Saturday, February 10, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 385 - Feb. 10

Feb. 10, 5:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.

SILO. Both The Gazette and the Press-Citizen make reference this morning (Feb. 10) to comments of mine in this blog regarding the proposed 20% hike in sales tax called SILO. If you've come here looking for those comments, click here for a direct link to them.

(The full record -- the original column with the inadvertent but mistaken attribution of a quote to me, the correction letter from the author, and my letters to the Press-Citizen and Gazette -- is contained in "Nicholas Johnson's 'Gazette Editorial,'" linked below.)

Meanwhile, there's lots to report, with links to 21 items. On open meetings, public records and e-mail: editorials, Professor Bonfield's testimony, and Michael Gartner's posting of e-mails to the Regents' Web page. Mary Gilchrist's case. Someone else noting the use of prisons to house the mentally ill. The Search Committee's letters to applicants. Graduation rates. And, of course, Optiva ("Now in two sizes, one for kitchen one for bath, and available without prescription").
In The Daily Iowan . . .
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[Note: If you're new to this blog, and interested in the whole UI President Search story, these blog entries begin with Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search I," November 18, 2006. Wondering where the "UI Held Hostage" came from? Click here. (As of January 25 the count has run from January 21, 2006, rather than last November.) For any given entry, links to the prior 10 will be found in the left-most column. Going directly to will take you to the latest. Each contains links to the full text of virtually all known media stories and commentary, including mine, since the last blog entry. Together they represent what The Chronicle of Higher Education has called "one of the most comprehensive analyses of the controversy." The last time there was an entry containing the summary of prior entries' commentary (with the heading "This Blog's Focus on Regents' Presidential Search") is Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search XIII -- Last Week," December 11, 2006. My early proposed solution to the conflict is provided in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search VII: The Answer," November 26, 2006. And the fullest collection of basic documents related to the search is contained in Nicholas Johnson, "UI President Search - Dec. 21-25," December 21, 2006 (and updated thereafter), at the bottom of that blog entry under "References". A Blog Index of entries on all subjects since June 2006 is also available. And note that if you know (or can guess at) a word to search on, the "Blogger" bar near the top of your browser has a blank, followed by "SEARCH THIS BLOG," that enables you to search all entries in this Blog since June 2006.]

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Media Stories and Commentary

Kelsey Beltramea, "UI officials: Gilchrist often disobeyed orders," Daily Iowan, February 9, 2007

Ashton Shurson, "Lottery's Hawk ad still sparking ire," Daily Iowan, February 9, 2007

Erin Jordan, "Iowa Poll: Board of Regents receives weak grades," Des Moines Register, February 10, 2007

Erin Jordan, "U of I officials rebut claims of ex-lab head; It's the first time they've said why Mary Gilchrist was fired as director of the state's hygienic laboratory," Des Moines Register, February 9, 2007

Lee Rood, "Fix open records, meetings laws, lawmakers told," Des Moines Register, February 9, 2007

Betty Grundberg, "Raise prisons' standards for treating mentally ill," Des Moines Register, February 8, 2007

Erin Jordan, "Regents fret about rate of minority graduations; On a percentage basis, the numbers are far smaller than those for non-minorities at all three state schools," Des Moines Register, February 7, 2007

Linda Detroy Alexander, "Memo to UI search, regents: Openness counts," The Gazette, February 10, 2007

Diane Heldt, "E-mail available online; UI search questions prompt new process," The Gazette, February 10, 2007

Diane Heldt, "Interim UI president details job's demands," The Gazette, February 10, 2007

James Q. Lynch, "Open government complaints increasing," The Gazette, February 10, 2007

Scott Dochterman, "Barta: 'I'm sorry' for lottery ad; Panel member tells UI athletics director to sever relationship," The Gazette, February 9, 2007

Scott Dochterman, "Foundation collects record amount in athletics gifts," The Gazette, February 9, 2007

Zack Kucharski, "Gilchrist painted as obstinate; Witnesses: Fired UI lab director wouldn’t accept trimmed plan," The Gazette, February 9, 2007

Dave DeWitte, "Credit union members demand new vote regarding name change; Opponents claim first election was illegal," The Gazette, February 8, 2007

Kathryn Fiegen, "Regents change policy to put e-mails on Web; Gartner: Rule balances openness, need for e-mail," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 10, 2007

Nicholas Johnson's "Gazette Editorial"
In the Press-Citizen . . .
. Nicholas Johnson, Quotation was Misattributed
. Mona Shaw, Correction in Vote No SILO Column
. Vote No Silo, With Still So Many Many Unanswered SILO Questions, Don't Approve This 'Cash Grab'
. Misattributed quotation
In The Gazette . . .
. Nicholas Johnson, The Gazette Was Source of SILO Comment
. Guest Column, Too Many SILO Questions Remain in Johnson County
. MIsattributed quotation (The Gazette)
. In The Daily Iowan . . .
. Guest Opinion, Too Many Unanswered Tax Questions
, Misattributed quotation (The Daily Iowan)
Brian Morelli, "20 Letters Sent to Presidential Prospects," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 10, 2007

Editorial, "Time to Remove Smudges from Sunshine Laws," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 9, 2007

Mike McWilliams, "Fethke counters Gilchrist's claims; UI Officials Say They Didn't Try to muzzle ex-director," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 9, 2007

Brian Morelli, "UI Prof: Sunshine Law Reform is Needed," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 9, 2007

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Anonymous said...

Re: SILO. I appreciate your earlier comments because they echo or flesh out some of my concerns about the particulars of the tax. But I think opponents are not considering several points of context that are contributing to the push for increased funding for education which was evident in the last election. Politicians are responding and in this case it appears to be somewhat irrational if you don’t consider these contexts together.

First, there is a growing cynicism about the market fundamentalism/libertarian/drown-government-in-a-bathtub rhetoric that has dominated political discussions for at least the last ten years. In terms of education the absolutist rhetoric demands that accountability can only be defined in terms of data points. While test scores are essential for measuring achievement, we know that our own education and the education of our children cannot be reduced to that alone.

Secondly: the globalization of the labor markets. I don’t understand how you can have any discussion about education without considering the market that graduates will face and how it has changed rapidly in the last 15 years. American society may be unique in its ability to adapt to the rising tide of outsourcing but we cannot take that exceptionalism for granted. Not when other countries continue to open their labor markets and make huge investments in education.

Third: schools are the foundation of community. This is especially true when so many families have both parents working and where new subdivisions are constantly being plopped in the middle of cornfields. All of the relationships - child/teacher, parent/teacher, parent/parent, child/child, and teacher/teacher – build and improve the sense of shared endeavor that makes this a quality community. Can you quantify the benefits that a sense of pride in our schools engenders in our kids?

Each case alone may not seem to have any relation to a sales tax for infrastructure. But to me it is obvious that together they do. The overall demand for good schools outweighs the particulars of the tax that could be perfected.

The question then becomes; how do we insure accountability when funding precedes specific plans and outcomes cannot be completely quantified by data? The same way it always has been and always will be; transparency and public involvement in district decisions and parental involvement in the education of their children.

Anonymous said...

One of the things we are trying to get is a drug court which evidently can also serve as a mental health court for the 6th Judicial District (the only district that does not have one). We would like to see the court in both Johnson and Linn Counties rather than just Linn County.

Johnson County has a mental health jail diversion program and has been authorized to create a MH response team to assist the police in dealing with incidents where there is a MH issue.

Several years ago there were several suicides by mentally ill Iowa prisoners most were at Ft. Madison and one was at Mt. Pleasant. A Dr. White from the National Institute of Correction was brought in to conduct an external investigation and during the investigation there was another suicide. His report can be read on the Dept. of Correction web page under the reports and documents section.

The most depressing aspect of his report was that he made essentially the same recommendation that had been made by the people who had designed the facility to house mentally ill prisoners. Their recommendations had been disregarded because the Governor and Legislature were unwilling to provide the necessary funds. There is no reason to think that won't happen again.

The mentally ill prisoners do not have an advocate with any clout. We have an Iowa Jail Inspector and the Johnson County Grand Jury inspects the jail every year but there does not seem to be any similar oversight of the Iowa prisons. Why not?

Anonymous said...

RE: Optiva

Why is Jeff Disterhoft still employed as President of the UICCU? First, a botched buy out of Hawkeye State Bank, and now this fiasco regarding the name change to erectile dysfunction drug name.

Being an auditor does not a CEO make. Hey Dean Borg, put the rubber stamp away and try for an original thought. Why are you even on the UICCU Board?

Anonymous said...

There is a failure mode in the present system used for civil mental health commitments. In cases where the family are able to get the police to cooperate in requesting a civil MH commitment and they are turned down the police arrest and jail the subject.

Obviously this is an outcome that nobody wants but it happens anyway. I think the legislature should review the civil commitment process to see if they can eliminate this type of failure.