Feb. 9, 2020

Feb. 9, 2020

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Q: Was Kobe Bryant African American?

A: Yes, he was.

Q: I see some $270,000 of the money from the traffic cameras went to city employees. Wasn’t that supposed to go to lowering taxes and fixing roads?

A: No. The Waterloo City Council targeted the traffic camera revenue to property tax relief, not roads. Council members did vote against their original resolution and spent a portion of the revenue sooner than expected to cover higher-than-expected wage increases in union contracts. Arguably, the city would have needed to raise property taxes to pay for those wage increases had they not used the camera revenue to offset it.

Q: A group called Run for Something endorsed Jonathan Grieder for Waterloo City Council. What is that group?

A: Run for Something is a national organization founded in 2017 to help young progressive candidates in down-ballot races with seed money, organization and training.

Q: I live across the street from a school that sees heavy traffic; people park in front of my house and block the driveway. Is there was a way to get a no-parking sign put up there?

A: The only way to get a “no parking” sign installed on a public street is to have the city ordinance changed to ban parking in a particular location, keeping in mind you would not be able to park there either. You would need to contact your city’s traffic operations department to discuss how this process works. If you have cars blocking your driveway, that would be a violation of city ordinance and could be reported to police.

Q: If the city of Waterloo and City Council members are found guilty of violating Iowa law by implementing the ban the box ordinance, what could the possible fines be? Could they be banned from office?

A: The city of Waterloo hasn’t been criminally “charged” with violating a law. If the city loses a lawsuit brought by an organization claiming the ordinance violates state law, the consequence would be the ordinance is overturned and the city would be liable for any damages assessed by the court. The city of Waterloo has lost countless lawsuits over the years and none of the elected officials involved were barred from holding office because of it.

Q: An article said the warming center was for people who weren’t eligible to go to other shelters. What makes them ineligible?

A: Some shelters don’t accept homeless individuals if they are intoxicated or high on drugs. Some also limit the number of times someone can be served or require information from the visitor that might discourage them from entering.

Q: A story said the Department of Public Health would have to make up for lost grant revenue after its upcoming remodeling. What revenue would be lost?

A: That’s not what was reported. The article noted the Black Hawk County Health Department has lost some grant funding for the coming year. That has nothing to do with its request to remodel space at Pinecrest for a public health center.

Calls are taken on a special Courier phone line at 234-3566. Questions are answered by Courier staff and staff at the Waterloo Public Library.

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