Wednesday Reads — Not Getting Involved

Sometimes, you just don’t want to get involved. It’s complicated. You’re busy. You’ve got a headache. Maybe tomorrow. I understand.

What I don’t understand is when it’s the Iowa Department of Human Services that’s making excuses. The deciders at the DHS in 1974 and 1997 decided not to get involved in the Atalissa bunkhouse. It’s Texas’ problem. There’s no specific accusation. They may not be dependent adults. It would be pricey. Let’s just monitor. We’ll even make a file. A real file, with papers and everything.

Now I have a headache. And Iowa journalists now have the files.

The Des Moines Register’s Clark Kaufman has a good rundown of yesterday’s release of DHS records from that 70s case and the 1997 apathy fest. He notes that current DHS Director Gene Gessow has no plans to investigate the department’s past decisions. Gee, I can’t imagine why.

Because the past includes stuff like this. The Quad-City Times Kurt Allemeier notesthat the DHS did nothing even while it’s social workers on the front lines decried bunkhouse conditions:

A memo from social worker Ed George, dated Dec. 4, 1974, said that by condoning a business like Henry’s Turkey Service, “It is saying that the retarded adult does not have a right to a self-directed life and that future generations of mentally retarded in Texas will not have the community-based services which they will need.”

George’s memo called the Henry’s program “obscene.”

 And in 1997, the DHS was worried that shutting down the bunkhouse would mean that Muscatine County would be responsible for residents’ care. Money, people, money people. Oh, let’s pick money.

Radio Iowa and the AP also have coverage.

In other news…

Gov. Chet Culver says he’s willing to look at a proposal being floated that would get rid of federal deductability, or the ability of Iowans to deduct federal taxes before they calculate what they owe the state. Dems say it makes Iowa’s tax rate look artificially high. Republicans say it’s a tax hike disguised as streamlining.

Gazette/Lee’s Rod Boshart also notes that Culver says a yes vote on the local option tax in Cedar Rapids would send a signal to state and federal officials that locals are willing recovery partners.

Under the category of unwilling partners, or perhaps regretful, is the Council Bluffs City Council member who got caught up in one of those dang prostitution stings. Radio Iowa reports that Darren Bates swears he went to a hotel earlier this month just to get a massage, not for sex. His wife was by his side as he faced the press. Others say he should resign.

What say the citizenry?

Jim Nelson is a resident of Council Bluffs and says he isn’t buying Bates’ story. “I’m married and if I told my wife I went to a hotel for a massage…she ain’t going to buy that, I’ll tell you that much,” Nelson says.

Very good point, Jim.

But what of you were just going out to caucus?

You might even have the night off. A bill in the Iowa Housewould give people unpaid time off to attend presidential caucuses in Iowa. AP’s Mike Glover reports that the measure strikes at one of the biggest protests against the caucus process, that night-working Iowans can’t participate.

If it passes, maybe more people would get involved.


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