Tag Archives: Rob Hogg

Iowa Drone Update


From: Ajai Dittmar~https://cedarrapidsactivist.wordpress.com/ [mailto:sibzianna@aol.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 1:40 PM
To: Hogg, Rob [LEGIS]
Subject:

Where do you stand on the drone issue? We don’t want any drones over us!
hogg

Wed, Mar 6, 2013 3:16 pm
RE:
From Hogg, Rob [LEGIS] [LEGIS] Rob.Hogg@legis.iowa.govhide details
Ajai-

Thank you for your email regarding Senate File 276, a bill about the use of drones over Iowa. I appreciate hearing from you. I apologize for sending you a standard form response, but due to the volume of emails I have received on this issue, it is necessary.

I personally support regulation of drones that strictly limits their use and imposes meaningful safeguards on any use. Unfortunately, SF276 is a poorly drafted bill that would actually allow widespread use of drones now, and unlimited use of drones beginning July 1, 2015. You can review the bill in the “bill book” at http://www.legis.iowa.gov.

Here are several specific problems with the bill:

1. The bill, as drafted, has no penalty for the illegal use of “unmanned aircraft systems.”

2. The bill, as drafted, does not state which agency would be responsible for enforcing regulations on “unmanned aircraft systems.”

3. The term “unmanned aircraft system” is not defined. Iowa has never had any drone regulations, so the bill would leave it up to an unspecified agency or the courts to define what “unmanned aircraft system” includes.

4. The bill, as drafted, only applies to unspecified state agencies and agencies of political subdivisions with “jurisdiction over criminal law enforcement.” This would clearly not cover drone use by individuals, businesses, or state agencies like the department of natural resources, the department of transportation, the department of human services, or the department of public defense. By implication, those uses would be allowed.

5. The bill, as drafted, expressly allows the use of “unmanned aircraft systems” for disaster situations, amber alerts, and search-and-rescue operations, and by implication would allow the use of those systems for training for those purposes. The bill, as drafted, would allow agencies to determine for themselves when these situations exist as well as how much training for those situations could be done. Again, if the agency violated the law, there would be no enforcement or penalty.

6. The bill, as drafted, only regulates “unmanned aircraft systems” through July 1, 2015. It is my understanding that drone use for commercial purposes is expected to increase significantly after that date due to changes in federal regulations. It is unclear why the sponsors of SF276 chose to limit the proposed regulation only through July 1, 2015.

I believe passing this bill now would do more harm than good for those who want to limit and regulate drone use in Iowa. I wish advocates had contacted me earlier in the session when there would have been time to draft a proper senate judiciary study bill, but no one contacted me before late last week, and the deadline for bill requests has now passed.

For advocates who want to limit drone use now, the best course is to make sure Governor Branstad does not allow his state agencies – DPS, DNR, DOT, DHS, etc. – to use or encourage drones. For example, his economic development agency encouraged the manufacturing of drones in Iowa with an award of $175,000 in incentives to a drone manufacturer to locate in the state. If you would like to share your concerns about drones with Governor Branstad, you can call his office at 515-281-5211 during work hours.

Finally, to help you get involved in the legislative process so we can actually pass good legislation next year, I want to invite you to attend a public meeting on drones Wednesday morning, March 6, from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m., in Room 22 behind the Senate chamber at the Capitol to discuss the issue.

I hope to see you there.

Rob

State Senator Rob Hogg

State Capitol

Des Moines, IA 50319

(515) 281-3371 (switchboard)

http://www.robhogg.org

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Lisa Kuzela files conflict of interest charges against Mayor Ron Corbett


PRESS RELEASE:

lisa1Lisa Kuzela files conflict of interest charges against Mayor Ron Corbett

On Monday, February 25, 2013, Lisa Kuzela submitted to the Iowa State Ethics Board claims of conflicts of interest that Mayor Ron Corbett has violated Iowa Code 68B.2A which prohibits outside employment and activities. Those charges have been forwarded to the Linn County Attorney’s office.

The pertinent subsections to the code are as follows:

According to:
Iowa Code 68B.2A – “Prohibited Outside Employment and Activities-Conflicts of interest:”
“Any person who serves or is employed by the state or a political subdivision of the state shall not engage in any of the following conduct:”
“Outside employment or an activity that involves the use of the state’s or the political subdivision’s time, time, facilities, equipment, and supplies …”

In addition, specifically regarding employment conflict…
“Outside employment or an activity that is subject to the official control, inspection, review, audit, or enforcement authority of the person, during the performance of the person’s duties of office or employment.”

Corbett was the Vice President of Human Resources at CRST. John Smith was President and CEO of CRST International, Inc. and is currently Chair. David Rusch is the current President and CEO of CRST. Corbett supposedly remains employed by CRST, although questions remain as to if he actually works there or simply receives a salary under a fictitious position.

Corbett has a personal interest through his official capacity of mayor which has benefitted John Smith and David Rusch at CRST which violates State Law.

The most recent actions he has taken in regards to the casino have prompted me to finally file an official complaint and request for an investigation.

My suspicion rose first when I learned who the investors were. They included John Smith and David Rusch of CRST.

Two weeks ago I learned about the Agreement between the Cedar Rapids Development Group (“investor” group) and the Linn County Gaming Association (nonprofit group) which states that if there is any debt incurred on the land or operations, then a “third party” will cover that debt. I knew what that meant. Again, the city taxpayers will be subsidizing another facility. But this time, it will be for Corbett’s employers.

Last week, I learned of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (see attached) that Corbett approved at the October 9, 2012 City Council meeting.

This Memorandum is basically a no-competition declaration stating that the City will exclusively support the Cedar Rapids Development Group, LLC and the Linn County Gaming Association, Inc. They will not consider anyone else who wants to bid for the gaming license.

This created an environment in which there can’t be competition. A bid process would have been in the form of bidding a higher percentage of funds to go to the nonprofit who then allocates it to the community.

By doing so, Corbett not only dishonored the residents, costing them tens of millions, but he secured that those proceeds will stay in the hands of the investor group, of which Smith and Rusch are investors.

The MOU that Corbett supported therefore:
1) secured that this investor group, of which Smith and Rusch are members, Cedar Rapids Development Group, LLC, and no one else, would be sole ownership of the casino, entertainment, gift shops, etc. proceeds – as stated in the Agreement;
2) secured that a lower percentage of proceeds be distributed into the community;
3) secured that this investor group will make millions more (that otherwise would’ve gone into the community).

Note that I don’t think that a bid process is required under law or regulations in this situation, however, through Corbett’s official actions, he has granted favor to Smith and Rusch of who Corbett is employed.

This MOU agenda issue was a critical one for Cedar Rapids, yet was not only not discussed at the council meeting; it was noticeably inconspicuously placed on the consent agenda. No council member pulled it off to discuss, and it was passed by the simple vote of passing the consent agenda.

The Resolution was signed by Mayor Corbett October 9, 2012. (See attached)

Earnestly submitted by
Lisa Kuzela

Extended information: The casino conflict of interest has many tentacles …

In April 2012, I, along with others, attended and spoke at a House Ways and Means Subcommittee regarding Senate File 2217 – a $600 million bill for “flood protection” in which Mayor Corbett strongly lobbied for. At that meeting, there were two lobbyists from CRST. At the time none of us could understand why they were there.

This bill, signed into law April 19, 2012, was so broadly worded that it allows any project to be funded under this bill, as long as part of the major project qualifies as “flood protection.” This includes a casino.

Senate File 2217, Section 4 – New Section 418.1 Definition #5 “Project”
“A project may consist of one or more phases of construction or reconstruction that are contracted for separately if the larger project, of which the project is a part, otherwise meets the requirements of this subsection.”

Although the bill states the funds would be granted to the “governmental entity,” this city knows how to get around that. Three LLCs (Courthouse II LLC, Courthouse II Tenant LLC, and Courthouse II Manager LLC) were created for the former Federal Courthouse / new City Hall, in which they used all public funds to rehabilitate. By doing this, not only did the taxpayers end up paying more, but it bypassed any bidding process that was required by law with these funds and prevented transparency.

There’s already an LLC formed for the casino – Cedar Rapids Development Group, LLC. I predict they will do the same with the casino – providing even more funding to the “investor” group – all with our tax money!

Now that the casino project is being pushed and John Smith and David Rusch have been named as investors, I think I understand now why a trucking company located miles from the river was lobbying for a “flood protection” bill.

Currently, as I predicted, Corbett and Senator Rob Hogg are lobbying the Board (established under this bill) to have part of the casino project count as flood protection.

However, if this is granted by the Board then, according to the bill, the taxpayers, rather than the investors, can be paying for the construction of the casino project with the appearance that the investor group (LLC) is paying for it.

Sidebar: Each phase or subproject is capped at receiving $15 million through this law. In addition it requires a “local match.” However, the State received a waiver from HUD allowing the CDBG Disaster Assistance to count as a local match. Therefore, with this match, it allows Corbett to help fund up to $30 million per phase / subproject of the major casino project. Thereby, leaving the investor group, of which John Smith and David Rusch of CRST are investors, to invest very little, if any, toward the casino, obligating Local, State and Federal taxpayers to fund the construction of the casino.

Recently, it’s been published that Ron Corbett has historically opposed a local casino. I even heard him say so at a dinner during his campaign at the Islamic Center in Cedar Rapids. He said that the market is saturated and it doesn’t make sense to have another one here.

Now he suddenly supports a casino.

Of course this sudden change of attitude about such a major issue is usually explained away politically, but when all these facts are pieced together, questions can’t help but be raised as to why he is now using his elected position as mayor to push through the casino upon which Smith and Rusch are an investors.

Earnestly submitted by Lisa Kuzela, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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memorandum of understw

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Say No to Drones


English: Official portrait of Iowa State Senat...

English: Official portrait of Iowa State Senator Robert M. Hogg (IA-19) for the 84th General Assembly. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Senator Rob Hogg doesn’t have the time to consider SF 276 – He would rather surrender himself to the mercy of the drones…

It’s only a one page bill, but apparently having Senator Hogg sit down to read it and mull it over is too much to ask.

Please contact Senator Hogg, ask him to give SF276 the consideration it deserves and schedule a hearing ASAP.

Senator Robert Hogg (D- Cedar Rapids)
rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov
319.247.0223

You see, Hogg is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Without Senator Hogg scheduling a committee hearing on SF 276, our common sense drone regulations are dead in the water.

With political leaders like Sen. Hogg being too lazy to consider a one page bill, it’s no wonder our country is in such bad shape.

That type of “leadership” is completely unacceptable.

Please contact Senator Hogg, ask him to give SF276 the consideration it deserves and schedule a hearing ASAP.

Senator Robert Hogg (D- Cedar Rapids)
rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov
319.247.0223

Living in a police state enforced by flying robots is not an option.

So here at Liberty Iowa, we are going to do everything in our power to persuade Senator Hogg on the dangers that drones pose to our liberty, privacy, and peace of mind.

Tackling the special interests and established politicians is not easy.

In fact, it is very expensive in time and money.

If you share my disdain for the robotic police state being erected around us, please donate generously to our cause.

Every dollar donated is carefully spent advancing the cause — by fighting back at the aloof tyrants who are too busy to read a one page bill and fulfill their duties as a legislator.

Even $25 – a half tank of gas- goes a long way in unleashing the political power of our all-volunteer army.

Thank you for your attention to these very important matters, and for your dedication and commitment to the cause of Liberty.

Faithfully Yours In Liberty,

Jeff Shipley
Chairman
Liberty Iowa Legislative Committee

P.S. Failure to consider a one-page bill is unacceptable! Please contact Senator Hogg, ask him to give SF276 the consideration it deserves and schedule a hearing ASAP.

Senator Robert Hogg (D- Cedar Rapids)
rob.hogg@legis.iowa.gov
319.247.0223

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