As the founder of the Tenants’ Project and an early supporter of Rockne Cole when Rockne announced that he couldn’t run for City Council, I wasn’t sure where that left pragmatic progressives in Iowa City. Too often the choice has been between the old guard, where a hidden inner circle doled out millions of city funds to select developers or a left who had their heart in the right place but were disorganized, dysfunctional, often focused on a single issue without considering the interests of all citizens, and unable to compromise and achieve tangible results.
I was pleasantly surprised last week when I had the chance to talk with Laura Bergus about her run for City Council. Laura insisted that she did not want to swing the pendulum back on development. Laura was knowledgeable, excited about the opportunity to serve on Council had a realistic understanding of what is necessary to run the city. What I was most impressed with was her desire to straddle, as she put it, two sides on council and broker compromise on a broader level in the city.
Laura definitely told me what I wanted to hear, which is that pragmatic progressive action is still possible in Iowa City. I’m voting for Laura Bergus for City Council because I think she deserves a chance to try to square the circle between the discredited old guard and the dysfunctional side of the left and to work for dialogue and compromise across the spectrum in Iowa City.