Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 23, 2010 7:30 AM

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Council should reject 21-ordinance

As a recent University of Iowa graduate, I have enjoyed the editorials The Daily Iowan has published regarding the 21-ordinance.

The 21-ordinance, by design, is supposed to curb binge-drinking, right? That is the one argument that seems to repeat itself. However, just because the bars go 21-only does not mean binge drinking will stop. If underage people are already breaking the drinking-age laws, what is to keep them from doing so in a more “secure” venue such as a house party?

This is a double-edged sword that should be of concern to the residents of Iowa City. Instead of allowing people 19 and older to make responsible decisions in a social setting — and one that can be closely monitored by bar staff and law enforcement — this ordinance would push these same people toward the neighborhoods and toward more of the families that live on the border between student housing and resident housing. This is potentially a more hazardous situation than the problems downtown.

Sure, PAULAs will go down, but other drinking statistics will likely remain unchanged. The downtown economy could suffer, and some bars may even close. City ordinances shouldn’t cause businesses to decline, especially those bars that were designed to accommodate both legal drinkers and those younger patrons that enjoy socializing and the musical atmosphere.

Inevitably, it all comes down to individual responsibility. This comes from education and learning from past mistakes. I have known plenty of people who were not 21 who have come to bars with us not to drink but to be an adult and hang out with their friends.

College is not only about the education you gain from the university, but life lessons you learn from living out on your own for the first time.

Christian McCracken
UI graduate

Ordinance an affront to local democracy

The citizens of Iowa City have already made their voices loud and clear on the 21-ordinance when, in 2007, it was soundly defeated by more than 2,000 votes. Should the City Council choose to now pass an ordinance that a majority of its citizens officially oppose, the council is effectively disenfranchising the populace and choosing to ignore their votes.

What does this say about the state of government and democracy in Iowa City? That a minority of vocal antagonists can effectively push whatever agenda they choose, regardless of how the majority of the community chooses to vote.

Seven people do not constitute a majority, and we elect the City Council to listen to the voice of community and act accordingly. How much clearer can the citizens of Iowa City make themselves than by publicly rejecting this idea through their votes? If the council decides to override its electorate, then this is just one more step toward the total loss of civil liberties and rights of the voting citizens of this community.

Doug Kallin
Iowa City resident

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