I came across this mention of Gov. Chet Culver’s meeting this week with Citizens for Community Improvement over at Century of the Common Iowan, a lefty blog:
“Yesterday, members of Iowa CCI held a lobby day at the State House where they met with legislators, DNR official Wayne Gieselman, and Governor Culver. Two of the issues discusses with Culver was VOICE and local control.
Governor Culver, in his meeting with CCI members, said he would continue pushing for local control of factory farms, an issue he pledged his support of during his campaign and for which his commitment was questioned. “I commend your commitment to this important issue,” Culver stated.”
The DM Register also has a story, which says Culver “vowed to keep pushing” for local control.
Here is the chronology of Culver’s push for local control, as I see it.
1. Promise repeatedly during the 2006 campaign to push for local control over where large hog confinements can be built.
2. Insist weeks before even taking office that you can’t get the Legislature to go along with local control, so you’re not going to press the issue.
3. Make no mention of local control in your second legislative agenda.
4. Make a great speech talking about your continued push for local control.
I don’t care whether you favor or oppose local control, but I defy you to find any real evidence that Culver has “pushed” for it.
He’s insisted, repeatedly, that the votes aren’t there in the Legislature. That may be true.
But the votes weren’t there for a $1 cigarette tax increase when he proposed it in his first budget address to lawmakers last year. He lobbied hard and got it anyway.
And the votes certainly weren’t there for his 10-cent bottle deposit scheme or for his effort to close corporate tax loopholes — both linchpins in his second budget. When it comes to raising revenue, he pushes on despite uphill odds.
That’s not true of local control of hog confinements. He talks a good game in front of activists, just like he did in August 2006 when he told Latino activists that he would work to repeal Iowa’s English as the official language law. When’s the last time you heard the Big Lug talk about that promise?
I understand that politicians break all sorts of promises and often exaggerate their efforts to make something happen. That’s especially true of a politically volatile issue, like who should control where hogs are raised. That’s how the game is played, but that doesn’t mean politicians shouldn’t be called out when they play it.
What do I think about local control? All I know is that if I want to build a big box store or a widget processing plant in the middle of a county, I’m going to need permission from local governments with jurisdiction over my site. So I’m not really sure why the livestock industry, which has adopted and benefited from industrial production methods, should be treated any differently.
I’m not against livestock production. And if it’s the indispensable economic boon to Iowa that the industry insists, they should have no problem getting a local OK to go along with their state permits.