Are you sick of establishment, “business as usual” politics?

Here at Iowa CCI, we certainly are!

That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are holding four Doing Politics Differently meetings across the state

At these meetings, we’ll discuss the political moment that we’re in, how we can use elections to advance our issues, and some big-deal upcoming events to change the way we do politics.

Click on one of the events below for all the details and to RSVP:

We know that “business as usual” politics got us into this mess – join us at one of these meet like-minded Iowans and to talk about how we can start Doing Politics Differently.

Next Monday, March 20 – two of the biggest issues we are fighting at the Statehouse will see action at three metro-area city council meetings.

It’s critical that we mobilize our members to pressure the city councils in Ankeny, Des Moines, and West Des Moines to stand with everyday people, not corporate power.

Can you attend one of these meetings next Monday?

  • Ankeny’s city council is trying to opt out of Polk County’s increased minimum wage ordinance that goes into effect April 1. Essentially they’ll vote on lowering wages. That’s not right; living wages are good for everyone. We’re meeting at 5 pm at City Hall – details and RSVP here
  • Des Moines City Council (thanks to your pressure) will take a public vote on support for HF 484, the bad corporate-power grab bill to dismantle Des Moines Water Works. We want them to stand with ratepayers – NOT Farm Bureau who is playing politics with our precious water. We’re meeting at 4:30 at the *new/temporary* council location – details and RSVP here
  • West Des Moines city council will review their potential support of HF 484, the bill to dismantle DMWW, for the first time. We’re meeting at 5 pm at City Hall – details and RSVP here

 

225+ Iowans Picket Terrace Hill, Demand Branstad Sign Clean Water Fight Pledge To Crack Down on Factory Farm Manure Pollution

Iowa CCI members say Iowa needs local control of factory farm siting and stronger Clean Water Act rules to force the industry to play by tougher standards or get shut down

Chanting: “Whose House?  Our House!”  and “Put People First!” – more than 225 everyday Iowans marched up Terrace Hill July 12 to the governor’s mansion to demand Governor Terry Branstad stop kowtowing to corporate ag and start cracking down on factory farm manure pollution.

The crowd, all members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), demanded Branstad support local control of factory farm siting, and stronger Clean Water Act rules to force factory farms to obtain federal permits with tougher environmental standards or get shut down with a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy.

The large crowd of family farmers, retired teachers, church pastors, students, and others also built a giant display of cardboard “factory farms”, a “river”, and “manure spills”, along with big signs that read “They Dump It.  You Drink It.  We Won’t Stop Til They Clean It Up.  Governor Branstad, Sign the Pledge.  We Want A Governor Who Will Clean It Up.”

Rosie Partridge, a CCI member from rural Wall Lake in Sac county, said she was there to ask Governor Branstad to sign a giant “Clean Water Fight Pledge” card that read “I pledge to fight for Iowa’s right to clean water and put people before profits, politics, and polluters.”

Partridge testified:  “Governor Branstad, during your long terms in office, you have rolled out the welcome mat for out-of-state corporate factory farms to come in to Iowa and run independent family farmers out of business.  You have vetoed money to clean up our rivers, lakes, and streams, and packed the Iowa DNR’s Environmental Protection Commission with factory farm insiders.  You have fought to put big money corporate ag lobbyists inside Clean Water Act negotiations between government regulators, and consistently put the interests of your political donors ahead of the interests of all Iowans and the environment we depend on.”

The Iowa DNR’s EPC commission will vote on draft Clean Water Act rules in August.

Iowa’s more than 20 million hogs confined in thousands of factory farms produce nearly ten billion gallons of toxic manure every year.  There have been more than 728 manure spills since 1996 and Iowa currently has more than 630 polluted waterways.

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics, and polluters.   

Iowa CCI members held their annual statewide convention in Des Moines July 12 headlined by Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison.

Iowa Supreme Court Rules Against Farm Bureau In “Viewpoint Bias” Case: EPC Commissioners Under Fire For Conflict of Interest 

Iowa Supreme Court Case Farm Bureau vs Susan Heathcote clarifies “viewpoint bias” but leaves open question of direct and immediate financial interest charge levied at Branstad appointees to EPC by Iowa CCI, Des Moines Water Works

The Iowa Supreme Court’s dismissal of a Farm Bureau lawsuit against a former Environmental Protection Commission member clarifies the meaning of “viewpoint bias” by a public official but still leaves open the question of direct and immediate financial interest that Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) and Des Moines Water Works have levied during their Clean Water Act fight against gubernatorial appointees to the EPC like former Pork Producer president Gene Ver Steeg and agribusiness executive and political donor Brent Rastetter.

“We believe EPC commissioners like Brent Rastetter, Gene Ver Steeg, and others must recuse themselves from voting on draft Clean Water Act rules for factory farm manure polluters because the rules will directly and immediately impact their financial bottom-line and therefore lead to the appearance of impropriety and a clear-cut conflict of interest,” said Pat Bowen, an Iowa CCI board member from Iowa City.

“The Supreme Court today ruled on a case surrounding a legal definition of “viewpoint bias”, but the court did not address the issue of direct and immediate financial interest when voting on a proposed environmental rule, as we have alleged against five EPC commissioners.”

Iowa CCI members have criticized Governor Branstad, Department of Natural Resources director Chuck Gipp, and the EPC commissioners for supporting a weak, watered-down Clean Water Act rule that the statewide people’s action group says doesn’t go far enough to crack down on factory farm manure pollution.  The group says the rule should be strengthened to include mandatory permits and tougher environmental standards for every factory farm, as well as a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy for habitual violators and stronger water quality standards such as a prohibition on manure application on nitrogen-fixing crops and snow and frozen-covered ground.

Iowa’s more than 20 million hogs confined in thousands of factory farms produce nearly ten billion gallons of toxic manure every year.  There have been more than 728 manure spills since 1996 and Iowa currently has more than 630 polluted waterways.

Iowa CCI is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics, and polluters.   

peoplemoremoneyIowa CCI Members Slam U.S. Supreme Court Decision Striking Down Aggregate Campaign Contribution Limits

 

Iowa Congressional Races Could Be Impacted This Year

 

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) slammed a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in McCutcheon vs. the FEC to do away with aggregate political donor limits, a ruling that will open the floodgates for a small handful of America’s richest 1 percent to continue corrupting the country’s democratic institutions through massive campaign contributions.

Iowa CCI members also warn that the 5-4 ruling could have an immediate impact on Iowa’s congressional midterm elections and call on everyday Iowans to organize to protect the interests of the common good against a potential onslaught of corporate money.

“The floodgates are totally open now and the negative impact of this decision could have far-reaching consequences, starting right now in this election cycle,” said Susie Petra, a retired teacher and CCI member from Ames, Iowa.

“It’s up to the people to fight this, and we call on everyday Iowans to stand up and make our voices heard.”

In 2012, only 646 Americans reached the 2012 cap, for a total of $93.4 million.

“The Supreme Court argued that the voices of a few hundred billionaires are worth more than the voices of 300 million Americans,” Petra added.

There are over 140 protests taking place in 38 states and Washington DC with a list available at: www.moneyout-votersin.org

Emergency rallies being held April 2 in Iowa are:

West Steps of the State Capitol in Des Moines

at 5:00 PM

Clinton and Iowa Avenue, east of the Old Capitol building Iowa City IA 52242

at 12:00 PM

2126 W 59th St Davenport IA 52806

at 5:00 PM

131 E 4th St Davenport IA 52801

at 5:00 PM

Federal Building, Cedar Rapids, IA

at 5:00pm

Industry Attempts to Hide Iowa Water Quality & Land Use Data from Public Is Only Latest Example of Corporate Ag’s Lobbying for Secrecy 

In Iowa and across the country, battle lines are drawn between strong and effective public oversight and corporate ag secrecy as industry ramps up use of privacy laws in an attempt to shield the absentee landgrabbers and corporate hogs responsible for polluting our water from public view

An attempt to sneak language into an Iowa House ag budget bill that would prevent the public from accessing information about water quality and land use practices collected in projects funded with taxpayer dollars is only one example of how corporate ag lobbyists try to  use their political power to attempt to shield one of the country’s most polluting industries from even the most basic forms of public transparency and citizen oversight, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund (Iowa CCI Action Fund) members said Monday.

“We’re talking about giant, out of state corporations and absentee landgrabbers who use machines and low-wage migrant labor to work tens of thousands of acres,” said Lori Nelson, a CCI Action Fund member from Bayard whose rural homestead is surrounded by 5,000 corporate hogs.

“Giant, absentee landgrabbers and out-of-state, corporate hog factories are not subject to personal privacy laws and should not be shielded from basic transparency initiatives,” Nelson continued.

Iowa CCI Action Fund members say the secrecy provisions in the Iowa House ag budget bill, HF2458, scheduled to be debated this week, are only one example of how corporate ag attempts to keep vital information from the public:

  • Basic Clean Water Act inspection and manure spill records at some 8,500 factory farms across Iowa are not easily accessible to the public and almost impossible to track down because no centralized, online database of the information exists at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR);
  • Secret “stakeholder” meetings codified through executive order by Iowa Governor Terry Branstad that allows big money corporate interest groups to write draft rules with state regulators before the public has an opportunity to weigh-in;
  • Provisions in many state laws passed by the Iowa legislature that handcuff the DNR and prevent them from writing rules stronger than federal law, essentially imposing a “ceiling” on enforcing stronger environmental standards when the federal guidelines should actually be the “floor”.
  • The American Farm Bureau Federation sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency after federal regulators released the most basic, sensible kinds information to national environmental groups about factory farm polluters across the country such as the location, size, manure produced, and ownership data for thousands of industrial animal factories;
  • Proposed amendments to the Farm Bill by Representative Steve King (R-IA) that would have banned state governments from passing laws dictating how food and livestock are raised and produced within that state for sale in other parts of the country;
  • Controversial “Right to Farm” bills introduced in state legislatures across the country to prevent adjacent property owners from filing “nuisance” lawsuits against nearby factory farm polluters;
  • So-called “Ag Gag” laws that make it more difficult for factory farm whistleblowers to expose animal abuse inside factory farms – the first of which was passed here in Iowa in 2012 and signed into law by Governor Branstad.

Iowa CCI Action Fund members say Governor Branstad has supported virtually all of these secrecy attempts by corporate ag, which further undermine his administration’s proclaimed commitment to transparency.

“There’s no question about it:  Governor Branstad is part of the problem and he regularly puts the interests of corporate ag before the interests of everyday people and the environment,” Nelson continued.  “Branstad has never met a factory farm he doesn’t like and the corporate agribusiness lobby is one of the most fundamental parts of his political base of support.”