Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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Vote for Cole

The upcoming City Council election gives Iowa City voters an exciting opportunity: elect Rockne Cole to the at-large seat and push city government in a new direction. Rockne combines a passionate commitment to the value of community with a creative approach to solving problems. I met Rockne at a meeting of Iowa Coalition Against the Shadow, the group he cofounded to oppose building the Chauncey at the intersection of College and Gilbert Streets. I was immediately impressed by his energy and commitment to doing things the right way — listening to as many people and viewpoints as possible and choosing the course most responsible for the community as a whole. He is acutely aware of the impact any major building project will have on its surrounding neighborhood and refers often to the city’s Comprehensive Plan, which provides guides for development that is both economically sound and socially responsible. Rockne views following those principles as “being a good neighbor” and is understandably concerned when city government ignores them to favor a narrow segment of the downtown business community over all other considerations. Fairness and justice are core values for any community, and Rockne is deeply committed to both.

He doesn’t just talk about community involvement and action, he practices it. In his work as an immigration lawyer, he fights for the rights of the underrepresented to make Iowa City a more inclusive community. As a city councilor, he will commit his time and energy to continuing his social-justice work, protecting the integrity of all neighborhoods — residential, business, historic — and supporting projects that enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives here. He will make a real difference in the way the council operates — championing a government that works openly, honestly, and for the good of all, not just a few. We need his outlook on City Council. I can’t think of anyone better qualified or more ready to take on the challenges that local government faces in the next several years. I’ve lived in Iowa City nearly 40 years, and I’ve grown tired of councils that talk about serving everyone’s interests while subordinating them to the wishes of a select few business leaders. We need a council responsive to the interests and needs of all of us. It’s time for a change, and Rockne Cole embodies that change. Please join me in voting Cole for Council on Nov. 5.

Phil Beck

As a psychiatrist for young adults, I see firsthand the consequences of underage drinking. Please vote "NO" on repeal of the 21-ordinance. The American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association have produced statements on the neurologic damage done by binge drinking, especially during the important brain-development period of young adulthood. Decades of medical research show decreased ability to learn new information, as well as worse performance in vocabulary, attention, and complex thinking in youth who binge drink. Studies show that this damage done during brain growth may be long-term and is associated with a higher risk of academic failure, depression with thoughts of suicide, violence, damaged relationships, and future inability to succeed at life goals. That’s why the physicians of the two associations advocate reducing underage access to alcohol and greater enforcement of underage drinking laws.

The citizens of Iowa City are to be commended for putting the 21-ordinance in place. Clearly, statistics show a reduction in dangerous drinking in young adults since the ordinance took effect. As a physician who helps young adults manage the consequences of dangerous drinking, I can attest that each remaining “statistic” is an actual young person who is suffering negative effects. We in Iowa City see these young adults as our students, friends, and family. They deserve our best effort on their behalf. They deserve our visit to the polls, to vote “NO” on repeal of the 21-ordinance.

Stacy Davis

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