Steep Learning Curve

Steep Learning Curve

This is a big job, and I’m going to make some mistakes.

Anytime a person applies for a new job, they know there are aspects to the job they cannot be aware of: the “known unknowns” that accompany any new venture.  I knew when I announced my bid for county supervisor that there were aspects of what the county does of which I was not fully cognizant.

From the Archives: Small Business Support for the Minimum Wage Hike - August, 2015

From the Archives: Small Business Support for the Minimum Wage Hike - August, 2015

I wrote this guest opinion for the Press-Citizen at the peak of the Minimum Wage debate here in JoCo.  With the wage about to go up to $10.10 on Jan. 1, and with the Iowa Legislature about to confuse things yet again, I thought I'd dig it back out.

Ever since I stood up at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting and said "I’m a small-business owner who favors raising the minimum wage," I’ve been getting a lot of feedback — on social networks, on the street, and in my restaurant. A lot of it was very positive, but some of it was: “How can you favor increasing your costs?” “It will force you to lay people off!” “Your taxes will go up too!”

Protecting and Promoting the JoCo Foodshed

Protecting and Promoting the JoCo Foodshed

My restaurant turns 20 years old on Monday, and a lot has changed about the food scene in Johnson County in those two decades.  Eating locally was a fringe idea, not the hipster trend it became nor the mainstream mainstay it is now.  All this progress needs to be protected, though, or it will vanish.  That’s why two pending initiatives, revitalization of the historic “Poor Farm” and the proposed Food Enterprise Center, are important for the continued health of our foodshed.

Why Do We Fall?

Why Do We Fall?

If you care about this experiment we call America, a democratic republic that has continually overcome its flaws, improved itself progressively and lit the world for 240 years, that has survived a civil war, countless economic downturns and original sins of slavery and genocide, that is never perfect but always striving, then you know that the only thing that can destroy it is apathy.

The Full Ballot

The Full Ballot

Yes, of course, it is important to keep the nuclear codes out of the hands of a thin-skinned, xenophobic misogynist and clinical narcissist with delusions of Berlusconi.  The real action, though, the elections that affect you directly and on a day to day basis, happen down-ballot.

Donald Trump is a Duck

Donald Trump is a Duck

I was never a particularly great athlete, but have spent plenty of time in locker rooms.  I attended a private boys school in my adolescence, went to summer camp, was in a fraternity and have spent 37 years in the often wildly profane culture of professional kitchens.  So yes, I have from time to time heard vulgar and sexist talk of the type our current Republican nominee has attempted to write off and “just locker room banter.”  Except not exactly.

Why This Sanders Supporter Backs Hillary Clinton for President

Why This Sanders Supporter Backs Hillary Clinton for President

Bernie Sanders set a spark that ignited a revolution.  The progressive movement has not seen this level of activism and support for nearly a century.  There is nothing in American politics more important right now than to see the Political Revolution Sen. Sanders awakened continue.  With Sec. Clinton as president, that revolution can continue to grow.  With Donald Trump in the White House, there is zero chance of success for a generation or more.

Listening Posts

Listening Posts

Johnson County residents are encouraged to drop by and voice their concerns, questions (and even encouragement!) for the upcoming year's County business.  All points of view will be heard and taken into consideration.  This is not a place for Kurt to voice his opinions, but rather to listen to yours.

Loyal Opposition

Loyal Opposition

This does not mean my campaign faces no opposition, though.  Each of the major issues I have campaigned on – from land use to transportation to inclusive zoning to the poor farm to maintaining a living wage to even civil governance – faces opposition to my approach from one corner or the other.  Therefor I shall continue to campaign hard this fall, and let this be the formal announcement: I still need your help and support.

From the Archives: On the Ped Mall "Problem," August 2013

From the Archives: On the Ped Mall "Problem," August 2013

Originally published in August 2013, during my time as Executive Chef of the Shelter House Iowa City, where I was designing a micro-apprenticeship program to help interested clients get the basic skills needed for entry-level work in food service.

Since the City Council recently took up consideration of an ordinance regarding what the press has called “growing complaints about inappropriate behavior downtown” by people who are very broadly referred to as “homeless,” a number of people have been asking my opinion on the matter.  This is likely because of my dual role as a downtown business owner and executive chef at Iowa City’s only homeless shelter.

Of Slates and Allegiances

Of Slates and Allegiances

Plenty of chatter about the Democratic primary for Johnson County Board of Supervisors has been focused on which candidate is allied with which other candidate(s) (or not), which elected official is supporting which candidate (or not), which candidate supports which presidential candidate, and who represents real Democratic values…or not.