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EDITORIAL: Robin Anderson stuck her hands in our pockets tonight and pulled out $40K

This news story was published on August 8, 2012.
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Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

Our illustrious Chamber of Commerce Director, Robin Anderson, doesn’t like NIT cameras.  She hid from them every chance she could Tuesday night.

Maybe she is ashamed of the scam job she was able to pull over the people of Mason City, with the help of her puppets, Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, Brent Trout (the man who does all the leg work) and a council that fell all over itself for nearly 30 minutes justifying handing her tens of thousands of dollars.

(PHOTO: Robin Anderson could hardly contain her appreciation for the 6-0 vote from our Council supporting her statue project.)

I have to say, I have been disgusted by Mason City government in the past, and I do respect the effort from a few council members, so nothing personal here, but this was just sad.  And I will also say this: Have your statues.  But every penny should have come from private sources and not a dime from the taxpayers.  The utter gall of these people to so blatantly and in the face of us all manipulate the machinations of city government to take from the common troft is almost criminal.  City Hall should not be a slush fund for the connected, elite snobs that live here.

With so much and so many in need in this city – and with the pathetic scrutiny on other items during the budget meetings that I attended (long discussions on the make and model of new police cars, for example) – to so quickly find these dollars and hand them over like this was simply appalling and quite frankly alarming.  This project was nothing more than a work session discussion item a few days ago …  now the check could be cut yet this week.

My, my, how quickly government works for the privileged.

VIDEO: Watch At-Large City Councilman Scott Tornquist justify the project:



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51 Responses to EDITORIAL: Robin Anderson stuck her hands in our pockets tonight and pulled out $40K

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 12:34 am

    I’m all about making mason city better, and they should, They also need to do more with the north end, Have more Lighting up there, take down the slum house’s tell the renters to move to manly, Its cheaper there, And Since we are a RIVER CITY?? I think one of those rapid river’s like charles city has would have brought people in, and something for people in our comminity to do. Oh and that casino we lost for our county was a big mistake too!! and maybe a nice classy mens Club…

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 9, 2012 at 6:21 am

    The project is much much larger and costly than was presented to the city council and it is 100% funded by the tax payer. What Mrs. Anderson hasn’t been upfront about is that the majority of the funds for these sculptures is going to come from the Community Betterment Fund. What is this fund, you ask? It is money generated from the New Market Tax Credits from the Park Inn Hotel. These tax credits are 100% taxpayer funded. This betterment fund is a $1 million + slush fund controlled by a 5 person committee including …….Robin Anderson. These 5 people are funding their pet projects and there is no accountability.

  3. Avatar

    another anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Matt, over & over, you mention “the elite” & “the common man”. Please enlighten us as to your definition of each of those. By your words, you’re insinuating that the council is made up of “the elite”. I am curious about your definitions since I would consider the council made up of more “common people” than elite.

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      August 9, 2012 at 2:40 am

      I cannot speak for Matt, however, it is obvious that our C.O.C. does not listen, or even take into account the views and priorities of all the citizens of Mason City.

      As I posted elsewhere, other C.O.C.’s actually assist the people in their community with displacement programs, and so forth. Our C.O.C. does not act that way.

      The things they propose are nice, however, there are more pressing needs in our community. And that is what they ignore. They ignore the blight, they insulate themselves from the anti-social behaviors that hold our community back.

      Pretty statues do nothing for people who need a job, or a sustaining wage. Anyone who has spent time in Mason City can and has observed the chasm that exists here.

      The economic development we need, with jobs at a decent wage level has not been attracted here. This means jobs for the basic High School graduate continue to decline. Retail, Fast Food, ect. cannot support a household. We have the ingredients here for such industries, if we attract them. But pretty statues will not achieve this.

      The leadership in the city are blind to the needs and requirements of over half the population. Yet they focus on things that will not contribute to the quality of life here, or improve their lot.

      The division could not be more stark.

  4. Avatar

    j Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    matt, so you agree…its not about property taxes?(becasue its not)…i agree with you the funds could have been put to better use….however, this was the project that was submitted to them(council) for consideration and funds were available for it. like it our not, part of the chamber(and robins) job is to advance ideas such as these. i suggest those who are upset get involved and let their ideas be known and perhaps next time the funds can be used for something more worth while.

    I have nothing to do with Mason City Politics and am not affiliated with the chamber in any way—but guys the solution isn’t annonomously blogging on a website based upon an editorial with only half the facts–the solution is to get involved.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 7:08 pm

      The funds do not come from property taxes … but does it matter? Taxes are taxes, and the council can dress it up any way they want, they spent the time last night doing that, they might have fooled a few people. So based on your argument, because we have the money, it should be spent, no matter what the project, just spend it. All due respect, I can’t go along with that. Why not save the money or wait for a really good project not advanced by a group that hates the common man? How about bike trails, the sledding hill, more work on the band shell… the list is endless.

      I do agree that blogging is one thing but showing up in person is something else, and more people need to get involved.

  5. Avatar

    another anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    j, funny a blogger such as yourself has to put details on NIT blogs to set the record straight. Why do those details get omitted from the story? Guess it’s because by leaving them out, NIT can slant the story in their favor. All these bloggers who claim to be against the statues, should go to the Globe to get the whole story.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      I got the whole story and it stinks. If it looks like cow crap, smell like cow crap it is cow crap or should I say crap art

  6. Avatar

    j Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Matt, you left out some important details that I should think would give some of those so upset here at least some comfort. The funds that were readily available came from a surplus in the Hotel/Motel tax fund. These funds MUST be used on cultural/recreational projects that generally would not be prudent to use property tax revenues for. Unless the bloggers here, that are so upset, have stayed in a local hotel this last year they aren’t paying for one penny of this project. The use of these funds have absolutely no bearing on your property tax rate.

    The “pathetic scrutiny” over other budget items you reference in the story is likely due to the fact that those items ARE being funded by tax payer revenues. I should hope the use of those funds would be heavily scrutinized.

    I really don’t like the statues either, but think they are being funded as they should be–WITHOUT the use of property tax revenues.

    • Avatar

      Sandy Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Their is no comfort here. It was a done deal before the council even took the vote. I love how they “act” like they are debating. They all have been in office 9 months and they have never voted any I mean anything down. I know some of you are going to come back and say it is a proactive council and they work together. I’ll give you that they are proactive to what they want. It make me sick that people have been begging for trails for years Robin walks in and gets over $40,000 dollars in less than 30 minutes. I wouldn’t have even taken that long if they just would have quit playing games and just voted when she was done talking.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      I respectfully disagree. We have parks, trails and other amenities that those dollars could and should have been used for. Also, all these tax dollars are OUR dollars, I don’t care where they came from; it doesn’t justify handing them out to entities like the Chamber which hate regular, normal people.

      • Avatar

        anonymous Reply Report comment

        August 8, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        Matt tell us who the normal regular people are that the chamber hates? Give some examples please. Sandy since you want in the political arena so bad. Curious as to your ideas on what the current council has done that is so wrong and what you would do different to help the citizens of Mason City lower their taxes and still progess Mason City for the future. Also curious because your brother is or used to be on the chamber board if you thought the work he did for them was such a bad thing? When Matt sees this I am sure it will be deleted because it will hit too close to home.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I saw her highness in Walmart and she had the same plaster face expression as she has in this video. The boys will be downing the martinis on the mayors taxpayer funded credit card tonight.

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    So how many people went to speak at this city council meeting again?

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    If this is how the council is going to throw away money, I am going to start shopping online. No need to support the local option sales tax anymore.

  10. Avatar

    bye bye mr bookmeyer Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    ..don’t let the door hit you in your brains.

  11. Avatar

    city is dying Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    We bust our butts for nicer bike paths…nothing.
    and the city votes this in 6-0, this is a disgrace.

    This is as bad a the fair grounds.bad decisions everyday.

  12. Avatar

    Jess---omg this town again strikes Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Now i understand the guys from Hootenanny Inc/SuzieQ/andothers when they say they fight stupidity trying to locate here..NOW I UNDERSTAND.

  13. Avatar

    taxpayer Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    This is so sad!!! I wish we could get real common people to run for office. I know I voted for WEAVER he wouldn’t have went for this nonsense!!!
    There is way to much that this money could have went to instead of making the elite class look important!! Maybe this money could have went to preventing some crime that keeps happening around here!!!

    • Avatar

      umm... Reply Report comment

      August 12, 2012 at 11:25 am

      We need Weaver Back! send these guys home!

  14. Avatar

    Faye Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I’m going to be spending my money elsewhere. They don’t need my tax dollars here.

  15. Avatar

    sis Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 10:42 am

    to push this kind of agenda and get the council to go along. It is very sad, with all the things that need attention in Mason City, to waste money like this. It should have been done by fund raising, not tax money.

  16. Avatar

    sis Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Well, the taxpayers that voted for these people are to blame…we had 3 citizen watchdogs, Marsters, Nelson and Weaver, that ALWAYS questioned spending on these types of projects and usually voted no. Now you have a mayor conspiring with the administrator and the ROBIN

  17. Avatar

    snowbird Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

    The corporate council has its way again. There’s really nothing that can be done to prevent it. Bookmeyer has dumbed the meetings down to nothingness, Lee is silenced and wont vote no since Jean is his wife’s boss, Kuhn has some good ideas but always puts the most weight on Eric’s points. I also enjoyed the video. Mr. Tornquist is confusing and came across as angry. Why be angry when you have six votes?

  18. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 9:51 am


  19. Avatar

    another anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Keep promoting disention, NIT. Don’t tell the whole story. There is way more to this story than will ever appear on NIT. Gee, if the whole story were printed, maybe there would be some supporters from the NIT bloggers. Wouldn’t that be unique!

    • Avatar

      Small Business Owner Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Spoken like someone who doesn’t have to pay for the brand new streetscape which did not need replacing. How many business’s did that tank? The vote (which was televised) on what the tax increase to downtown businesses was an AUCTION not a vote.
      Buy local.
      Boycott the Chamber.

    • Avatar

      Bri Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      What more is there to the story?
      When it comes down to it the CoC has NO business offering to help spend taxpayer money; they can spend their own.
      I am all for the beautification of downtown, whether I like the sculptures or not, but there are ways to do it without spending taxpayer money. For example, businesses (CoC members or non) could be purchasing them.
      I think this idea would have been more welcomed had it not come from her.

      If Robin wants to spend tax payer money she should run for counsel- then we would have the chance to not elect her, as it is we are stuck with her sticking her nose in our pocket books.

      I urge everyone to remember this vote when the next election is here!

    • Avatar

      My Voice Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Spoken just like Mrs. Marinos.

  20. Avatar

    Peter J. Children Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Well, no one should have been in doubt of that outcome. I predicted it and was 100% right. Some of you are hoping Kuhn % Lee would have gone the other way…get that out of your head, these people are in “lock step”. Vote early! Real early, like now.

    • Avatar

      Buzz Crumcutter Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 12:20 pm

      Voting early or waiting util the day of the election will not make any difference. My vote would still be the same no matter when I do it. The key to all of this is getting a different mind set on the council and as mayor. What is needed is a strong willed person such as yourself to run. You have a lot of ideas and have been very vocal about what the mayor and council have and have not done, so maybe its time for you to step up to the plate and show em how to get things done. And PLEASE, don’t you dare think of using that worn out old excuse that you are too old!

  21. Avatar

    Small Business Owner Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 8:36 am

    What a waste of our money. Why won’t the chamber of commerce do anything to promote commerce? I have read nothing on their website that will even CONVINCE me to START a conversation about joining their do nothing organization. I have spoken with other people in similar businesses in other towns who LOVE their chamber of commerce. This is a TOURISM issue. I am not going to give more commerce due to statues. I don’t think “Gee I wonder where I will buy things I want/need? I will go where there are the most statues I guess.” I think “I need to go buy this or this, I will see if I can buy this local and if not I will go elsewhere but local first unless it is cost prohibitive”. Our chamber of commerce won’t even promote local.
    Buy local.
    Boycott the Chamber.

    • Avatar

      another small business owner Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 8:47 am

      The only businesses they care about or help are the ones they can see from their office. If your business is not downtown don’t bother with them.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 9:14 am

      A business I use to work for was part of the chamber the whole time I worked there. I stopped in the other day and their window cling was down. I said they should just tape it back up…they said they don’t belong anymore. The owner got fed up with something the chamber was or is doing and dropped membership. They didn’t go into too much detail but it made me laugh and made my entire day.

    • Avatar

      steven hess Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      THIS is why we vote these people out!!!!

    • Avatar

      demi Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      …the Chamber is an ‘ole folks home’ for the past nonproductive businesses…being a memeber is a joke.



  22. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 8:29 am

    Statue or Job?

    The city council choose Statues!

  23. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 8:28 am

    If we would cut taxes and the deficit we would create jobs!

  24. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 7:52 am

    While I am disappointed in the vote (I really hoped Kuhn or Lee would come through) I guess it is what is to be expected from this bunch of clowns. They could care less about the opinions of the taxpayers. Remember this at election time and vote them out. Matt-if you want to run you will have my support and vote.

  25. Avatar

    really anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 7:09 am

    This is a very disappointing decision from our council. I hope when these members terms come there’s some good fresh candidates to choose from. I am one person that won’t be voting for any of these people in the future elections.

  26. Avatar

    My Voice Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 7:03 am

    Matt, you have my vote!!

  27. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 6:55 am

    I agree with Matt on this one. All this was set up before the council meeting ever started. You people voted and this is what you got. Their really isn’t reason to go to your council person and tell them what you want because it is about what they want. One said and the rest agreed it wasn’t even our tax money that was paying for it. The hotel motel tax was and 1 percent sells tax was paying for it. The last time I checked I was getting 1 cent added on to what I have purchased in town. It is all on how they twist the words they even said that last night. Once that money goes in the general fund it can be used for many different things. We have been waiting years to get better bike trails and Robin walks in and gets thousands yes thousands of dollars in less than 30 minutes. So folks remember when it comes to the downtown and anything that goes on down there it is not your taxes dollar at work. If you listen real close it is all the visitors that come to mason city that pay for it. So the next time they want to raise our taxes just tell the council to go to the hotel motel tax account and get it out of there and leave our money alone.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 8, 2012 at 7:02 am

      I forgot to my sign my name sandy servantez

  28. Avatar

    Cheter Pildren Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 6:40 am

    You know, maybe this is a good thing for the city. It’s a small amount to spend. Just might add a much needed touch of class to downtown!!

  29. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Matt for Mayor!!!!!!!

  30. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Listening to our city representatives is like hearing the bar drunk trying his best pickup lines. Its just sad. I really had hopes for Lee and Kuhn but they have quickly fallen under the thumb of the biggest drunk of them all.

  31. Avatar

    Sharon S Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Broad daylight robbery. And perfectly legal.

  32. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 8, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Marquardt for Mayor. Wouldn’t even be a fair race for Bookmeyer. DO IT Matt, we support you!!!!