There is an alarming trend occurring in our great nation that deserves scrutiny and constant vigilance. The current Bush Administration has made no secret of its "shadow government" ever since 9/11. But shadow governments are not the trend; they have existed throughout the ages.

On May 8, the Iowa Department of Education's Administrative Law Judge, Susan Anderson, presided over an appeal filed by Davenport parents to reverse the Davenport School Board's (DSB) decision to close Grant and Johnson elementary schools.

Davenport Aldermen Barnhill and Moritz reluctantly voted against a proposed mixed housing development along North Pine Street, between Valley and 58th streets, during last Wednesday's regular council meeting. The vote appeared inevitable, especially after Mayor Brooke expressed his assurance that the development would fail with such a high protest rate (never mind the inappropriateness of the development for the neighborhood, or the water retention problem that duplex construction could potentially create).

On Tuesday, June 4, the Iowa primaries will bAe held across the state. Important elections are at stake, yet only registered voters are eligible to vote in a primary, and they must declare either Republican or Democrat before they can participate because Iowa has a "closed primary" system.

Alderman Howard is too inexperienced for the position of mayor pro tem. During April 17's regular council meeting, Alderman Howard confirmed the public's worst fears about Mayor Brooke's inappropriateness in appointing someone so green.

In the midst of a declared budget crisis, the Dav- enport Community School District (DCSD) is negotiating with its union workers to cut costs. The district's proposal is asking union workers (the cooks, the clerical people, etc.

A recent edition of Now with Bill Moyers on WQPT dealt with the Presidential Records Act and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the current erosion of these crucial elements of our democracy. The FOIA was passed during Lyndon Johnson's administration, who praised it "with a deep sense of pride that the United States is an open society in which the people's right to know is cherished and guarded.

Central High School's Scholastic Journalism Week (SJW) is an imaginative program that began in 1995, thanks to the vision of Central's preeminent journalism teacher, Deb Buttleman Malcom, and her dedicated students.

The congressional investigation of the Enron debacle is frustrating, to say the least. Both House and Senate participants are clearly unqualified to probe the complex financial and political issues that characterize Enron's dirty dealings.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs (IDCA) has articulated a brilliant concept in the form of a bill currently before the state legislature to provide funding for arts and culture. The IDCA is asking legislators to appropriate $1 million annually for the next 10 years to help seed a new "cultural trust" for operational support of arts/culture-related organizations throughout Iowa.

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