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].
Two wrongful-arrest cases show suspicion is not enough in our system of justice
By: Randy Evans - August 6, 2022
It is difficult for many of us to muster empathy for people accused of crimes who have complaints about the way police treated them. This lack of empathy probably occurs because ordinary folks do not think they will be in situations like people accused of crimes. If that includes you, allow me to introduce you […]
If Grandma can Zoom, the government can, too
By: Randy Evans - July 19, 2022
In my day job, I wear the hat of the executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has been around for 40-plus years. We advocate on behalf of the public and journalists for government transparency and accountability to the people of this state. Periodically, I speak to groups of […]
What happens when you have a beef with a judge?
By: Randy Evans - July 16, 2022
It was not in the menu, but there was a heaping helping of irony served up one evening last week at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was dining at Morton’s steakhouse. Demonstrators were outside, intent on ensuring he left with indigestion and not just a full belly. At the […]
Iowa court’s unfair message to rural property owners: ‘Take one for the team’
By: Randy Evans - July 9, 2022
In 1972, Gordon Garrison purchased 300 acres of farmland in Emmet County, a rectangle near the Minnesota border one county to the east of the Iowa Great Lakes. The Iowa State University agricultural engineering graduate began raising sheep and crops. He also set about working to restore the “prairie pothole” ecology of shallow wetlands that […]
It’s wrong to tell parents what their kids can read
By: Randy Evans - June 24, 2022
Here we are, well into year three of the effects and after-effects of COVID. An oft-heard comment during this time has come from people who believe government should simply butt out. These people believe government should leave it to individuals, and parents, to decide what is best for themselves and their children. “I trust Iowans […]
Like it or not, we are all in this together
By: Randy Evans - June 19, 2022
What is happening to us? What passes for public discussion these days certainly is not civil or thoughtful. Nor is it really much of a discussion. If you read the comments from some supposed leaders, you find references to the members of the other political party being our enemies. It’s not just Republicans doing this. […]
To address gun violence, our nation needs to focus on the greater good
By: Randy Evans - June 11, 2022
Middle ground seems to have disappeared in the United States, and that’s unfortunate. These days, there’s no appetite for the give-and-take that leads to compromise. Regardless of the side you are on, it’s pretty much “my way or the highway.” Speaking of highways, in 1973, Congress and President Richard Nixon enacted a nationwide 55 mph […]
Bishop’s denial of communion to Pelosi over abortion stance raises the question: W.W.J.D.?
By: Randy Evans - May 28, 2022
Officially, bishops and archbishops in the Roman Catholic Church have one boss, the pope. Of course, their ultimate authority figure is Jesus. That’s why many Catholics and non-Catholics have been asking a very simple question in recent days: W.W.J.D.? What would Jesus do? The question has been circulating since the archbishop of San Francisco announced […]
When will our ‘pro-life’ leaders do something about gun deaths?
By: Randy Evans - May 16, 2022
Aaron Salter Jr., 55, was on duty at the security job that supplemented his retirement income. Ruth Whitfield, 86, was buying groceries. Celestine Chaney, 65, stopped in for strawberries for the shortcake she and her sister were eager to enjoy. But their plans went awry Saturday afternoon. Salter’s work shift ended sooner than he expected. […]
Recent remarks from Justice Clarence Thomas, Gov. Kim Reynolds are soaked in irony
By: Randy Evans - May 13, 2022
Irony has been so deep in recent days that we shouldn’t be surprised if people start walking around with their chore boots on or with the cuffs on their pants rolled up to avoid the mess. Consider: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently made an observation that caused some people’s eyes to bug in […]
Lawsuit on judicial debt collection needs sunshine, not secrecy
By: Randy Evans - May 7, 2022
The legendary U.S. Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis once observed, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Brandeis was not talking about everyday cleaning around the home. He was concerned about the importance of transparency in rooting out or preventing corruption or abuses in the workings of a program, an organization or an […]
Utah’s governor listened to both sides before acting on trans athlete restrictions. Iowa’s didn’t.
By: Randy Evans - April 2, 2022
Through history, some political leaders have been outstanding orators. Boy, could they talk. They knew how to mobilize and move people with their words. Think of Franklin Roosevelt and, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Or Ronald Reagan and, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” The ability to crystallize their thoughts […]