COLUMN:With work, Iowa can keep its youth

Blaine Moyle

I’m a firm believer in beating a dead horse, but before this one is chopped up, and sent to the dining centers and served to us, I’d like to put in a couple of kicks, and maybe something new will come of it.

With the end of the semester coming, many seniors are preparing to pack their bags and head for lands unknown, as long as they don’t rhyme with “Iowa.”

But lately I’ve been wondering just why everyone is in such a hurry to leave. Asking most students, the replies are about as articulate as high school students making vague references to Iowa being boring. But look the United States over and you’ll find young adults say the same thing about where they live.

There is, however, a possible solution, in this same rehash. A look to our neighbors to the south, and what the town could offer is the salvation of Iowa’s youth.

Des Moines has three things going for it right now that allow it to become a major hub of entertainment and industry, if only it was given the chance.

First, with its large population already present and in surrounding suburbs, Des Moines has a large source of young adults and adults to reach.

Second, the suburbs can’t do anything. The suburbs at best are havens for yuppies and their overpriced housing complexes. The suburbs provide no opportunity for any sort of entertainment aside from the occasional mall. While the suburbs are currently surrounding Des Moines, and restricting most of its growth, Des Moines does have a chance to rebuild from the middle.

Third, it already has a good start. The bars and dance clubs that have been appearing lately are trying to cater to college and high school students. With more “alternative” bars, and with the arrival of Club AM, it’s become obvious there are people who are trying to find out what we want, and are trying to meet our wants.

So what are the real problems that are still ahead? Des Moines is its own worst enemy. Currently there isn’t a venue large enough in Des Moines to hold any real concerts. But it’s not just the size that matters. Even Vets Auditorium has issues with concerts that transcend capacity. Most music artists can barely make any money at Vets because of cuts they take, leaving little profit or incentive for that matter for any bands to come to Des Moines. When Des Moines can’t even provide an adequate place for the largest band ever to come out of Des Moines to play, there must be a problem.

The new events center is a good step to accommodating larger crowds. Without a larger building, all the best concerts will continue to wander around Des Moines, to Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Omaha. Another of Des Moines problems is a lot of the people that live there, especially the city council. The 1940s way of thinking that permeates the council has to go. One council person in particular, Mike McPhearson, has made numerous stands against any person under the age of 30 having a good time in Des Moines.

It’s time the state started treating students like a resource and not a plague.

Laws that restrict dancing after 2 a.m. have to be changed , too. Even without the presence of alcohol, dancing isn’t allowed at public establishments, so any sort of business that wants to extend the hours is forced to have a “private membership.”

On a higher level, the governor needs to show some sort of real commitment to people our age. Like everyone else I don’t see the state cutting funding and forcing a tuition increase on college students as a friendly hand being extended by Vilsack.

He already has had numerous chances to try and take a stand for us, only to drop the ball.

If Vilsack really thinks he can win the next election when it comes around, he better think again. Helping to cut numerous state jobs, decreasing funding to the colleges, and forcing students to go elsewhere for their higher education is hardly a way to win over the people of Iowa.

Both the governor and mayor of Des Moines need to show that they really do care about our presence in Iowa.

Gathering the future of this state and talking to us would be a great step where they could learn what it is that we want, and try to work with us.

We are the future of Iowa, and we all together do have the power to change it, and make it a better place.

But we have to get out from behind our computers, go out and really try and meet the leaders halfway. Many of us are already waiting, now we just have to hope the people in charge are interested in making Iowa better, and meet us.

Blaine Moyle is a senior in English from Des Moines.