IOWA CITY – Supporters of the Iowa City law that bans people younger than 21 from bars at night are contributing in greater numbers and much more money than their opponents in advance of a Nov. 5 election.
21 Makes Sense, the campaign committee trying to prevent the repeal of the so-called 21-only law, reported it had received $12,146 since early August, according to a report filed Saturday with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.
Contributions came from more than 100 people from across the community, including many city, University of Iowa and business leaders.
Young Adults for Equality and Safety, the committee pushing for a repeal of the law so 19- and 20-year-olds can again be in bars after 10 p.m., received $3,000 in the reporting period. The money came from three bars and a company that does business with bars.
Voters are being asked in the Nov. 5 election whether to repeal the 21-only law. The City Council passed the ordinance in spring 2010 in an effort to address what some people argued was out-of-control drinking by underage people, especially in the downtown bars popular with college students.
A petition sent the matter to voters in November 2010, and the law was upheld with 52 percent support.
A petition this year, filed by the owner of a downtown bar and the manager of another, again has the matter before voters.
The biggest contribution to 21 Makes Sense was $2,500 from Tom Rocklin, UI vice president for student life. Others donors were former UI President Sandy Boyd and wife Susan ($250), Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek and wife Mary Kate ($100), several other current and former City Council members, developer Marc Moen ($1,000) and Ken Mason, husband of UI President Sally Mason ($500).
21 Makes Sense reported spending $3,056, with the biggest expense $2,039 for campaign signs.
Young Adults for Equality and Safety’s contributions came from the company that owns the Union Bar ($1,000), the bars Martinis ($1,000) and Players ($500) and Camden Amusement, a bar-games vendor out of Cedar Rapids ($500).
The committee spent $1,397, mostly on printing and campaign merchandise. It has focused its campaign on student voters.