Thumbs Up … to Scott County officials who honored the late Glen Erickson at a ceremony this week. Erickson, who was the county administrator for 20 years before retiring in 2001, died in July. For those who knew him, Erickson was a thorough, dedicated professional who skillfully led not just a professional county staff but was devoted to the entire region.
"He was really all about the Quad-Cities," said Tim Huey, the county’s planning and development director. "Scott County was the Iowa half but (he believed) we were stronger together."
Indeed. Erickson was a mentor to a lot of people in the Quad-Cities, and we’re happy that those professionals to whom he was closest recalled the service he gave to this community.
Thumbs Down … to the continued drain on Iowa taxpayer money as a result of the treatment of Chris Godfrey, a former state worker who filed a lawsuit in 2012 claiming former Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against him because he is gay.
In July, a jury found in Godfrey's favor, awarding him $1.5 million.
The Associated Press reported this week that the Republican-controlled Iowa Executive Council approved nearly $500,000 in legal fees associated with the case, the latest of the bills.
It’s still uncertain whether the case will be appealed, and there are other legal bills pending, so this probably won’t be the last of the checks the state has to write in this matter.
Thumbs Up … to Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, for sticking up for the whistleblower in the Ukraine impeachment case.
President Trump has lashed out at the whistleblower, demanding to know the person’s identity. He’s also claimed whoever provided information to the whistleblower is a spy.
All this has the potential to chill others from exposing wrongdoing, so we were happy to see the nation’s top intelligence official, Joseph Maguire, defend the whistleblower. So did Grassley.
"This person appears to have followed the whistleblower protection laws and ought to be heard out and protected," Grassley said. The senator also pushed back against the notion that a whistleblower has to have firsthand knowledge of an incident to be considered.
You have free articles remaining.
To be sure, Grassley also has taken shots at the media and Democrats as part of this whole controversy. But we were glad he also stuck up for the whistleblower, something for which he already is taking flak from some on the right.
Thumbs Up ... to the long-awaited announcement by the Trump administration on Friday to curb some of the damage that's been done to the renewable fuels industry by its Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA has been granting waivers to "small" refineries so they don't have to meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. That's siphoned off billions of gallons of demand for renewable fuels and contributed to the closure of a handful of plants, industry officials say.
Under pressure from rural Iowa, President Trump — who promised before the 2016 election that he would back the RFS and who needs Iowa in his 2020 re-election campaign — has brokered a deal that promises to boost demand.
That is good for Iowa, and the president deserves credit — if it pans out.
As we've seen before, Big Oil is relentless in trying to undermine RFS requirements and the administration's EPA has been all too willing to acquiesce.
As you might expect, the president's allies were quick to praise him Friday. But we also took note of signs of caution by some in the industry who know this game all too well.
Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, praised the president and those in Congress who have worked hard to get to this point, but he said the organization also would keep a close watch on what happens from here.
"We will work with our champions and the White House to make sure the EPA’s final rules ensure that a 15 billion-gallon RFS will actually be a 15 billion-gallon RFS. If that is accomplished, the integrity of the RFS will have been restored and President Trump’s promise to protect and uphold the RFS will have been redeemed," he said.
In other words, stay tuned.