Ames City government has more money than brains

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Who doesn’t like having the ground shake at 7 o’clock at night? You started out your day being woke up by the sound of heavy equipment. You go to work all day and look forward to some peace and quiet at night. Instead the dust flies, the building shakes and the grinding noise of heavy equipment goes on till 7, then 8, then 9 o’clock at night.

Ames City government, and by extension the school system, are so full of crap it oozes out of their ears. Ames (from the Indian word: “Land of Eternal Taxes”), is the only city that only gets 35 years out of a school building. Through the years I’ve noticed other towns get substantially more mileage out of their buildings than 35 years. Not Ames. They have so much taxpayer money they buy school buildings like other people buy shoes. Fellows, Meeker, Northwood, Wilson – Beardshear, schools that aren’t that old are having brand-new schools built literally right next to them because no interest exists in city government to preserve the taxpayer’s investment. We’re not replacing text books because they are outdated, we aren’t just replacing the desks because they are “old-school” , we’re replacing entire buildings because of lack of planning and lack of responsible upkeep.

Possibly even more amazing is that the voters of Ames keep putting these morons into office. The voters of Ames, largely associated with the university, are thereby default stupid. They see nothing wrong with capital investments that only last 35 years. Meeker Elementary, Fellows Elementary, Ames Middle School, hey, its old, it needs paint, build a new one! It gets expensive living with morons.

I’ve been in Ames 27 years, so I’ve seen dumb. I remember getting a new a/c and furnace for the house a few years ago. Well of course Ames City inspectors have to come look at the job. What do you suppose for? To check the sheet metal work? The flue? Wiring connections? Hell no, the only expertise the city inspector had was to accurately identify that it was a new unit (for rebate purposes). He had the sum total of zero expertise to judge the work of the contractor.

But that’s not the kicker. The City of Ames has so much money, they have a separate person, with separate city car, with separate healthcare, and separate paychecks, to have ONE inspector look at the new a/c, and a separate inspector look at the new furnace. I am not making that up. They have so much money to throw around, they couldn’t even cross train the a/c guy, to accurately identify a furnace. Like I say, neither possessed any technical knowledge.

But back to the schools. Perhaps their biggest boondoggle was the middle school, circa 1972. It lasted approximately till 2007. The maintenance was so bad they closed it for health reasons. I understand in Europe they have regular houses that last 200 years. Take the city library at 6th and Douglas. If they wanted a new library, smart people would build a branch. Put it in a different part of town and serve twice the people. Not Ames. The old one evidently  needed new carpet, so they tore down the old one which was perfectly fine (if not brand new), and built the new one in the exact same place! What the sam hell sense does that make?

But back to the nighttime construction photos at Meeker. The guy allegedly in charge of writing the contracts for the schools is one Jerry Peters. In typical fashion, he has no concern or awareness for the wishes of the taxpayers. The reason having the quiet of the night disturbed by construction is not important to him, is because its not HIS night that is being disturbed.

The reason it is not important to the school board that they write tight contracts that prohibit night construction, is because THEY are not being inconvenienced. Now all you have to have is a casual relationship to know the type of crap contractors pull. Sure half of them believe in doing top notch work, being the best in their field. Then there is the half that is out for a quick buck. They overbid projects and always run behind. They start the project to meet the start date in the contract, then they run off to start another job while the original sits idle. They hire illegal aliens. Then to compound it, they pay them as “subcontractors” so they are not actually on the companies payroll, that way they don’t pay overtime or benefits. Its easy to work till 8 at night when they haven’t been getting time and a half after 8, and double time after 10. And, being illegals, they are likely only paying them $10 bucks an hour anyway. Companies like Caliper and A-1 Geothermal are about the last ones to have union workers. Its easy to work till all hours of the night when you’re not paying overtime. How the city can disregard the fact that after 10 hours the quality and safety of work done is greatly diminished.

The fertilizer plant being built in eastern Iowa is a prime example. Branstad gave them an ungodly amount of tax breaks to build the plant. It worked out to something like a million dollars per permanent job created. After the company had gotten the tax breaks and started construction, the first thing they did was replace the union Iowa workers with a stake in their state, with transient illegals from Texas hired as scab labor to work on the cheap. Those workers have zero loyalty to America, let alone Iowa and whatever project they are currently working on here. They know they are being used, and they are using us. They aren’t journeyman craftsman looking to progress and be the best in their field and sink roots in Iowa. They are looking for the best paycheck for the moment so as to send money home to their family in Mexico.

The bottom line is that the City Council and the school board are purposely ignoring how the lackadaisical contracts they are writing are harming the taxpayer. In the short term is the needlessly diminished quality of life at the construction zones in the heart of residential areas. The long term is the low quality of work on the buildings that result in shortened building life.

Jim Roach

About Iowa Life

Experiencing life in Iowa.
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