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Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JULY 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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Stop business-unfriendly practices

I would like for Iowa City leaders to take a close look at how many businesses have shut down due to the 21-ordinance. While city officials are focusing their attention on how many PAULAs are handed out each month, they are missing out on the big picture, which includes the number of businesses forced to close their doors this past year.

I'm sure city councilors' thoughts were to drive out businesses that housed unsafe environments for underage students so safer businesses could move in and keep Iowa City flourishing. However, that hasn't been the case. If you take a walk downtown, sure, you don't hear loud music or see students waiting in line to get into bars, but you do see boarded-up windows and "For Rent" signs in cobwebbed doorways — a much different sight from the bustling new shops and businesses councilor members had dreamed of last year.

Now, Iowa City officials are moving from downtown bars to restaurants by potentially "tweaking" or revoking the restaurants' food exemption to include a PAULA-ratio requirement, even though restaurants have followed set profit standards. This will most likely result in more businesses closing their doors because, with the 21-ordinance, business owners simply cannot make ends meet.

Unfortunately for city leaders, Iowa City is a college town. As many have pointed out before, if students want to drink, they will find a way to drink. So rather than focusing on the quantity of PAULAs administered each month, city officials should begin calculating the number of businesses being driven out of a once-profitable and bustling downtown, before Iowa City is left as a ghost town.

Abby Lenox
UI junior


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