Garry Klein scoops the papers:
Iowa City Council member Michael Wright is not seeking to run for re-election when he completes his term which ends in January 2012. Citing personal reasons for his decision, Wright has served as a progressive voice of reason on a council that has dealt with many highly charged issues including choosing two city managers, public safety concerns, and the issues surrounding abuse of alcohol in Iowa City.I take issue with the idea that taking rights away from legal adults is "progressive," but I seemed to be the only one who did last year. It's funny that in a political climate where hauling a gun into a courthouse is a serious topic for discussion, the drinking age can't even get a mention, and the idea that a voting age adult should be able to walk into a bar and have a beer is considered "extreme."
This solves one of my dilemmas for the fall. I supported Michael in 2007, despite his stand on the bar issue that was on the same ballot. Matt Hayek was clearly a consensus choice winner, and Wright was far preferable to incumbent Dee Vanderhoef and Mid-American Energy's man Terry Smith. (Think I'm bitter about 21 bars? I'm still PU'd about how bad public power got screwed.)
But this cycle, I wasn't so sure. Last year would have played out very differently if the students had voting representation on the city council. We've got 25,000 students in a city of - Officially - 67,862 and no student has served on the council in three decades. If an ethnic minority had been that poorly represented for that long, we'd be up for a Voting Rights Act lawsuit.
Other similar-size cities have far better track records of electing young officials. So if you're more than 25 years old, you're going to have to give me some really good reasons to support you this year. (Having voted against 21 bars in the first place would be a good reason.)
Wright's wretirement marks the second open seat, following Ross Wilburn. It's an at-large seat so anyone anywhere in the city can run. It's not too soon to be getting the band together; bet your bippy that the Dickens-Mims axis already had the next anointee picked out.