KCJJ radio host aims to run for Iowa City City Council

BY ERIC MOORE | AUGUST 29, 2011 7:20 AM

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Making students and others in the Iowa City community feel more welcome is the focus of one potential candidate for the Iowa City City Council.

Steve Soboroff, the host and owner of KCJJ radio, said he intends to file for an official candidacy, once he is sure he has the “necessary signatures.”

“People have to feel welcomed, and people have to want to be welcomed,” he said.

He said his focus would be on the whole community, not just the downtown. He also wants to see change in the area of property taxes, which he calls “the easy way out.”

“You gotta have a city that opens its arms to business,” he said.

Another area of focus for Soboroff is improving the Southeast Side, where, he said, he feels crime is not sufficiently addressed. He feels housing laws need to be more strictly enforced and considers the police substation in the southeastern part of the city to be ineffective. Soboroff said numerous residences have been broken into in the past month, and he is dissatisfied with the level of police involvement after the break-ins.

City Councilor Connie Champion, said the Southeast Side has improved thanks to increased Crime Stopper participation, as well as the police substation, and the implementation of a curfew.

“I think we’re addressing the crime situation in the Southeast Side of town,” she said. “I think people are learning that if you do things over there, you’re going to be found out.”

UI Professor Emeritus Jim Throgmorton, who served on the council in the ’90s, announced his candidacy for a councilor position in June, and he has also included the demographic shift on the Southeast Side among his top issues along with affordable housing.

“We’re lucky to be living in a lovely city, Throgmorton told The Daily Iowan in June. “But we will face some significant challenges over the coming years. I believe my combination of experience, knowledge, skills, and vision can help us respond in a way that enables us to make it an even better place.”

Supporters of Soboroff’s candidacy were present on the University of Iowa campus on Aug. 26, collecting signatures from students eligible to vote.

UI freshmen Kevin Cronin was one student to sign Soboroff’s petition, though he said he wasn’t given a background on Soboroff before signing.

“It seemed innocent enough to me,” Cronin said. “Looks like there’s some political plans, some political campaigning going on.”

Soboroff currently hosts local 1630 AM radio station KCJJ, which he describes as an “entertainment show more than anything else.”

Lyombe Eko, a UI associate professor journalism and mass communication, said Soboroff’s intention to run for the council while being a radio host was a “conflict of interest” and a calculated risk.

“Legally speaking, there is nothing that can prevent him [from running],” Eko said. “… Generally, the airwaves belong to the public. If he is using the airwaves to advance his political career, he should allow equal time to other candidates. Once he gets into a race, the fact that he owns a radio station will be a matter of public interest.”

Eko said if Soboroff does not provide equal representation of the other candidates, he runs the risk of people complaining to the FCC, which could result in a loss of license for his radio station when his license is up for renewal.

So far, five other candidates are running for the council, whom Soboroff feels are “removed from what’s really going on.”

“I think there’s a constant fight between this community is and what they want it to be,” he said.

In today's issue:

comments powered by Disqus

Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.