Burlington, Iowa and LGBT Rights

Burlington Iowa

Gay, transgender ordinance headed to vote“.

This was the title of a recent headline story in the Burlington Hawkeye, the newspaper of Burlington, Iowa. Why I am reading the Hawkeye? Well, it just so happens that the majority of my family lives in or near Burlington. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Burlington is the epicenter of my familial roots.

The basic gist of the article is that the Burlington Human Rights Commission wants to add language “to the city code that would list sexual orientation and gender identification as protected classes.” A city councilman, let’s just call him Jim “I’m not a homophobe if I say I’m not” Davidson, has argued against adding the protection language due to his discriminatory belief system:

Davidson said Wednesday that adding language to protect gays and transgender people would be an endorsement of “lifestyles that are unacceptable.”

“I’m not for anybody being discriminated against,” Davidson said. “But in the past decade, the agenda of homosexuals has been to make their lifestyle acceptable when it is an abhorrent lifestyle. There are a lot of people in this community that feel the same way as me.”

At a work session Monday, Davidson called homosexuality a choice. That being the case, he said, it should not to be treated the same as other protected classes.

“If I were a black person or a Jew or any other minority, I would be very upset to hear that homosexuality is considered the same as me, because it’s not. A person is black not because they choose to be black.”

Davidson is against anybody being discriminated against as long as they are not gay. His logic will make your head spin. Jim, if being gay is a choice, as you say it is (I believe that it is not a choice), wouldn’t that mean that religion should be removed from the list of protected classes? You know, religious beliefs being a choice and all… Oops. Probably didn’t get on the logic sit ‘n spin before you opened your mouth. You are probably correct about the fact that Burlington, like a lot of towns in the U.S., unfortunately, is populated with a lot of homophobic people.

Council member Matt Murray said he respectfully disagreed with Davidson’s position. He argued the council should not parse words, but take a stand against all forms of discrimination.

“What are you afraid of?” Murray asked the council. “No one should have to face discrimination here in Burlington.”

Exactly. Matt Murray for the win. And then, the mayor showcases how he completely doesn’t get it. Not even close…

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Iowa flood roundup

Dike Broke 8-30 PM (6)
CJ Dike 4-30 PM to 5-23PM (11)
CJ Dike 4-30 PM to 5-23PM (14)

Iowa Hydrologic Predictions update

The Advanced Hydrologic Predictions Service is terrific source for hydrologic information. Water levels in several Southeast Iowa communities are still higher than flood stage, but the floodwaters are receding.

Columbus Junction Iowa flood predictions hydrologic data
Hydrologic prediction data from the Iowa River gauge at Columbus Junction, Iowa. The river waters are predicted to be above flood stage until June 26th.

Hydrologic prediction data for Iowa City, Muscatine, Wapello, Ottumwa and Burlington after the jump.
Continue reading Iowa Hydrologic Predictions update

Flooding in Burlington, Iowa

My parents both grew up in Burlington, Iowa. It was the Stoller family weekend destination when I was growing up. My grandparents as well as several other relatives still live there. Fortunately, everyone is safe. The waters that flooded Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Columbus Junction, Oakville and several other towns in Iowa have made their way to the Mississippi River. The floodwaters are impacting communities in the southeastern tip of Iowa as well as in Missouri and Illinois.

As an overflowing Mississippi River was headed for a second record-setting crest, Burlington residents braced for the worst while hoping for floodwaters to make a quick exit.

The Mississippi set a new record with high-water mark of 25.73 on Tuesday. Wednesday, water levels decreased due to a levee break three miles south of Burlington in Illinois.

By later today, the river is expected to climb back up to 25.4 feet, according to the National Weather Service.

“The second crest is a result of the levee break where the water level in Burlington dropped,” said Dan Ferry, meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “All that water has filled in behind those levees, and now it’s making its way back up the Mississippi.”

via the Burlington Hawk Eye