Iowa Progressive Caucus endorses six city candidates

Iowa’s local elections are nonpartisan, but Bleeding Heartland welcomes endorsements of Democratic or progressive candidates for city offices or school boards. Please contact Laura Belin if you are interested in writing.

The Progressive Caucus of the Iowa Democratic Party is proud to announce its first slate of endorsements for the 2021 municipal election cycle. These candidates have been identified as those who exemplify the goals and values of the Progressive Movement. They use their campaigns and platforms to amplify the voice and concerns of marginalized individuals and bring attention to issues of social, economic, and environmental justice.

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Derecho brings hotter summers to Cedar Rapids

Eric Gutschmidt has been a real estate developer for twelve years, is owner of Gutschmidt Properties, and serves as president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association in Cedar Rapids.

Am I the only one who noticed that it’s been hotter than usual this year in Cedar Rapids? When I wake up in the morning the weather forecast often projects temperatures in the 80s, but by midday it is already in the 90s. 

The forecast is based on historical weather data from back when we had trees, and well, that ain’t it right now.

As a landlord, I know tenants are having problems keeping their houses cool, even with the air conditioner running nonstop. It’s not just the increased temperature making the AC’s struggle. Many of my houses were shaded by nearby trees; now they are in direct sunlight.

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What local governments can do as evictions set to return

Eric Gutschmidt has been a real estate developer for twelve years, is owner of Gutschmidt Properties, and serves as president of the Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association in Cedar Rapids. -promoted by Laura Belin

Erin Murphy reported for the Cedar Rapids Gazette on June 28 that according to federal census survey estimates, some 41,000 Iowans fear eviction when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control lifts a nationwide moratorium on evictions at the end of July. If those numbers are accurate, shock waves are coming throughout the local housing market, which will continue the upward pressure on rents and home sale prices. 

How did we get here?

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Large Iowa cities spending more on police, less on social services

Iowa’s seven largest cities are spending more on policing per capita and a greater portion of their municipal budgets on law enforcement compared to the 1990s, according to a new report by the Iowa Policy Project. Over the same time period, spending on social services per capita and as a share of the municipal budget has declined in six of those cities.

Colin Gordon and Peter Fisher authored “Policing, public safety and community priorities,” published on July 22 (also available in pdf format). They examined budgets for the 24 Iowa cities with populations of at least 20,000, because “it is in our larger urban settings in Iowa that the problems with policing — including a well-documented pattern of disproportionate minority contact — are most acute.”

Seven of the cities studied are “metropolitan”: Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Sioux City, Waterloo, Council Bluffs, and Dubuque. Seven are suburbs in large metro areas: West Des Moines, Ankeny, Urbandale, Bettendorf, Marion, Coralville, and Johnston. Three are college towns: Iowa City, Ames, and Cedar Falls. Seven are micropolitan cities: Mason City, Marshalltown, Clinton, Muscatine, Burlington, Fort Dodge, and Ottumwa.

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My awakening moment in the fight for justice

Erika Brighi of Marion has been working with Advocates for Social Justice, based in Cedar Rapids. -promoted by Laura Belin

Black. Lives. Matter. We have heard these three words before—yet this time, the fight feels different.

All lives matter, right? Yes. That’s the goal. But all lives matter” can’t be true until black lives matter as well. The fight for justice has never stopped, but this time, there are more voices and they are louder; they aren’t being silenced after your typical week of anger and outcries on social media. 

The voices are still there. Allyship is becoming stronger.

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