Letter to the editor: Reader calls driveway ordinance ‘white privilege’


To the editor:

First of all, disclaimer: I do not live in Perry. In fact, I have not lived in Iowa for several decades now. Further, due to bigotry and racism displayed against my immigrant wife and step-daughter, I may very well never again set foot in Iowa. With that out of the way:

This proposed ordinance change is the very personification of white-privilege-meets-small-town-America. In the case of the photo of the brownish home with the Jeep parked in the drive, that is a simple, standard, two-car-wide driveway. It does not appear as though there is a garage on the property.

To restrict the width of a drive, premised on the frontage of the property, is to say, “Sorry, you can’t afford a large enough home/property for a side garage. Too bad. Park on the street. Except, of course, in the winter, when our snow ordinance requires you to NOT park on the street.”

You see, back in the ’50s and ’60s, when most American labor was union labor, one income supported a household. Such has not been the case for many, many years now except for the privileged few. So now we have America’s working poor in need of two vehicles, one for him to take to work, and one for her to go to work.

Is it truly the intent of the Perry City Council to tell the working poor they need to sell one of the family cars and somehow get two people to two different work locations using one vehicle, all because they lack the finances to buy a larger property?

We as Americans need to stop slapping biased band-aids on our social problems and start addressing the root cause of those social problems. The privileged need to stop stepping on the underprivileged.

Jim Dirks
Redding, California


  1. When I first read about this, I wondered why the City Council spent any time on this at all, let alone “spending the winter researching and workshopping possible standards for driveway construction.” If some members of the council have a lawn fetish, they are free to satisfy it to their heart’s content with their own property. If they aren’t the ones paying the mortgage on a Perry citizen’s home, they have no say when it’s an issue of aesthetics and not a safety issue. The City Council should not turn the list of city ordinances into a homeowners association covenant that no Perry resident has agreed to or signed.

  2. This is nothing more than a sign of the times to come, folks. You see, the Perry City Council, like many other city councils in Iowa, sees one thing . . . $ signs. With more and more out-of-staters moving to Iowa to sponge off of our lower costs of living, all of a sudden every small town needs to look like Beverly Hills. Next thing will be you can only have one recreational vehicle or trailer parked on the property and so on and so forth. The people of Perry need to stand up to the council and say we like our small community the way it is so stop trying to change it. I understand the desire to attract new residents and businesses, but let’s not lose our quaintness in the process. After all, small town living is what makes Iowa Iowa.


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