Monday, August 9, 2010

Our View - Issues at stake in the Nov. 3 city elections

Printed in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Oct. 27, 2009

Our View - Issues at stake in the Nov. 3 city elections

Local residents have exactly one more week to learn about the candidates in various city races before Election Day, Nov. 3. The Press-Citizen Editorial Board will be endorsing in the following contested races: North Liberty City Council (Wednesday), Coralville City Council (Thursday) and Iowa City Council (Friday).

In North Liberty, we're looking for councilors who can help the city put behind North Liberty's Wild West days of free-for-all development and personal political feuds and become an effective major player in the corridor and the state.

In Coralville, we're looking for councilors who can help the city:

• Start a new period of Coralville history, one that builds on the city's past 25 years of aggressive economic development but also responds to new opportunities.

• Open up city government to more active participation by the newer residents who have moved into this vibrant, growing city.

And in Iowa City, we're looking for councilors who can help the city:

• Cut the budget so voters can have confidence in the council's ability to make painful but necessary sacrifices on quality of life issues in order to provide for improved public safety and essential city services. (Especially now that the city is looking to impose a 2 percent franchise fee that will be passed along to utility users.)

• Address the many concerns that have been raised about the city's public housing program and the other subsidized housing programs overseen by city staff. (And address them in a way that doesn't belittle the average residents who might not know all the intricacies of city government.)

• Overcome the council's reputation for being anti-business and work to attract economic development opportunities to grow the city's tax base.

• Improve public safety so that southeast residents no longer feel afraid in their own homes, northeast residents know they have a fire station close enough to respond quickly to emergencies, and downtown patrons can walk around without having to worry that someone's going to pick a fight with them.

At 6:30 p.m. today, Iowa City residents have a chance to hear firsthand how the six council candidates plan to address issues and concerns about the city's southeast side. The Press-Citizen and Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County are co-sponsoring a candidates' forum at Grant Wood Elementary. (For more information, contact Jeff Charis-Carlson, Press-Citizen opinion editor, at or 887-5435, or Sue Freeman, program director for Neighborhood Centers, at or 354-7989.)

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