Succeeding Patton



We congratulate Paul Allen on his announcement that he will run for Buena Vista County Attorney to succeed his boss, Dave Patton. Allen comes well-prepared to the job, having handled a heavy load of criminal cases, many of which are complicated and important. We understand that he has the respect of law enforcement and the support of Patton, which tells us a lot.

We do not know who else might want to run. It used to be a good training ground for someone just out of law school trying to build a private practice. The BV County Attorney’s Office is a different operation today. We have the highest case load in our judicial sub-district, and have a far bigger felony case load than any rural county in Northwest Iowa. The county attorney’s job has become, in fact if not by law, a full-time job that demands an experienced hand. He is the chief law enforcement officer of the county, and should be the principal legal counsel to the courthouse officials.

Patton is retiring after 12 years of service. Before that, he was a thoughtful and forceful member of an extremely good Storm Lake City Council. By urging Storm Lake to move out of the trenches and forward, he played a role in turning this town around. As county attorney he certainly made enemies but he hired the right people and chewed through cases. He started collection services aimed at deadbeats that pays dividends for the county treasury. He was available at any time for county officials who needed strong legal advice. And, near to our heart, Patton always was a strong advocate for openness in government.

(We also must note that we have known the Pattons since we were children, and developed a great affection for them as adults as independent thinkers — Dave, his father Bill and mother Jan, all of whom have been deeply engaged in public and community service.)

We can be confident that Allen will do a nice job as he prepares to move up by virtue of his solid work here to date and his assistance to Patton. We wish Dave well as he tries to catch some spring training with Bill in Arizona.

No illusions for Dreamers

We asked a young Latina this week if she or her peers believes that Congress will deliver relief to the undocumented children of immigrants who came here through no volition of their own. Our friend hung and shook her head “No.” They don’t believe it. She said nothing but moved onto her chores. They know what’s going on.

Several conservative members of the House, after a confusing last week, stood up and told those white men in the Senate who said they have an immigration solution to just hold their horses. They said they have no intention of voting to allow “Dreamers” to stay on its own, or perhaps under any circumstance. Steve King prominent among them, they want to deport undocumented immigrants, build a wall along all the border and generally push a hard-right immigration position. As we have noted before, these folks brought down House Speaker John Boehner. We are not certain that Speaker Paul Ryan is any cagier.

President Trump, after calling El Salvador, Haiti and Africa the very worst sort of places, said he believes that any deal for undocumented children is dead. He said it appears Democrats don’t want it. He folded. The senators talk to themselves. The House digs in for a fight. This has been going on for 20 years. What makes us think we can find a solution before March, when executive protection for Dreamers expires? The Dreamers don’t, and they are living it.

The only way forward is for Ryan to take on King and Klan. Ryan will have to strike a deal with Democrats if he wants to protect the Dreamers. The conservatives have said how much they will give — nothing. The Democrats are still talking if Ryan is listening. He should also hear this: A poll over the weekend said 80% of Americans favor protection for immigrants. There is an election in November. First March. Then November. What will Ryan do in January and February to salvage the House chances in next November’s elections? He has indicated he, like Boehner, intends to retire after this year. Therein lies the answer to our question.