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Globe’s Skipper and Schuessler sucker-punched George Barlas

John Skipper, the sucker puncher
John Skipper, the sucker puncher

Opinion by Matt Marquardt –

John Skipper and Arian Schuessler sucker-punched George Barlas this weekend.

Since John Skipper is too talentless to point a camera and hit the “record” button, he had to drag poor Arian into this despicable episode, which played out in Sunday’s Globe Gazette front page. You may have saw the headline, “Trouble at Eleven”, which amounted to not much more than a blatant attack on a small business owner, entrepreneur, and long-time citizen of Mason City.

Like we do here at NIT, let’s take a deeper look at the story behind the story.

In briefly profiling the alleged cheap shot artists, we know firstly of John Skipper to be a devious type. We know he is our corrupt mayor’s towel boy and the mouthpiece of the Chamber of Commerce, a sleazy institution that works for the tobacco companies. Skipper will try to catch you off-guard; he will attempt to corner you, get you to sully your own name. He will write anything to protect his cronies and his meager paycheck. He pulled this very act on me a couple years ago. Eric Bookmeyer, acting in his capacity as mayor, had taken to Bobby Fisher’s “Ask the Mayor” show and proceeded to call me disgusting names for nearly three minutes (the episode was later altered, pulled and I was apologized to). He talked about me personally, my family, my business. Within minutes of this radio show, John Skipper called my cell phone and in his usual sloppy way, paraphrased what was said by our elected mayor; he attempted to anger me; he looked to get a “rise” out of me so I would damage myself in quotes out of my own mouth to use in his newspaper story. I refused, and told him never to call me again. It is my opinion that Skipper, Fisher and Bookmeyer worked together to create a scenario where they could attack me and damage me… much like he and Arian did to Mr. Barlas in Sunday’s paper.

Now I’ll get a little more personal here. Arian Schuessler is a good guy. Or at least, I thought he was. He was a good friend to me, until I created In fact, I owe the name to him, since he thought it up. You see, he was to be my partner, way back in 2010, until he got cold feet and backed out. Then, he conducted an “intervention” of sorts and tried to get me to back off of doing things like allowing Max Weaver to call Skipper a “jerk”. I refused, and I never went back to his house. We quit talking, and that is a shame. I went my way, and Arian continued to work at the Globe and later even opened a bar, very close to Eleven.

This is where things get hairy for Arian.

You see, Arian not only is part owner of Mason City Brewing, he helps run the place. You will see him in there from time to time, (when they are open, which ain’t very often) sweeping up, tinkering with things, working the counter, whatever needs to be done. It appears the brew pub is his gig now, right along with his career at the Globe. He’s a vegetarian, but when Howard Query tells him to take pictures of sizzling ribs on the grill and put a sign in his yard for the BBQ Bash, Arian complies. It is clear Arian treasures his role at the Globe and wants his bar to be a success.

John Skipper.  My advice: If you see this man, go the other way.  If he comes into your business, call police and tell them he's not welcome.
John Skipper. My advice: If you see this man, go the other way. If he comes into your business, call police and tell them he’s not welcome.

Now, as the story is told to me, Skipper and Arian made not one, but two trips to the Eleven Bar Friday, looking for Mr. Barlas. Predators don’t give up till they are fed, you see, and Howard Query needed a Sunday headline. And since Arian and Skipper work cheap, they had all day to mess around looking for their prey. They finally button-holed Mr. Barlas as he attempted to prep his kitchen and bar for another busy night. He was not prepared for any interview; he was not fore-warned, but Skipper and Arian showed up with camera blazing, announcing they were doing a story on his business (and others).  Then they did their worst on George and served up a knuckle sandwich Sunday.

Talk about the fox interviewing the hens. Arian owns and operates a competing business, right around the corner from Eleven Bar. Both places serve booze and want to sell as much of it as possible to a confined set of possible consumers. Did Arian sense a chance to harm George Barlas’ business and in the process, benefit? I hope not, but the mere fact that he was there, pointing a camera, asking questions of his competitor is unethical at worst and at best a downright cheap shot. Arian is not stupid, and combine his intellect with the nasty ways of Skipper, one must ask, did they plan this out? To catch Mr. Barlas off-guard? To prey on his desire to tell his side of the story and counter-act the attacks from police and city hall?  To score points with police and elected officials who want to 1) blame the city’s crime problems and personify it in Eleven Bar and 2) ultimately close the place down?

Talking with Mr. Barlas Tuesday evening, he confirmed, the story was like a “punch to the gut”. He said the headline was like a slap in the face, especially as an advertiser who helps keep the Globe limping by. He said the headline itself was enough to damage his business, already wounded from weeks of attacks from city hall.  He said that police just park out in front of his business before any hint of a problem, and then they look for any reason to harass, bother, intimidate his customers.  Never mind that a person’s face was slashed at the 000 block of State and Federal Avenue, very close to Arian’s bar.  No police presence needed there, nor a couple blocks north, where I discovered a man recently laying in blood in Commercial Alley, beaten.  Police only appeared after I dialed 911.  By the way, I reported on that incident, and did not name the bar nor the owner of the establishment, only the location.

We know the song and dance of this mayor, council and now the police.  We saw it with Alley Katz, and the act is playing out again with Eleven.  Find an easy mark (a bar) and blame the city’s crime problems on it.  Go after said establishment in meetings and in the press (Globe and even KIMT) and damage their business.  Once it closes, declare victory in battling crime.

Meanwhile, the rest of us are robbed blind, bikes are stolen, cars are broken into, we are burglarized and terrorized by the cretins who live amongst us.  And the police are parked in the Cultural Crescent, protecting the elite.

Skipper and Arian are pawns in this game, perhaps willingly going along as they are ordered to do by their publisher, who is dominated by city hall and the Chamber of Commerce.  As I wrote yesterday, this is a tale of the socially and politically connected punishing the common citizen.

I will close this long opinion with one more piece of advice: Look at Mr. Barlas.  Look at his business.  Today it is him taking a beating at the hands of the Globe and its masters.  Could you be next?  If you are doing business with the Globe Gazette, ask yourself, really examine: Why?  How can you support their under-handed ways?  Don’t wait until it happens to you.  I suggest, cancel your subscription.  Cancel your advertising.  Send a message today.

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