Editorial by Matt Marquardt –
From what I gather, this Facebook “group” is interested in rooting out crime and helping to solve other social issues in North Iowa. These are issues Mason City has ignored for years. Our local leaders only play games in dealing with crime and social issues, as evidenced by Coucilman Alex Kuhn’s choreographed and publicized “ride-along” with the MCPD and the fact that Mayor Eric Bookmeyer refused to comment on a murder that took place just outside his home on East State Street.
So, I commend the administrators of Fed^ North Iowa (Kellie Ann Clark, Tara Mikkelsen, Deoshea Foster, and Kristy Winter) for doing what our leaders will not do and creating a movement that seems to be an attempt to meet our city’s issues head on.
That being said, there has been some negative feedback from the public reported to NIT about this group and the persons running it.
One concern brought forward was by Richard Oliver. He offered this information: “I have documents and pictures of them (some of the people in charge of the Fed^ North Iowa group) talking about drugs on (their) own wall when they are supposed to be stand up citizens to make a difference.”
Mr. Oliver provided screen shots of some talk about marijuana that seemed to come from the Facebook “wall” of one of the page administrators (where a Facebook member can openly discuss their thoughts and experiences.) These screenshots were also sent to NIT by another reader, Jason Juenger. Another person said “in my opinion they are taking advantage of peoples feelings by asking for money for t-shirts. SOMEHOW my mothers picture got on this page.”
Oliver went on to say that he has created his own Facebook group called Fed ^ North Iowa is a Scam. This group has 525 members. Part of the message on that group’s page is “What really gets to me is they claim to be against crime and fed up with it but a simple background check of the admins shows they are part of the problem of endangering and victimizing others.”
Kellie Ann Clark of Fed ^ North Iowa had this response: “I am sorry for the negative feed back you have (received) we are just four young women trying to step up against all the crime that has plagued our towns by working with charities and giving back to our communities. Unfortunately people think because two of our members have a bad record and past that they are scam artist and this is simply not true. They are just trying to pay back their debt to society by doing good for the community!”
Currently, the Fed ^ North Iowa group has 5,602 members. According to Facebook, (see this link) “For all types of groups (open, closed and secret), group members can add their friends.” Joining a group is not the same as “liking” a page, which requires a Facebook user to go to the page and “click the like button.” In the case of a “group,” Facebook says anyone can be added to a group by their friends unless you explicitly forbid it in your Facebook account settings.
In other words, the meteoric rise in group members in Fed ^ North Iowa is simply due to adding people to the group, not from each person explicitly electing to join the group. Same goes for the group membership in Fed ^ North Iowa is a Scam, or any other group.
At any rate, I am willing to give Fed ^ North Iowa the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise. I feel that if more North Iowans work for positive change where government ignores issues or simply doesn’t have the resources, we would live in a better place. We have seen the results of citizen activism in the accomplishments Chris Watts and the Georgia Hanford Neighborhood folks have brought to southeast Mason City.
Let’s hope Fed ^ North Iowa can be successful and give them some time to work on these important issues.
Readers are welcome to leave comments and opinions below.