Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 12, 2013 5:00 AM

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Thank you for the editorial today, March 11.

“To opt for an inferior program for any reason, politics or ignorance, would be a disservice to Iowa” — amen.

Please have your reporters investigate whether/if and/or how much stock Gov. Terry Branstad owns in various health-insurance companies.

How could the man have been the president of a medical college without meeting some of the doctors who stand up for Medicare and Medicaid?

A man with several government pay and retirement incomes has no concept of issues confronting the working poor and the retired poor and the unemployed. God, help us all.  The governor does not represent the average Iowan, the multitude of poor Iowans, or even the financially well off who have any heart and soul.

Elsie Gauley Vega
Iowa City resident

The Chauncey sausage making is nasty

A free press is indeed necessary for a free people.  And Iowa City is fortunate to have at least four presses that feature local politics. Skaaren Cossé and Zack Tilly in the Feb. 20-March 6 Little Village reveal the Chauncey Matrix Tricks.

To decide among the three alternative [proposals], the councils planned to develop a “decision matrix.”  The preliminary matrix included five criteria to be considered, weighed by relative importance and scored for each proposal.

The breakdown of the proposed matrix can be found on the City Council website under the Jan. 8 work session.

However, when the council was ready to make its final decision, one council member alleges that his fellow councilors chose not to use the decision matrix and to move ahead without it.

The five city councilors who preferred the Chauncey plan were able to approve that project with little debate and without presenting a concrete rationale or side-by-side comparison.

Even some who were heavily involved with the process were left scratching their heads about how this decision was made.

This abject lack of transparency in the council’s decision-making process has rightly angered opponents of the Chauncey, who feel that the city did not properly consider public concerns about the project or follow through on its promise to consider issues of cost and environmental impact, among others.  This dissatisfaction is compounded by the city’s history with development projects led by Iowa City super-developer Marc Moen.

At the time of this writing, none of the city councilors who supported the Chauncey had responded to our request for comment.

Cossé and Tilly conclude that things change, skylines change, neighborhoods change, it happens. The potential utility and beauty of the Chauncey is certainly debatable, the nature of Marc Moen’s impact and influence in Iowa City is debatable, too — the inadequacy of the city’s decision-making process is not. 

Hopefully, they conclude, Iowa City will continue to enjoy development opportunities like the one at College and Gilbert, but the City Council must justify its future decisions with greater transparency and a greater concern for public opinion. 

By ignoring its own decision process the council reeks of the Third World corruption politics that the Chauncey itself represents.  The only part of the world still welcoming skyscrapers is the Third World.

The fact that there was “little debate, concrete rationale or side-by-side comparison, left some councilors scratching their heads as to the outcome of rewarding the Moen Group’s plan,” is a sign of the five councilors’ predisposition toward the Chauncey. 

Moen is beside the point for now. It is the behavior of the council members that is in question because of their duplicitous behavior.

Now the citizens of the College Green Park neighborhood and the real-estate taxpayers of Iowa City may find themselves burdened aesthetically with a 20-story glass and chrome gargantuan blocking out the Sun and casting its long shadow into the taxpayers’ pocketbooks for decades.

Mary Gravitt
Iowa City resident

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