Sen. Joni Ernst will be holding two town hall meetings on Friday, March 17.

Town halls are a great opportunity to raise our issues and hold elected officials accountable back home in their districts to we the people.

Sen. Ernst’s town halls will be Friday, March 17 at:

  • 12pm: Coe College, Sinclair Auditorium, Cedar Rapids
  • 5pm: Drake University, Sheslow Auditorium, Des Moines

Attend a town hall and ask a question about issues you care about the most!  Also, we’ve heard that Medicaid and SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps) could be on the chopping block during this Congress.  Ask Sen. Ernst if she stands with her constituents or big money corporations that prioritize profits over our health and safety.

For more information or to run a question past us, call the office at 515-282-0484!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement has scheduled a tour of community meetings across the state to gather input from Iowans on how to strengthen the Master Matrix. The first stop on the tour was in Charles City on March 2. Twenty community members from Floyd, Cerro Gordo, Mitchell, and Howard counties attended the meeting to brainstorm how the Master Matrix could better protect their communities and environment from factory farm pollution.

The Master Matrix is one of the few tools counties and citizens have to weigh in on factory farm construction. However, it is far from perfect and doesn’t go far enough in protecting Iowans or the environment from factory farm pollution. Meeting attendees will have the opportunity to learn more and discuss the Master Matrix, as well as provide input on how it should change.

Counties across the state are beginning to take a stand on factory farms. In January, Allamakee and Winneshiek counties passed resolutions calling for a suspension on factory farm construction until the Legislature fixed the Master Matrix. Floyd County passed a similar resolution that called for changes to the Master Matrix. In late 2016, Webster and Pocahontas counties wrote letters to legislators and the Iowa DNR calling for a moratorium and more local control. This shows growing momentum for local control and a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in Iowa.

Questions? Contact Erica at EricaB@iowacci.org. And check out our calendar to RSVP to these upcoming meetings!

Master Matrix Community Meetings Tour

Wednesday, March 15 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Hotel Greenfield
110 E Iowa St, Greenfield, IA
RSVP

Tuesday, March 21 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Lohrville Public Library
609 2nd Ave, Lohrville, IA
RSVP

Thursday, March 30 at 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Ames Public Library, PEO Room
515 Douglas Ave, Ames, IA
RSVP

Tuesday, April 4 at 6:30 to 8:00 PM
Solon Public Library
320 W Main St, Solon, IA
RSVP

Saturday, April 8 at 9:30 to 11:00 AM
Le Mars Public Library
46 1st St SW, Le Mars, IA
RSVP

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

February 20, 2017

Today, members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) spoke at the Des Moines City Council meeting to oppose HF 316, a bill introduced last week that would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board of directors and distribute the utility’s assets and power to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW lawsuit. Members blasted council members for supporting the bill behind closed doors without constituents’ knowledge.

“I feel betrayed. The city council shut us out of the process. Clearly, they didn’t want us to know that they’re caving to Big Ag,” said Barb Lang, a CCI member from Des Moines. “It seems to me that Councilperson Hensley is bending over backwards for corporate ag and putting her political aspirations ahead of the people of Des Moines. Whose side is she on?”

At the meeting, members demanded that each councilor publicly reveal if they support or oppose HF 316. They called on the council to immediately withdraw their support of the bill.

Des Moines Water Works is an independently operated public utility. If passed, the bill would transfer voting power and $250 million in assets away from the City of Des Moines to surrounding suburban customers. HF 316 was introduced in the House Agriculture Committee by Representative Jarad Klein – a republican from Keota who has taken over $20,000 from corporate ag interest groups in recent years.

“This is nothing short of a power grab by the Farm Bureau and corporate ag,” said Jeanne Schwendinger, a CCI member from Ankeny. “This is an attempt to silence Bill Stowe and the board and stop any meaningful change to clean water regulations, plain and simple. Any other explanation is just putting lipstick on a pig.”

“Once again, we’re seeing the Republican legislature trying to take away local control,” said Larry Ginter, a CCI member from Rhodes. “What right do they have to taking away anyone’s right to clean water?”

The DMWW lawsuit is currently scheduled for mid-June this year in Sioux City. The outcome will determine whether or not drainage districts should be considered point sources under the Clean Water Act. In 2015, DMWW ran its nitrate removal facility for a record-breaking 177 days, costing millions of dollars.

 

TAKE ACTION: 

ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move

RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette. 

What: Emergency CCI Clean Water organizing meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW President Graham Gillette
When: Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Where: Iowa CCI Headquarters, 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

A a new Statehouse bill (HF 316) would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board and distribute the utility’s assets to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW’s lawsuit.

But here’s the kicker: We’ve heard Des Moines City Council supports the bill and even helped draft it. They turned their backs on their own constituents and caved to corporate ag interests.

TAKE ACTION: 

  • ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move
  • RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette. 

HF 316 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like Bill Stowe and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.

We’ve seen what happens to our water when elected officials side with corporate interests instead of everyday people — it looks like Flint, Michigan.

But CCI members aren’t ones to stand by and just let things happen. RSVP to join us here.

What:     Emergency CCI Clean Water organizing meeting with

                  Bill Stowe and DMWW President Graham Gillette

When:    Thursday, February 23 from 6:30 – 8:00 pm

Where:   Iowa CCI Headquarters, 2001 Forest Ave, Des Moines

 

Join us Thursday to learn more – RSVP here.

 

This bill is an obvious Farm Bureau power grab.  We’re hearing lots of excuses about why we should compromise and support this bill.  Here’s how you can respond.

Don’t Dismantle the Des Moines Water Works Talking Points

 About the bill, HF 316:

  • HF 316 would dismantle the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) board and distribute the utility’s assets and power to surrounding cities – which would kill the DMWW’s lawsuit.
  • HF 316 is another anti-local control, anti-local democracy measure designed to silence fearless truth-tellers like Bill Stowe and quell the growing citizen demand to crack down on corporate ag and factory farm polluters.
  • This bill is purely a retribution bill. They are trying to shut down a meaningful attempt to hold corporate ag polluters accountable under the Clean Water Act.
  • A corporate ag shill, Rep Jarad Klein from Keota (not DES MOINES), introduced this bill and is trying to call the shots for Des Moines residents. Klein has taken over $20,000 from corporate ag groups in recent years.
  • Four lobbyists, hired by the city of Des Moines, also represent the Iowa Drainage District Association. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit directly  ties in with the drainage districts in Buena Vista, Calhoun, and Sac counties where this lawsuit stemmed from.

 

Des Moines City Council demands and talking points:

  • 4 members of the Des Moines City Council support the bill. Shame on City Council members that support this Farm Bureau power grab over their own constituents. There has never been a public vote on this issue.
  • We’ve heard Des Moines’s own City Councilor Christine Hensley – on the board of Farm Bureau’s front group “Partnership for Clean Water” – is colluding with Big Ag to push and draft this bill. That ain’t right.
  • Withdraw your support.  We want to know which of you are siding with corporate ag.

 

Clean Water talking points:

  • Iowa has 754 impaired waterways in 2014 – up 15% from 2012. And, Des Moines Water Works had to run it denitrification machine 177 days in 2015.
  • Iowa has over 9,000 factory farms that produce 22 billion gallons of manure.
  • We need mandatory regulations, not voluntary. The Des Moines Water Works lawsuit seeks mandatory regulations through the Clean Water Act.
  • We’ve seen what happens to our water when elected officials side with corporate interests instead of everyday people — it looks like Flint, Michigan.

Take Action

  • ADD YOUR NAME – to show strong opposition to this bad move
  • RSVP NOW for Thursday 2/23 – an emergency community meeting with Bill Stowe and DMWW Board President Graham Gillette.

Join the Clean Water Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

LIKE & SHARE for a clean water Iowa: 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This morning, the Floyd County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that petitions the Governor and Iowa Legislature to fix the failings of the Master Matrix. Mark Kuhn, a former Iowa state representative who helped develop the Master Matrix, introduced the resolution.

“The Master Matrix is a joke,” said Marilyn Jorgensen of Rudd and an Iowa CCI member. “It has done nothing to really protect the environment or the community. It’s just smoke and mirrors to make it look like the industry is doing its job. In reality, factory farms are running roughshod over our neighbors, our water, and our air.”

This makes Floyd the third county in Iowa to pass such a resolution. Allamakee and Winneshiek counties also passed similar resolutions recently calling for not only changes to the Master Matrix, but also a suspension on factory farm construction. Late last year, both Webster and Pocahontas counties wrote letters to legislators and the DNR calling for a moratorium on factory farms and changes to the Master Matrix. In addition, Johnson County wrote a letter to legislators and the DNR calling for more local control.

“This industry is out of control, and people across the state are fed up,” said Erica Blair, an organizer for Iowa CCI. “Changing the Master Matrix is a good step toward cleaning up Iowa’s water, but that alone won’t get us there. We need mandatory, not voluntary, regulations. And Big Ag, not taxpayers, should pay to clean up their own mess.”

At the end of this month, Iowa CCI will begin a series of community meetings across the state to hear what changes Iowans want to be made to the Master Matrix.

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight. !Hablamos español!
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

This we wholeheartedly agree: Immigrants make America great!

Iowa CCI and CCI Action are standing in solidarity with millions of Americans who reject President  Trump’s hateful and racist ban on Muslims, refugees and immigrants. CCI members pledge to fight back against any attack on our communities; an attack on one of us is an attack on ALL of us.

We’ve been getting a lot of calls from members all across the state asking how we can fight back against Trump’s executive ban on Muslims and attacks on immigrants. We’ve pulled together some information on actions happening all across the state to protect our immigrant communities.
Take a look at our guide below and let us know of actions near you that aren’t listed here!

Here are THREE WAYS you can take action and say #NoBanNoWall 

1. MARCH!

Thursday, thousands of Iowans across the state are hitting the streets in Des Moines, Ames and Iowa City to protest against Trump’s executive orders against our Muslim and immigrant brothers and sisters.

Ames: #HoodiesAndHijabs Solidarity March, Thursday, Feb 9th, 11 AM, Iowa State University, Memorial Union. Click here for more details.

Des Moines: DSM March Against Muslim Ban & Anti-Immigrant Orders, Thursday, Feb 2nd, 5-8 PM, State Capitol. Rally begins at 5 PM on Capitol steps. Click here for more details.

Iowa City: Solidarity Rally Against the Ban, Sunday, February 5th, 1 PM, downtown Iowa City Ped Mall, click here for more details.

Cedar Falls: Rally to protest executive orders banning refugees and building the wall, Sunday, February 5th, 2:30 PM- 3 PM, 515 Main Street, Cedar Falls. Hosted by Americans for Democratic Action/Iowa.

2. STAY EDUCATED!

Des Moines: Forum on Protecting Communities & Responding to Hate Crimes, Wednesday, February 1st, 5:30-9 PM, Des Moines University (hosted by the Des Moines Civil Rights Commission). Click here for more details.

Des Moines: Faith Communities as Sanctuary exploratory meeting, Tuesday, February 7th, 4:30-6:30 PM, First Christian Church, 2500 University Ave. Click here for more details.

Des Moines : I am Iowa: Interfaith Community Gathering in Support of Refugees and Immigrants, Sunday, February 5th, North High School, 501 Holcomb Ave. Click here for more details.

Waterloo: Panel to discuss recent executive order ban on immigrants and refugees, Sunday, Feb 5th, noon – 2:00 PM, Hawkeye Community College, 1501 E Orange Rd, Tama Building, room 102.  Hosted by the Cedar Valley Interfaith Council and Masjid Al-Noor Islamic Center.

Members of the panel will include Miriram Amer, executive director of the Iowa branch of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, Gunda Brost of Brost Immigration Law firm, Ruth Ratliff of St. Luke Episcopal Church and Kamyar Enshayan, former Cedar Falls City Council member.

The program is free and open to the public.

3. By-stander intervention: What to do if you are witnessing Islamophbic or immigrant phobic harassment

Check out these great tips from French illustrator Maeril on how YOU can speak out and help a person who’s being targeted:

1.) Engage in conversation [with the person experiencing harassment, not their attacker]. Go to them, sit beside them and say hello. Try to appear calm, collected and welcoming. IGNORE THE ATTACKER.

2.) Pick a random subject and start discussing it. It can be anything: a movie you liked, the weather, saying you like something they wear and asking where they got it…

3.) Keep building the safe space. Keep eye contact with them and don’t acknowledge the attacker’s presence: the absence of response from you two will push them to leave the area shortly.

4.) Continue the conversation until the attacker leaves and escort them to a safe place if necessary. Bring them to a neutral area where they can recollect themselves; respect their wishes if they tell you they’re ok and just want to go.

LIKE and SHARE if you agree: Muslims, immigrants and refugees are #HeretoStay