Letter: Vote John Haila for mayor

In 2012, the Ames police chief advised the council to place cameras in Campustown. The move was supported overwhelmingly by the student body government who represent over 50 percent of the Ames population.

Safety is the second most cited reason students pick Iowa State. Despite the fact that the ordinance had been written in compliance with American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) guidelines, Victoria Szopinski claimed her loyalty to the ACLU led her to vote against the cameras, contrary to the needs of ISU students and the advice of staff.

The last Veishea riot occurred 22 months later. The police investigation of the riot as well as its investigations of Campustown assaults, accidents and robberies have had to rely on privately donated phone images because we lacked a standard safety measure for a town our size.

In 2013, Kingland Systems was looking to expand its operations and wanted to stay in Campustown. Kingland was an important provider of jobs for ISU students. They were willing to build a bigger building that could be used for retail on the first floor as requested by the other Campustown businesses, but that increased the cost of an already expensive infill building.

It would have been much cheaper to build on the outskirts of town, but that would have been an inconvenience for their ISU student employees. A short-lived tax abatement on the improved value of the property enabled Kingland to build the larger building and stay in Campustown.

Kingland has employed over 1,300 ISU students over the past 10 years. Their Campustown address houses over 150 employees. The Kingland building started the Campustown revitalization. Szopinski voted against it.

On her website, Szopinski continues to question whether such public-private partnerships benefit the city. In contrast to Szopinski’s negative actions and attitude toward Campustown, John Haila has been president of the Campustown Action Association and a strong advocate for its improvement.

He is running for mayor of Ames. I think he would be a fine mayor for ISU students. You can vote for him on Nov. 7.