thing we should understand about these ads: Their purpose is not to educate voters or inform them about the finer points of a candidate’s views. Instead, their purpose is to scare us, or mislead us, or just confuse us.

One such example tells Iowa viewers that U.S. Representative Cindy Axne, a Democrat from Iowa’s third district, refuses to sign a pledge to support term limits for members of Congress. (Term Limits Action is spending $157,203 to run the ads.)

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Secrecy won't build trust after school cyber attacks

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com.

These days, I stand in front of audiences and engage in what is politely called “public speaking” more often than even Mr. Gentry ever imagined when I showed up at his office door 55 years ago with a bug-eyed expression of concern.

Mr. Gentry was the guidance counselor at Davis County High School. He was in charge of class scheduling. What brought me to his doorstep was noticing I would be taking “Speech” class that semester.

Before I could say anything, however, he presciently said, “You probably are wondering about the Speech class. You will thank me someday.” That “someday” has arrived. You were correct, Mr. Gentry.

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Iowa gives too little attention to elder care

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com.

People in the health care field have worked their tails off since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Iowa with a vengeance in 2020.

Doctors, nurses, and all manner of technicians and support staff have performed heroically under circumstances that often were trying.

But the death this year of a patient at a Centerville care center has struck a chord with many Iowans — and not just because COVID claimed another life. The reaction has ranged from sadness to anger because the person’s treatment was unprofessional, uncaring and incompetent, if not bordering on criminal.

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Two wake-up calls on police abuses of power in Iowa

Randy Evans can be reached at DMRevans2810@gmail.com.

Many of us have trouble mustering empathy for people who have complaints about the way police treated them.

This lack of empathy probably occurs because many ordinary folks do not think they will be in situations like people accused of crimes.

If that description applies to you, allow me to introduce you to Anthony Watson, 43, of Coralville, and Jennifer Pritchard, also 43, of Fort Dodge.

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If Grandma can Zoom, so can the government

Randy Evans: Too many government boards refuse to offer the virtual access that has become a part of everyday life for many Iowans.

In my day job, I wear the hat of the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has been around for 40-plus years.

We advocate on behalf of the public and journalists for government transparency and accountability to the people of this state.

Periodically, I speak to groups of government employees and elected officials. One question that often comes up in those settings and in individual conversations with government leaders is some version of, “How are we doing?”

These days, this is what I tell them if they ask.

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