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Mechanic’s job

JUDY CIESIELSKI

WATERLOO — The recommendation of appointment of Jonathan Oehlerich from the civil service list to the position of garage mechanic at the Waterloo Public Works Central Garage was on the consent agenda of the Waterloo City Council on Feb. 5, along with many items to approve with a motion to vote. He was item 1-B-4. The rule of the consent agenda is: The following items will be acted upon by voice vote on a single motion without discussion, unless someone from the council requests a specific item be considered separately.

Margaret Kline chose to discuss item 1-B-4, all within her right do to so. She was questioning if the money would still be there for that position in the upcoming budget. According to the news, he was promised the open job, but it had not been voted on. A promise and vote are two different things.

It was not a personal objection to John Oehlerich, but a procedure question. The council and the public need a ruling from City Attorney Dave Zellhoefer.

Good Samaritans

MARK HRODEY

CEDAR FALLS — Five years go, our dog was hit by a car. What is remarkable is the woman who hit him came to our door in tears to tell us what had happened. That took so much bravery in my eyes. Additionally, when we rushed down to the road three other good Samaritans were with him giving first aid.

Without the actions of these complete strangers, the outcome would no doubt be different. I only hope the woman involved might read this and know her actions are so appreciated. She knows where it happened, and I welcome her or any of the others to stop in and greet Fred. There are certainly wonderful people in this world, and I am so grateful.

Council attacks

JIM CHAPMAN

WATERLOO — The last Waterloo City Council meeting got out of hand with the personal attacks coming from people addressing the council, and it seems there is one council member who does it repeatedly. The mayor is supposed to be in charge of these meetings and stop this when it happens. If I was to do this, he would correct me on the spot.

I called him about it, and he told me that I get personal too, so I ask, how do I get personal? He said when I talk about taxes. That is not personal; that is getting to be a problem, especially with people on fixed incomes. Also people who will not be able to stay in their homes.

Gun control

PAULA NICOLSON

DENVER — As of Feb. 14, there had been 18 school shootings in 2018, a startling fact. On Feb. 14 there was yet another shooting, in Parkland, Fla., many injured, many dead. Would you agree this is an unusually high number of shootings? I think so. The Supreme Court of the United States determined it is not a fundamental right to have military-grade weapons because it is not consistent with the Constitution of the United States of America.

This may surprise you because the NRA and most elected officials continue to tell you it is. For instance, Joni Ernst, Iowa senator, has taken donations from the NRA in the amount of $3,124,273 as of yesterday, and she will receive much, much more money defending military weapons because the NRA has bought and paid for her defense of gun manufacturers and retailers to make as much money as possible. The sad truth? She is supporting mass murder. There is no excuse. It is time for the public to stand up to our elected officials and replace them with level-headed candidates. We owe this to our children and fellow citizens. We have the power to stop this.

Council hiring

NOEL THORNSBERRY

WATERLOO — Filling the approved budgeted position of garage mechanic has become a bureaucratic snafu. The city’s hiring policy was followed explicitly by the city’s Human Resource Commission, as per Iowa Code, voting to approve this budgeted position. No further council action was required.

Lacking any statute requirement, positions being filled with candidates selected by department heads have been listed on the city’s consent agendas giving the impression the council is to once again approve a position that had been previously approved. In reality, the council is only being given notice the department head has chosen a particular candidate. This practice needs to stop!

The controversy surrounding this mechanic’s position can be resolved by any council member, following Robert’s Rules of Order, making a motion to rescind the vote taken Feb. 5 specific to the meeting’s consent agenda item No. 4. Given that the position is budgeted, a majority vote to support rescinding the motion would: 1) reinstate the candidate to the position previously offered; 2) allow for the immediate reduction of repair and maintenance work on city vehicles; 3) stave off possible litigation and 4) begin to repair the council’s reputation for inept management.

Dix money

DAVID MANSHEIM

PARKERSBURG — Bill Dix, the Republican Senate Majority Leader from Shell Rock, is supported by big contributors from outside his Iowa Senate District 25, not by small donors in Butler, Grundy, Hardin and Story counties.

Dix raised $460,946 in political contributions during 2017, according to the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board. But the really big money will roll in during this 2018 election year. When the final tally is in, Dix will probably raise and spend more than a million dollars just to get a job that pays $37,500 per year.

Here are just a few of his contributors: Kyle Krause, Waukee, $30,000 (Kum & Go); Kurt Rasmussen, Johnston, $25,000 (construction); Douglas McAnich, Johnston, $25,000 (road construction); Dennis Elwell, Ankeny, $15,000 (real estate); Jeannine Rissi, Center Point, $15,000 (highway equipment); Richard Stark, Boca Raton, Fla., $12,000 (banking).

So, what gives? Why would special interests from outside his district want him to be your senator so badly they are willing to throw serious money at him? Because he represents them, not you. Which begs the question: What are they getting for their money? And what are you getting for yours?

Senate vote

JANICE NOLTING

CEDAR FALLS — Sen. Chuck Grassley spearheaded a bill last year to overturn Obama’s bill that would have prohibited mentally ill people from purchasing guns. It was passed and signed by Trump.

Be careful who you vote for, people. It may come back to haunt you.

School choice

DENNIS HENDRICKSON

CEDAR FALLS — On Jan. 22, I wrote a letter requesting the Courier shine some light onto the politics of the school choice issue. Thanks for the coverage; things are more clear now.

I see Republican legislators and the Republican governor appear willing to turn over public tax dollars to private and home schools without accountability or oversight. I see the Legislature and governor appear willing to turn over those tax dollars, despite the overwhelming objection of Iowans (Des Moines Register poll).

I see the state of Iowa, which recently abdicated its oversight of Iowa’s home school students, appears willing to subsidize parents for educating their kids at home, no strings attached. All this under the guise of “choice.”

Iowans, please join me for a cup of common sense. Public money for public schools. Private money for private schools. Return safety and curriculum oversight to Iowa’s home schools.

Not too soon

JULIE FEE

CEDAR FALLS — I am fed up with hearing it is too soon to talk about semi-automatic weapons and mass shootings. I would like to respectfully ask my legislators — both Iowa and United States — to set a date to review the issue.

It’s been suggested discussing gun legislation so soon after a shooting is “too political” or a knee-jerk reaction. With 30 mass shootings this year alone, a date must be set for discussion before any more lives are lost.

Gun issue

KAMYAR ENSHAYAN

CEDAR FALLS — I have a scooter (tiny motorcycle), and I have to get a permit and renew it every year. Guns should be the same; and military-style guns should not be allowed. I am not saying no guns, I am saying a lot more supervision over who has what, strong background checks and certain people can lose their rights if not responsible.

Sure, guns are not the only problem, but the super ease of access and no tracking make life dangerous for all. Police chiefs out there, school superintendents, city council members, sheriffs, other public officials whose responsibility it is to protect public safety, why are you so silent about this matter? Your insights and leadership are needed now.

Anti-Trump

DEBRA WARRENS

WATERLOO — Dear President Trump: You are the worst president in America’s history.

You have achieved nothing since becoming president. You’ve only managed to make a fool of yourself and our country. It’s no secret your presidency is built on bigotry and hatred. Did you know your approval rating is the lowest of any president at this point? Not to mention you lost the popular vote by 3 million votes.

You are an embarrassment to the office of the president. That’s why I’m committed to doing everything I can to kick you — and every single Republican who supports you — out of office. As a direct response to your humiliating presidency, I am advocating in your name to elect Democrats that will take you down. Your shameful moral character and self-serving leadership is a stain on the office of the president of the United States.

In your first year months as president, you’ve tried to advance your bigoted, xenophobic and racist agenda. But you have failed at every attempt.

Your attempts to repeal Obamacare? Failed! Your attempts to ban Muslim refugees? Failed! Your attempts to evade the Russia investigation? Failed!

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