Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What’s at stake with our County Government?

There is little doubt that many in Des Moines have had an agenda for years to reduce our 99 sovereign counties to a much smaller number of regional governments. They often use the justification of saving tax money, both local and state. In reality this will simply further remove the individual citizens from their local Government. This is the same plan that has been consuming local schools and forcing consolidation. The result from this has been less local control and spending far more money than before.

State and Federal mandates imposed on local Governments have driven up the cost to the tax payers at an alarming rate. No branch of local government is immune to these mandates, not the sheriff, auditor, treasurer, recorder, or any other office in the court house. While most are totally unfunded, the state partially funds some of them so they have enough skin in the game to claim the need for savings by consolidation.

Van Buren County is at particular risk of this agenda, being one of the poorest counties in the state, combined with our declining population and businesses, maintaining the “status quo”, with allowable growth is particularly painful and adds to our decline.

At the recent budget hearing our County Supervisors reluctantly agreed to have an open conversation with the citizens of Van Buren County on how to deal with our ever increasing budgetary dilemma. It is imperative that the citizens of Van Buren County and our elected officials reach a common understanding as to what level of services are really needed and how to fund them.

It is our goal to compile as many money saving idea’s as possible and schedule an open  meeting with all of our local elected Government officials, to start the dialogue to try to solve our monetary problems locally.

We are soliciting input from everyone and hope for as many concerned citizens as possible to attend the meetings on this issue. We all have a great deal at stake here. If you want lower property taxes, this is your opportunity to accomplish that. If you have a particular local Government service that you think must be maintained, increased, or decreased, this is the venue to voice those concerns.

Click on the heading to this post and feel free to offer your suggestion to the comments at this posting. You may add your suggestions anonymously or include your name and contact information so that we may contact you if necessary to best represent your suggestion. Either way it is at your own discretion.

We urge every citizen of Van Buren County regardless of your political persuasion, to engage their family, friends, and neighbors on these most important issues, around the dinner table, in the coffee shops, and every local event. If we fail to take responsibility for our own local Government now the State will assume more authority over us, and we will have no one to blame but our selves.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Supervisors cut 37% from allowable growth

In a startling 3-0 vote Van Buren county supervisors voted to approve a 2.5% pay increase for elected officials. This was almost 37% less than the 4% recommended by the compensation board. When asked “given our decline of population and businesses and the states desire to reduce property taxes, what will be the tipping point from allowable growth to austerity”, board chairman Nixon replied “we are not there yet”.

While individual department budgets have yet to be released the supervisors have been asking department heads to keep increases below 2%. Most have been willing to follow that lead with the exception of the County Conservation who requested a 6% increase. The department that runs the ever profitable “Greif store” was asked to go back and work toward the 2% goal. With negotiations still underway with the “collective” bargaining units the final outcome of the budget is still up in the air. An increase in property taxes seems inevitable.

The good news is we are not in debt and most endowments given to the county are not immediately spent but put in trusts to provide annual cash flow to their desired area’s based on interest earned.

Monday, October 31, 2011

For the protection of the home owner

The Van Buren County health department recently decided to increase the bonding requirements of contractors installing rural septic systems from $1,000 to $10,000. Even though there was no enforcement for the $1,000 bond they would begin to enforce the $10,000 bond for the “protection of the home owner”, or so they claimed. One contractor took exception to these efforts claiming he had liability insurance and should not be required to be bonded as well.
The Van Buren county T.E.A. Party started looking into this matter by reviewing the authority of local public health under Iowa code chapter 1036. Iowa code clearly states that.
137.104  Local boards of health — powers and duties.
Local boards of health shall have the following powers and duties:
1.  A local board of health shall:
a.  Enforce state health laws and the rules and lawful orders of the state department.
b.  Make and enforce such reasonable rules and regulations not inconsistent with law, the rules of the state board, or the Iowa public health standards as may be necessary for the protection and improvement of the public health.

While bonding requirements seemed a bit of a stretch as “necessary for the protection and improvement of the public health”, we also found the following.

 (2)  Rules of a county board shall become effective upon approval by the county board of supervisors by a motion or resolution as defined in section 331.101, subsection 13, and publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the county.

(4)  Before approving any rule or regulation the local board of health shall hold a public hearing on the proposed rule. Any citizen may appear and be heard at the public hearing. A notice of the public hearing, stating the time and place and the general nature of the proposed rule or regulation shall be published in a newspaper having general circulation as provided in section 331.305 in the area served by the local board of health.

We then set out to prove the bonding requirements had been adopted in a lawful manner. When asked for copies of the local rules and regulations covering this we were at first given copies of the County Board of Health meeting minutes from Sept. 1991 and April of 2011. To the credit of the local Dept. of public health, with sufficient time they were able to produce the 1991 rules and regulation as well as copies of the required newspaper notifications. The local Board of Health had taken all the necessary steps in 1991 to pass their regulations, but do not appear to have taken those steps in 2011 for the changes.

Upon review of the 1991 “Van Buren County on-site wastewater treatment and disposal system rules and regulations” we discovered under section 3b “$1000 bond or letter of credit is required to be filed with the Van Buren County board of health for each calendar year”, and under section 3c “any individual who has on file with the Van Buren County board of health……risks forfeiture of his or her bond or letter of credit to the Van Buren County board of health”. While forfeiture is due to lack of compliance to permitting the salient point is that the money does not go to the home owner, as was repeatedly claimed,  but to the local Dept. of public health. This forfeiture is in addition to simple misdemeanor charges and state fines.

We then set out to find if the County Supervisors had passed the Health Boards regulation. To date the only evidence provided is county ordinance 96-1 that was passed in 1996 enacting Iowa administrative code 567, enforcement under Iowa code 455B.172(4), and penalties under Iowa code 137.21. Ordinance 96-1 does not even reference the local board of health regulations.

Great credit is due the county public health dept. and auditors office for providing the information as requested.

UPDATE: It seems the county supervisors and county board of health do not think they are required to follow state law in approval of local board of health regulations, we will see what the county attorney advises them to do.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Critical Thinking in our schools

Click on the highlighted wording for additional links and information.

   The video “Iowa did you know” shown at the Aug. 2011 school board meeting indicated a new way of teaching our kids was being implemented across the state. Our school system is to abandon what they deem “low level factual recall” that has served us for generations, for a new methodology called “critical thinking”. 
*                     While on the surface this may not seem like much, if you research the definition and origins of the term it is quite frightening. While the use of this term is permeating our society and has many applications and meanings our education system is using it as it was intended by the group that created it. Key aspects of the definition from the Iowa Department of Education web site are: “Critical thinking utilizes abstractions and non-rules based strategies to guide decisions, behaviors and actions….suspension of judgment while collecting evidence to make determinations”. This methodology has real limitations when dealing with math and science, a stone cannot long be suspended in air no matter how much critical thinking you do because of the law of gravity, but on social issues this eliminates all social norms and opens its self to wide array of conclusions.
*                     “critical thinking” is a subset of what is known as “critical theory” which originated at the “frankfurt school” in Germany. This school was founded by students of non-other than Karl Marx and was instrumental in the founding of the Communist party in the USA. These Marxists were dumbfounded when the US did not descend into anarchy, seeking a socialist revolution after the two world wars and set out to find out why and correct the problem. It was their conclusion that we were not accepting of their beliefs because of our culture, and they set out in the 60’s to change it, and these efforts continue to this day.  Key to this was reforming the family structure. Our patriarchal system created a population that respected authority so they sought to marginalize the influence of fathers on the family.  Our morals and patriotic standing with our country and its founding principles were also to blame and are to be undermined by the “abstract and non-rules based strategy…of the… suspension of judgment”.
*                     There are a multitude of writings by highly educated people utilizing “critical thinking” to depict the founding fathers as “rich white men” who’s only motivation was personal gain, and only the total suspension of judgment lends any credibility at all the writings that support polygamy, bestiality, adult incest, or even sex with children. How long before anyone who questions these issue’s on moral grounds is depicted as having some form of phobia that disqualifies them to discuss the issue.
*                     Van Buren school systems curriculum is permeated with this term, and is even used in board policy. Ironically enough this term is used in the policy #608 that sings the praises of differing views and open debate but ends by stating:
Individuals or groups outside the public schools should not be allowed to:
2.      Determine which viewpoints will be presented or avoided in public schools.

*                     Individuals and groups would that be like parents and tax payers?
*                     In 1963 the communist party of the US put on congressional record their goals. Here are just some of their achievements:
17. Get control of the schools….Soften the curriculum..
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools
29. Discredit the American Constitution
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers.
Personal opinions on these issues not withstanding, there can be no question regarding their success’s since 1963.
Here is additional information on the frankfurt school.

This has all happened under our noses and a result of allowing bureaucrats to push the communities out of the education process.

The real question is what does this all mean? Has the education system hijacked the Marxist cause and used it for good? Has the education system been duped into doing the biding of the Marxists? Is it all just a coincidence that multiculturalism-intended to devalue our culture, political correctness-intended to silence dissent, and the green movement-intended to destroy our economy, have all been weirdly adopted by our education system? Is it a coincidence that so many of the 45 goals of the communist party have been realized? Does anybody know the real truth, or are we all left to utilize our own variation of "critical thinking" to form our own opinions?