Iowa City Council Member Shawn Harmsen represents Iowa City District B, which includes the east side of Iowa City and the recently closed DOT office.
In a move that will unevenly harm Black and other communities in the Iowa City area through lack of service and voting disenfranchisement, a major department of Governor Kim Reynolds’ administration executed a surprise move from an easily accessible location near several neighborhoods to a remote edge of another city.
The Iowa Department of Transportation sent out a press release on July 21 telling the public that after three more days in the Iowa City location it has inhabited for decades, that office would no longer be there. It was a classic Friday afternoon news dump before the start of RAGBRAI.
The press release claims the new location, out by Theisen’s and Costco on the very edge of Coralville, “was chosen after an extensive search for a space that could better accommodate the volume of customers in the area.” Unsurprisingly, these claims of “needing more space” and providing better customer service don’t stand up under any kind of scrutiny. In fact, as I will explain, the relocation looks less like an inept move than attempt to conduct racial and partisan voter suppression.Continue Reading...