Clark Rieke, a retired Realtor, is one of two challengers running for the council’s District 1 seat against two-term incumbent Kris Gulick.
In an interview this week, Rieke, 66, said he has been “an activist all my life” reaching back to protests against the Vietnam War. As such, he said he has been “very active” in Cedar Rapids since the flood of 2008. He said he has attended as many public meetings related to flood recovery as any citizen in the city.
Rieke, of 1614 D Ave. NE, is running for the council with a long list of public policy changes and discussions he’d liked to see at City Hall.
The valuations placed on some commercial property, upon which property-tax bills are based, can be well below a commercial property’s actual sale price. By way of example, the city paid $4 million for the former Sinclair packing plant property or about three times its assessed value for tax purposes. The city should be able to recapture back property taxes based on sale price.
He will vote to approve the Nov. 5 ballot measure to extend the city’s local-option sales tax to fix streets, but the city needs the revenue for flood protection.
The city should build a flood protection system as soon as possible. However, the city should build it to 80 percent of the planned height and work to reduce the river level in the watershed above Cedar Rapids to gain additional protection.
The city should reduce pinch points in the Cedar River, including some at the 5-in-1 dam, to allow more water to flow through the city.
Increased inspections of homes in the city’s core neighborhoods will improve the quality of the homes and raise their value. The “optimal development model” for the city is to make sure the city’s established core is healthy and that expansion on the city’s outer edge is not greater than a natural expansion pace.
Of past city actions, Rieke said the city should have not closed Second Avenue SE for the Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa’s new medical building. Instead, the city should have required the clinic to build a taller building with skywalks over Second Avenue SE. He said the city should have built the new Central Fire Station on a different site and not on such a valuable piece of commercial property. He said he favors “instant runoff elections” where voters vote for a top choice and second choice to avoid possible later runoffs. The city, he said, hasn’t been forthright in imposing a 2-percent franchise fee tax on gas and electric bills. The casino, if built, should be smoke free, he said.
Rieke is a board member of the Mound View Neighborhood Association and a member of Landlords of Linn County.
He grew up in Fairmont, Minn. He has a bachelor’s degree from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Minnesota. He has worked in real estate, real estate appraisal and property management during his working career.
Rieke moved to Cedar Rapids in 2003. He has a son and two grandchildren.
Ajai Dittmar, 42, is also challenging incumbent Kris Gulick for the District 1 council seat.