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Op-ed: Loss of casino haunts Mason City (by Peter Children)

This news story was published on March 18, 2012.
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I can’t help but wonder what all the nay sayers think after reading the article concerning the pay out made to the Worth County Development Authority in the amount of $1.88 million.  But what you may not be aware of is this casino has handed out a total of $22.M since it opened its doors.

But wait….there is more, much more. It has created jobs, has caused two hotel being built in a county that here to fore never had the need for even one. It has help spawn residential development as well as commercial. It has brought tourists who spend outside the casino.

It has provided scholarships and school equipment, gave relief to property taxes…the list is far too long to include every benefit that has been bestowed on our neighboring county.

There was a major effort to defeat this measure when it was offered by vote here in Cerro Gordo county; the only local prepotent I remember pushing for it was local realestate salesman and attorney, Tom Jolas. He took heat for his position.  Those residents living here that the opposing faction wanted to protect from the evils of gambling drive there now just as frequently as if it were in our own backyard…which when you stop and think of it; it is in our backyard…only twenty minutes to the north. The only difference is  we’re not counting the money.

Locally the Historic Park Inn Hotel was renovated using money that first fell on that green felt table were the dice told the story. It came from the flashing lights and melodic sounds of the slot machines, and poker games that were dealt late into that dark night.  So what exactly did we achieve here besides the loss of hundreds of jobs and some 22 million in benefits?  We really showed those people who was boss didn’t we…….


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42 Responses to Op-ed: Loss of casino haunts Mason City (by Peter Children)

  1. common sense Reply Report comment

    March 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    The churches were all against the casino but they take gambling profits like everyone else. I read at least two churches were on the last payout list from the casino. What hypocrites they are! Bingo, raffles and they had a football game to make cash a few years ago. Gambling is entertainment, you can spend just as much shopping as you can on a slot machine. More lives are ruined by credit cards buying things you don’t need then gambling but no one wants to get rid of them!

    • Jerry Yanda Reply Report comment

      March 25, 2012 at 8:15 am

      Pete: The Casino was never coming to Mason City. They wanted to be in Clear Lake. Clear Lake didn’t want them. The Casino has done well. Far Better than many anticipated but close to 75% of the casino traffic comes from Mn. If you add another 20 minutes to that trip those numbers would surely drop too. Pete at your age, and you are an old fart, you cant get to your next destination by setting in the back seat looking in the rear view mirror and bitching. If they had a high school course in bitching you would have the class valedictorian.

  2. CONCERNED Reply Report comment

    March 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    It is rare that I agree with Mr. Children.

    This time he is 100% correct on this issue.It was a major long term failure for Cerro Gordo county not to aggressively pursue the opportunity of having a casino.

    Worth county is raking in the cash and we can not even have a real county fair in this poorly run county.

  3. Jpe Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I am glad we don’t have the Casino in Cerro Gordo County. The money is not a solution to the problems gambling causes society. We can do better than a Casino if we use our brains and intellect. The casino offers many low paying jobs.

  4. GlobeGazetteStinks Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    OK Peter, it’s always easier to look behind than to look forward. So for your next post, I challenge you to write your vision on what Mason City needs to do in order to sustain and grow over the next decade.

  5. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    One of the big leads on NO CASINO was a Councilwoman, who then moved to Minnesota. Woner if her friend the former Mayor who followed her lead ever sees her.

  6. Beth Dawson Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Agree with Gina, if the Fairgrounds needs a new blood fusion it’s Hootenanny Incorporated that could provide it. But like the casino, we will screw that up too.

  7. Gina Hansen Reply Report comment

    March 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Hopefully the new concert promoters Hootenanny Incorporated will bring some of that money back to Msson City…

  8. Jojo Reply Report comment

    March 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    lovely library cant switch the air conditioning on because to quote a library employee “once we turn it on we cant switch back to heat if we have a cold snap” we spend how much on this (I am there right now) place and we cant switch back and forth????

    • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

      March 19, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Never been to your libary but it soulds like they have a hot water system. in times like this when the temp fluxuates between needing heat or not. it takes alot of energy to heat up the whole system just to take off the chill. it is actually cheaper to keep the boiler at a certain temp. weather thats 55 degrees or whatever. we had this same problem at the UNI dome this past weekend. they didnt have the AC on and it was a bit humid in there. it is simply that time of the year when you dont know if you should take a jacket or not.

    • da Reply Report comment

      March 27, 2012 at 3:39 am

      Most larger buildings that operate on boiler systems are like that. It’s not like a home air conditioner.

  9. neknoh Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    This is one of those rare times that I have to agree with Peter on this one. Cerro Gordo county totally screwed up on the casino issue. However, why should you expect anything different??

    There were so many “Chicken Little’s” running around proclaiming how a casino would bring crime and trouble into the area. Well now you have no casino, no benefits from the casino, and you have the crime and trouble that supposedly came with it! Now what is your justification?

    Again, this is what happens when you elect people to power to govern who haven’t a clue on how to govern. That is one area that you should consider outsourcing; city/county government. At least then you may stand a fighting chance.

    There will come a day when Worth county will be much larger and healthier than Cerro Gordo. And Cerro Gordo will see a shrinking population almost to the point that Worth county was at. The day will where Cerro Gordo county and Mason City will be relegated to the pages of history.

  10. Peter Children Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    The fraction that defeated the casino proposal for Mason City is simply indicative of that mentality that runs the Chamber and other special interest groups in this city. For example what rocket scientist gave vender approval to someone out of town for food stands in East Park? Our East Park, not some park out of town. Those who were turned down were local tax payers.

  11. Funny Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Please call MCFD Chief George Platts and ask him about his thoughts on the casino. He forced his employees to vote no and then went and asked for grant money from them! Do your research Matt!

  12. anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I think this was a Cerro Gordo county thing. It’s sad that we lost out on such a good opportunity. Just another reason that Jay Urdahl needs to be voted out the county supervisor board.

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm

      I am NOT a Jay Urdahl fan but how is he responsible for how the voters in Cerro Gordo County vote?

  13. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I don’t care if we didn’t get the casino. The recreation people get out of gambling is a mystery to me.

    I believe all that money could go for much better things than gambling.

    Go ahead and live in the past and grumble about losing money. It is still money that should be used for better purposes than gambling.

    Some people would bitch if we hung them with a new rope!

  14. o w anderson Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    If I recall all of the nay sayers were afraid of all the corruption and crime that the casino was going to bring into our own little river city. We have no casino but we sure have alot of crime and corruption. We wasted a good thing and now we have to learn by our mistakes, but we cant even do that. “ENOUGH SAID”

  15. Echo Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm

    If i recall correctly the chamber was against the casino being built here. Our city leaders listened to special interest groups then and they are now taking trips and promoting a special interest groups agenda. When will our leaders wake up to the fact that the chamber only concern is for their members and not the area as a whole. Hell the money the casino gives to kids alone would have been worth having them here. This has to go down as one of the biggest mistakes made by the leaders of this area.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2012 at 6:17 pm

      I agree, and I would even say that the Chamber’s main care is the U.S. Chamber agenda. On the recent “trip” to D.C., the MC Chamber made Trout, Bookmeyer, Willet, et all, sit through a 1.5 hour meeting with the U.S. Chamber, their longest meeting of the outing. Probably told how to vote, act and think in there like Chamber Zombies. Scary for the rest of us.

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm

      How is this a chamber problem.They did not vote it down the VOTERS did.I did not vote because I really don’t gamble much but I didn’t understand the benefits that were offered. The chamber works for chamber members which are usually business’. If business’ succeed then usually the town and individuals succeed.

      • common sense Reply Report comment

        March 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm

        Chamber is all for park inn and the convention center. They say all the people that come to town will spend money how is the casino any different? Marinos said most of the money would leave town. What about younkers and JC pennys in the beloved mall last I checked hardly any big business is locally owned in MC. She has sent her kids to some of the most expensive private colleges in the country so she could care less about our kids missing out on that casino money.

  16. CONFUSED Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Did you ever think maybe the distrust was in Tom Jolas. Some remember when he was the mayor, promised two people they could be chief of police. Total corruption! He made Bookmeyer look like a rookie.

    Look who pushed for the casino in Worth county, their lawyer was also from Mason City (still is), the difference is he was/is respected, Jolas is NOT.

  17. Be My Guest Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    I remember all the flap about the mall out west being built. Well I’m glad it passed. We should have seen to it that the casino was in CG county also. Maybe we have more yes people in positions now. Yes that Osage new business should have been here too.

  18. Chris Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    Clear Lake or Mason City would have brought money to CERRO GORDO COUNTY. Yes, Cerro Gordo totally f’ed up by not bringing it here. Hope they are happy with their bankrupt bound hotel & sorry excuse for a library. Things were fine the way it was at the library, nothing should cost that much to renovate. Another crap decision by our boards.

    • Reggie Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm

      The library was a crap decision by the VOTERS.Libraries are a thing of the past but the few voters that turned out voted for it. That is what a democracy is all about. I know the library bond issue helped Mason City get the Vision Iowa money but a new Rec. Center would have been money better spent.This just helps prove Peter contention that people should vote or quit bitching.

  19. Guest Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    There he goes again… looking backwards through rose colored glasses with 20/20 hindsight and dreaming about what-ifs…

  20. Larry Snyder Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Great article Peter-this is what happens when people don’t bother to vote. The special interest minority wins again. Almost everyone I know here in Mason City drives to Worth County to spend their money. Very smart of us wasn’t it??

  21. Katie Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    You are right about this, Peter. The money that comes in from the casino has really helped those tiny towns in Worth County. They have been able to upgrade their fire departments and first responder services along with many other things that badly needed updating. This money may keep them on the map. The educational boost has helped students a lot more simply because Worth County has a smaller population. I fear that money would have been a drop in the bucket in a county with budgets like the cities in Cerro Gordo. Student scholarships would have been much smaller per student.

    Yes, Cerro Gordo County really screwed up, but I for one am really happy for the tiny towns of Worth County that really needed a break for a change.

  22. YouGoGirl! Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    You hit the nail on the head, Peter. I know of families that have purposely relocated OUT of Mason City to Worth County just for the educational perks the casino has provided.

    Dumb @sses that were against the casino!!

    • Joe Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      You’re right! Idiots against the Casino, the state prison South of town, the Target distribution center and How did we miss out on the factory being built in Osage?

      • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

        March 19, 2012 at 12:28 am

        go ahead and say it Joe… Poor management. its spring so do some spring cleaning

    • manly Reply Report comment

      March 22, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      we moved to manly from mason – and won’t be moving back until the kiddos graduate if ever. Peter mentioned property tax relief – i haven’t seen any of that in worth county unless i’m missing it??

  23. Reggie Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Was it going to be in Mason City? I thought the vote was for Cerro Gordo County and I heard that it was possibly going to be in Clear Lake,but I could be wrong.Either way you are right Peter, we blew a chance to “cash in”.

  24. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Beating another DEAD HORSE PETER!!!!!!!!

    • Kenneth Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      It is good to point out the mistakes of the past so they are not repeated.

    • 50 miles south Reply Report comment

      March 19, 2012 at 12:24 am

      the casino is not dead anonymous. A wise man once said “we learn from our mistakes” will YOU ever learn????

      Like that one Peter???? LOL

  25. fisheye Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2012 at 11:48 am

    The first and probally last time I agree with what you say Peter