Tuesday Reads — Pork Calling

It was inevitable. Gov. Chet Culver would ask Iowa communities to submit proposals for how to spend $750 million in infrastructure bonds. The list would come out, a few projects would seem a little goofy, and Republicans would race each other to call the whole thing pork.

The Des Moines Register plays its fateful role in this narrative by leading its story on the bonding wish list with the “Tower of Invincibility” proposed by the folks in Vedic City. Locals say the $8 million to $12 million 12-story tower would be a big attraction, with restaurants and office space etc.

No projects have been approved, but House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha has already unpacked the word “squirelly” to describe what he sees. It’s just like that Congress you all hate, etc.

Yep, just like Congress, where Republicans latch on to small items in an effort to cripple, or at least muddy, otherwise good legislation. Culver’s plan, which could actually do some good things in this state if handled wisely, will now be the “Tower of Invincibility” bill.

Oh well, this is the governor who won with the help of that goofy rain forest in Iowa, so live by the pork etc.

Culver is out selling his plan. And he’s making headlines: “Culver’s visit to Davenport to highlight sewer project.” Chuckle all you want. It’s shovel-ready.

Speaking of a good use for infrastructure funding, Radio Iowa reports that the Rebuild Iowa Commission may have held its final meeting Monday. My they did a really good job, according to them.

But what caught my eye was a sentence near the end of the article. Rebuild Iowa lobbyist, no, wait, sorry, legislative liaison Susan Judkins, says “lawmakers will likely form a task force on flood plain management that would provide recommendations for the Governor and Legislature to consider next session.”

That’s fine, but excuse my skepticism at yet another task force.

Now, I realize how truly vital it is for lawmakers to end the session early and get home and save a few precious state bucks. So altruistic, they are. But it really would have been nice if they could have stayed long enough to whip up a little something on watershed management beyond another GD study.

I had this impression that flood recovery was the session’s top priority. Where did I hear that? Oh yeah, from every Democratic leader from Culver on down. And now, a vital piece of that recovery, namely trying to prevent future watery nightmares, gets a hearty study. Wait till next year. Wait, wait and wait some more.

OK. Stepping down from soapbox. Onward.

Did you say ill-tempered weather? Well, it’s back. At one point yesterday, I noticed that Valentine, Neb. was simultaneously under a tornado watch and a blizzard warning. Ah, spring.

Four tornadoes touched down in eastern Nebraska, according to the World-Herald, while a blizzard hit the western end of the state. A twister also hit a house in Missouri Valley on the Iowa side.

What wasn’t blown or buried was on fire. The World-Herald also has this video of a big wildfire near Kearney that shut down Interstate 80.

 To the north, massive flooding. Fargo is pleading for help to hold back the rain and snow-melt-swollen Red River. The Star-Tribune has coverage of sandbagging efforts that will put a familiar feeling in the pit of your stomach if you live around these parts.

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