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September 2010

Cronyism in the corridor, it's no longer within city limits

The REAL View by Mike Thayer (For those of you who live in University Heights, that means it's an opinion piece)

A small town can at times, find itself limited in what it can purchase from who.  Whether it's a product needed or a service to contract, it's somewhat understandable then that a tractor for example is bought from the mayor's buddy, who owns the nearest John Deere dealership.  Clarence, Iowa, pretty much out in the middle of nowhere on Highway 30, would be an example of a town somewhat limited in what it can reasonably purchase from who.

But for folks around here, well we don't live in a small town with limited access to vendors and service providers anymore.  Those times are long gone and Clarence-like circumstances just don't exist around here.  Iowa City, University Heights, Coralville, North Liberty and arguably Tiffin have all morphed together into one big (by Iowa standards) metro area.  Sure, there are still some small town flavors here and there, but without question, this area is loaded with choices, access and availability.

Yet, cronyism seems to exist, and what could be considered tolerable by yesteryear's small town standards, isn't confined within the borders of the cities making up the larger metro area.

Sadly, the local papers aren't reporting on all the cronyism going on around here either.  It apparently takes concerned taxpayers to do the job newspapers are supposed to do.   Taxpayers shouldn't have had to form a formal group to uncover a possible corporate welfare scandal happening in North Liberty.  The newspapers should have been reporting on the issue and either developing it or putting the story to rest - publicly.  But that didn't happen.  Despite having the information available to them, area newspapers ignored the city of North Liberty proposing a 60 acre land purchase deal, benefitting the University of Iowa Community Credit Union.  This deal will apparently benefit the credit union in two ways, 1.  They would get interest from the bonding they'll underwrite for the financing of this deal.  2.  They will also benefit because the city of North Liberty has also proposed to turn around and sell the credit union 24 of those acres for just $1.  Those two items combined are enough to at least investigate, and the local papers dropped the ball on it.  What does one publication do instead?  Write about how some North Liberty residents are fuming over the deal.  Not about how fishy the deal smells mind you, but about how some residents are fuming......

That's journalism?  That's properly informing the public?


And excuse me, but isn't business as usual, this is how it's done a basis of frustration being expressed by an ever-growing sector of voters?  You would think newspapers would pick up on that wouldn't you?

But wait a minute.....  Could the fact that the realtor likely to broker the North Liberty land deal (for those of you who live in University Heights, that would mean a large commission would be generated) advertises in at least one of the area's publications?   Could a representative of the realty company also be a crony buddy?  Just ask'n, because the newspapers aren't.  Gee, a local credit union also advertises in local publications too right?  Things that make you go hmmmm.....

It's true, money talks. 

Taxpayers have cause to be concerned over what looks to be at a minimum, an unwise deal.  Unwise because the deal comes on the backs of not just North Liberty taxpayers, but on Johnson County taxpayers.  Why?  Because another element local newspapers aren't reporting on is that this deal also includes the land being purchased getting designated a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) district.  Basically, that means money that would ordinarily go to schools would go to payment on the bonding instead.   Since this story broke, officials are now telling people that the state will subsidize that loss, which amounts to a used car salesman trying to unload a lemon....  The state doesn't have any money and thanks to Governor Culver they've recently cut funding for schools!  So with the state unable to reimburse the loss (and even if they could provide some funds it wouldn't come close to covering the entire loss) due to TIF, what does that mean?   Property taxes throughout the county will get jacked up.... AGAIN.

But that's not being reported on.....  Except by some concerned citizens and yours truly.

Related crony questions not being asked, not being reported on:  In a related shennanigans story, North Liberty gets some bids for a skidloader it apparently doesn't really need, and they got bids from the same company in three different cities as opposed to bids from three competing companies.   Hmmm, isn't that weird?  Where does the representative from this one company live?  Just ask'n, 'cause the papers won't.  Did North Liberty council member Chris Hoffman work for a local financial institution at one time?  Just ask'n. Is North Liberty council member Terry Donahue the same Donahue that used to be the Mayor of Creston, Iowa? The same Donahue that hired a young Kelly Hayworth to do some financial number crunching for him? And is that the same Kelly Hayworth that is now the City Administrator of Coralville? And North Liberty Mayor Tom Salm, doesn't he work for Terracon? Isn't that the oufit that does all of Coralville's Brownfield research?..... Are those no-bid contracts? Just ask'n.....

City limits?  What city limits?

Things that make you go hmmmmm......

Download Credit_union_promo

The Coralville Courier wants land for $1

The Coralville Courier is looking to expand, so listen up area towns.....

In changing our name to Corridor Courier, we'll write nothing but feel good, fluffy, promotional stories about your government management, we'll totally omit negative stories about your fair city.....

We'll do that in exchange for 24 acres of land which we'll GLADLY pay just $1 for.  We *promise* to create jobs!

You can reach us at:

We look forward to hearing from you and getting a similar corporate welfare deal to what the University of Iowa Community Credit Union is getting.

Mike Thayer, Publisher

Download Credit_union_promo

Is voting for someone just because they have a 'D' or 'R' next to their name a wise thing to do?

Remember how Obama swept so many off their feet, the promise of hope and change, and the emotional well articulated speeches? After all that, and given the number of folks that vote based on party alone, how many Republicans would have voted to elect Obama had he had an ‘R’ next to his name? Interesting question, don’t you think?

- Steve Rathje -

Report: County property taxes state's highest

So the Iowa City Oppressed Citizen finally joined the party by informing readers about the high property taxes in Johnson County.

The Coralville Courier has been properly informing readers about ever-increasing taxes and excessive spending by area government since its inception in January 2008.

So with that in mind, did you know the county budget has gone up more than 67% in the last four years and it's likely to go up even more?  No ifs, ands or buts, that's Democrat leadership, every excessive spending dime of it.

Numbers don't lie, the county is spending your money at unsustainable levels:

  • FY 2007--Expenditures $53.8 million
  • FY 2008--Expenditures $66.8 million
  • FY 2009--Supervisors told you they were going to spend $75.9 million (but actual expenditures were $84.2 million)
  • FY 2010--Supervisors told you they were going to spend $84.08 million (but actual expenditures were $90 million) 

Johnson_county_spending See the trend?  Supervisors are telling you one thing, but something quite different is happening.  County officials are on pace to hit $100 MILLION in spending!  That leaves two choices as to why:  Either supervisors are lying to you about budgeting, or they're inept. 

Something to ask supervisors:  Are home values being inflated so that more property taxes can be collected to cover the budget?

Liberal Congressman Alan Grayson uses twisted lie in latest attack ad

In his latest attack ad against his opponent Republican Dan Webster, incumbent Alan Grayson (liberal, Florida) sliced, diced and totally manipulated something said by Webster.

Calling Webster “Taliban Dan” and comparing him to “religious fanatics” in Afghanistan and Iran, the over-the-top Grayson ad repeatedly runs clips of Webster saying wives should submit to their husbands.  

Did you notice how the Grayson ad repeatedly runs clips of Webster saying wives should submit to their husbands?  That may be a passage in the Bible, but that's as close as Grayson got to the truth and where the slicing and dicing of what Webster actually said comes in.  The truth is Webster was cautioning husbands to avoid taking that passage as their own.  Here's what he ACTUALLY said:  "So, write a journal. Second, find a verse. I have a verse for my wife, I have verses for my wife. Don't pick the ones that say, 'She should submit to me.' That's in the Bible, but pick the ones that you're supposed to do. So instead, 'love your wife, even as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it' as opposed to 'wives submit to your own husbands.' She can pray that, if she wants to, but don't you pray it.

So Webster tells husbands to love their wife......  HOW EEEEVVVVVIIIIIILLLLLLL!!!!!  (According to Grayson).

Alan Grayson, a liberal, is playing dishonorable games in order to get elected.  It's not about doing what's right for him, it's about going low road, saying and doing ANYTHING just to get re-elected.  That's not leadership, that's the act of a self-centered coward.

Road Construction - Dickenson Lane

IOWA CITY, IA. -- Weather permitting, beginning on Thursday, September 30, 2010, Dickenson Lane will be closed at its intersection with Sycamore Street. At the same time, Langenberg Avenue and Terrapin Drive will be reopened at their intersections with Sycamore Street. This closure is to facilitate the Sycamore Street Improvement Project.

Access to residences will be maintained via Langenberg Avenue and Terrapin Drive during this phase of construction. It is anticipated that normal access to Dickenson Lane will resume by the end of October.

Motorists are encouraged to take note of this construction work and to seek an alternate route during this time period. As always, caution should be exercised when traveling through all construction areas.

For the updated information on road construction in Iowa City, visit the City of Iowa City's website at

Governor Culver, Where Are The Permanent Jobs?

Month to month temporary work reports and decades of debt as a result of Governor Chet Culver

Paul mckinley DES MOINES, IA. -- Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) today issued the following comment following Governor Culver’s latest and ever-changing politically heightened jobs numbers associated with his failed I-JOBS debt scheme:

“The very nature of Governor Culver releasing politically heightened I-JOBS numbers on a monthly basis underscores what Senate Republicans have been saying for the last 18 months: these are temporary government make-work jobs that disappear almost as soon as they are created, yet, the debt to pay for them will last for decades.”

Senate Republicans offered real plans to stimulate long-term private sector job creation in Iowa instead of spending $1.7 billion to create temporary work yet Iowans are asking, ‘where are the long-term private sector jobs?’ and unfortunately Governor Culver still has no answer.”

City Councilman Chris Hoffman to concerned citizens: "...gain some perspective on this matter..."

By Mike Thayer

That's a quote from North Liberty Council member Chris Hoffman in a response to concerned taxpayers. When he says "gain some perspective" what he's really saying is, the only perspective that counts is the council's perspective, so shut up like good little citizens because we know better.

Background: A group called the Concerned Taxpayers of North Liberty has uncovered a plan by the North Liberty City Council that provides 24 acres of land to the University of Iowa Communications Credit Union (UICCU) for $1. They sent out a mailer last week to North Liberty voters about what they've uncovered. Below is Hoffman's response via an email he sent to group members. Non-public official names and email addresses have been withheld for obvious reasons.

From: Chris Hoffman []
Sent: Monday, September 27, 2010 7:55 AM
Cc: Tom Salm; XXXXXXX; Gerry Kuhl
Subject: Disappointment

Good morning all,

I hope you all had good weekends, and hope the upcoming week treats you well also.

I wanted to share with you my disappointment in receiving your mailing over the weekend. To claim to have no accountability from this council and insinuate fiscal irresponsibility is both misleading and simply untrue.

I personally met with all of you, and others, regarding the credit union project. And, we have extended an invitation to your entire group to meet in an open and public session. So far, that invitation has gone unanswered.

Furthermore, the financial impact this project has on this community (North Liberty, ICCSD, CCASD, Johnson County) is one of many important factors considered so far by this council. I encourage all of you to take the time to review the past three years budget sessions, and the awareness this council has regarding NL's growth and paying for the needs as a result of this growth.

Please take time this week to gain some perspective on this matter, as well as all of our collective long-term desires for the best for this community. I'm sure we are all wanting the same outcomes, but have different views on how to get there. Utilizing a mass-mailing to elicit sharp criticism and dividing the "we" vs. "them" is something I expect from our national politics, but not from a group of my neighbors, businesses I utilize, and taxpayers I represent.


Chris Hoffman
North Liberty City Councilor

Editor's Note: How arrogant can this Hoffman guy be? He's wrongfully assuming no homework has been done by the Concerned Taxpayers of North Liberty. These aren't people having knee-jerk reactions folks, they've done their homework, they've dotted 'i's and crossed 't's, they've checked and double-checked facts. Ladies and gentlemen, it's because the council is TONE DEAF is why the mailer went out. To use Hoffman's own words, "I personally met with all of you, and others, regarding the credit union project." And yet despite concerned taxpayer objection to this deal he and the other council members moved forward anyway with a very fishy deal that gives 24 acres of land to the University of Iowa Credit Union for $1, that the bonding involved in this deal is being done through the credit union where they get to collect interest. Apparently Hoffman doesn't care about the corporate welfare aspect of all this. And how the council is going to play with Tax Incremental Financing (taking money away from school districts) hasn't even been brought up yet. And hey, as if council member Chris Hoffman isn't bad enough, isn't North Liberty council member Terry Donahue the same Donahue that used to be the Mayor of Creston, Iowa? The same Donahue that hired a young Kelly Hayworth to do some financial number crunching for him? And is that the same Kelly Hayworth that is now the City Administrator of Coralville? And North Liberty Mayor Tom Salm, doesn't he work for Terracon? Isn't that the oufit that does all of Coralville's Brownfield research?..... Are those no-bid contracts? Just ask'n..... Things that make you go hmmmmm......

Download Credit_union_promo

Green Economy Cash Favors from DC Abound

More great stuff from Paul Chesser:

Vulnerable Rep. Betsy Markey, and many fellow Colorado Democrats, has been the beneficiary of liberal billionaire heiress Pat Stryker's generous political contributions, which helped transform it into a Blue State a few short years ago. Now it appears that Markey has returned the favor by helping one of Stryker's investments, a solar company, get $400 million in federal loan guarantees and by voting for the Waxman-(Ed) Markey cap-and-trade bill. Complete Colorado has the story:

Read On.....

Breaking news from Newsmax: Obama Seeks Sweeping Power for Internet, Cell Phone Wiretaps

WASHINGTON — Broad new regulations being drafted by the Obama administration would make it easier for law enforcement and national security officials to eavesdrop on Internet and e-mail communications like social networking Web sites and BlackBerries, The New York Times reported Monday.

Read On.....