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January 2010

Stink over JECC issue getting worse

By Mike Thayer

Hopefully you have read, watched, or heard of the flap over the special tax levy for the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center (JECC). 

At issue:  The budget for the Joint Emergency Communications Center (JECC) and the special levy funding the center.   According to supervisor and policy board minutes the established levy was 77 cents per $1,000 of valuation.  When the policy board requested what they thought was a reduction to 75 cents for fiscal 2011, Supervisors cried foul and now claim the levy was set at 68 cents.

The supervisor crying foul the loudest is Rodney "F___ You" Sullivan.  Documentation clearly shows that Sullivan was OK with a 77 cent levy.  This was the amount discussed in 2008 and throughout 2009.  It's been documented, chronicled and reported on.

From the Meeting Minutes, JECC Policy Board, Friday, November 7, 2008:  "Present for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors were Chairperson Rod Sullivan, Terrence Neuzil, Larry Meyer, and Pat Harney.  Harney is also a member of the JECC Board.  Sullivan stated that the principal concern to the Board of Supervisors was public reaction to the overall county tax increase.  Sullivan stated that the Board of Supervisors was looking for a commitment to have the special tax levy remain at .77 per $1,000. 

So why was 77 cents OK with Sullivan throughout 2009, and suddenly not OK as of last week?

What changed?  Sullivan is now claiming that the budget for the JECC is "out of control."  He all of a sudden went public with a list of "egregious" items on his blog he claims the JECC policy board is guilty of overspending taxpayer money on.   Sullivan has inside-baseball knowledge with these *infractions*, long-term knowledge of events - but he's just NOW alerting the public to it?  That's a red flag.  If these matters are so "egregious" then why did Sullivan wait until just a few days ago to sound the alarm?  What kind of leadership is that?  Or is it something else?

Sullivan writes on his own blog that his idea for running the JECC means putting the county sheriff in charge of operations.  After much research and review of successful JECC programs by the policy board and others, that's not the model the JECC was developed on, meaning Sullivan's idea for how things should be was rejected.   Further, according to Coralville Courier sources, Sheriff Lonny Pulkrabek didn't care for the Sheriff-running-operations concept either.  That Sullivan's concept was rejected stuck in his craw.

Then according to Sullivan himself, he went with a "Plan B."  From his blog:  "I then went to a fallback position… if having the Sheriff run the JECC was unacceptable to Iowa City, then let the ICPD run the thing. This, too, was shut down."

Again, not the model the JECC was developed on and apparently, Sullivan is the only one who had issues with it.  The guy has absolutely no practical experience with this kind of thing, and he thinks he knows best?  That's laughable.  Ignorant arrogance.

Given Sullivan's history of throwing hissyfits when he doesn't get his way, he sounds bitter that he was rejected.  Could this explain his sudden desire to be fiscally conservative and complain about the JECC budget?  Ironic isn't it?  The Johnson County budget went up 56% over a four-year period with Sullivan as chair for a large part of that time frame, and now he's all-of-a-sudden mindful of taxpayer dollars?

Who does he think he's fooling?

Crux of the matter:  The template for the JECC budget was indeed based on a 77 cent special levy.  Rodney Sullivan has gotten the supervisors all worked up over what he claims is supposed to be a 68 cent levy.  He's on record for maintaining 77 cents, but just the other day cries foul over a policy board proposed 75 cents.

What is Sullivan not telling us?  And what kind of leadership is that?  There's something else going on here and it stinks, it stinks like a dead skunk in the middle of the road.....

Story developing....


Be learned AND virtuous

"[A] good moral character is the first essential in a man, and that the habits contracted at your age are generally indelible, and your conduct here may stamp your character through life. It is therefore highly important that you should endeavor not only to be learned but virtuous." -- George Washington, letter to Steptoe Washington, 1790

How much you pay county supervisors to mislead you

Sullivan stated that the Board of Supervisors was looking for a commitment to have the special tax levy remain at .77 per $1,000. -- Supervisor Rodney Sullivan, Meeting Minutes, JECC Policy Board, Friday, November 7, 2008.

"The $2 million should be there somewhere, but we don't know what is there, how much or can we utilize it." ~ Supervisor Pat Harney, replying to inquiries about the status of $2 million taxpayer dollars that were supposedly set aside for operational expenses for the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center, January 2010.

Supervisor Salary
Pat Harney $51,017
Terrance Neuzil $51,017
Janelle Rettig $51,017
Sally Stutsman $51,017
Rodney Sullivan $51,017
Total annual taxpayer expenditure:     $255,085

And Supervisors are considering approving themselves another pay raise as part of the fiscal 2011 budget.  Even though only 1.4%, still it comes at a time when people in the real world are facing decreases in salary, cutbacks, layoffs, and job loss.


Dear Johnson County Resident

You've probably read, watched, or heard of the flap over the special tax levy for the Johnson County Emergency Communications Center (JECC).  You are witness to a painfully transparent attempt to spin a tale far different from what is documented in county meeting minutes and the reality that supervisors had no business pretending to be upset with JECC management.

As Supervisors Terrance Neuzil, Rodney Sullivan, and Janelle Rettig have dragged our county in the wrong direction by pushing their elitist government-knows-best policies, Johnson County residents have realized that their so-called leadership is something they don't want.

We have seen a year of ethically challenged supervisors, low-road attempts to spin the JECC issue, back room deals with special interests, and county government's blatant attempt to continue binge spending on the backs of residents.

The good people of Johnson County are telling supervisors and members of the local Democrat machine to hit the brakes on their binge spending and government-run progressive experiments in providing *services* - but they arrogantly refuse to listen.

It is clear that current county leadership has completely failed to practice responsibility and demonstrate respect to ALL residents.

The people of Johnson County demand honorable and responsive government.  We deserve a stronger local economy free of excessive government intervention and taxation.  It is up to us to make sure that happens.  Tell others about the Coralville Courier and help us end the Democrat's stranglehold on this county.

Thank you,

Mike Thayer

Publisher, Coralville Courier


1205 Laura Drive Structure Fire

IOWA CITY, IA. -- At approximately 3:00AM on January 28, 2010, the Iowa City Fire Department was dispatched to 1205 Laura Drive, Unit #42, for a possible structure fire. First-in units encountered a fully-involved manufactured home. Occupants were all out of the structure upon fire department arrival. Fire crews attacked the fire with handlines, bringing it under control shortly after arrival.The fire was extinguished about 1 1/2 hours after arrival. There were no injuries, civilian or firefighter. Damage was estimated at $30000, fire department estimate. A vehicle parked next door, as well as a manufactured home next to the involved structure also sustained damage.11 off-duty firefighters from Iowa City responded, and mutual aid was received from Coralville and West Branch fire departments.Johnson County Ambulance stood by during the fire fighting, and Iowa City Police provided traffic control. Fire crews had to contend with freezing temperatures, coupled with a main break near the fire hydrant.Fire crews were on the scene for about 2 1/2 horus.The Red Cross was called to assist the 2 adults and 6 children who lived in the home. The cause of the fire is under investigation by the Iowa City Fire Department.

The Hahn Report

Lesson Not Learned: Governor Culver’s Proposed Budget Continues Fiscally Irresponsible Practices, Raises Taxes

High taxes, unbalanced budgets and lack of jobs focus becomes trademark of Culver Administration

Hahn Governor Culver finally unveiled his proposed budget for the next fiscal year this week. Even though the Legislature has yet to begin its work in earnest on the new budget, the governor’s suggestions provide the taxpayers an early view of what they might expect. As it looks now, if the governor’s plan is adopted, Iowans can expect more of the same fiscal problems that have plagued our state during the last three years.

Last year, Governor Culver signed the largest budget in state history at a time when our economy could not support it. As Republicans, we offered hundreds of millions in common sense savings but nearly all were ignored or voted down in partisan fashion.

Only months later, after the governor had denied he spent too much all summer long, he could no longer ignore his unbalanced budget any longer. He was forced to make a ten percent across-the-board cut in October. Unfortunately, this was all avoidable.

To be clear, Iowa does not have a revenue problem – we have a severe spending problem. Governor Culver should have scaled back his spending, listened to Iowans and accepted the Republican solutions. There was a real opportunity to sign a sensible budget that reflects the true priorities of our citizens. Iowans did not receive the fiscal leadership they deserved.

As the new budget discussions begin anew, Governor Culver has a fresh opportunity to put Iowa back on a path of sustainable and responsible spending that does not add to the tax load already burdening taxpayers. The question is, will he take this occasion to do just that?

If his initial budget outline is any indication, that answer is no. His new proposed spending is over $400 million dollars larger than the state’s budget today. At a time when families and employers are still forced to make sacrifices and cut backs, the spending increases continue.

Unless a more fiscally responsible vision for Iowa is adopted in the coming weeks, Iowans will continue to see their taxes increase. Already, Governor Culver’s actions have lead to property tax increases estimated at approximately $270 million dollars. He likes to say he has not raised taxes but Iowans know better and they can point to their property tax bills to prove it.

This new budget is also crafted by continuing the practice of using one-time dollars for ongoing expenses. He plans to raid Iowa’s savings and rainy day funds by over $200 million dollars, leaving the state’s reserves dangerously low. He continues the practice of using one-time federal bailout dollars that will not be available in the years ahead. Unless the programs are ended, a new revenue source will have to be found to pay for them and that will result in higher taxes.

Much of his projections are based on hypothetical savings from an out-of-state, highly taxpayer paid consultant. Yet, when the non-partisan analysts who work for Legislature look at the same proposals, they find results that are only small fractions of what was originally touted. For example, the consultants said one all-inclusive aspect of the government re-organization bill being pushed through the Legislature in the next few days would save $200 million dollars. Yet, when the non-partisan analysts scored it, they found it to be closer $43 million. Those kinds of financial discrepancies are found in several aspects of the governor’s budget statement and could easily leave the state’s budget unbalanced by hundreds of millions of dollars if not corrected.

If Iowans are looking for bold action in making it easier for jobs to be created, this budget proposal is also sure to disappoint. We believe this session should be all about jobs and growing our state. Governor Culver continues to only focus on trying to create temporary government make-work positions through his unsuccessful I-Jobs debt program, but nowhere in his budget does he make it clear that long-term private sector job creation is a priority. Instead, the higher property taxes that will come as a result of this budget are only going to erect more barriers to the creation of real sustainable jobs.

Not a single Republican in either the House or Senate voted for the budget last year because we all understood the people of Iowa were sick of the out-of-control spending and we knew the budget was unbalanced.

As Republicans, we will continue to offer our suggestions and solutions because Iowans want their senators and representatives to work hard on their behalf. But if the unfettered spending continues as it has the past three years, you can expect Senate Republicans to once again cast our votes in favor of families’ budgets rather than bigger government budgets.


Grant Wood Neighborhood Association to sponsor money management seminar on Saturday

IOWA CITY, IA. -- The Grant Wood Neighborhood Association is sponsoring a money management seminar this Saturday, January 30, for neighborhood residents and others who would like to learn a few tips on how to better manage their money, including how to spend less and save more, get more for their money, and avoid financial mistakes.

Phyllis Zalenski, a Family Resource Management Program Specialist with the Iowa State University Extension Office, will lead the seminar, which will also include some tax information on earned income tax credits and where to go for free tax preparation services.

The event will be held from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Grant Wood School Cafeteria at 1930 Lakeside Drive. There is no charge to attend, and all participants will receive free workbooks and money management calendars. Refreshments will also be available.

For more information, contact Therese McKenzie, Grant Wood Neighbor Association Activity Coordinator, at 319.471.8836.

Editor's Note:  City time, equipment, resources, and manpower was utilized to promote this *event*.   Why?  Budget cuts anyone?  And some wonder why property taxes are skyrocketing......  Did you know the Iowa City neighborhood associations are funded at least in part by city funds (your money).  Don't live in Grant Wood?  If you're an Iowa City resident you support their neighborhood association anyway.  Taxation without representation at the most basic level.


"We'll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN..."

By Doug Stout

In 2008 Presidential candidate Barack Obama was full of hopeful rhetoric about changing the political culture in Washington, D.C.  He even promised a new era of political transparency when the details of health-care reform were debated.  He said “We’ll have the negotiations televised on C-SPAN so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents, and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies or insurance companies.” (1)  Every honest observer knows that the politics of Washington have not changed at all; whether you like or dislike the President’s agenda, there has been no new spirit of transparency to hit our nation’s capital.  The rhetoric…was “gone with the wind,” as soon as the realities of governing sank in, assuming the intentions were ever really there to try to bring about real change in the political quagmire of competing interests that define our nation’s capital. If we had “healthcare debate in the sunshine,” would the “Cornhusker kickback” (which called for payments which would only benefit the state of Nebraska) in order to assure the vote of Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (D) ever come to pass?  Would there really only be three counties in the entire country where seniors will not have their Medicare Advantage program significantly altered?  It is not coincidence that those three counties are in Florida and were key to getting the vote of Florida Senator Bill Nelson (D).  The health-care legislation is so full of special deals and unique provisions that the sponsor should have been Monte Hall, from the old television show “Let’s Make a Deal.”

The health care reform…or health care revision meetings…(I am not sure “reform” is actually involved in the process) may be the most notable evidence of the lack of transparency in the current Administration, but there are plenty of others to choose from in their conduct. Bret Baier from Fox News recently posted a quote from Los Angeles Times reporter Andrew Malcolm talking about the daily schedule for Vice President Joe Biden, which reads: “Today’s Biden schedule highlight is a meeting with the chief of transparency for economic recovery. But, unfortunately, the transparency meeting is non-transparent – closed to the press – Which makes it – what? – Secret openness? Open Secrecy?” (2)  Well at the very least the word “ironic” comes to mind…and some would lean more towards the term “hypocritical.”

I do not think there is any one reason for the free-fall that President Obama has suffered in the polls since his election, but there is no quicker way to drop in the public eye than to solemnly promise things that you either have no intention of delivering or find very quickly that you do not have the capability to deliver.  I wonder if along with the ongoing recession, President Obama’s promise to change the way that politics work in Washington, D.C., and his unwillingness to even expend much effort in that direction have led to the quick disillusionment of the American people. There is a very short time frame during which a leader can be successful solely on the basis that he is “something different” than what came before him, then he or she reaches the point where they are judged based on the expectations they have created. President Obama created great expectations with his soaring rhetoric and has only left disillusion throughout many sectors of the political spectrum since their view of the “hope and change” that was coming has not inspired hope and has often been “change” which has been more negative than constructive.  In no area is that more clear than in his stated objective of changing the tone of politics in this country and in making the political process open to the people. It has not happened and the lack of serious effort to even attempt to do so is very clear even to many admirers of the President.

Now with the recent election of Republican Scott Brown to the United States Senate from Massachusetts, filling the seat that was left open when Senator Edward Kennedy passed away last year, all political “bets are off.”  Paul Kirk, who was a friend and aide to Senator Kennedy had been named to fill the seat pending the special election, which Brown won on January 19, 2010. (3)  Mr. Kirk, a Democrat, had continued to give the Democratic leader 60 probable votes in the United States Senate. There were only 40 Republicans in the Senate and 58 Democrats, but the other two members of the Senate, Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders, both caucus with the Democrats in the body.

As you probably know, this is important because of the Senate rules.  The Senate is meant to be a deliberative body and the rules require that at least 60 Senators must vote to move to final consideration of legislation before a vote can take place. Therefore, with 41 Senate votes you can prevent legislation from moving to a final vote for passage. The Republican Party members, if they vote together, can now prevent any legislation which they feel would be damaging to the nation from passing the Senate.

However, “the Scott heard round the world,” as some pundits labeled the outcome, paraphrasing the famous “shot heard round the world” which started the American War of Independence from Great Britain, has much more significance than just a procedural forty-first vote in the United States Senate, although that alone changes the political dynamic in Washington, D.C. dramatically.

More than the mere number, it is quite probably at least a minor footnote in our nation’s history.  It is the point where the Obama agenda came to a grinding halt as one of the most solidly Democratic states in the union specifically rejected the personal pleas of their leader, President Obama, in Boston the Sunday before the election, to preserve his agenda and send the Democrat Martha Coakley, who served as the State’s Attorney General, to Washington.

You can say that Scott Brown was the better candidate and that he ran a better campaign, both of which are probably accurate in the eyes of most observers in both parties.  But, however you try to explain it away, the truth remains the same. An overwhelmingly Democratic state elected a Republican Senator who ran openly on the fact that he opposed the President’s health care plans and thought the Democratic leaders in the Administration and in Congress had too much power.

So where do we go from here?  There is an old saying that 24 hours is an eternity in politics and that is basically true.  It is also true that every indicator right now shows that unless there are big changes in the political environment, the Democratic losses in the November elections will be very, very large.  The unspoken rule in politics is that if the political boat is sinking, it quickly becomes “every man and woman for themselves.” (There are no “children” in Congress…well perhaps that is a debatable point…but if there were…given the culture there…they would have to fend for themselves as well.) This becomes even more so given the nature of the Democrats top leadership, who appear to be in no position to help embattled Democratic legislators.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is up for election in 2010, and the polls indicate that if the election was held today, he would have little hope of coming back to Washington, D.C.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi represents a San Francisco district in Congress. It is a district that even Scott Brown could probably not take away from her, but no one has ever said “as San Francisco goes…so goes the nation.”  Vice President Biden may have found that “undisclosed location” that they were always saying Vice President Cheney was staying in, because he has not been making many headlines lately.  Besides, if former President Bill Clinton, the other current Massachusetts United States Senator John Kerry, and even the President of the United States can’t save a Democrat in Massachusetts from defeat, who can?

Since there is currently a shortage of superheroes available to fill that gap, it is a not so rhetorical question being asked behind closed doors in almost every Democrat Senate and House of Representative office in our nation’s capitol. The answer from the senior staff, the trusted political councils, and probably from the Member’s spouse is going to be that “we are on our own.”  The ramifications of that are hard to fully appreciate. The bottom line is…that if there is no one to save us if we get into trouble, we sure as heck better not get into trouble in the first place…and if we are currently in trouble, we have less than ten months to get ourselves out of it.  This lesson is also not lost on the opposition side of the fence. In politics, the sharks are always circling, internally within your own political party and externally as well. Believe me when I say, if the seat formerly held by Senator Kennedy goes down in Massachusetts, with the President of the United States and the deceased Senator’s wife doing everything they can to stop the wave from cresting, there is no seat that can’t be contested.  The “blood is in the water,” and the President’s political agenda is now secondary to the political “survival” strategies being drawn up behind each of those closed Democratic doors.

Now they may decide that their best strategy is to “get something done,” and the President had better hope so. In the immortal words of Ben Franklin during the American Revolution, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” (4)  If I were Nancy Pelosi, that would be my mantra to her Democratic caucus, but in the modern age, where a candidate for the most part raises his or her own money, runs their own ads, and forms their own alliances, I am not sure the party will hold.  It may be a more coherent strategy to say that they are all scoundrels in Washington, D.C. except for me, your beloved hometown Congressman. “I just can’t for the life of me understand what the ‘Speaker’, ‘The President,’ or any or all of those other rascals and politicians are thinking.”  If that does not sound noble, there is a good reason that President Harry Truman was known as being plain spoken and there is a very good reason why he famously said: “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.” (5)

This is not to say that the country is going to come to a grinding halt. What it does mean is that the President will have to convince a majority of the country that he has a good policy initiative before going forward with it.  So far the Administration strategy has seemed to “put the cart before the horse.”  If you have the power that comes with high poll ratings and clout, you can convince your allies in Congress of the value of the legislation and never bother to find out…if a majority of their constituents are on board with you.  You are now going to have a lot of Democrat elected officials that are going to tell the Administration that if they want their support for a piece of legislation they are going to have to sell it publicly first. “Tell them why it is good for the country….don’t tell me.  If you can convince my constituents it is a good idea, I will be happy to support it…but if not…forget it.”

This may not be political leadership by members of Congress, but I think it is a very big step in the right direction compared to the last year.  One of the most valued domestic assets the President has is the “bully pulpit.” He should use it to build a public consensus…not to tell the public that they should trust Congress and the Administration to do what is best for them. If those days ever really existed, they are long since a thing of the past in these days of 24-hour mass communication. While he is contemplating new approaches, the President might want to get over the whole “George Bush ate my homework” excuse.  Whether or not the policies of past administrations have contributed to our current situation is not relevant any more.  If he can’t come up with solutions to improve the situation we are in, move out of the way, there are other Members of both parties who would be glad to have the opportunity.

The media needs to understand that they need to do a lot of work to regain their credibility.  The people of Massachusetts proved that while they may be liberals and they certainly are mostly Democrats, they know that the current style of leadership by Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid is no way to run the American government. President Obama promised transparency and promised a new way of governing.  It is a little late to start now, but better late than never.  If he still doesn’t comply, the network news should start their broadcasts by pointing out “the Emperor has no clothes” on the issue.

The President might start by emptying his Administration of ideological campaign operatives and replacing them with pragmatic policy administrators…from both parties. Did you forget about that promise…to fill his Administration with qualified people from both parties and all sectors of American life? He should realize that the President and his policies are legitimate lightening rods for criticism and explain his agenda to the watchers of Fox News as well as MSNBC, and if he wants to exchange barbs with Fox political commentators, he should go after some of the obnoxious commentators on the liberal spectrum like Keith Olbermann, who said on the air at MSNBC on January 18: “In Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees.” (6)  Really – what say you President Obama? Is Mr. Olbermann wrong, or are the people of Massachusetts, the overwhelmingly Democratic voters of Massachusetts wrong?  If you are going to call for a new style of politics, and if you are going to lead the entire nation, you need to confront poisonous venom from all points of the political spectrum and label it for what it is…unacceptable.  Where is your new style of politics?  Where is the President of all the American people, including those who choose to watch Fox News? We expected more Mr. President…you promised more Mr. President.

On the Iowa front, the news on the credibility of Governor Culver and his statements on the budget are not very good either.  In urging the passage of his borrowing scheme to finance current projects with our children’s tax dollars, the Governor had claimed the borrowed money would create “21,000 to 30,000 jobs.”  On January 15, the Governor changed his tune and trimmed that estimate. He now says the borrowing scheme, which will take 25 years to pay back and burden Iowans with hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments will create “hopefully hundreds, if not thousands” of jobs. (7)  So if we pick a fair number, based on his recent quote, 830 new jobs would seem to be generous to him.  That also happens to be the amount, $830 million, that we borrowed, not counting the substantial interest on the bonds we will have to pay back as well. Let’s see…doing the math…moving the zeros…I guess that comes out to borrowing $1,000,000 per job created. These are temporary jobs, which normally only last until the project is completed. So why again is it called the “I-Jobs” program, and why is the Governor still telling people it was his number one priority in the last legislative session?  I expect most Iowans can recognize a bad investment of the next 25 years of their tax dollars when they see one.  We can only hope that the rest of the year brings a more transparent political environment.


(Endnotes)

1 David Corn, “President Obama, Where Are Those C-SPAN Cameras?” Politics Daily, August 7, 2009, http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/08/07/president-obama-where-are-those-c-span-cameras/ (January 18, 2010).

2 Bret Baier, “Vice President Biden’s Non-Transparent Transparency Meeting,” January 15, 2010, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583073,00.html (January 18, 2010).

3 “Mr. Brown goes to Washington,” CNN, January 21, 2010, http://edition.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/01/21/brown.washington/ (January 21, 2010).

4 Ben Franklin, http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/quotable/quote71.htm (January 21, 2010).

5 President Harry S. Truman, http://thinkexist.com/quotation/if_you_want_a_friend_in_washington-get_a/193651.html (January 21, 2010).

6 Keith Olbermann, MSNBC, January 18, 2010, from RealClearPolitics.com, January 19, 2010, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/01/19/olbermann_scott_brown_is_a_racist_teabagging_ex-nude_model.html, (January 21, 2010.)

7 Tom Beaumont, “Culver cuts job estimate for I-JOBS program,” Des Moines Register Staff Blogs, January 16, 2010, http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2010/01/16/culver-cuts-job-estimate-for-i-jobs-program/ (January 18, 2010).


Doug Stout is a Research Analyst with Public Interest Institute.

The January 2010 IOWA TRANSPARENCY NEWSLETTER can be viewed at Public Interest Institute’s government transparency web site, www.iowatransparency.org.

Reprinted by permission from IOWA TRANSPARENCY NEWSLETTER, a publication of Public Interest Institute.  The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Public Interest Institute. They are brought to you in the interest of a better-informed citizenry.