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Letters To The Editor

Eric Brandstad and wife say we had it wrong

Why would you print the editorial [“Letters,” Oct. 18] that is factually untrue about me?

Your information was wrong a couple of weeks ago in the Civic Skinny [Oct. 4]. It was my wife, Adrianne Holmes Branstad, which was looking at running for Libby Jacobs’ seat and I told Peter Cownie that as well.

I have spent my entire life dealing with much regret and remorse the car accident that I was in when I was 16 years old. I beg of you to never print my name again.

Eric Branstad
Des Moines

Leave my husband alone

I read what was printed about my husband Eric [“Letters,” Oct. 18] and could not believe my eyes. It is bad enough to print a false statement that he is running for the State House [“Civic Skinny,” Oct. 4] without checking your facts, but then to follow up with what you printed is too much.

I hope that in the future you will check your facts and not print rumors that lead to follow ups that are so mean spirited and work harder to be a credible publication.

Adrianne Branstad
Des Moines

There is a problem with the system

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk and several studies done regarding the fact that 25 percent of the people in Iowa’s prison system are African-American while only 2 percent of our population is black.

When we look for answers as to why this continues year after year we come up with the usual excuses: lack of good male role models, single-parent families, disparity in crack-cocaine sentences, gang activity, etc. However these demographics actually are present to a higher degree in many other states, so why does Iowa fail to make any progress in reducing the number of African-Americans who enter and re-enter the prison system?

I think that we continue to overlook the failure of the correctional system itself to address these issues, especially the issue of helping African-American men learn how to be good role models for their children and how to actually practice those models. How many programs does the Iowa Department of Corrections (IDOC) provide that promote opportunities for men to develop good parenting skills and actually practice these skills by interacting with their children? 

I understand that there is a class on parenting at Iowa State Penitentiary for men, but when do they get an opportunity to practice these skills? A member of Iowa CURE is willing to help men at ISP read books on tape to be shared with their children and this program certainly should be encouraged. In some states, men are able to attend camp with their children. All these things would be helpful in addressing Iowa’s problem of locking up a disproportionate number of African-Americans, but in my 25 years of working with the IDOC I have not seen much evidence that promoting and nurturing healthy family connections: a proven way of reducing recidivism, is a priority.  

Do we really care about the future of Iowa’s African-Americans or are we just going to put the findings of the latest study on the shelf to gather dust as we have all the others?

Jean Basinger
President, Iowa CURE (Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants) and Chairperson, Justice Reform Consortium
Des Moines

‘Beacon Bulbs’ are a scam

I find it to be a sad day when my town’s police department is profiting from the fears of the elderly and others. Choosing to sell two of the “Beacon Bulbs” for the $25 price tag reeks of indecency.

In today’s world of global positioning, our city responders, being familiar with the areas they protect should be able to know where they are responding. The bulbs are just a moneymaking scheme by our city’s “finest.” How much is the profit on the sale of the bulbs? Where does that profit go? If Midwest Energy can give away housefuls of the energy saving florescent bulbs, why can’t our trusted servants find those who actually need these bulbs and give them away?

I doubt if they were free, the West Des Moines Police Department would see there was such a need in this redundancy.

Alan L. Kinsey
West Des Moines

Send your opinions to Cityview, 414 61st Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50312. Fax us at 953-1394, or e-mail us at Please limit letters to 200 words or less. Cityview reserves the right to edit for length and clarity. The writer’s address and daytime phone number will not be printed, but must be given for verification.

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