Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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I have been involved in the Iowa City bar scene for going on seven years now, and I will vote “No” on repealing the 21 ordinance. A strange concept, I know, but not due to any of the rhetoric that is regularly spewed by both sides. Skewed statistics and fear mongering aplenty have taken this issue far away from the real arguments in play.

On the 21 side, we hear vague terms such as safer” and “more diverse,” but without any clear definition into what downtown is safer and more diverse than. The weekends still bring piles of vomit in alleys and on sidewalks, fights and assaults, and plentiful lewd behavior and debauchery that is now performed by the young adults and middle-age citizens as opposed to 19- and 20-year-olds of the past.

As far as PAULA violations going down, I cringe every time it is not immediately followed up by the rise in its new counterpart, “presence in bar after hours.”

I also fail to see this diverse utopia individuals speak of so frequently. When I look downtown, I only see a few of the old bastions gone. Maybe we are just a few more years away from the desired effect. But I see three frozen yogurt shops, paired with two additional ice-cream parlors, countless sandwich places, and a few retailers who have decided to move from one storefront to a newer one.

Add in all of the bar/restaurants that have been around and are mostly on the side of repealing the 21-ordinance and I see a landscape that hasn’t changed much at all except for having fewer people around to frequent the local businesses that do exist.

But enough on them, the bars and their proponents are equally at fault for spreading the same “safety” claims and Edenesque scene that will hopefully lure people into voting for something that benefits the businesses more so than the patrons. They want to make money, and if you are going to drink underage, they want you to pay them to do it. Pretty simple really.

In summation, I am tired of reading the double talk. Just say what you mean. The city wants to get rid of bars because the University doesn’t want to be labeled as a party school and the bars want to make money. It’s 21 to drink alcohol right now, so you should have to be 21 if you are at a business whose only product is selling alcohol. The underlying issues of what should the drinking age be, amnesty laws allowing people to not be punished for calling police or medical services, and the like should line the pages of our papers more than the regurgitated “statistics” and musings of those who have only their own best interests at heart.

Cody Haaf

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