Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | OCTOBER 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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Hindsight will vindicate the courthouse annex

As a 20-year-old rural teacher in 1950, I frequently visited the downstairs, very overcrowded offices of County Superintendent Frank Snyder. As retirees volunteering for court mediation services during the first decade of the 21st century, my spouse and I, along with fellow volunteers, competed for mediation space in every nook and cranny in the courthouse. Often the emotions of a tense mediation session were undoubtedly disruptive of other courthouse business.

After several failed referenda designed to address jail, court space, safety and security requirements, county officials again listened carefully to their constituency. The new annex fits harmoniously with the elegant old courthouse, allowing for an economically practical solution to confounding problems previously addressed by proposals receiving majority but not the supermajority required by code for approval.

With the ongoing issues of social justice, it was prudent to delay decisions regarding jail needs while awaiting clarity on issues of incarceration.

We can no longer tolerate successively failed referenda. In an atmosphere of distrust in government, our supervisors again appealed to their constituency for advice. Given this feedback and other potential internal constraints, I strongly support the proposition because the plan creatively addresses the articulated needs and will ensure against the inevitability of future cost inflation.

Please vote affirmatively for the annex.

Leonard Roberts

Maintain a smoke-free campus

I’m writing to express my concern regarding the enforcement of maintaining a smoke-free campus at the University of Iowa. Though smoking is currently banned on university grounds, only 25 citations have been written so far in 2014 enforcing such ordinance.

As a student at the University of Iowa, I regularly frequent campus buildings and facilities for classes, recreation, and other school-related events. Every day, as students walk to class, they pass dozens of people smoking cigarettes. Often, these people are located near main campus locations such as dorms, bus stops, and the Main Library. Students who choose to be tobacco-free should not have to deal with the constant inconvenience of avoiding these parts of campus simply to avoid having to walk through secondhand smoke.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking continues to be the “leading preventable cause of death in the United States.” What many people who smoke on campus may not realize is that their cigarette use affects more than just themselves. The secondhand smoke given off of cigarettes can have detrimental effects on others’ health. According to the CDC, exposure to secondhand smoke can contribute to strokes, increased risk of heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory issues in non-smokers. Without enforcement of University of Iowa’s smoking policy, those who choose not to use tobacco will continue to reap the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

I encourage readers to contact the UI police via email at police@uiowa.edu to urge them to enforce a smoke-free campus in support of a healthy and clean community. Those seeking help with their efforts to stop smoking are encouraged to visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~our/smoking/education.html for smoking cessation education & resources.

Danielle Serlin

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