By Mary Gravitt, Iowa City
Bruce Teague, if selected on Sept. 4 and elected on Oct. 2, 2018, will be the first member of the Iowa City City Council to represent the disabled. He will provide additional balance on the council. For years, problems facing the physically disabled have been disregarded in Iowa City. This is why SEATS was allowed to go up 100 percent in out-of-pocket costs; rents rise with each Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment; and SNAP benefits are cut while the cost of food rises. Some of these expenses may be beyond the control of the council, but other benefits and services are not.
The banking-up of snow against the curbs and sidewalk ramps, downtown and especially in the neighborhoods is a constant winter danger to the wheelchair-bound. Outdoor dining tables blocking downtown sidewalks where wheelchairs and walkers are crowded off sidewalks must be addressed for the safety of the pedestrians as well as the diners themselves. The frame of a former restaurant’s outdoor seating at the Old Capitol Mall, that should have been dismantled when the business closed, blocks the downtown Transit Center sidewalk. Sidewalks and street ramps are potholed. There is a lack of bus shelters and/or benches at bus stops in working class neighborhoods including the former Sycamore Mall bus route, Gilbert Street and Highland, Highway 6, and First Avenue and Muscatine (for which I have been protesting and lobbying Council since 2016 to no avail). This is a sign of class distinction.
Bruce Teague will be able to deal with these problems because — unlike the present councilpersons, who only seem concerned with 15-story skyscrapers — he is able to think at ground level, where all the handicapped people’s problems are.