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Anti-21 activist Patel to run for IC City Council

BY DORA GROTE | SEPTEMBER 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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One of the 21-ordinance’s main opponents said he has no plans to try to repeal the measure if he is elected to the Iowa City City Council this fall.

University of Iowa junior Raj Patel submitted his application Tuesday to run for one of the three open City Council seats.

“It is a law now, and I respect the democratic process.” Patel said about the 21- ordinance. “We will work within the parameters to improve the law.”

Patel said there are many other issues on his platform with scopes much larger and more important.

And the UI Student Government City Council liaison said he’s confident in his ability to serve as a councilor.

“Some people may say youth is my weakness, but in fact, I think it is my greatest strength,” he said.

Patel’s main campaign platforms include promoting sustainability and safety, attracting new businesses to Iowa City, promoting alternative entertainment options downtown, and keeping Iowa City vibrant.

“I will bring to the table new and fresh ideas to bring Iowa City into the future,” he said.

He said he wants to provide tax incentives for homes and businesses to improve their environmental efficiency. Patel also discussed the addition of outdoor lighting fixtures downtown.

But realistically, his goals may not be completely feasible, Councilor Susan Mims said.

“In theory, a lot of his ideas are great, but the issue is how to support them financially and how to keep Iowa City an affordable place to live,” she said.

USIG Vice President Brittany Caplin said she’s frustrated the university’s student liaison does not have a vote on City Council.

“Students should absolutely be on City Council,” she said. “The makeup of Iowa City is primarily students, and students should see the importance of having a vote on City Council.”

Mims agreed.

“A younger person can have a lot of effect [on the city] if he or she approaches it properly,” she said.

Patel said his running for City Council will enrich his position as student liaison.

“This is me fully realizing the potential of my position,” Patel said.

However, if elected to City Council, the vice liaison will take over his position. If not elected, Patel will continue to serve as the liaison.

The Iowa City native will do his part in enhancing his hometown.

“I have an energy and passion to improve Iowa City,” he said.


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