In November the DNR wants Iowa voters to vote yes to giving them approximately 150 million dollars per year over and above their ever-burgeoning budget. They want this money guaranteed and it's to come from a future increase in the sales tax.
How many times have you read or heard the DNR say they may have to close parks because there is not enough money to maintain them? A park in Black Hawk County that was damaged in the 2008 floods is still not repaired and the park ranger said on television the reason was lack of funds. Yet, during the first three months of this year the DNR spent 2.2 million dollars to purchase more land. My estimation is a total expenditure over the last ten years of approximately 40 million on land purchases alone. Why are they allowed to perpetuate this land grab when they admittedly cannot take care of what they own?
People living in Iowa urban areas have very little, if any, interaction with this state agency but farmers and other rural landowners know them well. Giving them additional funding gives them more power to interfere in the lives of every rural Iowan. Is that what you want? We are being given the opportunity to tell them to clean up their house before asking for additional funding. I urge you to vote "NO" in November to their request for a trust fund of 150 million annually.
Merle D. Wilson, Jesup
How Supreme court judges are seleted in Iowa.
Two unelected and unaccountable committees select from a list of Democrat party contributors. These are the Iowa Bar Association and a selection committee.
From this list of Democrat party donors the governor must select a judge. If none suit him, the process is repeated. If the governor does not select one of these, the committee appoints the judge of their choice.
The only accountability to "We the people" is the retention process.
If you disapprove of the way homosexual marriage was handled to the people of Iowa, vote "No" on the retention of the three Supreme court judges. It is on the back of the ballot.
Don Koch, Reinbeck
IWILL Vote Yes for Natural Resources
For a state whose lifeblood is our rich soils, Iowa's natural resource record seems short-sighted. Iowa currently ranks 49 out of 50 states in public lands, and 47 out of 50 states in natural resource spending. The DNR cannot adequately maintain our state parks. Farmers, alone, cannot afford to fund voluntary conservation measures. Currently, our state is losing a staggering average of five tons of topsoil, per acre, per year. Half of Iowa's topsoil has already washed away! We have 500 impaired waterways, and our excess nutrients are contributing to creating an enormous dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Major flood events are increasing, at great human and economic cost. Song-bird and other wild-life populations continue in decline as their habitat is degraded.
Fortunately, on November 2nd, every Iowan will have an unprecedented opportunity to weigh in on these concerns. On the back of the ballot is Question 1, known as Iowa's Water and Land Legacy (IWILL), to create a constitutionally-protected Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. This will be financed through a small percentage of any future sales tax increase. In Missouri and other states, similar dedicated funds have worked well to increase the share of state funding going to natural resources.
IWILL represents a state-wide commitment to a sustainable future. It will help maintain Iowa's legendary agricultural productivity, preserve habitat, and create jobs linked to outdoor recreation. A majority vote is needed to have this measure pass. I will turn over my ballot and vote YES for IWILL, and I hope you will, too.
Coon Rapids, Iowa