Tag Archives: environment

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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Modern Day Alamo FREE TEXAS


April 21, 1836 -is the most important date in Texas history.  San Jancinto Day  is a state holiday and a day that has been reenacted for the last seventeen years at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site in La Porte, just east of Houston.  This reenactment is the largest in Texas.
Having lived between Texas and Iowa throughout my childhood I have always consider myself ‘part Texan’. I attended 4th grade at Nolanville Elementary in Central Texas during the Cold War in the 80s. This was a time of great tension between the United States and the USSR.
free texasloveOrganizers of the 2013 festivities have “nixed” the Texas Nationalist Movement presentation at San Jancinto Day festivities.  The movement in Texas that has been working towards succeeding from United States of America. Organizers of the festival have also denied the Texas Nationalist Movement a booth to disseminate their materials because they are “too political”.  When I heard about this decision the Texan inside me became outraged! It would seem to me that these festival organizers would want to embrace the Texas Nationalist Movement and their message because they portray the very spirit that San Jancinto Day celebrates!
Aren’t these festivities held in a public place funded by public money? Is this public money not some how funneled to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and their  San Jancinto Day organizers by politicians?  I don’t want to seem petty but I would like to know!  Additionally, why are the festivities  being held a day early, on Hitler’s birthday, instead of the date in which it was declared a state holiday, April 21.
I fully support my friends and family in Texas who are ready to break free from this tyrannical government. I get it. I hope that the Texas Nationalist Movement is successful so other states may follow suit. Succeeding from the United States of America is the right thing for Texas to do.The loss of our sovereignty to move towards a “one world government” is not the way our founders envisioned America! Texas could be a beacon of hope for the rest of our country.
Don’t think Texas is tyrannical?  Ask parents of the  12-year-old girls who were forcefully vaccinated for HPV against their will and without parental permission how they feel. I couldn’t imagine what my mother  would have done if the school would have tried to give me a shot to vaccinate me for a sexually transmitted disease before I ever became sexually active!  When I attended Nolanville Elementary my teacher threatened to spank me  with a paddle for  losing my book .  I told my  mother I lost the book and that the teacher threatened to paddle my behind if I didn’t find it.  She went to the school and confronted the teacher and she told him if he ever talked to me that way again that she would beat him with a paddle herself.  Those were the days.
Texans fought and won the battle of the Texas Revolution becoming an independent Republic.  In 1845 it joined the United States as the 28th state. The state’s annexation set off a chain of events that caused the Mexican–American War in 1846.  In my opinion, denying  the Texas Nationalist Movement the opportunity to distribute their information goes against everything that the holiday stands for.  Independence is deeply ingrained in the character of the people of Texas and I hope that the  Texas Parks& Wildlife Department and their “festival organizers” will reconsider allowing the Texas Nationalist Movement to give their presentation.  I also hope that the organizers will allow Texas Nationalist Movement a booth at the San Jancinto Day festivities so that they may express the freedom that is being celebrated.


City of Cedar Rapids Chapter 29 Forces Man into Streets


Snapshot - 2
“He needs to get out of his own house for his own good” according to the police who forced this man to leave his home today in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Now, homeless, this man’s only crime is not being in compliance with the city and their costly ordinances. He hasn’t broken any state laws.

29.14 – TENANT RESPONSIBILITY
Tenant to maintain dwelling unit. The tenant shall:
(1) Comply with all obligations primarily imposed upon tenants by applicable provisions of building and housing codes materially affecting health and safety.
(2) Keep that part of the premises that the tenant occupies and uses as clean and safe as the condition of the premises permit.
(3) Dispose from the tenant’s dwelling unit all ashes, rubbish, garbage, and other waste in a clean and safe manner.
(4) Keep all plumbing fixtures in the dwelling unit or used by the tenant as clean as their condition permits.
(5) Use in a reasonable manner all electrical, plumbing, sanitary, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and other facilities and appliances including elevators in the premises.
(6) Not deliberately or negligently destroy, deface, damage, impair or remove a part of the premises or knowingly permit a person to do so.
(7) Act in a manner that will not disturb a neighbor’s peaceful enjoyment of the premises.

It is cold outside! Where do the city and police propose Mr. Fairchild go since they deemed his house uninhabitable? The streets? It’s his house, I highly doubt he is going to try to set it on fire! What is the deal with this city and poor people? Why does it feel the need to put this man on the street? Are these city ordinances more important to the city staff than people? YES!