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McElroy: CCI act for good

BY BENJI MCELROY | OCTOBER 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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All too often, we 99 percenters (or 47 percenters, depending where you rank on the “victim” scale) are drowned out by the hordes of political-action groups known as corporations. When Big Business pays the big bucks to have lobbyists in the hip pocket of every politician, they can delicately whisper sweet nothings into Washington’s ear. But what are those of us stuck in Iowa, without a slimy manipulator at our fingertips, supposed to do?

Well, of course. that’s just what Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement has done since 1975. Decibels be damned.

Whether or not the suits are in Washington, D.C., or Des Moines, the game remains the same. The Citizens for Community Improvement plays the game for regular citizens. Just ask the Iowa City City Council, which recently approved zoning restrictions on payday lenders that were pushed by the citizens group.

The group’s famous encounter with Mitt Romney at the 2011 Iowa State Fair is perhaps a better example of its means. Poking and prodding at the man of many stances, the organization’s hecklers finally pinned down Romney’s one, undying belief: Corporations are people.

No statement could be further from the coalition’s principles, and no moment could further validate its techniques. The group’s techniques may be annoying at times, but those techniques get the job done.

The group methodically verbalizes the pleas of Iowans in the forms of protests, pickets and anti-pandering. From payday lenders to proposed factory farms, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement finds a way to render those endless loops of sweet nothings mute.

When we 99 percenters aren’t given a seat at the big-boy table, we don’t have to act like big boys. Citizens for Community Improvement deserves praise for consistently making sure the little guy gets her and his word in. No matter how many decibels it takes.


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