Author

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]

COMMENTARY

Young speakers inspire us with their courage

By: - August 26, 2020

I’m sure we all have been inspired at one time or another by a gifted speaker. Maybe it was a pastor or teacher. Maybe it was a leader who is a skilled orator. Or it might have been someone else who connected with us and delivered a memorable message. In the past few weeks, a […]

COMMENTARY

Today’s leaders could learn from Terry Branstad

By: - August 18, 2020

Regardless of what you think of his political positions, Terry Branstad knew instinctively what being governor entailed. A core duty is looking out for people when they most need help after a disaster. Branstad’s skill, and the skill of local officials, too, was on display in the summer of 1993 in the hours after one […]

COMMENTARY

Why can’t we accept masks like we do other public health and safety rules?

By: - August 13, 2020

Not that you asked, but the list of things I dislike goes well beyond liver and onions, “Rocky Mountain oysters,” drivers who tailgate, and people who chew with their mouths open. Until this year, the list did not include people who refuse to wear masks. But with coronavirus moving through hospitals, care centers, bars and […]

COMMENTARY

What Ricky Ricardo would say about the $765 million taxpayer loan to Kodak

By: - August 5, 2020

I’m giving away my age — or maybe some indication of the amount of stuff tucked away in my cranium. One of the useless tidbits stored there was a comment Ricky Ricardo supposedly made on the “I Love Lucy” show 60 years ago: “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!” Today, Ricky would be making […]

COMMENTARY

It’s time to streamline top-heavy universities

By: - July 28, 2020

Even before coronavirus hit American colleges and universities, even before their budgets imploded because of the pandemic, questions were being asked nationally about how these institutions spend their money. Some high-profile decisions by University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld have put the focus on this issue in our state. The issue further crystalized last week […]

COMMENTARY

Federal judge, John Lewis have similar messages on voting rights

By: - July 22, 2020

The death of Congressman John Lewis last Friday night accomplished what police officers with their billy clubs and white mobs with their fists and pipes never were able to achieve: Silencing his voice. For 60 years, Lewis expressed his opinions — on segregation, on voting rights, on economic inequality — during sit-ins, picketing and speeches. […]

COMMENTARY

Threats won’t end people’s virus anxieties

By: - July 16, 2020

Give an extra tug on your seatbelt. The next couple of months will be rough ones. The new school year starts in a few weeks. Not surprisingly, with the coronavirus still sickening and killing people in Iowa, what normally is a time of much excitement has become a time of great anxiety. Our president has […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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, […]

COMMENTARY

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. […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]

COMMENTARY

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 […]