Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | JANUARY 22, 2013 6:30 AM

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New Pi’s new digs

Somehow, the citizens of Iowa City think that future building projected to occupy the northeast corner of College and Gilbert Streets is a done deal. It is not. Nothing a governing body decides is finalized unless the people or the courts decide that it is so.

I remember the battle waged over the Super Walmart. I was for building it because the U.S. economy had tanked and believed with good cause if there was no employment in that end of the city, the entire economy would be affected.

But my opponents argued that Walmart stood for big business killing small business. They went so far as to fill the City Council at every meeting with witnesses to their folly and even hired a lawyer and raised funds.

Where are all the cheerleaders so much in enamored of small businesses when the New Pioneer Co-op needs them? What happen to the small-business ethic? Or was it just BS for public consumption, or have they been bought out, too?

I have not seen or heard one speaking up for an Iowa City institution that contributes both to the fiduciary security of the city and that pays a living wage to its employees.

Writing books about the “good ol’ days” in Iowa City and helping to save what is left of those days seems to be an enigma to those against the big boxes and favor the small enterprise except when it comes to when it really counts.

Mary Gravitt
Iowa City resident


You may have read in the Jan. 16 Press Citizen that Johnson County is seriously cutting the budget for SEATS para-transit from $400,000 in fiscal 2013 to only $100,000 in  fiscal 2014.

The $100,000 may seem like a lot of money, but consider what Tom Brase, the director of Johnson County Para-Transit, and his staff are able to do with ridership at an all-time high. The coordinated service in Johnson County is something to be extremely proud of and is worth keeping, in my opinion.

Nationally, the cost to provide a para-transit trip is on average seven to 10 times higher than for fixed route. Johnson County SEATS has one of the lowest costs per trip in the nation. It does what it can to keep the cost as low as possible for everyone.

The need is there, but where is the money going to come from? I, as an Iowa City resident, pay taxes, which the county gets, and I want something that I can use for my money. Being disabled and not driving anymore, I have become dependent on SEATS for the majority of my transportation needs. I’m not the only one.

Many elderly and disabled individuals use SEATS to get to work on a daily basis. I purpose that we pack the meetings. The next meeting of the Coralville City Council is today and then Feb. 12. The Iowa City Council will meet today and Feb. 5 at the City Hall. I hope to see you at these meetings to save our seats.

Harry Olmstead
Iowa City resident

Firefighters arise

The start of a new year is supposed to bring hope and renewal. It’s a time for bettering oneself and practicing good habits. In Washington, unfortunately, the New Year has brought the same-old dysfunction and failure Americans have come to expect.

That Wall Street and stock markets around the world cheered the fiscal-cliff deal isn’t a reflection of its substance; rather, it was a sigh of relief that Congress is capable of at least doing something.

Beyond the market’s recent reaction, the cheering rightfully has become silence and scorn. The deal represents nothing more than a special-interest grab bag of tax-loophole extensions, welfare handouts, and politically charged tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans. As a result, the main thrust of the fiscal cliff was postponed a couple of months down the road, with the debate over raising the country’s debt limit certain to take center stage.

The thing that really makes Americans angry is that Congress itself is responsible for creating these crises, because hardly any legislation written today has permanence, leading us to face these artificial deadlines.

As such, it becomes difficult to praise Washington for averting crises such as the fiscal cliff, because you are basically applauding an arsonist for extinguishing his own fire. Thus, we are living in a political era of crisis management at a time when we need long-term strategic thinking. Instead of focusing on the (inevitable) debt-ceiling increase, Congress should be tackling entitlement reform, energy policy, and tax-code simplification, to name a few. These issues represent actual fires that will affect our country for decades to come, not made-up political stunts. Thus, my message to the 113th Congress is to become firefighters, not arsonists.

Zach Halstead
UI senior

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