Cars Matter More Than Kids

Dear Friends,

My birthday is next week, and in the great tradition of Hobbits – who instead of receiving gifts on their birthdays give them – I’m offering four of you a $50 gift card to either Gateway Market and Cafe, Ritual Cafe, HoQ Restaurant or Cinco de Mayo Restaurant. Just leave a comment on my website – HERE (scroll down to the end of the post) — and tell me what you think of my take on Des Moines’ “Cars Matter More Than Kids” day-care policy. I’ll randomly pick four names out of a hat. You can tell me how wrong I am and still win a gift card. Is this a great country, or what?

“So, cars matter more than kids,” you ask? Yes, I’m afraid so. Like soylent green, governments are made of people. And people not only taste bad, they make mistakes.

Like West Des Moines banning air B & B.

Like Aurelia vanquishing a Vietnam Vet’s service dog.

Like Ankeny outlawing chickens. (Note: Ankeny reports an average of 35-45 dog bites per year, yet zero chicken bites.)

This year’s Local Government Run Amuck Award (yes, the year is young, so this could change) goes to the City of Des Moines for limiting in-home day-care providers to six children. Why? Because one south-side curmudgeon complained about parking.

And the city has taken the curmudgeon’s side, possibly because he votes and kids don’t. One city official quoted in The Des Moines Register story claimed the restriction was needed to prevent “unintended consequences for neighbors, like too much parking, too many people on the streets, overcrowding.”

Seriously?? So, are these toddlers driving themselves to day care and hogging all the on-street parking? Or is even the act of dropping off and picking up one’s child deemed to be “too much parking?”

And since when is “people on the streets” a bad thing? A vibrant neighborhood has people on the streets. A dead, dying or decayed neighborhood has empty streets — streets that are less safe, I might add.

And “overcrowding?” In Des Moines? Give me a break . . . although this is likely to change when climate change forces refugees from submerged coastal communities to flee to the American Heartland.

This is a serious problem, folks. If the City Council refuses to budge, the number of in-home child-care slots in Des Moines would drop by around 2,000. That affects not only those kids and their families, but the employers those parents work for, too. It also affects in-home day-care providers like Tonja Boggs (featured in The Register story), whose income would be cut in half.

Finally, if none of that matters to City officials, they should care because this makes Des Moines look dumb and backward. How does the City expect that fancy new hotel it subsidized to achieve optimal occupancy rates if prospective visitors say, “Wow! Why hold our HUGE convention where they value cars more than kids when we can go to Minneapolis – America’s most bike-friendly city?”

Bike-friendly. Kid-friendly. Progressive. High quality of life. These things kinda go together. I thought the City of Des Moines would have figured it out by now.

*******

Check out podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum:
– Rampage in Kalamazoo
– Cars Matter More Than Kids|
– Chet Culver on Medicaid
– The Kinder-Morgan Pipeline, with Hattie Nestel
– Restaurant Renaissance, with Paul Rottenberg

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. The number to call is (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Pipeline Wrinkle

Dear Friends,

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) meets again tomorrow, and while it’s impossible to say for sure, this could be their final public meeting before ruling on whether to grant Dakota Access a permit to build the Bakken pipeline. Along with that permit would come the authority of eminent domain – it would be unprecedented for a private, for-profit corporation to receive the Government’s blessing to take land from rural Iowans against their will.

But there’s a wrinkle in the pipeline company’s plans. Awhile back, I challenged all of you to become “intervenors” in the process. Some did right away. Some waited, including Kriss Wells. Kriss came all the way to Des Moines from Davenport last week to attend one of the IUB meetings. When the IUB’s Nick Wagner said he didn’t want to take a stand on climate change because it might ruin his political future, Kriss thought that was appalling – and possible grounds for a conflict of interest.

So, Kriss filed a “Motion to Recuse” Mr. Wagner from the vote on the pipeline, arguing that:

“The issue of Climate Change has been raised by multiple parties in this hearing process. It was designated as an issue by the board in their outline for hearing briefs. It is a critical issue for the future of our environment.

“Public officials are expected to be fair and impartial in their decisions regarding the public trust. Mr. Wagner has indicated that he cannot meet this standard.”

In support of Kriss’ motion, Wally Taylor of the Iowa Sierra Club filed an additional motion providing still more clarity as to why Mr. Wagner should be recused from voting. Writes Wally:

“If Board Member Nick Wagner is going to base his decision on his future political career, he is violating his duty to base his decision on the facts and the law.”

Wally then goes on to point out how strongly the Iowa Supreme Court has spoken out against conflicts of interest, specifically referencing Wilson v. Iowa City, 165 N.W.2d 813, 822 (Iowa 1969).

It’s hard to say what will come of this new wrinkle, just as it’s hard to say whether the IUB will make a decision on the pipeline tomorrow, or push the matter further down the road. At any rate, come if you can: February 19 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at 1375 E Court Ave in Des Moines. You also can live stream the proceedings online. And I’ll live tweet and “face-tweet” commentary on my Facebook Page as well. Thanks,

Ed

Make Every Caucus Goer Count

Dear Friends,

Every problem has a solution. I truly believe that. Whether it’s climate change or something as comparably mundane as fixing the Caucuses, there’s a fix waiting to be tackled.

Since it’s Monday and I’m just warming up (pun intended), let’s hold off on climate change and start by repairing the Iowa Democratic Caucuses. Party Chair Andy McGuire has said she’ll convene a committee to look into the process. Let’s hope so. Lots of good ideas are percolating out there, and if Iowa truly wants to hang on to its first-in-the-nation status, the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) better heed the clamor for reform — as the Republican Party of Iowa did four years ago.

To further jump-start a conversation many have already weighed-in on, here are my two suggestions:

(1) Apportion delegates based on the total number of attendees at each caucus. In other words, in a caucus that elects 4 delegates where 150 people show up, here’s one hypothetical result:

Candidate 1 – 77 votes = 2.05 precinct delegates
Candidate 2 – 53 votes = 1.41 precinct delegates
Candidate 3 – 20 votes = 0.53 precinct delegates

Add up precinct delegate numbers from across the state and the Party reports the usual “state delegate equivalent.” Voila! You now report numbers that much more accurately reflect each candidate’s popular support while preserving the essence of a caucus. Partial delegates from each precinct can still be seated at county conventions, as there are always open seats available due to delegates who don’t show up.

(2) In precincts with huge turnouts this year, break those precincts into smaller caucuses. This eliminates long lines of shivering people waiting to get into the building, makes it easier to find a building where we don’t break fire code, prevents people from having to caucus in ice-covered parking lots, and moves the whole process along a lot faster.

Will the Party consider these and some of the many other good ideas being offered? We’ll see. I’ve offered to serve on the IDP’s committee, and will keep you posted.

On today’s Fallon Forum, we also talk with attorney Joseph Glazebrook about constitutional questions relevant to the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice. We’ll talk with Paul Cienfuegos about the Community Rights movement. And we’ll try to sort out the finally-concluded stand-off at a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. The number to call is (515) 528-8122. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Pipeline Opponents Will Continue Fight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
3:00 p.m. CST – Thursday, February 11, 2016

Contact:  Ed Fallon, 515-238-6404 or fallonforum@gmail.com
Kathy Holdefer, 515-491-8468 or kholdefer@hotmail.com
State Rep. Dan Kelley, (641) 521-9260 or dan.kelley@legis.iowa.gov
Pam & Bill Alexander, (641) 682-5905 or wha-lex55@hotmail.com

Pipeline Opponents Will Continue Fight
Vow to remain vigilant, active, engaged

DES MOINES — Iowa pipeline fighters commended the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) for taking further time to deliberate on Dakota Access’ request for a permit to build a crude oil pipeline across 350 miles of prime Iowa farmland. It is uncertain how the process will continue to unfold, but after a week of IUB meetings, pipeline opponents made it clear they will continue to be involved, vigilant and outspoken.

“I continue to be proud of how far we have come in resisting this attack on Iowa landowner rights as well as on our soil and water,” said Kathy Holdefer, a Jasper County landowner whose land is just a few hundred yards from where the pipeline is proposed to run. “I think Dakota Access thought it would bulldoze us through this process, similar to how they want to bulldoze our land. We will continue to fight this until we drive this out-of-state, private company out of Iowa.”

“I commend the board members for taking further time to address this unprecedented and extremely damaging proposal,” said Ed Fallon, a former lawmaker who walked the length of the proposed pipeline in 2015. “Some board members’ comments concern me. But much of their inquiry is spot-on. And staff have done a decent job at presenting not just Dakota Access’ view point but the perspective of opponents as well. The fact that board members are willing to further slow down the process is encouraging.”

“I’ve opposed this project on behalf of Jasper County farmers and landowners from the beginning,” said State Representative Dan Kelley (D-Newton), who attended the IUB meeting today. “Our environment must be protected from spills – both catastrophic and chronic. Our addiction to oil may be fatal, and our focus must be on clean renewables.” Kelley wouldn’t speculate on the IUB’s eventual decision, saying it could go either way.

“Our whole family is affected by this,” said Pam Alexander, whose family owns land in Mahaska County that would be compromised by the pipeline. “It’s been nerve-wracking, not knowing what’s going on from one step to the next. It seems like we landowners are almost second-class citizens when it comes to our role in this pipeline. But I am at least glad the Board is taking time making a decision.”

# # # #

Bakken Pipeline Alert!

ATTENTION! Pipeline fighters. Climate patriots. Defenders of land, water and personal liberty.

The Iowa Utilities Board could make a decision TODAY on the proposed Bakken Oil Pipeline. Come if you can at 1:00 p.m. at 1375 E Court Ave in Des Moines.IUB meeting security

If you can’t make it, watch the live stream here. The Utilities Board, Gov. Branstad and our state lawmakers need to know we’re watching, engaged and ready to act regardless of today’s outcome.

I’ll live tweeting the proceedings here, and “Face-tweet” (Ha! Did I just invent a new social media term?) on this Facebook page and this Facebook page.

Also, check out Bakken Pipeline Resistance for regular updates and information you’ll never find in the corporate media.

Thank you, and in the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t give up the fight!” – Ed Fallon

Pipeline meetings could be decisive

Pipeline fighters!

The Iowa Utilities Board meets this week, and while it’s unclear what will happen, the Board could make a decision on whether to approve or reject Dakota Access’ request for the power of eminent domain.

In defense of Iowa farmers, landowners, water and our climate, we should be there in force! The Board, state officials and the media need to know that we’re vigilant – and that we’re going to respond if any kind of decision is made. The meetings are this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 1:00-4:00 at 1375 E Court Ave in Des Moines. Let me know if you can be there for even an hour. Every body and every voice matters.

And yes, I see we have a little weather event going on today as well. If this prairie blizzard keeps you tucked away, you can still monitor the IUB meetings by live-streaming at https://iowautilitiesboard.eduvision.tv/LiveSched.aspx. The Board will know that public interest is high whether you’re in the meeting room itself or watching remotely.

*******

On today’s Fallon Forum, Dr. Charles Goldman and I debrief the Iowa Caucuses – both Democratic and Republican – and we welcome your input. Have you got a crazy caucus story to share? (Who doesn’t, right?) Is it time to ditch the Caucuses in exchange for something different, say . . . actually voting? Whatever post-caucus crud is stuck in your craw, give us a call while we’re live on the air, and get it out of your system. The number to call is (515) 528-8122.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

Big Day Is Here

Dear Friends,

I’ll keep it crisp, and ask you to do three things:

1. CAUCUS!  I hope everyone goes to their caucus tonight. It’s important! And I hope you’ll support Bernie Sanders. (Check out My Endorsement for President.)

2. It’s also a good idea to present a resolution (or two) at your caucus on an issue you feel strongly about. Resolutions on fighting climate change, stopping the Bakken Pipeline and related matters can be found here: Climate Caucus Resolutions.

3. Call-in to today’s Fallon Forum at (515) 528-8122 and let me know who you’re caucusing for and why. We’re live from 11:00-12:00 noon CT on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online.

And an optional “ask,” if you’re inclined . . . This morning (Monday) at 7:00 a.m. CT, you can catch me chatting with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! If you miss it, I’ll post a podcast later. Feedback welcome.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

My Endorsement for President

Dear Friends,

In 1992, Bill Clinton ushered in the era of the New Democrat. We were told that traditional Democrats couldn’t be elected, that candidates had to run as “centrists” to win.

It soon became clear that “centrist” meant “corporate,” as Clinton and the New Democrats brought us NAFTA, the gutting of Glass Steagall, the Telecommunications Act, welfare reform and a slew of other policies most Democrats (and most Americans) oppose.Sanders

The New Democrats have dominated the Democratic Party for two-and-a-half decades. Meanwhile, the rich grow richer, the poor and middle class struggle more and more, and the vast majority of Americans believe our politicians and government have failed them.

Well, I say, “Take heart!” We are on the cusp of a transformation of historic significance. At the Iowa Caucuses on Monday, if Iowa Democrats set the tone for the nation and choose Bernie Sanders as their nominee for President, the era of the New Democrats will be over.

What will take it’s place? A new era that puts human need above corporate greed. An era in which people power again prevails over corporate power. An era that future generations will say resembled the progressive populism and forward thinking of the FDR years.

Barrack Obama asked us to believe in hope and change. Bernie Sanders asks us to be part of a revolution – a peaceful, non-violent revolution that moves America away from government by the billionaires and for the billionaires, toward a government we can again be proud of.

In your heart, you know we need such a revolution. And in your heart, you know Hillary Clinton is not going to lead it. She is too tied to Wall Street and corporate money. Beyond this, she is wrong on many of the key issues (Glass-Steagall, livable wage, the Patriot Act, single-payer healthcare) and slow to come on board others (Keystone pipeline, Iraq War, Trans Pacific Partnership).

When I first ran for the Iowa House in 1992, I refused large donations from individuals and money from PACs. As a lawmaker over the next 14 years, and as a candidate for Iowa Governor and US Congress, I maintained my refusal to accept PAC money and large donations. Without a doubt, that was the best political decision I ever made, as it provided me the independence to represent my constituents first and foremost, to the best of my ability.

In the realm of money in politics, Sanders and I are fellow travelers. The fact that Sanders operates with the highest scruples in how he finances his campaign assures us that he hasn’t been and won’t be swayed by Wall Street or big money.

And the fact that his average donation is just over $30 from over 2 1/2 million everyday Americans says volumes about who he represents.

If you are inclined to believe Sanders can’t win in November, think again. Poll after poll show Sanders beating Trump, Cruz and other Republicans by a greater margin than Clinton.

“But that doesn’t make sense,” the New Democrat moans. “You have to be a ‘centrist’ to win.”

Ah, sorry friend. Those days are over. The polls also speak to this, as the issues of most importance to young voters are a veritable mirror image of the issues Sanders has championed all his life.

Sanders’ record-breaking crowds speak to this.

Sanders winning 69% of the vote in Friday’s Climate Emergency Caucus speaks to this.

Folks, a new political age is upon us. Embrace it. Be part of it. Help usher it in by caucusing for Bernie Sanders.

Thank you! – Ed Fallon

 

 

Who’s Your Climate Candidate?

Dear Friends,

I write with an urgent reminder about tomorrow’s Climate Emergency Caucus. Why urgent?

– Because if humanity stands a fighting chance of reining in the escalating impacts of climate change, we must heed scientists and act IMMEDIATELY!

– Because in defense of both our environment and personal liberty, we must stop the Bakken Oil Pipeline and the accompanying abuse of eminent domain.

Climate Emergency Caucus, Friday, January 29, 7:00-8:30 p.m. at Central Campus, 1800 Grand Ave in Des Moines

What happens next Monday at the Iowa Caucuses is extremely important. It will influence the direction of our country and the world for years to come. And what we do tomorrow at the Climate Emergency Caucus is a critical contributor to that direction – providing YOU help make it happen.

So, I ask you in the strongest possible terms to join me and hundreds more tomorrow. Send a strong message that will resonate beyond Iowa, telling America and the world:

– Which presidential candidate can best lead America in the fight against climate change; and

– Which presidential candidate is most committed to stopping corporations from taking land to build oil and gas pipelines.

Our keynote speakers are Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska (right) and former U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (above left). We’ll also hear from the inspiring young leaders of The Climate Mobilization, Ezra Silk and Margaret Klein Salamon. We’ll discuss caucus resolutions, hear where the Democratic and Republican candidates stand, and break into preference groups – just like you’ll do on Monday at the actual Iowa Caucus – to show your support for the candidate YOU feel is best equipped to lead the all-out mobilization we so urgently need.

Arrive early and check out the literature and displays provided by our sponsors and allies (listed below). And we’d love to have you join us for a group photo sporting Climate Mobilization t-shirts and Rosie the Riveter bandanas.

Also, check-out our Facebook Page: Climate Emergency Caucus. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, or if you’d like to volunteer. Thank you!

Ed Fallon
SPONSORS
100 Grannies for a Livable Future
American Friends Service Committee
Be A Climate Voter
Bold
Charles D. Goldman, MD
Des Moines Family Psychiatrist Dr. David Drake
Earth Made Clean
Green Light Renewable Services
I’m a Climate Voter
Integrated Power / ISETA
Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement
Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility
Koch Brothers (a local family-owned printing company)
Methodist Federation for Social Action (Iowa Chapter)
Silent Rivers Design+Build
Story County Veterinary Clinic
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Des Moines Branch)

ALLIES
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Des Moines)
Greenpeace USA
Iowa 350.org
Iowa Peace Network
Sierra Club (Iowa Chapter)

Caucus for the Climate!

Dear Friends,

On Saturday, for what it’s worth, I’ll announce my presidential candidate endorsement. Hey, I’ve got a better batting average than The Des Moines Register! But first . . .

SIXTEEN HUNDRED! That’s the number of credentialed media outlets converging on Iowa this week!(Who knows how many non-credentialed types are here or on their way.) The media love a good horse race, and the close competition in both the Democratic and Republican campaigns makes being in Iowa this week like reporting on the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup without ever having to move your camera crew.

Yup. February 1st is a big day. Not just for Iowa. For our country. For our Planet. I hope every Iowan participates in this important piece of local and world history.

And because of the urgency of fighting climate change and stopping oil pipelines, I hope you’ll give the national and international media something to talk about by attending the Climate Emergency Caucus on January 29th.

I know I ask much from my friends, co-workers and all who share a vision for a more just and livable future. But I always demand as much or more from myself.

Organizing the Climate Emergency Caucus has been an enormous undertaking. My coworker, Shari, and I are burning the candle at both ends to pull it together. It would be a great honor to us – and a significant moment for efforts to advance climate action – if you’ll join us on Friday, January 29th, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at the Des Moines Public Schools Central Campus Auditorium, 1800 Grand Ave, Des Moines.

If you use Facebook, please register your attendance on the Climate Emergency Caucus Facebook Event Page. And please share that page with your friends, family and neighbors.

On the 29th, we’ll hear from Ezra Silk and Margaret Klein Salamon with The Climate Mobilization. We’ll also hear from Jane Kleeb, whose instrumental role in stopping the Keystone Pipeline led Rolling Stone to dub her “Keystone Killer.” We’ll entertain statements from presidential candidates on climate and pipelines. We’ll discuss resolutions you can bring to your caucus. And the main event: We’ll break into preference groups to determine which candidate(s) we feel can best lead America forward to fight climate change.

So, one more time: PLEASE COME! This is little Iowa’s chance to launch a shot-heard-round-the-world moment on the very survival of humanity.

*******

On today’s Fallon Forum, Jeffrey Weiss joins us for an analysis of what the presidential candidates are saying on foreign policy. Has rhetoric from some Republican candidates essentially bound them to commit war crimes, if elected? And on the Democratic side, beyond what she says on the campaign trail, what does Hillary Clinton’s track record as a US Senator and US Secretary of State suggest about her approach to foreign policy, should she be elected President?

We also talk with Mark Weisbrot, author of Failed: What the “Experts” Got Wrong about the Global Economywhich deals with the European struggle against austerity, failings of the International Monetary Fund, and the dangers of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership.

Listen to the Fallon Forum live Mondays, 11:00-12:00 noon CST on La Reina KDLF 1260 AM (Des Moines) and online. Call (515) 528-8122 to add your voice to the conversation. The program re-broadcasts Wednesday on KHOI 89.1 FM (Ames) at 4:00 p.m. and Monday at 6:00 a.m. on WHIV 102.3 FM (New Orleans). Check-out podcasts from this week’s Fallon Forum here.

Thanks! – Ed Fallon

*******

A shout-out and gracious “THANK YOU!” to the local businesses and non-profits helping to make the Climate Emergency Caucus possible: