The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Letters to the Eye

LATEST CRIME PROBLEMS CALL FOR RETURNING POLICE HELICOPTERS TO THE SKY
April 6, 2009

I have been a strong supporter of our Police Department for many years, even though a couple of years back I came out against the city’s police helicopter program.

Then, Public Safety Commissioner David Zahn arranged for me to take a
flight one night. This was really an eye-opener. The pilot responded to several calls, and even though we were on the other side of town, we arrived at the scene in very little time.

Now the helicopter is no longer flying because of budget cuts. I believe that our City Council needs to find the money to get the helicopter back up there and keep it flying. If it had been flying then maybe we would have a lot less criminal activity in Cedar Rapids.

There has to be somewhere else that cuts can be made instead of with our Public Safety departments.

I am very concerned about the council cutting the budget for the Police Department and then coming out saying that the police need to do more and that they aren’t patrolling certain areas of the city like they should be.

Anyone can figure that you need the manpower to cover all areas of the city like it should be. I think it’s about time that we band together and tell the council to stop cutting the budgets in vital areas. The council needs to start looking at other areas to make the cuts so that we can hire more police persons and firefighters so that we are sure that we have the protection we need and deserve.

Where are their priorities? They sure aren’t with the safety of the citizens of Cedar Rapids. Think about it: Do you want to be sure that you and your family have the best protection possible? Do you want to see the criminal element run out of town? If you do, then let’s unite and tell the city leaders that this is what we want. Let’s tell them they need to do whatever is necessary to get it done.

Jim Cannon, 1636 32nd St. NE
Cannon gained notoriety in 2003 when he nearly single-handedly orchestrated a 10,000-plus-signature petition drive to put riverboat gambling on the ballot in Cedar Rapids. He also supported the petition drive to change the city’s form of government in 2005 and ran for City Council that year.

ONE PERSON’S WORRY: TOO MANY ON LOCAL-OPTION SALES TAX OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE ARE NOT LIKE FLOOD VICTIMS
March 31, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen of the City Council: You moved quickly in announcing the oversight committee for the Local Option Sales Tax. That is a very good thing and very appreciated.

I am curious, though, about several things.

1. Why is someone on the committee, Heather Schoonover, not registered to vote in Linn County? She did not care enough to participate in voting on the Local Option Sales Tax, but she wants to be involved with the process of oversight?

2. The average home price of the eight on the committee that have information available is over $220,000. Only one of the committee members, Sandra (Sandee to her friends) Skelton, has a home that is valued under a $100,000. She is currently living in a FEMA trailer. How are individuals who live in homes that are so far above the value of a modest home in the flooded areas going to be able to relate to how our neighborhood is recovering?

The value of one man’s home, be it a $10,000 home or a $500,000 home, is what he makes it. Our flooded homes have high value to us. I do not believe that most of the people on your oversight committee will have an adequate appreciation of the value of our modest homes.

I may be mistaken, and I hope that I am. I know from the experience of living in a modest home that people who do not live in modest homes tend to look at our homes differently than we do.

We hear it on the news all the time. In fact, Bob Bruce was just commenting on his radio show about the difference in what was happening in Fargo and what happened here in Cedar Rapids. Most of the homes that were in danger of flooding in Fargo were expensive homes; those flooded in Cedar Rapids were homes of modest value. He did not say modest. That is the word I have chosen to use.

I believe that you have missed what we, the citizens of flooded homes, were hoping for with this committee. It was our desire to have a group of people to oversee the funds to make sure that our homes were being repaired. How many of these people will understand why my neighbor wants to repair his mother’s home that is valued at less than $20,000 and why he doesn’t just demolish it as he did his home next door to her? Why did he demolish it? No money. He can only afford to repair one.

3. The gentlemen that have been selected to be on the LOST oversight committee that are presently serving on other committees until June are of a concern. Are they resigning from the other committees immediately?

I realize the sales tax money does not start coming in until the later part of May. When is the first meeting of this Committee going to take place? Will their meetings be open to the public?

Sincerely,

Kathy Potts, 1118 First St. SW
Potts was the Republican candidate for House District 33 in last fall’s election

NEIGHBORHOOD VOICE CALLS FOR MOVEMENT ON BUYOUTS NOW
March 17, 2009

Mayor, City Council and city manager:

Now that some money is available, you must start buyouts now.

Your new budget is coming in and you are ‘double taxing’ those of us who have moved on and purchased another home in Cedar Rapids. We need to be bought out to decrease our costs by July 1. You have money here that can be used for the buyouts as the state has given you $10,500,000 that can be used for that purpose.

Let’s not give it all away to the non-profits as flooded homeowners have been nonprofit ever since the flood. We need to get on with our lives and out of the double taxation. Start the buyouts NOW.

Jon D. Galvin, 207 23rd St. NW
Galvin is vice president of Northwest Neighbors

____________________________
SUBMIT LETTERS of 300-or-so words on local government via e-mail to rick.smith@gazcomm.com. Please include name, city of residence and phone number (the number won’t be published).

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