Breakthrough Web Design - 515-897-1144 - Web sites for businesses
News & Entertainment for Mason City, Clear Lake & the Entire North Iowa Region

Founded October 1, 2010

EDITORIAL: Chamber-sponsored trips to D.C. need to cease

This news story was published on February 24, 2012.
Advertise on NIT Subscribe to NIT

by Matt Marquardt –

Many of you may be aware that local elected and appointed officials took a trip last week to Washington D.C. to lobby the Federal Government (see photo).

The trip was sponsored and organized by the Chamber of Commerce, said to be the largest lobbying organization in the country.  The group is known to fight against labor rights, wall street reform, the environment, health care reform, and leans Republican.  The Chamber flips the bill and then sends an invoice to the cities of Mason City and Clear Lake, as well as Cerro Gordo County and The Mason City Airport, all of whom sent representatives.

Are you aware that your tax dollars were spent to support this trip that seems to have a built-in Chamber of Commerce agenda?  Exactly what was accomplished?  Furthermore, are you aware of the cost?

Let’s try to answer these points.

Is there anything wrong with a mayor or county supervisor having a discussion with a Senator and asking for financial help for his community?  No, not to me.  However, I find it distasteful that our local officials, some who take no party stance, are traveling with a group that has a pre-determined set of goals and values, set at a national level, not locally.  The Chamber has influenced our representatives; I mean, look at the ridiculous red scarves the Chamber made them all wear.  I will say I am disturbed and troubled by this group exerting this kind of influence locally.  From what I have read, and from my own experience as a former Chamber member, they do not have the best interests of the average Joe in North Iowa in mind; they want to promote their organizational goals and agendas.  I find it offensive that our local officials took time and expense to travel with this group to lobby for ideals that myself and my neighbors may not find important or that may outright be against our best interests.  Furthermore… when this group walks into a Senator’s office, all wearing the scarves, that is telling the Senator that the whole group backs the Chamber of Commerce.  That is sending him a message.  That’s not what we voted for locally.

Exactly what was accomplished on this (and former) trips to D.C.?  The group left on Wednesday and was back Friday.  That is two travel days and one full day on the ground.   The group met with Senator Charles Grassley, Senator Tom Harkin, Representative Tom Latham and Representative Steve King and their staffers.  My guess is very little or nothing more than handshakes and small talk was accomplished; we know group photos were taken.  It is just too short of a trip.  I would also venture to assume that a list of concerns, goals and needs was passed along at each office.  Exactly whose goals and needs were on the list is anyone’s guess; again, they were all wearing red scarves and under the thumb of the Chamber of Commerce.  In fact, the invoices the Chamber submitted all charge a fee for “administrative.”  To me, that says “We are running the show.”  Not what I want to see from our local officials.

That leads to the final point, cost.  I discovered that you and I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on these trips over the last few years.  I asked Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, City Administrator Brent Trout and Chamber Director Robin Anderson last week for detailed receipts and spending reports on this trip and the last few.  As of today, Friday, those three people completely ignored me.   All I got were the general invoices the Chamber submitted to Mason City, Cerro Gordo County and the Mason City Airport (sent to me by public employees).  I feel they must have something to hide, and that is sad for all of us.  I am sure they enjoy their trip to Washington, and I’m sure they feel important walking into a Senator’s office.  However, the trip is a total and complete waste of time and tax dollars and the public should be alarmed that this group is parading around our nation’s capitol partaking in pork barrel spending under the influence of the Chamber of Commerce.

I will lay out the cost in just a moment.  Before I do that, let me inform those of you still reading that I made calls to Senator Tom Harkin’s office and Senator Charles Grassley’s office this week.  I asked a staffer at Senator Grassley’s Waterloo office how much trouble it would be to set up a meeting with the Senator. “Not hard to do at all,” the woman said.  “That request just goes through a scheduler for whoever wants to meet with him and they set up a time and location.”  In fact, she said, the Senator was in North Iowa on Wednesday (Allison, IA.)  A little research shows Grassley was in Mason City just this past January 12.  He answered questions for students and teachers at Newman Catholic High School in Mason City.  I was told when I called Senator Harkin’s office that the process is the same for him.  Harkin was in Mason City last August the 26th.  Representative Latham has an office in Clear lake and a local phone number.  Steve King has an office in Spencer.  In other words, all four of these folks can be reached with much less hassle and expense than flying out to D.C. and spending taxpayer money on airplane tickets, restaurants, hotels, “administrative” costs, etc.  I am willing to bet that all four of them would gladly come to Mason City and spend whatever time is needed to hear our concerns and needs.  Probably wouldn’t even need the Chamber of Commerce in the room, either.

Total cost to Mason City and Cerro Gordo County taxpayers for Chamber of Commerce Washington D.C. trip, 2008-2011:

Mason City and airport total cost: $17,238.33 (Not including wages for Brent Trout and Pam Osgood)

Cerro Gordo County total cost: $5,362.79 (Only 2008, 2009 and 2010; no county rep on 2011 trip)

Grand total to taxpayers: $22,601.12 (See invoices here.)

Who went?

2012: City Administrator Brent Trout, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, Pam Osgood (MC Airport), Brett Schoneman (MC Airport)

2011: Brent Trout, Eric Bookmeyer, Pam Osgood (MC Airport)
TOTALS: $4,720.77

2010:  Brent Trout, Eric Bookmeyer, Pam Osgood (MC Airport), Bob Amosson (County Supervisor)
TOTALS: $6,514.04

2009: Brent Trout, Mayor Roger Bang, City Councilman Steve Tynan (says he paid his share back, $600.34), Pam Osgood, Phil Dougherty (County Supervisor)
TOTALS: $6,736.42

2008: Brent Trout, Roger Bang, Bob Amosson
TOTALS: $4,629.89

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

 characters available

69 Responses to EDITORIAL: Chamber-sponsored trips to D.C. need to cease

  1. money Reply Report comment

    April 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Woah this blog is excellent i really like studying your posts. Stay up the great work! You understand, many persons are searching around for this info, you can help them greatly.

  2. Tourist Reply Report comment

    March 1, 2012 at 1:38 pm


    Have you investigated what the results from these trips have been? From what you have put on here it looks like you have just been looking at money spent. And as much as it pains me to say, you’re right, you are probably close to the dollar amount spent. But, look at the results and then make your judgments. You are vary adament about your hatred of the chamber, I dare say that if the city, county and airport offcials would have gone with a group more tasteful to you, you might be looking at this in a different light. It’s very easy to damn from the cheap seats. Get in the game and then give your opinion. As I inferred in the last post, these trips had value, you might look at the results side of the story, too and not just dollars and cents. BTW, I still have my red scarfs and when I come across them I remember the good that I believe came from those trips.

    • Jeremy Reply Report comment

      March 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Tourist, Matt posts a lot of stories. I’m sure if you write a counter-story about the benefits and results of the trip, he will post it. I’m sure you can come up with some real results. Not just “face to face meetings add value.” I’m talking about a project that took off due to these meetings that bettered the community. Maybe a new a stream-lined process… anything?… give up already?

      Tourist, from what I read here, I don’t like you. I find it offensive that you refer to Matt (and most other people including myself) as living in the “cheap seats” and staying in our “little rooms.” I’m glad I’m not “professional” so I don’t have to pretend to like you.

  3. Tourist Reply Report comment

    March 1, 2012 at 9:37 am


    You poor pitiful man. The only comments on this so called news site that one should have any faith in are those written by someone who has been on the trip. I see one name of one who has and I am also one who has been a part of it. Matt and others, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about from your dark dungeons of doom. Let me set some things straight. First, if you were professional enough to ask the right questions of the Senators and Representatives, they would tell you that face-to-face meetings have value. Second, the real work is done by staff and not the Representatives. The majority of the time is spent with staff and not the elected offical. Third, although it is a group trip, many in the group will schedule meetings with specific departments based on their organizations priorities. On one of the trips I was a part of, Pam Osgood and a few others met with the FAA while others had appointments else where. And finally, the scarfs identifed us as a group representing an area that is working together for the good of the entire area. But Matthew, you would not know that because you haven’t gone on the trip, you just sit in your little room and complain about those who do something to try and build up and not follow your lead to tear down. My company looked at it as a good investment and if the people of Mason City would take the time to get the right story and not the rantings of those who just “don’t get it,” they too would feel it is money well spent. And as for the Chamber having influence over what is discussed, again Matt you need to ask the right questions. All who went on the trip are asked what they want on the agenda and it is included. Come on out into the sunshine Matt, you could learn alot.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

      Well folks, we have another name-caller. As always, I can take it. I find it amusing that this person has stayed anonymous; perhaps this blogger has something to hide or feels his free trip to D.C. is threatened.
      I stand by my story and my blog posts below, which explain every point in detail this person attempts to make. Read the story and all the comments and judge for yourself.
      I would like to thank all the persons who have personally contacted me and backed up everything in this story (and given me many, many more details) and voiced their support. Stay tuned for more stories like this one, and perhaps a follow-up.

      • IMPOSTOR ALERT: Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        March 1, 2012 at 11:23 am

        NOTE FROM NIT PUBLISHER MATT MARQUARDT: This comment was just left here on NIT. It was not written by me; this is an anonymous person who used my name to attack me. I can easily ban this person but I will let it stand. I can assure my readers that I am very, very content running NIT and love Mason City. I hope you find this comment as humorous as I do. Stay tuned for some real hard-hitting stories and thanks for reading NIT.

        Folks, its Matt.

        Sorry I’m such an asshat. I’m just a bitter guy. I wish I could get hired by a real news organization. Oh well, this POS website is enough for me in our tiny, dying, backwater town.

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      March 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm

      The Chamber only speaks for a minority of citizens of Mason City, not the whole. Our City officials are the only group who can by law represent us.

      I said it before. If the Chamber has issues with Government, they should go on their own, and not make it look as if the citizens approve with that agenda, by sending it’s elected officials along with.

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    With your logic NIT stinks then lets all take a trip and send the bill to beermeyer and trouser trout. After all it don’t matter.

  5. Alice Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I don’t know how we can stop this group from doing this again in the future, but it needs to be done. NO more of this nonsense. Who do we as the public contact to ensure this trip is not done again at the tax payers expense?

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Your Mayor and City Council can instantly put a stop to this. Contact them.

      • NITodayStinks Reply Report comment

        February 26, 2012 at 7:57 am

        Looks like you’re losing a lot of sleep and wasting a lot of server space in stirring the pot on an issue that accounts for 0.000063% of the City of MC’s total budget. And you think the people in red scarfs look ridiculous? Silly Matt, go find some real fish to fry.

      • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 27, 2012 at 12:04 pm

        So in other words, waste and corruption are OK with you. Sounds like we have another anonymous A Teamer here, folks.

  6. No friend of Eriks Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

    What I like most about this website is it offers free speech on any side of a topic which often leads to points missed. The Globe on the other hand removed anyone whose comments didn’t salute their flag. Great job NIT.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2012 at 7:23 am

    The way they bill it to the City allows them to avoid City travel regulations that apply to everyone else. Wonder if the Chamber is covering drink purchases which would be a legal violation for City travel?

  8. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Great job Matt. Would love to see beermeyers food and drink bill. This trip should have been good for another ten pounds. Also a friend told me beermeyer was at the senior center telling them how the landfill board cost them the trash deal. I guess he forgot to mention his backdoor politics and turncoats tantrum at the LNI meeting. The more beermeyer sends his cronies to this site to try to discredit you is proof its doing what you intended. Information never reported by the puppet gazette for all to read.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      I asked the Mayor for detailed information. If I don’t get it, I will turn it in to the ombudsman office.

  9. Ok Reply Report comment

    February 25, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Matt, you’re reporting is eye opening and well respected. Keep it up. Screw Bookmeyer and his cronies.

    • Ok Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 4:58 am

      Should have said “your” damn auto correct…..

  10. John Rowe Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    The Chamber is a group that supports business. Their job is to increase business. They are doing what the purpose of the Chamber of Commerce Charter is to do. When they do things here…they are complained about…when they go to Washington they are complained about…can then win? There are groups that support Drs…groups that support seniors (AARP),,,groups that support unions…teacher unions, teamsters…aflcio…etc…they all have their groups they represent. In this environment…who would want to risk their own capital…their own money for risk of failure? Who wants to work 80 hours a week and risk their own money…then be told that if they dont provide health care…they will be fined?

    • Echo Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 7:49 am

      John you are correct alot of different groups lobby for their members. When was the last time the mayor and city administrator took a trip with a senior group or a union group I bet it hasn’t happened. It just doesn’t look right for city officials who are suppose to represent all Mason City taking trips with a special interest group. Legal maybe ethical noway.

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        February 25, 2012 at 8:13 am

        I believe it would pass the ethics smell test, however the (my) concern is does it serve the citizens as a whole, or one non-elected organization?

        We here in Iowa have some pretty solid ties with those who represent our interests. Ag Secretary, an Iowan. DOT Secretary, neighboring Mid-Westerner. Two very senior Senators. Very active members of Congress. The list goes on.

        Someone had the idea, bring them here for a dog and pony show. Having them here to see what we are, our potential, and what we need to overcome, is a great plan. It has the potential to have everyone involved.

    • Observer Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      John, the risk of failure does not lay with some umbrella group, but with yourself. If your business went belly up, the Chamber would just go looking for someone to take your place.

      But that is neither here nor there. If the Chamber wants to visit D.C., they should go. If they want to fight legislation before Congress, that is their business.

      I become concerned when groups like the Chamber dictate policy to governments. That organization is not elected, and should not even hint at representing what citizens need.

  11. Mark Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    John Rowe. It shouldn’t surprise you that matt didn’t think to ask certain questions. All it seems matt does is get certain information and then twist it into something it is not. Guess where he learned that. Nothing more than stirring people up to get hits on his website to sell advertising. The are no hard questions asked as Matt says he does. Just little bits of statistics and some facts to try and put people in a poor light. That is why you don’t see quotes or comments from parties involved in the story.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 12:59 am

      Mark, I didn’t think to ask if anyone reimbursed back because these people claim they are working while on this trip; who pays to go to work? They never claimed it was for fun or vacation. Why don’t you ask Mr. Tynan why he paid some of his cost back, the answer might surpise you (his reason did not surprise me). As far as “not asking questions” why don’t you read the story again and try to comprehend. I asked Bookmeyer, Trout, Anderson for information, they have so far refused. They are hiding, not me. Also, I asked questions of both Senators’ offices. Did you miss that part or do you just need to cherry-pick in order to have a chance in this debate?

      • Charlie Koonce Reply Report comment

        February 27, 2012 at 12:06 pm

        Mark didn’t have any comeback to this one. Way to explain it, Matt, you told this guy off. You always blast the A Team and leave them speechless, love it!

  12. joke Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Yes it’s embezzlement in the most open form. I bet all the REAL political figures laaugh at this hillbilly group. My GD look at ’em. And for what? Spending my money! Matt is right on and thank goodness for NIT! How would ever think about it. Matt you are in charge now and Todd can’t stand it. Truth is being in charge and we love it. Keep at it Matt!

    • Alice Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 9:45 am

      I don’t know how we can stop this group from doing this again in the future, but it needs to be done. NO more of this nonsense. Who do we as the public contact to ensure this trip is not done again at the tax payers expense?

  13. American Revolution 2 Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    The greed and corruption in this country has reached epidemic proportions from local to state to federal government. Corporations, banks, Wallstreet, even charities are no longer trusted. Everyone has a self centered agenda seen or unseen that needs fulfilled, no matter if it hurts their family, neighbors, city, state or nation. The 2nd revolution is coming!!!
    Keep up the great work Matt Marquardt!!!

  14. Former mayor Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    The trip to Washington is designed to spur economic activity throughout the region as well as the city. While on the trip, hard work is accomplished, and strong ties to Washington are formed. Chamber influence is strong, yes, but their direction is needed to keep things moving. I applaud the idea and support those involved.

    • Echo Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      Maybe the chamber has too much influence in this town and thats why we are not thriving. Lets get the special interest group out of the way for a while and see what happens cant be any worse then they have done with all their expertise.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      That may have been the original intention, and I applaud that effort, but this deal smells real, real bad; it is another turd in the punchbowl of our local budgets. I really hope John Lee or even Alex Kuhn, the only two city council members asking any remotely tough questions, start sorting this garbage and incinerating it pyrolysis style.

    • Alice Reply Report comment

      February 25, 2012 at 12:17 am

      Sorry, but I feel differently, I don’t feel the people that are on this little trip are working too hard while there. They could work hard right here at home. Make appointments with the leaders, have them come to our community. I would feel much better with my tax dollars paying the representatives to travel here.

  15. Steve Tynan Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm


    I do not think your figures reflect amounts of money reimbursed by the individual participants. I do not know about the other participants or years, but in 2009, I paid $521.46 for my airline ticket and other travel expenses. Then I also reimbursed the City of Mason City for an additional $80.88 in expenses from the trip. I did not itemize on the memo line of my checks at the time what the $80.88 was for, other than for the Washington Trip.

    Steve Tynan

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 7:33 pm

      Steve, that information was not included in the story; it didn’t occur to me to ask if anyone had personally re-imbursed the city for their end of the trip, nor was it brought to my attention that you had done so. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and the readers of NIT; I’m sure the taxpayers would appreciate that you paid your own way.

      • John Rowe Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm

        It didnt occur to you to ask those traveling and participating if they paid a portion? Or reimbursed any amount?

      • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

        John, no it didn’t occur to me to ask, nor did it occur to anyone I asked for the costs to bring it up.
        That being said, I’m not accusing anyone of stealing or wrong-doing per se. I am saying the trip is wrong and needs to end now.
        By the way I will be astonished if anyone else paid back for the trip. Looks like Steve paid back about $600. That’s a small amount of the over $20,000 we have spent. Even if all of them paid back every penny, I would still be against a Chamber-sponsored trip to D.C.

      • Echo Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

        It does not matter if the two city officials paid a portion of their way. This trip was set up by a special interest group. I wonder if any other special interest group has this kind of access to our mayor and administrator. It goes to show you the chamber has too much influence in this town.

      • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 10:44 pm

        I have to agree with Echo. If these people went to D.C. with a Muslim group and wore Muslim scarves, how would that go over?

  16. Observer Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    I seem to recall a comment made during the Vision Iowa era, “why are non-elected officials dictating policy or setting agendas?”. That comment was, and still remains valid.

    I become concerned when an organization extracts more attention from, and exerts more influence upon our government, than a single citizen does.

  17. Faye Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thanks Matt for the informative report, as always your articles are excellent! I wish more people knew about NIT. I am trying to spread the word.

  18. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    wtf is beermeyer looking at? hahhahaha nice scarf LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Echo Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    This is a waste of our money and the chamber is not representing the whole community they are representing their members. For anyone to suggest otherwise is not being truthful. The city administrator is a city employee and he should not be lobbying for a group that represents a small minority of this city. If our city council does not put a stop to this they should all be inpeached for not doing their duty to all citizens of Mason City.

  20. Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    The common thread in all the trips: Brent Trout. He OK’s the trip. The trip is taken (he goes along, too). He signs the check to pay the Chamber. The council OK’s the payment as part of the CLAIMS portion on nearly every council agenda. You will rarely if ever see the council question anything in the claims. Trout can OK any payment up to $5,000 with no council approval needed. Democracy in action, folks.

    • Echo Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      Matt keep up the honest reporting its nice to have a news source that is not afraid to report possible corrupt practices.

    • Timmy Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Why is the “Common Thread” in all the trips not Pam Osgood? Crawl back under your rock Matt.

      • Pitiful Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm

        I agree. Marquardt needs to back the hell off and get a clue. The chamber sent invoices, they hid nothing. He is a pathetic loser, jealous of all the council, mayor, all of them. He is making a story out of nothing and everyone can see it.

  21. Bob Wolfram Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    This is far from a piece of crap reporting.. it’s quite the opposite

    I really enjoyed the common sense logic filled last paragraph and also can’t think of a single reason in the day of the instant message that this editorial be looked at as crap?
    Matt’s insightful thoughts are exactly what the future holds.

  22. Norman Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Thank god NIT is revealing this waste! This is sick! How much more crap like this is going on? They sure dont give a rats ass about me and my family!

    • Ridiculous Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm

      This story is a joke. The Chamber, mayor and the rest of the group is trying to bring dollars and projects back here to North Iowa. It costs money to make money. Please let the professionals handle things like this and forget NIT, the new “naysayer.”

      • Alice Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm

        Bull! I know some of these people in the picture personally and here’s what the “administrative” costs are probably for…Booze and food.
        This was an unnecessary luxury trip for these people on the tax payers dime.
        Thanks Matt for keeping people informed of what kind of mismanagement there is going on in city hall!

      • Timmy Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm

        Alice, to say you know everyone on the trip, and that they all boozed it up is pretty strong. I guess you’re perfect. Why don’t you get involved, run for a seat on council or get involved in city govt….then I guarantee you would go and have fun, then some other hater would call you out.

        Mason City = Drowning, sinking, and shrinking town full of hate.

      • Alice Reply Report comment

        February 25, 2012 at 12:21 am

        Sorry Timmy, did NOT say I knew everyone, but a few of these people, and yes the few that I know more than likely really enjoyed their little trip at my expense! And you can bet your butt that if I was in a public position I certainly would not take advantage of my position for bull crap like this!

      • Alice Reply Report comment

        February 25, 2012 at 12:31 am

        Another thing Timmy, Alice Hanely is in this picture, she works for Three Eagles Communications. And this group is mentioned fighting fair labor rights? Three Eagles wouldn’t know fair labor rights if it came up and bit them in the butt. All their employees are overworked, and underpaid. They are required to attend extra functions and events and are not paid overtime for it. They get away with claiming they are paying their employees a salary, and the salary they pay some of their employees is far below what the Federal and State Department of Labor says a minimum salary can be. My tax dollars paid for her to be on this trip??? For What? I’m sure you won’t hear a response from her.

  23. Walter H. Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I had no idea this cost so much, and look at my water bill and tax bill. I read in the newspaper both will be raised for years to come. I thought the mayor had a lean program but maybe that does not apply to trips across the country that are covered by taxes. When is the next election.

  24. money well spent! Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    If you winers can’t see the benfit in this trip, that is due to your stupidity, just like the writer. We have the lowest proprty taxes in the state here. CAn’t afford it? Then move! This trip probably brought home thousands if not millions of dollars for this town and you can’t handle that. Marquardt shows again what a jerk he is for writing crap like this.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Sorry to see you need to resort to name-calling. I can take it though; you are just the latest person to call me a jerk. I actually chuckle when I read it. What is really sad is to see that you want people to leave if they can’t afford the skyrocketing taxes and fees here in Mason City. I would rather see garbage like this DC trip and the City Hall remodel scam scrapped and our taxes and fees kept low, and then people could stay. I would also cancel immediately all the City’s Chamber of Commerce memberships. Yes, plural.

      • Timmy Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        So Mr F’in Brilliant, then Mason City could be the only town out there WITHOUT a Chamber of Commerce? Hmmm smart move ! Why don’t YOU leave the city Matt, if its that darn bad? Then you could stop complaining about everything. And take the Mall,(you know, the one that brings tons of people to town and boosts sales tax dollars), and Wal Mart (that employs and sales tax dollars) and the businesses that the EDC has brought in, and the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, and the Park Inn, (which has been recognized by major metro communities as well as other countries and overseas publications now in the first year, and draws people who normally WOULD IN NO WAY come to Mason City, and gives them a reason to do so now) take it all, pack it up, and dump it somewhere. Then we can go back to being a small town like St Ansgar, with little or no draw…and end up with a population JUST LIKE St ANSGARS !!! (no disrespect to St Ansgar, it just happens to be a tenth of the size and a good example…they have a Hardees and a couple gas stations.) Then Matt, you can be HAPPY !!!!

      • Observer Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 6:07 pm

        I am not going to put words in Matt’s mouth, so this response is my own.

        Our government exists for it’s people. Their only purpose to to best serve our needs. It is as basic a lesson one can learn about civics.

        Mr. Lincoln’s wisdom in this is reflected by his words; “and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” He surely did not say anything about lobbyists or non-elected organizations!

    • Mike Petersen Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Lowest property taxes in the state, do you have any sources to back that up. I saw an article in the Waterloo Courier not to long ago that had all the cities in Iowa listed and I thought it showed Mason City somewhere in the middle for property tax rates.

  25. Larry Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    They don’t ask and they don’t tell. They just do it with our tax money and then come back and raise our taxes. This is nothing more than croneyism (spelling?) but you get the idea. It is bull puckey and should be stopped immediately. The Chamber does not and has not represented the little guy (you and me) in this city for a long long time. It is all about the rich business guy and scratch my back.

  26. Paul Drummond Reply Report comment

    February 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    The cost is… staggering, and like Mr. Marquardt said I am appalled at this. My dad still lives in Mason City and his taxes continue to rise, he is on fixed income. How can this be stopped?

    • Eric's friend Reply Report comment

      February 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Are you really buying this? Matt is mad because he didn’t get to go. He was probably kicked out of the chamber.

      • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm

        Love your name, buddy. If I wanted to go to DC, I sure wouldn’t go with this group, and I wouldn’t be caught dead in that scarf, either.

      • Kinkyh Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        Eric has a friend??? YIKES

      • Timmy Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm


      • Timmy Reply Report comment

        February 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        TRUTH, as in Matt is just jealous that he is not in charge.
        Of anything….

      • Ok Reply Report comment

        February 25, 2012 at 4:59 am

        Timmy you are a douche.