Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 15, 2013 5:00 AM

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Cliques in the government

Regarding Johnson County Supervisor Terrence Neuzil’s comments about “years of planning” and what he doesn’t think is “honorable” in light of his “decision-making over the past [12] years,” I think the cliquish mentality of the supervisors is aptly demonstrated by his comments. Just like the horribly disrespectful idea for the jail addition to the county Courthouse, this is another “bulldozed” government initiative that runs counter to what is best for our society.

The issue is not about rural tranquility and only property rights, it is about the proven fact for the entire history of this country that development and agriculture absolutely cannot coexist. Although there are extremely limited small “urban farms,” which essentially amount to “commercial hobby farms,” genuine agriculture suffers great harms from nearby human habitation and commercial development. As habitation urban sprawl encroaches upon farms, multitudes of harms occur to make those farms become unviable.

But who needs farms, when if we need food we can just all go to the grocery store?

Libris Fidelis
Iowa City resident

Diversity is a dangerous practice

When diversity is invited into a closed social situation, it causes nothing but anger and anxiety on both sides. This is because the “diverse” person begins to wear on the nerves because she or he always seems to ask the wrong questions like, “Is the preamble to the Iowa City Charter part of the charter itself, or is it like the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, not part of the document itself?” Or, “Is the Statement of Purpose of the Planning and Zoning Board part of the City Code itself or like the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, only an introduction?” These questions make a huge difference on how city government works.

Because I ask these questions, I am treated like Dickens’ Oliver Twist when he asked for more: Metaphorically hit on the head with a wooden spoon because I dare ask for more information. Why is this information not readily available for a query? Think about it.

Every political document has a legal purpose. If you as a citizen are locked out of its meaning, then corruption like rust is more likely to set in by those in power. Rust if not treated, never stops until it corrodes the integrity of the metal. If neither the council nor the boards know meaning and structure of the City Charter, or the people they trust are likewise inclined, then they are more likely to be corrupt because of ignorance of the law.

But ignorance of the/a law is no excuse. I have watched enough “Perry Mason” shows to understand this point of law.

What I resent most is how the people who I ask this query to treat me. Instead of telling me, “I have never been asked this question before, and I will get back to you when I find the answer myself,” I am treated like a leper: No phone calls are returned; else the barely concealed anger in the answering voice tells me that neither my question nor me is welcome. This is why I think diversity is a bad thing in a closed society. 

Diversity brings with it a new way of thinking on social and legal matters. It makes one use her or his civic education to its fullest extent. Does a citizen have a right to knowledge about her or his governmental documents, so that her or his civil rights are not being violated because of ignorance on both sides? Or do we live in a society governed by those whose only values are those of a Third World oligarchy?

Mary Gravitt
Iowa City resident

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