Home

Iowa Press Transcripts

Iowa Press Links

Iowa Press #2748 - Michael Gartner
July 30, 2000

Borg: LANDMARK LEGISLATION HAS CREATED "VISION IOWA," AND THE SCREENING OF PROPOSALS BY IOWA COMMUNITIES HOPING TO GET A PIECE OF THE ACTION BEGINS SOON. THE CHAIRMAN OF "VISION IOWA," MICHAEL GARTNER, PROVIDES INSIGHT ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, JULY 30TH EDITION OF IOWA PRESS HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: MANY STATEHOUSE OBSERVERS CONSIDER "VISION IOWA" TO BE THE CROWNING ACHIEVEMENT OF THE 78TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. BEFORE TOO LONG, WE'LL KNOW HOW THE $300-MILLION FUND CREATED BY THE IOWA LEGISLATURE WILL BE SPENT ON QUALITY-OF-LIFE PROJECTS IN IOWA. ACTUALLY, THOUGH, SOME OF THE MONEY IS ALREADY TAGGED. $50 MILLION ADMINISTERED BY THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS HEADED TO IOWA SCHOOL DISTRICTS FOR REPAIRING AGING SCHOOLS. THE BALANCE, SOMETIMES CALLED THE "MAJOR ATTRACTIONS FUND", WILL BE AWARDED COMPETITIVELY. COMMUNITIES ARE NOW LINING UP WITH PROPOSALS REQUESTING SEED MONEY TO BEGIN LOCAL PROJECTS. GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK, YOU MAY RECALL, MADE "VISION IOWA" PROJECTS A CAMPAIGN STAPLE IN 1998, AND HE'S APPOINTED, NOW, 13 IOWANS TO SCREEN PROPOSALS AND OVERSEE DISBURSEMENT OF THE MONEY. MICHAEL GARTNER CHAIRS THAT COMMITTEE. HE'S THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF NBC NEWS, THE FORMER PRESIDENT AND EDITOR OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER," CO-OWNER OF "THE AMES TRIBUNE," AND NOW HE OWNS THE IOWA CUBS BASEBALL FRANCHISE. MR. GARTNER, OR MIKE, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS.

Gartner: THANKS. IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE, DEAN.

Borg: THANK YOU. ACROSS THE TABLE, STATEHOUSE REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND JENEANE BECK OF KUNI PUBLIC RADIO.

Beck: MR. GARTNER, LET'S START WITH HOW THIS FUND WILL WORK. CAN YOU EXPLAIN IT TO US?

Gartner: SURE. IT'S A LITTLE BIT COMPLICATED, AS ALL THINGS LEGISLATIVE ARE, BUT IT'S A GREAT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. IT REPRESENTS A WONDERFUL COMPROMISE TO GET IT ALL WORKED OUT: GREAT LEADERSHIP BY THE GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND BY THE LEADERS IN THE LEGISLATURE. THERE ARE, AS DEAN MENTIONED, THERE'S THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE FUND, WHICH IS A SEPARATE FUND. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE "VISION IOWA" BOARD, BUT IT'S A SEPARATE $50 MILLION SET ASIDE FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. IT'S FULLY FUNDED. AGAIN, THIS COMES FROM $5 MILLION A YEAR SET ASIDE FROM THE GAMBLING TAKE THAT THE STATE GETS. THAT'S ADMINISTERED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. SO THAT'S ONE ASPECT OF IT. IT'S ALL IN THE SAME BILL, SENATE FILE 2447. THEN THERE IS THE "VISION IOWA" FUND, WHICH IS APPROPRIATED -- ALLOTTED -- AUTHORIZED AT AROUND $300 MILLION. THERE'S $15 MILLION A YEAR SET ASIDE FROM GAMBLING REVENUES, AND THAT WILL BE USED TO FINANCE BONDS THAT CAN PROVIDE THE MONEY TO VARIOUS FUNDS. TO GET A "VISION IOWA" GRANT OR LOAN, YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PROJECT THAT IS WORTH AT LEAST -- VALUED AT LEAST $20 MILLION. THE MAXIMUM THAT CAN BE GIVEN FROM "VISION IOWA" IS $75 MILLION. THE MAXIMUM MATCH THAT THE STATE CAN MAKE CAN BE 50 PERCENT, BUT IT NEEDN'T BE THAT HIGH IN EITHER WAY. IT WILL BE -- WE WILL TRY TO GET AS MUCH LEVERAGE FOR EVERY DOLLAR AS WE CAN. WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH WILL BE SOUGHT BY THE COMMUNITIES. YOU KNOW, YOU READ THAT DES MOINES WILL SEEK SOME FOR AN ARENA AND CEDAR RAPIDS FOR THE IOWA CHILD PROJECT, DUBUQUE FOR A RIVERFRONT PROJECT, SIOUX CITY FOR AN AUDITORIUM, DAVENPORT FOR A RIVERFRONT PROJECT. WE WILL SET UP A MATRIX, PROBABLY WITH A 100-POINT SYSTEM ON IT, AND TRY TO MATCH THE PROJECT, GIVE POINTS FOR VARIOUS THINGS. YOU'LL GET POINTS FOR, KIND OF, THE BREADTH OF THE PROJECT. YOU WILL GET POINTS FOR HOW DOES IT FIT IN GEOGRAPHICALLY WITH IOWA. YOU WILL GET POINTS FOR HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL IT EMPLOY; HOW MANY TOURISTS WILL IT ATTRACT. SO THERE WILL BE THIS MATRIX, AND THEN WE WILL SIT DOWN AND WEIGH ONE PROJECT AGAINST ANOTHER, AND TRY TO SPEND THE MONEY AS WISELY AS WE CAN. BUT THE GREAT THING ABOUT THE PROJECT IS NOT JUST THE MONEY THAT THE STATE HAS ALLOCATED BUT THAT THIS -- IF IT'S DONE RIGHT, THIS WILL STIR CREATIVITY AND VISION THROUGHOUT THE STATE, IN EVERY COMMUNITY IN THE STATE. THEY WILL COME UP WITH GREAT PROJECTS, AND THEY'LL HAVE LEADERS TO LEAD IN THAT GREAT PROJECT. SO EVEN IF THEY DON'T GET ANY MONEY OR ALL THE MONEY THEY WANT, IT WILL SPUR GREAT IDEAS AND VISION THROUGHOUT IOWA, AND THAT'S WHAT, PROBABLY, OUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL REMEMBER 50 YEARS FROM NOW. THIS REALLY IS A PIECE OF WATERSHED LEGISLATION.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, WHEN WILL THE MONEY START TO FLOW?

Gartner: WELL, DAVID, IT'S NOT -- NOT SOON. WE'RE JUST FORMULATING THE RULES RIGHT NOW, AND UNDER THE LAW, THERE'S 90 DAYS IN WHICH WE ANNOUNCE THE RULES, WE HOLD HEARINGS ON THE RULES, AND THEN WE WILL FINALLY GET THE RULES IMPLEMENTED. AND I WOULD GUESS THAT WOULD BE THE END OF NOVEMBER. THEN THERE WILL BE APPLICATIONS. THE APPLICATION PROCESS IS QUITE THOROUGH, QUITE DETAILED. AN APPLICANT HAS TO EXPLAIN THE PROJECT IN DETAIL, HAS TO EXPLAIN WHERE THE REST OF THE FINANCING IS COMING FROM, HAS TO HAVE A STATEMENT OF OPERATING INCOME FOR THE FIRST FEW YEARS, HOW IT WILL BE OPERATED, HOW ANY LOSSES WILL BE FUNDED. THEN WE WEIGH PROJECTS AGAINST EACH OTHER. MY GUESS -- AND WE'VE ONLY HAD ONE MEETING, AS YOU KNOW. MY GUESS IS THAT THE FIRST GRANTS, LOANS, WHATEVER IT IS THAT WE DECIDE, WILL PROBABLY BE IN THE FIRST QUARTER OF NEXT YEAR.

Yepsen: IS THERE ANY WAY TO SPEED THAT UP? PART OF THE GOAL OF THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR IN PUSHING FOR THIS PIECE OF LEGISLATION WAS TO GET SOMETHING GOING IN IOWA. WHAT YOU'RE TELLING US IS WE HAVE TO WAIT EVEN MORE.

Gartner: THAT'S NOT VERY LONG IN THE GREAT SCHEME OF THINGS, DAVID. THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE THE FACE OF THE STATE FOR THE NEXT CENTURY. AND WHILE WE WANT TO BE BOLD, WE WANT TO BE CREATIVE, WE WANT TO HAVE GREAT VISION, WE ALSO WANT TO BE PRUDENT. WE DON'T WANT TO JUST HAND OUT MONEY TO THE FIRST PERSON IN LINE. WE WANT TO BE ABLE TO WEIGH THE PROJECTS. PEOPLE HAVE TO RAISE A LOT OF MONEY. THE MINIMUM SIZE OF THIS PROJECT IS $20 MILLION, WHICH MEANS THAT THE MINIMUM ANYBODY HAS TO RAISE IS $10 MILLION IN HIS OR HER COMMUNITY. THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY AND SOME OF THESE PROJECTS ARE $100-, 200 MILLION THAT PEOPLE HAVE TO RAISE MONEY FOR. THAT'S HARD WORK. THAT'S VERY, VERY HARD WORK.

Borg: AND ANY TIME THAT YOU HAVE MONEY THAT'S BEING AWARDED COMPETITIVELY, OR ANYTHING COMPETITIVELY, YOU HAVE TO BE SQUEAKY CLEAN. I'M THINKING HERE ABOUT THE U.S. OLYMPIC GAMES AND THE SALT LAKE CITY SCANDAL.

Gartner: DEAN!

[ LAUGHTER ]

Borg: MIKE, HOW, AS CHAIR, DO YOU SET THE TONE TO AVOID SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

Gartner: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, WE ALL UNDERSTAND THAT WE'RE IN THERE AS IOWANS. WE'RE NOT IN THERE REPRESENTING ANY COMMUNITY OR ANY PROJECT. WE GO IN WITH NO BIASES. IF WE HAVE BIASES, WE LEAVE THEM AT THE DOOR. AND WE PROBABLY ALL HAVE BIASES, BUT WE LEAVE THEM AT THE DOOR. WE'RE IN THERE -- I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN IOWA, DEAN, AS YOU KNOW. I LOVE IOWA. I KEEP COMING BACK. SOMEONE ONCE INTRODUCED ME AND SAYS THIS IS MICHAEL GARTNER; HE KEEPS COMING BACK. AND I DO AND I LOVE IT. AND THIS IS A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO USE THIS MONEY WISELY, AS WELL AS BOLDLY. AND I JUST DON'T THINK ANYBODY IS IN THERE FOR GAIN FOR HIS OR HER COMMUNITY OR FOR ANY KIND OF PERSONAL GAIN OR FAME. WE WANT TO CHANGE THE FACE OF THIS STATE. WE'VE BEEN GIVEN THIS MARVELOUS PIECE OF LEGISLATION FROM THE GOVERNOR AND THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATIVE LEADERSHIP. THERE'S NEVER BEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT IN IOWA. THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE FUND FOR $50 MILLION; THE "VISION IOWA" FUND FOR UP TO $300 MILLION; PLUS ALL THE TOURISM MONEY; WHICH NOW RUNS THROUGH THE "VISION IOWA" PROGRAM. THERE'S NOTHING LIKE IT. THERE'S NEVER BEEN A PIECE OF LEGISLATION LIKE THIS. SO I DON'T THINK ANYBODY IS GOING TO GO IN THERE AND -- THESE ARE REALLY -- IT'S A GREAT SELECTION OF PEOPLE ON THE BOARD. AND THE LEGISLATURE, YOU KNOW, THERE CAN ONLY BE -- THERE CAN BE NO MORE THAN ONE PERSON FROM ANY COUNTY AND THERE HAS TO BE ONE PERSON FROM EACH OF THE THREE TOURISM DISTRICTS, AND A SMALL-TOWN MAYOR AND A LARGE-TOWN MAYOR, AND A SMALL-COUNTY SUPERVISOR AND A LARGE-COUNTY SUPERVISOR. IT'S A GREAT CROSS-SECTION OF PEOPLE.

Beck: IS THE GOAL TOURISM OR QUALITY OF LIFE? ARE THOSE ONE IN THE SAME, OR ARE THOSE TWO VERY SEPARATE ISSUES?

Gartner: I THINK THOSE ARE TWO SEPARATE ISSUES. THE GOAL -- TO ME, THE GOAL IS TO CAPITALIZE AND BUILD ON ALL THE GREAT THINGS THAT THIS STATE HAS. THAT MEANS QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THOSE PEOPLE ARE HERE. THE WAY I LIKE TO PUT IT IS WE WANT TO SPEND THIS MONEY SO WELL THAT PEOPLE WILL COME HERE BECAUSE THEY LOVE IT AND NOBODY WILL LEAVE IT, THAT IT MAKES LIFE BETTER FOR THOSE WHO ARE HERE, IT WILL MAKE LIFE MORE ATTRACTIVE FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO COME HERE. YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR AND THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR HAVE BEEN GOING AROUND TELLING IOWANS TO COME BACK, AND IOWANS ARE COMING BACK. IOWANS ARE COMING BACK. THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR TOLD ME THE OTHER DAY THAT MORE THAN A HUNDRED IOWANS HAVE COME BACK JUST BECAUSE OF THESE MEETINGS THEY'VE BEEN HOLDING. WELL, WE WANT THEM TO COME BACK TO A PLACE THAT HAS EXCITING THINGS, BESIDES THE WONDERFUL PARKS, THE TRAILS, THE LAKES, THE RIVERS. IT ALSO HAS EXCITING ATTRACTIONS AND STRONG SCHOOLS THROUGH THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDS.

Beck: WOULDN'T IT BE DIFFICULT, BECAUSE WHAT YOU MIGHT CONSIDER QUALITY OF LIFE MIGHT DIFFER FROM WHAT I CONSIDER QUALITY OF LIFE? SOMEONE MIGHT THINK THAT'S BIKE TRAILS, BUT A YOUNGER PERSON MIGHT THINK IT'S SKATEBOARD PARKS. SO HOW DO YOU WORK OUT BIASES WITHIN THE GROUP? EVEN THOUGH YOU WANT TO CHECK THEM AT THE DOOR, ISN'T THAT DIFFICULT TO DO?

Gartner: YOU TRY TO WEIGH EVERYTHING. YOU TRY TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND AND A FAIR MIND. THE BOARD ITSELF REPRESENTS PEOPLE OF ALL AGES, PEOPLE FROM ALL ACROSS THE STATE, PEOPLE WITH ALL KINDS OF INTERESTS, PEOPLE WITH CHILDREN, PEOPLE WITH GRANDCHILDREN. SO I THINK THAT THE MIX OF THE BOARD WILL KIND OF TAKE CARE OF THAT. IT'S A GREAT -- CERTAINLY WE DON'T ALL LIKE THE SAME THINGS, BUT I THINK THAT WE ALL UNDERSTAND WHAT IOWA IS... THAT IT'S GOT OPEN SPACES AND OPEN POLITICS AND CLEAN AIR AND, KIND OF, CLEAN ETHICS.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY? AT THAT FIRST MEETING, THE STATE TREASURER TOLD YOU THAT IF YOU TAKE THE $15 MILLION A YEAR THAT YOU GET FROM GAMBLING PROCEEDS, THAT HE CAN LEVERAGE ABOUT $180- TO $200 MILLION IN ACTUAL CASH FOR YOU TO DISTRIBUTE. NOW, GIVEN ALL THE PROJECTS AND IDEAS FLOATING AROUND, IS THAT ENOUGH? DO YOU NEED MORE?

Gartner: YES.

Yepsen: AND WILL YOU GO TO THE LEGISLATURE?

[ LAUGHTER ]

Gartner: YOU TEASE ME ABOUT YES/NO ANSWERS. THE ANSWER IS YES. I DON'T KNOW IF WE NEED MORE, DAVID. WE DON'T KNOW -- NO APPLICATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE YET. I'M ASSUMING THAT PEOPLE WILL APPLY FOR A WHOLE LOT MORE MONEY. I HOPE PEOPLE APPLY FOR A WHOLE LOT MORE MONEY THAN WE HAVE BECAUSE, AS I SAID, YOU WANT TO STIR GREAT THINKING AND YOU ALSO WANT TO STIR, KIND OF, SOME OTHER BUCKETS TO OPEN UP. PRIVATE BUCKETS AND MUNICIPAL BUCKETS OF MONEY TO OPEN UP, BUT YOU WANT TO LEVERAGE EACH OF THESE STATE DOLLARS AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. YOU'RE RIGHT. MIKE FITZGERALD SAID THAT THE CURRENT ALLOCATION WILL SUPPORT ABOUT $180 MILLION IN BONDS. NOW, THAT'S APART FROM THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE FUND, WHICH IS A SEPARATE $50 MILLION, SEPARATELY FINANCED. AND IT'S APART FROM THE TOURISM GRANTS, WHICH ARE $12.5 MILLION A YEAR, WHICH ARE SEPARATELY FINANCED AND ALLOCATED. THE LEGISLATION, SENATE FILE 2447, AUTHORIZES UP TO $300 MILLION. THERE'S NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO BACK THAT AT THE MOMENT. BUT I WOULD THINK THAT IF WE DO OUR JOB WELL -- AND THAT'S WHY WE SHOULDN'T RUSH INTO IT, IF WE DO OUR JOB WELL, IF WE LEVERAGE THE MONEY AS MUCH AS WE CAN, IF WE IS HAVE A STATEWIDE VIEW, IF WE'RE, AS I SAID, PRUDENT AS WELL AS BOLD, THAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL SAY THIS IS A GREAT THING, WHICH THEY'VE ALREADY SAID: "THIS IS A GREAT THING; LET'S PUT A LITTLE MORE OF THAT GAMBLING MONEY IN THERE SO WE CAN GET TO THE $300 MILLION." SOME OF THIS CAN BE LOANS, NOT GRANTS. AND THE LOANS COME BACK. ANYTHING THAT COMES BACK COMES BACK INTO THE "VISION IOWA" FUND. THE "VISION IOWA" BOARD IS A PERMANENT BOARD, BECAUSE IT WILL CONTROL THE TOURISM GRANTS UNTIL THE LEGISLATURE CHANGES ITS MIND.

Beck: YOU SAID YOU DIDN'T HAVE APPLICATIONS YET, BUT THERE ARE A COUPLE OF PROJECTS WE'VE HEARD SO MUCH ABOUT AND HAVE HEARD ABOUT THEIR COST. BOTH THE SPORTS ARENA IN THE DES MOINES AREA, AND THE RAIN FOREST COMPLEX IN THE CEDAR RAPIDS AREA, MAY BE ASKING FOR $75 MILLION APIECE. IF THEY DO, THERE'S NOT THAT MUCH LEFT OVER FOR OTHER PROJECTS. DOES THAT FORCE YOUR HAND IN HOPING THAT MORE MONEY COMES SOON, OR DOES THAT LEAVE OUT A LOT OF OTHER CITIES THAT WERE HOPING FOR MONEY?

Gartner: WELL, YOU'VE MADE AN ASSUMPTION THAT EACH IS GOING TO GET $75 MILLION, AND I DON'T THINK ANYBODY CAN MAKE ANY ASSUMPTIONS. I THINK YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT THE APPLICATIONS AND SAY: "WHERE DOES THIS STAND COMPARED TO THAT AND, SURE, HOW IS THE BEST WAY TO SPEND THE MONEY." YOU CAN'T SAY THE BEST WAY TO SPEND THE MONEY, "OH, I KNOW WE'RE GOING TO GET $75 MILLION TO THE ARENA, OR I KNOW WE'RE GOING TO GIVE $75 MILLION TO BOB RAY FOR THE RAIN FOREST IN CEDAR RAPIDS." THAT'S WHY YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT EVERYTHING VERY CAREFULLY AND THAT'S WHY THE APPLICATIONS HAVE TO BE SO DETAILED AND THAT'S WHY PEOPLE HAVE TO BE GOING OUT AND SHAKING OTHER MONEY TREES BEFORE THEY CAN COME HERE.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, WHEN THIS LEGISLATION WAS PASSED UP AT THE LEGISLATURE, THERE WAS AN UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS WAS FOR AN ARENA IN DES MOINES AND FOR A RAIN FOREST IN CEDAR RAPIDS. ARE YOU TELLING US TODAY THAT THOSE PROJECTS MAY NOT BE FUNDED BY THE "VISION IOWA" BOARD?

Gartner: I'M TELLING YOU THAT NO NOBODY HAS TOLD ME -- INSTRUCTED ME AND THERE'S NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATION, THAT $75 MILLION IS FOR THE ARENA AND ANOTHER $75 MILLION IS FOR THE RAIN FOREST. MY REQUEST FROM THE GOVERNOR WAS TO BE -- WAS TO BE FAIR, BE AN IOWAN, BE FAIR, BE BOLD. THE LEGISLATION SAYS THAT ANY PROJECT OVER $20 MILLION CAN APPLY. I'M ASSUMING THAT THE RAIN FOREST WILL APPLY. I'M ASSUMING THE ARENA WILL APPLY. I'M ASSUMING THE SIOUX CITY AUDITORIUM WILL APPLY, THE DAVENPORT RIVERFRONT PROJECT WILL APPLY. I'M NOT ASSUMING ANYTHING IS A LOCK. I HAVEN'T SEEN ANY APPLICATIONS. WE HAVEN'T FINISHED THE RULES, DAVID.

Beck: SPEAKING OF THE RULES IN THIS MATRIX, WILL THAT BE HANDED OUT PREVIOUSLY SO THAT THEY CAN TAILOR THEIR APPLICATIONS TO IT?

Gartner: SURE, YOU BET.

Beck: BECAUSE YOU'RE SAYING THAT ö

Gartner: WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE SECRET RULES... "HA-HA, YOU DIDN'T MAKE IT. NO, NO, NO." YEAH, SURE. THAT WILL ALL BE -- THAT WILL ALL BE IN THIS RULE MAKING PROCESS, WHICH WE'RE UNDERGOING RIGHT NOW. IF EVERYTHING GOES WELL, AT THE NEXT MEETING OF THE VISION BOARD, WHICH I THINK IS AUGUST 9, THE SECOND WEDNESDAY OF AUGUST, WE WILL AGREE ON THE RULES. WE'RE ALL E-MAILING BACK AND FORTH RIGHT NOW WITH OUR SUGGESTIONS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TO MELANIE JOHNSON AND TO CJ NILES. WE'RE ALL TRYING TO GET IT WORKED OUT. WE'RE ALL PUTTING IN OUR IDEAS. AND I HOPE WITH LUCK AND GOODWILL, WE'LL BE ABLE TO AGREE AS A BOARD ON THOSE AT THE NEXT MEETING. THEN IT GOES TO THE D.E.D. AND THEN IT GOES 90 DAYS INTO THIS HEARING PROCESS. NOW, THERE IS AN ACCELERATED PROCESS FOR RULE MAKING, AS YOU KNOW, BUT I WOULD JUST AS SOON NOT USE THIS. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. I DON'T WANT TO TAKE ANY SHORTCUTS.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, WHAT'S IN THIS FOR SMALL COMMUNITIES? YOU'VE JUST MENTIONED DES MOINES, DAVENPORT, CEDAR RAPIDS, AND SIOUX CITY AS COMMUNITIES THAT YOU EXPECT TO HEAR FROM. WHAT'S IN IT FOR A SMALL TOWN?

Gartner: I DON'T KNOW -- I DON'T KNOW WHAT 20 MILLION PROJECTS ARE ON THE BOARDS IN SHENANDOAH AND IN ALGONA AND PLACES LIKE THAT. DON'T FORGET THERE'S ALSO THE TOURISM MONEY, $12.5 MILLION A YEAR THAT WE HAND OUT TOO. THAT TAKES CARE OF A LOT OF AREAS IN COUNTIES AND TOWNS THAT MAYBE DON'T HAVE THESE BIG PROJECTS.

Beck: BUT YOU DON'T OVERSEE THAT MONEY, DO YOU?

Gartner: OH, YES.

Beck: YOU DO AS WELL?

Gartner: WE OVERSEE THE TOURISM MONEY. WE DON'T OVERSEE THE SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE MONEY. AGAIN -- AND I CAN'T EMPHASIZE HOW IMPORTANT THAT SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE MONEY IS AS PART OF THIS WHOLE VISION IOWA PACKAGE, EVEN THOUGH THAT'S PART OF THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

Borg: LET ME FOLLOW UP ON JUST ONE THING YOU SAID JUST A MOMENT AGO. YOU SAID THEY HAVE TO BE SHAKING OTHER MONEY TREES BEFORE THEY COME IN. THAT IMPLIES TO ME THAT THEY HAVE TO HAVE THE MONEY IN HAND BEFORE THEY COME TO YOU; IT CAN'T BE A PROPOSAL FOR SAYING THIS IS HOW WE WILL RAISE OUR SHARE.

Gartner: WELL, I DON'T THINK THE "VISION IOWA" BOARD WOULD BE -- AND I DON'T SPEAK FOR ALL 13 MEMBERS OF THE BOARD, OBVIOUSLY, BUT I THINK THEY WOULD BE QUITE LEERY OF SAYING TO SOMEBODY, "HERE'S $50 MILLION FOR YOUR $150 MILLION PROJECT. NOW, YOU GO OUT AND RAISE THE OTHER HUNDRED MILLION." THEY WANT TO SEE -- AND THE LEGISLATION REQUIRES THAT THE APPLICANTS EXPLAIN WHERE THE REST OF THE MONEY IS COMING FROM AS WELL AS TO PUT IN AN OPERATING STATEMENT FOR THE NEXT FEW YEARS. SO YOU CAN'T JUST COME IN AND SAY: "WE NEED THIS. THIS IS OUR FIRST DOLLAR AS OUR SEED MONEY. WE'RE GOING TO BREAK GROUND AND HOPE WE CAN RAISE THE REST." I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE WAY -- I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE WAY IT WORKS. I THINK IT IS THERE AS A SPUR, AS AN INCENTIVE, AS WELL AS A CONTRIBUTION.

Beck: CAN YOU TELL YET HOW THE BOARD IS GOING TO WORK, WHETHER THEY ARE JUST GOING TO THUMBS-UP OR THUMBS-DOWN A PROPOSAL, OR WILL YOU GET INVOLVED AND MAKE SUGGESTIONS TO A COMMUNITY AS YOU HAND BACK THE PROPOSAL THAT YOU DIDN'T PASS THIS TIME AROUND BUT HERE'S SOME THINGS WE THINK YOU COULD DO THAT WOULD IMPROVE UPON IT, ALMOST LEAVING YOUR OWN FINGERPRINTS ON SOME OF THESE PROJECTS? DO YOU EXPECT THAT KIND OF INVOLVEMENT?

Gartner: YES, I EXPECT IT WILL BE THAT WAY MORE THAN A YES OR NO BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO TELL SOMEBODY, ESPECIALLY A NO -- YOU WANT TO SAY, "WE JUST DON'T HAVE THIS MUCH MONEY AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW, BUT MAYBE IF YOU DID SUCH AND SUCH" OR YOU KNOW, "THERE'S ANOTHER PROJECT THAT HAS COME IN FROM A NEIGHBORING COUNTY." SCHOOL DISTRICTS CANNOT APPLY FOR "VISION IOWA" FUNDS UNLESS THEY DO IT JOINTLY WITH A CITY OR WITH A COUNTY OR WITH A NONPROFIT. SO MAYBE THERE'S A GREAT PROJECT THAT WOULD BE A LOT MORE -- SCORE A LOT HIGHER AND WE'D BE A LOT MORE RECEPTIVE TO IF IT WAS A COMBINED ENTRY FROM THE SCHOOL DISTRICT, FROM THE CITY, AND FROM THE COUNTY, BECAUSE THEN IT WOULD HAVE AN EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT. EDUCATION IS TREMENDOUSLY IMPORTANT IN THIS AS WELL AS TOURISM AND THE ENVIRONMENT AND EVERYTHING. AND EDUCATION IS A BIG PUSH THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS ON RIGHT NOW, AS WELL AS FOR THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION, AS YOU KNOW.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, DO YOU EVER ENVISION THE DAY WHEN YOU WILL BE DREAMING UP PROJECTS OF YOUR OWN? YOU'RE A SMART MAN. YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF SMART PEOPLE ON THAT BOARD. AFTER YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO GET GOING AND TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT IOWA'S NEEDS ARE, DO YOU SEE THE DAY COMING WHEN PERHAPS YOU GO TO A COMMUNITY AND SAY, "WHY DON'T YOU DO THIS HERE"? THERE'S SOME AREAS OF THE STATE LIKE SOUTHERN IOWA, THEY DON'T HAVE A LOT MONEY. DO YOU ENVISION A DAY WHEN THE BOARD ITSELF IS PROACTIVELY GOING OUT AND TRYING TO BUILD PROJECTS?

Gartner: DAVID, I DON'T THINK -- I HAVE GREAT FAITH IN IOWANS AND LOVE OF IOWANS AND I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT THERE IS GOING TO BE ANY COMMUNITY THAT DOESN'T SAY, "GEE, HERE'S AN IDEA WE OUGHT TO HAVE. HERE'S SOMETHING WE OUGHT TO DO. I WONDER IF THERE'S MONEY IN THE TOURISM FUND. I WONDER IF THIS IS BIG ENOUGH FOR THE "VISION IOWA" FUND." I THINK IT WOULD BE -- I THINK IT WOULD BE DEFEATING OUR PURPOSE IF WE WENT OUT AND SAID, "WHY DON'T YOU APPLY FOR THIS?" THIS IS SUPPOSED TO SPUR LEADERSHIP, TO SPUR CREATIVITY, TO CAUSE GREAT -- A GREAT GROUNDSWELL OF NEAT THINKING THROUGHOUT THE STATE. IT WOULD JUST BE DEFEATING THE PURPOSE IF IT WAS ö

Borg: WHAT ABOUT THE PUBLIC/PRIVATE INVOLVEMENT IN THESE PROJECTS? CAN THEY ALSO BE PRIVATELY RUN OR IS THIS COMBINATION OF GOVERNMENT ENTITY: CITY, COUNTY, MAYBE DNR?

Gartner: THERE'S NO -- THERE'S NOTHING IN THE LEGISLATION, DEAN, THAT I'VE SEEN, ABOUT WHO ULTIMATELY HAS TO RUN IT. IT DOES -- THEY DO HAVE TO PROVE THAT IT'S ECONOMICALLY VIABLE, THAT IT WILL BE A MAJOR ATTRACTION, THAT IT WILL HELP NOT ONLY THE COMMUNITY BUT THE STATE AS A WHOLE, THAT IT WILL BRING IN PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE AND ENHANCE THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY HERE. BUT I HAVEN'T SEEN ANYTHING ABOUT WHO -- WHAT ENTITY HAS TO RUN IT.

Borg: IT'S PROBABLY A RULE THAT YOU'LL BE CONSIDERING, THEN.

Gartner: WELL, WE'LL CONSIDER ALL OF THOSE THINGS, BUT WE WANT TO BE AS FLEXIBLE AS POSSIBLE. WE DON'T WANT TO COME IN WITH: "YOU'VE GOT TO DO IT THIS WAY." EVEN WITHIN THE RULES, WE WANT TO BE FLEXIBLE. THIS IS SUCH A BOLD PROGRAM. THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR WERE SO, ALMOST, DARING IN PASSING THIS. IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT WE'LL LOOK BACK ON, REALLY, 50 YEARS FROM NOW, THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE STILL ALIVE 50 YEARS FROM NOW AND SAY, "THIS WAS A WATERSHED MOMENT. THIS WAS A GREAT MOMENT."

Beck: WHEN THE GOVERNOR CONTACTED YOU ABOUT CHAIRING THE "VISION IOWA" BOARD, DID YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS THAT YOU WOULD HAVE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST CONSIDERING YOUR OWNERSHIP OF THE IOWA CUBS, WHICH IS A DES MOINES GROUP, SO YOU HAVE AN INTEREST IN BRINGING PEOPLE TO DES MOINES? DID YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT THAT?

Gartner: WELL, MY FIRST CONCERN WAS, WELL, I GUESS THAT MEANS THAT THE BALLPARK CAN'T APPLY FOR ANY MONEY, AND WE'RE ALWAYS LOOKING FOR MONEY. NO, I DIDN'T HAVE ANY. I DIDN'T HAVE ANY CONCERNS.

Beck: HAS ANYONE APPROACHED YOU ABOUT A CONCERN ABOUT CONFLICT OF INTEREST?

Gartner: OH, YEAH, DAVID DID. [ LAUGHTER ] I MEAN MY ANSWER IS "WHAT'S MY CONFLICT?"

Beck: WELL, YOU WORK WITH CITY OFFICIALS AND THEY MAY BE COMING TO YOU PROMOTING THE SPORTS ARENA. NO CONCERN THERE?

Gartner: NO, NO. I'M THERE AS AN IOWAN. I'M THERE AS AN IOWAN AND SO IS DIANE POTTS, THE VICE CHAIRWOMAN WHO IS A SUPERVISOR IN HANCOCK COUNTY AND LIVES IN GARNER AND SO IS MARVIN BARRINSON FROM SIOUX CITY. SO IS EVERYBODY ON THE BOARD. WE'RE THERE AS IOWANS. AND WE ALL KNOW PEOPLE WHO PROBABLY ARE PROPOSING PROJECTS OR HAVE COUSINS WHO ARE PROPOSING PROJECTS, AND THAT'S NOT A CONFLICT.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, I'M TOLD THAT WHEN YOU WERE EDITOR OF THE AMES DAILY TRIBUNE, YOU OPPOSED THE RAIN FOREST PROJECT HERE IN DES MOINES; IS THAT CORRECT? DO YOU HAVE A BIAS AGAINST THAT PROJECT GOING IN?

Gartner: WELL, DAVID, THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, RIGHT, IN "THE AMES TRIBUNE"?

Yepsen: YES.

Gartner: AS YOU KNOW, DAVID, EDITORIALS SPEAK FOR THE INSTITUTION, NOT FOR ANY ONE INDIVIDUAL. YEAH, SURE, I WROTE AN EDITORIAL THAT WAS PRETTY STRONGLY OPPOSED TO IT IN DES MOINES AT THE TIME. I RAISED THE ISSUE. I THINK THAT TED TOWNSEND WAS TALKING ABOUT A $240-MILLION PROJECT. AND I THINK HE WAS PROPOSING $60 MILLION FROM THE CITY, $60 MILLION FROM THE STATE, $60 MILLION FROM THE FEDS, AND $60 MILLION PRIVATELY. AND I SAID AT THE TIME THAT I THOUGHT THAT WAS UNREALISTIC. I THOUGHT IT WAS BAD FOR DES MOINES AT THE TIME. BUT AGAIN, I GO IN WITHOUT A BIAS. GOVERNOR RAY CALLED ME A FEW DAYS AGO AND SAID HE'D BEEN ASKED TO LEAD THE FUND-RAISING EFFORT FOR THE RAIN FOREST, WHICH IS NOW IN CEDAR RAPIDS, YOU KNOW. HE SAID THE SAME THING YOU DID. SINCE YOU'VE SAID SOME THINGS ABOUT IT THAT WEREN'T EXACTLY COMPLIMENTARY IN THE PAST, "AM I WASTING MY TIME?" AND I SAID, "OF COURSE NOT. IT WILL BE LOOKED AT JUST LIKE EVERYTHING -- JUST LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE IS." BUT, YEAH, IT'S NO SECRET THAT I WROTE AN EDITORIAL. IT WASN'T MY IDEA OF A GREAT PROJECT FOR DES MOINES AT THAT TIME. THAT DOESN'T AFFECT MY VIEW OF IT.

Beck: AT THE FIRST "VISION IOWA" BOARD MEETING, YOU THREW OUT A SUGGESTION THAT POSSIBLY SOME OF THESE PROJECTS OUGHT TO BE TOBACCO FREE, MAKING THAT A REQUIREMENT IN THIS MATRIX THAT YOU'VE SUGGESTED. IS THAT A GOOD IDEA? ARE THERE OTHER REQUIREMENTS YOU'D LIKE TO PUT IN THERE?

Gartner: WELL, IF IT WAS MY IDEA, BY DEFINITION IT'S A GOOD IDEA.

[ LAUGHTER ]

Beck: WELL, YOU'VE MADE THE BALLPARK TOBACCO FREE. DO YOU THINK THE SPORTS ARENA SHOULD ALSO BE ö

Gartner: I THINK THAT "VISION IOWA" SHOULD PROMOTE THE VALUES OF IOWA. IT'S CLEAR THAT ONE OF THE VALUES IS TO GET PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY YOUNG PEOPLE, NOT TO START SMOKING AND TO GET PEOPLE WHO SMOKE TO STOP SMOKING. THE STATE IS READY TO SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO PERSUADE YOUNG PEOPLE NOT TO BEGIN SMOKING. IF THAT IS A VALUE OF IOWA, IS THERE SOME WAY THAT WE COULD REINFORCE THAT VALUE THROUGH "VISION IOWA"? SHOULD WE GIVE -- JUST LIKE WE GIVE POINTS FOR EDUCATIONAL COMPONENT AND POINTS FOR GEOGRAPHIC COMPONENT, SHOULD THERE BE POINTS FOR FURTHER REINFORCING IOWA'S VALUES, ONE OF WHICH -- ONE OF WHICH APPEARS TO BE NOT TO SMOKE. I SIMPLY RAISED THE ISSUE IN THE FIRST MEETING.

Yepsen: AND WHEN YOU DID, I GOT A LETTER FROM A READER WHO SAID THAT, "WELL, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BANNING BEER? THAT, TOO, CAN BE HARMFUL TO PEOPLE." HOW FAR DO YOU CARRY THIS PERSONAL VALUES HERE IN --

Gartner: WELL, IT'S NOT MY PERSONAL VALUE. IT'S NOT MY VALUE THAT SAYS THE STATE SHOULD BE HANDING OUT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EVERY YEAR TO STOP YOUNG PEOPLE FROM SMOKING. THIS IS A POLICY OF THE STATE, WITH THE TOBACCO SETTLEMENT MONEY. THERE IS NO STATE POLICY THAT ADULTS SHOULDN'T DRINK BEER OR ANYTHING OR THAT FATTY FOOD -- THEY SHOULDN'T EAT FATTY FOODS. I'M TALKING ABOUT STATED STATE PROGRAMS AND VALUES. THAT'S WHY I JUST RAISED THE SMOKING ISSUE.

Yepsen: WHAT SHOULD INDIVIDUALS DO, MR. GARTNER? A LOT OF PEOPLE WATCHING THIS PROGRAM ARE OPINION LEADERS IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. THEY MAY HAVE AN IDEA THAT THERE'S A PROJECT IN THEIR COMMUNITY. WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO DO TO GET READY TO EITHER APPLY TO YOU FOR MONEY OR SOMEPLACE ELSE?

Gartner: I WANT THEM TO SIT DOWN AND THINK... THINK HOW COULD THIS COMMUNITY, HOW COULD THIS COUNTY, HOW COULD THIS REGION, HOW COULD THIS STATE BE BETTER? WHAT CAN WE DO -- WHAT CAN WE DO TO BUILD ON ALL THE WONDERFUL THINGS THAT WE HAVE? I'VE SAID OFTEN THAT CENTRAL IOWA, AT LEAST, IS WONDERFUL BECAUSE IT'S GOT EVERYTHING THAT GOD AND NEAL SMITH COULD PROVIDE. IT'S THE SAME WAY WITH THE STATE. NOW THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR HAVE PROVIDED THIS WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY. EVERYBODY SHOULD BE SAYING: "WHAT CAN WE DO; WHAT CAN MAKE THIS BETTER; LET'S GET TOGETHER; LET'S GET TOGETHER ALL DAY SATURDAY OVER AT THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM; WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST THING THAT COULD BE DONE THAT COULD MAKE THIS AREA OF THE STATE GREAT AND WHO CAN LEAD THAT EFFORT?" LET'S GET OUR BEST THINKERS IN THE COMMUNITY TOGETHER, YOUNG AND OLD, RICH AND POOR, AND SAY: "WHAT DO WE NEED; WHAT IS GREAT; LET'S COME UP WITH A PROPOSAL; HOW MUCH MONEY CAN WE RAISE LOCALLY; WHERE ELSE CAN WE GET MONEY; WHAT WILL THIS DO? AND THEN LET'S LOOK AT THE RULES FOR "VISION IOWA," AND LET'S SEE WHAT WE CAN DO. LET'S LOOK AT THE RULES FOR TOURISM GRANTS. WHAT CAN WE DO? HOW CAN WE MAKE -- HOW CAN WE MAKE OUR COMMUNITY AN EVEN BETTER PLACE TO LIVE."

Borg: AND THEN WHAT'S MICHAEL GARTNER'S VISION 20 YEARS FROM NOW FOR WHAT HAD BEEN ACCOMPLISHED UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP?

Gartner: WELL, IT'S NOT MY LEADERSHIP; IT'S THE GOVERNOR'S LEADERSHIP AND IT'S THE LEGISLATURE'S LEADERSHIP. I'M AN IMPLEMENTOR IN THIS THING. THIS WASN'T MY IDEA. I'M FLATTERED THAT THE GOVERNOR ASKED ME ö

Borg: WHAT'S IOWA GOING TO LOOK LIKE 20 YEARS FROM NOW?

Gartner: I HOPE THAT 20 YEARS FROM NOW WE SEE BOTH STRUCTURES THAT WERE BUILT AS A RESULT OF THIS FUND; WE SEE IDEAS THAT WERE GENERATED AS A RESULT OF THIS FUND; WE SEE PEOPLE WHO HAVE RETURNED AS A RESULT OF THIS FUND; WE SEE PEOPLE WHO HAVE STAYED AS A RESULT OF THIS FUND; WE SEE A CREATIVITY, A SPIRIT, A LOVE OF THIS STATE; WE SEE THIS STATE AS A LEADER NATIONALLY AND HOW YOU CAN SPUR GROWTH FROM WITHIN -- THROUGH A BOLD PIECE OF LEGISLATION THAT IS WISELY AND CAREFULLY AND BOLDLY IMPLEMENTED.

Borg: I HAVE TO CUT THE VISION THERE. WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU.

Gartner: THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, AN UPDATE ON THE PROGRESS OF THE U.S. CONGRESS. JOINING US NEXT WEEK, SENATOR TOM HARKIN TO DISCUSS THE ISSUES TO BE DEBATED BETWEEN NOW AND THE GENERAL ELECTION. ALSO, PERHAPS, A BIT ABOUT HIS POSSIBILITY FOR A VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, NEXT SUNDAY WHEN WE GET BACK TO OUR NORMAL AIR TIMES, NOON AND 7:00. AS WE CLOSE, WE REMIND YOU IOWA PRESS IS NOW ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB. CLICK IN AT WWW.IOWAPRESS.IPTV.ORG, AND YOU'LL FIND TRANSCRIPTS FROM PAST EDITIONS OF IOWA PRESS; BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES ON REPORTERS; COMMENTARY, TOO, FROM THE REPORTERS; AND NEWS LINKS TO OTHER SOURCES ON TOPICS WE TALKED ABOUT HERE AT THE IOWA PRESS TABLE. I HOPE YOU'LL TAKE A LOOK AT OUR WEB PAGE. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. UNTIL NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.