The Speech, Franchise Fees, and Well Wishes for A Friend

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Good Morning
I wanted to start by passing along our well wishes to Graham Gillette and his family. Many of you may know Graham’s name as a former Des Moines School Board Member. Graham and I developed a friendship through our wives.
I guess he slipped and fell on some concrete Tuesday night and is in the Methodist ICU. His Facebook page says he has a fractured skull but is recovering. Still…scary. So a speedy recovery to a good guy and someone who genuinely cares about this community.

The Speech
The President spoke at Cairo University today. He made good on a campaign promise to go to a Muslim Capitol and speak directly to the Muslim world.
The highlights are as you’d expect:
-We’ll leave Iraq to the Iraqi people and make good on a promise to pull combat brigades back this summer.
-The attacks of 9/11 scarred the American Psyche and lead to a lot of negative feelings against Islam. It also led the US to do things that Obama said were against our traditions and best ideals.
-He said there must be a peaceful solution in the conflict between Palestinians and Israel. He went on to say that calling for the destruction of Israel is unacceptable and that the Muslim nations need to be more tolerant.

So no major ground broken here. He said what you’d expect. The harder part will be the reaction and building actual trust among nations.

Franchise Fees
If you’re at home cheering the franchise fee ruling as a victory for the taxpayers…hold on to your wallet. The court ruled. Smarter people than me decided the City was charging too much. But that doesn’t solve the problem. The city is now going to have to give back 43 million, to say nothing of the hole the loss of franchise fee revenue leaves in the budget. The City doesn’t have enough money. So there are a couple choices…the one that will likely happen is an increase in your property taxes. So congratulations…you get a $200 check back from the franchise fees…your tax bill will go up and the lawyers get rich.
The suggestion box is open, fix the problem. The City of Des Moines, more than any other city in the state, is full of government offices, hospitals and non-profits. All of these organizations don’t pay property tax but are a HUGE burden to the taxpayers. How do you charge the organizations that don’t pay for their property tax so the homeowner isn’t burdened. Des Moines still needs to be a place that a family can afford to live…

Feel free to comment…
Liz is around for one more day. Maybe we can get her to blog tomorrow.


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