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People's Bureau of Johnson County

Zachary Oren Smith
The politics and policy of Johnson County
Created 01 Aug 2020
  • ⏸️ Suspend the TRC?
    14 Mar 2021 • 2 min read
    March 14, 2021 | Letter No. 40 Iowa City Council has a big meeting coming Tuesday. To catch up, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an ad hoc body tasked with informing the city’s work on racial ...
  • 🚪 4 resignations. What have we learned?
    10 Mar 2021 • 6 min read
    March 9, 2021 | Letter No. 39 Four resignations in as many days. The Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission saw a third of its membership and the recently-hired facilitator depart. Last week, I...
  • 😬 'I was forcibly muted.'
    03 Mar 2021 • 5 min read • 2 0
    March 3, 2021 | Letter No. 38 I told you the big news for Monday night’s special meeting of the Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission was the contract with their new facilitator. I was wrong. ...
  • 🤠 There's a new tax increment in town
    28 Feb 2021 • 4 min read
    February 28, 2021 | Letter No. 37 While meetings haven’t exactly been quiet, there’s been relatively little to write about with Iowa City Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Iowa City Council appoint...
  • 🚰 Money's on the tab if you know to ask
    24 Feb 2021 • 2 min read
    February 23, 2021 | Letter. No. 36 Depending on where you lived, an unpaid water bill might have resulted in shutoff or nothing at all. Back in March 2020, many municipalities deferred their late fees...
  • 🗞️ I need your help with something.
    21 Feb 2021 • 3 min read
    February 21, 2021 | Letter. No. 35 Friday night, I seized on an open invitation to hang out on Clubhouse with Amie Rivers of The Courier and Ty Rushing formerly of the N’West Iowa REVIEW. Both are on ...
  • 💨Things rose. Did they converge?
    17 Feb 2021 • 5 min read
    February 17, 2021 | Letter. No. 34 Since last June, Iowa City has just about drowned itself in the consideration of recommendations on how to change the police department. There are the 36 recommendat...
  • 🔎Local news is necessarily bifocal
    14 Feb 2021 • 4 min read • 2 0
    February 14, 2021 | Letter. No. 33 Friday morning, I filed two stories that ultimately dealt with the same tenuous relationship between local and state government. In the first, Gov. Kim Reynolds visi...
  • 🚰 Water shut-offs, fees in city hands
    10 Feb 2021 • 4 min read
    February 10, 2021 | Letter. No. 32 Whether from the derecho storm or the long pandemic, many households are still struggling to make ends meet. While evictions and water shutoffs were paused early in ...
  • 😷 Masks still mandated.
    07 Feb 2021 • 5 min read
    February 7, 2021 | Letter No. 31 New cases of COVID-19 in Iowa hit their height in November. In October, the death toll was 1,500. Last week that number reached 5,000. Nearly 60% of the Iowans who've ...
  • ☑️ Due diligence in IA-02
    05 Feb 2021 • 3 min read
    February 5, 2021 | Letter No. 30 I hate being scooped. I hate it. But when scooped, I try to have the humility to admit it and celebrate the reporter who done good. I celebrate and then I spend the ne...
  • 🌥️ Iowa City loses out on solar project
    03 Feb 2021 • 3 min read
    February 3, 2021 | Letter No. 29 Remember that time Iowa City said no to a utility-scale solar project? Well, the other shoe finally hit the floor. The project is moving forward, just not with Iowa Ci...
  • 📢 An amendment on my mind
    31 Jan 2021 • 3 min read
    January 31, 2021 | Letter No. 28 On Friday, anti-abortion rights protesters lined the sidewalk outside Iowa City’s abortion clinic. If it weren’t for picketing like this, you might miss the Emma Goldm...
  • 🚔 Legislating outrage to Iowa City
    29 Jan 2021 • 5 min read • 1 0
    January 29, 2021 | Letter No. 28 On Thursday, Iowa City staff released a report detailing an independent investigation into the June 3 incident where Iowa City Police assisted Iowa State Patrol in tea...
  • 🔴Republicans keep Miller-Meeks' Iowa Senate seat
    27 Jan 2021 • 5 min read • 1 0
    January 27, 2021 | Letter No. 28 Last night, Republican Adrian Dickey fended off Democrat Mary Stewart handily keeping Iowa Senate District in the red as it was in 2018 when Mariannette Miller-Meeks t...
  • 💰 Money don't lie
    24 Jan 2021 • 4 min read • 1 0
    January 24, 2021 | Letter No. 27 While we wait for Congress to make up its mind on whether to take up Democrat Rita Hart’s call for an investigation into the count of the 2020 IA-02 election, there is...
  • 🗳️ A big decision in IA-02
    22 Jan 2021 • 2 min read
    January 22, 2021 | Letter No. 26 Back in December, Democrat Rita Hart filed her petition to Congress, asking for the House Committee on Administration to investigate the election she lost in Iowa’s 2n...
  • 📉 A levy rate for harder times...
    20 Jan 2021 • 2 min read
    January 20, 2021 | Letter No. 25 It’s inauguration day. And in Johnson County, I feel like y’all are in too good a mood. So let’s talk about taxes. Iowa City Council met last night and agreed to keep ...
  • 📰 Public meetings weren't made for you
    17 Jan 2021 • 7 min read • 2 0
    January 17, 2021 | Letter No. 24 Public meetings weren’t made for you. You may care about the place you live, but if you want to follow public meetings, to comment on issues important to you, to watch...
  • 🗳️ Have you thought about running?
    15 Jan 2021 • 3 min read
    January 15, 2020 | Letter No. 23 I keep hearing I was late reporting that Susan Mims wasn’t planning to run for a fourth term on Iowa City Council. Last Saturday, she mentioned that 2021 was her twelf...
  • 🧯 Miller-Meeks a ‘no’ on impeachment
    13 Jan 2021 • 2 min read
    January 13, 2021 | Letter No. 22 The U.S. House will vote to formally charge President Donald Trump with inciting violence against the country today. If you’ve been following, it’s hardly surprising t...
  • 🏆 Press-Citizen's most viewed post of 2020 (pt. 2)
    10 Jan 2021 • 7 min read
    January 10, 2021 | Letter No. 21 Reporter’s foreword: The Press-Citizen, my employer, does not pay me to produce this newsletter. I began writing it out of the belief that we need someone locally draw...
  • 📱 An insurrection in our image
    08 Jan 2021 • 2 min read
    January 8, 2021 | Letter No. 20 Following out-going President Donald Trump's promise to "never concede" and his remarks that the peaceful transfer of power amounted to "the country being destroyed," a...
  • 🧐 False equivalence in IA-02
    06 Jan 2021 • 5 min read • 1 0
    January 5, 2020 | Letter No. 19 Our first big national headline of the year had the President of the United States pushing the Georgia Secretary of State to “find” the votes that would overturn Donald...
  • 🏆 Press-Citizen's most viewed post of 2020 (pt. 1)
    03 Jan 2021 • 5 min read
    January 3, 2021 | Letter No. 18 It shouldn’t be a surprise that the articles that perform best online are rarely the articles that reporters are the proudest of. There are exceptions, but as a rule, w...