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Op-ed: Mayor is in a panic mode (by Peter Children)


This news story was published on February 10, 2012.
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“If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it.”  This is my first thought after reading through more literature than I really needed to.  Another saying now comes to mind as well…”For every season there’s a reason.”  The season that seems to be prevailing here in this city now is horribly wrong.

We have a mayor in office who is several things at once.  This is my opinion: He is inept at what he is doing, he is power hungry, he is a bully, with his staff and the general population in City Hall.

This mayor got his wish…he had three “locked” votes at the council; records show that in 2011 Hickey, Turncoat and Solberg voted with the mayor 93% of the time throughout the year.  When Marinos took her seat, he owned the city; Lee and Kuhn are inconsequential.

This mayor is in a panic mode; his waste to energy plan failed; he’s brought nothing to this city, his Economic Developer Brent Willett has brought nothing to this city, unless you want to count the “re-modeling” job being done on South Federal on the Harley Davidson building.

People who are in a panic mode are dangerous, they act irrationally in an attempt to beat the clock to the end of their term so they will have something to point to.  The word that comes to me from people inside who will remain unnamed say that the Fire Department proposal is really Bookmeyer’s deal and he has his mouthpiece Hickey fronting the proposal to reflect any adverse comments and opinions that might harm him.  The proposal that Hickey has on the table could end up costing this city a million dollars or more in the end. To accommodate eight hour shifts and remain fully staffed, you need to add about 20 plus additional personal that need to be trained and paid $40,000.00 plus another $10,000.00 in benefits. Ka-Ching $1,000,000.00.00. This is bad judgement.  Hickey says it will save money….it won’t.  Then there is the matter of the Union…again my inside people say the mayor wants it gone.

They want to build a new Police Station, a Civic Center, remodel City Hall, dump the Sanitation Department, re-do the Fire Department; I say sober up and slow down. This guy can’t do one thing at a time let alone 5 projects he has on his plate.  The real focus needs to be what is right in front of your face…industry which equals jobs.  Don’t talk about C.E.S. that was a unproven science and a  health risk this city could not  afford to gamble with…..no other city would let then in would they?  This mayor ran his mouth off in his State Of The City address; Pure Crap.  Talks cheap, takes money to buy whisky.

The best we could hope for is that he will leave things that ain’t broke alone.  We have a relativity new council; now lets see just how smart they are.  I see a glimmer of hope in Lee and Kuhn, unfortunately they need one more vote at that table to stop this purge of wild spending and sadly I just don’t see it being there. There was a time I held out hope that perhaps Hickey might be it, but that was only in my imagination   A famous philosopher once said; “There is nothing more dangerous than organized ignorance,” and we’re standing witness to that right here in River City.

Peter Children

 

 

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28 Responses to Op-ed: Mayor is in a panic mode (by Peter Children)

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 11, 2012 at 6:32 am

    A certain council person has a supporter whose grandson happens to run a local trash service. Could this be the connection.

    • Avatar

      jackpot jack Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2012 at 8:45 am

      If it is Holt Services you are referring to, people in the know say Holt Services is near bankruptcy. Word is they cannot use the North Iowa Landfill because they cannot pay the dumping fees and still owe money there. It is reported they are dumping refuse in Manly at night in other dumpsters, and have been caught doing it before. If only a portion of what is rumored is true, then it is doubtful they could pass the vetting procedures to qualify.

      On the other hand, if they could get a contract from the city worth a million or two, they could refinance and pull out of debt. If indeed one of them is the grandson of Solberg….all bets are off. Bookmeyer will make it happen…..then the law will enter the room and conduct an investigation for malfeasance.

      • Avatar

        Kinkyh Reply Report comment

        February 11, 2012 at 9:40 am

        Wow! Lots of suppoeitions here but if it’s true I think it’s time to take out the trash, starting with solberg. (small letter ‘s’, no respect)

      • Avatar

        Kinkyh Reply Report comment

        February 11, 2012 at 9:49 am

        Suppositions…………………….

        Friggin keyboard types wrong.lol

  2. Avatar

    Sandy Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I have lived in cities where trash was private and you pay a lot for it. It starts out cheap and as time goes on just like your cable bill it goes up and up and up! Why can’t they just leave things as is. I haven’t heard any complaints about garbage I think some people have to much time on there hands.

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      HHHHmmmming Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Everything may be fine from the customer side (I am happy with my service), what about the city financial side? Is the city losing money with the service as is? I dont know that answer. Where has the underlying issue been brought to the surface (new issue for me, I will plead ignorance of facts and I havent paid enough attention to it until now). Surely, something has to be at issue for this to be considered and I am guessing it is on the financial side. I whole-heartedly agree, if we out-source this, it could very well end up just like cable (thank you directv)! What is the alternative? Continue to lose money? Cover losses with other costs? Increase the service cost? Outsource it? Will be interesting going forward!

      • Avatar

        sandy Reply Report comment

        February 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        Good points you brought up. I do know they brought this up sometime in the 80’s and they shot it down. I am going to city hall and getting the study they did it on and get more information. Different subject. I did go to city hall and get the study they spent $75,000 for the civic center the last time they brought this up. We need a public vote on this!!! I can’t understand why some on the council and the mayor do not what a public vote. It can’t be the money a special vote does cost around $10,000 but what is that compared to another study of $75,000 to $125,000 thousand dollars or a 27 million dollar project.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

      It is my understanding that the city breaks even on sanitation and there is a small reserve fund for equipment replacement and emergencies.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

      I have to agree Sandy, it may appear attractive now, but after a few rate hikes, you would have been better off staying with a municipal service.

  3. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Change for the sake of change is NOT good. City Hall is FINE. Our garbage collection is FINE. Our Police dept. is FINE. We DON’T need this multi-purpose center and we DON’T need to waste $100,000 on a worthless feasibility study. Some people have to try to change things just to show they are doing something. They find it SO easy to spend OUR MONEY!!! Do you want to do something…Keep our taxes down and help bring in better paying jobs. Period.

  4. Avatar

    Alice Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    And another thing, remodeling city hall…why?
    The economy is in bad shape, people in North Iowa, their jobs aren’t secure, lay offs everywhere, gas prices going up. We all are having to live with a little less, so why can’t the people in city hall. Last month when I was there to pay my water bill, seemed pretty nice to me. Working conditions at city hall are pretty good. Again, council members and Bookmeyer, stop wasting our tax dollars!

  5. Avatar

    Alice Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Privatizing the garbage system is the dumbest thing I have heard of. It will cost residents a fortune. Our garbage bills will double or even triple and it will put our city garbage employees out of a job. Yea, that’s a great thing…NOT. What the heck is going on up at City Hall??? Jeez, please council members AND Bookmeyer, get your heads out of where ever they are and listen to the residents that voted and put you people in office!!!!!!!

  6. Avatar

    Bs Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Peter , I’m not sure what you or this site has against anyone trying to look at different way’s to try and save us money , bring new business and I feel trying to better Mason City . Maybe the ideas will work maybe not ? I don’t know but at least bookmeyer and hickey don’t waste there time going to this site and bashing on you. They are at least thinking outside the box and trying to make a difference, More than I can say for you and all your sheep !

  7. Avatar

    Echo Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    When was the last time a politician took away a city service and your cost went down? It has never happened. Sanitation is a service that is paid for through user fees no tax dollars pay for this service so why would we want to go to a private hauler who may or may not raise rates through the roof in a year or two. Makes no sense to me.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      From what city employees and other knowledgeable people connected to this situation are telling me, the plan is to privatize the trash hauling because other cities are doing it. It makes them look good, “progressive.” They can turn the whole operation over to a private company, and sell off all the trucks and equipment the city owns, make a few bucks and say “look what I did. I made the city all this money and (supposedly) lowered the cost of trash hauling.” What I am told is that said company (may) come in and gut the system, and the quality of service will drop, as it will now be profit-driven versus service-driven. I do not know this from experience, just what I am told. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, but the current system seems to be working fine; our fees cover the cost of the city-run operation, the workers are paid a good wage. Could be another instance of micro-managing and resume-building.

      • Avatar

        Observer Reply Report comment

        February 11, 2012 at 10:46 am

        Matt, if it is said “company” as has been rumored, the city’s residents are in for some real problems. I would not mind W or A, however even with them, the costs would increase to rate payers. Other said “company” would be a seriously degrade our community.

  8. Avatar

    Ken Davis Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Almost forgot, I read Otis Lewis’ Agenda 21 story, I hope you Pete will be shining your light of knowledge on that and explaining what that is. Thanks again for your articles.

  9. Avatar

    HHHHmmmming Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    GET OFF MY YARD YOU DANGED KIDS….. Yawn, yet another dribble, no not that dribble PC! Peter, how would you make the city better? What would you do? Just give us a top three or five!!!! I and others will patiently await your expertise. It’s easy to snipe everything the mayor and/or city officials do when you dont offer your own proposed SOLUTIONS!!!

    Until then you will just be a name-calling, angry, old man with nothing substantial to offer! Dont be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution! We are listening….

    • Avatar

      Ken Davis Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      As usual Pete is one step ahead of the game. Way to go keeping us all in the know. Glad you are out there “doing yur homework.” The more intelligent of us can separate your truths from the lies these bloggers post, and you are all about the real deal. I check NIT everyday for yor stories, keep them coming!

      • Avatar

        HHHHmmmming Reply Report comment

        February 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm

        Wow, one step ahead? Really???? OK, I will give PC that “step”. I am still waiting on how PC would “fix” the city! All I am asking for is 3-5 top ideas. I will give him credit for being in the know! Show us what you know, lead us, share your infinite wisdom with us!!! So far all I or anyone else has is his issues (personal and political) with the Mayor, which do nothing to move this city forward. He hasnt offered ANY solutions to issues.

    • Avatar

      NIT Picker Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Yeah!!!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2012 at 3:12 am

      The first positive step will be remove Mayor Bookmeyer.

      The second positive step will be to put a plan in place to reduce expenses to the taxpayers and lower taxes.

      The third positive and important step is to get rid of the EDC and create two competing economic development teams.

      The fourth positive step will be to get rid of many of the city codes that impede development.

      These all will require much better thinkers than we have currently elected to office.

      • Avatar

        HHHHmmmming Reply Report comment

        February 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

        Well, we have a player! But not PC… yet!

        Your first suggestion is up to the voters at the next election. Unless the current one does something illegal and I doubt that will happen, but you never know…

        Your second step is always an interesting topic. Where is your plan? How are you going to do it without sacrificing services, etc etc? I believe the current Mayor has one of these. What would you change?

        Your third step has me scratching my head! While I see the benefit of a regional (North Iowa Cooridor) sales team, I myself wonder who is looking out for Mason City should a business look at either MC or CL. Hire a second one??? Who is going to pay for that one? Break off from the cooridor alignment? Get your checkbooks out, city residents will have to pay in lieu of spreading it out over the various cities who are already in.

        Your fourth step is also a good one! Which ones would you change? You are never going to get any changed that have to do with safety, so lets toss those out of the discussion. The city just completed a redo of the zoning. City resident input was open for discussion. Nothing jumped out at me that screamed “this has to change”. The state is currently in the process of reducing commercial property tax, which will help businesses new and old. What specific codes are hindering us? I am not a business owner so maybe I am not seeing it!

        Your issues will require some different thinking! Maybe you should let the Mayor/City/Council know! Share your knowledge! Help make this city better! STEP UP!!!!

  10. Avatar

    Taxpayer Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    PRiVATiZING GARBAGE COLLECTION – Now, that’s the dumbest thing ever. Don’t these leaders do any real research before dreaming up hair-brained crap…? Just look at Austin, MN with privatized collection $30.66 per month compared to MC $9.00 per month. That’s about 333% higher than our city run garbage collection…

    I’m sure it will be OK the first year BUT, watch out MC after that!

    • Avatar

      cerwin Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Taxpayer I am asking because i dont know but does Austins price include garbage, recycleing, and yard waste? I assume that is only garbage. If the city privatized I will bet anything that we will pay way more than $10.00 a month.

    • Avatar

      Bushpilot Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2012 at 6:13 am

      With recycling program, I barely put out a bag of garbage every two weeks. My neighbor is the same way. You see ppl with overflowing garbage cans every week, then theres others like us. It’s becoming a micro healthcare program. You gotta pay to have someone take care of it but there’s some who use it and some who lose it.

  11. Avatar

    amanda Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    all i can really say about Mason city anymore is:
    thanks to all the fine folks who put the city leaders where they are. You got what you wanted, so enjoy.
    however, the piper is know knocking on the door demanding payment. hope the check don’t bounce

  12. Avatar

    amanda Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    all i can really say about mason city anymore is: thanks to all fine folks that put the city leaders where they are. you got what you wanted, and the piper is now knocking on your door demanding payment,

    ENJOY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!