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Crime-and-courts
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Candlelight vigil honors victims of Waterloo shooting

WATERLOO — A candlelight vigil honoring victims of Saturday’s deadly shooting was held Sunday night a block away from the crime scene.

A dozen people gathered in a semi-circle next to the shelter at Washington Park for what organizers called “A Moment of Silence, Prayer/Reflection Against Violence.”

Waterloo police say eight people were hit early Saturday by gunfire during a shooting in a private club at 501 W. Fourth St., where about 100 people had gathered. One of them has since died and two others are hospitalized in critical condition. Four other victims were injured by glass debris or by falling down and getting trampled.

As vigil attendees held candles, organizer Teresa Culpepper, of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission, asked them to “join me for a moment of silence to recognize the loss that our community has had.”

Later in the event, attendee Joyce Levingston told others that the man killed was Dacarious Burkett and led the group in saying his name before a second period of silence.

“He still had a life to live,” said Levingston, mentioning that the young man had a family.

Burkett is identified on social media as having died tragically on Saturday. Police have not yet identified who died or any other gunshot victims.

Before leading the group in prayer, the Rev. Abraham Funchess lamented such violence in the community “on the heels of so many injustices happening around the nation.” He is executive director of the Waterloo Human Rights Commission. “It’s times like these that drive us to our knees and we try to reach out to something beyond us,” said Funchess.

Other attendees spoke about the importance of reaching out to people facing difficult times.

“I hope that we’re able to help someone before we go through this again,” said Nia Wilder.

“It doesn’t take much for us to open up and give someone else some of our time,” said Levingston. “It’s important that we all lift each other up. I just encourage each of us to come together as a community.”

Rikki Campbell, who had talked to a woman injured while trying to escape the shooting, urged witnesses to report what happened to the authorities.

“I don’t understand how all those people were packed into this little place and nobody’s saying nothing,” she said.

Police said there were at least two shooters in the club, but they haven’t made any arrests.



Photos: Shooting vigil, Sept. 27, 2020

Photos: Shooting vigil, Sept. 27, 2020

State-and-regional
Presidential candidates absent in Iowa during 2020 campaign

DES MOINES — Iowa looked different this summer, and not just because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Something was missing.

There were no presidential candidates holding campaign events here.

Iowa is a competitive state in the presidential election between Republican incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. Even though Trump won the state by nearly 10 percentage points in 2016, Iowa could go either way this year.

Recent polling confirmed as much this past week, when three reputable pollsters published survey results showing the candidates within three percentage points of each other. The gold standard Iowa Poll by Selzer and Co. and the Des Moines Register showed Trump and Biden tied.

Despite that, Iowa does not appear to be a critical swing state in the election, at least judging by the campaigns’ actions, especially compared to previous, recent campaigns.

Neither Trump nor Biden has campaigned in Iowa since the general election campaign began. Trump visited Iowa once, in mid-August, for an official office visit to learn about derecho damage.

And while campaign ads for the presidential race have been airing on Iowa TV stations, the spending in Iowa has been a drop in the bucket compared to other states.

It’s all unfamiliar territory for Iowans, who have grown accustomed to plenty of presidential attention while the state has in the recent past played an important role —- despite its relatively small haul of six electoral votes —- in the outcome of presidential campaigns.

That has not been the case thus far this year.

“Iowa hasn’t quite bust through as a first-tier battleground state,” said John Stineman, a Republican political consultant who ran Steve Forbes’ 2000 presidential campaign in Iowa. “(The campaigns) don’t seem to be treating it that way, and that’s interesting.”

Iowa’s first-in-the-nation presidential precinct caucuses draw presidential campaigns here every four years. The trail would go quiet after the late-winter caucuses, then heat up again over the summer as the party’s nominees returned to Iowa for the general election campaign.

During the 2008 general election campaign, Democrat Barack Obama made three trips to Iowa for a total of five events, and Republican John McCain made seven trips here for a total of 10 events, according to the campaign tracking website Democracy in Action.

Iowa was even more of a hot spot in 2012: Obama came back nine times and held 18 events, while Republican Mitt Romney made 12 Iowa trips and held 14 events.

Four years ago, Trump made seven Iowa trips and held nine events, while Democrat Hillary Clinton made just three trips here for a total of five events.

Thus far in 2020: goose egg.

“Both campaigns are directing significant attention to a handful of other toss-up states, and Iowa, although statistically a toss-up at the moment, is not a particular focus,” said Bradley Best, a political science professor at Buena Vista University.

And while it may be shocking to Iowans who watch TV or videos on streaming sites, the truth is the presidential campaigns are not spending very much on campaign ads in Iowa, especially compared to what they are spending in other states.

According to an analysis published earlier this month by NPR, the Trump and Biden campaigns, and their allies, had spent a combined $12 million on campaign ads in Iowa. That’s the 11th-highest total among states, a fraction of the combined $166 million spent in Florida and $124 million in Pennsylvania.

The ad spending in Iowa also lags well behind neighboring battleground states like Wisconsin ($76 million) and Minnesota ($26 million).

“It’s particularly surprising to me because these last few election cycles, we are getting down to just a handful of states that really matter in a presidential election,” said Christopher Larimer, a political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa. “From a campaign perspective, it seems silly to me that you would not be focusing on one of those handful of states like Iowa.”

The attention is going instead to Rust Belt states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, or Arizona, North Carolina and Florida. Each of those states has more Electoral College votes to offer than Iowa’s six, particularly Florida with 29 and North Carolina with 15.

“With both of those states in toss-up status, neither campaign can afford to lose any ground with their base or miss an opportunity to speak to persuadable voters in either North Carolina or Florida,” Best said. “I think they are acting very strategically and very wisely in focusing on those swing states, those toss-up states for which there are a large number of electoral votes in play. …

“The candidates know that every dollar of expenditure in Iowa is a dollar that is not available to spend in North Carolina. They are ruthlessly strategic in their allocation of resources.”

Even Texas, with its whopping 38 electoral votes, may very well be in play this year.

None of this is to say the campaigns are completely inactive in Iowa. Far from it. Donald Trump and Joe Biden aren’t coming here, but their fleets of grassroots campaign staff are here.

The Trump campaign and the national Republican Party have collaborated on their ground game, which is now called the Trump Victory Leadership Initiative. The program in recent years has become a permanent fixture —- instead of swooping in for a campaign and leaving after Election Day. Republicans feel that collaboration and consistency give them a well-oiled machine that will help in states across the country, including Iowa.

“We are leaving no stone unturned as we look to keep Iowa red and re-elect President Trump for four more years in office, as well as Republicans up and down the ballot,” Republican National Committee spokeswoman Preya Samsundar said in a statement. “Trump Victory has worked to build the strongest data-driven ground game in the history of politics over multiple cycles and we will continue to work to earn the votes of every Iowan through Election Day.”

And while Trump himself has not yet campaigned in Iowa, Vice President Mike Pence has campaigned here twice this summer (plus a May visit that was an official office visit, not a campaign event), and he is scheduled to return for a campaign event early next month.

And the Trump campaign has been sending to Iowa a consistent stream of surrogates, including Trump family members.

The Biden campaign also has its ground game working in Iowa. During a recent weekend of action, more than 1,100 campaign volunteers in Iowa made roughly 110,000 calls and sent 53,000 text messages, the campaign said.

The Biden campaign has held mostly online events in Iowa, in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health officials and infectious disease experts caution that the virus, which has caused the death of more than 200,000 Americans, can spread between people who are gathered close together, especially indoors.

And even those online events have featured mostly surrogates like former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate, spoke —- virtually —- to the Polk County Democrats’ annual fundraiser earlier this month.

That approach evolved this weekend, when the Democratic ticket’s spouses, Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, visited Iowa for a pair of campaign events Saturday in Cedar Rapids.

Matt Paul, who ran Clinton’s victorious 2016 Iowa caucus campaign, said Iowa may been as a pickup opportunity but not a necessary “get” for the Biden campaign.

“This is a unique election in a number of different ways. The Biden campaign is in the catbird seat because they’ve got a number of paths to 270 (electoral votes and a victory). Iowa can be a part of that, and I think they view Iowa as a pickup possibility, as part of their multiple-path strategy to get to 270,” Paul said. “It’s remarkable that (Biden) is in the position he is here, considering this was a state that Trump won by (nearly 10) points.”

It certainly has been a unique election in Iowa, which has very much the look of a toss-up state, but not the look of a critical swing state. The road to 270, it appears, does not necessarily travel through Iowa.


Yesterday and Today, a Beatles cover band, performs an outdoor concert in the parking lot across from Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center in Cedar Falls on Sept. 26. 


National
AP
Report: Trump paid $750 in US income taxes in 2016, 2017

President Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income taxes the year he ran for president and in his first year in the White House, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times.

Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years.

The details of the tax filings complicate Trump’s description of himself as a shrewd and patriotic businessman, revealing instead a series of financial losses and income from abroad that could come into conflict with his responsibilities as president. The president’s financial disclosures indicated he earned at least $434.9 million in 2018, but the tax filings reported a $47.4 million loss.

The tax filings also illustrate how a reputed billionaire could pay little to nothing in taxes, while someone in the middle class could pay substantially more than him. Roughly half of Americans pay no income taxes, primarily because of how low their incomes are. But IRS figures indicate that the average tax filer paid roughly $12,200 in 2017, about 16 times more than what the president paid.

The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes at a pivotal moment ahead of the first presidential debate Tuesday and weeks before a divisive election against Democrat Joe Biden.

Speaking at a news conference Sunday at the White House, Trump dismissed the report as “fake news” and maintained he has paid taxes, though he gave no specifics. He also vowed that information about his taxes “will all be revealed,” but he offered no timeline for the disclosure and made similar promises during the 2016 campaign on which he never followed through.

In fact, the president has fielded court challenges against those seeking access to his returns, including the U.S. House, which is suing to get Trump’s tax returns as part of congressional oversight.

During his first two years as president, Trump received $73 million from foreign operations, which in addition to his golf properties in Scotland and Ireland included $3 million from the Philippines, $2.3 million from India and $1 million from Turkey, among other nations. The president in 2017 paid $145,400 in taxes in India and $156,824 in the Philippines, compared to just $750 in U.S. income taxes. The Times said the tax records did not reveal any unreported connections to Russia.

Trump found multiple ways to reduce his tax bills. He has taken tax deductions on personal expenses such as housing, aircraft and $70,000 to style his hair while he filmed “The Apprentice.” Losses in the property businesses solely owned and managed by Trump appear to have offset income from his stake in “The Apprentice” and other entities with multiple owners.

During the first two years of his presidency, Trump relied on business tax credits to reduce his tax obligations. The Times said $9.7 million worth of business investment credits that were submitted after Trump requested an extension to file his taxes allowed him to offset his obligations and pay just $750 each in 2016 and 2017.

Income tax payments help finance the military and domestic programs.

Trump, starting in 2010, claimed and received an income tax refund that totaled $72.9 million, which the Times said was at the core of an ongoing audit by the IRS. The Times said a ruling against Trump could cost him $100 million or more.

The president could also face mounting financial pressure in the years ahead. The tax records show he’s carrying a total of $421 million in loans and debt that are primarily due within four years. Most of that debt comes from the Doral golf resort in Florida ($125 million) and Trump’s Washington hotel ($160 million), two properties that the Times said are struggling financially.

Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee who has tried unsuccessfully to obtain Trump’s tax records, said the Times report makes it even more essential for his committee to get the documents.

“It appears that the President has gamed the tax code to his advantage and used legal fights to delay or avoid paying what he owes,” Neal wrote in a statement. “Now, Donald Trump is the boss of the agency he considers an adversary. It is essential that the IRS’s presidential audit program remain free of interference.”

A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.

Garten told the Times that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate.”

He said in a statement to the news organization that the president “has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”

The New York Times said it declined to provide Garten with the tax filings in order to protect its sources, but it said its sources had legal access to the records.

During his first general election debate against Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Clinton said that perhaps Trump wasn’t releasing his tax returns because he had paid nothing in federal taxes.

Trump interrupted her to say, “That makes me smart.”


Dallas Stars center Joe Pavelski (16) celebrates his goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with teammate Tyler Seguin (91) during the third period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Saturday. 


Crime-and-courts
top story
UPDATE: Gun battle between two or more people led to deadly Waterloo shooting, police say

WATERLOO — Waterloo police say an early Saturday club shooting that killed one person and injured 11 others involved a gun battle between two or more people.

“At this time the investigation indicates this incident was the result of at least two individuals recklessly shooting at each other inside and outside the building,” said a news release issued Sunday by the police department.

Police are seeking any videos or photos from the incident as they continue to investigate.

Axon Enterprises, a law enforcement technology company based in Arizona, partnered with the Waterloo Police Department to create an online portal to submit digital media from the shooting.

A link to the portal can be found at waterloopdia.evidence.com/axon/citizen/public/west4thshooting. It can be used for Snapchat, Facebook, or any other video/photo recorded electronically.

People making submissions can leave contact information for authorities but aren’t required to, according to police.

At least a dozen people were wounded when shooting broke out at a private club at 501 W. Fourth St. around 3:15 a.m. Saturday. They range in age from 21 to 31, according to police.

One person later died of injuries at a Waterloo hospital. Eight of the victims received gunshot wounds, and two are being treated for serious life-threatening injuries. At least one of them is hospitalized in Iowa City.

Police said the building, a former bar, was being used by a motorcycle club as an unauthorized night club. Authorities estimated about 100 people were at the establishment when gunfire erupted inside following a confrontation.

Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest or arrests in the shooting. Officials urged people to come forward with information about the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Waterloo Police Department at (319) 291-4340, option 3/Investigations, or Cedar Valley Crime Stoppers at (855) 300-TIPS (8477). Tips may also be left at www.cvcrimestop.com. Tips may also be sent with TipSubmit or by texting the word CEDAR plus the information to CRIMES (274637).

Staff writer Andrew Wind contributed to this story.

PHOTOS: Private Club Shooting, Sept. 26, 2020