WATERLOO — Not long ago I wrote a letter on how the contractor who the city hired to replace one section of my sidewalk, destroyed five good sections with his backhoe. It wasn’t only mine. Walk down Wren Road and look at every piece of sidewalk that was replaced by this contractor. You’ll see they all have cracks adjacent to the new slab, where the jackhammer hit. I got hold of Tom Powers, our Ward 1 councilman, and asked for help. I also sent a letter via email to Steve Schmitt, our at-large councilman, who never contacted me. Tom got back to me, but told me the city engineer said my sidewalk was old anyway, so too bad.

Not much of a fight on my behalf. I sent a letter to Mayor Hart who never got back to me. OK, so the city engineer used the power of his chair to crush us. People, we have a rare opportunity to change city government this election. I can’t think of a single incumbent that has earned re-election. Look at the mess on Park Avenue.



WATERLOO — Since there are now 30 municipalities in Iowa that have made their parks tobacco-free, I think Waterloo should join them. I recently counted more than 200 cigarette butts within 30 feet of the child play area at Lafayette Park.

Benefits of tobacco-free parks: reduces secondhand smoke exposure, promotes healthier lifestyles, models tobacco-free norm for children, lowers tobacco use rates and its cost to our community, reduces tobacco litter and fire risk, and makes our community more attractive to move to and stay in.

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. There are no drawbacks to tobacco-free parks. The City Council has been hearing from me, and I hope they also start hearing from others.



WATERLOO — With apologies to George Santayana, when we ignore or forget history, nobody today seems to care. Back in the Eighth Century, Emporor Leo III the Isaurian, launched a campaign against sacred images in a period of destruction we call Iconoclasm. In 1966 Mao Zedong initiated in China his great surge called the cultural revolution, during which his Red Guard ravaged every city and town and some areas in the countryside. In Beijing, for example, 4,922 of 6,843 monuments were obliterated. Tens of millions died.

A few decades later, modern day iconoclasts in Afghanistan set out to destroy religious images. More recently, bands of ISIS thugs destroyed every trace of Judeo Christian antiquities they could find.

This year, vandals, masquerading as high-minded crusaders, want to tear down historical monuments because they perceive real or imagined links to unpleasant facts of history. Citizens of local communities may legitimately decide whether or not certain secular monuments are no longer appropriate, and they have every right to remove those items. But it should never be up to anarchists, criminals or political opportunists to make that decision.

The rule of law must prevail.


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