Excerpts reprinted with permission from the April 2012 issue of The Prairie Progressive, Iowa’s oldest progressive newsletter, available only in hard copy.
PP Endorses Tom Slockett for Johnson County Auditor
Johnson County Auditor Tom Slockett faces a vigorous primary challenge in the June Democratic Primary. In most democracies around the world, the people have no chance to vote on anyone for a position like our County Auditor, who not only provides an independent check on the power of the County Supervisors to set taxes and write our budget, but is in charge of the heart of American democracy: elections.
The opposition to Slockett comes largely from controversies about personnel issues in his office, which are serious matters. He has admitted to making mistakes, has apologized for them to his staff, and is working to correct them. Our endorsement, though, rests on Slockett’s record of making the polls more accessible to the people in Johnson County than anywhere else in Iowa — and perhaps in the nation. He has made many enemies in making it easy for us to vote, especially among Republicans and right-wing Democrats who cringe when they see an increasing percentage of the population actually exercising their constitutional rights.
We have grown accustomed to being able to vote early at Hy-Vee, the Public Library, in the lobby of University Hospital, or even at a West High athletic event. We should not, however, take our rights lightly. We are in the midst of a nationwide attempt to roll back the rights of Americans to vote, especially in Republican-controlled states, where they have been successful in reducing the voter rolls.
Please join the Prairie Progressive in supporting Auditor Tom Slockett, a state and national leader when it comes to the successful, efficient, non-partisan expansion of the democratic rights we all depend on.
Prairiedog’s Spring Reading List 2012
With the premature appearance of spring this year, the Prairie Progressive eagerly brings you our Summer Reading List one season too soon. Some day you may tell your grandchildren that these were the books you were reading when we still had winters.
By the Iowa Sea by Joe Blair.
A heating and air conditioning technician lays his life bare as he reveals the terror and beauty of a strong but teetering marriage, the tenderness and pain of raising a child who has autism, and the excruciating self-doubts of growing from a young man with dreams into a middle-aged man with responsibilities – all playing out as a historic flood menaces a very familiar college town.
Emily, Alone by Stewart O’Nan.
The author of Last Night at the Lobster deftly switches gears in this understated, precisely detailed description of several months in the life of a widow in Pittsburgh facing the daily twists and turns of aging. The Eat ‘n Park’s two-for-one breakfast buffet, grandchildren who don’t send thank you notes, friends who have strokes – all become profound and moving in O’Nan’s deceptively simple and deeply humane novel.
I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters edited by Michael Long.
One of the most skilled organizers in American history has never received full appreciation. The gay pacifist advisor to A. Phillip Randolph and Martin Luther King, Jr., was the mastermind of the 1963 March on Washington, bringing 250,000 to the Capitol as the world watched to see if ‘Negroes’ could pull off such a feat. [Sorry, to see the rest of the list, you’ll just have to subscribe to the PP.]
The Wheels on the Bus
There are 940 communities in Iowa. There are 99 counties. Each has its own legal counsel. That means there are potentially 1,039 different opinions on issues involving public records and open meetings. Enforcement, education, compilation of complaints, and compliance with the law need to be centralized in one place. One body, speaking one language, is necessary for the perseverance and equal application of Iowa’s dedication to openness in government.
But each little city and large county wants the power to determine for itself whether a record is permissible for you to see, or whether a meeting is okay to conduct in front of people who may criticize the deciders. And then, there is more to it than cities and counties. Public hospitals, school boards, and Regents institutions have to defend their turf. [read more at the PP..] — Marty Ryan & Stephanie Fawkes- Lee, Fawkes-Lee & Ryan, Inc., www.iowappa.com.
The Prairie Progressive is a newsletter for Iowa’s Democratic Left. Available only in hard copy for $12/yr.!! To subscribe, send check to PP, Box 1945, Iowa City 52244.