Evans: Barta’s management under scrutiny — again

There’s so much anxiety going around Iowa City now, and Maalox could easily qualify as the official summer beverage. There’s anxiety over what the fall semester will look like at the University of Iowa, with coronavirus still a fact of life in the community and enforcement of social distancing next to impossible in dormitories, classrooms and student hangouts. There’s anxiety over how many students will decide to sit out the coming school year because of concern for their health. A significant drop in the university’s enrollment could cause the school’s financial problems to mushroom. There’s anxiety over how coronavirus will change the Hawkeyes’ football season, the social event of the fall in Iowa City and the biggest revenue-generating sport for the UI Athletics Department.

Police training is broken. Can it be fixed?

In late May, when video began circulating of George Floyd trapped under the knee of a police officer, struggling to breathe, it was the latest reminder of America’s failure to address the racism and brutality that pervades U.S. policing. For those who train and educate law enforcement officials, Floyd’s death — along with the recent police killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and other Black Americans — was also a moment of reckoning, prompting some of those educators to examine their role in preparing officers for a profession responsible for so much senseless violence. In Virginia, where community colleges enrolled some 2,200 students last year in programs designed to train law enforcement officials, school system administrators decided it was time to review their curricula for future officers. Across the country, in California, Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the state’s community college system, called for a similar examination of police training. A few college police academies announced their own reviews.

Evans: State Fair meeting was an affront to open government

The decision last week to cancel the Iowa State Fair was a reminder of the seriousness of coronavirus and the consequences of many people’s anxiety about returning to activities that normally are an important part of Iowa life. But the State Fair’s decision also illuminated an embarrassing disconnect from the norms of government transparency and accountability in our state. I have attended government meetings for 50 years – from small-town city councils and school boards, to state boards and commissions. I have never seen or heard about a more outrageous abuse of the principle of open government than the State Fair Board exhibited last week. Randy Evans
STRAY THOUGHTS
Randy Evans is the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council.