WATERLOO — There has been a lot of interest by the media into councilman Bruce Jacobs’ apparent conflict of interest with the sale of the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center. Not surprisingly there hasn’t been equal coverage of another conflict of interest from the City Council.
On Sept. 11, the council again voted to sell the infamous Sunnyside South development for $1 to Sunnyside South Addition LLC which is a partnership that includes former city attorney Jim Walsh. According to VGM’s website, Walsh serves as board chairman and general consul. Waterloo city councilman Tom Powers is employed by VGM as well, according to his city council bio.
I’ll leave this question up to the public: Does it appear to be a conflict of interest for a city councilmember who is an employee of VGM to vote to sell city property to his very own employer’s board chairman?
Editor’s Note: City Attorney Dave Zellhoefer said he researched whether there would be a conflict for Powers, at Powers’ request, prior to the vote, including conversations with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, and found no conflict.
WATERLOO — Facts about the Southern Poverty Law Center: The SPLC is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. It defends low-income people against hate groups. Notable cases: 1974, the Alabama Legislature gerrymandering to prevent blacks from being elected. 1981, Texas, KKK targeting Vietnamese shrimpers with intimidation and racial harassment. 1982, North Carolina, KKK terrorizing a black prison guard. 1987, Mobile, Ala., the lynching of a black teenager. 1988, Oregon, the fatal assault of an Ethiopian college student. In 1991, the murder of a black Navy war veteran. In 1995, South Carolina, the KKK arson of churches. In 2007, Texas, assault of a black, mentally challenged man. In 2008, Kentucky, an all-white jury awarded a Panamanian $1,500,000 because KKK members severely assaulted him. In 2010, Mississippi, correctional facility neglect of medical care and failure to provide proper conditions and treatment for special needs offenders.
These are actions to send signals to hate groups that hate will not be tolerated. To suggest with an opinion the SPLC does not know the laws of our great country is like spitting into the wind. The SPLC is proud to defend all poor, just people.
RICHARD WIEBBECKE, LAURENCE SVOBADA, HARRY HLAS, MARVIN BOHNSTENGEL and MARK KUCERA
CLUTIER — The Waterloo Honor Flight Board of Directors, volunteers and many supporters need to be commended for their outstanding dedication to veterans by providing the Waterloo Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
We had the privilege of going on the Sept. 12 flight. It was an incredible day, one we will remember and treasure forever. We’re proud to have served this great nation. Thank you Waterloo Honor Flight!