by Matt Marquardt –
MASON CITY – According to bystander accounts, City Councilman Scott Tornquist yelled at a person at Hardee’s and told him to “go back to Osage.”
The person whom Tornquist yelled at phoned NIT’s office Tuesday morning to describe the incident. He said he wished to stay anonymous because his family owns businesses in Mason City and they fear repercussions.
“I approached Mr. Tornquist at Hardee’s, he was sitting with some other people,” the man said Tuesday.
“We exchanged words, and he asked me what district I live in,” the man said. “I told him near Osage, and he told me to go back there.”
The man, who still has family living in Mason City, was a long-time Mason City resident who grew up in town. “I’m here almost every night. We live outside Mason City now, on an acreage. I still call Mason City home.”
“I approached him,” the man said, “and wanted to ask some questions about how Mason City got in the shape it is in now. I asked ‘why do you feel the need to waste other people’s money?'”
The man said he was referring to the council’s recent one-week decision to spend $40,000 public dollars on sculptures in the cultural crescent.
“I told him, ‘Do not put the statues on the backs of the poor,'” the man said.
“Why do you feel the need to waste other people’s money?” he continued, referring to the City Council. “You guys are the lap dogs of the Chamber. You guys are the disease.”
The man said via phone today that the Mason City Council some years ago “let Target (distribution center) get away” and that city leadership really does not want Mason City to grow. “I told him that The Chamber (of Commerce) is running the City Council and has never wanted wages to get much above minimum wage because then other businesses would have to compete.”
“Where did all the graduates go, and why did they leave?” the man asked. “Every graduating class for the last 84 years has left town. Why?”
“I told Tornquist that you don’t want Mason City to grow, you are running it like dictators.”
He claimed that Tornquist said “who wants to live in a town of 100,000?”
When reached for comment regarding the brush-up, Tornquist responded with this:
“I was meeting with constituent (at his request) to discuss a number of community related matters he had on his mind. An individual that resides in Osage interrupted the meeting with my constituent to offer a number of criticisms of the Council and recent decisions, and Mason City in general. I pointed out what I believed to be a number of false assertions on his part and defended the community I am a part of. I reminded him that it is easy to complain, and challenged him to be an active part of making things better.
Must be a pretty slow news day? Surely you have better things to do with your time?”
Then later he wrote:
“I’m sure we both said things we regretted. At the conclusion of our conversation the fellow extended his hand to shake mine, and he thanked me for the exchange. That ended the issue as far as I’m concerned.”