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Stop enacting vote- suppressing measures

1/30/2013

New voter ID laws and voter purge rules proposed by Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz and Republican legislative leaders impose an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote. These vote-suppressing laws and rules will only disenfranchise many low-income, elderly and minority voters along with new immigrant citizens.                

In a recent interview, former Secretary of State Colin Powell stated, “The Republican Party should be a party that says, ‘We want everybody to vote,’ and make it easier to vote and give them a reason to vote for the party, not to find ways to keep them from voting at all.”                

Voting is the heart of democracy. A government that undermines the very foundation of its existence, the right to vote, endangers its legitimacy as a democratic government.

Mitchell Henry
–Des Moines

 

There goes the neighborhood

Ames Chamber

The Polk County Conservation Board is right on point with its plans to construct a new conservation center. Ground they already own, previously removed from food production, and close to the city, is exactly the place. The future site is not a “prairie”; rather it is a former agricultural land reconstructed with a few native plant species, most likely a near mono culture of grass. (Contrary to what a few of Jester Park neighbors would have you believe, burning these land forms is a necessity for their viability). Yes, the current reconstructed state may provide a pittance of water quality improvement, for a localized geographic area. Overall water quality issues cannot be improved with a mere $50 million investment in parks and recreation, let alone a 50-acre plot of a few, possibly native plants.                

Making a real impact on our (and the earth’s) water quality takes vision — vision to educate future generations to take to task the fixing of past mistakes. With a projected attendance of 300,000 per year, largely school children, the conservation center has an opportunity to affect the mentality and vote of millions. We can’t conduct business as usual and expect change, and there is literally no way to fix water quality with one bond vote. The future developers, civil engineers, civic, state and federal leaders who attend the center have the opportunity to be the catalyst of change. I’d say that the conservation center fulfills the “education” aspect of the Polk County Land and Water Legacy Bond and is a wise $15 million direct investment in “water quality”; two birds, one stone.                

Yes, there will be more traffic. Yes, a few people will lose a view funded by the taxpayers of Polk County. Yes, the neighborhood will change. As for the angry neighbors, they are now faced with the same threat of urban sprawl that they themselves perpetuated when they moved into the “country.” That land in its agricultural state did more to recharge groundwater than roof tops, driveways and bluegrass lawns. What goes around comes around, and I’ll bet the rural residents that lived in the area prior to the “acreage boom” had similar feelings.

Brian Fowler
–Pleasant Hill

 

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