25 people not running for governor (but should)

In seven months, Iowans will once again take to the polls to elect (or reelect) the future leader of the state. First-term incumbent Gov. Chet Culver is seeking the office again, while others on the ballot such as Terry Branstad, Rod Roberts, Jonathan Narcisse and Bob Vander Plaats look to take their seat at the capitol. Who is the right man or woman for the job that begins in January 2011? We have compiled a wish list of individuals we believe have what it takes to manage the great state of Iowa. Too bad they are not running.


Sally Pederson could have been governor. It was hers for the asking after serving as Tom Vilsack’s lieutenant governor for eight years. But she’d seen the gubernatorial life up close — and decided it wasn’t for her. Too bad. She’s smart, she’s fair and she’s progressive. She listens and, most importantly, she leads. Pederson is also a hell of a fundraiser. She has all the other credentials, too — raised in a small town (Vinton), graduate of a state school (Iowa State University) and has successful career in Des Moines (Meredith Corp.). She’ll tackle tough issues and persuade you to join her. And she would be Iowa’s first woman governor.

...Read More>>

The GOP game plan, lonely anchors, and the Dalai Lama

The Republican strategy to oust Chet Culver is becoming clear — assuming Terry Branstad is the nominee and not Bob Vander Plaats. And that’s what Skinny assumes. Indeed, one Republican legislator told us the other day that he thinks Vander Plaats will finish third, behind Branstad and Carroll legislator Rod Roberts. We’ll see.

At any rate, this seems to be the strategy:

First, don’t talk about social issues — gay marriage, abortion and the like. The Republicans already have the anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage vote, and, unless you’re running the Vander Plaats losing cause, there’s no use alienating independents by harping on those issues. And the independents will be key to the election — as of March 1, there were 702,295 registered independents in the state, 671,965 registered Democrats and 570,983 registered Republicans. (In all, there were 57,000 fewer registered voters than in November 2008, when Barack Obama was elected.)...Read More>>

Superchief bands together to preserve hard rock music, lifestyle

Superchief is on the warpath to save classic, guitar-driven hard rock and its ensuing debauchery.

You can hear it in their amped-up, guitar driven sound influenced by Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy.

You can see it in their tattoos and empty beer bottles on stage.

And you can feel it when this tribe of Des Moines rockers boldly proclaims that Superchief is about two things — rock and roll, and emulating the rock and roll lifestyle as taught by Lemmy of Motorhead.

“When we played GDP [Gross Domestic Product] last week we exploded on stage,” said rhythm guitarist and Superchief co-founder Jason Monroe. “The first thing we wondered was, ‘Where are we gonna put all of our stuff?’ Then we wanted to know if there was a discount on booze. There wasn’t, so we started drinking in the parking lot. That’s rock and roll. We take what we do seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”

...Read More>>

Saints serves the masses

Thirty years ago, the Des Moines sports bar evolved thanks to cross breeding two new technologies (satellite dishes and big screen televisions) with a cultural innovation (fantasy football). The former gave average sports fans a reason to leave home to watch games. The latter expanded the pool of concerned gamblers beyond illegal limits. First, bar and dance club owners discovered they could draw big enthusiastic crowds for Hawkeye and NFL games. They usually obscured their sports identity at other times, for fear of driving women away. Francie’s upgraded the genre with a scratch kitchen and family ambience. Skybox brought in a Culinary Institute of America chef and upped the level of the food, apparently to untenable heights — it lasted less than a year.

During the last decade, sports bars spawned several generations of offspring. Their menus became as similar and boring as strategies in the last five minutes of a basketball game. So how does a new place distinguish itself from the pack? I may have found a surprisingly old fashioned answer at Saints Pub and Patio, a place that caught my interest because their parking lot was so consistently full. On recent occasions, Saints fans filled every table while another new place on the same intersection struggled to entice customers. Saints also appeared to draw diverse age demographics, including families. That’s a rare thing for sports bars. Maybe the design provides some explanation for their success. High def, big screen TVs were hung in sets of three in six different sections, providing sight lines to as many games as even a compulsive gambler can watch simultaneously. Yet all were muted in favor of a light jazz/pop/rock sound track. ..Read More>>

Say somethin'!

Tell us what you think about local politics, music, restaurants, bars, entertainment or anything else going on in Des Moines.

Read More>>

On the town

Cityview brings you updated nightlife images, trivia and bar specials from the metro area's hottest spots. See More>>

Round Kick Gym

Best of Des Moines 2011

Fall Relish

Coupon Guide