The most impactful letters to the editor sent to Little Village in 2019

From building proposals to benches to bike lanes, Little Village readers were not afraid to share their perspectives on a range of issues in 2019. Here are 13 letters that made a splash.

Letter to the editor: Regarding transphobia in the Iowa City community

Illustration by Violet Austerlitz

Published Jan. 6, 2019

By Violet Louisa Austerlitz, Iowa City

By and large, Iowa City is and has been a welcoming and supportive place to live as a transgender woman. But there are still people here who feel the need to commit acts of radical hatred based on their own ignorance. One such person is the author of, who, among other things, has made a practice of attacking transgender people. Continue reading…

Open letter to the Iowa City Council: Do not change the Ped Mall benches

The design of new benches installed in the Ped Mall has drawn concern that they alienate the homeless. Monday, Jan 7, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Jan. 9, 2019

By Harry Olmstead, Iowa City

Dear Mayor and Iowa City Council members,

I am opposed to making changes to the Ped Mall benches for the following reasons: 1. The city provided an opportunity for citizens’ input, at which time anybody that wanted to attend and see the proposed project could offer suggestions. 2. The city has opposed sleeping in the library, and should enforce this rule on the Ped Mall as well. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Iowa should regulate marijuana like beer, wine and liquor

Cannabis bud. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Feb. 1, 2019

By Sen. Joe Bolkcom, Iowa City

Ten states now regulate marijuana like alcohol.

In November, Michigan voters approved legal sales of marijuana to adults. The newly elected governors of both Minnesota and Illinois want to do the same.

Iowa should follow their lead. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t worked and has hurt taxpayers and everyday Iowans. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Rachel Hollis is not the embodiment of female empowerment

Rachel Hollis, self-help author and speaker. — video still

Published Feb. 18, 2019

By Heather Bachman

Last week, WLC [Women Lead Change] announced that Rachel Hollis will give a keynote address as part of the upcoming Women Lead Change 2019 Corridor Conference in Cedar Rapids. Hollis is a popular blogger, motivational speaker and author of the New York Times’ number one bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face.

Now, there are multiple speakers at the event, but Hollis is the featured presenter. She’s the person who got the publicized press release announcing her participation. It would benefit us to learn a little about Hollis. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: This year, keep your lawn natural and diverse

A Yards for Kids sign in a front lawn. — Lauren Shotwell/Little Village

Published March 12, 2019

By Linda Quinn, Iowa City

Is your lawn safe enough for your kids to play on? If you do the “weed and feed” routine, it’s time to rethink. Current lawn culture encourages the use of chemicals, with deceptive descriptions like “healthy lawn.” But don’t be fooled, because pesticides and fertilizers have many risks. Children are especially at high risk of exposure which, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, has been linked to prenatal and childhood cancers, neurodevelopmental delays and behavioral disorders. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: South East Junior High students are striking for the climate

South East Junior High students protest for climate change. — courtesy of Massimo Paciotto Biggers and Alex Howe

Published March 15, 2019

By Massimo Paciotto Biggers and Alex Howe, Iowa City

At South East Junior High School, we expect excellence. In an age of undeniable and catastrophic climate change, this means we expect excellence in climate action from our teachers and administrators, our district superintendent and the Iowa City school board. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Keep school resource officers out of Iowa City schools

Photo by Matty Ring via Flickr.

Published July 30, 2019

By Kylie Buddin, Iowa City

I write to implore the Iowa City Community School District to stand firm on their previous decisions to not put SROs (school resource officers) in our schools. I am certain that those who advocate for their placement in our schools come from a place of caring, but I fear they will have an opposite effect on our community, in and out of the schools. I also don’t say this out of a place of fear of the police department, as there are many fine members of the local departments. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Who is responsible for cleaning up the microplastics in downtown Iowa City?

Published Aug. 13, 2019

By Sheila Ongie, Iowa City

Dear Iowa City officials,

As I write this, it is the first Monday in August 2019 and it is snowing in downtown Iowa City. Tiny pieces of Styrofoam are drifting lazily down onto my car in the Clock Tower Parking Ramp and the alley outside. They polka-dot the sidewalk and form tiny drifts up against curbs and walls, as they have done in this area of downtown for weeks now. You don’t even have to bend down to see clumps of foam in the grass and exposed dirt. Every crack in the alley is filled with Styrofoam bits. Especially the ones near the storm drain, down which the hundreds of thousands of microplastics will be washed away in tonight’s storm. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Why are you not antifa?

Antifa demonstrate in Portland, Oregon on Nov. 4, 2017. — Old White Truck via Flickr

Published Aug. 29, 2019

By Kent Williams, Iowa City

The recent resignation of adjunct professor Jeff Klinzman from Kirkwood Community College has focused attention on the activist group antifa. On Aug. 22, KCRG’s Jeff Scheinblum aired an investigative report, digging up comments by Klinzman on Facebook that some people might find offensive, but the headline was Klinzman’s claim that he was antifa.

Scheinblum’s KCRG piece seizes on antifa as bogeymen, and used the term as a way to call Klinzman’s opinions into question. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Larix decidua, in memoriam

Iowa Citians awoke on Sept. 10, 2019 to find the long-standing European Larch on the University of Iowa Pentacrest had succumbed to a thunderstorm the previous night. — Thomas Dean/Little Village

Published Sept. 20, 2019

By Christine Hayes Ralston, Iowa City

In the early morning hours of Sept. 10, 2019, the world lost a treasured, tired friend. The European larch tree, of Iowa City, was uprooted in a storm that claimed two other campus trees. She didn’t so much die as she was ripped from the earth that fed her.

Nothing can survive absent nourishment. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Coralville has work to do to keep cyclists safe on 1st Avenue

The intersection between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue in Coralville. Monday, Oct 21, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Published Oct. 21, 2019

By Jacob Simmering, Coralville

On Thursday, Oct. 17, I was nearly killed while cycling to work. I was on 1st Avenue in Coralville, unavoidable for many routes through Coralville, when a minivan came within a foot of hitting and likely killing me. This is not a hypothetical concern: hours later, the life of Joe Mann was ended outside of Muscatine when a motorist struck him from behind.

In October 2017, Coralville allowed the popular trail connecting IRL [the Iowa River Landing] to Iowa River Power to be torn up for the ease of the developer of the Latitude housing project. Despite that project finishing in late summer, no reconstruction has been started. Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Iowa City Council should reject Capstone Collegiate building proposal

Published Oct. 23, 2019

By Azzah Nasraddin, Iowa City

I am writing in reference to the Iowa City Council’s consideration of rezoning Gilbert and Prentiss Street for the proposed eight-story building by Alabama-based group Capstone Collegiate Communities.

Iowa City is in dire need of more affordable housing complexes. Luxury and fully furnished student housing complexes should be the last item on the priority list for rezoning and development. As Iowa City Councilwoman Mazahir Salih said, “I really care about the affordable housing part … But what I’m seeing, nothing there will be affordable.” Continue reading…

Letter to the editor: Sen. Ernst’s Violence Against Women Act reauthorization proposal doesn’t go far enough

Senator Ernst speaks on the U.S. Senate floor, discussing her proposal to reauthorize and modernize the Violence Against Women Act. Nov. 20, 2019. — video still

Published Dec. 17, 2019

By Liz O’Hara

Nearly 1 million American women alive today have been shot, or shot at, by an intimate partner. In an average month, 52 of them are shot and killed. Between 2013 and 2017, 37 Iowa women were killed by intimate partners; two thirds of these women were killed by dating partners as opposed to spouses.

The House of Representatives has passed a bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) which directly addresses this reality, by closing what is known as the “boyfriend loophole” in current law. … Not surprisingly, the National Rifle Association opposed closing the loophole during debate in the House. The version of VAWA reauthorization which Sen. Joni Ernst introduced in the Senate lacks the protections for women from violence by dating partners. Continue reading…

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