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Vote Patel, Payne, Soboroff

BY DI EDITORIAL STAFF | NOVEMBER 08, 2011 7:20 AM

 
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The DI Editorial Board is thoroughly impressed with the candidate pool for Iowa City City Council. There are a few that we prefer, of course. We officially endorse the following:

Raj Patel

Raj Patel would make an excellent city councilor.

Better than the rest of the candidates, he will representative the interests of University of Iowa students. Bridging the gap between the student population and the City Council is very important. Iowa City has a population just under 68,000, and the University of Iowa enrolls nearly 31,000 students. For a city that so heavily relies on university students, the governing body hardly reflects any student voice.

The four precincts on or near campus — the Quad, the Main Library, the Courthouse, and the Rec Center — voted heavily in favor of repealing the 21-ordinance one year ago, at 86 percent, 90 percent, 91 percent, and 86 percent, respectively.

Compare that with the final City Council vote that enact the ordinance that April — 6-1, or 86 percent, in favor of a 21-only bar-entry age.

Patel has much experience representing student interests in the Iowa City community. He led efforts to repeal the 21-ordinance as a UI sophomore last fall. He has also served as the council liaison for the UI Student Government.

Patel also wants to focus on making Iowa City a magnet for jobs, especially for those who will graduate and are pessimistic about the possibility of finding work. By creating an entrepreneur center downtown and allow more businesses to enter Iowa City, he believes that jobs can be created and bring about more prosperity for local citizens, as well as increased revenues for the city. With the use of self-supported municipal improvement district and tax-incentive financing and an elimination of some regulations, he also believes that downtown can be restored to its former glory.
Patel also wants to explore sustainability options for the university and downtown businesses. He also wants to attract more nonalcoholic entertainment venues in an attempt to make the 21-ordinance as effective as possible.

Patel is a strong candidate with a commendable agenda who will provide a much-needed student-voice on the City Council.

Michelle Payne

Michelle Payne is a longtime resident of Iowa City and part-time UI student, with great potential to effect positive change in Iowa City. She balances her full-time job at MidAmerican Energy, her work on the Planning & Zoning Commission, and her studies toward a B.A. in business effectively. She has worked on the Iowa City Board of Adjustment in the past and comes from a family of city councilors — her father and grandfather served on the Orion, Ill., City Council.

With her familiarity of both the private and public sectors, Payne is a prime candidate for the City Council when jobs and budgetary woes are the prime issues. Her primary platform is to attract long-term businesses to the area, which will create more jobs and thus more permanent residents and a wider tax base to address the budgetary problems. She wants to make it easier for businesses to work with city government by streamlining communication processes. Payne told the DI on Oct. 31, "[I want to] make it easier for people to do things in the city, not have to jump over such high hoops that they feel they have to jump over today."

Payne is focused on making Iowa City a thriving community for years to come. She wants to make Iowa City bike-friendly, and, in line with her pro-business attitude, wants to advertise the city as such. She also wants to develop successful, nonalcohol-centric businesses in post-21 Iowa City.

Jobs, jobs, jobs. It's what we need, and Payne will help bring them.

Steve Soboroff

When a question is proposed to City Council candidates, the lone dissenter always seems to be Steve Soboroff.

"Captain Steve" has been the owner of KCJJ 1630 AM Radio for 18 years and a popular radio personality. His differing views from some of the candidates on issues such as the 21-ordinance and the recent Occupy Iowa City protests indicate that he will instill more debate in the City Council if he is elected.

His differences will give some underrepresented groups a voice in a city government that votes unanimously far too often. Even if he constantly voices the minority opinion in City Council votes, the resulting debates will likely prove to be beneficial for Iowa City.

Soboroff is keen on treating students better and having police not focus on them as prospects for raising revenue. He said in a DI article on Oct. 27, "We need to relax using our police as revenue makers." The city's budgetary problems has given police cause to ticket more students in situations that may not warrant it, and Soboroff wants to change that.

Soboroff is a resident of Southeast Iowa City and, like Michelle Payne, wants the council to pay more attention to the district by enforce housing laws and changing the way that the police substation operates. It is an issue on which he has been passionate for many years, and combining efforts with Payne may finally restore the Southeast Side to make it more attractive to prospective residents and businesses.

Soboroff will bring a different perspective to the City Council and help it investigate new avenues of governing.


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