Category Archives: News

Flood Watch 2013


Flood Watch 2013

We had a flash flood the day before yesterday and a flood similar to the flood of 1993 that is to crest tomorrow, June 2, 2013.  I have lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa most of my life and one thing that stays the same during each of these floods and that is the water has to have somewhere to go.  A few feet could make all the difference in the world for people who went through and continue to have water problems since the 2008 flood.

Flooding in Cedar Rapids

I don’t think we would have the sewer problems we have if the city would just work with the DNR to dredge the riverIf the city council worked as hard for flood protection as they have to acquire and demolish homes and businesses we would be so much better than we were before the flood of 2008. 

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Flash Flooding in Cedar Rapids


Flash Flooding In Cedar Rapids

First Avenue Bridge

1st Avenue Bridge

Do you live in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? If so, do you live in a flood zone? Was your home impacted by the 1993 floods? How about the 2008 floods?
Yesterday, May 30, 2013 a fast moving storm caused some flash flooding in Cedar Rapids. The city is frantically working  to prevent flooding, or so they claim.

Current Flood Warning

There is currently a  flood warning in effect.  KCRG reported last night that “several homes on 1st Street NW will be impacted”. Problem with that statement is there is only one home on 1st Street NW and “the basement is still dry.” The storm and flash flooding certainly impacted drivers though!

Flood Lessons

Like the city, homeowners also learned valuable lessons from the 2008 flood. Always trust your instincts and have a plan. I will be watching the river and updating my findings.  Flash flooding and river flooding are different types of flooding. The river rising is a drawn out event and predictable but flash floods happen quickly without much notice.  Both are potentially dangerous. If flood water is already starting to come up through your basement drain you might want to consider disconnecting your furnace and moving it to higher ground. If you don’t know how to do that call for help.
I
am no expert on the city but living on 1st Street NW as rebuilt homes were demolished after the 2008 flood I have a unique perspective on how things operate around here. I do not blame the city workers for doing things backwards because they are only following orders. I hope that a city worker who understands the frustrations of the people who live in the core neighborhoods will step up and run for city council.
We have got to get this city back to operating without any agendas but to equally serve and provide essential services to it’s citizens.
Everyone I’ve spoken to agrees that the city should have focused on flood protection before buying and selling Real Estate. Flood protection should have been the city’s first priority since the 2008 flood but it hasn’t been. Nope, instead of focusing on the real issues the Cedar Rapids City Council squabbled with people all over the city over buyouts in the name of flood protection while giving downtown players “sweetheart deals” for riverside property on the east side.

When we voted for the Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) it was supposed to help rebuild flood impacted property and flood protection. FEMA did not require we move the Public Library and spend millions of our disaster dollars to acquire and remodel the event center three blocks from the river the city council did.  FEMA did not require properties be bought out the city did. Remember the buyout program was a voluntary property acquisition after the 2008 flood.

 


March Against Monsanto Mainstream Media MIA


Monsanto & the Mainstream Media

Monsanto is trying to monopolize the world’s food supply with their sustainable patents on seeds. Monsanto is the bully in the agricultural world.  They have taken farmers to court to sue them for their land because one of their seeds blew in the wind onto the farmers land! Monsanto has their own police force that doesn’t need your permission to go on your land or go through your storage bins. Furthermore, they are not afraid to sue you if one of their patent protected seeds blows onto your land! Farmers lose with Monsanto.

Mainstream Media from Russia

I heard nothing about the Monsanto protest on television on the mainstream media.  I had to go to the internet to see coverage of the event.  It was pouring down rain here in Iowa where there was a scheduled march in Des Moines and Iowa City (neither of which are farming towns) but there wasn’t one word from the media about it.

What’s wrong with this picture? Where is the mainstream media on Monsanto having special protection from court prosecution if their genetically modified food is proven to be dangerous? If Monsanto is so confident with their product then why do they not label their goods?
Thousands perhaps even millions of people marched in protest against Monsanto on May 25, 2013 in the United States and around the world and there wasn’t a peep about it on the mainstream media. Not one peep about Monsanto and their genetically modified foods.  Not one mention of Monsanto‘s crimes against humanity.  Nothing about their part in the creation of Agent Orange, a chemical used during the Vietnam war that killed American soldiers years after exposure, including my father.

Monsanto is protected by the mainstream media and the federal government!

‘Monsanto Protection Act’ might be repealed in Senate

Monsanto has been afforded their own protection under the so-called Monsanto Protection Act signed into law earlier this year caused such an outrage that people around the world are planning to protest the biotech company later this month. Now a United States senator is expected to try and repeal that law.”

“Deep within the nearly 600-page spending bill, Section 735 includes language that lets biotech companies that experiment with genetically-engineered and genetically-modified crops test and sell lab-made products even if legal action is taken against them.”

I do not trust Monsanto with our food supply. I do not think that our livestock should be fed  the genetically modified plant. You ever hear the saying “you are what you eat”. I I do not wish to be a piece of property owned by Monsanto.
Roundup is a insecticide made by Monsanto. Do they own your yard just because you might use their product? Does Monsanto think they own the people or livestock that ingests their patented product?

Monsanto has called Section 735 “a positive step to ensure US farmers and our food chain are shielded from supply disruptions caused by litigation over procedural issues unrelated to sound science or the safety of biotech crops.” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) told Politico earlier this year that he co-authored the language of the amendment along with Monsanto. Previously, Blunt received $64,250 from Monsanto to go towards his campaign committee between 2008 and 2012.


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Mainstream Media MIA at March Against Monsanto

The media was all over the “pink slime” but say nothing about Monsanto or the outrage that consumers and environmentalists were expressing dissatisfaction with the systems blatant government protection of the company.  The Federal Drug and Food Administration is headed by a Monsanto associate! All the information is in these videos if you choose to watch them.


Freedom of Information Doesn’t Mean Free Information


Freedom of Information isn’t Free

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
May 26, 2013
How much did taxpayers pay to rebuild, purchase and demolish those buildings on 1st Avenue and 1st Street SW in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? Too much! But, the only way that the people who paid for it can find out about it is by obtaining public information.

How many people think that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) means free information? You would think that freedom of information would mean free information but it doesn’t; it only means you’re free to ask for the information and pay for said information.

That’s right, if you want any real information you will have to pay for it!

The equivalency of the Federal’s FOIA is the State of Iowa and City of Cedar Rapids’ “Open Records” law and ordinance, respectively.

But, just how “open” are these records?

information

Lisa Kuzela

Lisa Kuzela:

Lisa Kuzela was the Vice Chair of the Local Option Sales Tax Oversight Committee (L.O.S.T.) when she asked for pertinent public information regarding where some of the funds from the L.O.S.T. account had been appropriated.

Kuzela asked for a list of the homes purchased with the L.O.S.T. funds and was told that it would “cost her $110 for six hours of time to compile the data”.

They then used the excuse that it was a “privacy issue,” even though the same requested information for properties purchased with FEMA and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds had already been publicly listed. So, why not make available those purchased with L.O.S.T?  There was never any justification for their excuses.

Don’t take my word for it go check it out yourself!
Click here for information about The City of Cedar Rapids Greenway Area Address List.
Click here for information about The City of Cedar Rapids Construction Area Address List.


Assistant City Manager, Sandi Fowler, discusses Fees for Public Information

Kuzela is often charged for information requests from the City. On top of the research hourly fees, she is charged for scans – yes, scans! She is charged twenty-five cents per page to scan even though there is no ink or paper!

This clearly violates Iowa’s Open Records Law, State Code 22.3(2): “The fee for the copying service as determined by the lawful custodian shall not exceed the actual cost of providing the service. Actual costs shall include only those expenses directly attributable to supervising the examination of and making and providing copies of public records. ”

Kuzela states “when I pointed this out to the City, they said that the reason they have to charge the same for a scan as a hard copy is that the machine counts the scan the same as a copy. I told them I’ve never heard of such a thing and no one should have to pay for something when there’s no expense for it. However, I’ve gone along with this absurdity and been paying $0.25 per scanned page so I could get the information.”

If a citizen cares enough to request information they should not be charged for it if they are not requesting a hard copy of said information!

Kuzela goes on to say that within the past week, “they suddenly claim that the documents are off-site, so if I want the information, I have to pay them the time to go to another location to retrieve the documents at $20 per hour. This is over and above their hourly fee for the time it takes to scan (even though we have automatic feeders, now). This, too, is in addition to $0.25 per page to scan.”

What is wrong with the efficiency of our city if this information isn’t readily available – especially in the day of digital? Who are these people working for if they can charge taxpayers for public information – especially at a higher cost simply because they haven’t been well-organized in storing it?!

Aren’t we already paying them to do their job, and isn’t this part of their job? This all just sounds absurd to me!

But, it even gets worse!

Kuzela explains that “even though they’re emailing me the information (and therefore no supervising of staff is necessary while I review the information), they are now also saying that I have to pay a fee for ‘supervising the examination.’ So, does that mean I have to pay for an employee to supervise another? They haven’t responded to this question.”

I’m simply not buying that in this day and age when everything is digital that they don’t have this information scanned already and easily accessible! It’s obvious that the goal here is not to help the taxpayers get information, so they can oversee how their money’s being spent, but to prevent it. The City continually comes up with different excuses to make it as costly as possible in order to deter Kuzela from obtaining public information.

Click here for a link to Lisa Kuzela’s fundraising page.
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Adam Kokesh Press Release


Infowars.com May 24, 2013

Political activist Adam Kokesh was released from jail this afternoon.

Kokesh was arrested last Saturday for exercising his First Amendment right at a protest. He called for a “new American revolution” to begin on July 4 with a march on all 50 state capitols.

The release was announced on his Facebook page with the following message and photograph:

Released 130524 with felony charges reduced to citations which I refused to sign. Played hardball. Won. Talk to you Monday.

political prisoner

Freed May 24, 2013

Press Release: Adam Kokesh Calls on American Revolutionary Army to March on 50 State Capitols

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Click here for the PDF version.

Media Contact
Lucas Jewell lucas@adamvstheman.com (904) 200-7016
Adam Kokesh Calls on American Revolutionary Army to March on 50 State Capitols

(Philadelphia, PA, May 24, 2013)— Political prisoner and activist Adam Kokesh has released a statement from inside the Philadelphia federal prison about his planned July 4th, 2013 Open Carry March on Washington, DC. The statement was read by comedian and activist N.A. Poe, until recently a fellow prisoner of Kokesh’s, today Friday, May 24 at 1PM in front of the Philadelphia federal prison.

[CORRECTION: The statement was read by Lucas Jewell, business manager of Kokesh’s online show “Adam vs. the Man.”]

What follows is Kokesh’s complete and unabridged statement.

“When a government has repeatedly and deliberately failed to follow its own laws, violated the fundamental human rights of its citizens, threatened the sanctity of a free press, created institutions intended to eliminate privacy of communication, waged war at the behest of special interest that threatens the public safety, killed hundreds of children with drone strikes, imprisoned and destroyed the lives of countless individuals for victimless crimes, stifled economic opportunity to maintain the dominance of the financial elite, stolen from the people through an absurd system of taxation and inflation, sold future generations into debt slavery, and abused its power to suppress political opposition, it is unfit to exist and it becomes the duty of the people to alter or abolish that government by whatever means necessary to secure liberty and ensure peace.

“A new American revolution is long overdue. This revolution has been brewing in the hearts and minds of the people for many years, but this Independence Day, it shall take a new form as the American Revolutionary Army will march on each state capital to demand that the governors of these 50 states immediately initiate the process of an orderly dissolution of the federal government through secession and reclamation of federally held property. Should one whole year from this July 4th pass while the crimes of this government are allowed to continue, we may have passed the point at which non-violent revolution becomes impossible.

“The time to sit idly by has passed. To remain neutral is to be complicit, just doing your job is not an excuse, and the line in the sand has been drawn between the people, and the criminals in Washington, D.C. While some timid souls will say that it is too early, that we can solve this problem through democratic means provided by government, that current levels of taxation are reasonable for the services provided, and that the crimes of this government are merely a tolerable nuisance, it may already be too late.

“While there is risk in drastic action, the greater danger lies in allowing this government to continue unchallenged. So if you are content with the status quo, stay home, get fat, watch the fireworks from a safe distance, and allow this Independence Day to pass like any other. But if you see as we see, and feel as we feel, we will see you on the front lines of freedom on July 4th, 2013 for this, The Final American Revolution.”

Signed, Adam Kokesh, May 23, 2013 from a cage in the Philadelphia federal prison.

Kokesh and Poe were arrested on Saturday, May 18, 2013 while speaking to a 32% off New Products at GoDaddy.com! Expires 5/28/13.permitted marijuana legalization rally at Independence Mall National Historic Park in center city Philadelphia, in a space specifically designated for free speech. They are being framed on felony charges of assaulting a federal officer, despite overwhelming video footage to the contrary.

“They just came after Adam [Kokesh] and N.A. Poe, the organizer of Smokedown – the only two there out of hundreds present who were taken into custody,” said Michael Salvi, an observer of the rally.

At a preliminary hearing in front of US Magistrate Judge Thomas J. Rueter in the Byrne courthouse on Monday, May 20, 2013, Kokesh and Poe were denied bail. Poe was subsequently released on Thursday, May 23, 2013. Kokesh was denied release on the same day.

About Adam Kokesh

Adam Kokesh is a former US Marine corporal and veteran of the Iraq War who is active for peace, marijuana legalization, the right to keep and bear arms and other libertarian causes. Kokesh is the host of talk radio show “Adam vs the Man.” http://adamvstheman.com. Complete information on Adam Kokesh’s arrest and federal caging is available at http://FreeAdam.net.
This entry was posted in News on May 24, 2013.

**I am not a gun owner and won’t be at any of the marches in July but I will be watching from where I live and praying that no one is hurt.

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Adam Kokesh and the Inconsistencies between Police Reports and Video Footage on Youtube


I have been reading the police reports on Adam Kokesh and have watched so many different angles of his arrest on May 18, 2013 it’s not funny. There are many inconsistencies the reports.  There was  one video that stood out for me though. The video I found seemed to catch the best angle of the arrest.

Exhibit 1:

Lies

Charges against Adam Kokesh

On or about May 18, 2013, defendant ADAM KOKESH forcibly assaulted, resisted, opposed, impeded and interfered with officers and employees of the United States, that is, uniformed National Park Service Rangers while they were engaged in, and on account of, the performance of official duties, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 111.
Title 18, United States Code, Section 111
50% of Hosting for your Website at GoDaddy.com!(a) In General.— Whoever—(1) forcibly assaults, resists, opposes, impedes, intimidates, or interferes with any person designated in section 1114 of this title while engaged in or on account of the performance of official duties; or (2) forcibly assaults or intimidates any person who formerly served as a person designated in section 1114 on account of the performance of official duties during such person’s term of service, shall, where the acts in violation of this section constitute only simple assault, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, and where such acts involve physical contact with the victim of that assault or the intent to commit another felony, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.
(b) Enhanced Penalty.— Whoever, in the commission of any acts described in subsection (a), uses a deadly or dangerous weapon (including a weapon intended to cause death or danger but that fails to do so by reason of a defective component) or inflicts bodily injury, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.
Park Police officers approached Adam he did not approach them. His only crime was he was exercising his freedom of speech. The Park Police aggressively approached Adam Kokesh. Reports were that Adam Kokesh was charged with resisting arrest. What was Adam under arrest for? Was he smoking marijuana? No. Was he in possession of marijuana? No.
Exhibit II:

Exhibit II

Page 2 of  Adam Kokesh‘s charges

Here I have the lies told by the police underlined:

Adam Kokesh

Videos from several different angles tell a different story

Adam Kokesh and others were first surrounded and then arrested at a peaceful protest after attending said protest four times prior with police present without any problems. The officer testifies that he’s been on the force for eight years. The only person Adam Kokesh “locked arms with” was a Park Police Officer. Was the officer in possession of a marijuana cigarette? Lastly the officer claims that Adam “grabbed the ranger by the arm to hold him back.”  I did not see Adam push anyone.  I saw Adam pulling his left arm away from an officer who appeared to be trying to use a pressure point near the thumb.
Exhibit III:

adam kokesh

Page 3 of Adam Kokesh’s charges

In a park full of marijuana activists a marijuana joint was found. Did the police obtain Adam’s fingerprints off this alleged marijuana cigarette? If Adam Kokesh did the things that these police claim he would be required to have a third arm.  Last I knew he only had two arms.

I’ve heard a lot of things about the police in Pennsylvania and none of them were good. At the end of the video I made above I replayed in slow motion what the cops said right after they put Adam Kokesh into a cage like an animal. Take a listen and you tell me why did they really arrested Adam Kokesh. Pennsylvania the world is watching and the people are not impressed with your conduct!

Related Stories:


Adam Kokesh Arrested for Resisting Arrest


Adam Kokesh arrested- again…

I am a loyal Adam vs The Man listener. I follow Adam Kokesh on Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube. Adam Kokesh, internet talk show host and veteran has been planning an armed march on Washington, D.C. for Adam Kokesh (right), Reverend Lennox Yearwood,...July 4th was arrested for another act of civil disobedience on, May 18, 2013. He has court Monday on these trumped up charges. Adam Kokesh has attended four other “Smoke Down Prohibition” events making this the fifth event he has attended. Adam was arrested for resisting arrest. The cops are lying and new video footage on Youtube proves that Adam wasn’t resisting.

Protestors chanted “no victim no crime” over and over

English: Adam Kokesh one of several indivduals...Another post on Adam Kokesh‘s official Facebook page:

Adam is locked up in a federal jail… he will go in front of a judge Monday… he is being charged with resisting arrest… that us all I know – Lucas

Vets for Ron Paul

Nathan Cox posted:
“ LISTEN UP FOLKS, Adam Kokesh friends, family and supporters.
Adam Kokesh of AdamVsTheMan has been taken captive NOT by the Philly Police but by Federal PARK POLICE. I just spoke with a woman in the Park Police (215-597-7077) who spoke with her supervisor for me.
Her supervisor said that the Park Police have taken him to 401 NORTH 21st Street which is the 9th District. They do NOT have Positive ID on him right now and if they can’t get positive ID within the next 30-45 minutes they will be taking him to a near by FEDERAL DETENTION Center.  I was told that if people go to that location they MIGHT be able to help get him out (possibly by ID’ing him.. IDK)  So the 9th District’s # is: 215-686-3090
If you are on the ground up there you need to SURROUND that building IMMEDIATELY.
MELT the phone lines”

Story from Infowars.com on Adam Kokesh:

English: A portrait of Adam Kokesh.

English: A portrait of Adam Kokesh. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“In a video of the Smoke Down Prohibition rally, policemen can be seen entering a crowd of activists, and shortly afterwards emerging with Kokesh in tow.  According to his Facebook page, Kokesh “hadn’t even smoked yet,” while “other protesters were actually smoking and released after arrest…,” leading us to wonder why he was being arrested/assaulted in the first place.
Kokesh was reportedly hauled away in a white Chevy Suburban, but an update states he has already been released from jail.
The talk radio host recently garnered national attention when Adam announced a July 4th armed march on Washington D.C. in defiance of the capitol’s firearms laws. As of yet, it’s unclear whether his connection to the upcoming event had anything to do with his arrest today.”

What does that mean Was he sent to a Federal Facility? Likely he is in a federal facility because he was arrested by the Park Police aka Federal Police.  As a fan of the freedom loving veteran, Adam Kokesh,
I want him set free immediately.

$2.49 .COM at GoDaddy.com! Expires 5/14/13The police clearly violated the law and falsely arrested him!  This is America not the USSR!  I am not surprised that Adam Kokesh was arrested. He’s been arrested before. What surprises me is that the police arrested him for resisting arrest when he wasn’t doing anything but exercising his individual god given individual rights he is guaranteed by the United States Constitution.  I am surprised  he took the risk of being at this smoke down prohibition with the big July 4, 2013 gun march he has organized coming up. Perhaps he was complacent since he had attended four of these events without any problems! I just hope that he is set free on Monday because I don’t like missing Adam’s podcasts!


Obama Administration Claims Power to Wage Endless War Across the Globe


America is out of control

I am not the only one who thinks that what the United States Military and their endless wars are insane. Independent Senator Angus King of Maine said it best in the video below.  He said ” Gentlemen, I’ve only been here five months, but this is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here today. The Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 11, clearly says that the Congress has the power to declare war.

This was taken 4/1/10 at the Obama speech in P...

This was taken 4/1/10 at the Obama speech in Portland, Maine. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This—this authorization, the AUMF, is very limited. And you keep using the term “associated forces.” You use it 13 times in your statement. That is not in the AUMF. And you said at one point, “It suits us very well.” I assume it does suit you very well, because you’re reading it to cover everything and anything. And then you said, at another point, “So, even if the AUMF doesn’t apply, the general law of war applies, and we can take these actions.” So, my question is: How do you possibly square this with the requirement of the Constitution that the Congress has the power to declare war? This is one of the most fundamental divisions in our constitutional scheme, that the Congress has the power to declare war; the president is the commander-in-chief and prosecutes the war. But you’re reading this AUMF in such a way as to apply clearly outside of what it says. Senator McCain was absolutely right: It refers to the people who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks on September 11. That’s a date. That’s a date. It doesn’t go into the future. And then it says, “or harbored such organizations”—past tense—”or persons in order to prevent any future acts by such nations, organizations or persons.” It established a date. I don’t disagree that we need to fight terrorism. But we need to do it in a constitutionally sound way. Now, I’m just a little, $2.49 .COM at GoDaddy.com! Expires 5/14/13old lawyer from Brunswick, Maine, but I don’t see how you can possibly read this to be in comport with the Constitution and authorize any acts by the president. You had testified to Senator Graham that you believe that you could put boots on the ground in Yemen now under this—under this document. That makes the war powers a nullity. I’m sorry to ask such a long question, but my question is: What’s your response to this? Anybody?”

MICHAEL SHEEHAN: Senator, let me take the first response. I’m not a constitutional lawyer or a lawyer of any kind. But let me talk to you a little—take a brief statement about al-Qaeda and the organization that attacked us on September 11, 2001. In the two years prior  to that, Senator King, that organization attacked us in East Africa and killed 17 Americans in our embassy in Nairobi, with loosely affiliated groups of people in East Africa. A year prior to 9/11, that same organization, with its affiliates in Yemen, almost sunk a U.S. ship, the U.S.S. Cole, a billion-dollar warship, killed 17 sailors in the port of Aden. The organization that attacked us on 9/11 already had its tentacles in—around the world with associated groups. That was the nature of the organization then; it is the nature of the organization now. In order to attack that organization, we have to attack it with those affiliates that are its operational arm that have previously attacked and killed Americans, and at high-level interests, and continue to try to do that.

Obama Administration claims power to Wage endless War across the globe

Fast forward to 14:00 for the video click these words it wouldn’t stick to this page

War Mongering for a living

Michael A. Sheehan

Michael A. Sheehan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all who the hell is Michael Sheehan?  He is the Pentagon Special Operations Chief.  He served as an officer in the infantry and Special Forces. He had several overseas assignments, as a commander of a “counter-terrorism” unit in Panama, a counterinsurgency advisor in El Salvador, an infantry company commander in Korea, and on peacekeeping duty in Somalia and Haiti. Also while on active duty, he served in the White House on the National Security Council staff for Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Why did we have a billion dollar warship off the coast of Yemen in the first place? Michael Sheehan will say it was because there were al-Qaeda members involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks but there was never a real investigation done so how do they know that there was a connection? All of this fits all to well in the war manual also known as the PNAC Report.   What does the administration have planned for the next twenty years for them to claim we’ll be at war that long? 


KCRG Investigates after Block by Block House is Demolished


English: Cedar Rapids, City Hall, photographed...

English: Cedar Rapids, City Hall, photographed by User:Iowahwyman on June 17, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The city has bought and torn down rebuilt houses for nearly five years.  I’ve investigated this myself since 2011! The only answers I’ve ever been given for this is that the “owners applied for the buyout” and that it is for the “city’s preferred flood plan“.  Just because the city has a plan doesn’t mean that it has to make sense.
Chris Earl’s investigative report generated more questions than answers for me.
Is it only newsworthy if a Mathew 25 aka Block by Block house is rebuilt and demolished?  How many other rebuilt houses were bought by the city with our tax dollars to be torn down?  I know of two other properties that were rebuilt, occupied, bought by the city and torn down. They weren’t houses that Block by Block rebuilt but it was only a matter of time before they went after Block by Block houses.  The houses that were rebuilt, occupied, and sold to the city by landlords never made the news!  The question I have is why did they sell out?  Were they offered an incentive?  Did they sell out because they’d never be able to get that kind of return on the market?  107% isn’t a bad deal is it? I don’t blame the landlords for wanting to sell out, especially if there was an incentive.  $2.49 .COM at GoDaddy.com! Expires 5/14/13
Chris Earl does a fair job in his reporting but I wish that the report would have focused more on the city taking federal money to tear down rebuilt houses than Mathew 25.  I am more interested in the people who lived in those rebuilt homes. Where are they now?  Were they given money to move?  Are they happy? Would they have stayed if they were given a chance to purchase the house?  Couldn’t these houses could have been sold through the cities “Roots Program“.
The city has done a lot of negotiating with the federal government to get their money to tear down rebuilt houses but when it comes to anyone in the city trying to save a rebuilt house from demolition there is no negotiating with the city.  Once the city agrees to take that federal money the laws dictate that the house must be demolished.  After 1100 homes have gone to the landfill you would think that the city would be satisfied but they’re not.  The will continue to take our tax money to demolish rebuilt homes until they are stopped! Who will stop them?

 


FEMA From Evacuation to Eviction


I am excited to report that the garage I’ve complained about to the city, my family, friends, and neighbors on the 1400 block of 4th Street NW is finally gone. It will no longer serve as a convenient dumping ground and I will never have to wake up to the sound of demolition again. The demolitions are done around me!  The only remaining structures are blocks away from my house and I hope that I don’t have to hear them.
You would think I would be happy that this is almost over and that these rotting structures will finally be gone and I am. But I am still very unhappy about what happened to the west bank and I wonder how many people felt like they went from evacuation to eviction?
50% of Hosting for your Website at GoDaddy.com!Before the flood we were undergoing intense inspections by the city because our community was approved for Weed and Seed money from the Community Capacity Development Office out of the Department of Justice. My neighbors and I were working hard to have everything perfect for the city inspectors but then flood came on June 11, 2008.  Our final inspection was supposed to happen on June 17, 2008 but it never did and we were denied volunteers from the Weed and Seed program by Bruce Vandersanden, program coordinator at the Sixth Judicial Department of Correctional Services.  I was on the Weed and Seed Committee as a representative from my neighborhood association when I complained to Gary Hinzman about the houses that have been denied all help at an unrelated board meeting where he told Bruce to “make it right”, but that never happened.  In fact, in front of a room full of people Bruce told me that “it wasn’t ever going to happen”.

Operation Weed and Seed is a joint federal, state and local coordinated law enforcement and community initiative that aims to prevent, control and reduce violent crime, drug abuse and gang activity in targeted high-crime neighborhoods across the country. The Weed and Seed strategy recognizes the importance of integrating law enforcement with social services and the private sector on federal, state and local levels to maximize the impact of existing programs and resources.”
Sponsored by the United States Department of Justice and under the local leadership of the United States Attorney, the strategy involves a two-pronged approach. First, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors cooperate in “weeding out” criminals who participate in violent crime, gang activity, drug use and drug trafficking in targeted neighborhoods. Second, “seeding” brings a variety of human services to the area, restoring it through social and economic revitalization.”

The city lied to all of us about flood protection, they lied to us about the buyouts, and they continue to lie to us about being bound by FEMA.  The city applied for the buyout program. The buyout program was voluntary . If we were truly in danger FEMA would have declared our city unsafe and there would have been an “involuntary buyout”. FEMA did not destroy our city- city officials destroyed our city and used FEMA money to do it! In a Gazette article labeled: Property owners refuse to leave Cedar Rapids flood plain dated August 16, 2009 it said: “They plan to use $27 million in federal money to buy out property owners and create a city park or wilderness trail along the river. A levee built by the Army Corps of Engineers will separate remaining neighborhoods from the greenway and provide protection from another surge.” They also claim in the same article that: “The city has said it won’t use eminent domain to force the property owners off their land. But the Army Corps of Engineers could designate the properties as risks to the flood-protection system and force the owners to sell for pre-flood assessed values plus improvements. Fournier said that would be a last resort.”

Evacuation to Eviction

Evacuation to Eviction

What the Gazette didn’t report at that time was that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) did not approve any flood protection for the west bank because it didn’t meet the required guidelines. There is no property left on the west bank of the Cedar River therefore it does not meet the monetary specifications that are required for the USACOE to approve flood protection. The specifications  include a cost to benefit ratio. Because the neighborhood was flattened there is no property value to protect therefore, no flood protection.
The United States Army Corps of Engineers also told me directly and on record (in a questionnaire) that they were not interested in buying our home now or ever. At a different United States Corps of Engineers meeting the  I attended I informed one of the men from the United States Army Corps of Engineers that we were told by the city and news outlets that they needed our houses out of the way so that they could implement flood protection for the west bank. I was told by this man that this was not only wrong but it’s illegal. He said “saying that qualifies as coercion in a voluntary property acquisition” by FEMA.
Another thing that the Gazette failed to report is that “eminent domain” can “never” be declared because it was a “voluntary property acquisition”. Question number seven on the “Corridor Recovery” site clearly states this as a fact:
7. Is the City going to force me to sell my property?
No. This is was a voluntary property acquisition process. When using FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, the City cannot use eminent domain to acquire properties.
The five year anniversary of the flood is coming up and that is a huge milestone for some of us. There is a small group of us in the greed-way that stuck it out and decided that the city’s buyout offer was not only ridiculous but it is a farce! Who in their right mind would want to take a $66,000.00 loss because of one flood?  The city offered us $14,000.00 for our property and $0 for the house! This was the first flood my house has ever been through and we have flood insurance why would we sell out?  The National Flood Insurance Program which is also known as FEMA and anyone who received money from the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA was required by the City of Cedar Rapids to “pay back” any and all FEMA money they received in the buyout. Meaning a lot of people took losses.
If you’ve never heard of the term Disaster Capitalism I suggest you look it up. In a neighborhood meeting Chuck Swore was confronted by Mike Augustine who asked him where all the money was coming from for all these projects because the city seemed to be spending federal tax money like it was free money.

That's a Smart Move! Economy Hosting for $1.99/mo.In summarizing his statement Chuck Swore said  that we’d probably be alright without FEMA  but since the money was there and available to the city, “they used it as if it were free money”.  FEMA money for communities is not meant to be used in the way it was used in our community. Those of us who dealt with FEMA and the city were told “not to expect FEMA to “make people whole” yet, everything was ripped down to make way for new and supposedly with FEMAs blessing. Communities that have been hit by disasters of their own have called on Cedar Rapids to ask for recovery advice and that’s not good. Communities impacted by disasters would be better served if they were required to follow the Property Acquisition Handbook provided on FEMAs website. Had FEMA handed these guides out to victims in Cedar Rapids when they were in town it would have saved America millions and millions of dollars.
Houses that were rebuilt and lived in after the flood continue to find their way to the dump while the city complains that there isn’t enough affordable housing. If there isn’t enough affordable housing then why are renters being relocated so that the affordable housing we do have can be demolished? What is going on around here?

We must demand reform or FEMA will systematically allow a few people to exploit them while destroying everything in it’s path!