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

Repeat after me: Let the public know about public meetings

By: - January 29, 2021

The purpose was pretty simple when the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public meetings law many years ago: Government boards are required to announce their meetings at least one day in advance, and officials must tell the public what will be discussed and voted on. People are entitled to participate in our democracy by attending […]

COMMENTARY

Let’s clear up needless confusion about the First Amendment

By: - January 23, 2021

Forty-five words that were first written with a quill pen 230 years ago form what may be the most consequential sentence in United States history. But that sentence also is one of the most misunderstood — as recent comments from some of our leaders illustrate. The sentence I refer to is the First Amendment. It […]

COMMENTARY

We don’t need a ‘leader’ like this one

By: - January 17, 2021

I was a kid from small-town Iowa when I first laid eyes on the United States Capitol. It was 1962. My family squeezed into our Dodge and drove to our nation’s capital for the vacation of a lifetime. It was all about history. We walked through the White House. We climbed the steps of the […]

COMMENTARY

We’re not ready to pardon mass murder, are we?

By: - January 6, 2021

Through history, the decisions by our presidents to issue pardons and commutations have always been topics of controversy. President Gerald Ford probably torpedoed his election chances when he pardoned Richard Nixon for Nixon’s Watergate offenses. President Bill Clinton, a master of the tarnished reputation, pardoned his half-brother, Roger Clinton, for cocaine distribution crimes. President Jimmy […]

COMMENTARY

There’s no justification for government shutting the public out

By: - December 30, 2020

There are some high-minded legal principles written into Iowa laws and rulings by our state’s Supreme Court. But in recent weeks, one of those sound principles has run into a few closed-minded state officials and the closed doors of government. Some officials prefer to conduct the people’s business without being bothered with having the pesky […]

COMMENTARY

Making a better world, one person at a time

By: - December 24, 2020

This season reminds us of all that is possible, of the importance of concern and compassion for others. But even a message so sound, so succinct and so universal can benefit from real life examples. A California sheriff’s deputy with Iowa roots will help us with that today. So will a couple of behind-the-scenes angels […]

COMMENTARY

‘Unemployment’ is not the same for everyone

By: - December 15, 2020

The boss told Gus Malzahn on Sunday that he was no longer needed. His employment was ending immediately. With that blunt conversation, Malzahn became another statistic of 2020. He took his place next to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs this year — a year when unemployment, at times, rivaled those dreadfully […]

COMMENTARY

U.S. House is the wrong place to decide who won 2nd District race

By: - December 8, 2020

Tone-deaf. That’s the dismal state of the political discourse in our nation these days. Regrettably, Iowa has an all-too-prominent role in this bumbling lack of awareness of how our democracy is being eaten away by the people who want to be our leaders. Pour yourself a glass of Maalox. You will need it, because your […]

COMMENTARY

This Thanksgiving recipe doesn’t depend on food or family

By: - November 25, 2020

With all of the frustrations, the tragedies and the maddening political chaos that have been with us this year, I have the perfect recipe for our Thanksgiving celebrations. No, it is not a new take on green bean casserole. It’s not some newfangled way to ease the strain on our belts after a holiday meal. […]

COMMENTARY

WW II lesson is ignored during this pandemic

By: - November 18, 2020

Forgive me, but I don’t think Americans are as tough as we used to be. Specifically, I don’t think many of us see the big picture the way our parents and our grandparents did. I venture down this treacherous path because I think this lack of toughness is affecting Iowans’ response to the coronavirus pandemic. […]

COMMENTARY

Weary reflections from the middle of the road

By: - November 11, 2020

I’m tired. I’m worn out. My energy has been sapped. I am tired of getting up every day and bracing myself to learn who or what, in the dawn’s early light, the president has demeaned, disparaged or mocked like a school kid. I long for the days when political leaders try to bring us together, […]

COMMENTARY

Governor’s lawyers admit her staff refused to release public records on COVID-19 testing

By: - October 27, 2020

When the Iowa Legislature wrote the state’s public records law 50 years ago, lawmakers wanted to guarantee that anyone could obtain copies of state and local government records that are not designated by statute to be kept confidential. There is no asterisk in the law. There is no exemption saying the governor can ignore the […]