Time for county to get it right: vote ‘yes’

[Source: “Time for county to get it right: vote ‘yes’,” Press Citizen, 30 April 2013, by Tom Baldridge]

I find it interesting that the letters to the editors about Tuesday’s special election tend to follow the same path. If the writer is in favor of the bond issue, the facility under discussion is called a “justice center.” If the writer is opposed to the bond issue, the proposed facility is simply called “the jail.” This tells me something about the single-mindedness of the latter group of writers.

I suggest that any ordinary county citizen who visited the current courthouse or jail would be appalled at their conditions. I have been involved in historic preservation as far back as the 1970s when the effort was to preserve Old Brick. I acknowledge an appreciation for older buildings that have a style of their time.

Our courthouse is one of those; I think it reflects the thinking of the time it was built: a county courthouse expressed the devotion of its citizens to laws that treated everyone fairly and equally. Hence, our old stone courthouse sends that message, and I believe deserves preservation.

The interior of the building, however, is crying out for updating.

The jail is another story. When the bond issue was up passed in 1981, the good citizens of Johnson County declined to approve sufficient funds to construct it so a third floor could be added when needed.

This time I hope the good citizens of Johnson County will get it right.

Please vote “Yes.”

Tom Baldridge

Iowa City

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Categories: Commentary, Endorsement


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