Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 21, 2011 7:20 AM

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Mitchell can make a difference

To hear that we had the third-lowest voter turnout in history for the City Council primaries in 28 years was astounding.

It's shameful for Iowa City, which has a history of political activism from many sides of the spectrum and now a park full of political protesters. It's also shameful when voters have a truly community-minded candidate such as Jarrett Mitchell, who is running. If we really want a pragmatic councilor whose interests aren't self-aggrandizing, we need to go to the polls on Nov. 8 and vote for Mitchell, and Mitchell alone.

I've heard Mayor Matt Hayek as being regarded as one of the best mayors in Iowa City history. But at the same time he's warning us of a budget crunch for the city, the City Council is giving tax breaks to one of the wealthiest developers in the city. Do we need to tax downtown businesses in order to hire a business-development manager, or spend money on Atlanta-based consulting groups to tell us how to further develop the area?

Raj Patel may be young and energetic, but his family business, with which he repeatedly boasts involvement, has plans to build a Hampton Inn in an area that the city is trying to make another tax-increment financing district. Does this seem like a conflict of interest to you? Is Patel running himself ragged, stretching his skills too thin? Mitchell budgeted his time well enough to earn both a bachelor's and a master's degree in fine arts while at the same time pursuing other political and environmental issues.

I realize the issues are more complicated than on paper. I'm not saying these people would make bad councilmen. But I can say that Jarrett Mitchell has owned several businesses, including his coffee shop, Wake Up Iowa City, 112 S. Linn St., and has never taken taxpayers' money to help fund those businesses.

Some people don't take Mitchell seriously. They think his "legalize chickens" stance is a joke and will bring disease to the city — but check the facts. The issue is serious, and it represents a larger problem in our community. Can we sustain ourselves without being a burden on others? Do we need city government frivolously spending our money while dumping more taxes and regulations on us?

I realize that there have been few reasons to vote for political office on any level in the past few years. But if you really want to make a difference on a local level with a candidate that you can identify with, consider putting a vote in for Mitchell.

Brendan L. Spengler
Iowa City resident

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