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Bookmeyer slowly killing Human Rights in Mason City

This news story was published on December 21, 2012.
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Editorial by Matt Marquardt –

There are many ways to die.

You can die quickly, as in a beheading; you can die a little more slowly by starving yourself; or you can get cancer and die over the course of weeks and months, very painfully, sometimes publicly showing the ravages of the disease that is slowly eating away at you.

Mayor Eric Bookmeyer has tried to murder Human Rights in Mason City using all three of these techniques.

Be aware, Bookmeyer uses deception and lies in his cause. He will make the feel-good public statements in support of the HR Commission and Department. Even as he lies to our faces, he has others doing his dirty work. He uses others to accomplish this goal; he knows having his name attached to the demise of Human Rights could stain what he thinks is a burgeoning political career.

Yes, Bookmeyer is the puppeteer here in River City. When he has it out for you, he comes to you with smiles and handshakes, singing your praises even as he pulls the strings of his cronies to accomplish your destruction.  That’s how he works.  He wants nothing on the record about himself of anything of substance.  Some might call this the work of a coward.  Bookmeyer is unaware that the vast majority of folks here in town know how he operates and have absolutely no trust in him.  The one-percenters he surrounds himself with and confides in continue to encourage his vendettas, slapping him on the back and telling him what a great job he is doing. He cares most about what the man next to him on the green thinks, not what the man next to him in the grocery store check out line thinks.

Bookmeyer took office in 2010 and immediately went for the jugular of Human Rights; some say as a payback for help getting elected.  In council work shops that year, he first would start by saying how important Human Rights are in Mason City. Then, he produced what could only be hours and hours of homework he did on its caseloads and decisions, acting surprised that people had complaints and that they were all investigated. On cue, his lackey Scott Tornquist next put it right out on the table that shutting down Human Rights in Mason City would save thousands of dollars.  Bookmeyer encouraged discussion on the matter. Thinking they had the council votes to get it done, Bookmeyer and Tornquist pushed forward until Max Weaver exposed their plan. Human Rights was saved for the time being (see videos, below).

Despite this setback, Bookmeyer never gave up on his quest to kill Human Rights. Once the people of Mason City awarded him a second lock-step lackey in Jean Marinos and two other wishy-washy councilmen, he had the votes to kill Human Rights outright, but the four yes-voters knew it would be political suicide to go forward publicly and just shut it down.  Instead, they have employed two much more subtle tactics.

The first tactic is adding Human Rights, along with other departments and services, to a “cut list” $600,000 deep.  This way, it is not singled out, but still set for slaughter.  Bookmeyer had his council talk about diminishing the scope of the commission as well, inquiring about eliminating its two most important functions: Housing complaints and employment complaints.  If the department and the commission are starved of funds – and cases – it is neutralized, ineffective and will die.

Even as these lethal plans are set in motion, Bookmeyer has been working for three years to infest Human Rights with the cancer of his own appointments.  This is a long-term, painful demise for Human Rights that Bookmeyer has orchestrated.  As Sandra Servantez attempted to point out Tuesday night before Bookmeyer and his bully Tornquist rudely intervened, the commission is now in “chaos” due to these appointments.  This chaos is now publicly rearing its head for all to see.

The talk is that those Bookmeyer is appointing do not believe in Human Rights and are there to slow down and grind to a halt the work the commission has accomplished for decades.  It does not take a genius to understand that any board or commission that does not believe in its duties, nor have a care for the people that have come to it for help – appointees who, in fact, may be more sympathetic to the alleged rights violators – can destroy the commission from the inside.  To push through his appointments, Bookmeyer has employed dirty tricks like taking his appointments to the Globe Gazette ahead of presenting them to the commission itself for approval.  Bookmeyer has a very small gene pool to choose from with these appointments; they are almost always associates of his campaign or members of his so-called elite circle of supporters.

The end game may very well be the funeral of Human Rights in Mason City sometime in 2013.  The commission is now stocked with Bookmeyer appointees.  The department will be on the list of cuts the council is compiling.  Long-time Human Rights champion Lionel Foster is nearing retirement.  There will be little chance of saving this bastion of help for the downtrodden and wronged.

The grim reaper is at the doorstep; the scythe is sharpened.  Only the people of Mason City can chase him away.  Do they care enough to speak up?


Bookmeyer produces binders full of research on Human Rights cases in Mason City before Scott Tornquist suggests cuts:


Bookmeyer blames Max Weaver for being the “genesis” of up to $50,000 in budget cuts to Human Rights; Max Weaver confronts him:


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34 Responses to Bookmeyer slowly killing Human Rights in Mason City

  1. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 29, 2012 at 5:49 am

    Great job like always Matt. All the fat man cronies who blog here because no one with any common sense will listen to them are doing nothing but proving the importance of NIT. I do though wonder if he has a box of dog treats in his desk that he feeds them.

  2. Avatar

    billy Reply Report comment

    December 26, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Matt and Max in office. that would be something to see. Max has always been in the minorty so never had the responsibility to govern. His role was always just to complaign and cause trouble. Matt, well…all he has done is complain. If they both got in (by way of a miracle) they might have to really think about big picture and long term solutions. That would be interesting to watch. A travesty for the future I’m afraid, but interesting. Matt could never run and continue to publish……hey I might vote for him afterall LOL

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Hey Billy, it’s America, I’m not quitting my business. If I was asked to serve, I would, and I’d do both very well. I’m not changing what or who I am just to win some election. I’d serve the people with honesty, integrity and lots of open sunshine on everything that got done, a stark contrast to what we have now. It would be a City Hall for everyone, not just a select few. But as I have written, I have no interest at this time in pursuing an elected office.

    • Avatar

      LVS Reply Report comment

      December 28, 2012 at 8:46 am

      @Billy-be careful what you wish for. I have a feeling that Matt or Max (certainly Max who I know) would chew up the likes of you and spit you out like the bad seed you are. I think Matt is a little more mellow and polite, but if you irritate them enough they may decide you are worth the effort. Personally, I am surprised you are on here so, I guess someone must have had to show you how to do it. You are probably a friend of the fat man or the County Supervisors. You sound just like them. If you don’t like what you read, go away.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    I am hoping that KATIE will quit trying to dominate these blogs…. too long — to boring.
    Matt, I do hope you run for elected office. It would be a breath of fresh air to see you and Max Weaver back. Somebody needs to have the best interests of the great people of Mason City at heart. It looks like the national scene politically. The upper 1-3% are dictating the lives of the majority of the people. OK– Obama is still here– YEAH! Now, lets vote our local jerks out of office and get on with it. The other thing is that Alex Kuhn and John Lee need to step up and become real leaders. Travis Hickey needs to go….. Let’s vote the Chamber of Commerce off the City Council and Main Street Mason City– enough already!!! Let’s take Mason City back for the people!!!

    • Avatar

      Katie Reply Report comment

      December 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      Solution: If you don’t like my posts, don’t read them. You know you won’t agree anyway.

  4. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    Matt & Max, I’m trying to figure out exactly why you believe the mayor is against the Human Rights Commission, other than it serves more than just the City of Mason City with no financial help from other areas it serves. Back in 2010, he came to the meeting with all the statistics that seemed to demonstrate that Mason City had the second highest need for human rights services in the State. If he wanted to get rid of the commission, why would he have presented all the evidence showing the great need for the commission in our area? Did he gather those statistics voluntarily or was that part of his homework for that meeting? If it was voluntary research, he could have ignored his findings and not said a word. I would like to know the history behind why you think that report meant he wanted to get rid of the commission.

    Also, how does appointing people he knows for the commission mean he is trying to dump the commission? I’d be really upset if I were on that commission and you said I didn’t believe in human rights. That’s a pretty brash statement. What proof do you have of that? What evidence do you have that it is being “destroyed from the inside”?

    Did the mayor violate the law when he gave his list of appointees to the GG before they were approved? Potential governmental appointees are often announced in other governmental realms prior to approval. Since when isn’t a job with the government political in some way? City of Mason City jobs are made political and personal every single day on this web site.

    I think the biggest problem with the commission is funding. It shouldn’t be a city commission. The structure of these commissions was set up wrong from the get-go. It should be a regional commission funded by several counties. Why don’t you try to get that on the agenda as new business to see if some funding can’t be obtained from the surrounding area to keep it open. Write to your state congressman and senator about the poor organization and financial structure of Iowa’s Human Rights Commissions. Do something positive and constructive instead of stirring up more negativity.

    • Avatar

      Reggie Reply Report comment

      December 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      Katie,you’re good.

    • Avatar

      Jackson Reply Report comment

      December 22, 2012 at 8:26 am

      It’s been a pleasure reading your knowledgable posts. Keep up the good work.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 22, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      As I wrote in the story, Katie, in my opinion Bookmeyer has a vendetta against the HRC. He was in bed with at least one businessman during his campaign who helped him get elected, whose business had pending cases at the HRC. This one particular business, IC System, was no stranger to the HRC. I am contending that destroying the HRC was a payback and perhaps a condition for help in getting elected, and not just from this one business; there are others that want it gone. See his donor list for a few names.

      I guess according to you Katie it is a real shame that Mason City provides a service that happens to be available for others in the immediate area that might need assistance. It’s OK for all of these surrounding area folks to come to MC and shop and drop their money here and maybe even work here, but by God why should MC provide anything to them? Why should MC be a leader, a helper, a progressive community? We should just be a taker, according to your rationale. Pretty sad and selfish thought process you have there. It’s no wonder people are moving out of MC and towns like Garner are growing.

      As far as trying to destroy the commission from the inside with his appointments, I have attended meetings. I see, and am told by others at meetings I was not at, that little or no work is getting done on the caseloads. Most of the time is spent haggling over procedures. This is how you shut down the commission, as I wrote. If the commission never works through the caseload, this is the same as having no commission. Furthermore, you are putting words in my mouth with the “breaking the law” remark on Bookmeyer taking his appointments to the Charmin Gazette with his appointments. I clearly stated it was a dirty trick, not against the law.

      Lastly, let me be clear. I did not say the HR commission nor the department is “perfect.” I’m sure over the course of several decades there have been mistakes made and changes could be needed in some processes. Obviously there is little or no trust between HR and city hall itself. This is a problem. They should be working together, in the public eye. If Bookmeyer had approached Mr. Foster in a constructive, respectful way, and made his intentions clear publicly from the start, this whole fiasco might have turned out differently. But, Bookmeyer does not operate this way. As I wrote, he is all smiles and handshakes to your face even as he infects you with cancer behind your back.

      • Avatar

        Katie Reply Report comment

        December 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm

        Matt, I in no way said or implied any of the following that you seem to believe I think: “It’s OK for all of these surrounding area folks to come to MC and shop and drop their money here and maybe even work here, but by God why should MC provide anything to them? Why should MC be a leader, a helper, a progressive community? We should just be a taker, according to your rationale. Pretty sad and selfish thought process you have there. It’s no wonder people are moving out of MC and towns like Garner are growing.”

        All I said was that Mason City should seek financial help from the surrounding counties to help keep the HR Commission open. I NEVER said that users should be limited to people in Mason City! I do NOT want to see it closed. I want to see the financial basis widened. It was organized improperly to begin with and needs to be financed by all users. That isn’t selfish. That is a proposed solution. The North Iowa Landfill is funded by all the surrounding areas. How is this situation different and why is my suggestion selfish? Calling common sense and a plausible solution to a problem selfish is not going to cut it with me because that just isn’t true.

        Are the commission meetings supposed to work on caseloads? I thought that was done on a day-to-day basis. What are the meetings supposed to be for? I would think that is the place to work on procedures and not cases, but perhaps I am mistaken. I have never been to a meeting, so I admit I don’t know.

        Yes, the mayor announced his appointees in an underhanded way and stepped on Mr. Foster’s toes. If he did something unethical with the people he appointed, go after him. However, remember that Obama has done the same thing over and over and no one in the mainstream media seems to be bothered by that. He gave billions of taxpayer stimulus dollars to his campaign contributors who went belly up. It’s politics at its worse.

        Good sparring with you, Matt. 😉

      • Avatar

        LVS Reply Report comment

        December 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        Matt-Thank you for your comments. It is pretty much what I was trying to say but much more articulate than I am. I was pretty sure from your body language how you felt and I thought it was the same way I would feel if I was disrespected in that way in front of other people. Hell, I would feel that way if I was one on one. As I stated before, you showed a lot more patience than I would of. I remember way back when Tornquist was first running for council and I didn’t even know him. I told all my friends that if he got in there would be nothing but trouble. You see he thinks he is smarter and better than anyone else.

  5. Avatar

    Former MC Resident Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Mr. Marquardt, I do hope you consider running for Mayor.

    A Marquardt administration would bring some truth to the Office of Mayor as well as objectivity and common sense where it is so desperately needed to bring Mason City back to a place where people would want to call home (again).

    Please consider it.

    Thank you for all you do, and your exceptional skills at exposing the truth about a town that I used to call home and still consider home. God Bless and Happy Holidays, sir.

    Marquardt 2014

    • Avatar

      Polio Loco Reply Report comment

      December 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      It’s Marquardt 2013 — But who’s counting. At least there would be some sort of transparency.

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        December 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm

        Just going through some of these posts this morning, been busy doing news. Right now I’m not interested in any political office. I am just a concerned citizen, tired of the lies and double standards. Tired of government by a few, for a few. I’m tired of the hands-off approach of council members like Jean Marinos, a failure as Mayor and a failure as a council person. I’m tired of the treatment of people the council disagrees with. I am very seriously considering taking the podium every meeting for 10 minutes and hammering these people into oblivion. If people really want me to take that next step, I would need to hear more from the public and see that they intend to show up and vote in this election.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm

      My pleasure in writing this. Someone asked my why there are not more comments on this story. I think it is because it is a long, complicated story and I’m not sure the public really cares or knows about what is happening at city hall with HR. Only when the wallet or pocketbook is directly affected do people really step up and get involved. This is not one of those stories.

  6. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 8:36 am

    Thank you for publishing this. Bookmeyer is not who I want representing me or my neighbors and I will work to prevent his reelection but I don’t think the Commission can wait that long. What can we do to save Foster and the Commission?

  7. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Thank you so much for publishing this. Bookmeyer is not who I want representing me or my neighbors and I will work to prevent his reelection but I don’t think the Commission can wait that long. What can we do to save Foster and the Commission?

  8. Avatar

    TreeHugger Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Thank you so much for publishing this. Bookmeyer is truly not who I want representing me or my neighbors and I will work to prevent him from being reelected but I don’t think the Commission can wait that long. What can we do to help Foster and the Commission?

  9. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 5:28 am

    I personally know two people who work with beermeyer every day and they both say he is a dictator and cannot be trusted. He will say what he thinks you want to hear and stab you in the back. The fat man and his trained monkey turncoat are picking apart one by one every area they do not like perhaps for revenge that they are unemployable. An example is Highland Golf Course where a friend told me the fat man was in it’s bar last summer and suspected he was plotting on how to do away with the course since he hangs with the country club crowd. I will comment though that sometimes some of your biggest rights complainers are your people that know how to milk the system to the fullest. And I agree with Katie that HR should only represent this county where it’s funding is from.

  10. Avatar

    Katie Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Mr. Tornquist is right that Mason City taxpayers should not have to fund the HR department for all the surrounding counties. That is not fair at all. The cost should be prorated to surrounding counties based on population.

    One service I really miss is the North Iowa Dispute Center. I don’t know if it was funded by the City or the County, but it was a great service for collecting bad checks. Now no one will do anything about bad checks under $200.00. We really need it back again.

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      I feel that for the Federal grants we get to fund it, this is a small price to pay for one place where a person can go and get fair treatment. I am checking into the exact dollars that are spent and where they come from.

      I do agree that perhaps HR would be better served as a regional office and funded as such. That is no reason to shut it down. This is an endeavor our elected officials could be pursuing but in most cases they are not leaders, just chair warmers (see: Jean Marinos and Janet Solberg as heinous examples.) As such, the MC HR DOES serve regionally; it just so happens the people of Mason City were good enough to allow and offer this service to their neighbors. Why is that so wrong? If we shut out our neighbors, would that satisfy you? What would stop MC City Hall from asking surrounding communities or counties for a little funding? Laziness would be my first guess, and they probably never even thought of the idea.

  11. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 21, 2012 at 12:48 am

    I love how many of you make comments about the HR and I can guess very few of you have ever even been to a meeting. How do you get all your info? If you do your homework and know what you are talking about I would think you have been going to all the meetings and from asking around no has been going to the meetings but Matt came to check it out so he could tell you first hand what is happening because he wants you to know the facts!!!

  12. Avatar

    truth be known Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Those who live here and do not vote gave this town to the vultures who care only for themselves. The Mercy issuse proved who is in charge. The globe said the residents will be allowed to look at the plans but will not have any further say. The council sold out the residents who voted for them.

  13. Avatar

    Iowaviking Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I sure wish Max was still on the council. We need him now more than ever!!

  14. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Since the Mayor is barely human– why worry about Human Rights??? He is so out of touch with the needs of the majority of the citizens of Mason City, he’ll never find the way back!!!! It is really sad that we don’t have strong leaders in this community anymore that will stand up and say no to all this BS!!!! He does it because he can– that is what he tells people. In in Socio- economic status– he doesn’t have to worry about his rights being violated. He is in the top 3% of Mason Cityans due to this wife being a Physician. He does not need employment rights, because he is virtually unemployed. He does not need housing rights- he owns his own expensive home– no landlord to worry about!! I don’t know why the Mayor and Council don’t know more about the citizens of this community. All you have to do is read the census== in this community only 3% of households of 4 have an income of $ 75,000 or more, or look andsee the need for United Way agencies and others to help those in need. The Community Kitchen has had to add addtional evening meals to keep up with hunger in our community. If you make $ 20,000 per month or more of househould income as most physicians do, you really don’t have clue–mr. bookmeyer!!! And, although there are many caring wealthy people– they are few and far between in this community. I see more people worshipping at the feet of Rush Limbaugh than Jesus Christ!!
    We need to continue to pray that the next election nets committed, caring, compassionate and yes of course– qualified and professional people to represent the middle class and below in this community!! AND THAT STARTS WITH LEAVING THE HUMAN RIGHTS DEPARTMENT ALONE!!!

  15. Avatar

    Reggie Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    You are kidding right? Human rights ,aka equal rights for all people, will still be alive and well after Mr. Foster retires and the state human rights commission takes over. All other cities our size rely on the state. They will still enforce the laws right?

    • Avatar

      Hi J Reply Report comment

      December 21, 2012 at 12:41 am

      The Humans Rights at the State level are so backed up now that if you went to them you would be living on the streets if it were a landlord problem. So have you been going to the HR meetings and getting your information, or do just say this because it sounds good? If you really believe this then you must think you will never have a HR issue. I hope you are always treated fairly and treat other people fairly because if this happens going straight to the state you will be waiting along time just say’n

      • Avatar

        Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

        December 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

        Bookmeyer knows the windshield time and phone time and backups in Des Moines will perfectly protect his cronies and discourage citizens here from pursuing cases. He is using the excuse of a state office as cover for killing Human Rights here in MC.

  16. Avatar

    EEOC Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm


    Who is currently appointed to the MCHRC, and who is the mayor looking at appointing?

    I haven’t kept up on this story, so do you have any insight as to why he’s trying to cut the commission?

  17. Avatar

    Justin Anderson Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    The action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.
    Make false and damaging statements about (someone).
    noun. calumny – libel – defamation – aspersion – obloquy
    verb. defame – calumniate – traduce – vilify – backbite – libel

    • Avatar

      Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      December 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

      Have the lawyers call my office, I’m not hard to find.

    • Avatar

      lies? Reply Report comment

      December 20, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      Justin, which of these statements are untrue?
      Bookmeyer is responsible for trashing his OWN reputation.

  18. Avatar

    anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 20, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Thank you for exposing the truth! Bookmeyer CANNOT be trusted!