MORNING BUZZ: Silver Lining, Theatre and Spring Cleaning

Morning Buzz Blog

Good Morning!

I know it’s been a while.  Sorry for that.

Lets get right to it.

Silver Lining

I am not a native Iowan but I still appreciate the connection people have to the Younkers building.  I spent some time in the Downtown Younkers when I first moved here. They used to pay for our haircuts and the downtown location had a salon.  I got lost more than once trying to find the place and wandering the back hallways of that building, you could see what it must have looked like inside.  Just beautiful.  They don’t make em like that anymore.  And they probably won’t this time either.

That said, I’m guessing this opens some options for developing that land.  While the Younkers building was a piece of history worth saving and renovating, its destruction in the fire opens the possibility of bringing in a more modern look and feel to Walnut St.  I don’t know the City is going to do with the space, I don’t know who gets to make the decision, but now there are fewer limits on what the block can be. If there is a silver lining to losing such a beautiful space…that’s it.

Theatre

All of the fuss over the firings and payouts from the Branstad Administration strikes me as a lot of theatre.  These payouts happened years ago.  If this was so upsetting at the time…why didn’t it come out?  It’s an election year…that’s the answer.  Don’t misunderstand me, if this was a Democratic Administration, Republicans would be doing the exact same thing.

I’ve seen this described as “hush” money and that the firings were “politically” motivated.  Someone be more specific.  Is someone alleging that The Governor or his administration actually targeted these workers to get back at them in some way?  Or is the allegation that the new administration just wanted to go a different direction, and that these people (Democrats presumably… though some were Republicans and Independents) did not share the vision of state government that Brandstad’s administration was trying to implement?  Those two are not the same thing.  If a new CEO takes over the company I work for, there’s a possibility they could go another direction…and I could be out of a job.

None of that matters of course.  If you just keep saying “hush money” and “secret settlement” over and over again… you might get voters to believe there’s something sinister going on…though no one will be able to name what it is.

Now, if you want to have a debate about the kind of State CEO Terry Branstad is…go ahead.  That seems more legitimate.  He’s pretty clearly trying to change many of the positions in state government from protected union positions, to jobs where the department head has more discretion about who is the best person for the position.

I have to ask, what’s wrong with that?  I have a few friends in state government jobs.  They tell stories about fellow workers who brag about taking hours long breaks, people who pretend to work at their desk all day when they’re really playing solitaire, and then brag about the fact that they can’t be fired.  They’re keeping their head down, hoping no one will notice them.

That’s an insult to the thousands of State workers who come in every day and bust their tails.  Many of them work for less than they’d be making in the private sector.  THIS IS AN IMPORTANT POINT SO I AM PUTTING IN BOLD LETTERS: Those people represent the majority of state workers…they’re serving the state.  All of these workers should receive the same protections from workplace hazards or abuse from management that anyone in the workforce deserves.  That said, shouldn’t the administration have the right to assess a worker’s willingness to help take their department in new direction when a new administration is elected?  Shouldn’t the administration be able to bring new (hopefully innovative) thinking into the mix?  Wouldn’t that contribute to the betterment of State Government?

No doubt the debate will continue, but hopefully it will be about the kind of Government Iowans want, and not a manufactured controversy.

Spring Cleaning

Like a lot of you, I was out in the yard this weekend cleaning up.  I did not do this very well last year and our yard suffered through a weed infested summer.  I’m trying to get ahead of it this year.  So I raked out all the beds and will probably put some mulch down.  I also spread out a lot of Preen.  Does anyone out there know if this stuff actually works?  If not, is there a better way to do weed prevention now?  We inherited a home with a lot of expensive landscaping and I am trying to keep it up…not doing that good a job so far.

Also for gardening experts who read this, does anyone know how to successfully grow eggplant?  JT wants Eggplant in our garden.  We tried last year but failed.  Are there things that will get us off to a successful start?

I hope you all have a good start to the week.

PWD

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