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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 29, 2013 5:00 AM

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Obama’s peace trip

President Obama’s recent trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories highlighted the importance of peace in this strategically vital region. But can peace for all be achieved without justice for all? And how can that justice be achieved after 45 years of erosion of the two-state solution that all parties say they want?

On Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Iowa City Public Library, Professor Farid Esack will speak about how South African apartheid is and is not analogous to the Israeli occupation and how the resolution of one conflict might inform our approach to the other. Formerly a national commissioner on gender equality appointed by President Nelson Mandela, Esack now serves as head of the Department of Religion Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

On the day before Easter, I hope many people will want to attend and join in the discussion of an issue so central to world peace.

Pat Minor
Iowa City resident

SEATS and the Johnson County supervisors

Iowa City taxpayers pay 70 percent of the operating budget of the Johnson County supervisors. Now, through an act of vindictive viciousness against Iowa City, the supervisors have decided to cut SEATS funding.  By cutting SEATS funding, they have declared war on the Americans With Disability Act.

Rumor has it that because the city would not pay for the animal-shelter relocation from Iowa City into the county after the flood, the supervisors vowed revenge. Johnson County’s vengeance seems to equal attacking the most venerable members of Johnson County’s society: the physically and mentally disabled and disadvantaged.

The reason for so flagrant insult to humane treatment is because the disabled have no representation on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Casey Hayse wrote a poignant plea in the DI (March 25) to both the supervisors and the Iowa City City Council on why matters have come to this impasse. The cities of Iowa City and Coralville were irresponsible in not thinking about paying for para-transit when they were developing their budgets.

According to the supervisors, the cities were told in September 2012 that the county would significantly reduce its funding to subsidize SEATS for both of these cities.

I think both Iowa City and Coralville have been too involved with TIF controversies and that the Iowa City City Council has been too enamored of skyscrapers and plans of urban grandeur to be bothered with any warning from the county that if the city did not have its budgeting plans and compromises in by the beginning of February 2013, SEATS would be cut by $100,000 in the first year and eventually zeroed out in three years.

I was at the City Council meeting in March when a member of the Human Relations Board, himself disabled, delivered this message. He spoke directly to the council and delivered documentation. The mayor made promises, but so far nothing has come of it.

Mary Gravitt
Iowa City resident


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