“Compassionate Community Proclamation” sounds pretty nice, right? So why did close to 200 angry Des Moines residents pack the City Council chambers on Monday afternoon to protest Mayor Cownie’s feel-good sentiment?

The proclamation was just that: a feel-good piece of lipservice without any real value. This was the City Council’s only response to our Welcoming City resolution — which we proposed five months ago!

The mayor’s announcement did nothing to protect or improve services for immigrant and refugee residents. Our Welcoming City proposal had a number of action items, but the City Council said they were unnecessary.

In light of the city’s unwillingness to take action, we continue the fight to improve life for immigrants and refugees in Central Iowa.

These are our action steps:

  1. Each city department needs to participate in a training on interacting with federal immigration agencies or ICE in order to be fully prepared if or when city employees are approached with administrative or judicial warrants.
  2. Each city department needs to participate in an interactive cultural competency training in order to understand the needs and differences between the many cultures living in our city.
  3. The city needs to analyze their current bilingual or multilingual services then develop and implement a plan to improve those services in order to be more equitable to all residents.
  4. The city needs to consider providing Know-Your-Rights trainings to immigrant and refugee residents as part of their continued commitment to community outreach and relationship-building efforts.
  5. Finally, join and actively participate in the Welcoming America program. This is a national coalition of cities, businesses, nonprofits, and communities that provides in-depth toolkits, trainings, and resources to groups looking to create more equitable cities.

We’ll keep working on this important campaign. Sign up for our Fair Immigration email list to stay up to date on meetings and actions.

JOIN THE FIGHT!

The fact is, we have almost zero foundational support for this kind of work — so you can play a big part in helping us move forward when you become a member of Iowa CCI or make a donation to our Fair Immigration work.

They dump it. You drink it. We won’t stop ’til they clean it up!

That’s why we’re going to the next Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) meeting October 17. Can you join us?

Last month, the EPC — the DNR’s oversight panel — failed Iowans.

Instead of making common sense revisions to factory farm rules, they passed the buck to the legislature. Instead of using their authority, they shirked their responsibility to provide meangingful protections from Iowa’s out-of-control factory farm industry.

While the EPC ignored thousands of Iowans on our call to strengthen the Master Matrix — a tool used in the factory farm application process — they did agree to do one thing:

The commission does acknowledge that the current master matrix has been the subject of recent public attention and intends to review the current criteria with stakeholders to determine if any changes are needed.

That’s not enough, but we’re going to hold them to it.

We want to know: When will the commissioners review the Master Matrix? Which stakeholders will they meet with? By what time will they do this?

That’s why we’ll be at the next EPC meeting — to put their feet to the fire to ensure they actually follow through with their promises. Can you join us?

What: Environmental Protection Commission Meeting
When: Tuesday, October 17 at 9:30 AM
Where: Terrace Hills Golf Course, 8700 NE 46th Ave, Altoona, IA (map)
>>>>Meet in the pavilion next to the clubhouse, and wear your winter jacket!<<<<
Register: Click here to let us know you’re attending.

We can’t back down, and we won’t back down. Our water, air, land, and our health are too important.

See you on Tuesday!

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.

 

Did you see the Des Moines Register’s recent scathing editorial?

They agree that we must tap the brakes on factory farms:

“If lawmakers can’t provide more local control, then they should pass a moratorium on new confinements.”

TAKE ACTION: Tell Gov. Reynolds and legislative leadership
NO MORE factory farms!

Why? Because it’s clear that the industry is out of control. Consider just the latest evidence:

  • DNR passed the buck on meaningful changes to factory farm rules that thousands of people wanted,
  • More than 5,000 additional factory farms were just discovered in a statewide survey,
  • A state worker was fired for educating counties about their rights to object to factory farms,
  • DNR has proposed weakening rules for testing E. coli which puts thousands of Iowans at risk,
  • and more — all at the expense of everyday Iowans.

Our Clean Water Fight is gaining speed – there’s no doubt about it. We’re not mentioned by name, but this editorial lifts up work we’ve done together to reign in the factory farm industry and demand action for clean water.

Let’s keep the momentum going! The legislative session is just around the corner. 

TAKE ACTION: Take three minutes to email Gov. Reynolds and House & Senate Leadership today.
Do they stand with us or the factory farm industry?

It’s up to us – everyday Iowans like you and me – to keep the pressure on state leaders and polluters to make them clean it up! And, we need to say NO MORE factory farms.

THEY dump it, YOU drink it; we won’t’ stop ’til they clean it up!

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.

We are sad to share that CCI Action member, longtime journalist, and dedicated organizer Scott Galindez passed away last week of kidney failure.

If we had a healthcare system that truly worked for people — not insurance profits — there’s a darn good chance Scott would still be with us today and for many days into the future.

THIS is why we fight.

Scott believed wholeheartily in guaranteed healthcare for all. That’s why he penned this last article from his hospice room in Mason City that was published just before he died: “The most important legislation of my lifetime. Please read it.

And keep this important fight going strong in his memory:

  1. Share the heck out of Scott’s article.
  2. Join us for one of these Healthcare town halls next week:

Scott was a fighter. Let’s honor his memory. Let’s win this healthcare fight.

 

The Des Moines city council is back pedaling.

After promising to get us their revised draft of the Welcoming City resolution — which they sat on for five months — they are now saying they don’t want to do it at all.

Instead all they want to pass is an inclusivity proclamation – a statement that has no substance, no action plan, and no real commitment to our community.

This ‘feel-good’ statement is not enough! Immigrant and refugee families in Des Moines cannot wait another day.

We’re asking you to fight back in two ways: 

1) Can you be at the city council meeting on Monday

We need as much community support as possible to stand with our immigrant and refugee neighbors and reject this proclamation. Welcoming City or BUST! 

Where: Richard A. Clark Municipal Building (1551 E. MLK Pkwy, Des Moines, IA 50309)

When: Monday, October 9th at 4:30pm

RSVP here –> we need you there with us! 

2) Call your city council representatives before Monday’s meeting!

Tell them this proclamation is not enough and ask them to support our immigrant/refugee communities – pass the Welcoming City resolution! Please let us know how your call(s) go.

Mayor Cownie – 515-255-3644
Skip Moore (At Large)- 515-681-9804
Chris Coleman (At Large)- 515-276-7644
Bill Gray (Ward 1) – 515-274-0077
Linda Westergaard (Ward 2) – 515-988-4288
Christine Hensley (Ward 3) – 515-255-4716
Joe Gatto (Ward 4) – 515-402-2626

Our communities don’t need empty promises, they need bold leadership and meaningful action. 

True to Iowa CCI style – we’re not backing down. We’ll see you on Monday!


P.S. The fact is we have almost no foundation support for this work. We’ve been able to dedicate organizational resources to this campaign thanks to support from folks like you. Donate, join, chip in here to keep the fight going strong!

Iowa CCI members, residents in Clay and Wayne counties celebrate and demand moratorium on new factories
Des Moines, Iowa – On Monday, Iowa CCI members and everyday Iowans celebrated as Iowa Select — the largest hog corporation in Iowa and 8th largest nationally — withdrew permit applications for two massive hog factories in Wayne and Clay counties. Both applications, which were overwhelmingly opposed by local residents and county supervisors, were likely to be appealed at the October meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).

Locally organized opposition

Residents of Wayne County organized opposition, including a meeting with DNR director Chuck Gipp where over 100 neighbors demanded DNR deny the site, wrote letters to the editor, and successfully convinced their county supervisors to fail the Master Matrix and recommend denial to the DNR.  The DNR overturned the Wayne County Supervisors’ decision.  Wayne County appealed DNR’s approval of the factory farm, and a public hearing before the EPC was scheduled in October.

“We’re celebrating this big victory, but we know that Iowa Select will try to reapply.  We are relentless, and we’ll be ready.  We don’t want any factory farms and we will fight any that Iowa Select proposes to build,” said Pam Woollis, CCI member and resident of Wayne County.

In Clay County, local residents also organized, gathered petition signatures, and convinced their supervisors to recommend denial of the site, which again was overturned by the DNR.  Clay County’s Board of Supervisors was set to vote on appealing DNR’s approval of the factory farm at its meeting today.

“We are overjoyed at Iowa Select’s decision to not build their large hog factory beside our family. However, more importantly, the health of other farm familes and small towns is endangered by Iowa’s lack of regulations to protect the public health and our air and water,” said Sarah Lewis, who fought the 5,000-head factory farm near Spencer, Iowa. “We encourage our Supervisors to make Clay County the 18th Iowa county to call for a moratorium or changes to the Master Matrix until adequate regulations are implemented to protect our environment and familes.”

Iowa Select avoids scrutiny

“In its written notice to the Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Select cited several reasons for withdrawing, but we believe it’s because they are feeling public pressure and know that these appeals would further illustrate the failings of the Master Matrix,” said Erica Blair, community organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI).

According to DNR’s construction review activity database, Iowa Select has seven pending facilities across the state in Grundy, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Buena Vista, and Greene counties.  CCI has received calls from residents of several of these counties asking how they can fight the incoming factory farms.

Iowa Select has a long violation history, including at least 150 manure or ammonia releases polluting air and water, according to DNR’s facility spill database.

“Iowa Select creates new LLCs, allowing the company to avoid scrutiny of past violations, making it difficult to know the true number of spills and violations,” said Patti Naylor, a CCI member and family farmer who lives in Greene County, where supervisors just approved a 7,490-head Iowa Select factory farm.  “They’ve become experts at using the Master Matrix to their own advantage.”

This news comes as many scandals are coming to the surface for DNR.  CCI members point to the EPC and DNR’s dismissal of the Master Matrix petition, former DNR employee Gene Tinker’s claim that he was fired for educating counties about the Master Matrix, and DNR’s discovery of over 5,000 additional factory farms in Iowa.

“It’s clear that we need a moratorium from this polluting industry. Our DNR, legislature, and Governor need to work for all of Iowans,” added Naylor.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement 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. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.