Council candidate Tallon will focus on affordable housing, Melrose vending

BY BRIAN ALBERT | JUNE 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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A former University of Iowa student and currently deployed soldier is tackling some prominent Iowa City issues in his second bid for a seat on the Iowa City City Council.

Dan Tallon, an Iowa Army National Guardsman stationed in Afghanistan, will run for District C in the city election this fall. One of his focuses will be alcohol and its effect on local youth.

“The fact is the law changed, and it is unlikely to change again in the next few years,” Tallon said. “I hope we can move toward a stance on showing students and teenagers that there is a way to drink responsibly and a dangerous way so that when they are old enough to legally make their own choices, they make smart ones.”

Tallon ran for a seat in 2009. He won the City Council primary but lost the general election. Now, equipped with a military tour of duty and a few more years of experience, he said, he believes that he more strongly identifies with the people of Iowa City.

“I live in Iowa City, and I am a resident like any other,” he wrote in an e-mail to *The Daily Iowan*. “I even went to war with a unit based in Iowa City. If that doesn’t make me a real resident, I’m not sure what will.”

Tallon said he also wants to tackle the issue of providing affordable-housing options “not only in one community but in every area of the city.”

“I think we need to sit down with builders and ask them what we can offer to entice them to build affordable housing,” he said. “I do not think affordable-housing options mean apartments only, but also small houses that fit the budgets of young families or the working lower-middle class.”

In addition to housing and alcohol, the 21-year-old said he is firm on keeping vendors operating along Melrose Avenue and plans to oppose any movements to close off the road to the public on game days. In April, the council rejected a ban on game-day vendors after hearing concerns about safety and zoning.

City Councilor Connie Champion agreed his views are important, and she said Tallon has a stronger chance of being elected than he did a few years ago.

“Name recognition has a lot to do with it,” she said. “If you’re new, you just don’t have that. It’s not an easy thing, but I think he has a better chance this time around. I wish him luck.”

City Councilor Regenia Bailey — who currently represents Iowa City’s District C but has said she will not run for re-election — said she thinks some of Tallon’s concerns are on the minds of Iowa City residents.

“These are certainly issues that have come up before,” she said. “They are important.”

In the transportation realm, the reduction or elimination of bus fares for certain routes, Tallon said, “could be one of the greatest investments for the future.” Lowering fares might “encourage people to use public transit to get downtown” and promote “transit use in low-income areas to help people get to work.”

Bailey said she feels Tallon’s chances for election will depend on the competition.

“Mr. Tallon may or may not have opponents for the seat in District C,” she said. “We’ll need to see the lineup and the ideas, as well as the community response.”

Mark McCallum, Tallon’s campaign coordinator, said he feels confident that his candidate will find success.

“Dan is capable of bringing a young perspective to the council,” McCallum said. “That’s important in a time when many of the current issues pertain to students and other young people. He also has a lot of knowledge and passion about both the issues and the people of Iowa City. That’s a big part of why I wanted to help him.”

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