This year's November elections are proving to be quite interesting indeed. Local politics is often a microcosm of how it works on the state and national level, so it is important to scrutinize the process. Last week, in an unprecedented political maneuver in which Democrats behaved like schoolyard children, the Democratic Central Committee PAC ousted one of its own (Bob Yapp, who is now running for mayor as an Independent) for openly criticizing the PAC. Not only did the PAC remove Yapp as a member, they voted to censure him, as well, even after he had tendered his resignation. The act was mean-spirited and reflected a group of citizens who have crossed the boundaries of organized politics for the good of the party to egomania run amok by a cliquish few.

It is important to note that this narrowly focused PAC does not represent the entire Scott County Democratic Party, but instead has proven itself to be a divisive group of Democrats intent on their own control of candidates and issues on a local level. Their 2001 platform was revised from that of 1999 to reflect some changes that should be of concern to all Democrats.

But if the last election and the dismal failure of their own endorsed candidates are any barometer, then run as quickly in the opposite direction from this crew as you can. On nearly every issue, the slate of candidates chosen by the PAC have failed not only the PAC itself, but the public who voted them into office, namely Aldermen Moritz, Sherwood, Englemann, Brown, and Caldwell.

To add insult to injury, the PAC was nowhere to be seen holding these candidates accountable to their misdirection. Time will tell if this Pac intends to maintain its integrity (not to mention credibility) by judging the merit of these candidates based on the 1999 platform and their individual voting records.

Meanwhile, this election's criteria that the PAC set forth to endorse candidates had to be amended with a 14th item that forbids fellow Democrats from recruiting Republicans to run against their own incumbents. This last criterion was precipitated by reports that Aldermen Moritz, Sherwood, and McGivern banded together to recruit Republican candidate Bill Holgersen to run against Democrat incumbent Wayne Hean in the 5th Ward. By most party standards, this is a no-no. Meanwhile, it is rumored that Republicans have no intention of running anyone against Moritz in the 1st Ward, Brown in the 7th Ward, or Englemann in the 8th Ward, as long as there are no challengers to these incumbents.

The message here is that there is no distinction between the politics of these particular Democrats and the Republican agenda. Any self-respecting Democrat would be horrified that they fit so neatly into the Republican philosophy. As a declared Republican myself, I refuse to accept that these incumbent Democrats are like-minded in terms of Republican ideology. In fact, the blurred line here is far more about the area's development agenda than any Republican versus Democrats principles.

The bigger question becomes whether we should restore partisan elections to local politics, as is being suggested by city leaders. It appears to be moot, especially because the current slate of incumbents has it both ways. Obviously, the community has never let go of partisan elections to begin with, so nothing lost there. Yet both parties can cross lines without a whole lot of fuss under the umbrella of nonpartisan elections. The façade is maintained while they crawl in an out of each other's political beds.

Deadline for Comments on Proposed Electricity Rate Increase

I want to take this opportunity to thank WOC Talk Radio's people, namely Jim Fisher, Dan Kennedy, and Brian Heidgerken, for the opportunity to host the Jim Fisher Show last week. I had a ball and love the medium for its ability to interact directly with the listeners. "Create the Debate" is my motto, and it was terrific to share ideas and perspectives with the public.

As promised, I am posting the information for citizens to write to the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to weigh in on MidAmerican's proposed rate increase for electricity. The deadline for accepting comments from the public is August 10, 2001, so please write and let the IUB know your thoughts. Iowa Utilities Board, 350 Maple Street, Des Moines, IA, 50319-0069. MidAmerican is warning that we are going to experience similar utility rates next winter as those of this past winter; therefore, the public needs to get in front of this now and object strenuously. The IUB can help mitigate some of this gouging, but they need to hear from the public for support and direction.

While the IUB deals with gas and electricity prices differently, they understand that for consumers, the two are part of a single utility bill that we must pay each month. There are some things citizens can do that are not common knowledge, and there are efforts being made by the IUB to bring more choices to Iowans.

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