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The Chops, Jackie Norris, Mike O’Meara and Ako’s macaw

A little something for everyone:

For folks who like sports: AHL hockey is through here.

Done. Kaput. Chopped. Yes, Global Spectrum, the arena-management company, promises in its lease with the county that there will be AHL hockey at Wells Fargo Arena for years to come, but Global Spectrum doesn’t own a hockey team and is in no position to deliver one. And don’t expect anyone to collect on that $10 million or $12 million penalty if there is no team. The Schlegels have been saying they’d sell the team for $3 million or so, but even if they gave it away an owner couldn’t make money in Des Moines under the terms Global demands. Global gets most of the money from sales of food and advertising and even gets a cut of the money from sales of tickets and merchandise. The Schlegels get the crumbs. One guy who says he knows says the Schlegels have been losing $1 million a year, and they apparently owe the Anaheim Ducks $600,000 or so. The Ducks are said to be looking at Houston as a place to put a minor-league affiliate. ...

For folks who like intrigue: Iowa’s Jackie Norris apparently lost her job as chief of staff to Michelle Obama because she — Norris — turned out to be not much of a team player. If she didn’t get her way, insiders say, she pouted or fumed or cried or threatened to hold her breath until she turned blue or whatever. That was no surprise to political people who had worked with her when she was Iowa state director for the Obama campaign — or earlier when she worked on the Al Gore and John Kerry campaigns in Iowa. But you don’t always get your way in a White House full of smart and strong-willed people. Further, she wasn’t part of the Chicago gang that runs things there — and her successor is. The question: Was that nice new job that her husband, John Norris, just got part of the deal that bumped her out? Probably not, says a person who might or might not know. “Just a coincidence.” At any rate, Tom Vilsack will have to find a new chief of staff now that John Norris is heading to a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. ...

For folks who like the law: That was a crappy trick that four of the supervisors pulled in Washington — meeting with the Schlegels two at a time to get around the Iowa Open Meetings Law. According to the Register’s Tom Witosky, now back at work with a new hip, Democratic Supervisors Angela Connolly and Tom Hockensmith met with the Schlegels, then Republicans Bob Brownell and E.J. Giovanetti met with them. That wasn’t surprising, of course. What was surprising was the unlawyerlike comment of county lawyer Mike O’Meara, who told Witosky, “It basically was the same meeting twice.” O’Meara sometimes can’t help blurting out the truth. It’s apparently something he picked up in his days as a priest. One Des Moines lawyer thinks the four should be sued for conspiracy to violate the open-meetings law. But they won’t be, of course. The one person who looks good in all this: Supervisor John Mauro. He didn’t go to Washington. ...

For folks who like the niceties of politics: State Sen. Dick Deardon of Des Moines and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary the other day, and nearly any Democrat who was anyone turned out. Nearly. Chet Culver wasn’t there, and a guy told Skinny that the Gov didn’t even call or send a card. Deardon was the only state senator who supported Culver in his primary race against Mike Blouin. ...

For folks who wonder if The Des Moines Register has gone weekly: No, it’s just that apparently no one there knew that the 101-year-old woman who died recently — and whose last name was Cowles — had once been married to Mike Cowles, who used to run the Register and whose family owned it for generations. Fleur Cowles died in England on June 5, and The New York Times had a 1,341-word obituary a couple of days later. The Register finally caught up by noting the death in its roundup of obituaries this past Sunday. Fleur Cowles had a penchant for marrying up and marrying well — four times. “The old gal lived a full life, knowing that if each husband had three more OOOs of net worth than the last she was on course,” recalled an old fellow who knew Mike Cowles. Aside: Fleur Drive is not named for Fleur Cowles — though Skinny believes Mike Cowles once lived on Fleur Drive in the house that now is Skip’s. ...

For folks who keep score: A reader reports, “I attended the Gay Pride parade on June 14, Flag Day, as well as the 209th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo (go Napoleon!). A number of politicians were watching the parade. No politicians were actually IN the parade. Ako Abdul-Samad was watching the parade on E. 4th St. with a red and green macaw on his shoulder. Jack Hatch, who owns the buildings on the west side of E. 4th St., was also there observing.

Former Rep. Ed Fallon was also there. Mayor Cownie was notably absent.

The question, for those who follow Capitol Hill politics closely, is: Did Hatch insult the macaw? CV

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