Featured speakers at the Iowa Summit to Confront Corporate Power Saturday, April 14

We’re taking the national 99% Spring curriculum and giving it a bit of Iowa CCI energy. And, we’ve invited these rock star organizers from Iowa and the Midwest to lead a session. Don’t miss out.

  • Javier Morillo, president of SEIU Local 26 out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has been a big part of SEIU’s national “Fight for a Fair Economy” campaign. He is also recognized in Minnesota as a political strategist and appears regularly on local political talk shows as a progressive commentator.
  • Stephen Fletcher, executive director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has been involved in the national “Occupy Our Homes” campaign to fight foreclosures. Fletcher was named 2011 “Organizer of the Year” by Grassroots Solutions.
  • Jennifer Sherer, executive director of the University of Iowa Labor Center in Iowa City. She has served as president and in various other elected offices in UE union and has been a key ally of our in the fight to stop wage theft.
  • Cathy Glasson, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 199 out of Coralville, Iowa



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The week of April 9-14 tens of thousands of people across the country will learn how to challenge and confront corporate power because we need an economy that works for all of us.

Here at Iowa CCI, we’ve taken the national curriculum and given it some Iowa CCI energy and added few dynamite Midwest organizing rock stars as guest presenters.

 “The spring trainings are based on the freedom schools of the civil rights movement and are geared towards dramatically escalating movement capacity,” said Hugh Espey, Iowa CCI’s executive director.  “This is about fearless truth-telling and going toe-to-toe with corporate power until we win a more just and democratic society and a fair economy that works for everyone.”

Schedule for Saturday, April 14:


9:30 am        Registration begins

Please arrive and register early so we may begin promptly at 10 am!

10:00 am      Welcome/ Why the 99% Spring?

We’ll kick off the day high energy and quickly touch on how the “99% Spring” came to be, the breadth and scope of the effort and what to expect from the day.

10:20 am      Stories of the 99%

We are all in this together. We have a powerful story to tell. Connect your own experiences with others in the room.

11:00 am      How did we get here?

After watching a short video from the New Bottom Line that tells the story of how we got here, guest facilitators Jen Sherer, Director of the University of Iowa Labor Center, and Cathy Glasson, president of SEIU Local 199 in Iowa City, will dig on who crashed the economy, how they suck wealth out of our communities and stand in the way of an economy that works for all of us.

11:30 am     An economy for the 99%

What does your vision for an fair economy look like? In this small group drawing exercise we’ll re-imagine what is possible and learn what challenges stand in our way.

12:15            Lunch

1:00 pm       Taking risks: Confronting Corporate Power in MN

Guest speakers Javier Morillo, President of SEIU Local 26 and Steve Fletcher, Executive Director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, will share their experiences using innovative direct action in Minnesota to create a crisis for the 1 %.

1:55 pm        Change doesn’t happen without taking risks

We will ground our afternoon of direct action training in the role that movement building and direct action has had in creating change throughout history. Whether you have been on dozens of direct actions or none at all, this session will challenge you to move outside of your comfort zone and take new risks in the movement for economic justice.

3:20 pm        Direct Action Training

We will put our new skills and inspiration to use in a few real life examples.

4:30 pm       Conclusion


(Tentative: Agenda subject to change)


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Iowa Statewide Summit to Confront Corporate Power

Saturday, April 14  Des Moines


The 99% Spring is shaping up to be a very powerful nationwide mobilization of everyday people ready to take direct action. Here are the details to know for our day together:



Registration for the Summit will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. We are asking as many people as possible to register at 9:30 so we can begin the Summit promptly at 10:00 a.m.



A sandwich buffet is being catered by Gateway Market at a cost of $10/person. We would like to have as accurate a count for as possible, and are asking you to pre-pay for your lunch through our website here: http://bit.ly/ia99lunch. Simply select “Paying for Lunch on April 14” from the drop down menu at the top of the page, then complete and submit all required information. We will send you confirmation that your lunch has been paid for.



The Summit is going to be held at the Des Moines Public Library at 1000 Grand Ave. The Library’s underground parking is not available for Summit attendees, so we are suggesting that attendees to the Summit park on one of the nearby streets. There is no charge to park on Des Moines streets on Saturday. There are several other nearby parking garages that are available for all day parking for a small fee.


Once again, thank you for joining the Iowa Summit to Confront Corporate Power. If you have any questions before April 14, please contact  chris[at]iowacci.org or 515-255-0800.




George Goehl talks about fighting back.


Bill Moyers talks with longtime Iowa CCI friend George Goehl about how average people can fight back against the self-rewarding actions of banks and corporations.

It’s a great message. AND, if you pay super close attention you might be able to see a few Iowa CCI members in the background footage from the Showdown in Chicago and other actions. 🙂


Activist George Goehl on People Power from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Bill Moyers talks with community organizer George Goehl about how — and even if — average people can fight back against self-rewarding actions of banks and corporations.  “If we want to shift our politics,” Goehl tells Moyers, “we have to make politicians who side with the big banks and the larger corporations pay a price for not siding with everyday people.”


Goehl is a co-organizer of  The 99% Spring, a national effort  to train 100,000 Americans to teach the country about income inequality in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets. Goehl is also executive director of National People’s Action, a network of grassroots organizations using direct action to battle economic and racial injustice.


>>RSVP for the 99% Spring event in Iowa on Saturday, April 14, click here.

>>Read more 99% Spring press and buzz here.


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Guest opinion

Written by Dick Greenwood

Appeared in the March 28, 2012 Iowa City Press Citizen: http://www.press-citizen.com/article/20120328/OPINION02/303280011/Iowa-City-must-act-now-curb-predatory-lending?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|p

The Iowa City Council has an incredible opportunity to strengthen economic development and neighborhood revitalization and safeguard the welfare of the local community by using its zoning powers to restrict the number of predatory payday lenders that can operate in Iowa City.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members support strong and effective public oversight that:

» Caps the density of payday loan shops to one for every 20,000 city residents.

» Requires separation distances of two miles between stores and one mile from residential areas, churches, parks, child care facilities and schools.

» Prohibits new stores from opening in neighborhood retail and pedestrian commercial districts.

These proposals are not controversial. In the absence of strong state action to cap interest rates on payday loans, the cities of Des Moines, West Des Moines and Clive have already passed similar local zoning ordinances, and Ames is considering a comparable proposal.

In Iowa, payday loans are effectively capped at $445 and are due in full in just 14 days. To get a payday loan for $445, a borrower must write a postdated check or authorize an automatic withdrawal from her/his bank account for $500. This means the average APR (annual percentage rate) for a payday loan in Iowa often exceeds 400 percent (as a point of comparison, Mafia loan sharks averaged just 250 percent in their hay day).

For a family living paycheck to paycheck, it can be impossible to pay back a $500 loan in just two weeks. That’s why 98 percent of all payday loans go to repeat customers. And 76 percent of all payday loans in Iowa go to customers getting a new loan every two weeks. Payday lending creates an instant debt trap and treadmill that can be impossible to escape.

But payday lenders rely on this debt trap to profiteer — which is why they are opposed to any attempts to curb the practice.

This might be a good business model to maximize corporate profits, but it’s not a good model to provide access to affordable credit to those who direly need it.

Payday loans are a bad financial product that hurt, rather than help, everyday hardworking families. And because so many payday loan companies are incorporated as out-of-state corporations, they do not pay income taxes on the profits they make in Iowa. $36 million in payday loan profits flee the state of Iowa every year, draining our local communities of hard-earned wealth that should be circulating here in our cities and towns rather than padding the bank accounts of out-of-state CEOs and unknown speculators.

Payday lenders also contribute to neighborhood blight and drive away legitimate businesses. In Iowa City, the majority of payday loan shops are located on the south and southeast areas of town. If the city is serious about developing those parts of town and ameliorating some of the social problems in those neighborhoods, then a tough new zoning policy to restrict predatory payday lending isn’t just the morally right thing to do, it’s also in the city’s long-term economic self-interest.

Iowa CCI members urge the Iowa City Council to put communities before corporate interests and to put people before profits and pass a strong zoning ordinance that includes a mix of the best density and distance restrictions on predatory payday lenders.

It’s time to put people first.

Vulture capitalism must be stopped.

Iowa City resident Dick Greenwood is a member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.


>>Read more about members efforts to curb predatory payday lenders in Iowa.

>>In the Iowa City area and want to get involved? Contact us today.


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Zoning board votes to restrict new payday lenders

March 22, 2012, Ames Tribune

Read it online: http://www.amestrib.com/sections/news/ames-and-story-county/zoning-board-votes-restrict-new-payday-lenders.html

The Ames Planning and Zoning Commission recommended Wednesday the Ames City Council adopt an ordinance that essentially would prohibit any new payday lending businesses in Ames.

There are seven payday lenders in Ames. They would be “grandfathered” into the zoning change as pre-existing non-conforming properties.

The proposed zoning ordinance would prohibit new payday lenders from locating near similar businesses, residential areas, schools, daycares, parks, arterial streets or in highway-oriented commercial or gateway overlay zones.

Commission Chair Liz Beck asked Brian Phillips, project coordinator for the city, to clarify the impact of the zoning change.

“The way that these requirements are constructed, if you apply them to the map of the city … there is no place in the current confines of the city of Ames that a payday lender would be able to locate,” Phillips said.

In September 2011, the council asked city staff to construct a zoning law “as restrictive as legally possible.

Under the current code, payday lending services are considered office use and permissible in any commercial zone.

City Attorney Doug Marek said studies had been done in other communities in Iowa and across the nation that found payday lending services tend to cluster together in one location, crowding out other businesses and contributing to lower property values in nearby neighborhoods.

The council will vote on formal adoption of the ordinance at its meeting Tuesday, April 10.

If the zoning is approved, Ames will join Des Moines, West Des Moines and Clive in restricting the location of payday lenders, which have been criticized by the State Attorney General’s office for predatory loan practices.


>>Read more about our work to curb payday lenders and keep wealth in our communities.

>> Contact us to get involved in the Ames organizing!


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