It is now more than a month since Iowa City, Iowa, was struck by a devastating tornado. That April 13, 2006, tornado could just as easily have been a tornado striking Davenport, Iowa. And, if such a tornado had cut a path through one or more of Davenport’s trailer parks (especially at night), most of which are on the city’s west side, including three adjacent to each other and two nearby in northwest Davenport, there would have been many people killed, seriously injured, or maimed for life – all for lack of a close, adequate shelter built within those trailer parks!  Let all responsible Davenport officials, including the Davenport fire marshal, make all due haste in developing meaningful, serious tornado protection for Davenport’s most-vulnerable-to-tornadoes citizens. For the five northwest trailer parks, nearby Buchanan School might provide some better-than-nothing interim shelter, if timely opened during tornado threats. I and my wife reside in Five Seasons trailer park, northwest Davenport.

Joel D. Weber

Hawaii Gas-Price Cap Didn’t Have the Opportunity to Work

I read with interest about the elimination of the gasoline-price cap and the reasoning for its elimination in Hawaii. Not just because it was a pilot program that the entire country was closely examining. Not just because it was the first of many necessary steps to begin the process of regulating the oil and gasoline companies. But my primary interest was with the untimely death of a significant concept. I am referring to the authorization that the Federal Trade Commission received to investigate and prosecute for price-gouging.

With the FTC’s authority in effect, combined with the price cap on gasoline, Hawaii had a win-win situation. On the one hand the price of gasoline could not exceed a predetermined limit. While on the other hand any attempt to dramatically raise the price without justifiable reasoning would be prosecuted. I wonder who paid whom to lose that program before it had a chance to take hold in the rest of the country.

John C. Jackson
Newport News, Virginia


In response to two recent columns by David C. Aeschliman (River Cities’ Reader Issues 577 [April 19-25, 2006] and 580 [May 10-16, 2006]), Davenport City Administrator Craig Malin explored the issue of how the number of Davenport’s municipal employees (relative to population) compares to other large Iowa cities.

Aeschliman indirectly quoted Malin as saying that “Davenport has more city employees than any other city its size in the state.” While the veracity of that statement will depend on one’s definition of “any other city its size in the state,” Malin’s survey found that Davenport does not have the most city employees per capita. The Reader regrets the imprecise language, and here presents a fuller accounting of Davenport’s standing compared to other Iowa cities.

The survey included Des Moines (1,839.70 Full Time Equivalents [FTEs], 196,093 population), Cedar Rapids (1,439 FTEs, 122,542 population), Davenport (922.15 FTEs, 97,512 population), Sioux City (660 FTEs, 83,876 population), Waterloo (549.71 FTEs, 67,054 population), Iowa City (604.87 FTEs, 63,807 population), Council Bluffs (444 FTEs, 58,656 population), Dubuque (516.48 FTEs, 57,204 population), and Bettendorf (291 FTEs, 31,284 population).

Expressed as the number of employees per 100,000 people, the cities rank in this order, from lowest number of employees to highest: Council Bluffs (757 employees per 100,000 people), Sioux City (787), Waterloo (820), Dubuque (903), Bettendorf (930), Des Moines (938), Davenport (946), Iowa City (948), and Cedar Rapids (1,174). In other words, Davenport has the third-highest number of employees per capita among the surveyed cities.

Malin wrote: “With over 80 full-time positions having been cut from our workforce (nearly 10 percent of our full-time work force) in the past five years, I would prefer not to let any impression linger that Davenport leads the state in municipal workforce per capita.”

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