# Local Government



Linn County supervisors approve conversion therapy ban

The Linn County Board of Supervisors voted on June 13 to “prohibit any efforts by service providers to change sexual orientation and/or gender identity of minors, including conversion and reparative therapy,” in unincorporated areas of the county.

“Conversion therapy” refers to efforts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and has been widely discredited as ineffective and traumatizing for youth. Associations representing medical professionals, counselors, and therapists have denounced the practice for many years.

Supervisor Stacey Walker led efforts to pass the ordinance, and Supervisor Ben Rogers (also a Democrat) provided the second vote in favor. When the board considered the third and final reading, Walker said the policy “will save lives” and described it as “a moral imperative for all policymakers who take seriously their job of protecting the health and welfare of the people.”

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Fairfield, Iowa declares second annual Pride Month

Dominica Borg is perpetually enamored with the Midwest’s landscapes, people, and wind driven weather. Their interests are food, farming, conservation, small business, and equal rights.

Supporters of Fairfield’s second annual Pride Month gathered at City Hall an hour before the May 23 city council meeting. By the time Mayor Connie Boyer arrived, a large circle had formed. The mayor greeted the group and stepped in with a smile, confirming she had the proclamation and would read it.

Once City Hall was unlocked, the meeting room filled quickly. All available chairs were brought out until the room was at maximum capacity.

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George Flagg Parkway must be renamed

The Des Moines Black Liberation Movement and Des Moines People’s Town Hall co-authored this piece. Des Moines BLM can be reached through Facebook, Twitter, or email: contact@desmoinesblm.org. Des Moines People’s Town Hall can be reached through Facebook, Twitter, or the group’s website.

The City of Des Moines will soon begin plans to make major alterations to George Flagg Parkway on the south side. The road grade will be raised several feet above the floodplain. Part of the road will also be realigned to connect to SW 30th St to avoid flooding on this heavily-used truck route.

The investment of millions of taxpayer dollars into this project should not happen without conversation around the road’s current namesake. We created our petition to showcase public support for changing the name.

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Pott Co residents deserve a say in spending pandemic funds

Linda Nelson is a retired school teacher of 37 years, a past president of the Iowa State Education Association, and a former member of the Iowa House.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. This familiar adage – like all of the good ones – rings true far too often in everyday life. We’ve all had experiences that make us shake our heads and think, “I should have known better.” 

Luckily, in Pottawattamie County, we do know better. In fact, if we act now, we have an opportunity to learn our lesson and stop the County Board of Supervisors from fooling us twice.

As you read this column, decisions about how to spend $9 million in second round American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds may very well be happening. If they aren’t, they’ll be happening soon. And it’s up to county residents to demand a say in how these funds are spent.

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Iowa's flat tax may mean fewer public services

Randy Richardson: Everyone likes paying lower taxes until they realize they may not receive the same benefits from the government.

Americans hate taxes. Other countries have taxes, including some with much higher tax rates, but for some reason their citizens don’t have the same objections as their American counterparts.

There are a variety of reasons for this, but one of the most common is that many Americans are simply unaware of what government does for them. A 2008 Cornell Survey Research Institute poll showed that 57 percent of respondents said they had never participated in a government social program. However, 94 percent of these same respondents reported being the beneficiary of at least one federal government program, with the average participant benefiting from four of them.

Which brings me to the recently enacted flat income tax bill in Iowa.

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Des Moines leaders abandoned houseless residents

Natalie Harwood: Most of the Des Moines City Council left our most vulnerable open to frostbite and death in the elements.

This week in Des Moines, temperatures are anticipated to plummet into the negatives. Despite this fact, and even in light of the freezing death of a Des Moines citizen last year outside of a closed warming center, the Des Moines City Council is refusing to act on opening a 24-hour emergency warming center. In doing this, they are condemning the most vulnerable people in our community to suffer in the frigid temperatures, or worse, and are in direct opposition to their own campaign promises.

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