Letters: On parking frustrations in Iowa City, and the state of politics in Iowa

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School leader chooses Zabner for Iowa House

As the vice president of the Iowa City Community School District School Board, I could not be prouder of the effort that our teachers, school workers, administrators, parents and students put into making our public schools among the best in the country.

Increases in state aid have been outpaced by increases in cost; the Legislature has attacked our teachers and most marginalized students; and the governor’s proposed voucher bill would be a huge blow to our state’s public schools. Like it or not, the state Legislature has a huge impact on how our schools operate. As our district has advocated for our students, we have found ways to connect with both urban and rural districts, and we’re prepared to work with people all over the state to work toward an Iowa that supports our public schools.

As a voter in House District 90, I would love to see our community elect a representative who will join us in that work. I’m excited to endorse Adam Zabner for Iowa House. Zabner is a product of Iowa City public schools, and understands the importance of a solid foundational public education system.

I’m happy to join Zabner as he fights to adequately fund education and make higher education more accessible to young Iowans. He will work to bring our state’s educational system back to one that leads the pack in this nation and one that others look to as a guiding light. The above endorsement is solely based on my opinion/preference.

-Ruthina Malone, Iowa City

Andrew Dunn is leader for a new generation

I am supporting Andrew Dunn because I believe he has what it takes to represent Iowa. As a university student, he can connect with all generations, especially newer voters. As an Iowa native, he is extremely passionate and optimistic about the many possibilities for our future.

He has experience advocating for new initiatives that will have a positive impact on marginalized groups, our education system, climate change, gun reform and LGBTQ rights. He is ready to empower others to get involved in policymaking.

-RaQuishia Harrington, North Liberty​

Adam Zabner has resolve to serve Iowans

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to coffee from a former high school student of mine. Adam Zabner asked to meet to discuss my views on current issues in Iowa City, our state and nation. He wondered if I might be willing to endorse his candidacy for representative in Iowa House District 90.

Zabner has my most enthusiastic endorsement.

I’ve known Zabner since he was a 15-year-old in my City High biology class. We’ve kept in touch throughout his studies and experiences in and after college. The son of parents who came to the U.S. to study, and stayed to pursue careers in health care, education and community service, Zabner has always had his own deep desire to use his talents to make our community a better place for everyone to live.

As our representative, he will represent District 90 with passion, intelligence and an enduring resolve to serve Iowans.

Please join me in voting Adam Zabner for the Democratic nomination for House District 90.

-Kevin Koepnick, Iowa City

Tower Ramp needs to better serve Senior Center

Recently, I was on Linn Street a few minutes after 9 a.m., driving north, planning to turn left onto Iowa Avenue in case there was still space in the Tower Ramp so I could use the exercise rooms at the Senior Center. The "full" sign wasn't on, but there was a traffic cone blocking the left-hand ramp entrance, and there was no way to get a ticket in the right-hand one, so evidently the ramp was indeed full. (This has happened before.)

I parked, intending to inquire at the police station between the ramp entrance and exit, but it was closed. Yes, I could have done my exercising, but at the cost of feeding a meter outside a ramp that's advertised as allowing a free hour. Over time, this adds up.

So question No. 1: Why isn't the "full" sign automatically on when non-permit holders can no longer enter? And No. 2: On July 1, 2021, "Iowa's News Now" reported that "the top three levels of the Tower Place Parking Ramp have been closed to the public as of Monday in Iowa City. The closure is so repairs can be made, which is expected to take two to three months." It is now well into 10 months later, and nobody appears to have seen or heard any recent activity on the upper levels of the ramp — one has to ask why the delay, the apparent inactivity, and with no public explanation, much less an apology?

True, there are other ramps open, but they are farther away, and many seniors have mobility problems. And yes, there are meters — but they are all one-hour, and most of the Senior Center classes are 90 minutes. (Is the Parking Division not aware of this?)

I have heard comments that Senior Center administrators wished more people made use of their excellent facilities. So give us back the full ramp, put a longer limit on at least some meters, and reserve a larger proportion of permits for SC members. (And refunds to those who bought permits just before the Center closed down would be a kindness.)

-Joan O. Falconer, Iowa City

Iowa City open house/quilt show was dazzling

Bulldozers, snowplows, fire hydrants, quilts, oh my! Seems like a quilt extravaganza paired with a public works open house would mix like oil and water. But this event blended like a Reese's peanut butter cup; chocolate and peanut butter.

In 2019, the Public Works facility in southern Iowa City was completed. Designed by Neumann Monson Architects and built by Merit Construction, the facility celebrated an open house on Saturday, May 21.

If you need a definition of epic, this was it. Employees from various city departments hosted information tables that ringed an unorthodox exhibition space full of heavy city equipment and dozens upon dozens of dazzling quilts shared by members of the Old Capitol Quilters Guild.

This was truly a wonderful community event, and everyone who made it happen should feel immense senses of accomplishment and neighborly pride.

(Face palm if you knew about this event and missed it.)

The only downside was that this was a one-day, pop-up happening. It would have been great if the exhibition could have continued longer.

It certainly takes intense coordination, the suffering of some inconvenience, and a bit of fierce imagination to turn this industrial space into a momentary cultural center and community crossroad. But the effort was worth it. And, hopefully, every few years or even annually, the city's imagination will be stirred once again to turn this space into a splendid, if momentary, community celebration of some kind.

-Patrick Muller, Hills

Michael Franken is a proven leader

You don’t rise to the rank of admiral, commanding a destroyer squadron and an aircraft carrier, without demonstrating exemplary leadership skills. Not to mention being selected to serve in the Pentagon, beginning with a legislative tour with Sen. Edward Kennedy involved in policy planning for the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa.

Born in Lebanon, Iowa, the youngest of nine children in a typical, hard-working Iowa family, Michael Franken worked his way through college with three years at a slaughter-house before joining the Navy and earning an engineering degree from the University of Nebraska. Franken, with his wife Jordan, served his country for nearly four decades, enduring dozens of station moves while raising their family.

Many of you can remember when Iowa was represented in the U.S. Senate by Tom Harkin and Chuck Grassley. When Harkin (a Navy pilot) retired, Iowa lost the partisan balance that had served us so well for three decades. Since then, Grassley has swung to the extreme right, following the MAGA crowd rather than serving Iowans first. He takes his direction from the pharmaceuticals and large agri-business corporations rather than seeking what is in Iowans’ interests.

Iowans, it is time to restore some balance to Iowa politics, to put common sense ahead of extreme partisanship with a moderate Democrat who will speak for all Iowans. Franken is the candidate for the times we find ourselves in, at home and internationally. He is the one Democrat who can defeat Grassley.

-Larry Hodgden, Tipton

Glenn Hurst has right answer on health care

After watching a recent debate between the three people vying to secure the June 7 primary nomination to run as my Democratic Party’s U.S. Senate candidate in the November election I came away favoring Glenn Hurst — improbable as such was prior to my watching and in disregard of foremost beating far-too-long-in-office Chuck Grassley.

What most and finally swayed me came very near the end of the questioning with Abby Finkenauer (with Mike Franken following her in agreement) favoring drifting into something approaching universal health care by serving it up as an option that would not offend people that seem satisfied enough with the private-based insurance coverage that they have to count on. This drifting is to me the half-baked kind of effort that has decayed away the kind of results that came of the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the Greatest Generation making great and needed progress for all.

I go along with Hurst to the point that the people of our land need to be served by universal health care that is inclusively above and beyond any private-for-profit situation that they get stuck in.

-Sam Osborne, West Branch

Fed up with Mariannette Miller-Meeks

Trust is the very basis of the legitimacy of our government. That trust is earned by elected government officials through their actions and the truth of their statements. Here in our Congressional district, our current representative, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, has lost the trust of voters.

In her year-and-a-half in office, Miller-Meeks has repeatedly lied about her votes and tried to take credit for projects that she voted against. Thus, when her newsletter showed up in my inbox May 15, I viewed it with a jaundiced eye.

She falsely claimed “The Biden administration's supply chain is now further impacting working families with formula shortages being reported in stores across the United States.“

For one thing, what does the Biden administration have to do with supply chains? Nothing. That is a private sector entity, period.

Secondly, the lack of baby formula is due to concentration in that industry and the failure of one supplier, Abbott, who marketed a contaminated product causing 40% of the product to be recalled.

Third, the previous administration negotiated a trade deal that makes it more difficult for the U.S. to import baby formula in times like this.

After receiving her newsletter, Miller-Meeks voted against an emergency spending bill, on May 18, that seeks to relieve the nationwide shortage after she just complained about it in her newsletter less than a week ago.

Enough of her lies. I will be voting for someone who has proven to be worthy of trust, Christina Bohannan.

-Dave Bradley, West Liberty

This article originally appeared on Iowa City Press-Citizen: Letters: Parking woes in Iowa City, and the state of politics in Iowa