Editorial by Matt Marquardt –
Alex Kuhn got his photo-op.
Ironically, the Councilman who only months ago deserved to be in the back of a squad car got to ride along in the front seat this time.
Kuhn and the rest of the council, since January, have been concerned about everything in Mason City except the crime and social issues that are tearing the city apart. Most of their time has been spent patting themselves on the back, passing perfect 6-0 votes, drawing up plans for multi-purpose arenas and conjuring programs that offer loans and tax breaks for rich businessmen to come here and offer $10 per hour jobs. They have thumbed their noses at the crumbling foundation of Mason City as law enforcement scrambles to keep up.
Kuhn saw his chance after the latest act of violence in Mason City to show concern and play to the crowd. His act was very thin.
Kuhn called up his trusted news source, the Globe Gazette, and directed them to cook a story about his ride along with the MCPD. The Globe complied perfectly, showing up in the MCPD parking lot at just the right time for that all-important photo and interview. Globe news butcher John Skipper played his part, lobbing softball questions at Kuhn and working the perfect quotes into the story.
Kuhn trusts the Globe. He knows they will take any issue and spin it in their news-processing machine until all the fat and imperfections are gone. He knows that only then will it ooze out of Skipper’s pen like pink slime ink, perfectly suitable for your consumption.
Jack Nicholson once said, “You can’t handle the truth,” and the Globe and City Hall have bought into this. They want to control the message, like a North Korean military gulag, so you will not be motivated to re-act against the establishment. They would much rather tell you about cultural crescents and blue zones.
Kuhn told the Globe he wanted to see “how we can improve efficiencies” at the MCPD. Sounds like he wants to cut costs and micro-manage, not solve the underlying problems in the city. Riding in a cop car is called information gathering; it is barely a first step in solving this problem. The Globe treated this publicity stunt as some kind of solution and sold it to you that way. It is nothing of the kind. Harder tasks lie ahead to turn this corner, but the pink slime makers do not want you to know that.
How about organizing the community for vigilance against crime, Alex? How about bi-weekly community meetings with the MCPD held in the Mason City Room at the library where anyone can ask a question and offer their ideas? Why not televise it? Talk about high-profile arrests and trouble spots. Isn’t communication of the hard facts crucial here? How about you forget the $20,000 federal road study and pay for some overtime so more police can be on the streets? How about giving a call to the judges who let creeps free time and again? How about volunteering at BeJe Clark to see why the crooks walk free and are brought back without even a slap on the wrist? Is the city too large geographically to get by with four squad cars on the streets at any one time?
Alex probably didn’t want to answer questions like this, which is why he ducked NIT’s repeated attempts to ask him questions.
Only when the hard realities are faced can Mason City overcome the crime and social issues it now faces. A ride along photo-op is a joke and not an answer. Mason City’s leaders need to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty on this one. A get tough policy is in order; bring the fight to the bad guys instead of the other way around.
Ride alongs are window dressing. Let’s see what Mason City’s next real move is.