Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JULY 23, 2009 7:15 AM

New Hancher should remain near old site

The choice for the new Hancher-Voxman-Clapp Recital Hall complex now boils down to two sites: one adjacent to the old Hancher but at a higher elevation, the other in the middle of downtown Iowa City. The contrast between the two couldn’t be more glaring. The former sits comfortably in an airy, open space embraced by a beautiful tree-lined park and a gentle (yes, 99.9 percent of the time it is), meandering river; it’s unquestionably the most scenic area of the UI campus. The downtown site is crammed amid commercial establishments, a stark courthouse, a jailhouse, and a threatening Power Plant with towering, unsightly chimneys.

The former site is poetic, idyllic, and naturally conducive to music and art, whereas the latter is suffocating and claustrophobic. As with any piece of real estate, the location and environs of a building reflect the taste and character of its owner, things that cannot be changed even with the best of architectural design. The old Hancher was the crown jewel of the UI campus. Its only problem, in retrospect, being the vulnerability to inundation. Now that the flood problem is out of the way, why not let the new Hancher enjoy the same advantages as the old by building it in the same idyllic setting?

One additional gain from the old Hancher site is that the new Art Museum can be built a few blocks away on the Marching Band training ground, thus retaining the atmosphere of an Arts Campus on the west bank of the river.

Ramon Lim,
UI professor emeritus of neurology

On health, pubic should trump industry

Because cost reduction is a major requirement for health-care reform, we need to do an honest examination of the cost comparisons between single-payer, public-option, and private-only insurance plans. With CEO salaries reaching millions of dollars per year, Wall Street demanding bigger and bigger profits, and administrative costs averaging 20 to 30 percent (compared with 5 percent for Medicare), how can our representatives honestly believe that private insurance will reduce costs more than public options? Why is Congress listening to the needs of industry lobbyists instead of the American people?

Mary Pat Lease
Iowa City

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