Individual Endorsements

Individually, the candidates known as the Core Four each have their own unique campaigns, supporters, and numerous endorsements. You can see those on their respective Facebook pages and websites. A sampling of the individual endorsements are offered here.

Jim Throgmorton Endorsement

"Throgmorton wants to increase participation and communication in the city, especially in the realm of urban planning. He questions the use of TIF in some past projects, and believes the city could be more transparent and trustworthy in how it applies these taxpayer incentives. Since joining the council, Throgmorton’s voice has been consistent not only in terms of balancing the past with the future, but in the need to do so in all neighborhoods. He’s earned another term." ~ Gazette Endorsement of Jim Throgmorton (The Gazette)

John Thomas Endorsement

"We became close friends with John Thomas while he was still creating parks and playgrounds for the city of San Francisco. We have never known anyone as passionate about the interplay between people and their community. He brought that passion to the Planning and Zoning Commission and to his volunteer work on the North Market Square Park. If you care about and take joy in our special little city, John Thomas would be a really nice counterbalance to the Mayor's preferred 'business before pleasure' slate." ~ Roberta and Jae Till Retz (Press-Citizen)

Rockne Cole Endorsement

"I support Rockne Cole for Iowa City Council. I have been friends with him and his wife, Mara, for 15 years. He is a tireless advocate for people in the community who are marginalized. He also cares about sustainable and equitable development and inclusive, affordable neighborhoods. He recognizes that Iowa City is more than a place to run a business and make money. It is a place to raise a family and share community with a diverse group of people. That is what makes Iowa City great after all. It isn’t just the university and downtown; it is all of the city, every person who lives here." ~ Sara Riggs (via The Gazette)

Pauline Taylor Endorsement

"There couldn’t be a nicer person than Pauline Taylor. She is friendly and approachable. You can count on her to care about and listen to your concerns. She has the knowledge, interpersonal skills, ability and will have the respect of her peers to work with them and represent you well on the council." ~ Tom Slockett (Press Citizen)

Endorsements for the Core4

Below are some of the endorsements the Core4 candidates received as a group.

"These four progressive candidates--the 'Core Four,' including Rockne Cole, Pauline Taylor, John Thomas and Jim Throgmorton--are inspiring voters with their experience and their commitment. They have the vision and skills to tackle the complex challenges of economic development with a vision of sustainability, livability, and justice in our communities planning. This includes responding to a number of current challenges while considering the avoidance and mitigation of perhaps even larger challenges on the horizon." ~ Geoffrey Lauer, 20 October 2015 (Source: Huffington Post)

Iowa City Federation of Labor

"An hour or two of your time could be the difference in having a progressive city council in Iowa City... Iowa City residents can vote for all four of Labor's endorsed candidates Jim Throgmorton, Rockne Cole, Pauline Taylor, John Thomas." ~ Jesse Case for the Iowa City Federation of Labor, 29 October 2015 (Source: Facebook)

"We have an abundance of good candidates this election. I support Jim Throgmorton for City Council and Rockne Cole for Iowa City Council in the at-large race, John Thomas in District C, and Pauline Taylor in District A." ~ Ann Duggan, 29 October 2015 (Source: Facebook)

"Friends, join me in supporting James Throgmorton, Rockne Cole, John Thomas, and Pauline Taylor for City Council." ~ Lisa Heineman

"Vote ‪#Core4‬ for a progressive Iowa City Council that matches our Core Values! Iowa City has a very important City Council election in less that a week. This election is about the heart, soul & future of our fair city. Please get out and vote. Join me in voting for Jim Throgmorton, John Thomas, Pauline Taylor and Rockne Cole. That's 3 T's and a C." ~ Mike Carberry, 27 October 2015 (Source: Facebook)

Garry Klein

2 November 2015 (Source: Press-Citizen)

I support the idea that thoughtful choices are better than a formulaic appproach to making important decisions. With that in mind, for the Iowa City Council I recommend retaining Jim Throgmorton, who — based on his scholarship and service — understands urban planning ramifications better than any member past or present.

In addition, we need voices for working-class Iowa Citians and who better than Pauline Taylor, a University of Iowa hospital nurse who worked relentlessly for the right to organize and won? Then we need a growth perspective that has been informed by serving on a planning and zoning commission like John Thomas brings. Finally, we need a person who understands that our city is better when we consider all of our diverse residents’ needs and works toward them, and that is Rockne Cole.

Some may be quick to dismiss these individuals as a “slate,” which misses the main point. I’d suggest that we vote for each of them for what, individually, each brings and will make our vibrant, progressive city even better.

Brandon Ross Endorsement

29 October 2015 @ 3:38 p.m. (Source: Press-Citizen)

Election affords unique opportunity

Iowa City has an opportunity to elect four great city councilors on Nov. 3.

Pauline Taylor has dedicated herself as a nurse and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the City Federation of Labor. She especially supports the working classes and poor and disabled in our city.

Jim Throgmorton is an urban planning professor in his second term who provides expertise regarding city planning issues. He is very smart, kind, considerate of the environment and responsive to the public.

John Thomas has worked in urban planning and landscape architecture and has a progressive inclusive-for-all philosophy that embraces a healthy economy and affordability, with concern for parks, schools and adding quality jobs.

And Rockne Cole, an immigration lawyer, is committed to civil rights issues, safety and desirability of biking and walking conditions, living wages, local farming, protecting the environment and helping small business.

These experienced, considerate and progressive candidates give Iowa City a great opportunity to open up city government for everybody. They will expand city dialogue, which has for so long now been narrowed and controlled by the interests of big real estate and the upper bracket of the Chamber of Commerce.

If you are an FDR Democrat, if you have any Bernie Sanders leanings, if you want the city to grow in its vision for working people, for all people, please consider these wonderful candidates.

Brandon Ross

Iowa City

Anne Duggan

(Source: Facebook, 28 Oct. 2015)

My partner, Larry Fitzpatrick, and I spent the better part of October on a fall bike tour. We spent more time off-line than on.
When we were able to “connect” with news of the Iowa City city council it was hard to read how the outgoing mayor and incumbents characterized candidates who oppose the status quo. It’s too tedious to repeat any of what went on, but these potshots and fear-mongering came from people who should know better.

This “if you’re not with us you’re against us” attitude is turning downtown into a chrome and glass mecca. Our business owners worked hard to survive the Wal-martization of small town America; it is time to harness that attitude to strengthen OUR city for ALL residents. Iowa City is more than a car-centric downtown, public transportation is a social equity issue, and economic development isn’t just running out small businesses to erect a shiny new glass tower with expensive real estate above and empty storefronts at ground level.

The destruction of older commercial buildings mean that it is rare for a non-bar business to start up in downtown Iowa City. This attitude allowed a property owner without an approved plan to begin to displace 10 small businesses on Dubuque St. If they survive, these small businesses may have to leave the area.

We have an abundance of good candidates this election. I support Jim Throgmorton for City Council and Rockne Cole for Iowa City Council in the at-large race, John Thomas in District C, and Pauline Taylor in District A.

Emma Leibe Hart Wareheim

(Source: Facebook Mobile)


Friends, if you truly love this city as much as I do and wish to not only live here or own a business in town one day but see change in our community that profits the many instead of the few. I cannot explain enough how important and pinnacle voting in this city council race will be for the future of our city and the future of your friends and family’s.

Even if you don’t plan on living here forever think of the people you know who DO want to live here ,want to own or already own a business in town, and vote for a group that has there interests and futures in mind instead of the interests and futures of a few high rise developers and there endorsers.

I LOVE Iowa City and have called this place home for many years and wish to continue to do so, growing up around here I’ve seen many buildings, people, and social attitudes come and go. Yet one sentiment that has remained untouched is the commitment of a small group of dedicated citizens sharing common ground, that ground is to make Iowa City good for ALL not a FEW,lets GROW but grow in a way that helps the community as a WHOLE. These dedicated citizens call themselves the IowaCityCore4 .

Those beliefs make it possible that young adults like myself, family’s, and local business owners in this city can not only afford to call this place home but have the chance of owning a business in the downtown hub and build roots in a city that is capable of being self-sufficient,self-reliant, and unified by the wants and needs of the community as a whole instead of relying on the small group of high-rise developers and there endorsers to decide the direction and future of this city. I want to own a business in town, I want to own a home in town, and I want to be part of a community that can grow and build together.

Please not only like the IowaCityCore4 page but share it with your friends and go out and vote for them on Nov 3rd to secure our future. Vote because you love this city, vote because you care about your community, vote because you want to see change for the better, vote because there is no excuse for not investing in our futures and the futures of your loved ones. Our future is directly dependent on us getting together and realizing that if we want to grow together we have to vote together and we have to support the people who not only have long track records of standing for our wants and needs but will continue to do so when they are on the council. LETS GO IOWA CITY! LETS MAKE THIS CITY OURS AGAIN ON NOVEMBER 3RD!

Jiyun Park


26 Oct. 2015 (Source: Little Village Magazine)

Change can be easy if we start small. If you believe in recycling; reusing; reducing; then you will want to vote this November 3.

The positive impact of your vote could be one of the biggest turning points for a beautiful, sustainable Iowa City. There are four CORE candidates whose visions will turn Iowa City’s future towards sustainable economic growth including innovative technologies for transportation, clean air and water.

By joining the ranks of Sweden, which is committed to becoming fossil fuel free; Melbourne, which is trying to be free by the year 2020, and Ames, Iowa, which voted to restrict building heights to 11 stories, above which energy consumption increases greatly, Iowa City will remain an attractive place to raise healthy children, start businesses and retire.

Iowa City could become a true bike friendly and walkable city, further contributing to a sustainable future. Smart growth is smart long-term economic growth: If people want to live in Iowa City because they can bike to work, walk through parks and breathe clean air, then we will continue to have unlimited economic opportunities.

Please vote for sustainability this November 3 by voting for three Ts and a Rock: John Thomas, Jim Throgmorton, Pauline Taylor and Rockne Cole.

In 2013, only 22% of the population voted in Iowa City’s City Election. Take a friend to vote who wouldn’t without you — this simple gesture could double the number of voters.

Reactions to the Mayor's Commentary on the City Council Election

Jim Throgmorton Commentary

24 October 2015 (source)


On November 3, Iowa City voters will elect four people to our City Council. In addition to myself, I will be voting for John Thomas, Pauline Taylor, and Rockne Cole, and I ask you to consider doing the same.

In the 3 weeks since our first social and economic justice forum on September 30, we candidates have participated in 6 forums. They focused on issues of interest or concern to environmental groups, seniors, the IC Area Chamber of Commerce, retirees living at Oaknoll, bicyclists, and the League of Women Voters.

We have also met with the editorial boards of The Gazette and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Most of us attended a candidates’ academy organized by the Iowa City Federation of Labor. And Cole, Taylor, Thomas, and I have participated in “meet and greets” with neighbors in various parts of the city.

The editorial boards of The Gazette and the Press-Citizen, the City Federation of Labor, and a growing stream of individuals from all parts of the city have endorsed me for re-election.

I am very grateful for these endorsements. But I see them, not as endorsements of me personally, but of my efforts to help lead Iowa City toward becoming a Just City: a city that is good on the ground for all of its residents both now and in the future.

For details about what becoming a Just City means in practical terms, take a look at the Welcome and Platform sections of my “Jim Throgmorton for City Council” Facebook page at: It definitely means having a City Council that is open and responsive to all of the city’s residents.

Let me be clear. Getting re-elected does not, by itself, mean very much to me. What does matter is being able to shift City policies and actions more in the direction of the Just City.

This is why I entered the City Council race as an at-large candidate: to get enough votes on the Council to move Iowa City in that direction.

After all our forums, all our editorial board interviews, and all our “meet and greets,” and after having worked with several of the candidates for several years, I have become fully persuaded that having Rockne Cole, John Thomas, and Pauline Taylor on the Council will enable us to move in a creative, inclusive, and just direction.

I hope no one takes my support for those three individuals as a personal rejection of the other candidates. Much of what Scott McDonough advocates is quite compatible with the Just City vision. And Rick Dobyns, Michelle Payne, and Tim Conroy are all good people who have a great deal to offer the city.

If re-elected, I will do my utmost to work collaboratively and constructively with all members of the new Council, whether I supported their bids for election or not.

And, with your help and support, I will continue to serve the people of our city to the best of my ability.

Tom Carsner Commentary

26 October 2015 @ 4:30 PM (Source: Press Citizen)

The “sky is falling” theatrics of Mayor Matt Hayek’s recent letter to the editor is typical of a king at the end of his reign. He and the City Council majority can’t bear to hear an opposing viewpoint or dissent from the establishment perspective.

I urge Iowa City voters to ignore Hayek’s fantasy of an anti-growth, micromanaging, reversed progress, tax-losing government if the “Core Four” — Thomas, Cole, Taylor and Throgmorton — are elected.

When Hayek says “micromanaging,” he reflects the intolerance of dissent from staff or the council majority that is content to let the city staff make decisions for us. John Thomas, a candidate for council, was kicked off the Planning and Zoning Commission after several years of service because his dissenting opinions were no longer welcome to the council majority.

The “growth at any price to grow the tax base” philosophy of the present council majority puts Iowa City at financial risk when one TIF-financed Big Bang project turns south. A series of smaller investor-financed mixed use — business and residential — projects can energize multiple neighborhoods and build a more reliable and sustainable tax base.

Hayek’s breathtakingly wide and arrogant slap at the “Core Four” candidates for City Council reveals how defensive and desperate the city establishment looks at these candidates. I urge Iowa City to welcome the just, equal, affordable, inclusive and sustainable growth vision presented by John Thomas, Rockne Cole, Pauline Taylor and Jim Throgmorton. Vote for them to shake loose the scared establishment of the present City Council.

Tom Carsner

Iowa City

Shelton Stromquist Commentary

27 October 2015 @ 4:38 PM (Source: Press Citizen)

Mayor Matt Hayek’s recent op-ed is curious for a variety of reasons. He cites a series of “progressive” accomplishments in Iowa City, for which he and his current council majority can claim only partial credit at best. Indeed, in some areas — affordable housing and police-community relations, for instance — they dragged their feet when others took the initiative. Then he pivots from what purports to be an upbeat assessment of a vibrant, progressive Iowa City, to levy a mean-spirited attack on Jim Throgmorton and an unnamed “slate” of candidates who if elected, he argues, would undermine all the good that has been accomplished. This is a very strange, Jekyll and Hyde-like, intervention in the current council campaign by a retiring councilor and mayor. It does him no credit. But maybe it is not so strange.

Community elites, who assert a natural right to govern in cities, have a long history — not just in Iowa City — of claiming to act for the community as a whole on the basis of a non-partisan interest. They characterize their opponents as partisans who have parochial concerns and who organize themselves into “slates” to pursue those interests. Such opponents do things, to quote Hayek, like undermine a proper “balance between investment in our future and adherence to our values.” Whose values? And they seek to “return to the anti-growth, micromanaging city hall of eras past.”

What goes unspoken and is largely invisible in this diatribe is the fact that council majorities in Iowa City at least since the early 1980s, have been composed of “slates” that are quietly recruited and supported by developers, real estate interests and the Chamber of Commerce to insure a development-friendly environment. They adhere to an agenda that is pro-growth, anti-tax and anti-regulation of business. Because they have the resources to pour into council elections and because turnouts in this heavily Democratic city are historically low in municipal elections, they have pretty much had their way. The members of their slates are touted as “individuals,” “independent thinkers,” who understand that “balance is essential.”

Mayor Hayek is as much in the hip pocket of local developers and the Chamber as any of the members of his anointed slate or those that have come before. He simply obfuscates this political reality in a rhetoric that professes only an interest in “balance” and the well-being of the whole community.

We have an at-large system of electing a city council where all councilors are voted on by all city voters, and we only indirectly elect a mayor. Hayek, like his predecessors, was chosen by his fellow councilors. The vast majority of citizens — working people, ethnic and racial minorities and real progressives — find themselves at a disadvantage as candidates and as voters against the resources that community elites can mobilize in city-wide elections. We need new, genuinely independent voices on the council, representing these voters and not beholden to developers and the Chamber. That’s why I am supporting Jim Throgmorton, John Thomas, Rockne Cole and Pauline Taylor. It is time to take our city back from the business elite and their “slate.”

Shelton Stromquist, an emeritus professor of history at the University of Iowa, is completing a book, tentatively titled "The City and Social Democracy."

Vote Your Hopes, Not Your Fears

by Karen Kubby
2 November 2015 (Source: Daily Iowan)

A friend suggested I write about my time on City Council. Their recommended title was, “Ordinance Passes 6-1, Kubby Voting No.” This is kind of funny, yet does not fully reflect my experience; 95 percent or more of votes on the council, no matter what the council makeup, will be 7-0.

Mayor Matt Hayek’s Press-Citizen opinion piece on Oct. 14 used fear to steer the community toward his candidate picks for Iowa City. He used the term, “threatens the balance.” I read that to mean “threatens the status quo.” Progressive policymakers should always be threatening the status quo, even ones they built. As is said, “Change or die.”

The real issues in this election are about those few votes where there is a difference in approach and value — both in terms of process and content. I believe these issues will be in the areas of racial justice, affordable housing, development density, sustainability, and economic development.

Let’s get real. All candidates understand that density in the core of our community makes sense environmentally and economically. The differences are about the scale of increased density — 15 stories or eight stories. Both are greater density than the current status quo.

All candidates have stated that they would support TIF projects under varying circumstances. The differences are two-fold. The first contrast is about concentration — giving larger projects large amounts of public assistance versus offering lesser amounts to more entities providing economic drive to our community. The other divergence is about circumstances under which public assistance will be provided — how strong will they be about energy efficiency, building materials, affordable housing, and affordable commercial space. These differences are a matter of scale, decentralization of public assistance, and ensuring the community is getting enough back from this form of public assistance.

This is not a council race about micro- or macro-management, as indicated by the mayor. It is not a race about pet projects. It is not even a race about who will be the next mayor.

This is a race about core values and the scale in which our community will grow. This is a race about how we will approach issues of racial justice.

As an activist, I can be impatient with the pace of local government. In 1997, Jim Throgmorton and I were part of a minority in support of mandatory inclusionary zoning. We called it the “Fair Share” policy. Here we are a generation later, still waiting for voluntary action by the private sector, waiting for a community-wide fair share policy. Either would have helped reduce socio economic status disparities in some of our newer schools.

The city has a new sustainability plan with many great ideas and projects to reduce climate change in practical ways. There is a plan to work on issues of racial justice in the areas of police policy, training, and practice, in the area of recruitment for boards and commissions, and general communication. The question is how fast and how hard will the city work to implement these plans. I believe with Core Four candidates, these plans will be implemented more quickly and deeply.

Don’t follow the path of fear mongering from the mayor, the business community, or anybody about the Core Four. Get to know the stances of the Core Four individually: Jim Throgmorton and Rockne Cole in the at-large race, Pauline Taylor in District A, and John Thomas in District C. Decide for yourself. Vote your hopes and not your fears.

[Karen Kubby owns a small family owned downtown retail bead store and served on the City Council from 1989-2000.]