The Hot Beat


The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him:

Sterzenbach drops the rural urban bomb

Should Linn County supervisors answer first to rural residents even though most people in the county live in the Cedar Rapids metro area?

That was one of the questions Norm Sterzenbach asked at a forum for Democratic candidates on Wednesday. Here’s what they said.

– District 2 Democrat Bernita Rozinek, of Ely: supervisors should first represent their districts. 

– District 5 Democrat Larry Wear, of Center Point: just remember there is a Linn County outside of Cedar Rapids.

– District 4 Democrat Don Gray, of Central City: a lot of supervisors will serve both rural and metropolitan areas.

– District 5 Democrat Jim Houser, of Cedar Rapids: actually Linn County spreads more gravel on rural roads than any county in Iowa.

In the midst of that, Supervisor Lu Barron, of Cedar Rapids, rose to her feet. Smiling stiffly, wearing a teal jacket and holding a sheet of paper in her right hand, the District 1 Democrat gave an answer that steadfastly refused to acknowledge either the legitimacy of the question or the historic changes this primary represents:

I believe our job is to represent all the residents of Linn County…no matter where they live.”

Strictly speaking, she will not represent all Linn County residents. In the county’s new political landscape her District 1 constituency will consist only of Cedar Rapids residents.

They  will decide — not voters from Walker, Prairieburg or Mount Vernon — whether it is she or Cary J. Hahn who wins the election on Tuesday, and so it will be they she represents.

Filed under: County Government, , , ,

2 Responses

  1. Curt Zingula says:

    If nothing else, it’s certainly interesting that Norm Sterzenbach, Linn County’s infamous gerrymander, would ask a question about rural v. urban! Unfortunately, the supervisor candidates were caught off guard and failed to note that the rural population pays property tax for both the general and a rural fund. Without a representative of their choosing, the rural people are left with taxation without representation. Does anyone still remember when that used to mean something?
    Of other note – In order to justify his rural interests, Jim Houser keeps telling people that Linn County spends more for gravel than the other counties in Iowa. Is there anyone in Linn County who can’t figure out that we have far more people and traffic than the Jones, Delaware, Davis, and other sparsely populated counties?

  2. Curt Zingula says:

    In the Sunday, May 30th Gazette there was a point made that Cedar Rapids is not just an agriculturally based city. Collins Radio was used as an example. Collins Radio also exemplifies the rural ties Cedar Rapids should consider!
    We are constantly told by the Chamber and the Downtown supporters that the inner city must receive huge amounts of improvements in order to attract and keep professionals. Yet anyone who follows the reality ads knows that for at least three decades realators have been listing many rural properties with the distance and or time it takes to drive to Collins Radio.
    If Cedar Rapids is truly interested in attracting people to work there, then they must also be concerned about the poor roads that rural Linn County is known for. Not all urban professionals choose to live in the suburbs and those that live in the rural area are usually disgusted with Linn County’s poor maintaince of roads.
    Those of us who live in the rural area are not trying to take something away from Cedar Rapids by asking for more representation. As it turns out, our requests for better roads are also very much in the best interest of that city.

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