Randy Evans

Randy Evans

Randy Evans is executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council, a 43-year-old nonprofit education and advocacy organization that works for improved government transparency and citizen accountability. He can be reached at [email protected]


Many could be honored who aren’t traitors

By: - July 7, 2020

The sun was drooping close to the tree line as the day wound down in southern Pennsylvania eight years ago. A retired U.S. Army officer, now a historian, led a group of business people from across the nation — I was one of them — onto the hallowed ground there in Gettysburg. The national cemetery […]


Break out the Maalox. Gary Barta’s management is under scrutiny again

By: - July 1, 2020

There’s so much anxiety going around in 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, […]


Why are we tinkering with voting laws?

By: - June 23, 2020

There have not been a lot of bright spots since coronavirus began sickening Iowans. So far, 685 people have died in our state from the virus, and another 26,000 have been infected. Unemployment in Iowa is in the double digits. We have already begun hearing of business owners throwing in the towel and closing permanently. […]


State Fair meeting was affront to open government

By: - June 16, 2020

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 […]


Public needs to see for itself how police act

By: - June 9, 2020

There’s a quiz today. How would the tragic death of George Floyd have been perceived if the encounter occurred on a deserted side street in the middle of the night, rather than on a busy street in a business area in broad daylight? How would our understanding of the events have been different if there […]


The benefit that comes from last century’s perspective

By: - May 27, 2020

The shackles could not hold us. The Evanses cast them aside last week and traveled to Bloomfield and Cedar Rapids to visit our parents. There are few social distancing concerns when you are standing quietly in a cemetery with your spouse, and your thoughts. Every time I make the trip to Bloomfield and stop at […]


It’s more difficult to comfort bereaved friends with no hugs or casseroles

By: - May 20, 2020

We always can use more humor. Even during a pandemic. At least that was my justification for a “thought” I shared with the world on social media last week. A Michigan woman posted on Twitter that she was writing a condolence card when her 5-year-old son interrupted and wanted to know what she was doing. […]


Coronavirus secrecy erodes the public’s confidence

By: - May 12, 2020

The relationship between government and the governed is a delicate arrangement, even in the best of times. Government wants us to pay our taxes. It wants us to obey its laws and directives. Citizens, in turn, expect certain things from government, things like good schools, parks, law enforcement and protection of the public health and […]


Essential workers deserve more than ‘thank you’

By: - May 5, 2020

Editorial cartoonists — the outstanding ones, like the Des Moines Register’s Frank Miller and Brian Duffy — have a marvelous ability to express a point of view with only a few words and a skillfully drawn image. When I was the Register’s opinion editor, Miller’s most famous cartoon hung next to my desk. It was […]


It’s time to rethink Iowa’s business incentives

By: - April 28, 2020

The coronavirus crisis has exposed the financial vulnerabilities of countless Iowa businesses. Whether we like it or not, it will be touch-and-go to see how many come through this intact, how many will end up as shadows of their former selves, and how many will disappear. It’s implausible that businesses will pick right up where […]


Public health ‘rock star’ from Iowa gives us straight talk

By: - April 22, 2020

In the world of contagions, epidemics and vaccines, there are not many true rock stars. There is, of course, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. His face is recognizable worldwide from his television briefings on the coronavirus epidemic sweeping the globe. Another is Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of […]


Bail out the Postal Service before cruise lines

By: - April 17, 2020

It’s quiz time. Which arm of the federal government has the most contact with ordinary Americans, people like you and me? Is it the Internal Revenue Service? Social Security Administration? The Food and Drug Administration? Or the Department of Agriculture? Nope. Not that one. Not that one, either. None of those. The arm of the […]