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2013-06-06 Don’t Believe Hype On Iowa City Drone Ban (Des Moines Register Staff Blogs)

2013-06-06 Don’t Believe Hype On Iowa City Drone Ban (Des Moines Register Staff Blogs)

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Published by stopbigbrother
Press coverage by The Des Moines Register (http://www.desmoinesregister.com/)
Press coverage by The Des Moines Register (http://www.desmoinesregister.com/)

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Published by: stopbigbrother on Jul 27, 2013
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6/7/13Dont Believe Hype On Iowa City Drone Ban | Des Moines Register Staff Blogsblogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/06/06/dont-believe-hype-on-iowa-city-drone-ban/viewart1/3
8:21 AM, Jun 6, 2013 | byJohn Deeth|Comments
Categories:From the Left
A
AMy fair Iowa City has been in national news the last couple days for its “landmark” ban onhe use of drones, as well as red light cameras. I suppose many of you are rememberinghose Nuclear Free Zone signs at the city limits and thinking: this is just The People’sRepublic Of Johnson County being The People’s Republic Of Johnson County.As the great philosopher Flavor Flav once said: don’t believe the hype. You need a historyesson in order to really understand this vote. he city government of Iowa City is not as lefty as the city’s reputation. Our famousocialist council member Karen Kubby was the exception that proved the rule. Cityovernment has long been dominated by a good old boy network, with downtown retailbusiness over-represented, that answers to a townie constituency that I call the Love TheHawkeyes Hate The Studentscrowd. Thisbunch appreciates the university amenities, but npractice considers theundergradsa nuisance. And sincethe students generally skip ocal elections, the townies win. The last student to win a council seat was in 1979.City staff, which in a council-manager system drives policy, reflects this attitude and is fairlypen about its contempt for the student population.Iowa City has a home rule charter that allows initiatives and referendums on the ballot. Citytaff is fairly hostile to anyone using this, especially if you’re young. It’s also a confusing,on-intuitive process; one referendum famously had people voting “no” to build a road andyes” to NOT build a road.he initiative/referendum process is what brought the drones and red light cameras to theity council’s attention in the first place. There was a big effort to invalidate the petition, andwhen that failed the issue landed in the burgermeisters’ laps. The idea behind the petitionprocess is that you either get the council to do what you want or you get the issue on theballot.Here’s where the staff got crafty. The city attorney determined that:the portion of the petition dealing with traffic-enforcement cameras is areferendum and is untimely, because the City Charter says a referendumpetition must be filed within 60 days of the adoption of the measure in questionor not until two years after adoption.Dilkes said the sections on drones and license-plate readers were initiativesand timely, but the council has not authorized the use of those technologies
Don’t Believe Hype On Iowa City Drone Ban
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6/7/13Dont Believe Hype On Iowa City Drone Ban | Des Moines Register Staff Blogsblogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/06/06/dont-believe-hype-on-iowa-city-drone-ban/viewart2/3
and the city does not use them.But here’s the M. Night Shyamalan twist ending:However, Dilkes, City Manager Tom Markus and other staff whose departmentsare affected by the matter are recommending the council repeal the cameraordinance anyway and adopt one similar in substance to the initiative portion ofthe petition.Their reasoning is that the city has no immediate plans to install red-lightcameras because the Iowa Department of Transportation isdevelopingguidelines for the use of those and speed cameras on state routes, a processexpected to last through the end of the year. Most of the intersections whereIowa City wants the cameras are state roads.So the city attorney pulled the rug out from under the petitioners… by giving them just whathey asked for and nothing more. And the council remainspretty open in its contempt:“I’m going to have to support it — ‘have to’ is the key word there — because ourstate has chosen not to move forward with the technology. … I’ll be the first oneto bring back red-light cameras as soon as we can,” council member TerryDickens said.his is a guy whose first priority after getting elected was to tighen up the panhandlingrdinance, because he didn’t like homeless people begging in front of his downtownewelry store. The People’s Republic Of Johnson County, indeed.By repealing, at least temporarily, red light cameras, the city loses no revenue. They canust pass it later after the DOT figures out the rules.Without the ballot issues for motivation, the petition supporters are less motivated to vote.Adopting the proposals will keep those unwashed heathens and (shudder)
students 
fromvoting in the all-important re-election of Terry Dickens and two other incumbents (one isumored to be retiring and handing the seat off to her daughter, another downtown retailer.)Now all people will have to vote on are candidates, and historically it’s been much hardero get non-traditional voters out in the city election without ballot issues.And the vicious irony: the national news is giving this reactionary, Don’t Beg In Front Of Myewelry Store council progressive credit for this move.So this isn’t some huge symbolic victory for Liberty And Freedom. It’s just a cynical ploy,

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