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Iowa Press #2849
August 12, 2001

Borg: THE VISION IOWA BOARD HAS MADE DECISIONS DIRECTING STATE GRANTS TO COMMUNITY PROJECTS. WE'LL DISCUSS THE CONCEPTS WITH VISION IOWA BOARD CHAIR MICHAEL GARTNER ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

Narrator: 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, AUGUST 12 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: DURING ITS 2000 SESSION, THE IOWA LEGISLATURE APPROVED LANDMARK INITIATIVE THAT HAS BECOME KNOWN AS IOWA'S MAJOR ATTRACTION FUND, SOME $190 MILLION SET ASIDE AS SEED MONEY TO DEVELOP PROJECTS THAT WOULD ENHANCE COMMUNITIES AND HOPEFULLY ATTRACT VISITORS. THAT INITIATIVE WAS THE WORK OF THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. SOMETIME DURING THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 79TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY, WE'LL KNOW IF THE INITIATIVE WILL CONTINUE. IN THE FIRST GO-AROUND, THERE WERE MORE PROJECTS THAN AVAILABLE MONEY. GENERALLY THAT'S THE CONCLUSION OF THE VISION IOWA BOARD, CHARGED WITH SCREENING THOSE GRANT APPLICATIONS, NEGOTIATING THE TERMS OF THE AWARDS, AND THEN AWARDING THE GRANTS TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENTAL UNITS. MICHAEL GARTNER CHAIRS THE VISION IOWA BOARD, AND HE JOINS US TODAY TO DISCUSS THE CONCEPT. WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Gartner: THANK YOU. IT'S NICE TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE, DAVID YEPSEN OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER" AND MIKE GLOVER OF "THE ASSOCIATED PRESS."

Glover: MR. GARTNER, WE'VE ALL READ AND HEARD A LOT ABOUT VISION IOWA OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS. GIVE US SOMETHING OF A STATUS REPORT. HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU HAVE TO GIVE AWAY, AND HOW MUCH HAVE YOU GIVEN AWAY?

Gartner: WELL, I CAN'T TELL YOU EXACTLY HOW MUCH MONEY WE HAVE TO GIVE AWAY BECAUSE THEY HAVEN'T SOLD THE BONDS YET. AT THE LAST MEETING, WE AUTHORIZED THE SALE OF THE BONDS. THEY'LL PROBABLY BE SOLD SOMETIME IN SEPTEMBER. TREASURER FITZGERALD SAID THE LIKELY NUMBER -- MINIMUM NUMBER IS $190 MILLION. IF THAT'S THE NUMBER, WE WILL -- THAT IS A NET 190 TO GIVE AWAY. IF THAT'S THE NUMBER, WE STILL HAVE $15 MILLION REMAINING. SO WE HAVE PROBABLY SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 15, 20, UP TO 25, IF WE'RE LUCKY, TO USE.

Glover: DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO COVER THE PROJECTS FOR WHICH YOU'VE BEEN ASKED TO FUND?

Gartner: THE ONES WE'VE ALREADY VOTED TO FUND?

Glover: NO, THE REMAINING PROJECTS.

Gartner: OH, NO, OF COURSE NOT.

Glover: YOU HAVE $175 MILLION THAT YOU'VE GIVEN AWAY, AND YOU'VE GOT "X" NUMBER OF PROJECTS --

Gartner: OH, NO, NOT CLOSE.

Glover: HOW SHORT ARE YOU?

Gartner: WELL, IN FACT, ALL OF THE APPLICATIONS AREN'T EVEN IN YET. CLINTON'S ISN'T IN YET, FOR INSTANCE. SCORES OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS SHORT. AND THEN YOU HAVE TO ALSO CONSIDER CEDAR RAPIDS WITHDREW IN THE HOPES THAT THERE WOULD BE A SECOND ROUND OF FUNDING, SO THEY COULD GET THEIR PROJECT -- HONE IT A LITTLE BIT MORE. THE IOWA CHILD PROJECT CHANGED SO MUCH, IT NEVER REALLY GOT IN LINE FOR THIS FUNDING. MASON CITY DECIDED TO DEFER, I BELIEVE, FOR ANOTHER -- TILL THE NEXT ROUND OF FUNDING, IF THERE IS A NEXT ROUND OF FUNDING. SO IT'S A LONG LIST.

Yepsen: WELL, THAT LEADS US TO THE OBVIOUS QUESTION, MR. GARTNER. SHOULD THERE BE A PHASE TWO? SHOULD THERE BE ANOTHER ROUND OF FUNDING?

Gartner: THAT'S REALLY NOT MY CALL, DAVID. THAT'S UP TO THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE. IF THERE IS A SECOND ROUND OF FUNDING, THE VISION IOWA BOARD WOULD TRY TO BE AS -- SPEND THE MONEY AS WISELY AS WE THINK WE'VE SPENT IT IN THE FIRST ROUND, BUT THAT'S A LEGISLATIVE CALL. AND AS THE LEGISLATURE HAS MADE CLEAR TO ME IN SEVERAL OF MY HOURS OF TESTIMONY UP THERE, THEY ARE THE LEGISLATURE AND I AM NOT.

Yepsen: WHY IS IT INAPPROPRIATE FOR YOU TO HAVE AN OPINION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE OUGHT TO KEEP DOING THIS?

Gartner: OH, NO, I MEAN, I THINK IT'S A GREAT PROGRAM. BUT HOW IT FITS IN THE OVERALL BUDGET SCHEME OF THE STATE, I DON'T KNOW. I'M JUST NOT INFORMED ENOUGH TO SAY. I THINK IT'S A WONDERFUL PROGRAM. SURE, I'D LIKE TO SEE IT -- I'D LIKE TO SEE IT CONTINUE.

Yepsen: IF THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE CAME TO YOU AND SAID, "OKAY, WE WANT TO DO A PHASE TWO," HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED?

Gartner: WELL, THAT'S AN IMPOSSIBLE QUESTION TO ANSWER, DAVID, BECAUSE IF THERE WERE A PHASE TWO, OTHER PROJECTS WOULD CROP UP AND APPLICATIONS WOULD COME IN. I SUPPOSE -- I SUPPOSE A BOTTOMLESS AMOUNT OF MONEY. THE IOWA CHILD PROJECT HAS SAID THEY'RE GOING TO APPLY FOR $75 MILLION, WHICH IS THE MAXIMUM YOU CAN APPLY FOR. CEDAR RAPIDS PROBABLY HAS A SIMILAR SIZED PROJECT. I CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT MASON CITY'S WAS. BUT THERE WOULD PROBABLY BE APPLICATIONS FOR ANOTHER $500- OR $600 MILLION, BUT CERTAINLY NOT THAT MUCH TO GIVE OUT.

Yepsen: BUT YOU TAKE -- IF I'M CORRECT, THE STATE OF IOWA DEDICATES ABOUT $15 MILLION A YEAR IN GAMBLING REVENUE.

Gartner: FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS.

Yepsen: THAT'S RIGHT. THEN YOU TAKE THAT AND LEVERAGE THAT OUT AND SELL THAT --

Gartner: WHAT WE DO IS WE TAKE THAT AND WE BOND IT, AND THAT WILL BOND TO ABOUT A NET 190, WE BELIEVE.

Yepsen: SO ANOTHER $5 MILLION TO $10 MILLION ANNUALLY WOULD ENABLE YOU TO TAKE CARE OF A LOT OF THESE OTHER PROGRAMS.

Gartner: OH, SURE. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. THE QUESTION IS: IS THAT THE BEST -- THE LEGISLATIVE ISSUE IS, IS THAT THE BEST USE OF THE REVENUE THAT'S AVAILABLE, AND THAT'S A LEGISLATIVE QUESTION.

Glover: AND WHAT'S YOUR OPINION ON THAT QUESTION?

Gartner: WELL, MIKE, I'M NOT A BUDGET EXPERT ON THE STATE, SO I DON'T REALLY KNOW. I DON'T KNOW THE NEEDS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. I DON'T KNOW THE BEST USE OF THE TOBACCO MONEY OR THE GAMBLING MONEY. AND I ALSO DON'T KNOW IF THE 13 REFERENDA ON GAMBLING ARE GOING TO PASS IN ABOUT FOURTEEN MONTHS.

Glover: YOU'RE AN ADVOCATE FOR THIS PROJECT. YOU SAY THAT THIS PROJECT IS A WORTHWHILE THING THAT'S GOING TO HELP THE STATE. BUT DO YOU HAVE SYMPATHY FOR THE ARGUMENT THAT IT'S DIFFICULT TO JUSTIFY A BIG SPENDING PROGRAM LIKE THIS IN AN ERA WHEN THE STATE IS BROKE BY ALL ACCOUNTS?

Gartner: YOU CAN ARGUE EITHER SIDE OF THAT CASE. I HAPPEN TO THINK THAT INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE IS ABOUT THE BEST INVESTMENT ANYBODY CAN EVER MAKE. BUT AGAIN, I'M NOT THE GOVERNOR, I'M NOT IN THE LEGISLATURE, AND SO I'M NOT A STUDENT OF THE STATE'S FINANCES THE WAY YOU TWO ARE.

Glover: ARE YOU BACKING AWAY FROM ADVOCATING THIS PROGRAM FOR FEAR OF RUFFLING FEATHERS UP AT THE LEGISLATURE?

Gartner: NO. THAT'S ONE THING I'M NOT. I'M NOT BACKING AWAY FROM ADVOCATING. I THINK IT'S A GREAT PROGRAM. AND THE VISION IOWA BOARD WOULD BE HAPPY TO CONTINUE TO ADMINISTER IT AND TO BE SCRUPULOUS IN ITS WORK AND ITS INVESTIGATION OF THE PROJECTS. I'M JUST SAYING I DON'T KNOW THE VARIOUS NEEDS OF THE STATE.

Glover: BUT YOU KNOW THE REALITY OF THE STATEHOUSE AS WELL AS WE DO. NEXT YEAR WHEN THE LEGISLATURE COMES IN, THERE ARE GOING TO BE A WHOLE LINE OF PEOPLE UP THERE ADVOCATING FOR THEIR PROGRAMS. WILL THERE BE SOMEBODY UP THERE ADVOCATING FOR VISION IOWA?

Gartner: I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE ROLE OF THE VISION IOWA BOARD. I THINK THAT'S THE ROLE OF THE GOVERNOR OR THE ROLE OF SOMEBODY IN THE LEGISLATURE. WE ARE NOT -- WE'RE NOT LIKE AN AGENCY OR LIKE THE REGENTS OR SOMETHING. WE'RE A GRANTOR BODY TO HAND OUT MONEY AS WISELY AND BOLDLY AS WE KNOW HOW TO DO, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT'S OUR -- OR AT LEAST NOBODY EXPLAINED TO ME THAT THAT'S THE ROLE.

Yepsen: IOWA HAS SOME OF THE LOWEST LEVELS OF PUBLIC DEBT OF ANY STATE IN THE COUNTRY. ARE YOU WORRIED THAT WE'RE GOING TO BE BORROWING TOO MUCH MONEY HERE?

Gartner: NO, I THINK THAT THE COUNTIES ESPECIALLY SHOULD BORROW MORE MONEY THAN THEY DO. I THINK, THE BOND MARKET THE WAY IT IS, THAT IOWA COULD JUST REALLY BLOSSOM IF THE COUNTIES WOULD LEVERAGE SOME OF THEIR MONEY. SCOTT COUNTY JUST HAPPENS TO BE ONE THAT I'M FAMILIAR WITH, BECAUSE WE JUST WENT THROUGH THE PROCESS THERE. THEY HAD $313 MILLION IN UNUSED BOND CAPACITY AND VIRTUALLY NO G.O. -- GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS. AND THEY HAVE COME FORWARD WITH $5 MILLION FOR THE DAVENPORT PROJECT, WHICH IS WONDERFUL. CAROL SCHAEFER, THE HEAD OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS OVER THERE, STOOD UP. AND THAT'S WHAT MADE THE PROJECT GO, THAT AND THE LEADERSHIP FROM MAYOR YERINGTON. BUT, NO, I DON'T THINK THAT THEY'RE BORROWING TOO MUCH. I THINK THAT THE COUNTIES, IN PARTICULAR, ARE BORROWING TOO LITTLE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF POLK COUNTY, WHICH IS BORROWING A LOT FOR ITS PROJECT.

Borg: YOU MAY NOT PLAN TO BEING UP THERE LOBBYING FOR MORE VISION IOWA FUNDS, BUT THOSE WHO WILL CONSIDER THAT REPRESENT ALL SECTIONS OF IOWA. HOW WOULD YOU, AS YOU'VE REVIEWED THE PROJECTS THAT HAVE COME IN AND THE GRANTS THAT YOU'VE AWARDED, HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THE CRITICISM THAT IT INTENSIFIES THE DIFFERENCE IN DEVELOPING THESE CERTAIN PROJECTS IN CERTAIN AREAS -- DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE HAVES AND THE HAVE-NOTS IN IOWA?

Gartner: WELL, WHO ARE THE HAVES AND WHO ARE THE HAVE-NOTS?

Borg: WELL, YOU MIGHT LOOK AT DES MOINES. DES MOINES GOT A BIG CHUNK TO DEVELOP AN ARENA.

Gartner: WELL, NO, NO, NOT A BIG CHUNK TO DEVELOP AN ARENA, DEAN.... A BIG CHUNK FOR AN ARENA, A SCIENCE CENTER, A LIBRARY, A HALL OF PRIDE, A WORLD FOOD PRIZE CENTER, A PAPPAJOHN EDUCATION CENTER. THAT'S LIKE $350 MILLION WORTH OF PROJECTS, AND THAT DOESN'T COUNT THE COMMERCIAL PROJECTS THAT ARE AROUND IT... ALLIED, WELLS FARGO, THE HOME LOAN BANK, HOTELS. IT DOESN'T COUNT ANY ART AND OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT, SO IT WASN'T -- THAT WAS SORT OF THE NUB OF THE DES MOINES ISSUE EARLY ON; IT WASN'T $75 MILLION FOR AN ARENA, IT WAS $70 MILLION FOR A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF PROJECTS.

Borg: YES, THAT'S RIGHT. BUT THEN HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER SOMEONE FROM ALGONA OR JEFFERSON WHO SAY, "WE DIDN'T GET ANYTHING OUT OF THIS AT ALL"?

Gartner: WELL, VISION IOWA WAS INTENDED PRIMARILY -- FIRST OF ALL, IT HAS TO BE A PROJECT THAT HAS A VALUE OF AT LEAST $20 MILLION, AND THERE'S VERY FEW PROJECTS IN THE SMALLER COMMUNITIES THAT HAVE THAT VALUE. BUT COUPLED WITH VISION IOWA IS THE "CAT" FUNDS, THE COMMUNITY ATTRACTION AND TOURISM MONEY. AND THAT HAS GONE TO SIOUX CENTER AND PELLA AND RED OAK AND ATLANTIC AND MAQUOKETA AND ST. ANSGAR AND TOWNS THROUGHOUT -- RANGING FROM GRANTS OF, I THINK, $40,000 UP TO ALMOST $3 MILLION. SO IT WAS A BRILLIANT COUPLING OF THOSE PROGRAMS. I DON'T KNOW IF THE GOVERNOR DID IT OR THE LEGISLATURE DID IT, BUT IT WAS A TERRIFIC COUPLING OF THOSE PROGRAMS. AND WHAT IT DID WAS IT FREED "CAT" MONEY WHICH USED TO GO TO THE CEDAR RAPIDSES AND THE DUBUQUES. IT FREED A LOT OF THAT UP FOR THE RED OAKS AND THE ATLANTICS AND PLACES LIKE THAT. SO THAT'S BEEN A GREAT, GREAT PROGRAM, AND THAT PROGRAM -- THE FUNDING FOR THAT PROGRAM CONTINUES AT LEAST THROUGH 2004, I BELIEVE.

Yepsen: MR. GARTNER, HOW SHOULD WE CHANGE? YOU'VE SPENT A LOT OF TIME LOOKING AT IOWA AND PROJECTS AND THINKING ABOUT TOURISM AND ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND YOU HAVE YOUR PROGRAM. THE LEGISLATURE IS LIKELY TO GET INTO THIS, IF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN COMMUNITIES WHO DID NOT GET MONEY WILL HAVE LEGISLATORS WHO WILL BE -- THEY'LL BE ADVOCATING --

Gartner: I WOULD BELIEVE SO.

Yepsen: BUT HOW SHOULD WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY? SHOULD THE PROGRAM BE CHANGED? I'M STRUCK BY YOUR COMMENT ABOUT COUNTIES SHOULD BELLY UP TO THE BAR HERE AND START DOING SOME MORE. WHAT THINGS SHOULD THE IOWA LEGISLATURE OR IOWANS BE DOING DIFFERENTLY IN THIS GAME?

Gartner: WELL, I THINK THE LEGISLATION IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL THE WAY IT IS, AND I DON'T THINK I WOULD CHANGE. IF SOMEBODY SAID TO ME, HOW WOULD YOU CHANGE THE LEGISLATION, I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY CHANGE. I THINK THAT IT'S A GREAT -- A GREAT PIECE OF LEGISLATION. I THINK THAT AS THE BOARD HAS BECOME MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE, WE'VE BEEN VERY, VERY HARD ON COMMUNITIES ENFORCING MATCHING MONEY. AND WE ALWAYS ASK FOR THE AUDIT OF THE CITY AND THE COUNTY. FOR INSTANCE, I THINK THAT AS IT WENT ON, WE WILL BE EVEN MORE DEMANDING OF COUNTIES TO PARTICIPATE. AND ONE OF THE MAJOR DIFFICULTIES IN IOWA THAT I'VE SEEN, AS WE'VE BEEN DOING THIS FOR THE PAST YEAR, IS THE LACK OF COOPERATION BETWEEN CITIES AND COUNTIES. IF THEY COULD COOPERATE, IOWA WOULD JUST VAULT FORWARD. THEY HAVE -- THEY SEEM TO THINK THEY HAVE DIFFERENT CONSTITUENCIES, BUT THEY DON'T. THE CITY IS JUST A NEIGHBORHOOD IN A COUNTY. AND IF THE CITY AND THE COUNTY PEOPLE WOULD REALIZE THAT AND WORK TOGETHER -- NOW, IT'S HAPPENED IN DES MOINES AND THAT'S ONE REASON THE DES MOINES PROJECT WORKS. IT JUST HAPPENED OVER IN SCOTT IN DAVENPORT... NOT WITHOUT SOME PUSHING AND TUGGING AND NAME-CALLING, BUT IT HAPPENED. AND AT THE MEETING THE OTHER DAY, THERE WAS MAYOR YERINGTON AND THERE WAS SUPERVISOR SCHAEFER STANDING ARM IN ARM, AND DANA WATERMAN, AN ATTORNEY OVER THERE REPRESENTING THE PRIVATE SECTOR, STANDING CHEEK BY JOWL WITH LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR PEDERSON AS SHE ANNOUNCED THIS GRANT. WELL, THAT WAS A GREAT THING TO SEE, AND I'M NOT SURE THAT THOSE ARE ALL EACH OTHER'S BEST FRIENDS WHO WERE STANDING THERE, BUT IT WAS AN EXAMPLE OF COOPERATION. AND IT REALLY WAS SORT OF FORCED ON THEM BY THE VISION IOWA BOARD. AND I THINK YOU WOULD SEE THE VISION IOWA BOARD DO MORE AND MORE OF THAT BETWEEN COUNTIES AND CITIES, BECAUSE THERE'S GREAT CAPACITY. AND THE OTHER THING THAT'S HAPPENED IS, IN EACH INSTANCE WHERE WE'VE GIVEN A MAJOR GRANT, LEADERSHIP HAS EVOLVED. WE HAVE FOUND THE PERSON WHO CAN LEAD, WHETHER IT WAS MAYOR DUGGAN AND TERRY GOODMAN UP IN DUBUQUE OR MAYOR YERINGTON AND SUPERVISOR SCHAEFER OVER IN SCOTT COUNTY OR JOHN FORSYTH, A BUSINESSMAN IN DES MOINES. IN EACH INSTANCE, SOMEBODY HAS STEPPED FORWARD TO HELP US MAKE THESE DECISIONS.

Glover: MR. GARTNER, WE'VE ALL SEEN A LOT OF DRAWINGS. WE'VE ALL HEARD A LOT OF GREAT PRAISE FOR ALL THESE PROJECTS THAT ARE GOING TO BE BUILT. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO START SEEING THE BULLDOZERS MOVE AND THE CRANES CHUNK AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF? WHEN DO THE HOLES GO IN THE GROUND?

Gartner: I THINK THAT YOU ALREADY SEE THAT IN COUNCIL BLUFFS. I THINK YOU SEE IT IN -- I THINK YOU SEE IT IN DUBUQUE. YOU'LL PROBABLY SEE IT FAIRLY SOON IN SIOUX CITY, BECAUSE THOSE CONTRACTS HAVE BEEN SIGNED. THE DES MOINES CONTRACT IS BEING NEGOTIATED RIGHT NOW. I READ IN DAVID'S PAPER, I THINK, THAT THE ARENA WOULD BE DONE IN 2003, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. BUT PRETTY SOON YOU'LL SEE THE CRANE WILL BE THE STATE BIRD IN THIS STATE BECAUSE OF ALL THIS MONEY.

Glover: BUT IF YOU CAN ISSUE THE BONDS IN SEPTEMBER, THE MONEY WILL START FLOWING FAIRLY QUICKLY?

Gartner: WELL, THE MONEY FLOWS OUT IN PROPORTION TO THE SHARE OF THE PROJECT FUNDED BY THE STATE.

Yepsen: I'D LIKE TO TAKE OUR VIEWERS THROUGH SOME OF THESE PROJECTS REAL QUICKLY. WHAT'S HAPPENING IN DES MOINES? WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN HERE?

Gartner: WELL, DES MOINES WILL HAVE A NEW ARENA AND CONVENTION CENTER. IT WILL HAVE A NEW PUBLIC LIBRARY. IT WILL HAVE A NEW -- THE DOWNTOWN LIBRARY IS $24 MILLION. THE ARENA AND CONVENTION CENTER IS $201 MILLION. THE SCIENCE CENTER IS A $40- TO $60 MILLION -- 40 FOR THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ANOTHER 20 FOR THE DISPLAYS AND EXHIBITS. THE PAPPAJOHN HIGHER EDUCATION CENTER. IT'S HOPED THE OLD LIBRARY WILL BE RENOVATED AND RESTORED INTO A LITTLE JEWEL OF A HEADQUARTERS FOR THE WORLD FOOD PRIZE. PLUS, YOU'VE GOT ALL THIS COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT AROUND THE EDGES THERE. AND IF YOU THROW IN ROADS, IT'S $1.6 BILLION IN DES MOINES ALONE. IN DUBUQUE, THERE'S A NEW FRONT DOOR TO THE STATE OF IOWA WITH THIS ABSOLUTELY MAGNIFICENT PROJECT. I THINK THE DUBUQUE PROJECT IS SORT OF EVERYBODY'S FAVORITE ON THE BOARD -- ALMOST EVERYBODY. JUST TOTALLY JOINING THE CITY WITH THE RIVER AS AN EDUCATIONAL, AS A CULTURAL, HISTORICAL, ENVIRONMENTAL, JUST A GRAND, GRAND PROJECT WORTH AROUND $200 MILLION. THERE'S $40 MILLION OF STATE MONEY IN THERE. AND AGAIN, THERE'S COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT ALONG WITH IT: HOTELS, OFFICE BUILDINGS, AND THINGS LIKE THAT. DAVENPORT IS TAKING AN EXAMPLE -- TAKING ADVANTAGE OF ITS TWO STRENGTHS: THE RIVER AND ITS MUSICAL HERITAGE. YOU KNOW, YOU SEE ALL THESE PICTURES OF THE FLOODS AND EVERYTHING BUT, IN MY VIEW, THEY'VE DONE IT RIGHT. THEY'VE DONE IT RIGHT OVER THERE. YOU CAN WALK RIGHT DOWN TO THE RIVER. SOMETIMES THE RIVER WALKS RIGHT UP TO YOU BUT NOT WITH LASTING DAMAGE. AND THEY'VE REALLY DONE IT RIGHT AND THEY'RE CAPITALIZING. THEY HAVE WHAT THEY CALL A MUSIC CORRIDOR AND AN ARTS CORRIDOR WITH A SPECTACULAR NEW ART MUSEUM THAT'S GOING TO BE OVER THERE, DESIGNED BY THE SAME PEOPLE WHO ARE -- WILL DESIGN THE NEW DES MOINES PUBLIC LIBRARY. SO IT'S GREAT. SIOUX CITY --

Glover: BACK UP TO DAVENPORT FOR A SECOND. HOW MUCH OF THIS -- HOW MANY OF THESE CORRIDORS ARE GOING TO SPEND MOST OF THEIR TIME UNDER WATER?

Gartner: VERY FEW, MIKE. VERY FEW.

Gartner: WELL, LET'S GO ACROSS THE STATE TO SIOUX CITY. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO SEE THERE?

Gartner: SIOUX CITY HAS A GREAT SORT OF WPA-LIKE AUDITORIUM UP THERE RIGHT AS YOU -- RIGHT ON THE RIVER. SIOUX CITY HAS DONE GREAT WITH ITS RIVERFRONT. AND THEY'RE PUTTING AN EVENT CENTER IN THERE THAT'S AN EXPANSION OF THAT. THERE'S A LEWIS AND CLARK HISTORICAL MUSEUM THERE AS WELL. AND THEN, YOU COUPLE THIS WITH SOME OF THE RESTORATION THAT'S ALREADY GOING ON, THE OLD ORPHEUM THEATER AND EVERYTHING. AND I MUST SAY THE PRIVATE SECTOR IN SIOUX CITY REALLY STEPPED UP. WE GAVE THEM NINETY DAYS TO RAISE AN ADDITIONAL $8 MILLION, AND THEY DID IT. I MEAN, IT WAS -- AND MARVIN BERENSTEIN, WHO IS ON OUR BOARD AND A LAWYER IN SIOUX CITY, WAS INSTRUMENTAL AFTER WE LAID DOWN THAT CHALLENGE. HE WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN CARRYING THAT OUT, YOU KNOW. HE WAS A GREAT LEADER UP THERE. COUNCIL BLUFFS IS A COMBINATION OF A NEW ARENA, WHERE THE HOCKEY TEAM WILL BE; A WATER PARK; SOME COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT RIGHT THERE ON THE INTERSTATE AS YOU'RE GOING INTO COUNCIL BLUFFS. SO IT'S REALLY WONDERFUL STUFF.

Yepsen: WHAT OTHER PROJECTS ARE RIGHT ON THE FRONT BURNER NOW?

Gartner: WATERLOO WOULD BE UNDER NEGOTIATIONS, IF WE CAN DEAL WITH THAT. MARQUETTE-MCGREGOR, WHICH IS THE SMALLEST ONE, HAS A VERY INTERESTING PROJECT. MARQUETTE-MCGREGOR, STRAWBERRY POINT KIND OF LINKING THE TOWNS, PUTTING IN -- PUTTING IN SOME TOURISM ATTRACTIONS, UPGRADING THE TOWN'S APPEARANCE. THAT'S A SMALL ONE BUT THAT WOULD BE ONE. OTTUMWA IS BEFORE THE BOARD WITH A NICE ARENA PROJECT. CLINTON WILL COME IN. VEDIC CITY JUST CAME IN WITHIN THE LAST TWO OR THREE DAYS.

Glover: A LOT OF PROJECTS, A LOT OF DEVELOPMENT, A LOT OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY.

Gartner: YES.

Glover: DOES THAT LINK THE STATE'S ECONOMIC FUTURE INEXTRICABLY WITH GAMBLING?

Gartner: WELL, IT SEEMS TO ME IT DOES, MIKE. IT SEEMS TO ME IT DOES. LIKE IT OR NOT, THIS IS FUNDED BY GAMBLING MONEY. IN EACH OF THE -- IN MOST OF THE CITIES, A LOT OF THE MATCH IS PROVIDED BY GAMBLING MONEY. IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THE ANSWER TO THAT IS "YES", THAT GAMBLING IS HERE. IT'S IN 13 VENUES AROUND THE STATE. THERE WILL BE THESE -- THERE WILL BE THESE REFERENDA, AND IF THE REFERENDA LOSE, IT WILL HURT ANY FUTURE FUNDING VISION IOWA AND I SUSPECT IT WOULD HURT THOSE COMMUNITIES WHICH COME TO RELY SO MUCH ON GAMBLING MONEY. LIKE IT OR NOT, IT'S THERE.

Glover: WELL, IS IT A GOOD BET? AS YOU SAID, THERE ARE REFERENDA NEXT YEAR FOR 13 OF THESE PLACES --

Gartner: IS WHAT A GOOD BET? I THINK IT DEPENDS ON HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT GAMBLING, MIKE. I THINK EVERYONE HAS HIS OR HER OWN VIEW ON WHETHER GAMBLING IS GOOD OR BAD FOR THIS STATE.

Glover: WELL, LET'S SAY IN SOME OF THESE VENUES, THE ANTIGAMBLING FORCES PREVAIL. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE VISION IOWA PROJECT?

Gartner: WELL, THE VISION IOWA PROJECT WILL CONTINUE -- WILL CONTINUE. BUT IN DES MOINES, FOR INSTANCE, I PRESUME THAT THOSE BONDS WILL BE BACKED PRIMARILY BY MONEY FROM PRAIRIE MEADOWS. SO THEN THE COUNTY WOULD HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER SOURCE FOR BACKING -- FOR BACKING THOSE -- FOR BACKING THOSE BONDS. AND THE MAIN SOURCE, OF COURSE, IS ALWAYS PROPERTY TAXES. IN THE OTHER CITIES, I THINK THE STREAM -- WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IF IT ENDS IN DES MOINES, IT ENDS LIKE THAT, BECAUSE IT'S HORSE RACING. AND THE WAY THE LAWS ARE WRITTEN, SOME OF THE -- EVEN IF THE REFERENDUMS ARE VOTED DOWN, THE CASINO GAMBLING CONTINUES UNTIL THE LICENSE EXPIRES, AND THAT CAN BE SEVERAL YEARS IN THE CASE OF SOME OF THOSE. SO I DON'T THINK THAT THE FINANCING OF THOSE EXISTING PROJECTS WOULD BE JARRED QUITE AS MUCH AS IT WOULD BE IN DES MOINES.

Glover: SHOULD ADVOCATES FOR THE VISION IOWA PROJECTS -- SHOULD PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN THOSE PROJECTS, SHOULD THEY BECOME ACTIVE IN THOSE REFERENDA ADVOCATING FOR THE CONTINUED --

Gartner: YOU KNOW, THAT'S NOT MY CALL, MIKE. THAT IS THE CURRENT SOURCE OF VISION IOWA MONEY FROM THE STATE. AND IN MANY COMMUNITIES, IT'S THE CURRENT SOURCE OF PART OF THE MATCHING GRANTS. I WOULD THINK THAT THOSE, AT LEAST, COMMUNITIES WHERE THE MONEY HAS BEEN AWARDED, THAT THE PEOPLE WHO BENEFIT FROM THAT, THEY ARE DIRECT BENEFICIARIES, AND I SUSPECT THAT THEY WILL BE WORKING TO PASS THE REFERENDA.

Glover: LET'S BE CYNICAL FOR A SECOND. THERE ARE THOSE AROUND THE STATEHOUSE --

Gartner: IT'S A POSITION I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE.

Glover: THERE ARE THOSE AROUND THE STATEHOUSE THAT SAY THIS IS ONE WAY OF INSTITUTIONALIZED GAMBLING, TO LINK GAMBLING INEXTRICABLY TO A WHOLE LOT OF POPULAR PROJECTS THAT ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE ARE GOING TO ADVOCATE FOR, THEREFORE ADVOCATING FOR GAMBLING'S EXTENSION.

Gartner: WELL, I DON'T THINK THAT'S NECESSARILY A CYNICAL VIEW. I THINK THAT'S, PERHAPS, A REALISTIC VIEW. IT'S LIKE THE LOTTERY. THE LOTTERY FUNDS ARE USED FOR EDUCATION AND A LOT OF GOOD THINGS, SO IT'S INEXTRICABLY LINKED. THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT GAMBLING IS INEXTRICABLY LINKED TO VISION IOWA.

Yepsen: IT'S PRETTY UNLIKELY THAT ALL 13 JURISDICTIONS IN THE STATE WITH GAMBLING WILL ALL TURN IT DOWN. SO YOUR FUNDING SHOULD BE IN GOOD SHAPE, SHOULDN'T IT?

Gartner: WELL, I WOULD THINK SO, DAVID.

Yepsen: AND EVEN IF THEY ARE, THE STATE OF IOWA, HAVEN'T THEY GUARANTEED THE VISION IOWA PROGRAM WITH LOTTERY --

Gartner: OH, YEAH. I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE CURRENT VISION IOWA FUNDING BEING IMPERILED, THE STATE'S PORTION BEING IMPERILED. NO, THOSE BONDS WILL BE SOLD. THOSE BONDS WILL BE SOLD. IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE.

Yepsen: WHAT BETTER USE WOULD THERE BE FOR GAMBLING REVENUES? IF WE ESTABLISH THE NOTION THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE GAMBLING AND WE'RE GOING TO TAX OUR PEOPLE THROUGH GAMBLING, ONE FORM OF TAXATION, WHAT'S WRONG WITH DOING IT AND USING IT FOR PROJECTS LIKE YOURS, ONE-TIME PROJECTS THAT EVERYBODY CAN SEE A BENEFIT FROM?

Gartner: WELL, I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH IT, DAVID. THAT'S WHY I'VE AGREED TO SERVE AS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD. BUT YOU SAID WHAT'S A BETTER USE.

Yepsen: IS THERE A BETTER USE?

Gartner: WELL, I DON'T KNOW. I THINK THAT'S A QUESTION YOU'D HAVE TO ASK THE GOVERNOR OR LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OR SPEAKER SIEGRIST OR SENATOR IVERSON OR SOMEBODY LIKE THAT. MY OWN VIEW IS THIS IS A VERY GOOD USE OF IT, AND WE'RE TRYING TO BE GOOD SHEPHERDS OF IT -- GOOD STEWARDS OF IT.

Yepsen: I WANT YOU TO WRITE SOME PRESCRIPTIONS HERE, MR. GARTNER. YOU'VE MENTIONED SOMETHING THAT COUNTIES NEED TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE HERE. YOU'VE MENTIONED THAT WE NEED TO HAVE GREATER CITY/COUNTY COOPERATION. WHAT OTHER THINGS DOES IOWA NEED TO DO TO --

Gartner: STRONG LOCAL LEADERSHIP. STRONG LOCAL LEADERSHIP.

Yepsen: WHY IS THAT IMPORTANT?

Gartner: BECAUSE THAT'S -- THAT'S WHERE THE IDEAS -- MAYBE THE IDEAS DON'T COME FROM THERE, BUT THAT'S HOW THE IDEAS GET TURNED INTO -- GET TURNED INTO BRICKS AND MORTAR... COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP. THE OTHER THING IS -- AND THAT IS ESPECIALLY TRUE WITH POLITICAL LEADERSHIP, BECAUSE MOST OF THESE PROJECTS REQUIRE BRAVE POLITICAL DECISIONS: SELL MORE BONDS UP IN DUBUQUE; PUT COUNTY MONEY IN, FOR THE FIRST TIME, INTO A PROJECT LIKE THIS OVER IN SCOTT COUNTY; SELL AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF BONDS IN POLK COUNTY; REDIRECT SOME PRIORITIES IN CITIES -- IN DES MOINES. THOSE ARE POLITICAL DECISIONS. BUSINESSMEN CAN'T MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE EXECUTIVES CAN'T MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. SUPERVISORS, MAYORS, CITY COUNCIL PEOPLE MAKE THOSE DECISIONS. AND THAT'S WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT YOU HAVE STRONG, KNOWLEDGEABLE, COURAGEOUS LOCAL POLITICIANS, JUST AS YOU HAVE TO HAVE THEM IN THE LEGISLATURE AND IN THE GOVERNOR'S SEAT. THAT'S THE KEY THING: STRONG LEADERSHIP, GOOD IDEAS, AND HARD WORK AND KIND OF BULLHEADEDNESS TO JUST PUSH IT THROUGH AND PUSH IT THROUGH AND PUSH IT THROUGH AND VIEW EVERY STEP BACK NOT AS A SETBACK BUT AS A CHALLENGE. AND THAT'S HOW THE ONES THAT HAVE GOTTEN DONE HAVE GOTTEN DONE. YOU KNOW, DES MOINES WAS READY TO TOSS IT IN. DAVENPORT WAS READY TO TOSS IT IN. DUBUQUE WANTED TO WALK AWAY FROM THE TABLE. COUNCIL BLUFFS DID. EVER SINGLE ONE OF THE DEALS WE DID, THEY WERE GOING TO WALK AWAY FROM THE TABLE BECAUSE OF THE DEMANDS THAT VISION IOWA PUT ON. BUT IN REALITY, NOBODY IS GOING TO WALK AWAY FROM $20 MILLION OR 30 OR 40. AND WE SAID, "LOOK, YOU CAN DO IT IF YOU DO THIS," BUT EACH TIME IT WAS A POLITICAL DECISION THAT HAD TO BE MADE, AND EACH TIME THEY STOOD UP AND MADE IT.

Glover: LET'S STEP BACK FOR A SECOND. TEN YEARS FROM NOW, LOOKING BACK AT VISION IOWA, HOW IMPORTANT IS THAT GOING TO BE IN THE FUTURE OF THIS STATE?

Gartner: IF I'M ALIVE TEN YEARS FROM NOW, I WILL BE IMMENSELY PROUD OF WHAT HAPPENED.

Glover: HOW WILL IOWA BE DIFFERENT?

Gartner: IOWA WILL BE A PLACE WHERE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IS BETTER. IT WILL BE A PLACE WHERE THOSE WHO LOVE IT WILL WANT TO STAY HERE AND NOT LEAVE IT AND WHERE THOSE WHO VISIT WILL WANT TO SETTLE DOWN HERE AND LIVE HERE.

Borg: I WANT TO BRING THAT UP AS WE TALK ABOUT REVENUE. DO YOU SEE IN YOUR OVERALL ASSESSMENT -- IT'S HARD NOT TO SEE THE ENTHUSIASM THAT YOU HAVE FOR THESE PROJECTS. DO YOU SEE THIS AS AN INTRAIOWA ATTRACTION THAT YOU'RE BUILDING HERE? ARE WE SHIFTING MONEY FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER, IOWANS SPENDING MONEY AS THEY GO TO DAVENPORT OR DUBUQUE OR SO ON, OR SHOULD WE START BUILDING RUNWAYS TOO, BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO ACCOMMODATE A LOT OF OUT-OF-STATE VISITORS?

Gartner: I THINK THAT THIS IS CERTAINLY A LURE TO BOTH IN-STATE AND OUT-OF-STATE, AND I THINK THAT WAS THE IDEA. SOME STATEWIDE, SOME ON A REGIONAL BASIS, BUT I THINK THAT THIS WILL MAKE IOWA A MORE ATTRACTIVE PLACE FOR EVERYONE, THOSE WHO LIVE HERE AND THOSE WHO VISIT HERE. THEN, IF YOU TAKE THAT AND YOU COMBINE IT WITH A STRONG EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM, A STRONG SOCIAL SERVICES SYSTEM, AS THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE KEEP TRYING TO DO WITHIN THE LIMITED AMOUNT OF RESOURCES, YOU HAVE A PLACE THAT IS EQUALLED BY NONE. WE DON'T HAVE MOUNTAINS AND OCEANS. WE DON'T HAVE THE MOUNTAINS OF COLORADO OR THE OCEANS OF CALIFORNIA, BUT WE DO HAVE OTHER GREAT RESOURCES AND GREAT PEOPLE AND GREAT LEADERS. AND THAT'S WHAT MAKES -- WILL MAKE IOWA THRIVE IN THE FUTURE.

Glover: YOU MENTIONED EARLIER THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THE STATE NEEDED TO DEVELOP WAS LOCAL LEADERSHIP, HOW CRITICALLY IMPORTANT THAT WAS. YOU DIDN'T SAY A THING ABOUT STATE LEADERSHIP.

Gartner: WELL, I THINK THAT GOES WITHOUT SAYING AS WELL. I MEAN, THE GREATEST VISION ABOUT VISION IOWA IS THE VISION OF ESTABLISHING IT; THE VISION OF THE GOVERNOR AND ESTABLISHING IT; THE VISION OF THE LEGISLATURE AND CRAFTING THE WAY IT DID; REQUIRING THE GEOGRAPHIC DIVERSITY; COUPLING IT WITH THE TOURISM MONEY; ENSURING THAT THE BOARD BE REPRESENTATIVE FROM THROUGHOUT THE STATE, NOT JUST ALL FROM ONE AREA OF THE STATE. I MEAN, IT'S REALLY A VERY INTERESTING PIECE OF LEGISLATION IF YOU READ IT VERY, VERY CAREFULLY. IT'S REALLY WELL DONE.

Yepsen: WHAT KIND OF LEADERSHIP ARE WE GETTING FROM THE STATE, MR. GARTNER, IF THEY'RE TOO CHEAP TO GIVE YOU ANY MORE MONEY?

Gartner: NO ONE HAS SAID THEY'RE TOO CHEAP TO GIVE US MORE MONEY.

Yepsen: LEGISLATIVE LEADERS HAVE SAID THEY DON'T THINK THEY SHOULD.

Gartner: TWO LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, WHEN ASKED BY ONE OF YOUR COLLEAGUES AFTER A HEARING WHERE I TESTIFIED THE OTHER DAY, ASKED IF THEY THOUGHT THE MONEY SHOULD BE RENEWED IN THIS COMING YEAR. THE WAY I READ IT IN YOUR PAPER -- AND I HAVEN'T ASKED THAT QUESTION OF ANY LEGISLATORS. THEY SAID NO. I THINK MAYBE THE KEY WAS "IN THIS COMING YEAR." IF I WERE IN THE LEGISLATURE, WHICH THE PEOPLE WOULD NEVER ELECT ME TO -- IF I WERE IN THE LEGISLATURE, I WOULD PROPOSE A BILL IN THIS COMING SESSION TO EXPAND VISION IOWA, BUT I WOULD DELAY THE EFFECTIVENESS OF IT AND I WOULD CONDITION THE EFFECTIVENESS ON IT ON THE PASSING OF THE GAMBLING REFERENDUM TO ENSURE THAT YOU'VE GOT ANOTHER STREAM OF MONEY FOR EIGHT OR TEN YEARS.

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

Gartner: THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE REPORTERS GATHER HERE AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE FOR A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION. AND WE'LL LOOK AT THE RESHAPING OF IOWA STATEHOUSE DISTRICTS AND WHAT IT MIGHT DO IN THE FUTURE FOR OUR CONGRESSIONAL RACES. THAT'S A REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

Narrator: 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.