It's our money
Thanks for publishing the "It's Your Money" column. Again we see an example of excesses in the budget of the City of Des Moines. $1,250 was paid to the Des Moines Rifle and Revolver Club for 25 memberships for certain police officers. I assume (and hope) that the police department has some place to practice shooting. And if it does, then this expense was unnecessary. I want our police officers to be well trained for their own safety, but that doesn't mean paying their dues to go to a private gun club.
Kurt Johnson

Vilsack, the money-grubber

In his column "Good night and good luck" (Nov. 10, 2005) Jon Gaskell writes that Gov. Tom Vilsack wants more dollars for terrorist control. It seems the farsighted Vilsack sees the forthcoming and imminent threat of Osama's goons killing our hogs, cattle, sheep and the propaganda machine down on Locust Street. Gaskell writes that if "Osama comes calling with a greasy bucket of KFC, then Vilsack's our man." Forget that shit. Tom wasn't elected governor on chicken grease. Hell no. Tom was greased with corporate, union and the money of the filthy rich. Vilsack is no better or worse then the rest of the sorry political sucks. If Osama brought in planeloads of cash, the greedy bastards (Democrat and Republican) would hand over the United States to him - including Tom Vilsack.
Tom Kearney
Des Moines

Sex-offending scum
Why on earth are we worried about the rights of convicted sex offenders ("Separate but equal," Nov. 10)? Sure there are many levels of offense when it comes to sexual deviance, but whose job is it to determine this and at what cost to the taxpayer? There are far more important things to be worried about than if Joe or Jill sex offender has somewhere in town to live. What parent, or upstanding citizen for that matter, would want a convicted sex offender living next door to them? As a Des Moines resident and a father of a 5-year-old girl, the last thing I want walking the streets of the neighborhood my daughter rides her bike in, is some sexual predator. I could not care less what their offense was, but I don't have the time to look at each case on an individual basis to determine whether or not their crime was extreme enough to be exiled. Keep them the hell out of my neighborhood. I don't care if they raped and killed a baby, or simply decided it would be cool to hump their 16-year-old adopted son. They're scum and should not be tolerated.
Tim Huckaby
Des Moines

Sex offenders all different
Erin Randolph provided an excellent commentary on the need to categorize those who have sexually offended ("Separate but equal," Nov. 10). Lumping together all people with charges of some level of sex offense is causing enormous problems for people to get on with their lives. Knowing the success rate of therapy is excellent. And all states, not just Iowa, need to respond by setting levels of scrutiny to those charged.
Wayne Bowers
Director, Sex Abuse Treatment Alliance

First Tee a waste
Let me preface my remarks by saying that I don't play golf so I haven't been too concerned about the Grandview Golf Course hill controversy. Nor, until I read Jon Gaskell's column ("Pull some punches," Nov. 17), did I even know what the "First Tee" program is and what it's supposed to do: teach little kids to play golf. Now that's a fine way to spend the taxpayer's dollar, teach little kids to play golf. As if there aren't other priorities and more pressing needs around this town, the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department wants to teach little kids to play golf. Jesus Christ, why don't we use that First Tee money to teach little kids to read?
Bob Jewett
Des Moines

Editor's note: The First Tee program is actually funded by private donations, not taxpayer dollars. Hence the column regarding people opening their mouths without having the first idea of what they are talking about.

It's all about Ed
Thank you, Carolyn Szczepanski, for your tremendous reporting in the article "Double jeopardy" (Nov. 3). We all know that there are many people who represent a danger to our society and must be in prison. However, it is our expectation that prisons will be a safe place, both for the prisoners and the employees. Our community leaders must work together to do everything they can to provide a safe, effective environment within the criminal justice system, free of corruption and intimidation. As governor, you can rest assured that I will continue to work with the Department of Corrections, AFSCME and the general public to ensure that we have a criminal justice system based on restorative justice, not retribution. It is one of my top priorities to make sure the problems brought to light in this article are addressed and the persons responsible are held accountable for their actions. It is distressing to think that incidents like the one involving the dead raccoon take place in broad daylight in front of the Iowa State Penitentiary, in full view of the guard towers and security cameras, and still the persons responsible cannot be identified and brought to justice. Ms. Szczepanski's work in bringing these issues to light is an excellent first step towards improving our criminal justice system and the public's awareness of the system's inner workings.
Rep. Ed Fallon
Des Moines

Culver welcome, legal
With regard to your "sources" about Chet Culver doing his announcement at Hoover (Civic Skinny, Nov. 17), please let them know that we would welcome any other candidate who wants to use our public spaces as long as it doesn't interfere with the school day. Schools in Des Moines have hosted candidates of every party: George W. Bush at the Downtown School, Al Gore at Jefferson Traditional, Charles Grassley at Hubbell, Tom Harkin at Moulton, Doug Gross and Tom Vilsack each visiting a Des Moines school on the same day during the 2004 campaign, and Leonard Boswell at Capitol View. The Republican Governor's Conference in Des Moines had a downtown school classroom filled with GOP governors. We always open our doors to the people who do or may represent us. We typically allow government class students to attend these events on a voluntary basis; it is a great way for students to see our American system of democracy at work. All other students were in their classes hard at work, as usual. This event followed the models used by other metro schools to welcome elected officials to our schools.
Connie Cook
Principal, Hoover High School

Healing powers
Jon Gaskell's profile on Jerry Spargur was awesome (Nov. 17). I have known Jerry since he started doing some public awakenings. I have no doubt in his gifts. He is a healer. He is the "real deal." My sister was diagnosed with Stage-4 ovarian cancer years ago. He did a healing on her. And she is still with us, and thriving. I lost my dog of 18 years Nov. 2. Jerry was there for me. I was an emotional mess. He told me, "If you aren't doing better tomorrow, I am going to take your emotions from you." He did a healing on me Nov. 4 and he totally took away my emotionality. Even my joints felt better (a person's stress can manifest itself in the body anywhere). He has proven his gifts over and over again. He will begin having public Awakenings again soon. They involve spirits coming through to give messages to the people who attend them. He is just an incredible individual. He has given proof to many that life doesn't end just because of death, and that the spirit continues. Again, I am happy you chose to profile Jerry - especially for the many people who will benefit as a result. Thank you.
Miriam Andersen
West Des Moines

He's no shaman
Big Chief Tent Pole sez, "There ain't no such thing as a Mohawk from southwest Iowa (Profile, Nov. 17). The tribe is located in St. Regis, in upstate New York, aka Akwesasne, with part of its reservation in Quebec. Also, Shamans don't sell dream catchers, blankets or jewelry. Real shamans don't even admit to their status. It's supposed to be a secret. Heap lot of bullshit!"
Barry Haglan
Des Moines

No Tom tomorrow, or the day after
I was one of the many readers who wrote in the last time you dropped "This Modern World," and because enough of us wrote in you reconsidered your decision and brought the comic strip back briefly. But, you've obviously forgotten all the previous letters you received and have unceremoniously dropped the strip again. Your reasons for dropping the strip are as dubious as Dubya's were for going to war. The only thing that has lost its edge in the pages of Cityview is the editor and the staff themselves. Bring back "Tom Tomorrow" today and Justin Kendall, too, while you're at it.
Brian Payne
Des Moines

No place like home
I lived in Des Moines for 10 years before taking a job to travel the country, hitting 86 cities in the past two years. A lot of people ask me, "What is your favorite city that you have been to?" And I always say Des Moines, Iowa. I tell them that the housing prices are reason alone to live there, and the small-town feel with lots of big city things to do is a secret little gold mine. I sent this article ("No place like home," Nov. 24) to everyone I know. I am so thankful that it was finally put into words. People need to stop whining; they have no idea how GOOD they have it in Des Moines.
Renee Pile
Whereabouts unknown

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