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EDITORIAL: Tornquist admits he doesn’t want you to have access to City Council meetings


This news story was published on August 13, 2012.
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Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

Did city staff bamboozle the Mayor and City Council, or is Mason City just too good for YouTube?

Per a recommendation from city staff, the Mason City Council recently approved (5-1, John Lee against) the purchase of software called Granicus, for $2,625 upfront and $249 per month, to show and archive council meetings on the internet.

Nevermind that there is a service out there, used by millions, called YouTube.  It is free.  The President uses it.  Mitt Romney uses it.  So do Senators Harkin and Grassley.  The City of Clear Lake uses it, too.  In fact, YouTube is big on offering channels for government use and explains how to easily use their service.

In fact almost everything “city staff” (What is city staff?  Is that just Brent Trout or others?) wants to accomplish with Granicus can be done for free.  For years, there has been absolutely no need to print hard copies of the council packets that are typically hundreds of pages long and put them in binders.  PDF documents sent to an email account would have solved that for about $0.00.

But, our illustrious Mayor, Eric Bookmeyer, and his At-Large Councilman Scott Tornquist used the same word to describe the ground-breaking service at YouTube: “Hokey.”

“I’m not excited at all about putting city council meetings up on YouTube,” Tornquist pontificated.  “That’s not the image of Mason City government that I am interested in.”

Sorry to ruin your excitement, Scott, but City Council meetings, and a lot more, have been on YouTube for years, courtesy of NorthIowaToday.com.  You are one of the stars in those videos.

I did inquire with Clear Lake’s City Administrator Scott Flory.  They have been using YouTube for months.

First I asked him about “additional bandwidth” to upload the council meetings.  Brent Trout says the City would need $500 per month for more “bandwidth” in order to use YouTube.

“I do not believe that was an issue,” Flory said.

Flory had great things to say about YouTube.

“To the best of my knowledge YouTube has worked very well for us and has been cost-effective, with no security or other issues. We selected YouTube since several other cities are using it and they gave us good feedback about it,” he said. “We get good comments from the public about it. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but we didn’t think all the extra features some cities want we’re necessary for us for the money.

Tornquist is apparently cut from a different cloth.

“I’m the guy that’s pretty resistant to change,” Tornquist offered.  “Technology kinda scares me a little bit.”

Stunningly, Tornquist admitted that he wants city government hidden from the public.

“The majority of the community doesn’t have access to the council meetings.  To me, that may not be all bad,” Tornquist seethed.  “I will not ever be a person that supports YouTube.”

Umm.  OK Scott.

I’m not making this up.  Scott Tornquist really said all this, and it is ready for you to watch in the YouTube video below.  Thank you, YouTube.  Mayor Eric Bookmeyer can be heard in the video laughing, generally approving Tornquist’s admission.

Janet Solberg, perhaps equally stunning, asked if council meeting videos could be “copyrighted.”

Sorry Janet, but no, the public has a right to watch your shenanigans and hold you accountable.

Jean Marinos said that the council packets “bother” her, and have done so for years. She said she “hopes” her packet ends up “in the recycle” the next day.  It might be easier to read “War and Peace” than a council packet, but if Jean can do it and absorb it all in a day or two, more power to her.  I mean, I assume she reads the packet.  All the council does, right?

Oh, one last point.

Mayor Bookmeyer used YouTube when he was running for office.  See that video here.

Watch this short YouTube video:

httpv://youtu.be/eE8QP5-SoaU

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37 Responses to EDITORIAL: Tornquist admits he doesn’t want you to have access to City Council meetings

  1. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    August 15, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    VOTE THESE BUMS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 15, 2012 at 5:32 am

    Anyone doubting turncoats ego just needs to watch the video of him trying to overwhelm the LNI at his first meeting concerning the waste to energy plant. Pathetic. With the beerman his actions speek for themselves.

  3. Avatar

    also with the BOS Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 8:43 am

    This same problem – lack of transparency – public not having access – was occuring with the Cerro Gordo Board of Supervisors meetings as well; not sure if it’s been corrected.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 8:26 am

    “Janet Solberg, perhaps equally stunning, asked if council meeting videos could be “copyrighted.””

    I also find it stunning. Here is a person, who volunteered to run for office, and takes part in municipal business, as well as being a representative of another business, asking such a silly question. I thought such people were hired for their business acumen and general knowledge?

    Why is it then, a person who has no formal education, yet can understand the concept of where and how to apply copyright? Most who read these pages can also discern the same.

    Most if not all the posts made here by yours truly are verified prior to typing. It is about the same as one who speaks publicly. If the esteemed Councilperson cannot take the time to use Google or her past knowledge before making such statements, it is stunning!

    • Avatar

      Observer Reply Report comment

      August 14, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Well as usual, I see that after cleansing this laptop, it also removed my user name. Score one for this dummy!

    • Avatar

      sad but true Reply Report comment

      August 14, 2012 at 8:36 am

      It is easier to ask than to self educate. This is the climate we live in today.

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 8:12 am

    “Turncoat and the beerman are so in to themselves that they can’t even see how stupid they are. Overinflated egos flock together.”

    I personally do not follow the line of ego’s being a motivator. I do have many questions however.

    First, for the cost of a decent camera and tripod, one can ‘film’ the whole meeting, then connect it to any computer, log into your account, press one button, and it is automatically uploaded to YouTube. No messy conversions, no re-formatting (although I prefer editing). It’s really painless.

    So as Matt has alluded to, many many governments in the U.S. and world-wide use it as a method to further informing it’s citizens on issues and business it takes up.

    No, the resistance to YouTube seems to be a personal paradigm. My long education with public policy and politics has taught cynicism where full transparency is not wanted or desired.

    When referring to Chicago Aldermen, Mike Royko would defer to the the unofficial motto of that august body; “Where’s mine”. And in this case, one has to ask that very question. Faced with many choices, both free and paid, it makes you wonder.

    Why would a small town, with finite funds, pay for someone to post videos on a almost unknown site when just about anyone who can use a mouse and push a button can do the same for free, and everyone knows how to find YouTube?

    Remember, this ain’t Beverly Hills or Westchester, NY where one can find funds for anything, including gold plated hand rails at City Hall.

    It begs the question, what is really in it for them? Will Ubi mea? become the de facto motto of Mason City?

    • Avatar

      gramma jean Reply Report comment

      August 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Tornquist thinks Youtube is NIT. He is that deluded. The hokey remark was a shot at Matt.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 5:21 am

    love the before and after pictures of backdoor. He’s living proof of what a taxpayer funded expense card can do.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 14, 2012 at 5:19 am

    Turncoat and the beerman are so in to themselves that they can’t even see how stupid they are. Overinflated egos flock together.

  8. Avatar

    another anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 10:25 pm

    Matt, have you ever considered that maybe the mayor and council won’t call you back because of your negative spins on everything they say and do? No matter how anyone votes, what they say, etc., you always editorialize in such a way to cause dissention. You only put in parts of stories that slant it the way you want it. You take your videos and then pause the pictures to get the worst shot of them & then print them. You supposedly have rules that bloggers are supposed to follow but then allow filthy profanity, degrading language and name calling on the blogs. So again, why would anyone return your calls? Seems like a no-brainer to me.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      August 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

      You blogged before the statue vote: “This article is all pure speculation. Nothing is set in stone. Looks like another attempt at discrediting the city.” And then the council voted 6-0 to approve it. Seems like the statue debacle got under your skin. Maybe you work for the chamber? Why are you blogging anonymously? What have you to hide? Come clean and let’s debate.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        August 14, 2012 at 6:39 am

        Matt,
        Don’t be so thin-skinned and bullying. Be a pro. Rise above it.

  9. Avatar

    Dave Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Just watched some old video on YouTube courtesy of NIT and noticed Bookmeyer giving Max the finger. I apologize if this was brought up here before but I didn’t know about it before. Max just got done chastising the Globe and then endorsed NIT. Bookmeyer thanked Weaver for his comments and flipped him the bird. Lol. Classy. Check it out…it’s at 2:41.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaGbkW2uf-Q&feature=related

    This is your Mayor…what a class act.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 13, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      I’ve seen this happen too and thought it was deliberate. However, it cis still happening even when other council members speak for Bookmeyers pet issues. I am pretty sure it’s just his common gesture. he isn’t that subtle when he takes cheap shots.

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    Matt – You report half the story, Kuhn offered an amendment to eliminate this and he and Lee voted for it, the other 4 voted it down.

    Why only report half the story and not give Kuhn credit for attempting to stop this?

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      August 13, 2012 at 9:11 pm

      The story is about results, not about an “attempt.” Besides, he voted yes. His amendment was dead on arrival and I wasn’t about to waste pixels on that show. Jean, Scott and Solberg were 100% yeses all the way. Only Hickey might have had an inkling to vote no and it turned out he was all for it. Alex’s amendment was just a show, like the squad car ride along. Only Lee deserves any credit for actually arguing against the whole thing and then following through with a no vote. With that said, I will be the first one to give Alex credit when he does stand on his own two feet and break free of Eric’s puppet strings. Right now, Eric owns him.

  11. Avatar

    Kaitlyn's aunt Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Matt, in the video you point out that the mayor and council people wont call you back or answr your email. There is a reason. You are too good and they know it. you routinely point out their bad behavior and they are cowering in fear. The mayor is a spoiled brat and he is scared shitless of NIT. Thank you Matt for doing what you do you are the last voice for some of us. PS I have my camera with me all the time.

  12. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I told all my friends when Tornquist was running for the 1st time to watch out for this guy. I had seen his type before. Sadly to say I was correct. Also, I have said it before, the only one on the current council that has ever answered my e-mails was Kuhn. Nelson, Marsters and Weaver ALWAYS answered e-mail and phone calls. We really lost something when we lost them. I wasn’t always a Max fan but I sure miss him now.

  13. Avatar

    everyone must vote next time Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Homerun for council man John Lee. He is finally showing he IS a man for the people. I know inside him he can come through and not be a Book Meyer stooge. He has it in him to emerge the true leader of the council.

    • Avatar

      i thought engineers were tech saavy Reply Report comment

      August 13, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      You don’t get it. When are you going to connect the dots? Lee can’t be his “own man” because his WIFE works for JEAN. Jean is the biggest of all the Bookmeyer stooges. John Lee must watch himself for fear of angering his wife’s boss, Jean, who really works for Bookmeyer and Robin. So we are all screwed. Get it now?

  14. Avatar

    Good Question Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    I seriously hope this makes people turn out for the next election. GET THEM THE HELL OUT!

  15. Avatar

    Dave Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Matt, do you notice how they don’t comment on here as much. They realize their days are numbered.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      August 13, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      Dave, who doesn’t comment as much? Thanks

      • Avatar

        Dave Reply Report comment

        August 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

        Bookmeyer and his bafoons. It looked as tho they hammered you hard with the whole trash to energy BS. Of course, they never used their real names but it wasn’t hard to figure out who “they” were. Now, it seems as tho they don’t bash you on here as much. Too bad, I always enjoyed how cool you stayed and handled it professionally. Keep up the good work Matt. We support all that you do here for us.

  16. Avatar

    Lola Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    When Is Eric up for re election??? I pray someone with class and a business savvy runs against him.

    • Avatar

      Sandy Servantez Reply Report comment

      August 13, 2012 at 7:27 pm

      I was at the city council meeting Tuesday night and I couldn’t believe it when Tornquist said, ” The majority of the community doesn’t have access to the council meetings. To me, that may not be all bad,” Wow, how sad it that he does’t want the citizens of mason city to know what is going on at the meetings. He really showed his true colors that night. The more they keep citizens in the dark it is easier for them to do what THEY want not what the people want. I hope everyone remembers what he said and how he feels come election day and cast your vote accordingly. He dose not want the people to be informed same as the mayor. I love the smile on Bookmeyers face while Tornquist is talking he also shows his true colors. I knew when I got up and said how I felt about the art it wasn’t going to make a difference but I wanted the voters to hear their excuses why we needed the art and how freely they spend our money. I can’t wait until budget time next year and they have to go looking for money to meet the budget or cut back because we don’t have the funds. Does anyone remember when the Globe did a article on the school budget? We may have to raise taxed to pay for our kids education. Well, as your going to the court house look around and enjoy the beautiful art that will be there remember it wasn’t tax money that paid for it just like our council wants every citizen to know what is really going on in this city.

  17. Avatar

    Joe Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    EVERYONE MUST GET OUT TO VOTE THESE IDIOTS OUT!!!

  18. Avatar

    JBJ Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    I can’t believe that these people are the ones who are to have the insite to lead.

    You have 12 year old kids upload video in real time and these guys don’t understand how it works and it can’t be worth a damn if it doesn’t have a price tag

  19. Avatar

    Guest Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    City of Clear Lake works with CL-Tel to not only put the video of council meetings on YouTube, but on also via CL-Visions TV service.

  20. Avatar

    mx.racer Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    These clowns run there city council meetings like there schools.As currupt as thay can get away with.this town thinks there above the law.Thats why is going to hell around here.took my wife out the other nite had to protect her from drunken scumbags trying to grope all over her.this place is the pits…..

  21. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Scary that people in politics, and someone with “authority” is afraid of change!!!! Stay narrow minded, that will solve all the problems!
    Im not originally from Iowa, and unfortunetly from my experiences here, Mr Tornquist is part of the norm.

  22. Avatar

    shalom since 98 Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Astonishing admission by Tornquist and you can hear Bookmeyer go “HA!” in the background. Good job Matt.

  23. Avatar

    4th ward and not proud of it Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    Matt, this might have been an unbelievable story had you not supplied actual footage of Scott Tornquist’s insanity. These people have become so bold and outrageous due to the mayor and his control over the meetings that nothing prevents them from stealing us all blind and then insulting us. I can only wonder, will anyone vote next year?

  24. Avatar

    Dave Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    No worries. Remember that “change” slogan. It’s coming….but THIS time it’ll be good.

  25. Avatar

    torn ass Reply Report comment

    August 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    we need not to re vote scott back in next time, I think scott is a moron, VOTE SCOTT OUT!!!!