Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 8, 2016

Columnist wants an explanation

By Bill Gray

By BILL GRAY

Mt. Pleasant News

I want an explanation.

That’s often a statement that masks – only barely – someone’s anger over a mistake, something gone wrong, a faux paus – you know. But I’m here to suggest that explaining things is good for us.

This morning, Mayor Steve Brimhall and City Administrator Brent Schliesman made time in their busy schedules to meet with several local business operators to explain what is happening with street and utility improvements in the downtown area. Sure, it’s obvious that Washington Street is getting a makeover, but there’s much more to be known and explained as to how it could impact parking and transportation.

I have a theory that the city’s practice to date of being open and aboveboard about what the Washington project entails – the mayor even warned last fall, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better” – has a lot to do about the lack of complaints or unrest among local residents about the inconveniences the project creates. We know that in order to have a better street, the work has to be done. And we have faith a better street will be the result.

Of course, I won’t argue that it would have been nice to have the better street before Washington got in the condition it did. But the explanation for that I believe has to do with avoiding tax increases, which we all appreciate, right?

Having an explanation best involves human contact, in my experience. Explaining is all about helping with understanding, right?

So explain to me why it is better for unemployed persons in the Mt. Pleasant community to use a kiosk to get information and aid in job-seeking, while actual human beings are good only for larger communities. With southeast Iowa continuing to rack up the highest unemployment rates in the state as a region, explain to me why the state wouldn’t want to provide additional resources – not fewer – to help persons who are jobless.

In case you missed it, the Mt. Pleasant News reported this week that while some funding has been saved from Gov. Terry Bransted’s attempt to slash Iowa Workforce budgets, the money that paid for the Mt. Pleasant office, and similar ones throughout the state, appears to be gone, gone, gone. And yes, I’d like an explanation as to why that money can’t be found now.

But I’m not going to hold my breath. After all, I’m not certain where my health care would come from if I hold my breath, pass out and need medical assistance.

I know every Republican candidate that hit the Iowa caucus trail at the end of last year pledged to repeal “Obamacare.” Aside from the fact that they’ll need Congress to help them do that, it has become apparent as the campaign unfolds that none of these hopefuls understands “Obamacare” well enough to explain what it is – or what will happen if whatever it is gets repealed.

Not that the president should be off the hook regarding explanations. It’s a rarity to hear anyone in his administration even talk about his health care program since it passed, let alone explain how it works.

Perhaps Mayor Brimhall and our city administrator can offer an explanation to our governor and president as to how a good explanation can gain you support, not adversaries. I’d pay a little extra on my taxes to fund their trips to Des Moines and D.C.!