Letters to the Pilot

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Share the hospital public news


Open letter to BVRMC Board of Trustees:

Each year households within Buena Vista County receive their tax bills, which among other items have an amount for the hospital operation and for bond debt. Given that fact it is curious why the trustee meeting minutes are not published in newspapers of general circulation, as are school board meetings, county supervisors meetings, and city council meetings. While I understand there is not a legal requirement to do so

it seems that publishing the minutes (and agendas) would serve to keep your constituent electors informed of hospital business and deliberations. Certainly the constituency is better served by the added element of communication at negligible cost.

An informed public is not only necessary for a solid foundation of growth for the future but also could prove to be valuable to expand a level of support for the facility both in times of need and times of prosperity.

While it can be said that copies of the minutes can be requested by individuals it would seem the publishing of the documents would better serve the entire county.

The trustee meetings are one of the few public bodies which does not communicate this information through general circulation. Again while not mandated, much can be gained by going beyond the minimal levels required such as the current posting of agendas at locations people now have to travel to in the 24 hours before the meetings. Perhaps one added benefit may be an increased attendance to voice the taxpayer recommendations for service deliveries and programs to assist you in your work as medical center policymakers.

- Donald L. Parrish, Sioux Rapids

The right to criticize


A response to a guest column by Congressman King in the Pilot-Tribune:

It never ceases to amaze how the far right pays lip service to the concepts of free speech, democracy, and freedom of expression but then condemn a person's very exercise of those freedoms.

Whatever happened to the concept "I may disagree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it"? It is one of the great privileges of a free society to be able to criticize and disagree openly and publicly with our elected leaders.

The day after Senator John Kerry won a stunning victory in the Iowa Democratic Caucuses, Congressman Steve King's vitriolic column appeared in The Storm Lake Pilot Tribune. Senator Kerry won this victory by talking about issues which concern lowans. Iowans are not only concerned about the "go-it-alone" policy in Iraq where we continue to lose soldiers almost on a daily basis, but are also concerned about many other issues. They are concerned about education, like the No Child Left Behind Act, which is severely flawed and unfunded. They are concerned about veterans that have to wait six months or longer to see their doctor while at the same time, the Bush Administration is cutting the Veterans Administration's budget. They are concerned about affordable prescriptions and healthcare for everyone. They are concerned about rolling back regulations on air and water quality and the loss of three million jobs in the past three years.

Senator Kerry, together with other Democratic candidates, spoke to these and many other issues which affect lowans and Americans in their daily lives. Nevertheless, Mr. King took this opportunity to question John Kerry's patriotism. He indicated that Kerry's opposition to our policy in Iraq is "giving comfort and aid to our enemies" and compared Democratic candidates to protesters in Washington D.C. which he terms as "un-American" and "anti-American".

It is incredible that Mr. King questions Senator Kerry's patriotism. Mr. King appears to have become northwest Iowa's answer to Tom DeLay. Maybe Mr. King is not aware of Senator Kerry's service to his country. During the height of the Vietnam War, the same war that President George W. Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard (when there were no openings). Senator Kerry volunteered for active duty in the U. S. Navy. He did not serve just one, but two tours of duty in Vietnam where he received three purple hearts, a bronze star, and a silver star. Senator Kerry was a true war hero. That is one of the reasons that so many veterans of this state and country are united behind Senator Kerry. He knows the meaning of putting his life on the line for his country. I wonder if Mr. King can say the same?

During all his years in elective office. Senator Kerry has represented his constituents and the American people. He does not represent lobbyists and special interests. That is why he has never taken a dime in contributions from political action committees. I wonder if Mr. King can say the same?

I do agree with one statement of Mr. King. He, together with Senator Kerry, has sworn an oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. It appears Mr. King needs to be reminded that the Constitution contains a Bill of Rights, which, in Amendment I provides:

"Congress shall make no law.. .abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the

right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

It has become a standard ploy of the far right to call into questions a person's patriotism if they question decisions of the President. It is time that Mr. King and people of his "mind set" realize that we do live in a free society, where we are guaranteed the right to criticize our leaders, and yes, even to demonstrate against our government when we believe it is misguided or wrong.

Perhaps Mr. King should be reminded of the words of John Adams:

"Be it remembered that liberty at all hazards be supported. We have a right to it,

derived from our Maker. But if we have not, our fathers have earned and bought it

for us at the expense of their ease, their estates, their pleasures, and their blood."

Or possibly of the words of his son, John Quincy Adams:

"I have always understood that citizens of these states were possessed of a full and

entire freedom of opinion upon all subjects civil as well as religious; they have not yet

established any infallible criterion of orthodoxy, either in church or state."

Yours very truly,


Co-Chair Buena Vista County

Kerry for President