Court weakens prayer

Court weakens prayer

Gazette Column
There is an overriding philosophy where government and technology meet, seeking to balance the public’s need and right to know with individual privacy concerns and, yes, cost effectiveness. When considering whether or not to digitize certain records or databases, even ones freely accessible by the public during in-person visits to city hall, the question has morphed from, “Can we do this?” to a more nuanced and complex, “Even if we can do this, should we do this?” The same question should be asked by communities considering a recent Supreme Court decision allowing public prayer before government meetings. In a split decision, the Court determined prayers at government meetings are a matter of free speech, which the listening officials cannot censor or edit. Even if a visiting member of the clergy…
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Voters drowned out by spending

Voters drowned out by spending

Gazette Column
Although we won’t know fundraising results from other county, legislative and statewide candidates until the disclosure deadline tomorrow, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds let their cat out of the bag Thursday. The duo is reporting a whopping $4.5 million cash-on-hand and promising, now that the legislative session has closed, their campaign “will kick into high gear.” Iowa’s 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimate is a total population of 3.1 million. Roughly 1.9 million people were registered, active voters as of May 1, according to the Secretary of State. This means the Branstad-Reynolds campaign has collected roughly $1.45 for every man, woman and child in the state, or $2.37 for each active, registered voter. Looking only at the Republicans? That’d be $7.49 per GOP voter. To put it another…
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