Contact:
Jess Mazour, Community Organizer, 515-282-0484, jess@iowacci.org

Des Moines, IA. – The Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) legislative committee finalized their 2019 legislative priorities at their annual meeting last week.  The legislative recommendations include changes to Iowa’s factory farm permitting and tax systems.

Iowa CCI members are pointing to the action as a sign of growing support for a factory farm moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in Iowa.

The ISAC legislative proposal includes addressing the failure of the Master Matrix and making factory farms pay their fair share of taxes:

  • “As this subject continues to be of growing concern to some county boards of supervisors, ISAC strongly encourages that this [Master Matrix] review be conducted by 2020.”
  • “The result is that the construction of any new agricultural building adds zero net value to Iowa’s property tax base.  This situation is doubly problematic because large-scale livestock operations and grain facilities impose significant additional costs on counties, such as for road maintenance, without expanding the tax base to help pay for those costs.”

“It’s about time that ISAC recognizes that factory farms are harming Iowa counties – not helping them,” said Barb Kalbach, family farmer and CCI member from Dexter. “We’ve tried small tweaks to the Master Matrix, filing complaints about manure management plans, lobbying against tax exemptions, and the legislature is unwilling to act.”

“As an independent family farmer, I pay my fair share of taxes. My corn and soybean farming operation adds revenue and value to Adair County. Our current tax policies allow factory farms to skirt their fair share of taxes. That forces everyone in the county to make up the difference.” Added Kalbach.

Iowa CCI members have pointed out that factory farms are exempt from all kinds of taxes that independent family farmers aren’t exempted from.  Factory farm buildings add no new tax revenues to county coffers.  Manure pits get a tax break under the Pollution Control Tax Exemption.  Wholesale rates on water and electricity are obtained, and factory farms don’t pay sales tax on key inputs, like feed and energy.

The lack of county revenue from the factory farm industry has forced some counties to change their Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) formula – a local program to offset propoerty taxes.

“My roads are constantly being torn up by the dozens of daily semi-trucks driving past my house.  I’m afraid my daughters are going to get in an accident because of the status of the roads,” said Nick Schutt, CCI member and resident of Hardin County.

“Now the Hardin County Supervisors want to change our LOST formula. If implemented, property owners property taxes will increase so the county can keep up with road maintenance,”  added Schutt.

The Hardin County Supervisors have proposed changes to the LOST formula.  Right now 80% of LOST revenue in Hardin County is going to offset property taxes.  The proposed formula would change that to 40% for offsetting property taxes and 40% for maintenance, improvement, and construction of roads and bridges.

The Hardin County LOST formula change will be on the ballot in November.

Last year, CCI members gathered input from Iowans affected by factory farms across the state and filed rulemaking to strengthen the Master Matrix with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  The DNR dismissed the entire rulemaking petition without considering changes to protect our air, water, land, and communities.

“We have already submitted our recommended Master Matrix changes to the DNR and the legislature.  They refuse to act.  That’s why we’re calling for a moratorium on all new and expanding factory farms.  We can’t wait for little tweaks anymore.  We need to stop the expansion now,” said Emma Schmit, Iowa CCI member in Calhoun County.

As of today, CCI members and allies have successfully organized 23 counties to pass resolutions calling for a moratorium, local control, and/or stronger protections from the factory farm industry.

 

Click here to view the ISAC 2019 legislative proposals

All people — whether black, brown, immigrants, or lifelong Iowans — deserve dignity and respect. All people deserve to live without the fear of being stopped by the police solely because of the color of their skin.

But racial profiling happens far too often, and it has lasting and damaging consequences on our communities.

Watch this video of a July 15 traffic stop in Des Moines and add your name to the petition to end the DMPD’s practice of racial profiling.

It’s clear to us that the officer was determined to find a reason to arrest these young black men.

It’s easy to see how an unwarranted traffic stop like this could’ve easily escalated into violence or an unnecessary arrest.

We’re working to change that here in Des Moines, and create transparent avenues for individuals to hold our public servants accountable.

Sign the petition today to show your support for ending racial profiling in Des Moines!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 15, 2018
Bridget Fagan-Reidburn, Community Organizer
bridget@iowacci.org, 515.255.0800

 

NEWLY RELEASED DASH AND BODY CAM FOOTAGE SHOWS RACIAL PROFILING BY TWO 
DES MOINES POLICE OFFICERS IN A JULY 15 STOP
Offending officer has a record of targeting the Black community, incident and data expose larger racial profiling problem within the Des Moines Police Department

Des Moines, IA– Newly released dash and body camera footage (more links below) shows racial profiling by two Des Moines police officers in a July 15 traffic stop. Two young African-American men were pulled over, handcuffed and accused of gun and drug possession. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI), a statewide, grassroots community organizing group, say this video and newly released data (links below) show a serious problem within the Des Moines Police Department that needs to be addressed.

“Racial profiling by police happens in Des Moines. This time it happened to my 21 year old son,” said Laural Clinton, mother of passenger, Jared Clinton, and an Iowa CCI member from Des Moines.

“When I watched the video I cried. It’s so easy to see how an unwarranted traffic stop like this could’ve easily turned my son into another Philando Castile, or given him a police record.

It’s clear that Officer Thies was determined to find a reason to arrest these young men who were just enjoying their Sunday evening like anyone else. No one should have to go through this. This will affect my son and Montray for years to come.

My question for Chief Wingert is how do you expect my kids to trust the police after this? Is this the type of policing tactics you teach? Who does this protect in our community? We can’t let this happen again. It’s time Chief Wingert steps up and does the right thing.”

The video shows officers Kyle Thies and Natalie Heinemann pulling over a car being driven by Montray Little, 23 from Des Moines, accompanied by passenger Jared Clinton, 21 of Des Moines.  Thies immediately implied the car was stolen and accused Little and Clinton of having weapons and “being able to see [marijuana] shake” in the car. Montray Little calmly denied the accusations. Officer Thies proceeded to handcuff Montray and put him in the back of the cop car while he performed a warrantless search of the car. When Thies found nothing, the video shows Thies trying to coerce Montray into admitting he had smoked marijuana or was around someone smoking marijuana anyway, which Montray denied again. Officer Heinemann’s video shows her interacting with the passenger, Jared Clinton, seemingly to distract Jared from the search and what was happening with Montray.

 “We can’t let this style of policing continue,” said Bridget Fagan-Reidburn an organizer with Iowa CCI.

“Racial profiling can have lasting and devastating impacts on individuals and our communities – from mental trauma, to being incarcerated and thrown into our judicial system, to economic impacts such as court and legal fees and loss of employment. We need a policing system that builds relationships with our communities, not tears them apart.”

2017 data from the DOT, State of Iowa Data Warehouse (TRAxS records) and the booking records from the Polk County Sheriff only reinforces the impacts of racial profiling. Attached data shows jarring disparities of traffic stops and arrests in Des Moines.

The 2017 data also shows how Thies has a history of targeting young, Black males. For example: in 2017, Thies charged 26 Black people and 5 White people with “interference with official acts”. Additionally, 49% of the people Officer Thies booked in 2017 were Black.

Iowa CCI has collected dozens of stories of racial profiling by police over the last three years and has assisted individuals to file official complaints with the DMPD’s Office of Professional Standards (OPS). In the last 12 months, Iowa CCI has helped two other young Black males file complaints of racial profiling and aggressive treatment by Officer Kyle Thies. Both complaints were deemed “unfounded” by the OPS.

This incident comes as Iowa CCI is hosting a series of “Skin Color is Not Reasonable Suspicion” community meetings with the Black community and two Des Moines City Council members, Josh Mandelbaum and Connie Boesen (Councilwoman Linda Westergaard has committed to attend the final meeting). There have been over 100 Des Moines residents in attendance at each of the first two meetings held June 28 and July 25. The purpose of the meeting series is to bridge the gap between city officials and the Black community and to work together to find solutions to our racial profiling problem in Des Moines. The final meeting with the Council and the Black community is on Thursday, September 6. We will propose three ordinances at our final meeting that would combat racial profiling.

We encourage anyone who has a racial profiling story to call Iowa CCI at 515-255-0800 and to RSVP to the final meeting with the three Des Moines City Council members on Thursday, September 6 at the Polk County Central Senior Center at 6:30 p.m.

For interview inquiries, contact Bridget Fagan-Reidburn.

To view the videos:

 

TAKE ACTION:

Add your name to hundred calling on DMPD and the City Council to end racial profiling – click here.

 

Join us for a critical moment of resistance in Des Moines on August 17!

Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions is coming to town to deliver an address at the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judicial conference.

We’ll be there to unwelcome him and send the message that hateful values aren’t welcome in our state. This will be a peaceful, non-violent but noisy demonstration to show that Iowans stand in solidarity for a more just, fair, and inclusive country. Can you be there?

RSVP here! Stand up and fight back:

Can’t attend? Support the action with a donation: click here.

Why Sessions? Jeff Sessions is unfit to serve as the head of our Justice Department. Our U.S. Attorney General is charged with enforcing our nation’s laws without prejudice and a commitment to justice; and be an advocate for all people.

But Sessions has:

  • targeted 800,000 young people for deportation by rescinding DACA
  • reversed DOJ position that federal law protects transgender workers from discrimination
  • released the sweeping “License to Discriminate” guidance, outlining a pathway for discrimination against LGBT people, women and religious minorities
  • been the architect of the “zero tolerance policy” and family separations at the border
  • recently announced the Religious Freedom Task Force
  • encouraged federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for certain drug-related crimes
  • ramped up the racist war on drugs
  • redirected the Justice Department to continue to make use of private prison facilities, rather than phase out those contracts
  • a 30-year record of racial insensitivity, bias against immigrants and the LGBTQ community and hostility towards the protection of civil rights
  • waged an infamous prosecution against civil rights activists in the 1980s on phony charges of voter fraud is a staunch opponent of the Voting Rights Act

Together, we’ll stand against Sessions’ agenda to ramp up the war on voting rights, criminalize immigration, and uphold religious-based discrimination.

When
Friday, August 17 from 8:00 to 9:30 AM (Sessions is slated to speak at 9)

Where
Vets Auditorium/Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center

We’ll have signs, or you can bring your own.

RSVP here! Stand up and fight back:

Can’t attend? Support the action with a donation: click here.

A strong turnout will demonstrate that Iowa’s fightback is powerful, show strong opposition to Trump in Iowa, and garner state and national press for the critical issues of racial justice, voter, and civil rights.

Trump’s executive order from June jails entire families indefinitely and does nothing to reunite families that have already been torn apart. Children are still being kept in cages. They are being traumatized, plain and simple.

On both Saturday August 4th and Sunday August 5th, 2018, Iowa CCI and People’s Action are inviting activists to hold Families Belong Together Community Cookouts .

Trump was moved to change his family separation policy because public pressure caused him lose support from his base. There is an important and untold story about the resistance to Trump’s agenda in small towns and cities across the country. A lot of people who live in communities where Trump performed well in the election stand with migrant families. And they are turning their back on Trump on moral grounds.

We’re trying to get 100 Community Cookouts organized in small towns across the country. You can help. We are asking you to bring together friends, family and neighbors to raise money and help migrant families get out of detention and reunited with their children. Community Cookouts will be chance to connect with each other, reflect about why family is so important, learn about what we can do collectively to keep families together and free, and take concrete action.

We are building community and liberating families at the same time. Some people are gathering in their own backyards. Others are cooking out for justice in parks or congregation parking lots. Some will be big, others more intimate. All are important.

The money raised at Community Cookouts will be used to reunite families. Funds will help families post bond for their release from detention and to pay for travel that will bring families back together.

How to sign up as a host

If you want to host a cookout, please sign up on the People’s Action website at

https://www.peoplesaction.org/families-belong-together-community-cookouts

Once you register your event, you’ll be able to invite people through email, Facebook and Twitter. Neighbors will be able to find your event on the event website.

Iowa CCI assistance

Iowa CCI staff will help you along the way. It is the host’s responsibility to handle logistical matters like location, time, and food. But CCI will happily help you with the following:

  • Community Outreach – Once you have established a cookout date (Aug 4th or 5th), time, and location, CCI will send out an invitation to other CCI members in your area.
  • Social Media – CCI will create a Facebook event with all your cookout details, including a registration link so we can track how many folks plan to attend. We’ll share the Facebook event with you so you can share on your personal account.
  • Materials – CCI will send you all the materials you will need to host a successful cookout including sign-in sheets, a large envelope to collect donations, and any other materials you think your guests would need like an action sheet.
  • Reimbursement – CCI does not expect a host to cover all the costs of these cookouts. Feeding folks can get pricey! CCI will reimburse up to $300 of cookout costs. Please be sure to save your receipts and send them back to CCI in the envelope.
  • Preparation – CCI staff will prep you via phone to walk through the program, cookout logistics, and answer any questions you may have.

Donation Information

The funds raised at Community Cookouts across should go directly to organizations that will use the money to reunite families. People’s Action & Iowa CCI recommend that funds raised go to support paying detention bonds and travel funds so that parents can be released and reunited with their children.

The tireless advocates and attorneys working with families who have been ripped apart tell us that the fastest way to reunite parents with their children is to ensure that the parents are not in immigration detention. Typically, bond costs about $1,500 but it can vary from case to case. Thousands of people are stuck in immigration detention simply because they don’t have enough money to pay their bonds. Not only are parents stuck in detention and separated from their children, 84% of people in immigration detention do not have an attorney and have to represent themselves in court. Having an attorney to help them with their case is often life or death for people fleeing for their lives.

Iowa CCI is asking all cookout hosts to donate all proceeds to the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project , a local organization in Iowa that has been supporting immigrant families right here at home.

On July 1st, 2018 the anti-immigrant law Senate File 481 (SF481) officially went into effect. SF481 forces local law enforcement agencies to work closer with Immigration Customs & Enforcement (ICE) and other federal immigration agencies and ultimately, makes our communities less safe.

For the past two years, CCI Action has been partnering with immigrant ally groups across Iowa to create welcoming communities. We’ll continue to fight to keep families together and keep people out of jail. And most importantly, work to repeal SF481.

We’ve nailed down two campaign strategies to keep ICE out of Iowa:

  1. We want to keep people out of jail by working at the city level to ensure that police departments accept various forms of identification, eliminate racial profiling and pretextual stops, and issue more citations rather than arresting community members. We’ll also work with elected officials to promote ‘Know Your Rights’ trainings and create better city service accessibility through language expansion.
  2. We want to keep families together by working at the county level to ensure that sheriff departments offer ‘Know Your Rights’ information in a person’s preferred language, provide unbiased third party interpretation services, and eliminate contracts or agreements with ICE. We’ll also work with elected officials to establish a community ID program and create a detainer request review protocol to ensure that requests from ICE are valid.

It’s going to take all of us – working in our own communities – to move our campaigns forward. Immigrants are Iowans, too. And we won’t allow a rogue federal agency to tear Iowa families apart.

Take the first step by contacting your local police chief and county sheriff.

Where does your police chief and county sheriff stand on SF481?

Contact your local police chief and sheriff to find out what’s their position on this law and let them know that we want to keep ICE out of Iowa and keep families together. Here’s a brief script to guide you:

Hello! My name is ________ and I’m a resident of _________. I’m calling in regards to a recent law that was passed in Iowa – SF481. It requires law enforcement to work closer with ICE and other immigration agencies. This law is bad policy; it makes communities less safe by creating distrust between law enforcement and communities.

I’d like Chief ______ or Sheriff _______ to stand with his/her community in rejecting SF481 and work to keep families together by publicly denouncing SF481. Can I count on him/her to do that?

(Wait for response)

IF YES – Great! It’s important to stand with communities and lead by example. I look forward to Chief ______ or Sheriff ______ making a public statement about SF481. Thank you!

IF NO – It’s important, now more than ever, to do what’s right. This law is unjust. It hurts all of us and creates unsafe communities. Local law enforcement should work to keep families together and keep ICE out of Iowa.

 

**We want to hear how your calls went. Report back to Madeline Cano by emailing madeline@iowacci.org or call the office at (515)282-0484**