By Heather Dunn, Iowa City
As a trans woman I’m tired of bullies! I’m tired of the bullies in our state government who try to vilify us, erase us, deny us our rights based off their narrow ideology rather than modern science and medicine. I’m tired of healthcare providers and parents of trans and non binary youth being harassed by so called “radical feminists” who spend their free time writing incoherent rants about “a campaign of genocide against women and girls.” I’m tired of the conspiracy theories that claim the trans community is “erasing women and lesbians” every time a trans man or trans masculine person comes out as their authentic self. I’m tired of trans lesbians being slandered and scapegoated as “predatory straight men” by the same type of “gender-critical feminists.”
To my trans kin, it’s time to stand up to these bullies! To our cis allies, gay, bi, pan or ace/aro, it’s time to stand with us!
By Linda Rice and Gary Lawrenson, Iowa City
Would you rather have a lawn that looks like a golf course or a park?
It’s a joy to be outdoors in the spring! Seasonal changes add interest to our walks in the neighborhood — until we get to that acrid odor of lawn spray. We take care not to step on that yard to avoid tracking toxic chemicals into our home. Thankfully, in Iowa City, our public turf grass is free from harmful effects of urban pesticide. Back in 2016 Iowa City banned pesticides in parks and trails. Soon after, Iowa City Community Schools followed suit and now Johnson County, too. And the reason is because research shows evidence of harm from pesticide exposure in so many ways — to health, water quality, pets, pollinators and biodiversity.
We are blessed to live in a neighborhood where very few yards are sprayed. Our neighbors get it. Natural lawn care is simple and it saves money. Here’s what you do: Just omit pesticides and herbicides, and mow high (at least three inches). And neighbors get this part, too: Our lawns are just as aesthetically pleasing as treated lawns, while providing some great benefits. If you are interested in reconsidering the way you care for your lawn, go here for more information and science-driven evidence: goodneighboriowa.org
By Linda Schreiber, Iowa City
Iowa lawmakers must remember that Iowa’s revolutionary container deposit law legislation does not cost taxpayers one cent. The cost is borne by those who profit — the distributors and retailers (grocers).
Iowa’s bill should be continued, updated and expanded to contain measures that really benefit the consumers and the environment — redemption. It’s important to remember that recycling is a cost to municipalities, which means taxpayers pay, and not all Iowa communities have access to recycling programs.
Retail stores should be required to continue redemption for beverage containers they sell. Allowing grocers to opt out of redemption creates an additional burden on consumers who must drive to a center to redeem the deposit — 10, 15 or 20 miles is too much. Because driving to reclaim deposit fees might be inconvenient, recycling may increase which often means contamination that results in single-use containers instead of maximizing a container’s life expectancy of multiple uses and that means more virgin materials are needed to manufacture containers. Let’s all remember that grocers and distributors are profiting from the sale of beverages.
· Lawmakers should increase both the deposit and the handling fees. Increasing the deposit fee will increase redemption. Increasing the handling fee will make it economically viable for entrepreneurs and/or retailers – and perhaps retailers will want to stay or get into redemption instead of trying to opt out.
· Lawmakers should expand the redemption to include more bottles and cans that use the very same containers (i.e., bottled water, tea and energy drinks) as current beverages covered by the existing law.
· Lawmakers should stringently-enforce penalties to be assessed to violators and determine what agency will assess the penalties and ensure adherence to the law.
· Lawmakers should shift the responsibilities for the container deposit law to the Department of Revenue from the Department of Natural Resources. This approach would be fiscally responsible, accountable and traceable.
· Retailers should consider incorporating reverse vending technology (automated redemption machines) in their facilities.
Other states have better solutions for unclaimed deposits: They are retained by the program or state in five states and Guam; divided and distributed to environmental programs and retail stores in two states (stores must request); and retained by distributors in three states.
Today, the argument in Iowa is who will profit. It’s always about the money — and there’s a lot of it involved, which is why there is so much at stake. Iowa lawmakers should take the money out of the equation and benefit the state’s environment that sorely needs help. If legislators take this courageous approach, the taxpayers will win and the environment will win. Distributors and retailers still win from the profits they make from the sale of the beverages.
We’re all in this together and we’ll all get through this together. We can achieve success all Iowans deserve, but only if we work together and do not sidestep responsibilities.
By Lynn Gallagher, Solon
Do you care about animals? Most people do, but apparently many members of the Iowa legislature don’t. They are trying to pass laws to prevent communities from protecting animals. One bill is SSB 1195. It negates local humane ordinances that have already been passed and takes away local control. If this bill becomes law, it will prevent any city or county from passing any animal protection ordinance if it interferes with a business that profits from animals. You can learn more here.
These legislators are valuing money/profits above anything else. Profits are more important than animal welfare, public health and the wishes of the community. What kind of state do you want to live in? If you care about animals, please contact your senator and representative and ask them to vote no on SSB 1195. Please do this ASAP, because they are moving these bills fast. Thank you.