Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Taxpayers' Money: Government Projects, Yes; Private Giveaways, No

October 28, 2014, 3:09 p.m.

Residents Deserve Courthouse Annex

Nicholas Johnson

Iowa City Press-Citizen, October 28, 2014, p. A7

On Nov. 4 (or before) be sure to vote “yes” on the Courthouse Annex bond proposal.

Opponents of prior proposals wanted alternatives to incarceration, with less recidivism. They wanted a cheaper structure. They wanted to preserve views, and this National Historic Register courthouse’s architectural integrity. They wanted a “green” building and accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Well, guess what? The supervisors’ response is government at its best. They not only listened, they responded — with everything opponents asked.

Instead of jail cells, they just received a $192,000 grant for their Drug Treatment Court, with employment opportunities for offenders. Building costs are 25 percent less. Views of the courthouse are preserved. It will receive “silver” LEED certification and be ADA compliant.

Supervisors proposing legitimate governmental projects (e.g., courthouses, park acquisition) must get public approval to spend taxpayers’ money. Yet city council members who want to give taxpayers’ money to their friends’ non-governmental, for-profit, private businesses (e.g., luxury condos, grocery stores, motels), can do so while refusing to listen or respond to opponents. Ironic, isn’t it?

We need and deserve this courthouse improvement; supervisors deserve our thanks. Vote “yes.”

Nicholas Johnson

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