Letter to the editor icon

I would like to commend the Independent Advocate for its continued commitment to civic engagement. Not only does The Advocate provide public candidate forums prior to local elections, it also allows free access during campaign time to enable citizens to make an informed decision. Without this free access, I would have missed what I consider to be the definitive question/responses of the mayoral forum, even though I did attend. (It was difficult for me to hear because of, among other things, the requirement that the candidates wear masks.)


The next day’s Advocate, however, helped. The question asked the candidates how they would use an additional one million dollars. Stephanie Erickson, who answered first, responded that she would give it to Helping Hand and Heal House. Pam Pepper said she would use it for roads.


To me, this indicates that Erickson doesn’t really have a firm grasp on the purpose, responsibility and duty of individuals in local public office. City officials are charged with providing guidance and making decisions for the entire community, not just a small percentage of it. Granted, Erickson names worthy non-profits. But that is not the issue.


In Erickson’s profile, published in the Oct. 3 Advocate, she states, “It is time we stop inconsequentially distracting our residents with emotional triggers that undermine all that Indianola can and should be.” How ironic. Erickson was one of the signatories on the the petition to the Iowa Board of Appeals regarding the appropriation of LOSST funds, and one of three residents who lodged a complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board that the City Council had violated the open meetings law. Information on the second complaint can be found in an article published in the Des Moines Register on June 24. I am including a couple of relevant paragraphs of that article here.


“Erickson said after the May 17 meeting, she witnessed city council members Greta Southall, Bob Kling, Greg Marchant, Heather Hulen and City Manager Ryan Waller meeting outside of city council at a city council member's house.

A videotape she sent to Mayor Pamela Pepper, City Attorney Doug Fulton and the IPIB shows her driving down a street and pointing cameras at cars parked near each other while naming off city council members and staff that she said the cars belonged to.” (Des Moines Register, June 24, 2021)



Both of the complaints were dismissed by the associated boards.


These actions have triggered emotions among citizens that have distracted them, not inconsequentially, to the point that we almost have a two-party system arising.


Erickson’s profile does not address the question of her post-high school education. Contrast that to Pepper’s two degrees, including a Master of Public Administration. She has many years of experience serving the city. Erickson has no such experience.


Erickson has no experience, no fiscal sense, and apparently questionable scruples, if she is driving around videotaping city council members. With the impending departure of our city manager,  it is more important than ever to have experience in the mayor’s seat. I urge you to vote for Pam Pepper for mayor. Indianola needs a leader, not an emotional distractor.

JANE CARLSON / Indianola


Recommended for you

(1) comment


Pam Pepper and the entire city council displayed a lack of leadership and responsiveness to their constituents when they failed to meet with the public, or even respond to the request of the Warren County Republican Party for the meeting, to discuss why the city supported the unlawful and racially discriminatory 21 Day Equity Challenge. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Iowa Civil Rights Act prohibit racial discrimination in employment, including racial stereotyping in training materials.

The Challenge supports racial stereotyping.

The 20th day Challenge materials are at https://www.unitedwaydm.org/equity-challenge-day-20. It links to the following document:

https://www.cacgrants.org/assets/ce/Documents/2019/WhiteDominantCulture.pdf .

This document lists a series of stereotypes as “norms” of “white culture”. Imagine someone declaring that these “norms” represented Black behavior, but were not racist.

They include “Either/or thinking”; “Paternalism”; “Taking unearned credit for wins”; and “Power Hoarding”. The Challenge suggests that it is the norm for white people to discriminate against Blacks: “White Mediocrity: People of color given extra work, and scrutinized while white staff with more years and/or formal credentials are given a pass or promoted.”

In the last example, reasons that any court would recognize as being nondiscriminatory, i.e. greater experience and knowledge, are characterized as discriminatory.

The Challenge's characterization of valuing standard American English, verbal, linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence as a white norm suggests a deficiency of non-whites in these areas. Supreme Court Justices Thurgood Marshall and Clarence Thomas, as well as neurosurgeon Ben Carson and NASA mathematician Mary Jackson, stand as refutations of this stereotype.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines racism as, “Prejudice . .. . against . . . people on the basis of their membership of a particular racial or ethnic group, typically [but not exclusively] one that is a minority or marginalized.” [or] “the belief that different races possess distinct characteristics . . . , especially so as to distinguish them as inferior or superior to one another.” Parts of the 21 Day Equity Challenge meet these definitions.

The message that Mayor Pepper sent was clear: racially discriminatory training materials are OK, and challenges to those materials are not even worth discussing, when the discrimination is directed against white people. It is of zero concern to her that such training materials are unlawful.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.