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Activists are calling out Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie for suggesting more security at city hall.
Why it matters: Local groups say his proposal casts a damaging image on activists who speak out — sometimes very bluntly — about decisions made by city leaders they feel are oppressive.
A brother and sister who graduated from North High School in the 1930s left an estate of nearly $560,000 for a new scholarship for students of color, school officials announced last week.
Why it matters: Minority and low-income students in Iowa are less likely to earn a college degree. This will help close financial barriers for students at North.
Royal View Manor, DSM’s largest publicly-owned housing complex, would be sold under a plan that will be unveiled in coming weeks, Municipal Housing Agency director Chris Johansen told Axios.
Why it matters: The change could save the city money, but also narrow affordable-housing options and leave people homeless, multiple housing advocates cautioned.
Mayor Frank Cownie is pursuing new rules for City Hall as DSM transitions back to in-person meetings, including a weapons ban and installing metal detectors.
Why it matters: The city wants to improve security and public dialogue without violating constitutional protections to free speech and gun rights. Go deeper (1 min. read)
Flashback: DSM council meetings became noticeably more contentious following the death of George Floyd last year in Minneapolis and calls for police reform reached our city.
Speakers who reach time limits are cut off mid-sentence, driving frustration among some who believe the rules are unfair and intended to silence those who wish to express differing views.
Of note: Plath didn’t return Jason’s calls but is signed up to speak again at tonight’s council meeting, which is expected to be particularly divisive.
What's next: Cownie is consulting with the city's legal team on the possible security measures, which ultimately need council approval. The council will discuss them in coming weeks.
This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.