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Editorial: “A” team fails miserably in lobbying landfill board

by Matt Marquardt –

The North Iowa Landfill Board was heavily lobbied by Mason City leaders, business owners and even city staff to vote “yes” on the ERS contract, that much was apparent as Thursday’s vote drew closer.  All that talent and effort got them nowhere, as the board shot it down.

I was alerted early Wednesday that the “A” team was putting on a full court press ahead of the vote. The “A” team started with their media, getting the quotes and slant they needed there to work over any board members unfortunate enough to read it.  Then the phones and internet were worked.

“Travis Hickey is making phone calls and emails,” to small town people with influence on the landfill board, one caller told me.  Hickey later confirmed this.  Hickey is a politician and has every right to lobby for an issue he feels strongly about.  He spoke at the landfill meeting in favor of approving the contract.  I was told others were making calls as well.

The Darth Vader of the “A” team, Brent Trout, was busy doing the dirty work of the Grand Puppeteer, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, working their media and preparing to speak to the landfill board in person in his capacity as City Administrator.  Bookmeyer wanted no part of getting his hands dirty publicly on this issue; he is already thinking about his shaky re-election chances.  The best he could do was show up at the meeting and sit in the back row, confident that his trash plant would win approval (see photo above).

Trout has become Bookmeyer’s bouncer, carrying the load, the face man, fighting the fight, stepping way out of bounds of his job description, a soldier and talented member of city staff reduced to a lobbyist for a lame-duck mayor.  Bookmeyer has become the prized dancer to Trout; you can look but you can’t touch, and if you do, he might throw you out on your ass.

“If you want to have your little site,” Trout told me after the meeting, and “come after my bosses, we will have a problem.”

Yikes.  Sorry Brent, will be open for business 24 hours a day.

Minutes earlier, Trout had presented Mason City’s case to the board.  “We have the most to gain,” he said.  “This is a project that will create investment in our community, create jobs, and we feel that this is something we need to have in our community.”

To the landfill board, 90+% of which do not live in Mason City, none of that matters; they were going to do what was best for the landfill.  The “A” team never got that; perhaps they thought the board would roll over if it was blitzed; plus it had an automatic 19 votes from “A” teamer  Scott Tornquist, who seems to have a string from Bookmeyer’s right index finger attached to the top of his head.  Victory was assured until Bill Rowland wrote a letter stating he did not recommend approval of the contract.  The “A” team then panicked; I wrote about that Thursday morning.

There was talk before and after the meeting that Scott Tornquist, representing Mason City on the board, should recuse himself of voting on the deal for the very reasons Trout offered.  One board member told me that the Iowa Ombudsman Office may be notified on the matter.  Of course Tornquist did not recuse himself, and offered his one and only word of the entire meeting: “Yes.”

Tornquist had offered his best sales pitch to the board a few weeks ago; a direct, terse, wordy diatribe on how the landfill should not miss this “opportunity.”  The board wasn’t buying it. Whether he was directed by the Grand Puppeteer to keep his mouth shut this time is anyone’s guess.

Several Mason City business leaders showed up and tried to make a case to the board to OK the contract, but that went nowhere as well.

They were out-done by a steadfast group of North Iowans who out-thought them, out-worked them and out-talked them consistently over the past weeks.  Regular people like Sandy Servantez, Carol Patnode and Max Weaver hit home-runs over and over Thursday night, poking holes in nearly every “A” team argument, probing for explanations and answers that had many “A” teamers red-faced.

In the end, the landfill board was not swayed by the fancy talk, and saw through the morphing labyrinth of fact and fiction that ERS and its supporters presented.  It did not allow itself to rushed, bullied or hoodwinked; it was no one’s puppet.  It did what any good business does: It held off until a better tested, more thought-out and beneficial plan to use its commodity (trash) could be brought forward.  One day that will happen and the landfill will be glad it waited.

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Hmmmmm seems you like what you call pathetic crap you are always here! You can’t stay away! Which is too funny. We will keep coming back and back and back. So drop it or keep reading the truth every time!

Ok It’s over and done. That horse is now dead.

Let’s move on.

One point to ponder. There are less than 500 manufacturing plants in the entire state of Iowa that employ 50 or more workers. Let’s keep trying because a new plant that employs 50 or more employees would be a really big deal.

There should be questions asked like why did the mayor and city administrator try to rush this thing through. Why did the administrator act like a little brat who didnt get his way after this thing was voted down.

CAPTAIN FRED…INTELLIGENCE is not a one-way street, we all have some, some more than others. MATT has admitted he is not a professional journalist, however; with my little knowledge of the subject {more than 30 years in the business), he’s doing a damn good job of trying to cover and explain what is going on in Mason City. His verbage sometimes is lacking, along with his use of “nicknames” at times could easily be avoided. With time, I’m sure,he’ll work these things out. Give the man credit, he’s out covering stories and offering “editorial” comments…which is a hell of a lot more than the Globe and the bean counter Querry.

Captain Fred is that it? Go take your nap with the other thugs you obviously are in bed with. You leave! We could care less about what you say or think. Although reading your crap does reinforce just how stupid you and who you agree with really are. Get lost. You hate the truth anyway so move along!

Totally unexcusable behavior by Brent Trout. News flash to you pal, you might be able to silence some people by kicking them off of boards but there is always going to be somebody out there that will report the truth. Why don’t you use head and act like a city administrator rather than some street thug bully.

Hope Captain Fred isn’t commander of the USS bookmeyer. Its going down and you can all join Gilligan on that desert island.

HEY, MATT M. & PATRIOT, et al:

Sounds like you think you are “LEGENDS IN YOUR OWN MINDS”.

First off, I’ll say whatever I want here. Just like everyone else does. It’s called FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

Secondly, why so much BITTERNESS toward the Globe Gazette? Methinks there is MUCH that you are not telling us about your relationship with them.

And why do your “op-ed” writers CONSTANTLY resort to childish name-calling in their comments? Makes you sound like amateurish tabloid journalists. At least John Skipper has enough intelligence to not go “off the deep end” for the sake of “sensationalism”.

One more thing (FOR NOW): If you don’t like the way things happen in Mason City/North Iowa, why don’t you pack up and LEAVE?

Freedom of speech does have limits, legal and morale. Niether of which you seem to care much about.

If you wan’t to discuss the news in a civil manner that’s fine, but this site does not need to degrade into a free for all either. You obviously don’t respect yourself because you can’t respect others.

As for saying anything you wan’t here, there are rules and the site is owned by Matt. You can be edited just like anywhere else, especially if you step way over the line.

No legend here, just someone who likes to discuss the news in a civil manner.

Hey Patriot… when it comes to civility, is it a one way street on your planet? It seems to be on Planet N-I-T… civility is a two way street. N-I-T can’t expect civility to be given to it, when it is uncivil in its ways.

Also, my congratulations to you Matt, in helping fight off any progress for the City of Mason City. Let’s go back 20 years and make it like it was before the Mall was put in place. That will make all you people who live under rocks happy.

Progress means change. Lack of it, means a constant declining population, and people leaving Mason City becuase it is dying.

How many people will be around Mason City to read your pathetic rag when people continually leave town cause it lacks progress? I love seeing someone who depends on local readership, continual to work against progress. It shows how foolish you really are. Continue to support your own pride….but that Pride will be the only one left reading this pathetic crap.

Hmmmm: The trash plant is not progress nor is it change. I call it moving the town dump into city limits. It would not drive young people here, nor would it give them a reason to stay. I argue the types that would take jobs there are BeJe Clark types, and ERS would have gotten sick of that circus within several months and automated the trash sorting process. ERS was building a MODEL plant, not a plant designed to turn profits, they made that clear. That means the number of people employed there in the long run is questionable. They would pay no taxes for 10 years; would they still be in business by then? No one knows; I doubt it.
As for the bitterness factor, you seem to suffer from that towards me. Were you perhaps the subject of an op-ed here? Why don’t you use your real name when you attack me? It’s ok, even cowards can speak their mind here.

@Anonymous: There is no need for this site or any other for that matter to simply degrade into anarchy. We are supposed to be a civilized people, lets act like it.

I’m on planet Earth, not sure which one you are on, but here, civilized is a two way street and should not be left to die.

Matt does have valid point there.

I agree Farewell. Sounds like Max Weaver hasn’t left the building. Damn it’s good knowing decent people and news is out there for us! Damn good. Only going to get caught more and more. sweet!

It is time that someone investigate the entire city. We have ex cops blaming others of murder, chiefs padding their wives paychecks, bus drivers who shouldn’t have a license and to top it off a rising tax rate. Just wish some type of “news agency” would do their job.

Crooked, I agree. They sould start the investigation at the top.

NIT (MATT) supporters and advocates for this polluted idea have spoken and are RIGHT. Matt is a striaght up guy for you who can’t keep up with TODAY. There is no spinning this situation or Bookmeyer and his court to sound better or that NIT isn’t calling it out just exactly as it happened and is. This mess of gangsters are the epitomy of self centered money hungry theives. Keep at it boys and girls rub your hands together for the next dupe… we are ready. NIT is the 24/7 we’ve been waiting for and not going away. You don’t like it city council and haters of NIT move along the truth is coming your way every single time.

Please explain the elite and the little guy? What has happen in the past to the elite to make their life better that included city (Mason City) involvement? There is a lot of talk about pockets getting padded. Examples would be great. It is easy to point finger and blame others for your misfortunes then to get up and help make this place better

Ask anyone wo was around when wal-mart was in the works, who stood to profit when land was sold way out west… regular folks wanted it built downtown but the A team forced it out west.

Location, location, location. That is why it was build out west. Where would have Wal-mart built downtown and had parking. The walmart location would be 5 city blocks if not more. Walmart also wants extra land around their building to sell to others that want to build near them. that is business today. That is why this town struggles.

Give an example of what you have done for this city.

Mr. Trout is supposed to represent all the citizens of this community. For him to make a statement of this nature is beyond stupid. Hopefully there were others within earshot who will verify this. Any other public employee would face harsh punishment for this action. As for with holding information from a news source I am sure there are legal sources who would jump all over this one.

No, Trout works for the City Council. I agree, his threat was stupid and right up there with Kuhn’s threat to Matt Marquardt when he knew Matt had the “drunk and stupid” story and video. Public officials threatening people? Inappropriate at best and illegal at worst.

Mr. Trout works for the taxpayers of Mason City. We are his “boss” the last time I looked. And to call him Darth Vader is an insult to Vader. Vader did what he did out of misguided love.


You had better look again…the only people directly responsible to the citizens of Mason City are the Council Members; they are elected by the citizens.

Most staff, including the City Administrator, carry out the policies established by the Council. Other City staff may carry out the policies set by their boards if their departments do not fall under the direct responsibility of the City Administrator, i.e. Library and Museum.

City staff will respond to complaints and concerns by citizens but they do not take “direct orders” from them.

Civics 101.

Hey now “Please check your facts”… we can’t have any truth like that here. Nock that crap out right now!! 🙂

Who does the councel work for? US. That meens we are his boss.

Hey Captain Fred,

Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

Don’t ya just love the honesty on NIT.

What do you think made FOX News the most watched network on TV? It was factual/honest reporting without the editorializing the news!!

GO North Iowa Today. Com!!!!!!!

Following Mason City there seems to be two different groups of people in your community. Elite and the little people, sometime referred to as the citizens. My observation is that whatever you want to label them and my definition probably isn’t all that good, but there is a we and they division. For decades I have watched that divide in Mason City.

Pay no mind to my little people label, I used that label as little guy/people usually don’t have a say in things. It is their own fault. They sit back, don’t get informed, and let the world go by while they don’t have a clue, hence my comment- do they?

Only reason I follow MC is I visit MC to see good friends and I have for over 55 years and they always talk about the power and control by the big shots in MC.

Not many communities expose themselves like they do in MC. Over the years the Globe Gazette has been brutal with their news articles and opinions. Sticks out like a sore thumb. This new site is nothing new, just seems to put more effort on factual reporting. Reading the blogs it is apparent that the in crowd/elite/political insiders/ect. don’t like this site.

I think it’s a hoot.

Matt M.

Um, NO. You, sir, never were SQUAT to the Globe Gazette. Disagree? Okay. List the stories and photos of yours that they PUBLISHED (including the dates).

Fred, despite your continuous anonymous (cowardly) insults, I will answer your question. Zip, zero, nada, never. I was not employed at the Globe as a writer nor a photographer. My title was “Website Manager.” I have never professed to be anything more than the regular guy down the street taking an interest in my home town and how it operates. I built NIT and run it as a counter to the slanted news published on the other media outlets. I am a self-taught writer, photographer and videographer. I do this job because I enjoy it.

Good work Matt, and for all the pilgrims that have to express their negativity about this site the solution is obvious, don’t read it. Your easily outnumbered by the masses that do.

Not sure why ANYONE at North Iowa Today ASSUMES that he or she is actually QUALIFIED to do an “Op-Ed”. Personally, I have seen more intelligent-sounding editorial comments in SCHOOL NEWSPAPERS (high school & college). And so-called “supermarket rag” writers AT LEAST know how to spell. And punctuate. And sound like they have at LEAST graduated from high school. So, no. I doubt that ANYONE will take NIT op-ed writers seriously. Well, in all fairness: High School dropouts or OTHER “brain-dead” people might. (Can I LEGALLY say “brain-dead people” here”? Well of course I can! Freedom of speech is my Constitutional right, you ILLITERATE JERKS!)

Fred: This is America, everyone is entitled to an opinion, even uninformed persons like yourself who hide behind a fake name. If you want to limit free speech, go pitch in at city hall and join them.

Captain Fred, it’s really simple, if you don’t like the site, leave.

This site is here so people can discuss the news in a respectfull manner, not trash talk everyone. If you wan’t to do that,pick some other site, this one isn’t for you.

If you want stories that are hand spun for you and that do not upset the good ale boy network then go to the globe site. But if you want to read the truth and make up your own mind then you are at the right site.

@echo! AMEN!!!!!!

Looking at that pic of Bookmeyer, he looks like he’s itching for a smoke.

Don’t let the haters get to you Matt. YOu’re doing a great job. I’m a fan of not only you but NIT!!!!

I’m loosing faith in this site. All the name calling and finger pointing is getting old. I’m not a fan of all the elected staff but we could get more done working together then spending all the effort in fighting. We lost out on another job creation project. Were there questions to be asked yet, YES. The whole process could have been slowed down and maybe it could have worked out. In my life time the landfill will be full and we will be bagging for a solution and then it will really cost us. The rec center will divide this town more. If we travel the same path as we have, make sure the last person out shuts off the lights when they leave.

Completely agree! Whether you are for or against some of the projects being purposed by our elected officials, being divisive is not the answer. I moved away from Mason City recently because the community has latterly nothing to offer young professionals. The last few years have been kind to Des Moines, and now the metro area is receiving accolades for being a top spot in the country for people my age. Why on earth would I stay in a community bent on failing to progress? Another ten years of shunning opportunities will result in an even larger gap in an already aging population, and at that point the writing will already be on the wall. I guess I always envisioned raising a family in Mason City one day, but those plans are quickly being revised.

Matt you used to be employed by the Globe, one could almost surmise that you were fired. You go after them repeatedly but yet KIMT gets a pass?

NIT Picker: Nice try. I quit the Globe fair and square, call its publisher Howard Query and ask him. My only regret was not quitting sooner. KIMT doesn’t get a pass, I just don’t consider them a player on the local news scene.

KIMT, you mean the Minnesota news channel???

If anybody is paying attention to the what is going on in your community I can’t make myself believe they would re-elect someone so controversial. The only way this fellow could possibly get re-elected is little people in the cheap seats are not getting this information.

Are they?

I can’t vote and live a long way off but your community always seems to embroiled in controversy. I thought it was all Max Weavers fault but he is no longer elected or has any power.

Now what excuse are you folks going to come up with? huh?

“Little People” ?

If we don’t get a better voter turnout than we had in the last election, then we WILL get more Bookmeyers and Solbergs and pork like the multipurpose center. The VERY low voter turnout we had in the last election is NOT representative of all the people of Mason City and certainly NOT a mandate. Every taxpayer MUST VOTE!!!

Following Mason City there seems to be two different groups of people in your community. Elite and the little people, sometime referred to as the citizens. My observation is that whatever you want to label them and my definition probably isn’t all that good, but there is a we and they division. For decades I have watched that divide in Mason City.

Pay no mind to my little people label, I used that label as little guy/people usually don’t have a say in things. It is their own fault. They sit back, don’t get informed, and let the world go by while they don’t have a clue, hence my comment- do they?

Only reason I follow MC is I visit MC to see good friends and I have for over 55 years and they always talk about the power and control by the big shots in MC.

Not many communities expose themselves like they do in MC. Over the years the Globe Gazette has been brutal with their news articles and opinions. Sticks out like a sore thumb. This new site is nothing new, just seems to put more effort on factual reporting. Reading the blogs it is apparent that the in crowd/elite/political insiders/ect. don’t like this site.

I think it’s a hoot.

Thank you Matt, Max, Sandy, Joann, Pat and all the others looking out for the citizens of Mason City and seeing that the right thing is done. From the beginning the proposed site of CES should never have been in Mason City. Why would they try and push an unknown and possibly toxic plant on us? And how did the Mayor think this would look with the Blue Zone he is pushing? I no longer have any trust or faith in our Mayor or the counsel who were for this project. Don’t ever stop publishing this wonderful web site where we can at last find our what is going on in our city. Has anyone had luck in getting there councel person, Solberg, to respond to respectfully written e-mails requesting simple information? She has not responded to our questions.

In my 30 plus years in newspaper, I never used the verbage used on these pages, however; times have changed and Mason City is being led down the same path as the present man in the White House has this country. Just a sidebar, this little town in Florida we have moved to hss an opening for a City Manager…60 have applied. The job pays about $140,000 a year and that person oversees a population of 160,000. Trout has 27 ‘er 28,000 , which includes his hard drinking mayor,a hot headed councilman and a bunch of “yes” men…Marinos doesn’t count for either side (male or female). And, by the way, Trout receives upward of $150,000. Good luck northerns, we’ve been in the mid to upper 70s and low 80s most of the winter and wake up to a sunrise every day. And our property taxes this past year was $312.00. Have a nice day!

The Globe Gazette is a large news orginazation; why didn’t theyhave a cameraman covering this meeting/ What about the radio stations? Nada, nothing.

I think this defeat sends a message that the people run this city and not slick talkers inside City Hall or any other who stand to fill their pockets off city projects. If Brent Trout was refered to as Darth Vader, I think he only has himself and his actions to thank for it. They are not dealing with the local paper here, there is a new player in town and the City Hall crowd doesn’t know how to deal with it. Here’s a hint; play straight and fair with thr residents living here then you won’t have anything to worry about.

The Globe had two photo’s up on their web site on Thursday night so it appears they did have a photographer there. So glad that Janet Soleberg finally made it to the meeting.

To my earlier post the moderator did not care for, Solberg continues to take heat about not attending previous landfill board meetings and the actual board members who didn’t show up to vote on this important issue seem to get a free pass.

A) Bookmeyer’s re-election chances are not shaky and he is not a lame duck. Just because the proprietor of this site and 20-25 posters don’t like him for no other apparent reason than their belief that he likes to have a drink every now and again, their belief that he has gained some weight recently and/or because someone doesn’t think he gave them the proper respect when starting this website does not make this so.

B) Being more gratified with defeating the ‘A-listers’ than for any of the other reasons offered in the recent past about why we wouldn’t want it, public health being being the most prevalent, is telling I think.

C) Why are ‘tough questions’ not being asked of the landfill board members who didn’t bother showing up for this important vote?

D) If your picture is taken enough times at once, it doesn’t matter who you are you will have one that is not flattering (‘smug’). Just as surely, that is the one that will be published here.

What tough questions would you have me ask the landfill board members who did not show up to vote? They didn’t show; it happens at all their meetings, I am told. Maybe this is a question: “Why didn’t you show up and make the vote even more lopsided against the ERS contract?” They were all small towners that didn’t show, not likely to vote in favor of the contract. Nice try X, come back when you have a good point.

All of the points or just the one you responded to? Thanks, but I think I’m going to pass on your offer. Take care.


The fat man doesn’t like to have a drink now and then…he gets totaly f..k’d up in public. He has a foul mouth on him. He’s the mayor of this city, unfortunatly…so just a bit more respect should be shown. Iadmire you in trying to defend him but I think it might be just to much for you…or anyone for that matter. Give it up.

Where did I defend him? I don’t think he’s a lame duck mayor that whose re-election chances are shaky. If he runs, I believe he’ll win. I don’t know if he drinks in public nor did I suggest it would be acceptable if he did. I said that it seems that this perception is one of the few reasons I’ve been able to determine for the people who post here not to like him. All that said, I don’t think your belief that he is behaving inappropriately in public is a good reason to oppose every single thing he says/does/supports/proposes. In the end, there are things that are beneficial to both the so-called A-listers and those who are not whoever these A-listers are. Simply opposing every A-lister supported project is shortsighted. Just my two cents.

Let this be known to all, “the people have spoken”

new job opening
DEPARTMENT- Plotting and Planning
JOB DESCRIPTION- Have no spine and do what your told. Ability to work for a weasel.
EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS. None the less the the better.
SALARY REQUIREMENTS. None. You would have to be nuts to take it.
We are not an equal opportunity employer so dont bother to apply but if you insist pick one up a city hall.

If any other city employee would have said something like this to a person from the media or public they would have to worry about their job. Mr. Trout you have been ineffective and weak in your leadership and your time has come to look for other employment.

“Smug”. This is the best caption I could write for Mayor Bookban’s expression in this photo. Now Corporal Trout in making treats of censorship? I only hope that Gov. Brandstan kills the idiotic multi-purpose center proposal being forced down our throat. Matt…Keep up the good work!

Example “A” of why some of the city leaders and others do not communicate with you or only provides you basic information. Stick to the facts and leave the name-calling out, it lessens your message and only validates your professional immaturity!

The Globe is ALWAYS working it’s agenda and has no problem picking sides, name calling, only running one side of the story, NOT running certain obvious stories at all and often manipulating the facts.

I’ve never seen the Mayor referred to as “Drunkmeyer” in the Globe… and the other perjoratives used here against other City Officials.

And if I were Mr. Trout, after the “Darth Vader” reference here, the last person I’d ever speak to is the proprietor of this web site. Grow up Matt. You should be better than that. If you want the respect you lament not getting, you only have yourself to blame for not getting any respect – because you don’t show any.

I call it like I see it. I ask tough questions and was then ignored; that has now escalated to insults and threats, not to mention a systematic, long-term and on-going effort to destroy NIT. By the way, the Globe has printed many an insult and called many citizens and public officials names, I don’t appreciate the double-standard you are applying to NIT.

Agreed, you can’t go after them like a Pit Bull and expect them to buddy up and talk to you.

NIT Picker: You have me confused with Globe Gazette writers. I do not need to be pals or friends with any of these people. I just ask tougher questions and they do not like that. I have no interest in joing their club or drinking beer with them. I am simply trying to get the truth.

You’re right about, “I do not need to be pals or friends with any of these people – but, you do have to give respect in order to expect any back.

NIT Picker: Pit Bulls are popular in Mason City; I take that as a compliment. I aggressively pursue the truth, I ask questions the other media won’t, apparently. I have not asked them about their personal lives; my questions have so far been limited to how they spend tax dollars, policies they dream up and their behavior as they represent Mason City. If that is not “being nice” or “respectful” then I am guilty but unapologetic.

I’m not honestly sure that this was good or bad for MC & North Iowa, however, very fishy & rushed was certainly an issue of suspect… Thanks for the update Matt!

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