The Des Moines Occupiers have cost that city more than $75,000 and counting, plus perhaps another $20,000 by the state and county. This while the city has a budget shortfall of $7.2 million, and has proposed laying off firefighters, cutting Parks and Library services, and raising property taxes! After being denied a permit to camp on state grounds, Des Moines mayor Frank Cownie offered them a nice square block park just east of the Capitol. I know it is (or was) nice, for I lived a block away during three legislative sessions and sometimes ate my brownbag lunch there.
Is the "Occupy" movement about to run its course? Not as long as sympathetic governments tolerate the squatters, and well-to-do people offer support. Enough is enough, though, as far as most voters are concerned when it comes to these protesters, says a recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. In fact, 51% of likely U.S. voters now view the protesters as a public nuisance. Only 39% see them as a valid protest movement.
The survey also found that just 24% think the Occupy Wall Street protesters have gotten their message across to the American people. Fifty-three percent say they have not been successful, and another 24% are not sure.
Although Des Moines has told them they must vacate the park by the end of January, some have vowed to loiter on. The city even furnishes electricity at a very low price. Many Occupiers have stated that they want to be arrested, but when they are they almost always plead not guilty. That makes as much sense as Jeremy Taylor's proposal (see below).
A confession -- seeing pictures of some Occupiers reminds me that I have prejudices based on a person's habits, what they look like, and even what he or she sounds like. I can be easily won over by other attributes, but those on television and in the newspaper might not get a chance.
How about you? Could you really be impressed by a sheriff looking and sounding like Barney Fife? C'mon, haven't you said, "Look at that grease ball." Or, "That guy doesn't /look/ like a murderer." Do nose rings, tattoos and such inspire confidence? Wouldn't it take a pharmacist looking like Lurch, or Jack Palance (ugly old western villain) a while to gain your complete confidence? The "beautiful people" (like you) have a head start on the rest of us!
Some Occupiers (not all) have "that look," the one that makes me wonder if drugs are involved, or if they are "pros" at protesting, like former priest Frank Cordero. The man has never met an issue he couldn't take the unconventional side of.
State Representative Jeremy Taylor (R) Sioux City, wants to put the brakes on red light and speed cameras in Iowa. He says the cameras aren't there to increase safety---it's all about the money. "What we're really looking at is a revenue generator rather than a safety issue when we get right down to it," Taylor says, "That's what I think the majority of Iowans want to decide on for their own."
Taylor has introduced a resolution calling for a constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of these automated cameras--and a referendum allowing Iowans to vote on it. "This would have to pass, obviously both chambers for two consecutive years and then would go as a ballot issue referendum statewide and then voters would be able to decide" Taylor explains. Think what you will about this new method (the use of radar was at one time similarly criticized) to detect lawbreakers, this call for a constitutional amendment is, instead, a call for publicity. Overkill. A cannon to kill a gnat.
There are reasonable ways to placate this lawbreaking element of our population. One would be to give them a mulligan -- one freebie. Another would be to waive the fine if the vehicle owner can prove he couldn't have been in the car. Another is to place a reasonable limit on the amount of the first fine, then gradually increase it. Way up.
Governor Branstad has said he would sign a bill (not one calling for a constitutional amendment) outlawing the cameras. I disagree.
Former Governor/Ambassador Jon Huntsman dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Governor Mitt Romney. A cynic might think that Romney has promised Huntsman a job if he is elected. He might be a good fit for Secretary of State. How about Ron Paul as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services, or Surgeon General? Governor Perry as the new Wordsmith Czar? We have a Czar for about everything else.
Don Paulin, firstname.lastname@example.org, 7557 30th Av, Norwalk, IA 50211 -