The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

March 1, 2014

Politicians accused of playing politics

OTTUMWA - If we hire a scientist to research a problem, maybe elected officials can get out of the way when the answer is found.

That was just one of the suggestions at the League of Women Voters legislative forum. Several dozen Iowans questioned three state Legislators on subjects ranging from taxes to mental health.

But one man wanted to know why Iowa Department of Natural Resources scientists would seek out answers, make recommendations to improve the lives of Iowans, then be ignored because of politics. He was asked if he was talking about a specific subject, and said he was not.

State Rep. Mary Gaskil, D-Ottumwa, said she's seen the political games played at the Department of Human Services as well as the DNR. The heads of both agencies are appointed by the state's governor. When they're in office, they then receive direction from the governor's office.

"So they aren't really free to do what they think is right," Gaskill said.

Her solution, she said, would be campaign laws being revamped.

Rep. Larry Sheets, R-Moulton, has a different view. In a sense, he said, we could ask the question to concern "elected officials" and a "bureaucracy."

"So we have elected officials interfering with bureaucracy," Sheets said. "Sometimes, bureaucracy needs to be interfered with."

Democracy is messy, he said. The people of Iowa didn't vote for the scientists, they voted for the legislators. Scientific data can be considered, but the officials, who represent the voters, must make the final decisions based on multiple factors.

Other subjects included funding for schools, services for Iowa veterans and mental health equality among counties.

One way to get funding for such things, said Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, is to have a better business climate.

He said when Iowa lowered the corporate taxes on one industry, insurance, the number of successful insurance companies in Des Moines increased.

Text Only
Local News
  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Resolution — Techel verdict reached

    DAVENPORT — The father of a slain Wapello County woman said he began to heal as soon as he heard the guilty verdict today. The jury unanimously pronounced Seth Techel, 23, guilty on charges of first-degree murder and non-consensual termination of a h

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0725 OTT Riverfront design A new outlook on Ottumwa OTTUMWA — A "River Renaissance" is brewing in Wapello County. Planners working for Christian Rushing Studio from Tennessee took the public's ideas, and gave them life via maps, numerical projections and artists' renderings. "Hold onto your seats; you

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Police to parents: check kids' online activities BLOOMFIELD — The Bloomfield police chief says the arrests of nine men in connection with sexting a teenage girl underscores the need for parents to keep an eye on their children online. Chief Shawn Armstrong said cases involving one or two people are

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT birthday rumble -T -M Age 106, still ready to rumble OTTUMWA — With the stories flowing, Celma Birdsall had the ride of her life Thursday. "She shared a lot of memories," said her chauffeur for the day, Dennis Parrish. Birdsall has built up a lot of stories over the 106 years she's been around. After h

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 0725 OTT College Connections color photo -T -M IHCC eases transition to college OTTUMWA — When choosing a college that's just right for you, it is important to find one that works its hardest to ensure your success as a student. Indian Hills Community College is doing just that this week with a College Connections Workshop spons

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Techel found guilty on both counts

    DAVENPORT — Jurors have found Seth Techel guilty in the 2012 murder of his wife, Lisa, and the couple’s unborn child.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victim advocates: Helping families cope

    DAVENPORT — Family members of a slain Wapello County woman have someone to lean on — literally and figuratively — while they sit through a murder trial for the third time. Seth Techel, 23, is on trial in Scott County, Davenport. He faces charges of fi

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 OTT Five Things logo -L -T Five things to do in southeast Iowa this weekend OTTUMWA — There's a wide variety of activities to choose from this weekend in southeast Iowa. Get out and explore the countryside, find some new books to curl up with or help raise money for some great causes. The choice is yours — pick one or attend

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0724 OTT Tehel mug -T -M Jury begins deliberations DAVENPORT — The fate of a Wapello County man accused of killing his wife is in the hands of a jury in Scott County, which began deliberations Wednesday and will continue deliberating today.The jury began deliberations about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the ca

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Van Buren says bye-bye to Waste Management KEOSAUQUA — Waste Management has been charging the Van Buren Community School District an average of nearly $1,600 a month to remove waste and recycled materials from the Douds and Keosauqua centers. Now faced with a bidding process, Waste Management

    July 23, 2014

Photo reprints