There are no Rs and Ds in my community

Matt Chapman has been helping to organize neighbors since residents of his mobile home park recently received notice that rent will go up by some 69 percent in June. -promoted by Laura Belin

The evictions have started where I live at Midwest Country Estates in Waukee. The new owners, Havenpark Capital, have a business model devoid of any compassion or even a passing concern for the elderly and vulnerable in the mobile home park they purchased. They made a promise to the shareholders, and apparently there is no room for empathy when dividends are being maximized.

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Do Waukee schools have revolving doors?

Clive resident Tyler Higgs was a candidate for the Waukee school board in 2017. -promoted by Laura Belin

Former Waukee school board president Susan Bunz applied for a district job in the same month she voted to create the position, according to a spokesperson for the district.

Bunz served as board president at the time of the vote and job application. The job she applied for had duties similar to a Human Resources Director position that Bunz had voted to eliminate one year prior. The former human resources director received a $985,000 settlement after suing the district for alleged wrongful termination. Here is a timeline of relevant events:

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The 18 most-viewed Bleeding Heartland posts of 2018

Sometimes I feel nostalgic for my “past life” covering Russian politics. Social media didn’t exist, and my colleagues and I had no information about which articles most interested our readers. Potential for clicks or shares didn’t factor into our story selection. We wrote up what seemed important to us.

On any given day, a half-dozen or more newsworthy Iowa politics stories present themselves, but I only have the capacity to cover one or two. I look for ways to add value: can I highlight events not covered elsewhere? Can I offer a different perspective or more context on the story everyone’s talking about?

Although chasing traffic will never be my primary goal, doing this for more than a decade has given me a decent sense of which topics will strike a chord with readers. But you never really know. Just like last year and the year before that, surprises lurked in the traffic numbers on Bleeding Heartland posts published during 2018 (353 written by me, 202 by other authors).

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Recognizing Bleeding Heartland's talented 2018 guest authors

The Bleeding Heartland community lost a valued voice this year when Johnson County Supervisor Kurt Friese passed away in October. As Mike Carberry noted in his obituary for his good friend, Kurt had a tremendous amount on his plate, and I was grateful whenever he found time to share his commentaries in this space. His final post here was a thought-provoking look at his own upbringing and past intimate relationships in light of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Friese was among more than 100 guest authors who produced 202 Bleeding Heartland posts during 2018, shattering the previous record of 164 posts by 83 writers in 2017. I’m thankful for every piece and have linked to them all below.

You will find scoops grounded in original research, commentary about major news events, personal reflections on events from many years ago, and stories in photographs or cartoons. Some posts were short, while others developed an argument over thousands of words. Pieces by Allison Engel, Randy Richardson, Tyler Higgs, and Matt Chapman were among the most-viewed at the site this year. In the full list, I’ve noted other posts that were especially popular.

Please get in touch if you would like to write about any political topic of local, statewide, or national importance during 2019. If you do not already have a Bleeding Heartland account, I can set one up for you and explain the process. There is no standard format or word limit. I copy-edit for clarity but don’t micromanage how authors express themselves. Although most authors write under their real names, pseudonyms are allowed here and may be advisable for those writing about sensitive topics or whose day job does not permit expressing political views. I ask authors to disclose potential conflicts of interest, such as being are a paid staffer, consultant, or lobbyist promoting any candidate or policy they discuss here.

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They actually brought pitchforks

Tyler Higgs reflects on the Waukee school board’s latest meeting, four days after a state audit identified some $130,000 in disbursements that were either improper or “not in the best interests of taxpayers.” -promoted by desmoinesdem

Passion flared at the Waukee School Board meeting last night in what was the latest display of outrage. Civil uprisings seem to be par for the course these days, from the “Indivisible” movement of the last two years to the “Tea Party” before that. These uprisings are an American tradition going back to the civil rights movement and the Declaration of Independence. Heck, angry constituents demanding to be heard is practically an American pastime. It’s what people do in a democracy when they feel they have no other way of being heard. When politicians ignore the People, open dialogue turns into pitchforks.

Our elected officials are flawed human beings — some more than others. They make mistakes, sometimes big ones, and it’s our job to call them out — to demand them to be “more perfect”. When they mess up, as we all do, elected officials sometimes look at the high standards we have for them and think, “I can’t own up to this. They’ll bring out the pitchforks.” It’s this thought process, I think, that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. By denying the problem or doubling down on a cover-up, they make it worse.

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Waukee School District audit exposes more shenanigans (updated)

Tyler Higgs is an activist in Clive and a former candidate for Waukee school board. -promoted by desmoinesdem

The audit report of Waukee School District has been released, exposing more incidents of corrupt and/or inept management at the highest levels of the district. The full report is enclosed below, along with a summary of key findings.

I previously discussed some of these issues, but for those unfamiliar with the ongoing saga, here’s a refresher:

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