Make Cedar Rapids zoning inclusive

Make Cedar Rapids zoning inclusive

Gazette Column
DES MOINES — The City of Cedar Rapids is in the process of updating its zoning code and, after attending the 2016 HousingIowa Conference this week, I’ve got an idea. I’d like to say that what I’m proposing is something new and radical. But it isn’t. In fact, it is a type of zoning that’s been used in Montgomery County, Maryland, since 1974. [caption id="attachment_150" align="alignright" width="640"] Housing development in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Presenters at the 2016 HousingIowa Conference made a pitch for inclusionary zoning. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)[/caption] Iowa City has discussed it for more than a decade, and has managed to partially implement it. Inclusionary zoning, also referred to as inclusionary housing this week at the conference, is term for local planning ordinances that require a given share of…
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#RuralPride comes to Iowa

#RuralPride comes to Iowa

Gazette Column
DES MOINES — Chances are, if you are asked to describe an average LGBT American, certain attributes will come to mind. The stereotype is that members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community are urban dwellers who are well-educated and affluent. There is a reason this stereotype exists. As the civil rights movement has become more prominent, most LGBT community spokespersons have been highly educated men from larger cities. These are the people the public has seen, and who they’ve listened to. But the experiences of this narrow field of activists are only one piece of the story. [caption id="attachment_429" align="alignleft" width="640"] One Iowa volunteers speak with an attendee of the LGBT Rural Summit at Drake University in Des Moines on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. One Iowa partnered with…
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Political training added to Iowa Renewal Project

Political training added to Iowa Renewal Project

Gazette Blog
Three 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls scheduled to appear If a national movement coming to Des Moines as part of the Iowa Renewal Project is successful, Iowans may see many more conservative pastors and church leaders on their 2016 ballots. The movement — the Men and Women of Issachar — is the brainchild of David Lane, a politically-connected religious conservative, and was named after one of the twelve tribes of Israel — specifically the tribe that sent 200 men with the ability or vision to decipher the signs of the times and direct the actions of David’s army at Hebron. “Nobody is confused that politicians are going to save America,” Lane said in January when he announced the movement, which hopes to encourage and train at least 1,000 church leaders and…
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Should Iowa have more official state symbols?

Should Iowa have more official state symbols?

Gazette Column
National average is 22; Hawkeye State has six Tennessee’s failed attempt to codify the Holy Bible as its official state book made me wonder about Iowa’s official items. Relative to other states, we have very few state symbols. One of the first acts of the General Assembly in 1847 was to adopt the state seal, which pictures a citizen soldier standing on a wheat field, surrounded by farm and industry implements, with the Mississippi River in the background. An eagle is overhead with a scroll of the state motto: “Our liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain.” The motto itself is not singularly official. It was the work of a three-member Iowa Senate committee, and has been incorporated into the official flag and seal. Fifty years later, the…
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Veteran death is shameful

Veteran death is shameful

Gazette Column
Statistics are just numbers on a page, something we read before shaking our heads and moving on to the next thing — until they strike close to home. It has been a week since the frozen body of Army veteran Richard Miles was found in Water Works Park on the western side of Des Moines near Gray’s Lake. There was no apparent trauma. His clothing was not cut or ripped. He wore no coat or shoes, although a single shoe and jacket were discovered nearby. The 41-year-old had served three tours in the Middle East, beginning in 2002. Friends, co-workers and family members believe he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and was not receiving the level of care he needed. According to a timeline of Miles’ final days provided…
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Reynolds special guest at ‘Pastors Policy Briefing’

Reynolds special guest at ‘Pastors Policy Briefing’

Gazette Column
Iowa Renewal Project event offered free to Iowa's faithful An invitation, stamped with the return address of a West Des Moines UPS Store mailbox, went out this week to Iowa’s faithful. Those who received the call will have an opportunity to hear privately from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and various other conservative leaders at a two-day, all-expenses-paid Pastors Policy Briefing scheduled for March 9 and 10 in Des Moines. “Meals and lodging are complimentary and will be provided by the Iowa Renewal Project,” reads the invitation. It is hardly the first time a Pastors Policy Briefing has been held in Iowa or other states key to the presidential nomination process. The closed-door meetings have been a shadowy part of the…
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