Of black holes and school boards

Former educator Bruce Lear explores how school district administrators or attorneys can often control decisions made by school boards. -promoted by desmoinesdem

It’s a mystery. It’s a phenomenon. It’s the political black hole. Where do those fired up well-meaning school board candidates go after they are elected? The black hole sucks them in and dampens their resolve and fortitude.

What causes this bad thing to happen to good people? It’s caused by lack of independent information, group speak, with a little magical thinking added. Combine all three, and you have the ingredients for a black hole, so deep the escape is difficult.

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Paul Pate ignorant about his own voter ID law

Olivia Habinck is a Des Moines Area Community College student and president of the College and Young Democrats of Iowa. -promoted by desmoinesdem

On April 13 I participated in the Iowa Secretary of State’s Student Voter Engagement Summit. This was the second time in the past six months Secretary Paul Pate has invited college students to meet with his staff.

First, I would like say that I appreciate the effort to reach out to college students. It is great the people at the Secretary of State’s office want (or appear to want) to hear our feedback. We have made it clear they could be doing more to increase voter turnout in the state, especially with the new voter ID law.

But I am frustrated by top election officials’ overall lack of understanding of how this new voter ID law affects Iowans and specifically college students.

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Fight racism by voting in local elections

Jeff Cox offers some reasons for Iowans who care about racism to “think local.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

Low levels of voter turnout in America are disheartening. Bernie Sanders showed that large numbers of young, new voters can be brought into the electoral system. But what about local elections for school board and city council elections, not to mention bond issues, and the sadly neglected party primaries for local officials?

Here are some reasons to “think local” about elections if you care about racism, with evidence taken from five recent Johnson County elections.

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Did Windsor Heights, Des Moines improperly advocate for sales tax?

Iowa’s campaign regulator may soon break new ground on interpreting language that forbids government bodies from spending public money for political purposes. When deciding whether two city governments went too far in encouraging residents to vote for a local option sales tax, the board will determine whether “express advocacy” can include language that stops short of explicitly urging citizens to vote a certain way.

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Urban blight....a photo essay

Tanya Keith makes her case for the local option sales tax on the Polk County ballot. Cross-posted from the Hat Trick Renovation blog. -promoted by desmoinesdem

When we first moved into River Bend, I owned a baby shop downtown called Simply for Giggles. We had only lived here a couple weeks when I realized I had to close my store because I wanted to spend more time with my family, and in my neighborhood. I feel so comfortable and happy in this place, it made me sad to go to work every day. I also realized that this neighborhood needed my skill set. I love to take risks, I have a degree in Interior Design, and I’ve done construction. There were so many houses in my neighborhood….heck…on my block, that needed a champion. Hat Trick Renovation is the continuation of that idea.

My work gives me a heightened awareness of the urban blight problem Des Moines means to address with the 1 percent sales tax vote on Measure A this Tuesday, March 6th. City Council member Josh Mandelbaum wrote a great breakdown of how I feel about the measure elsewhere on Bleeding Heartland. One of the biggest reasons I’m voting yes is I hate getting to the store and realizing I’ve left my 30-40 percent off coupon at home. I want roughly 1/3 of this money to come from outside the county.

But that’s getting ahead of myself. I’ve seen many people pose the question that we don’t need this money in the first place. We just need to belt tighten. This view is so out of sync with my daily worldview, I had to take people on a visual tour of what I see every day to show why I feel voting yes is the least regressive option. Des Moines’ urban core needs our help, and this sales tax is the lowest impact way to help those neighborhoods.

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