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21-ordinance could reshape downtown IC

Beneath the noise of the 21-only arguments, we might all but forget one of the truly possible and positive outcomes of a 21-only Iowa City: Though some bars are clearly threatened by the ordinance, it is also worth noting that the disappearance of such establishments would make room for new businesses and a downtown that could look much improved in five to 10 years.

Iowa City is capable of building a downtown that attracts not only underage college students but all college students to the center of Iowa City. Imagine a downtown composed not only of bars but of strong restaurants and excellent clothing stores, including local retailers and some well-known clothing chains (J Crew, Urban Outfitters, H&M) that exist in cultural hubs such as Chicago and Minneapolis.

How about a movie theater downtown that has interesting programming upstairs and a great restaurant/lounge downstairs? As for live entertainment — in particular, music — the City Council has already taken action to ensure that in a 21-only Iowa City, underage patrons would be able to see live shows until midnight.

Realistically, it will take a city-wide effort to reshape the tenor of downtown: The commercial real-estate czars will have to lower rents, the city must scale back property taxes and present incentives for new ventures, and perhaps most importantly, the university must step up to play a key role in subsidizing student-friendly outlets, such as downtown performing arts venues, movie theaters, and bowling alleys.

I encourage all voters to consider the different long-term futures of Iowa City as they approach the polls. Whichever outcome looks best — the way it was or the way it could be — make sure it’s what you’ll want 10 years from now, whether you’re a longtime resident or a future alumnus visiting your alma mater.

Andre Perry
executive director, Englert Theatre; talent buyer for the Mill

Local religious group: Support 21-ordinance

At the Oct. 20 meeting of Iowa City’s Consultation of Religious Communities, we considered the following resolution:

“Whereas binge drinking and underage drinking is a growing and dangerous problem in Iowa City,
“Whereas the Iowa City Council has implemented a 21-only law for bars and taverns in Iowa City,
“And whereas the Consultation of Religious Communities recognizes changing the culture of binge and underage drinking requires a multi-faceted approach, of which the 21-only law is one,
“Be it resolved that the Consultation of Religious Communities supports the 21-only law,
“And be it further resolved that the Consultation of Religious Communities recommends the defeat of the referendum that would rescind the 21-only law.”

By consensus, the resolution received the unanimous support of the members present.

Let us be grateful for the efforts of everyone working to change the binge and underage drinking culture of Iowa City. As citizens of Iowa City, we can join the momentum to change the culture by voting “no” on the referendum so 21-only is sustained in Iowa City.

Mark Pries
Iowa City resident

Debating Israel and Palestine

In response to Gerald Sorokin’s Oct. 28 guest opinion, “Two-state solution the only one in Israeli-Palestinian conflict”: While I agree that a two-state solution is the only viable option for the Middle East conflict, the author ignores two fundamental issues.

The first is that even though the Palestinian Liberation Organization acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, Hamas, the duly elected government in the Gaza Strip, does not. In fact Hamas’ charter still calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

Second, the national identity of the Jewish people is tied to their religion. The Jews have an equal religious connection to the land of Israel, as well as a historical one. Currently, nearly all of Jewish holy sites are located in the West Bank. How would these sites be treated if they came under the control of a Palestinian state?

Solomon Chouicha
University of Iowa College of Law student

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