City Councilors endorse Justice Center

BY DI STAFF | OCTOBER 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa City City Council passed a resolution on Tuesday in support of the language used on the referendum for the proposed Johnson County justice center.

The vote passed 6-1, with City Councilor Jim Throgmorton opposes the measure.

City Councilor Rick Dobyns, who voted in support of the referendum, said, “There was a previous attempt at passing a similar center years ago, but it was defeated. The improved version is now in front of us. I’m very much for the Justice Center.”

City Councilor Susan Mims also favored the center.

“I’m convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that it has to be done,” she said.  “This is something this community needs to do. We just have to do it.”

Throgmorton, however, believes that some answers haven’t been addressed about the proposed project, and he wasn’t persuaded that the proposed center needed to be as large as the plans indicate.
“Maybe all of you are in full agreement,” he said. “I’m not sure what I think.”

Throgmorton is concerned about the number of people who have been arrested and also about who has been arrested for which specific reasons.

“Even if something were done that resulted for fewer arrests, you still have the basic safety and space issues to contend with,” Mayor Matt Hayek said in response to Throgmorton’s concerns. “The situation down there is dire. It’s a very serious issue.”

A representative from the local group called Yes for Justice spoke in favor of the proposed center Tuesday night.

The proposed Center would cost $46.8 million; Johnson County citizens will be able to vote on the issue on Nov. 6.

— Nathaniel Otjen

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