One Year Ago Today . . .

Dear Friends,

Over 200 march in frigid conditions, December 14, 2016.

One year ago today, Iowans rallied at the Polk County Courthouse to support landowners suing state government over the abuse of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access pipeline. That case now advances to the Iowa Supreme Court. Its ramifications for other eminent domain fights, climate change and water quality are significant.

Today, one year later, Bold Iowa issued the following press release. Please take a few minutes to read and share it . . . and please make a donation to support our work as we rely almost entirely on grassroots support!

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 14, 2017 — 11:00 a.m. CT,
Contact Ed Fallon at (515) 238-6404 or ed@boldiowa.com

Bold Iowa, other groups, continue to support landowners
Pipeline fight moves to Iowa Supreme Court

The lawsuit filed by Iowa landowners and the Iowa Sierra Club against the use of eminent domain to build the Dakota Access pipeline is expected to come before the Iowa Supreme Court sometime in 2018. Plaintiffs and observers feel landowners have a strong case, in part because a 2006 Iowa law prohibited the use of eminent domain by private companies. Many people, including numerous legal experts, feel the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) erred in granting Dakota Access eminent domain authority to take land by force to build an oil pipeline. That pipeline continues to be controversial, in part because it merely transports oil through Iowa without offering any direct public benefit to people living along the route.

“We feel the IUB’s decision was a clear violation of Iowa law,” said Ed Fallon, director of Bold Iowa and a former Iowa lawmaker. Fallon’s last vote as a member of the Iowa House was in support of the 2006 eminent domain legislation clarifying that eminent domain was not to be used for a private purpose.

Other grassroots groups committed to building public awareness about the importance of this lawsuit include Indigenous Iowa, 1000 Friends of Iowa, the Bakken Pipeline Resistance Coalition and 100 Grannies for a Livable Future. That list is expected to grow as interest in the lawsuit builds.

“The problem is most people don’t know about the lawsuit or its potential impact on all of our lives,” said Fallon. “With an aggressive campaign set to begin in January, Bold Iowa and other groups will push hard to increase public awareness of this potentially precedent-setting court case.”

Fallon and others believe the lawsuit has broad implications for other eminent domain battles, for private property rights, for Iowa’s water and land resources, and for climate change. “This case has historic implications for people across the state, yet few people are tracking it. Our challenge is to educate Iowans about what’s at stake and encourage them to pay close attention.”

Fallon indicated that he and others are working to flesh out the details of their effort and raise funds to make it happen. Strategies under consideration include:

    • Recruit supporters to write letters to newspapers across the state;
    • Harness online outreach to increase public awareness of the lawsuit;
    • Conduct ongoing research regarding the pipeline’s water and climate impacts, including a potential spill’s impact on local emergency responders;
    • Host a public meeting in each of Iowa’s four congressional districts; and
    • Hold a press conference or other key event in central Iowa each month.

Bold Iowa was formerly part of the national Bold Alliance and is now an independent non-profit organization that addresses the climate crisis, opposes the misuse of eminent domain to expand fossil-fuel infrastructure and other private purposes, promotes individual and entrepreneurial efforts in renewable energy and energy conservation, and works to build a broad, urban/rural coalition of Iowans. The organization’s website is www.boldiowa.com.

Bold Iowa’s director, Ed Fallon, served in the Iowa Legislature for 14 years before running unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and US Congress in 2008. Since 2009, he has hosted a talk show, The Fallon Forum, which airs on six radio stations and is available online. Ed has directed Bold Iowa since its inception in March of 2016.

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Vote NO! on Sales Tax Hike

Hi Folks —

Before I tell you about the proposed sales tax hike in Polk County, please check out conversations with my excellent guests from this week’s Fallon Forum. Bleeding Heartland’s Laurie Belin and I discuss:

SEGMENT ONE
(1) Proposed changes to the Iowa Caucuses: Are they good, bad, or meh?
(2) Senator Grassley’s “women, booze and movies” comment, and whether Grassley is now competing with Rep. Steve King and Pres. Trump for the honor of “Politician Most Likely to Embarass America.”

SEGMENT TWO
(1) Trump’s toppling of national monuments: Will the courts prevail against him?
(2) Will Pence or Trump be the Republican nominee in 2020? Ed and Laurie disagree.

On this week’s program I also discuss the California wildfires with two women on the front lines of those fires: Mary Lensing and Andrea de Lange. Check out the podcast of our conversation at www.fallonforum.com/listen.

Ok, so let’s talk briefly about the proposed sales tax hike in Polk County. I’m agin’ it, but have no idea what kind of opposition exists out there.

So, today I created this Facebook page to get the conversation rolling. Who else in Polk County is against the proposed sales tax hike? If there’s enough of us, let’s organize to defeat it.

My reasons to oppose it are three:

1. We are already over taxed.

2. The sales tax is regressive and hits the poor the hardest.

3. Most local governments have the money to do what we need them to do, they just need to better manage it.

The powers that be want this new tax in a big way. They’re mobilizing to push it through with the least amount of public opposition. In fact, this election is scheduled on a date designed to minimize voter turnout, on March 6, 2018. Grr.

Who else is in to vote down this bad idea?

Ed Fallon

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Democrats Need Corporate-style Shake-up

Dear Friends,

In an unfortunate holdover from primitive times, instinct often inclines humans to believe serious problems aren’t that bad. “That smoking volcano will never blow its top and bury our village,” finds its modern equivalent in, “Melting Arctic ice can’t possibly affect us here in Iowa.”

As much as I’d like to light a fire under you about climate change, today I’ll focus on another burning topic: the Iowa Democratic Party.

Curmudgeon. Gadfly. Self-serving phony. Debbie Downer. And my favorite: Doddering old socialist wind bag.

These are just a few of the compliments my fan club lavished upon me after my recent critique of the IDP Fall Gala. Just as the guy warning that Mt. Vesuvius would erupt proved an easy target for pummeling by the pampered people of Pompeii, we modern messengers of political reform are popular targets for defenders of the status quo.

Some of these defenders had great fun dissecting the critique point by point. Iowa Starting Line’s Pat Rynard even labeled it “ridiculous garbage.” (Read Rynard’s column and my rebuttal.)

But not a single critic confronted my core message: the IDP is out of touch, and not just with rural voters but with low- and middle-income working people, too.

With its ever-shrinking base, the IDP is headed toward permanent minority-party status. One only has to examine a few hard numbers to verify this diagnosis:

  • In December 2006, there were 19,110 more active Democrats than Republicans.
  • Today, there are 48,539 more active Republicans than Democrats — a shift of 67,649 voters!
  • In 2006, Democrats controlled the Iowa House, the Iowa Senate, the Governor’s office, three of five congressional seats, and one US Senate seat.
  • Today, Republicans control the Iowa House, the Iowa Senate, the Governor’s office, three of four congressional seats, and both US Senate seats.

The old guard wants you to believe the IDP will rise from the ashes if everyone in the Party simply learns to get along.

Don’t be fooled! “Get along” is code for “retain the status quo.”

What the Party needs is a complete shake-up, a head-to-toe makeover. It needs new blood and a radically different strategy. I’m encouraged that a fresh wave of energetic, progressive leaders now holds influential positions within the Party. But the old guard won’t give up without a struggle. They’re persuasive. They have money. They’re mostly nice people. And they’ll fight like mad if you try to take away their power.

But that’s exactly what needs to happen. We need to politely but firmly tell the old guard, “Thank you for your service. Here’s a beautifully framed certificate for your wall, but sorry, you need to step aside.”

Perhaps a comparison to the private sector would be helpful. A corporation fails badly. The board hands the CEO his head on a golden platter. The new CEO apologizes and changes the company’s logo. Public and shareholder confidence is restored. The corporation again becomes viable and profitable.

The same kind of purge needs to happen within the IDP. Campaigning on the issues people care about is meaningless if politicians don’t deliver on them. Voters aren’t fooled by that, and they’ve seen a lot of it from Democrats over the years. (For example, review the 2007-2010 Iowa Democratic trifecta and lack of any action on campaign finance, corporate hog confinements, workers rights, and other key priorities important to Democrats and most Iowans.)

Words and symbols are at least as important as issues. A “gala” doesn’t resonate with the shrinking middle class. Neither does a coastal comedian making fun of the guy most Iowans voted for for President. And few of us are going to pay $50 to eat dinner, let alone pay $50 to watch other people eat dinner.

I’m hardly the only one presenting this analysis of the IDP. Constructive criticism abounds. Consider this comment from Justin Yourison, one of many I received in response to my blog:

“I don’t understand this push by the left to rename everything, rewrite history, and shame people for being straight and white…then parade around Alec Baldwin because he makes fun of Trump in front of all the ivory tower Dems and wonder why you lose elections.”

More “ridiculous garbage?” If you think so, well then, we can just move on from this conversation. But if Democrats are serious about regaining relevancy, they’d better start taking the clamor for reform seriously.

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