Thursday Tidbits

There was a groundbreaking this morning for a new, $9.8 million state office building that will house the Iowa Utilities Board and the Consumer Advocate's Office. Utility customers will pay for it.

State officials sold bonds to raise the money for the building's construction and those bonds are financed, ultimately, by Iowa utility customers. That's because agencies like the Iowa Utilities Board are financed by fees charged to the utility companies it regulates. Chuck Seel, a spokesman for the Iowa Utilities Board, says the new building soon will be more cost-effective than renting office space.

"We've been in our current building since 1998 and we've paid over $7 million in rent, so over the long pull, this is a much better deal for everybody," Seel says.

Utility customers have footed the bill for that rent, too.

A bus bearing the phrase "Hands Off My Health Care" in large letters was parked outside the statehouse this morning.  Jason Clayworth of The Des Moines Register covered the anti-health care reform rally.  I drove by on my way to another event and saw a sparse crowd.  Clayworth reports: 

About 20 people attended the event at the Capitol today, which did not include staff from Americans For Prosperity, which helped sponsor the event, or six people from the media.

Todd Dorman of The Cedar Rapids Gazette and Kathie Obradovich of The Des Moines Register have both written about the polling a Republican group has done on the governor's race.  Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat who intends to seek reelection in 2010, was asked about it this morning and he started by channelling Terry Branstad who always told reporters "the only poll that counts is the one that's taken on Election Day."

"They mean nothing at all," Culver said of the Iowa First Foundation's polling.  "We will have one poll that matters: November of 2010. Terry Branstad was at 37 percent approval.  He, you know, these polls don't matter.  If a Republican 527 wants to pay for a poll, they'll get the result that they want.  A partisan, conservative 527 group led by a former Republican nominee for governor Doug Gross, they have no credibility….Surprise, surprise, they have a poll that is favorable for them because it's a partisan, right-wing operation that is trying to defeat Democrats." 

Not sure when Culver was saying Branstad's approval rating was at 37 percent.  It wouldn't have been on Election Days in 1994, 1990, 1986 or 1982, presumably, because those are the days on which "the only polls that count" were taken and Branstad won his four terms as governor.

The Iowa-based American Future Fund sent out a fundraising appeal to its supporters today, citing some recent comments from Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, a Democrat who is the second openly gay member of the U.S. House.  The subject line of the AFF email was "Bloviating Barney Caught On Tape."  And what was Frank caught doing on tape?  Email author Tim Albrecht invites AFF supporters to "watch as Barney loses his cool with residents from his district. In another stunning, elitist and out-of-touch moment, you can watch three different outbursts from a congressman supposedly elected to represent We, the People."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Isn’t it amazing how much people spend of their office buildings? I guess it’s not too bad considering that many people spend about a third of their lives in them. That’s what makes a building so important besides the fact that it’s a place to actually do work.