# Dubuque

Nino Erba: Candidate for Dubuque City Council 2019

Bleeding Heartland welcomes guest posts by candidates for local offices in Iowa. -promoted by Laura Belin

Greetings, Iowa!

My name is Nino Erba, and I’m a candidate for Dubuque City Council this year. I’m running in Ward 4, which encompasses downtown and the wealthier households over the bluffs of our city. I’m running because after being involved for so long in city politics and understanding what’s going on in our city and why things happen, it’s time for a radical change. And I believe I’m best equipped for bringing about that change.

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Weekend open thread: Sledding ban edition

What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers? This is an open thread: all topics welcome.

After an unusually dry December, most of Iowa finally got a decent blanket of snow this week. Meanwhile, a classic winter activity became the unlikely center of a public policy controversy. The Dubuque City Council moved to prohibit sledding at 48 out of 50 city parks, generating some national media coverage and debate over whether city officials over-reacted to worries about litigation.

Contrary to the exaggerated claims of some authors, no city has banned or outlawed sledding within its jurisdiction. Iowans in Dubuque and elsewhere are free to sled on private property and on some public land. The “ban” applies only to certain public parks.

That said, I agree with those who say Dubuque leaders went way too far and set the penalty for unauthorized sledding too high at $750. In fact, City Council member David Resnick was probably right when he warned, “Crowding all [these] sledders into two areas is actually increasing the safety hazard and I don’t think we should limit our potential [liability] by increasing the safety hazard for kids.” I hope the controversy leads to higher turnout in the next Dubuque local election.

According to Katie Wiedemann’s report for KCRG-TV, local leaders say unhappy Dubuque residents should talk to state lawmakers:

“Iowa law protects cities from liability in the event someone gets hurt on city property while biking, skating or skateboarding. But there’s no protection if someone gets hurt while sledding. Some lawmakers attempted to fix that during the 2013 legislative session, but the bill failed.”

However, Iowa Association for Justice Executive Director Brad Lint argued in today’s Des Moines Register that “the city already enjoys fairly broad liability immunity under Iowa law.” After the jump I’ve enclosed excerpts from Lint’s op-ed column, which also addresses broader issues such as unwarranted fear of litigation and groups “begging” Iowa legislators “for protection from the often nonexistent lawsuits in their fields.” As one Bleeding Heartland reader suggested privately to me this week,

Hopefully people will eventually see the sledding thing for what it is…another cynical attempt by the insurance industry to use people to twist the arms of their legislators to exempt the insurers from paying claims even in cases of negligence….

P.S.- Sledding is a common cause of serious childhood injuries during the winter. I know someone whose son nearly lost an eye and developed a life-threatening infection behind his eye socket after a sledding accident in her own backyard. I love sledding almost as much as my kids do, but keep these safety tips in mind when you play in the snow.

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FAA closing Dubuque air traffic control; Waterloo, Sioux City spared for now

The Federal Aviation Administration announced yesterday that beginning on April 7, it will close 149 air traffic control towers across the country. The Dubuque Regional Airport tower is the only Iowa facility on the list (pdf). An airport official told the Dubuque Telegraph Herald that service in and out of the airport will continue. I haven’t seen any reports confirming which facility will route air traffic in and out of Dubuque after April 7.

The cuts are related to the “sequester” of federal budget funds, which began last month. Originally the FAA had planned to close more air traffic control towers, including those in Waterloo and Sioux City. However, a press release stated that the agency decided “to keep 24 federal contract towers open that had been previously proposed for closure because doing so would have a negative impact on the national interest.” Another salient fact is that Dubuque “hires privately contracted employees,” whereas “Waterloo and Sioux City employees are unionized FAA workers.”

I’ve posted the whole statement from the FAA after the jump, as well as Representative Bruce Braley’s comment. The first Congressional district includes Dubuque and Waterloo. Braley voted against a continuing spending resolution on Thursday, in part because it did not reverse the “sequester” cuts.

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Six links to mark the International Day of Action for Rivers

March 14 is the International Day of Action for Rivers. These stories about water pollution and the economic potential of healthy rivers are worth a read.

Contrary to what agribusiness industry lobbyists would have you believe, a majority of Iowa farmers “support expanding conservation requirements for soil erosion and the control of nitrogen and phosphorous runoff.”

Iowa’s confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs or factory livestock farms) create more untreated manure annually than the total sewage output of the U.S. population.

Aging sewer systems in urban areas also allow too much sewage to leak into watersheds. The I-JOBS infrastructure bonding initiative (signed into law by Governor Chet Culver) included some money to improve sewer systems in Iowa, but we need to do much more on this front.

Iowa Rivers Revival Executive Director Rosalyn Lehman recently published a call to revive Iowa’s rivers in the Des Moines Register. I’ve posted excerpts from her guest editorial after the jump.

The Metro Waste Authority has created an Adopt a Stream website, with “resources to help you organize a stream cleanup in the Greater Des Moines area.”

Dam removal as part of a river restoration project supports local economic activity as well as the environment.

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Sequester could shut down Waterloo, Dubuque, Sioux City air traffic control (corrected)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned yesterday that air traffic control across the country may be severely disrupted if the “sequester” goes into effect. Budget cuts may prompt the Federal Aviation Administration to shut down air traffic control towers at three Iowa airports as early as April.

CORRECTION: Closing the air traffic control towers would not necessarily shut down all traffic at the affected airports. On the other hand, “many corporations won’t fly into airports that don’t have an active tower.”

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Weekend open thread: Local Iowa news edition

Dubuque area residents are still dealing with the aftermath of more than 10 inches of rain in a 24-hour period this week, which caused massive flash flooding and road closures. It was a one-day record for rainfall. Governor Terry Branstad changed his schedule on July 28 to inspect the damage.

The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa wrapped up today in Davenport. From what I’ve read and seen on the news, it sounds like the pass-through and overnight towns generally did a great job providing refreshments and entertainment for the riders. It can’t have been pleasant bicycling and camping out in this week’s high heat, but thousands of riders made it all the way to the Mississippi River. RAGBRAI officials made minor route changes in Davenport, fearing flooding after the heavy rain in Dubuque, but the river stayed in its banks.

A little more than a year ago, flooding washed away the dam at Lake Delhi in Delaware County. The lake quickly drained, ruining what had been a popular resort area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied funding for people who owned houses on the former lake. Property values and tax receipts are way down. In the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund bill for fiscal year 2012, state legislators included funding for a Lake Delhi dam restoration study, as well as “intent” language regarding future funds for reconstruction. Branstad used his item veto power to remove the planned funding to rebuild the dam, saying any commitment was premature before the study results have been received. More details on Branstad’s veto are after the jump. I see his point, but the veto will hurt local efforts to secure other financing for the project.

It’s worth noting that Branstad urged state legislators to pass a bill this year promoting nuclear reactor construction in Iowa, even though MidAmerican is only one year into a three-year feasibility study on that project. The pro-nuclear bill passed the Iowa House but didn’t come up for a floor vote in the Iowa Senate.

This week Kiplinger released its 2011 list of “Best Value Cities” nationwide, and Cedar Rapids was ranked number 9. Analysts cited strong local employers, good amenities, reasonable home prices, and a good recovery from the 2008 flooding. Kiplinger mentioned major downtown renovation projects but not the I-JOBS state infrastructure bonding initiative, which was a crucial for financing those projects. State Representative Renee Schulte, who represents part of northeast Cedar Rapids, cheered the praise from Kiplinger. Like all other Iowa House Republicans, she voted against the I-JOBS program. Schulte won her first election in Iowa House district 37 by just 13 votes in 2008. The Democrat she defeated, Art Staed, is seeking a rematch in the new House district 66 in 2012.

This is an open thread. What’s on your mind this weekend, Bleeding Heartland readers?

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New Iowa local food program receives state funding

Iowa will implement a new “Local Food and Farm Initiative” as part of the agriculture and natural resources budget that Governor Terry Branstad signed into law yesterday. Democratic State Representative Chuck Isenhart announced the goals of the program and some of the potential benefits in a press release, which I have posted after the jump. Isenhart thanked Branstad for signing the bill and acknowledged the bipartisan group of legislators who helped him push for this funding: Republican House Agriculture Committee Chair Annette Sweeney, Republican House Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Jack Drake, Democratic Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Joe Seng, Democratic Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget Subcommittee Chair Dennis Black, and Republican State Senator Hubert Houser, the ranking member of that subcommittee.

During the 2010 legislative session, the Iowa House and Senate instructed the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University to develop an “Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan.” The center submitted that plan to the state legislature in January 2011. This pdf document summarizes its 34 recommendations, or you can download the whole Iowa Local Food and Farm Plan here (63-page pdf).

Isenhart represents House district 27, covering part of Dubuque. He championed this program in part because the city’s Sustainable Dubuque initiative has a goal of providing more “healthy local food” to residents. Isenhart’s news release noted that the new program will also benefit areas in Iowa covered by one of the Leopold Center’s regional food system working group. After the jump I’ve posted a list of 16 local food networks which are part of that Leopold Center program. They span about 90 of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Speaking of the Leopold Center, I haven’t heard anything lately about an Iowa State agronomy professor’s proposal to move the center from the supervision of the College of Agriculture to the offices of ISU’s President or Vice President for Research and Economic Development. The Board of Regents will hire a new ISU president during the next year. That person should recognize and support the Leopold Center’s work. However, the new head of the Board of Regents, who will be chairing the ISU hiring process, is Craig Lang, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. The Farm Bureau has already tried to interfere too much in the Leopold Center’s work.  

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Dubuque setting the standard for Iowa "green" cities

The city of Dubuque continues to build its reputation as Iowa’s most eco-friendly city. Governor Terry Branstad’s administration recently announced the winners of the upcoming Iowa Environmental Excellence awards, and one is going to the Sustainable Dubuque initiative. Granted, Branstad isn’t known to have an eye for “environmental excellence,” but in this case the award is well-deserved. After the jump I’ve posted the press release announcing other winners of this year’s awards. Click here to learn more about what Sustainable Dubuque has accomplished during the past five years. The initiative is one big reason Dubuque has received so much recognition:

*Named most livable small city in the country, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors (2008)

*Honored for “excellence in historic preservation-led strategies,” according to the Economic Development Administration, an agency within the federal Commerce Department (2009).

*Chosen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development for sustainability pilot programs (2009)

*Named All-Star Community by the Iowa League of Cities  (2010)

*Received leadership award from 1000 Friends of Iowa for adopting a Unified Development Code that “promotes best practices in sustainable development and will serve as a model for other cities in Iowa” (2010)

*Honored as third-place finalist and gold-standard community for cities with populations between 20,000 and 75,000, at the International Awards for Livable Communities (2010)

Various business groups and business-oriented media have also cited Dubuque as one of the best places to work, live or raise a family in the country.

Meanwhile, Dubuque’s public transit system (“the Jule”) just won an award from the Federal Transit Administration Region VII and was recognized by the Iowa Department of Transportation as Iowa’s “Most Improved Urban Transit System.” The Jule managed to reduce the cost per ride by 14.5 percent during the past fiscal year while the number of rides taken increased by 10.7 percent. Many Iowans think of public transit only in a large urban context, but there is demand for reliable bus service in many smaller Iowa cities and towns.

Civic leaders have implemented eco-friendly initiatives elsewhere in this state (I’m looking at you, Cedar Falls, Davenport, Des Moines and Iowa City), but Dubuque is setting the bar high and striving to do more. Just last week, the city council voted unanimously to approve a goal of using 90 percent fewer plastic shopping bags in Dubuque by 2017. The city council had considered banning the plastic bags by 2014 but opted for a gradual approach through outreach and education.

This October, Dubuque will host its fourth annual “Growing Sustainable Communities” conference. I hope staff or city council members from many other towns will attend. Conference details are after the jump. Registration is free for the first 100 students to sign up.

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Dubuque still leads on sustainability

Last year Bleeding Heartland discussed some promising changes in Dubuque, thanks to the vision of community leaders who launched the SustainableDubuque initiative in 2006. Now called the “Dubuque 2.0” sustainability initiative, the program has helped bring the city a long list of recognitions and awards.

Government and public entities: The U.S. Conference of Mayors named Dubuque the country’s “Most Livable Small City” for 2008. The Economic Development Administration (an agency within the federal Commerce Department) gave the an award for “excellence in historic preservation-led strategies” in 2009. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development selected Dubuque for sustainability pilot programs, also in 2009. The Iowa League of Cities named Dubuque an All-Star Community this year.

Business groups and business-oriented media: Dubuque landed on Sperling’s Best Places top ten “Most Affordable Places to Live and Work” in 2009; was third best in the country for job growth, according to Careerbuilder.com in 2010; and was the seventh best city under 200,000 population in “Economic Growth Potential,” according to Business Facilities magazine in 2010. Dubuque also won an Excellence in Economic Development award this year from the International Economic Development Council, while Forbes.com named it both the “Best Small City to Raise a Family” and “Best Smaller Metro for Projected Job Growth” nationwide.

Non-profit organizations: Dubuque came in third place at the International Awards for Livable Communities in 2010 in the category of cities with populations between 20,000 and 75,000. The city won the 1000 Friends of Iowa 2010 Best Development Award in the leadership category for its recently adopted Unified Development Code, which “promotes best practices in sustainable development and will serve as a model for other cities in Iowa.” (Side note: Dubuque also contains more private Best Development Award winning-projects than any other Iowa city. Most recently, the “beauty and authenticity” of the Hotel Julien historic rehabilitation earned it the 1000 Friends of Iowa 2010 Best Development Award in the renovated and commercial/civic category.)

Too many Iowa politicians portray eco-friendly policies as bad for business or economic growth. Dubuque is proving that sustainability makes a community more attractive to potential job-creators:

According to Mike Blouin, president of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation, the cachet that comes with operating a business in a sustainable region is becoming increasingly important.

“A growing segment of companies — manufacturers and service providers — want to be a part of this trend,” he said. “They want to be a part of communities that are into sustainability, and they believe it will be easier to attract the kind of workforce they want there. Or companies may manufacture items used in these sustainable communities. Whatever it might be, they want sustainability to be a part of their message.”

He added, “You can be pro-economic development and be sustainable. They’re not mutually exclusive. A smarter city is not the initial thing companies look at, because they still have to make money. The community has to make sense overall, but if it does, sustainability could very well be a deal-maker. If there are a half-dozen cities in front of a company, it may look at smarter sustainability and see that it fits the company’s philosophy. Final decisions are made by those kinds of factors.”

In 2009, the IBM corporation renovated the historic Roshek building in partnership with the city of Dubuque and selected the city for sustainability pilot programs. After the jump I’ve posted more details on some projects implemented this year. These benefit the city by finding ways to reduce costs and use of resources, and benefit IBM by promoting technologies it hopes to sell to other cities.

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Events coming up this week

I couldn’t keep up with posting weekly calendars at the height of campaign season, but I’m determined to get back on track.

Events that got lost in the shuffle include the 1000 Friends of Iowa annual meeting in late October, where the 2010 Best Development Awards were announced, and the grand opening of the Roshek Building in Dubuque on November 9. This historic building holds several local businesses and offices for about 1,300 IBM employees. The redevelopment project earned the city of Dubuque a U.S. Commerce Department award for economic development excellence.

I also wish I’d flagged the recent groundbreaking of West Union’s Green Pilot Streetscape.

“Today is certainly a milestone, not only for the people of West Union and Fayette County, but for all Iowans and, in fact, much of the nation,” David Yocca, senior partner of Conservation Design Forum, later agreed. “The reconstruction of a significant portion of the public realm of West Union as planned is one of, if not the most integrated, wholistic, forward-looking efforts that has been done on any street anywhere in this country.”

He explained that the future West Union downtown district will represent an emerging example of green infrastructure, which will serve communities by creating safer, more comfortable, walkable and bikable streets; improve the health of local water, air, and soil;

Restore hydrology and the natural environment; provide long-term cost savings and value over convention infrastructure; support local businesses and job creation; and provide a more beautiful, authentic setting for outdoor use and enjoyment.

The improvements in downtown West Union will be fantastic. Unfortunately, Republican candidates all over Iowa misrepresented this project to spread lies about Democrats funding “heated sidewalks.”

Details on some of this week’s events around the state are after the jump. Pleast post a comment or e-mail me directly about other events worth noting.  

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"Road diet" hasn't affected commute on major Des Moines artery

When the city of Des Moines put Ingersoll Avenue on a “road diet” last month, some locals warned the change would inconvenience drivers and hurt area businesses. I drive down Ingersoll several times a week and have noticed no change in the traffic flow. Now a new study shows commuters have hardly been affected:

In early May, Ingersoll was “re-striped” between Polk Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, decreasing the number of vehicle lanes from four to three. There is one lane in each direction, a center left-turn lane and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street.

In the worst case, travel times increased roughly 20 seconds for westbound motorists traveling between Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and 42nd Street during the afternoon rush hour, said Gary Fox, the city’s traffic engineer. There were essentially no changes overall and slight improvements in midday vehicle travel times, he added. […]

The Ingersoll plan is part of a broader “complete streets” initiative that aims to make Des Moines streets more accessible to bicycles and pedestrians.

Giving people safe alternatives to driving is the main reason to adopt “complete streets” policies, but this re-striping also created about 50 additional on-street parking spaces, which helps Ingersoll business owners and their customers. Click here for more information on road diets and here to learn about complete streets. Like Des Moines, the small town of Cascade, Iowa City and the Johnson County Council of Governments have also adopted complete streets policies. Earlier this year, Dubuque received a federal grant to help residents of the historic Millwork District commute to work on foot, bike, or via public transit.

LATE UPDATE: On June 24 I had to drive west almost the whole length of Ingersoll just before 5 pm, which must be around the worst time for “rush hour” traffic. I didn’t notice any problems, and hardly saw any congestion except for the stretch between 24th and 31st streets. Even that wasn’t bad.

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Year in review: Iowa politics in 2009 (part 2)

Following up on my review of news from the first half of last year, I’ve posted links to Bleeding Heartland’s coverage of Iowa politics from July through December 2009 after the jump.

Hot topics on this blog during the second half of the year included the governor’s race, the special election in Iowa House district 90, candidates announcing plans to run for the state legislature next year, the growing number of Republicans ready to challenge Representative Leonard Boswell, state budget constraints, and a scandal involving the tax credit for film-making.

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"Best Performing Cities" index sees improvement for most Iowa metros

The Des Moines Register brought to my attention a new report ranking 200 large metropolitan areas and 124 smaller metropolitan areas:

The 2009 Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners Best-Performing Cities Index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth.  The components include job, wage and salary and technology growth.

The list of smaller cities includes eight Iowa metros, and you can view the details here. My short take is after the jump.

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Events coming up during the next two weeks

Last month was so busy that I didn’t manage to post any event calendars here, but I am back on duty now. The highlight of this month for Democrats is the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday, November 21, featuring Vice President Joe Biden. You can buy tickets online.

Please note that November 10 is the deadline for public comments to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources about protecting our Outstanding Iowa Waters. The Farm Bureau is mobilizing public comments against these regulations. The DNR needs to hear from Iowans committed to preserving our highest-quality waterways. Click here for background and an easy to use comment form.

State Senator Staci Appel will officially announce her re-election campaign on November 12, and I’ve posted details about a fundraiser for her campaign below the fold. Appel’s Republican opponent, State Representative Kent Sorenson, is already gearing up for next year’s election. He spent the weekend in Texas attending the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference. Here’s some background on David Barton’s vision for America, chock full of Biblical interpretations supporting right-wing public policies. Barton spoke to the Iowa Christian Alliance not long ago (click that link to watch videos). Former presidential candidate Ron Paul is headlining a fundraiser for Sorenson on November 14, by the way.

Many more event details are after the jump. As always, please post a comment about anything I’ve left out, or send me an e-mail (desmoinesdem AT yahoo.com).

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Great things are happening in Dubuque

The Dubuque mayor and city council decided in 2006 to make the community “a Sustainable City.” Last week federal officials recognized the progress made toward that goal. From an Environmental Protection Agency press release on September 17:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and White House Director of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion kicked off their three-city Sustainable Communities Tour today. The officials, representing the administration’s DOT-HUD-EPA Interagency Partnership for Sustainable Communities, announced proposals during stops in Chicago and Dubuque that will help communities to improve access to affordable housing, provide additional low-cost transportation options, and protect the local environment.

Also on September 17, the city of Dubuque and IBM

outlined their plans to partner in the development of new “smarter” technologies and implementation strategies to create an international model of sustainability for communities of 200,000 and under, where over 40 percent of the U.S. population resides. Dubuque, a city that is recognized as a national leader in sustainability with its forward-thinking public policy, together with IBM, will address the ever-increasing demands of cities to deliver vital services such as energy and water management, and transportation, all while reducing the community’s impact on the environment.

More details about the recent events, along with some background, are after the jump.

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Obama announces plans for high-speed rail funding

LATE UPDATE: This piece by BruceMcF is a must-read: How to build a national high-speed rail system.

President Barack Obama and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood released a

blueprint for a new national network of high-speed passenger rail lines Thursday, saying such an investment is necessary to reduce traffic congestion, cut dependence on foreign oil and improve the environment.

The president’s plan identifies 10 potential high-speed intercity corridors for federal funding, including California, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, the Southeast, the Gulf Coast, Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and New England.

It also highlights potential improvements in the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor running from Washington to Boston, Massachusetts.

The economic stimulus package included about $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, and Obama is seeking an additional $1 billion each year for high-speed rail in the next five federal budgets.

After the jump I’ve got more details on how this funding could benefit Iowa.

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A few links on unemployment and finding a job

As you can see from this graph, job losses in the current recession are worse than in other recent recessions and are continuing to accelerate at a time when the U.S. economy has already started adding jobs during the past two recessions.

Paul Krugman, who has been arguing for a much larger stimulus package, is very worried:

To see how bad the numbers are, consider this: The administration’s budget proposals, released less than two weeks ago, assumed an average unemployment rate of 8.1 percent for the whole of this year. In reality, unemployment hit that level in February – and it’s rising fast.

Employment has already fallen more in this recession than in the 1981-82 slump, considered the worst since the Great Depression. As a result, Mr. Obama’s promise that his plan will create or save 3.5 million jobs by the end of 2010 looks underwhelming, to say the least. It’s a credible promise – his economists used solidly mainstream estimates of the impacts of tax and spending policies. But 3.5 million jobs almost two years from now isn’t enough in the face of an economy that has already lost 4.4 million jobs, and is losing 600,000 more each month. […]

So here’s the picture that scares me: It’s September 2009, the unemployment rate has passed 9 percent, and despite the early round of stimulus spending it’s still headed up. Mr. Obama finally concedes that a bigger stimulus is needed.

But he can’t get his new plan through Congress because approval for his economic policies has plummeted, partly because his policies are seen to have failed, partly because job-creation policies are conflated in the public mind with deeply unpopular bank bailouts. And as a result, the recession rages on, unchecked.

At MyDD Charles Lemos wonders whether current job losses may become permanent because of the manufacturing sector’s continuing decline.

Only the biggest layoffs make headlines, as when John Deere cut 325 jobs in Dubuque and Davenport last week. But almost all of us have friends or relatives who have lost their jobs in the past six months. Thankfully, none of my recently-unemployed friends are likely to lose their homes, but lots of people aren’t so lucky. Tent cities are booming across the country.

If you are looking for work, read this piece by Teddifish on How to get a job when no one is hiring.

Daily Kos diarist plf515 just found a new job and shared some advice in this diary:

How did I get this job?

I told everyone I was looking for work!  

This particular lead came from an announcement I made on SAS-L a mailing list about software that I use.  I am a frequent contributor there, someone who has read my work saw my mention, and then forwarded me a link to a job offer. […]

But I didn’t just mention it there.  I told everyone. I wrote a diary here; and I joined dkos networking; I announced it on mailing lists; I told my friends; I told former employers; I told the guy who does our dry cleaning; I told EVERYONE.  I also left cards advertising my consulting business all over.  

Can you find a job in this economy? Well, there are no guarantees.  But, if people don’t know you’re looking, they’ll never tell you about any openings.  

MyDD user ragekage has specific advice for people pursuing a career in nursing because they think it is a “recession-proof” occupation.

This thread is for any comments about unemployment or helpful advice about finding jobs.

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Dubuque Appoints Sustainable Community Coordinator

Exciting news out of Dubuque:

Dubuque City Manager Michael Van Milligen has appointed Sheila Samuelson to the new City position of Sustainable Community Coordinator. She will begin her employment on January 19, 2009. “I was very pleased with the high caliber of candidates for the position,” said Van Milligen. “Sheila’s experience, education, skills, and commitment to sustainability proved to be the right fit for Dubuque.”

As Sustainable Community Coordinator for Dubuque, Samuelson will be responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining the City’s sustainability plan and programs. Sustainability is defined as a Dubuque’s ability to meet the environmental, economic, and social equity needs of today without reducing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The City of Dubuque has adopted a three-part approach to sustainability to create policies and programs that address economic prosperity, environmental integrity, and social cultural vibrancy. When all three components are addressed, the result is a community that is viable, livable, and equitable.

“I am excited to work closely with City departments, community groups, businesses, and individuals to help Dubuque continue on a path toward sustainability, and become a model community that represents cultural vibrancy, social equity, economic viability, and environmental health,” said Samuelson.

Samuelson, an Iowa native, has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from the University of Iowa and will receive her MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco in December of this year. Her MBA studies have focused on environmentally, socially, and financially sustainable business models.

Her sustainability consulting experience includes work for the San Francisco Department of the Environment Green Business Certification Program and for Architecture for Humanity, also in San Francisco. Samuelson’s professional experience includes work with the Green Purchasing Institute in Berkeley, Calif., where she helped local and regional governments adopt and implement green procurement policies and programs. She also worked for Century Farm Harvest Heat in Iowa City where she researched and wrote a non-fiction book on biomass as a local source of renewable fuel for heating homes and businesses.

Samuelson also spent 10 weeks in Greensburg, Kan., following a tornado that destroyed 95 percent of the town in 2007. She worked closely with local, state and federal agencies, and on a grassroots level with local citizens, to work toward a sustainable recovery effort. Samuelson was also a board member for The James Gang, the non-profit organization in Iowa City under which she founded and directed Earth Expo, a now-annual sustainability festival in Iowa City.

I’ll look forward to hearing more about Samuelson’s work in Dubuque. If any Bleeding Heartland readers are in the area, feel free to post a diary or send me an e-mail when something interesting is going on.

The city has posted more information about the “Sustainable Dubuque” program on its website.

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Open thread on Palin's rally in Dubuque

Later this afternoon vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin will headline a Republican rally in Dubuque (why I don’t know).

If you’re watching on television or following the coverage online, post your thoughts and comments here. I will update this post later as well.

I’m curious to see whether state senator and first district Congressional candidate Dave Hartsuch will get to speak today, or at least be acknowledged from the stage. As John Deeth reported, Hartsuch was entirely left out of John McCain’s recent rally in Davenport.

Iowa may be a lost cause for the Republican ticket, but I predict Palin will draw a larger crowd in Dubuque than the approximately 1,100 people who came to hear John McCain in Tampa, Florida this morning. The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank called that “a disastrous showing for an election-eve event in this big, Republican town.”

After the election it will be entertaining to watch the pro-Palin and anti-Palin camps in the Republican Party blame each other for the loss.

UPDATE: I forgot to update this post yesterday. Chuck Grassley went a bit far in defending Palin’s qualifications while warming up the crowd:

“You know from watching television and the debates that no one is more qualified to vice president of the United States,” [Grassley] said. “All you got to think about is the governors that have gone to Washington to be the chief executive. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind about her qualifications.”

She’s halfway through her first term and already has been found to have abused her authority, but I guess to a Republican that makes her highly qualified to be president.

The Des Moines Register reported that more than 5,000 people came to see Palin in Dubuque. Some of them are already looking forward to her return to Iowa as a presidential candidate someday.

If this poll of Republicans is accurate, Palin trails Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Getting back to the current election, Palin declined to say whether she voted for convicted felon and Republican incumbent Ted Stevens in the U.S. Senate election today:

I am also exercising my right to privacy and I don’t have to tell anybody who I vote for. Nobody does, and that’s really cool about America also.

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