Our new year of progress

On Wednesday, January 2 2019, Linn County Supervisor-elect Stacey Walker was sworn into office and voted chair of the new three-member board. Walker is the first African American to hold the position and serve as chairperson of the governing body of Iowa’s second most populous county. After he was sworn in, he shared the following remarks. -promoted by Laura Belin

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Royceann Porter overcame hidden racism in historic victory

Let’s start with the good news: Democrat Royceann Porter made history by winning the December 18 special election for Johnson County supervisor. The longtime community activist and labor organizer gained 5,444 votes (56 percent) to 4,167 votes (43 percent) for Republican Phil Hemingway, a member of the Iowa City school board. Porter is the first African American to win a county-wide office in Johnson County and will be one of four women on a five-member board that never had more than two women serving at the same time before this November’s election.

John Deeth took a granular look at the county’s urban and rural voting patterns in his preview of this election and his analysis of the unofficial results. He sees signs of a possible “watershed moment in county politics.”

While a Democrat winning in “the People’s Republic of Johnson County” might not seem newsworthy, Porter’s victory was not a foregone conclusion. A Republican won a low-turnout special election for a county supervisor seat in 2013. The compressed time frame for the special election gave Porter only four weeks to build up her name recognition. Her opponent was better-known, having already won local office. The Farm Bureau chapter drummed up support for Hemingway with a mass mailing, which was unprecedented for a county race, according to longtime area politics-watchers.

Porter also had to contend with a tremendous amount of implicit bias among voters who probably would not consider themselves racist.

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Part 5: How to corrupt Dallas County

Latest deep dive by Tyler Higgs. -promoted by desmoinesdem

If you’ve followed part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4 of this series, you get the drift. I create a short guide about how to corrupt some aspect of local government to hopefully hook you into reading on as I nerd out on a bit of campaign finance disclosures or local political controversies.

But this time, I’ll provide a little bit of good news and relief: many Dallas County political campaigns have clean finances.

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Iowa can learn from other states on nutrient-driven water pollution

John Norwood is a candidate for Polk County Soil and Water Commission. -promoted by desmoinesdem

Nutrient leaching from land use activities is a national issue. Solutions require systems thinking and robust financial support.

In some surprising news this week, Ohio Governor John Kasich, a former Republican presidential candidate with three months remaining in his term, fired his state’s Agricultural Director David Daniels over his slow response to Lake Erie algae. The algae are feeding on nutrients from fertilizers that drain into the lake and fuel these blooms. [Note to readers: In the State of Ohio like many others, the Governor appoints the state’s Agriculture Director.]

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Severe weather events require new water management thinking

John Norwood: Polk County has an opportunity to be a leader in creating, promoting, and scaling a variety of conservation strategies. By working with urban and rural stakeholders, these strategies that can be used to drive regenerative agricultural practices, improve farm profitability and deliver and a host of environmental services that lead to cleaner water, air, and healthier soils. -promoted by desmoinesdem

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Pat Boddy for Polk County Soil and Water Commission

Pat Boddy is a former executive director of Polk County Conservation and deputy director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. -promoted by desmoinedem

June 30, 2018 started out like a typical Saturday night. My husband and I attended a theatre performance in Indianola. We heard the thunderstorms rumble overhead, but didn’t think much about it.

On our way home, it soon became apparent this was no average storm.

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