Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
Reynolds’s policies harmful to Iowa
To the editor:
The State of Iowa under Governor Reynolds trifecta continues policies and laws that are bad for our State and the rights of people. They continue to pass laws every year to ban women’s rights to an abortion which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade over 40 years ago.
At the same time, they weaken gun laws as they condone mass shootings and gun violence in our cities every night where many are killed or wounded every year, with many of them children. We see many of our counties passing resolutions declaring 2nd amendment sanctuary counties against federal gun regulations.
They pass laws making it harder to vote. There was no question of voter integrity until Trump started his attempt to overthrow the election. All voting laws for national elections should be the same for every state and set by the federal government. We are the United States of America, not 50 territories trying to set different voting laws to control their Republican political interests.
I’m concerned about Iowa’s public school under current state policies. Our Iowa education system used to rank high nationally, but not anymore. At least our teachers are great and dedicated to their profession. The state refuses to support our public education system by not giving proper funding for years.
This year Governor Reynolds says an increase of 2.5% in funding is reasonable even as inflation is over 7% and the state budget has a huge surplus. At the same time, they want to take funds away from employees bargaining rights a few years ago. They want to treat teachers and librarians like criminals by allowing a parent to sue them if the parent doesn’t like what they are teaching, with penalties of up to a year in prison and fines.
They want a camera in the classroom to livestream the class on the internet. They want the teacher to prepare the lesson plans for the entire year before school starts, and enter it on the internet. Lesson plans need to be flexible and adjustable on a weekly basis because each class and students are different and the teacher does not know what is needed until they go thru the year.
The parents that are complaining should be more concerned about what their kids are looking at on the internet. After a recent shooting at East Des Moines high school where a person was killed and two students were wounded, Reynolds blamed the schools, not the states gun laws.
Larry L. Prior
Appalled at firing of Mt. Pleasant officer
To the editor:
I am saddened and appalled how the Mt. Pleasant City Council managed the termination of a police officer. His termination was due to a verbal complaint by someone in a neighboring town. The officer was off duty and looking for his child. After that, the chief compiled a list of other accusations, most of which the officer was unaware of, one he had been cleared of.
He was placed on administrative leave. There had been little to no communication on the listed items, nor any progressive discipline imposed by the Chief. The out-of-town citizen made a verbal complaint only, no formal written complaint was filed. There was evidence presented to the City Council to showing the person submitting the complaint was not the most reliable. It would seem even though the complainant was not the most reliable, the Chief took her word over his employee.
He was terminated several weeks later by the Council. The Officer requested a hearing in front of the City Council Feb. 9, that was the first time the Officer had a chance to explain to the Council. He explained the off-duty situation stating he was in Father mode, a personal matter. He stated he would accept disciplinary action for that incident, if need be, but did not feel it warranted termination.
Many wanted to speak about his character and how much he loved his job but weren’t given an opportunity. The Council tabled the matter. We wrote letters explaining our thoughts and support for him. During the Meeting on Feb. 23, the Officer’s wife and others spoke on his behalf. There was no discussion from the Council Members, which was interesting since they were deciding about a person’s career.
To our astonishment, they voted unanimously to uphold the termination. How could the Council do that after hearing both sides. My understanding is that the Mt. Pleasant Officers are under an At Will Contract, meaning they can be fired for any reason. Is that morally correct to give a supervisor that much power over a person’s career?
During the public forum we were allowed to speak, but when questions were raised, we were told they would not be answered. Sad that no one had to explain their decision. Why was the Officer not given a chance to speak to the Council prior to termination? I do not like losing respect for those in leadership but have now lost respect for each one on the City Council and the Chief of Police.
I doubt they really care about that and that makes me sad. This type of politics I can see happening in a large city. I did not expect to see this behavior from a small town that claims to support its law enforcement. Is this how the City Council should serve the community of Mt. Pleasant?
Disappointed meetings not public
To the editor:
I see from the April 15 Southeast Iowa Union (Senators Visit Fairfield) that Charles Grassley and Joni Ernst visited Jefferson County as part of their 99 county tours. It’s great that they come and that some cross-section of the community gets to talk with them, and I appreciate the businesses that host them and make that possible.
I understand that there is a need to limit attendance at such events. However, this is the only type of visit I have seen over the past 10 or so years in Fairfield: events that are by-invitation and publicized only after the fact.
I am an actively engaged citizen. I visit with the senators’ agents every time they hold “listening posts” here. They assure me that their bosses routinely hold “town halls” which are open to everyone. One recently promised that she would check her records and provide me with dates and locations of said town halls in Jefferson County. She produced none.
I am not opposed to private, limited meetings. Occasionally I would just love to see a true town hall offered here, too, one open to all constituents.
Access to public servants is an important pillar of our democracy.