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Nelson: “I don’t make deals”

This news story was published on April 11, 2011.
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Don Nelson

MASON CITY – Mason City City Council member Don Nelson told the North Iowa Corridor Executive Committee (EDC) in a letter that the City Council’s rejection of affirming funding for the organization “was nothing more than four City Council members’ attempt to have me change my position on the Micro Enterprise Initiative, this is not going to happen.”

At an April 5th City Council meeting, the Council had before them an opportunity to give a non-binding approval for funding for the EDC for the next three years. Non-binding means that the vote obligates no future council to give any amount of money to the EDC; it is simply a show of support.

However, Council member Janet Solberg made a motion to postpone the vote for two months, and Scott Tornquist seconded the motion. Solberg likened the situation to a meal, saying of enticing businesses to come to North Iowa “let’s give them an appetizer, main meal and dessert.”

The vote was 4-3 in favor of Solberg’s motion, with Council members Tornquist, Solberg and Travis Hickey voting yes. Mayor Eric Bookmeyer voted yes to break the tie.

“The actions of the council was nothing more than ‘deal-making,’ an attempt to sway me,” Nelson said.

Council member Scott Tornquist said of the vote during the discussion that “It’s all a show, anyway.” He went on to say that “I will never support this until we put micro-enterprise in place.”

Speaking to the EDC contingent in the audience, who seemed very interested in the discussion taking place, Council member Max Weaver said “I can’t tell you when you’ve had a success. It’s pretty ballsy of you to come here and ask for more money. There’s a lot of organizations that would like a commitment from us. Little league would like a commitment from us. I’m your swing vote. We’re logrolling.”

Weaver’s logrolling refers to a deal he has publicly offered where he would bring the micro-enterprise proposal back to the Council for a vote if Mayor Bookmeyer appoints Sandy Servantez to the Human Rights Commission. So far, Bookmeyer has refused. “A $165,000 appointment to the Human Rights Commission,” Weaver said.

The micro-enterprise is a plan brought to the Council that needed funding to get off the ground that would theoretically help spur small business growth in Mason City. The Council recently rejected funding to the proposal. Read about the micro-enterprise proposal here.

Tornquist called Nelson “gutsy” for never voting on the micro-enterprise proposal, adding “I don’t trust the Mason City City Council.”

“Needles to say I am exptremely disappointed in my fellow Council members and the Mayor’s vote on the EDC funding and their “deal making,” I thought it was extremely disappointing.

Watch the discussion:


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