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Social and Economic Justice Questionnaire Responses

2015 Iowa City Council Candidates
The Center for Worker Justice, the Coalition for Racial Justice, and the Affordable Homes
Coalition sent the following six questions to all 8 candidates in the 2015 Iowa City Council
election. All but one candidate agreed to answer our questions. Their answers appear
below, unedited other than to add the candidates’ photos and to separate the answers for
each question so that readers can better compare the answers.

1) The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is working to pass an ordinance
that would raise the local minimum wage to $10.10 per hour by 2017, as a
first step to making sure workers are earning livable wages. If you were
elected to the Iowa City Council would you support this ordinance? And
would you support further legal ordinances or proposals to continue to lift
workers out of poverty by incrementally increasing the minimum wage
until all workers earn a livable wage?

At-Large
Rockne Cole

Yes. I support that minimum wage increase set forth by the Johnson
County Board of Supervisors. I have long been a proponent of hard work as
a way to increase the standard of living, and if elected, I will support work
friendly policies in addition to the minimum wage. For example, I would
support a living wage ordinance, which would require contractors, or their
subcontractors, who do business with the city to pay a living wage, and to
certify that they are not misclassifying employees as independent
contractors. Finally, I will support project labor agreements, and a lowest
responsible bidder ordinance, which will require contractors to meet a
certain set of minimum labor standards to bid for city contracts.

At-Large
Tim Conroy

I support raising the minimum wage. It remains an open question, though,
whether the County’s action violates state law, and I think we need to
examine that question as a city. Of course, it would be best if the crucial
issue of ensuring a living wage for our working families were addressed by
our state and federal governments. But until that happens, I will work on
this issue with our neighboring municipalities. Our cities are
interconnected, and we will need to work together to push for higher
wages for our working families.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
1

At-Large
Michelle Payne
At-Large
Jim Throgmorton

CANDIDATE MICHELLE PAYNE CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER
THIS QUESTIONNAIRE
In answer to the first question, yes, I do support the ordinance; I have
publicly expressed my support several times. And, yes, I would support
reasonable proposals to lift workers out of poverty or near-poverty
conditions. That said, it is important to understand how city government
works in Iowa City. We have a Council-Manager form of government, which
gives a considerable amount of power to the City Manager and which
inclines most city council members to defer to recommendations coming
from the City Manager and the City Attorney. I do not know what the
Manager will recommend with regard to the County’s minimum wage
ordinance, but it might contain elements that complicate its straightforward implementation. I understand that the topic will appear on the
Council’s Oct 6 work session agenda. I also think it would be wise for City
government to construct a technically competent and politically inclusive
process for assessing the economic effects of the ordinance as it takes
effect.

District A
Scott
McDonough

Yes, In general I will support the $10.10 / hour minimum wage increase
because it’s genuinely trying to help people in need. But the ordinance
needs county wide support (or more) to work.

District A
John Thomas

I absolutely support the Johnson County ordinance raising the minimum
wage as a first step to making sure workers earn livable wages. Too many
Iowa City residents cannot support themselves and their families on the
current minimum wage of $7.25/hour, which puts them in the position of
having to work multiple jobs in an effort to make ends meet.

Yes, I would support incrementally increasing the minimum wage.
Annually increasing it with the inflation rate for example

While it is good that the Supervisors included language in the ordinance to
link additional increases to the CPI, that probably won’t result in significant
increases. Knowing that, I would support looking at further wage increases
by way of an ordinance.
While raising the minimum wage will have a significant impact on
increasing household income, there are other ways to improve a
2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
2

District A
John Thomas
cont’d

household’s living standard. As a member of City Council, I would advocate
for ways to reduce household expenses. Some of the ways to reduce
household expenses include reducing transportation and housing costs
through 1) promoting active transportation (bicycling/walking) through
better bicycle and pedestrian networks and mixed-use zoning and 2)
increasing the availability of affordable housing opportunities.

District C
Rick Dobyns

In general, I support raising the minimum wage. I feel fairness to workers
requires updating current minimum wage law to allow middle income
workers to realistically meet their expenses. However, there exist serious
economic questions that were not fully addressed with relevant
stakeholders. Unfortunately not-for-profit agencies that operate on thin
margins will struggle to recruit and retain staff. This and other issues would
be better addressed if minimum wage was legislated at the state level
rather than the local level.

District C
Pauline Taylor

I would support the City of Iowa City accepting the increase in the
minimum wage as proposed by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. I
would also support incremental increases in that wage, in order to keep up
with increases in the cost of living. No one should have to struggle to make
ends meet. A number of people will benefit from this increase, which will in
turn benefit our community.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
3

2) Many cities and counties across the country have taken steps to combat
wage theft in their communities by passing ordinances that use municipal
powers to ensure that employers who steal their workers' wages face
consequences, like enforcing monetary penalties or even revoking
businesses licenses from employers guilty of wage theft. Just recently a
report published by the Iowa Policy Project that surveyed more than 300
workers in the Iowa City area that showed more than 25% of them had
experienced wage-theft in the last year. How would you work with
community groups to ensure that employers in Iowa City are paying their
workers their legally-owed wages, and that those who do not face serious
consequences for theft?

At-Large
Rockne Cole

Wage theft is not only morally wrong, it is a crime. Iowa law currently
prohibits obtaining labor, or services of another without paying for it
immediately. I would certainly encourage our police department to
investigate it as it would any other criminal offense. If convicted of this
offense in particular, that would bear on their good moral character for
purposes of a range of city permits, and I certainly would expect that we
would not contract with persons convicted of wage theft. I would support
a range of sanctions, including revocation of existing city permits, for
persons convicted of wage theft. The ultimate sanctions would likely
depend on the severity of the conduct.
Collaboration with local social justice organizations will be essential to stop
this practice. For example, I would utilize the strategy that the Johnson
County Board of Supervised used in passing the Community ID. They
formed an effective partnership with local social justice organizations,
unions, and the UI law school. Working together, they removed a barrier
to accessing a host of city and private services. I do not think the outcome
would have been as successful without that strong public/private
partnership.

At-Large
Tim Conroy

Wage theft is unacceptable, and those who violate the law should be held
responsible. I am not an expert in this area so I would want to consult with
legal counsel for the city to better understand what options are available at
the local level and how they fit within the existing state and federal legal
framework. I will welcome and encourage input from all persons interested
in this issue. I believe the city council recently examined the issue and
instructed staff to work on an appropriate approach and I look forward to
seeing their suggestions.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
4

At-Large
Michelle Payne

CANDIDATE MICHELLE PAYNE CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER
THIS QUESTIONNAIRE

At-Large
Jim Throgmorton

I would work with community groups such as the Center for Worker Justice
in precisely the way I have worked with them over the past few years: by
attending their meetings, listening to what their leaders and members say,
connecting them with relevant City staff members, letting them know how
to participate in City decision making in the context of our CouncilManager form of government, seeking their advice, articulating ways in
which their proposals could be improved or made more successful, and
expressing my disagreements wherever I think it is necessary and
appropriate. With specific regard to wage theft ordinances, it is important
to recognize that the Council as a whole pays considerable attention to
legal opinions that come from the City Attorney’s office. If the City
Attorney tells us a proposed course of action is illegal, we don’t follow that
course. If she simply articulates a legal opinion, Council members respond
in terms of their own underlying political values. I hope I have already
clearly stated my own political values.

District A
Scott
McDonough

I will admit I’m not an expert on this topic, but make no mistake to my
answer… Stealing from employees or not paying what an employee is owed
is wrong and should be punished. As with any issue I will gather
information from experts in the field to aid my decision-making.

District A
John Thomas

The Iowa Policy Project’s report on wage theft is a wake‐up call on the
challenges faced by workers, as well as businesses that pay their
employees fairly. In addition to undercutting ethical employers and hurting
vulnerable workers, wage theft also results in unpaid sales tax, income, and
payroll taxes.
I would work with community groups to:
1) Strengthen the enforcement of any wage payment legislation that may
exist and explore/support adoption of language that would allow the
revocation of a business license or the imposition of a sizeable fine or fee.
As the threat of revoking a rental permit is an important way to address

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
5

District A
John Thomas
cont’d

scofflaw landlords, so to the ability to revoke a business license would be a
good way to put an unethical or low-road employer on notice.
2) Explore “best practices” policy in regulating and curbing the growth of
temporary employment
3) Support community organizing and education on wage issues by unions
and local advocacy groups/community-based organizations

District C
Rick Dobyns

District C
Pauline Taylor

I am unaware of the specifics of this issue and how municipal governance
could be used to effect relevant policy changes. I welcome additional
information.

I applaud the Center for Worker Justice for all the work they have done to
help workers collect what is rightfully owed to them. I have to admit that I
was naive to the fact that this much wage theft was going on in our
community. As a delegate from my Union (SEIU) to the Iowa City
Federation of Labor, and (hopefully) as a Council member, I would continue
to be supportive of the CWJ, and would participate whenever possible in
any events/actions that they might have. I'm not necessarily a fan of of
fines for offenders. It seems that for such things as sale of liquor and
tobacco to minors, the businesses pay the fine and move on with business
as usual. Revoking licenses might not be the answer either, since one
company was a temp agency providing workers to do cleaning. These
employers could certainly be required to appear before the City Council to
explain their actions. The best case scenario is that the entire community is
made aware when this happens. At this time, I believe that the CWJ is the
best advocate these workers have.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
6

3) According to the City of Iowa City Equity Report (2013), Black and Hispanic
people are arrested at disproportional rates by ICPD and all people of color
are under-represented in all City of Iowa City staffing position categories.
What in your opinion are the responsibilities, if any, of City Council to
confront these disparities? How do you plan to make Iowa City a
welcoming community for all diverse populations, and encourage retention
of minority staff members?

At-Large
Rockne Cole

First, and foremost, we need to ensure that the Equity Report’s
recommendations are actually implemented. I would like to triage the
recommendations and identify the readily achievable recommendations
directly within the control of council. For example, the ACLU recently
identified marijuana as one of the key drivers in disproportionate arrests of
minority community members. We could adopt a policy as a council that
marijuana is a low law enforcement priority, and closely scrutinize federal
grants requiring a certain number of controlled substance arrests as part of
the grant. This, in effect, incentivizes discriminatory practices.
As for city employees, we need to insure that our city is using up to date
hiring practices. For example, we often hear from our current leadership
that they are doing the best that they can to ensure a diverse staff, but
what does that mean? Are they actively recruiting both within the
community, and throughout the nation to ensure that our city is hiring
from a diverse hiring pool of talented candidates?

At-Large
Tim Conroy

There can be no doubt that the City Council has a responsibility to confront
and assess these disparities within our community. One powerful tool we
can use to see if policy changes in the Iowa City Police Department are
effective is continuing to collect traffic stop data. I also support body
cameras on police officers to help monitor policing practices and
interactions with the public. The willingness of the ICPD to utilize the body
cameras and continue to participate in the study of disproportionate
minority contact is a good sign that the ICPD leadership wants to work on
this problem and learn more about serving our whole community. We
depend on these professionals to protect the entire community.
To address the continuing under-representation of people of color in City
positions, I will work to ensure that our entire community is engaged
directly, and that the City alerts the public to vacancies on commissions,
boards, and staff positions in ways that will help increase the diversity of
applicants and in turn City staff. I also support continuing roundtable
discussions with the city manager and community leaders, having council
listening posts, and promoting activities between city staff and the
community. These elements help more people get to know City

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
7

At-Large
Tim Conroy

government better provide the City an opportunity to learn more about
the community and about issues as they arise.

cont’d
At-Large
Michelle Payne
At-Large
Jim Throgmorton

District A
Scott
McDonough

CANDIDATE MICHELLE PAYNE CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER
THIS QUESTIONNAIRE
The Equity Report for 2014 (just released) presents a broader and no less
worrying statement of the facts. The Council and the City Manager have
made important strides over the past three years toward changing City
government’s policies and actions relating to racial equity and racial
disparities. I personally have committed a large amount of time and energy
toward pushing our government away from the oppressive policies
adopted in response to the 2009 “Mothers Day riot.” Aided and inspired by
very strong advocacy from the Coalition for Racial Justice and members of
the Black Voices Project, I pushed the Council to create an Ad Hoc
Committee on Diversity Issues, to improve its monitoring and reporting
about racial equity, and to respond positively and skillfully to protests
provoked by the late-2014 events in Ferguson. The most important things
we City Council people need to do now are: (1) build relationships and
strengthen personal connections with African-American
neighbors/residents, (2) vigorously monitor and improve the staff’s overall
performance, and (3) instruct the City Manager to investigate and initiate
actions within the legal powers of the City that would reduce race-related
disparities in employment, household income, education, and access to job
training.
City council IS responsible to continue giving staff direction to continue
working on this problematic issue.
I will listen to suggestion from staff, the neighborhood centers,
neighborhood leaders, and anyone else with a good suggestion
The simplest way to retain minority staff is to give them job satisfaction so
they don’t want to leave.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
8

District A
John Thomas

The disproportional ICPD arrest rates of Black and Hispanic people are
deeply troubling. If elected to Iowa City Council, I will advocate for this
being a top City Council priority.
The 2013 report by the Coalition for Racial Justice, Racial Equity in Iowa
City and Johnson County, divided racial justice into two categories: Juvenile
Justice and Adult Criminal Justice. I support their recommendations for
“How we Can Move Forward Together” under both categories.
For juvenile justice, the report’s recommendations include 1) conducting
fact‐finding to ascertain community approaches to juvenile justice issues,
and 2) ensuring robust community input into law enforcement practices,
policies and programs through community policing and effective and
accessible complaint procedures related to officer behavior and
departmental practices.
For adult criminal justice, the report’s recommendations include 1)
establishing uniform data collection and reporting for all of Johnson
county’s law enforcement agencies, 2) ensuring easy public access to law
enforcement data, and 3) conducting fact‐finding on issues regarding
criminal justice and the perception of criminal justice in our community.
With respect to recent actions by City Council, I support Iowa City’s use of
body worn cameras, the juvenile justice pre‐arrest diversion program, and
the likely expansion of that program to include lesser offences such as
shoplifting.
Based on the outcomes of the fact-finding efforts recommended in the
2013 Coalition for Racial Justice report, I would set measurable goals for
reducing the disproportionate rates of arrest, traffic stops and juvenile
court referrals by a certain calendar year. This approach—measurable goals
to be achieved with measurable time frames—has been taken by the Iowa
City Community School District (ICCSD) for its diversity hiring goals. I
believe this approach is an excellent way for law enforcement agencies and
the community to reach agreement and move forward together toward an
accountable outcome.
With regard to the hiring and retention of Iowa City staff, I would approach
it in the same manner that the ICCSD has just initiated: based on existing
percentages of minority staff members, establishing measurable
hiring/retention goals within measurable time frames. I would also
advocate for City Council to direct staff to inquire into the diversity hiring
policies of other major Johnson County employers, with the goal of
establishing similar hiring policies if such policies are not already in place.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
9

District C
Rick Dobyns

District C
Pauline Taylor

Overrepresentation of minority populations in criminal justice system is a
distressing and complicated issue. As the community addresses this
concern I believe it is important to rely on relevant and helpful data to
guide our discussion and monitor our progress. I will support efforts to
improve data collection and analysis, expect the police department to be
responsive to the data and develop action plans for improvement that
include input from a broad cross section of our community.

There is no doubt that there is racial and economic disparity in Iowa City.
Part of the district seat that I am running for (District A), includes the
Broadway and Taylor Drive neighborhoods. I met some very wonderful
folks when I was knocking doors in the area, and began to foster what I
hope can be a positive relationship. I plan to try to keep in touch with the
residents of this neighborhood, and listen to their thoughts and concerns,
perhaps holding regular "office hours" in the area. I believe that we should
strive to be seen as more of an inclusive and welcoming community. There
is a Police Review Board in place. The Council should ensure that Black and
Hispanic citizens have positions on this Board. The Council should take the
role of this Board very seriously. As far as other Boards, Commissions, and
staff positions the Council should seek input from people seen as leaders in
the under- represented groups, to ask for recommendations of names of
folks that would be good for these positions.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
10

4) Do you believe that the police are too aggressive in their interactions with youth
of color? Do you believe that our public spaces, such as the library and
recreation centers, are welcoming to youth of color? Please explain your
answers using examples or potential solutions.

At-Large
Rockne Cole

Do you believe that the police are too aggressive in their interactions
with youth of color?
Yes, I do. The tragic circumstances at the Robert A Lee Rec. Center
dramatically illustrates overly aggressive law enforcement. Use of force
against children is rarely justified, and the force used was clearly excessive.
As a defense lawyer, I have worked with juveniles in delinquency
proceedings. Once they enter, it can be very difficult to get out, and they
end up tracked outside of the mainstream. It was disheartening to see a
young man enter our juvenile justice system after playing around with
friends.

Do you believe that our public spaces, such as the library and
recreation centers, are welcoming to youth of color?
Yes, I do generally, but I must reveal a bias. My wife works at the Iowa City
Public Library, and I have gotten to know many of the hard working
employees there, and their management. I do believe they sincerely try to
serve persons from all walks of life, and try to be fair; however, that does
not mean that there is room for improvement.

Please explain your answers using examples or potential solutions.
We should expand our collaboration with effective youth empowerment
programs such as KoNec, and the Dream Center, and would support more
expanded city funding for those inspiring programs.
I also would like routinely meet with leaders from throughout the
community of color and get updates on how we are serving their children.
For example, I have been particularly impressed with our growing
Sudanese community. They have routinely shared concerns about issues
concerning their community, and have been proactive about identifying
solutions as well.
Finally, I would like to build upon some positive trends in our police
department. The Iowa City police department has made some progress in
developing a community policing model. It recently hired a well-respected
community leader to serve as a “civilian” community service officer. I am
certain that the tragic circumstances last summer would have been
different if he had been on duty that day. I have been impressed with
“Officer Friendly” on the Ped Mall. His approach to policing has been a
breath of fresh air.
2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
11

At-Large
Tim Conroy

At-Large
Michelle Payne
At-Large
Jim Throgmorton

We need to make sure both ICPD and the staff of our recreation centers,
the library, and other public spaces are trained in de-escalation techniques
as well as in continuing diversity programs. Continuing to build up
communication between all members of our community and City staff will
help ensure better interactions between youth of color and police.

CANDIDATE MICHELLE PAYNE CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER
THIS QUESTIONNAIRE
Yes, some but not all officers are too aggressive. Enforcing laws and
policies in the field requires considerable judgment and discretion on the
part of our police officers. They must, on the spot, decide how to enforce
laws in specific situations involving specific people. This is unavoidable, but
it also can easily lead to undesirable results. Good training, therefore, is
absolutely crucial. The recent event at the Lee Recreation Center reveals
how easily a situation can escalate into a tense and even dangerous
situation, and hence how important it is for our officers to be well trained
in de-escalation techniques. Our officers (and leaders in City government,
including Council members) need to learn how to recognize their (our) own
implicit biases and the ways in which institutional racism are embedded in
routine/normalized practices. But it is also important to recognize that
various members of the public routinely pressure City officials to “do
something” about clusters of kids playing in streets and driveways,
gathering in City parks at night, being too loud and boisterous, behaving in
ways that some other people find threatening. “Doing something” typically
means having the police crack down on the “troublesome” youth. So faithbased institutions and other civil sector organizations such as the Chamber
of Commerce, ICAD, the Home Builders Association, United Way, and
others need to commit their energy toward reducing implict bias, overt
racism, and institutional racism in the community at large. Black parents
have a role to play here as well, which means that organizations such as
the Black Voices Project and churches such as New Creations, Bethel
A.M.E., and others have an extremely important role to play.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
12

District A
Scott
McDonough

I think we have good, well trained, caring police, that truly want to do the
right thing, but there is always room for improvement. I do think their
have been instances when the police have been too aggressive. The
Robert E. Lee Rec Center incident would be an example of too aggressive. I
think the entire City's staff agrees that could have been handled in a
friendlier way.
I see a lot of kids of color hanging out in public places, so from what I can
tell it must feel welcoming? Again, there is always room for improvement.
As with all issues it's impossible to have too much communication. If youth
of color are upset, then the city needs to listen to them and feel why they
are upset (empathy.) Then the city needs to work with the youth of color
(collaborate) to earn their trust.

District A
John Thomas

The wording of these questions appears to be in response to the June 2015
incident of alleged use of excessive force by Iowa City police involving a
youth of color at the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center. I found the video
taken by the City’s surveillance cameras very disturbing. The City’s
response to the incident was to issue an amendment to their law
enforcement policies emphasizing de‐escalation techniques before using
the physical force evident in the video recordings in the incident. “De‐
escalation” implies that the situation has already escalated. That training
should be a subsequent step, as it is reactive. The first step should be pro‐
active, and entail diversity training in working with people of different
cultures and youth. The 2nd step should be training in de‐escalating
situations. If the first step is taught and used skillfully and appropriately,
the second step should rarely be needed.
From a more general perspective, I believe there is always the risk of
excessive force by police forces, on youth of color as well as other
members of the public. In my review of Iowa City’s public record on the use
of excessive force, Iowa City’s Community Police Review Board reviews
police investigations regarding public complaints of police misconduct,
including the use of excessive force. In FY 2014‐15, one complaint (#14 ‐02)
against the use of excessive force was sustained, although it was not clear
to me whether the person upon whom excessive force was used was a
youth of color.
The concerns regarding whether our public spaces are welcoming to youth
of color from the standpoint of law enforcement conduct should benefit
from the City’s decision to require body worn cameras. I would also
advocate for diversity training by all city personnel that have significant
contact/interaction with the public (for example, police, library, parks and
recreation).
My campaign platform also calls for the creation of a Youth Council or
equivalent organization, co‐sponsored by the ICCSD and City of Iowa City. I

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
Please join us for the Social and Economic Justice Forum on Wednesday, September 30, 5:30-7:30 pm; Kirkwood Community College, Iowa City
https://www.facebook.com/events/502553829906559/
13

District A
John Thomas
cont’d

believe Iowa City youth should be an integral part of any discussion aimed
at improving their lives. This discussion could include the programming of
public spaces such as parks, recreation centers, schools (buildings and
grounds), and libraries so that they provide for a wide range of recreational
and social uses, including just “hanging out” among friends, sometimes
away from direct supervision.

District C
Rick Dobyns

I do not think the police are too aggressive in their interactions with all
ciitzends including youth of color. There are known rare instances were our
poiice and recreation center staff struggle with de-escalation technicques
when confronted. Our public spaces are welcoming to all young people
when they exhibit civil behavior. I think the requests in the Black Kids Play
petition represent well the concerns of relevant stakeholders regarding this
issue. My personal policy is to show respect to all stakeholders including
our police as well as aggrieved minority groups. Recent examples
elsewhere of egregious interactions between police and members of the
African-American community require a local response. I believe Iowa City’s
response has been respectful to all parties which might engender a sense
of unfairness in each group. Potential solutions to helping city staff (police,
library, parks and recreation, etc.) include participating in several
workshops schedule this fall designed to enhance cultural competency and
de-esclation skills. In addition to internal standards of police conduct being
addressed and changed several times over the last year I am comfortable
that scheduled diversity reports from the city, support of research on
disproportionate minority contact from St. Ambrose University and, in
particular, the work of City of Iowa City staff Stephanie Bowers, Officer
Doug Hart and Chief Sam Hargadine have responded appropriately. City
Manager Tom Markus, representing the entire city staff, has acknowledged
that we could have done better regarding the June incident at the Robert
A. Lee Recreation Center. Members of Iowa City’s African-American
community were quickly convened to discuss the issue and appropriate
and measured changes were instituted.

District C
Pauline Taylor

The recent incident at the IC Rec Center was unfortunate and disturbing to
me. It certainly looked as though the officer was aggressive in his actions.
In the many times that I have been to the Rec Center, there have been
youth of all races and cultural background at the Center. The ICPL seems to
be a very warm and welcoming area for all people. But, it might be difficult
for people of limited income, which could include youth of color, to have
transportation To the library or even the Rec Center. It would be great if
members of the ICPD could "drop in" on the Rec Center and play some
rounds of pool or basketball with the kids that are "hanging out" there.

2015 Iowa City Council Candidate Questionnaire
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5) Inclusionary Housing is designed to create new housing affordable to
households with lower incomes by requiring developers who are
benefitting from rezoning or public funding to include affordable units
within their market-rate developments. The current City Council recently
approved a staff memo recommending that an Inclusionary Housing
ordinance for Riverfront Crossings be developed, in accordance with seven
principles outlined by a public-private working group. In all likelihood, it
will come up for a vote early in 2016. Will you support an ordinance
mandating Inclusionary Housing in the Riverfront Crossings area?

At-Large
Rockne Cole

Yes. I support inclusionary zoning in the Riverfront Crossings area. I would
like to see a higher percentage of affordable housing on city funded
projects. The City of Vancouver has required 20% affordable housing on a
city funded projects. That is a common sense standard that we should
adopt.

At-Large
Tim Conroy

I strongly support the ordinance mandating inclusionary housing in the
Riverfront Crossings when developers request the incentives provided by
the Riverfront Crossing zoning classification or receive public funding to
develop in the defined area. The ordinance incorporates principles created
by the Johnson County Affordable Homes Collation, which included input
and representation from the development community, and is a prime
example of how we should work together to provide more affordable
housing. This ordinance will help shape an important, growing part of our
city, and while it may not work in every part of our community, this pilot
project may serve as an example for future developments requesting
public funding or incentives.

At-Large
Michelle Payne

CANDIDATE MICHELLE PAYNE CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER
THIS QUESTIONNAIRE

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At-Large
Jim Throgmorton

Yes. The Council has already authorized the staff to develop an ordinance,
which would require that a specified percentage of residential units be
affordable for any project that would receive public financial assistance
(e.g., through Tax Increment Financing) or request rezoning to a Riverfront
Crossings zoning designation. I have already stated publicly that I think
more attention should be paid to the interaction of TIF and the
requirement to include affordable housing. My concern is that the
mandate for inclusion could be used to justify applying for a TIF and that, in
some instances, a developer might request a TIF that would enable the
devloper to make a payment in lieu of actually including affordable units in
the developer’s project. This is complicated stuff. I’d be happy to elaborate
in the forthcoming public forum.

District A
Scott
McDonough

Yes I will support this ordinance. I am very proud to say I served on the
committee that came up with the framework for this ordinance. Yes, Yes,
Yes!

District A
John Thomas

I will support an ordinance mandating Inclusionary Housing in Riverfront
Crossings. As a Planning and Zoning Commissioner, I supported wording be
included in the Downtown/Riverfront Crossings Master Plan that has
eventually led to this ordinance.

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District C
Rick Dobyns

District C
Pauline Taylor

Yes I will vote to support the recommendations in their entirety. The
Affordable Housing Coalition was an excellent example of a group of
relevant parties with broad representation, meeting with the purpose of
suggesting actionable policy.

Yes, I would definitely support an Ordinance mandating Inclusionary
Housing, not only in the Riverfront Crossings area projects, but in any
project requesting any funding from TIF.

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6) In both new and established neighborhoods, City Council needs to respond
to the shortage of affordable housing, and also avoid further concentrating
poverty, by promoting a mix of housing at different levels of affordability.
As a member of City Council, how will you support efforts to partner with
local employers, private developers, non-profit developers, and
neighboring jurisdictions to create more affordable housing and multiincome neighborhoods in our region?

At-Large
Rockne Cole

The most important factor relates to vision. How does our council view
affordable housing? Too often, our city leaders seem to view affordable
housing as a shared burden that must be effectively spread it out
throughout the region. I have heard several leaders say, “We strongly
support affordable housing, BUT, we cannot expand affordable housing
unless North Liberty and Coralville do too.” I reject that view. We need to
provide leadership, and of course, we want North Liberty and Coralville to
embrace affordable housing too, but we should not wait for them to act to
address this urgent issue.
I view affordable housing an asset, and a cornerstone of strong healthy
neighborhoods. Diverse communities are healthy ones. Many of my good
friends have moved to some of our most vibrant neighborhoods with
assistance of city programs. I would like to collaborate with our local nonprofit partners like Housing Fellowship and Habitat for Humanity. They are
trusted partners in effective administration of affordable housing projects.

At-Large
Tim Conroy

While serving on Council I will work hard with the various entities
promoting and building affordable housing. As a Realtor, and as a resident
of Iowa City, I believe blending housing types (single-family, condos, town
homes) within an area/neighborhood is a healthy way to develop levels of
affordability. When possible it is important to add various models of
subsidized housing to such a blend. In my opinion this mix helps transcend
the misguided stereotypes placed on affordable and subsided housing.
Mixing the affordable housing stock within the community will avoid
concentrating poverty and furthering urban myths of stigmatized areas.
The Housing Fellowship has done remarkable work in our area. They, along
with Habitat for Humanity, have shown the success of mixing affordable
housing into our neighborhoods/areas. We also need to explore furthering
rental options for lower income families and individuals within or
community/region.
It is important to remember that we need to evaluate each future
development closely. What works in one area or development may not
necessarily fit every time. This is why communication between city staff,

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At-Large
Tim Conroy
cont’d

the Johnson County Affordable Homes Coalition, and builders/developers
is crucial for success.
Reinvesting in our neighborhoods also plays a major role when
implementing affordable housing. I have respect for programs such as
UniverCity and would like the opportunity to apply my real estate
background to further this program while on council. I would also like to
work with staff to continue/grow other home rehabilitation programs and
evaluate opportunities for down payment assistance.
We also need to work as a region when it comes to affordable/subsidized
housing. While on the Iowa City Council I would encourage cooperation
amongst our neighboring municipalities when it comes to planning and
developing our regional housing stock.

At-Large
Michelle Payne
At-Large
Jim Throgmorton

CANDIDATE MICHELLE PAYNE CHOSE NOT TO ANSWER
THIS QUESTIONNAIRE
I have been working with the Affordable Homes Coalition since its
inception, in ways similar to the ones described above concerning the
Center for Worker Justice. I also strongly favor working in partnership with
relevant stakeholders to devise programs that will be effective, have
political support, and be durable. In my view, this means inventing options
for mutual gain. I would want the City Council to instruct the City staff to
create another ad hoc committee consisting of relevant stakeholders,
which would be asked (1) to change the City’s annexation policy to require
any new residential annexation to contain, as a condition of annexation, a
specified minimum percentage of housing units that are affordable to
households at or below 60% of Area Median Income; (2) to explore the
possibility of using City bonds to acquire a substantial amount of land in a
suitable location, devise a Form-based Code for development of that land
(which would include a substantial amount of affordable housing), issue an
RFP to private developers who would work with the City to develop that
land in accord with the new Code, and sell the land to that developer. This
process would similar to that which was followed for The Peninsula, only
better.

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District A
Scott
McDonough

The Ad Hoc inclusionary housing committee I mentioned above had a wide
representation of community members. I would repeat this technique.
Collaboration can happen If people with opposing views have an
opportunity to understand why the opposition feels the way they do, and
respect that feeling (empathy.)
I would also include the school district to the list as a partner. They have
already requested city council help to even out the concentration of free
and reduced lunch. With proper tact, the school board can be a big player
in pushing mixed housing.

District A
John Thomas

As a member of City Council, I would advocate for Iowa City to take the
initiative in identifying ways to create more affordable housing in our
region. In so far as affordable housing is related to household income, I
support raising the minimum wage in Johnson County. Increasing
household income is an important way to bring more affordable housing
within reach. If a person working 40 hours/week sees a wage increase from
$7.25/hour to $10.10/hour, that person’s income (before taxes) could
increase by close to $500/month.
The other way to bring more affordable housing within reach is to reduce
household expenses. The first and most obvious way to reduce household
expenses is to reduce housing costs, especially for renters (2/3 of all
renters are cost‐burdened, i.e., spend more than 30% of their adjusted
income on housing rent). The Update to the 2007 Affordable Housing
Market Analysis for the Iowa City Urbanized Area, prepared in September
2014 by MPOJC and the Housing Trust fund of Johnson County, identified
the four following strategies for increasing affordable housing
opportunities. I would support these strategies if elected to serve on City
Council.
1) Change Public Perception. I have familiarity with this issue, which is
fundamental to the success of any effort to increase the supply of
affordable housing.
2) Public Policies. The public policies identified in the update include
increasing the amount of land allowing multi ‐family housing, preserving
existing affordable housing, and inclusionary zoning. As a former member
of Iowa City’s Planning and Zoning Commission (2012‐2015), I have an
excellent grasp of the City’s Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Code. In fact, I
have for some time been advocating for changes to the Zoning Code that
would help increase affordable housing opportunities and address the
need to change the public’s perception of it. These include adopting new
zoning standards for “pocket neighborhoods” or “cottage clusters”, and

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District A
John Thomas
cont’d

adopting form‐based codes for established neighborhoods and new
development. As a retired landscape architect, I am well aware of the need
to design affordable housing in a manner that is indistinguishable from
market‐rate housing. Adopting a form‐based code is better suited to
achieve that need, as it is more likely to integrate housing types in a
manner such as one experiences in traditional neighborhoods such as Iowa
City’s Northside.
3) Financing Strategies. I would support continued funding of the Housing
Trust Fund of Johnson County, and advocate for a more dedicated stream
of revenue.
4) Create an environment for Collaboration and Cooperation. As a
Northside resident, I live amidst the success of the UniverCity Program (a
collaboration of, among others, the City of Iowa City, Friends of Historic
Preservation, and the University of Iowa), and would like to expand on its
success by exploring collaborative ways to incentivize the rehabilitation of
existing homes and appropriately ‐scaled and designed infill housing in
some of Iowa City’s established neighborhoods that may lend themselves
to such a strategy.
While the focus of this discussion is on affordable housing, I would like to
add that there are other opportunities to reduce household expenses that
would help bring housing costs within reach of low‐ and moderate‐income
families. If elected, I would advocate for ways to reduce transportation
costs by identifying affordable housing opportunities within easy
walking/biking distance of employment centers, public transportation, and
safe bicycle networks, and call for significantly expanding the latter. If a
household can reduce its need for car ownership (e.g., one vehicle for a
two ‐adult household or none for a one‐adult household), household
expenses drop significantly, allowing more income to be applied to housing
costs. I would also advocate for expanding access to community gardens
and orchards, where households could, if they choose, affordably grow
their own food.

District C
Rick Dobyns

As noted in the answer above I support investing in affordable housing in
new neighborhoods using various incentives. It is more challenging to
change established neighborhood to include less expensive housing
options. I have voted several times on Planning and Zoning matters to
avoid expensive single family housing in areas of the city where there is
little affordability. Most of these votes I was in the minority. I held firm in
prioritizing scattering housing affordability despite the ire of nearby
property owners and developers. I have in private and public conversations
strongly encouraged elected leaders in neighboring cities to join Iowa City
in creating affordable housing policy common to all of us.

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District C
Pauline Taylor

As above, Inclusionary Housing, is a one step in responding to the need for
affordable housing in the area. I would be supportive of development that
is a good combination of residential, public and business use. I would
encourage a process that offers TIF to developers that include affordable
housing in their plans.

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