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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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Outraged questions over red-light cameras

How many cameras does Police Chief Sam Hagardine need to keep Iowa City safe? Doesn’t Iowa City have better things to do then nitpick and fine me for my turn at a red light?

Last year, it was decided that cameras were needed on the Pedestrian Mall because the police were too focused on PAULA rates. Now, I find out that the police need some big brother backup on the streets as well.

At the same time, I thought we raised taxes on energy in 2009 to hire more police officers. Do we need to raise taxes again just to hire people to watch all of this new footage?

Can Hagardine at least be up-front with the citizens and tell us where he wants to install his cameras next? Will these cameras actually keep us safe? Or will it just empower the police to run roughshod over our civil liberties and privacy?

It’s telling that Councilor MIke Wright, who announced retirement from the council, is pushing this unpopular, government-spy, police-state agenda. He won’t have to face the voters this fall.

How much revenue does Hagardine’s peep grid expect to bring in? Will these cameras free up enough officers to shake down students for more money?

I find it disturbing that citizens can’t live their lives without the local town council unveiling its latest boneheaded scheme as soon as no one is paying attention. It is just one bad idea after another. Does Mayor Matt Hayek really want to be known as the one who ruined Iowa City by closing the party and sticking cameras in everyone’s face? Maybe Janet Napolitano and Homeland Security can grant federal money for Iowa City’s Big Brother plans.

Jeff Shipley
UI alumnus

Oppose House Republicans’ anti-union bill

If you have been paying attention to the attacks on public workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, New Jersey and Michigan, you shouldn’t be surprised that the same thing is happening here in Iowa.

About two weeks ago, Iowa’s Republican-dominated House of Representatives passed House File 525, a bill that would insidiously bust our public-sector unions and attack middle-class workers.

More than 30 years ago, Iowa adopted a bargaining process called “arbitration.” When unions and the state can’t find a compromise, they bring in a neutral third party to arbitrate a contract between public workers and the state. This happened in an attempt to find fair solutions without having to resort to strikes.

This bill diminishes that neutral third party’s ability to make a fair and unbiased decision. It guts seniority, pits worker against worker, places unfair taxes on public employees, and makes it harder for workers to negotiate decent wages and benefits.

Remember this issue next election.

Joe Nehring
North Liberty

University of Iowa is for Iowans

UI President Sally Mason thinks that in the future the UI might have to implement an enrollment cap because of increasing numbers of out-of-state and international students. I do not think that an enrollment cap is needed, if the UI handles this well.

1. We are talking about the University of Iowa, not the University of Iowa/Illinois/international. There should be no reason that kids from Iowa high schools who want to go to Iowa should be rejected because the university wants to bring in kids from out of state. Iowa families pay taxes so that they can send their child to an in-state school. The university should not prioritize out-of-state and international students over prospective students who are Iowans. Is the UI going to tell a kid, whose whole family has to attended university here, that their slot was taken by a kid from Chicago?

Sally Mason does not need to crush the dreams of fellow Iowans.

2. Raise tuition for out-of-state and international students. I know the university has done this in the past. That extra tuition should be used to lower tuition for in-state students. There are more than enough bright kids from the state of Iowa.

3. Here are some earlier quotes from Mason: “As a public state university, we are always committed to making life better for Iowans.”

“The people of the state of Iowa are justifiably proud of their university, and I hold that legacy in hand with a profound sense of stewardship.”

Please live by your words, President Mason.

David Klugman
Iowa City resident

Obama obscures Latin America-U.S. history

During his recent trip to Latin America, President Obama paid homage to the assassinated Archbishop Oscar Romero, an El Salvadoran hero famous for standing with the poor during the war-torn 1980s.

Oscar Romero was assassinated while giving Mass 31 years ago this week. In El Salvador, Obama acknowledged Romero’s heroism and bravery.

However, what Obama failed to mention is that the archbishop’s assassination was planned and carried out by individuals trained by the United States at the School of the Americas. The military school is located in Fort Benning, Ga., and is still in operation, training Latin American soldiers who become human-rights abusers at an astonishing rate.

Until Obama acknowledges America’s role in the Romero tragedy and closes this school of assassins, the reputation of the United States will be tainted in Latin America.

Wilson Juarez
UI graduate student


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