Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 18, 2013 5:00 AM

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We are parents of young people attending West, City, and Regina, and we strongly support maintaining Iowa City’s 21-ordinance. This commonsense law matches the bar-entry age to the drinking age while still allowing all ages to enjoy restaurants and entertainment venues.

This law not only protects our children — it is vital to our community’s overall public health and safety. We all want our kids to succeed. With reduced underage access to alcohol downtown through the 21-ordinance, those chances have greatly increased.

Since the ordinance went into effect, the health and safety of our young people has dramatically increased. A 17 percent decline in high-risk drinking among University of Iowa students is a significant improvement that would not have happened without the ordinance. We have no doubt that this makes for a healthier community for our K-12 students as well.

One of the less-recognized effects of the 21-ordinance has been to dramatically reduce the number of underage drinkers who traveled to Iowa City on weekend nights from all over eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Not only did that flood of out-of-town underage drinkers create a dangerous environment for our children, the concentration of young inebriated people drew other, older people intent on taking advantage of them. Our downtown is safer since the ordinance took effect, as reflected in a 42 percent decline in police calls for assault and a 39 percent decline in calls for fights in progress.

No responsible member of our community wants to go back to the way things were before the 21-ordinance became law. Our community is safer, more vibrant, and healthier with the 21-ordinance in place. That makes it hard to imagine what motivated a local bar owner and a local bar manager to get this issue on the ballot again. One of them made things pretty clear when he told a local newspaper that, “As far as the money thing, I honestly would like more money.”

We don’t intend to let the interests of a few bar owners trump the concerns we have for keeping our children safe and healthy. Please join us in voting “No” in November to protect the 21-ordinance.

Marsha Grady
Kristi Finger
Mike and Joanne Cabbage

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