Tuesday, March 13, 2007

UI Held Hostage Day 416 - March 13

March 13, 8:40 a.m.

Today's news includes credit unions, gambling casinos, drug courts, and Mary Gilchrist's court. And see State29 on Iowa Values Fund (State29, "'This is a Scandal, Or Should Be," March 12, 2007) and gambling casino expansion (State29, "Gambling Diet or Cannibalization?" March 12, 2007).

In Praise of a Credit Union

A friend shared with me the notice they received from their credit union. It's the "Linn Area Credit Union." Not incidentally, that's an example of a geographically broad (county-wide) name, suggesting anyone in the county can be a member, and that has not discouraged those outside the county, like my friend, from joining.

Note the features of the notice that encourage membership involvement.

1. It's a large postcard, with a resulting actual notice almost impossible to miss. (So far as I'm aware I've received no notice of my credit union's forthcoming membership meeting.)

2. Note the language: "You'll have an opportunity to vote for Directors to represent your interests." "
The primary difference between a credit union and a 'for profit' bank is that members – not stockholders – own the credit union and have a say in how it is run." "We hope to see you there!"

3. The meeting's agenda is clearly set forth.

4. To encourage member attendance, the meeting is scheduled for 5:30, dinner is served, and door prizes are awarded.

5. But member participation is not limited to those able to attend an evening meeting. They can vote for Directors anytime between 9 and 5 on the day of the meeting at any credit union branch office and up until 6 at the main office.

6. Members are actually encouraged to run for positions as Directors (i.e., necessarily, thereby, running "against" currently sitting Directors)!

7. Members are provided the name and phone number of the CEO (phone numbers for my credit union's CEO and board members have yet to appear on its Web site), with the details regarding how to run for a Director position ("please call" the CEO "by March 23rd").

Here is the full text of the postcard message:

Linn Area Credit Union’s Annual Membership Meeting

You’re invited to Linn Area Credit Union’s annual meeting at our Blair’s Ferry Road office on Tuesday, April 10th at 5:30 pm. You’ll have an opportunity to vote for Directors to represent your interests. Then we’ll have a light dinner followed by a short business meeting.

Can’t make it to the meeting but still want to vote? Stop by any Linn Area Credit Union location between 9 am and 5 pm on April 10th to cast your vote for the Board of Directors and register for door prizes. Voting at the Blairs Ferry Road branch will run from 9 am until 6 pm.

Why should you vote? The primary difference between a credit union and a “for profit” bank is that members – not stockholders – own the credit union and have a say in how it is run. Since you are one of the owners of Linn Area Credit Union, we encourage you to elect the people who speak on your behalf when making decisions affecting your credit union.

Interested in running for a board position? Directors are unpaid volunteers who serve 3 year terms and oversee the credit union. For more information, please call Jim Hagerman, President/CEO by March 23rd at 378-0101 x 304.

We hope to see you there!

Gambling Casinos Expanding

The Gazette has a page-one report on the expansion of the nine gambling casinos within an easy drive of almost anywhere in eastern Iowa. The UI's gambling parter, the Riverside Gambling Casino, has spurred the competition, and caused double-digit percentage declines in the attendance and revenues of its closest casino competitors. It's a war of shares; there's a limit to how much discretionary income eastern Iowans have to drop into slot machines, so the casinos are fighting to hold on to as much of their former share of the area's gambling profits as they can. And they're fighting by spending. Riverside has hotel rooms, restaurants, swimming pool, spa -- and soon, a golf course. Now nine area casinos are following Riverside's example, hoping to at least look like Riverside even if their new hotels have occupancy rates far below profitable levels. I still believe there may be a rainbow, but there is no pot of gold; Iowa cannot gamble itself into economic prosperity. But no one seems to agree with me, so notwithstanding thousands of years of evidence to the contrary we're sticking to this fork in the yellow brick road, in the hopes that, with Robert Frost, that will make all the difference. Gregg Hennigan, "Casinos royale; Aspirations rise for luxury," The Gazette, March 13, 2007.

For the benefit of those who can't drive the short distance to one of their neighborhood gambling casinos, The Gazette's front page also offers advice on how to run a NCAA "pool" betting operation. Rick Smith, "Know the Basics with NCAA Pools," The Gazette, March 13, 2007.

Drug Courts

The Press-Citizen is editorializing in favor of drug courts this morning. "[Johnson County Attorney Janet] Lyness's election opened the possibility of more direct explorations of diversion for low-level substance abuse offenses, of a drug court for more serious substance abuse offenses, of a cite-and-release program for some serious and aggravated misdemeanors and of expansion of the mental health diversion program. . . . The Iowa Legislature, with the strong support of Coralville's Sen. Bob Dvorsky, is considering a $300,000 plan to bring a drug court to the district. We hope the Legislature provides the funding this session so our new county attorney can make good on her promise to explore such alternatives." Editorial, "Drug Court is a Needed Local Alternative," Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 13, 2007

Mary Gilchrist's Court

Gilchrist wants a jury trial. Interim President Fethke and Vice President Meredith Hay prefer a "summary judgment" -- a judge's ruling in their favor that can't be tainted with the judgment of ordinary citizens. See "Fethke, Hay Ask for Summary Judgment," Iowa City Press-Citizen, March 13, 2007.

UICCU and "Optiva"

The UICCU-Optiva story is essentially behind us. There may be occasional additions "for the record," but for the most part the last major entry, with links to the prior material from October 2006 through March 2007, is "UICCU and 'Optiva'" in Nicholas Johnson, "UI Held Hostage Day 406 - March 3 - Optiva," March 3, 2007.

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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 FromDC2Iowa.Blogspot.com 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.

Searching: 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

See above.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re: Open Records

I heard you on the radio this morning regarding the open meetings/records law.

I found the arguments by the newspapers ludicrous regarding public records on the Internet. They can be easily refuted one by one.

I) It's hard for the Public to find the information on the Internet. Wrong. Just wrong. A simple Google search will reveal most every local or state jurisdictions homepage all of which would have the data easily linked.

II) The Public has less access to the Internet than newspapers. Virtually all public libraries now have internet service along with maintaining a newspaper collection. To get a personal copy of a newspaper, people must pay for the newspaper, which is no different than paying for internet access.

III) The Public wants to be able to get a hard copy. If stored on a website, any member of the public could download or print the document at their leisure. Nothing prevents anyone from making a hard copy.

When you strip away to the newspapers interest, it is a purely economic one. However it is better public relations to pursue these mandatory notices as "Open Government for the Public" rather than discuss your potential revenue loss. Isn't the public better served by less public spending in this area no matter the revenue loss to newspapers? Especially to a multi-national media company like Gannett which owns the Press Citizen and Register and is based in Virginia and has shareholder owners all over the world.

I don't see the newspapers stepping up and disclosing their revenue from these types of notices.

The Web in fact offers MORE records access than newspapers if for no other reason than the ability to store information for browsing rather than issue by issue newspapers that are archieved and therefore less accessible to the person at home.