[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written and submitted by a verified resident. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of South King Media, nor its staff. The Letter writer is a former Des Moines City Councilmember who resigned in January, 2022 and who supports JC Harris.]

The censure of councilmember Harris was the dirtiest political trick in Des Moines history

The current city council majority and city administration has had it out for Councilmember Harris for years now. They have continuously attacked and bullied him from the dias, but nothing comes even close to being as ridiculous and heinous as the council’s decision to censure CM Harris and remove him from all committee assignments, followed by the mayor and deputy mayor campaigning heavily for his opponent.

The council approved the censure of CM Harris by a vote of 5 to 2, with most of the five members relishing in their opportunity to personally attack JC (watch the video if you don’t believe me). Other than Harris himself, only Councilmember Achziger voted against the censure.

The problem with this? The censure resolution was based on lies.

After allegations from a city employee that Councilmember Harris cornered her, spewed obscenities and waved his arms at her in a menacing and intimidating fashion, the city commissioned third party investigators to look into the issue.

The investigators found via video evidence that the allegations were entirely false. Councilmember Harris did not corner or attack the employee, and he did not waive his arms at all better yet in her direction. Video shows a normal conversation that ended in JC casually walking away.

The council knew of these results, with Councilmember Harris pointing them out himself (not to mention several members of the public). Despite this the council approved the censure, entirely ignoring the fact that the allegations were false. The council majority put aside their honor and any semblance of reasonability in order to throw a punch at a political opponent.

Providing further proof that this was all just a political stunt, Mayor Mahoney and Deputy Mayor Buxton have subsequently campaigned relentlessly for Councilmember Harris’s opponent. Mayor Mahoney in particular has made more than two dozen social media posts in support of Rob Back in the few weeks alone, in addition to video endorsements, public appearances and sign waving.

There’s no denying why the current mayor and deputy mayor want JC replaced with Rob Back – Rob would be a reliable vote on almost every issue they support. Rob has praised the council and city manager during his campaign and he voted along with the majority over 95% of the time when he was on the council. JC on the other hand has regularly provided an independent voice and voted against the council majority while providing much needed oversight in regards to how our city government operates and how funds are spent.

Whoever you support in this election it should be known that the actions taken by the council to censure councilmember Harris were entirely political in nature, and void of any true merit. The censure may very well be the dirtiest political stunt in the city’s history, and unfortunately that’s saying a lot.

Anthony Martinelli
Former Des Moines Councilmember

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17 replies on “LETTER: ‘The censure of councilmember Harris was the dirtiest political trick in Des Moines history’”

    1. Hi Tim,

      Just to clarify, no one asked me to write this letter. I’m simply pointing out information that I feel the public should be aware of.

      Say what you want about me, it doesn’t change the facts presented in this article.

      Best regards,

    2. There is no depth to which our slimy mayor will not lower himself in order to smear a political opponent. That’s why he wants Rob Back, a man of similar integrity, on Team [F You We’re the] Majority.

  1. ‘The censure of councilmember Harris was the dirtiest political trick in Des Moines history’

    That is a bold statement from someone [anthony] who has also been harmed by the city’s corruption and desire to attack enemies at all means.

    Thanks for putting truth to power and keep on keeping on!

  2. Rick

    The city council wants JC out so that Back can make it and be closer to the 7-0 club again. I’ve been going to city council meetings for 8 years, and missed maybe two meetings. I recall only twice in those 8 years its been that they voted 6-1. City Manager runs the show and his 7 puppets follow.

    1. There is no depth that our slimy mayor won’t lower himself to in order to smear a political opponent. That’s why he wants Rob Back, a man of similar integrity, on Team [F You We’re the] Majority.

  3. Sounds like sour grapes to me.
    Anthony, did you ever think that the members of the City Council are backing Rob Back because Harris is just not fit for the position?
    Dave, i’m sure your statement “That is a bold statement from someone [anthony] who has also been harmed by the city’s corruption and desire to attack enemies at all means.” sounds hollow to those women Anthony has harmed.
    Many people I know are going to vote “no” for Mr. “No” Harris.

  4. Vote for Change: A New Vision for Des Moines

    The upcoming election for the Des Moines City Council is a critical moment for our city’s future. As we approach this pivotal decision, we must evaluate the track record of current candidate JC Harris during his four years in office.

    Service, Management, and Ethics

    While JC Harris has held positions on various committees, let’s not forget the important detail – what has he truly accomplished during his time there? Harris was the only member of the Council to vote against censuring Martinelli, leaving residents questioning his commitment to his ethics.

    Taxes and Fiscal Responsibility

    Harris’s tax proposals for property and utility tax reform lack clarity and foresight. His votes against utility tax increases may have short-term appeal, but we need a comprehensive plan for fiscal responsibility and city development that serves everyone.

    Airport and Environmental Concerns

    His work on environmental issues and the airport is commendable, yet his inability to garner support on his intended approach showcases a lack of effectiveness. Des Moines deserves an advocate who can deliver on these critical issues.

    Economic Development and Public Engagement

    While Harris may boast experience as a former restaurant owner, our city needs fresh, innovative ideas for economic development. Let’s not forget his resistance to key improvements for downtown and his reluctance to embrace technology to enhance public engagement.

    Public Safety and Accountability

    Public safety is paramount, but we need leaders who can not only propose but also implement essential changes. Harris’s numerous proposals and resistance to certain initiatives call into question his ability to deliver effective solutions.

    Marina, Neighborhoods, and Transportation

    Promising sensible redevelopment at the Marina is admirable, but what actions have materialized? Harris’s votes against essential projects demonstrate a lack of commitment to community enhancement. His transportation proposals also require a closer look to ensure they align with the city’s best interests.

    Seniors and Social Services

    While advocating for seniors is essential, Harris’s stance on senior safety leaves much to be desired. The city needs a leader who can protect our senior citizens without sacrificing essential services for the broader community. Specifically, his vote against the Wesley sky bridge, that would protect residents, has been called, “appalling!”

    Des Moines deserves a City Council member who doesn’t just propose ideas but delivers results. As we approach the election, let’s consider a fresh perspective that can effectively address the city’s needs and challenges. Vote for change, vote for a new vision for Des Moines.

    Check Out JC’s Voting Record:

    Voted Against adding additional officers and mental response team members with ARPA funding – 9/2/21; 9/16/21; 2/2/23; 5/3/23

    Voted Against Body Cams Police and Public Wanted – 12/3/20; 7/28/21

    Voted Against Expanding Midway Park – 11/12/20

    Voted Against Derelict Vehicle Removal – 3/31/22

    Voted Against Passenger Only Ferry – 12/1/2022; 11/17/2022; 2/2/23

    Voted Against Marina Development – 2/2/23; 4/13/2023; 6/1/23

    Voted Against Protection of Residence Related to Homeless Housing Zone Action Plan Requiring 1000 feet from Schools – 12/16/20

    Additional Things To Know:

    Censured on February 2, 2023, for unprofessional conduct by cornering, swearing at, and berating female City Staff member – 12/22

    Voted against censuring ex-councilmember Anthony Martinez after he was arrested and booked on multiple charges of Domestic Violence – 11/18/21

    Removed from Police Advisory Meetings Multiple Times by the Police Chief, City Manager, and Mayor

      1. He should have voted agianst the Martinelli censure. The charges were dropped for a reason they were based on TEXT MESSAGES the corrupt city admin and prosecutor went after him and THEN recused themselves. Quite illegal. The other two women who went after anthony were found to be liars who collaborated together and knew each other for years. The author of the Seattle Times article had a longtime grudge against Martinelli.

        Good on JC for not jumping the gun like the council did when censuring Martinelli, AND censuring JC, AND seeking a lawsuit against Gene.

        The whole damn crew is corrupt and we deserve better!

      2. Bettina, with all due respect, Back “change”??? Seriously?! You did state we need ‘change’, yet your letter is against change and you blame JC being able to make changes on what? the actions of the majority; ie; ‘good ole boys club’? You actually blame one council person for the actions of the bullies. Have we been attending and watching the same meetings? I highly doubt it. BTW For starters, that ferry was a huge waste of money, ‘Marina Development’? Did you mean the gall of the city to try to take away part of the Marina from the public to private development when there are a slew of other places a motel could be built? and when residents of Des Moines found out about what the city was intending to do they spoke against it, in DROVES at the meeting and wrote letters to the City Council. I’m guessing the city’s ‘club’ dictated that letter to you. Nice try.

    1. “Vote for Change: A New Vision for Des Moines”

      Lmao you gotta be kidding me. Rob has offered no new vision just that he would continue to support the status quo as he did when he was on the council. He never voted against the majority and introduced almost nothing of his own.

    2. And of course Mahoney’s campaign manager who he’s paying to support Rob Back chimes in, and with some of the most ridiculous babble ever

      1. Nobody in their right mind considers Rob Back to be a “change” candidate promoting a “new vision” for Des Moines. That is patently absurd.

        JC’s purpose is to expose the corrupt and neglectful majority and their habitual abuse of power, not to find common ground with them. And he does a damn good job of it, in spite of the institutional retribution they impose on him BECAUSE THEY CAN.

        Rob Back believes that this is responsible leadership, and Mahoney and company think the voters are stupid enough to believe it, too. Let’s see if they’re right.

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