Election will bring changes to Iowa City school board

July 20, 2009

IOWA CITY – Some big changes are coming to the Iowa City school board.

The Gazette’s Meredith Hines-Dochterman had a story in today’s newspaper on the intentions of area school board members up for re-election in September.

There are three seats up for election on the seven-member Iowa City school board.  Jan Leff and Tim Krumm said they won’t seek re-election, and Mike Cooper is undecided.

“It’s good to have a change of personnel and a newer way of looking at things,” said Leff, who has served nine years on the board.

Krumm, who is nearing the end of his first three-year term, told Hines-Dochterman he needs to balance work and family responsibilities.

Cooper was unhappy in the spring of 2008 when the board voted to shorten his term by a year to comply with a new state law. When the board was contemplating taking that action, Cooper said  he wouldn’t seek re-election under such a scenario.

“I don’t want to spend half my next year campaigning for an office I was elected to for three years,” he said.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, no one had filed the necessary paperwork to run for the school board, according to the district. Potential candidates have until July 30 to do so.

During the Roosevelt Elementary debate, there was talk of trying to find people to challenge incumbents.

The school district is currently facing a number of major issues – a budget crunch, planning for a third high school, boundary changes – that board members will play a central role in deciding.

The board has indicated it will act soon on addressing the growing enrollment disparity between City High and West High. Board President Toni Cilek has said she thought this board would want to make a decision on that before the Sept. 8 election.

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Rettig declares for supervisor

June 8, 2009

By Gregg HenniganRettig

IOWA CITY –  An Iowa City woman with a history of political involvement — for Democrats and Republicans — announced on Monday her candidacy for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

Janelle Rettig, 44, of 110 Shrader Rd., will run as a Democrat in the June 2010 primary. She is a self-employed consultant working as the development director for the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.

She said after years of working on issues from the outside, she wanted to get directly involved in decision making.

“There are many things that I care about — the environment, human services and good government — that the Board of Supervisors have enormous influence over,” she said. “And I think that it’s time for me to move to a position of working on the issues from the inside, where you can effect the actual greatest change, or the greatest support.”

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Realtor declares for IC Council

June 1, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY — A real estate agent who is a big supporter of historic preservation announced on Monday his candidacy for a seat on the City Council.

Mark McCallum, 48, of 932 E. College St., is running for the District B seat currently held by Connie Champion. Champion, who has served on the council since 1998, said Monday she was undecided whether she would seek re-election.

McCallum said he wants to offer bonuses to developers to encourage diverse housing options downtown and in multifamily zones, delay the property tax recalculation for exterior improvements approved by the Historic Preservation Commission and waive fees required for siding and window replacements in historic and conservation districts.

“I think I can add something to the local debate about how Iowa City develops,” he said. “And if you look at my history, I’ve been involved with some creative projects around town and I look at things a little bit differently.”

McCallum is the original developer of the Brown Street Inn bed and breakfast and also owned and operated Brick House Apartments on College Street. He’s also known for having tried to save a 125-year-old house being used as a law office near downtown from demolition before the April 2006 tornado destroyed the building.

His current project involves converting a former sorority house to studio apartments.

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Rettig for supervisor?

May 20, 2009

By Gregg HenniganRettig

IOWA CITY — Janelle Rettig is getting some (early) love for a possible run for a seat on the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.

A Facebook group with 141 members, as of this morning, has formed to encourage her to run. Current Supervisor Rod Sullivan is a member, as is county Auditor Tom Slockett and county Recorder Kim Painter. Other notable names are state Rep. Mary Mascher, Iowa City Council members Mike Wright and Ross Wilburn and Coralville council member Tom Gill.

Retigg said she is “in the exploratory mode” and gathering information on a possible run.

“I’m grateful for the early encouragement,” she said of the Facebook group.

The supervisors election isn’t until next year, when the seats currently held by Sally Stutsman and Larry Meyers are up for reelection.

In Johnson County, the real race for supervisor usually is the Democratic primary, which will be in June 2010.  A Republican has not served as a Johnson County supervisor since 1962.