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
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
Former Rep. Ed Fallon was also
there. Mayor Cownie was notably
The question, for those who follow
Capitol Hill politics closely,
is: Did Hatch insult the macaw?
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