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Op-ed: Small Town Prejudices (by Peter Children)



This news story was published on July 29, 2015.
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What do we have here… between 25 & 27 thousand people living together? We have the amenities most towns this size have, we have pole buildings in the downtown area, too many churches and car lots and our population of African-Americans seems to fall into the state’s overall population statistics… we’re 96% white.

With that we have our quota of prejudices between minority fractions that go beyond color. When I was much younger there was the “foreign factor” who pretty much ran bars and restaurants; this city was known for good food among the traveling sales people who covered the state selling product that is now bought online thereby eliminating that sales force.

Gradually those running the bars and steakhouses were claimed by death, they were not replaced by their children because their children went to college, got degrees and for the most part never returned here. Fast food filled the void to some extent; that along with far fewer steakhouses.

Now we have unrest in the city because of racial factions that do not assimilate into the local landscape. These are blacks that supposedly deal dope to the white population. To make it worse, they have focused on one bar in the city called Eleven. It is because of theses disturbances that occur with an inordinate frequency that the city has last night at a regular council meeting voted unanimously to not renew Eleven’s liquor license. One side of this equation we have the “D Boys”, on the other side we have the police and in the middle is Eleven.

I once interviewed a former police chief while he was in office about the drug situation in this city; he asked not to be quoted and I gave him that privilege. This is what he said; “NIACC has brought black recruits here to play ball, when the season ends they dump them. No continuing classes, these boys are dispensable, they served their purpose… but they didn’t return to Chicago, East St. Louis or Detroit. They stayed and went into business dealing drugs.” At that particular time he said there were 36 known drug houses operating in this city all run be ex-NIACC ballplayers.

Chief Lashbrook talks of the “old days” when bartenders took care of the problem; hogwash, the police took care of it. Lefty Lewis and Rudy Alman along with Dwayne Jewel were on the streets. No one, I repeat no one took those guys on. I opened my first bar in 1956 at 217 North Federal, a long time before the 70’s. The second bar we opened in ’61. No trouble. You want to know why? There were no “D” boys here. NIACC wasn’t recruiting in the large city ghettos. It was that college that polluted this community by bringing in young kids from these big city ghettos then dumping them when the season was over. NIACC traveled into some of the most drug infested cities in America to recruit boys to come here to play ball. Once the seasoned ended those players were dismissed. No earned credits, no more classes, they were literally dumped by the side of the road. Instead of returning they set up shop in various houses throughout the city. When interviewing a former Chief of Police he first asked that he not be identified, then this is what he said; “We currently have 36 known drug houses operating within this city, all operated by former NIACC athletes.” Today we are witnessing the blow back from that recruiting practice. The former Police Chief went on to say that business was so good these guys brought in their cousins to help run the business.

Life has changed drastically in the past quarter century; values have changed, priorities are self-centered and life is worth less. A little over a year ago a young boy was shot dead at a gas station on the North End so we don’t have to wait for that to happen – it’s already happened.

I attended the City Council meeting last evening, it was the first time in my life and I have operated businesses in this city for over 60 years. I wasn’t disappointed. It was an orchestrated lynching of a local merchant. Personally I thought it bore great resemblance to the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals. The police had their dog & pony show all lined up, lights on, lights off. Lights on, lights off. McKelvey reminded me of that guy in high school who couldn’t get a date and now he wants everyone to pay for it. If he spent as much time and energy on busting the “D” boys as he did on revoking Barlas’ liquor license there wouldn’t be any drug dealers in the city. When you apply to be a “policeman” aren’t there certain specifications as to job description? Isn’t it pretty much a given that you’re going out on domestic disturbances and intervening in these matters will frequently result in physical altercations? Aren’t you expected to “quell” public mayhem and restore peace? McKelvey stated that the city only has 4 personal on duty during certain hours. Whose fault is that? Is that Barlas’ family’s fault? Hire more police. If we can justify spending $70,000.00 to move a wall so Bookmeyer can relocate his desk, hiring more cops shouldn’t be a problem.

What is really in front of us here, does anyone really know? To me it was a sickening display of incompetence by a police force that is ill equipped to do anything but maybe direct traffic. If you don’t want to mix it up with the “D” boys then find other work. George Barlas isn’t the problem, the problem is on the North End of this city and on the campus and in the dorms West of town. There are more drugs there than in all the pharmacies in the entire county. When I offered to get them a drug dog free of charge they said no.

Peter Children of Mason City

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27 Responses to Op-ed: Small Town Prejudices (by Peter Children)

  1. rahmbo Reply Report comment

    August 7, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Lol, get out of town more Children.

    Folks wear baggy pants, sunglasses, and play rap at . . . . . . Duke University basketball games! As well as Niacc, Stanford, Iowa, Texas, and every goober community college from here to Alaska and beyond.

  2. Reggie(red) Reply Report comment

    August 2, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    “Personally I thought it bore great resemblance to the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals. The police had their dog & pony show all lined up, lights on, lights off” So Peter you are saying the war crime trials after WW2 were a sham OR are you saying George Barlas is as bad as a Nazi war criminal?

  3. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 2, 2015 at 7:30 am

    back in the 70’s there was Bruisers. every Friday and sat night the police were called there for fights. it was the NIACC football or wrestling teams that were there doing the fighting. so in 40 some years nothing has changed except for the place it is occurring. remember the college inn?? same thing. warehouse 10, cavvies, petes place I could go on and on.

    • peter children Reply Report comment

      August 2, 2015 at 10:00 am

      Every generation has their own music and their own political make up along of course with thousands of other genera’s that round out the picture. My era was the “big band” era a thousand or more miles from rap & hip hop. I went to several women’s basketball games at NIACC because at the time I had someone playing on NIACC’s team.

      They played rap, they played it during every break in the game, they played it so loud that conversation between you and the person you were with made it impossible to converse. There were guys wearing pants that fell almost down to their knees who were also wearing dark glasses….inside at night……….

      I spoke to Mike Morrison the then C.E.O. of…

  4. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 1, 2015 at 10:58 am

    wow no wonder people leave MC. I played ball at niacc and I didn’t sell drugs and no one on my teams did either, Always putting the blame on the darker faces. Sad to say I’m from Mason City

  5. peter children Reply Report comment

    August 1, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Nothing….let me repeat that; nothing is important enough to allow this community be become infected with that deluge of narcotic’s that has turned this small farming community into the mecca for drugs that it has become……and for what I ask? To win a ballgame, is that your answer? Putting your child into one of those dorm rooms is like playing Russian roulette with their lives.

    Are you implying that campus is hallowed ground? Do you believe that it is has been sanctified by the church….is that what you are trying to say?

  6. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 31, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Well, there you have it. Close down NIACC and your troubles will soon be a thing of the past.

  7. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 31, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Finally, somebody had the courage to tell it like it is !!!!!

  8. CrashCretin Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 9:01 pm

    The MCPD are afraid of confronting anybody not from this area. On top of that they are more interested in busting up underage drinking parties than going after violent criminals. Long story short, the police here are intimidated and are basically useless for solving any real problems.

    • CrashCretin Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      I would like to comment a bit more. I think Chop & Eleven are a great addition to our small town. They are different than the other sports bars and fast food restaurants in town. Young people are leaving here for the bigger cities where there is more diversity and different experiences. It would be nice if our city council would quit trying to force out anything remotely different than the norm here. It’s super sad and Mason City is stuck in the past. That is why all of the young educated people leave this place.

  9. 'Free' Mason Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Outdated sources for outdated theories that support outdated conclusions.

  10. Calvin R. Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Wish they would just come out and say it. The cultural elites of Mason City do not want any black people by their precious downtown. The know full well if Eleven is shut down the undesirables will move elsewhere, but as long as its NIMBY they couldn’t care less. Nor do they care about the north end or Monroe, they are only concerned about a growing population metric to support their elitist downtown bubble.

  11. Mint Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Subject – The video of the council meeting on Eleven & Chop losing their liquor license, in my view Kathy Barlas presented the best evidence the people fighting outside of Eleven were not patrons of Eleven evidenced by the clothing they were wearing, Eleven has a dress code, her comment went ignored.

  12. Mint Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Eleven & Chop are competition for the Decker house restaurant/bar, also Frank Loyd Wright restaurant/bar, which got their start with tax $ hence government interests/businesses, in addition another proposed taxpayer/money pit hotel/motel across from Central Park they plan on building the hotel/motel corporation does forecasting of competition before they commit to invest the competition may be holding up the deal, Eleven & Chop are privately owned and got their start like most private businesses loans/private $, how do private businesses compete with government they don’t the government makes up things and or over exaggerates and puts them out of business, Eleven & Chop looks impressive…

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      August 1, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      didn’t know the Decker house served food and had a full menu. Why on earth would a person think the hotel downtown would want the people that are causing trouble at elevens to visit them. Let alone the city wanting this group of people downtown. Can we think of a better conspiracy. I would venture to bet 3/4 of the people responding to this never go downtown at all. The downtown on a weekend is fun and alive not the sh!!!!!!!!!t hole many on here make it out to be. The plaza is fun having a drink or food. The band in the park every month is great time. Wish it was twice a month. Can’t wait for the ice arena and new motel to come in. More people more fun. Also walk by the park inn and…

      • Anonymous Reply Report comment

        August 1, 2015 at 2:37 pm

        Try going down Delaware at 11:00 PM and then lets see what you have to say.

  13. Anonymous Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 6:57 am

    what school is west of mason city??? NIACC is east but I must have missed the other school

  14. Anonie Reply Report comment

    July 30, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Ah. Rudy Alman. What a guy. The good old nights.

  15. Savage Reply Report comment

    July 29, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I don’t remember that many sticking around. Most went home during Christmas break and never returned.

  16. Savage Reply Report comment

    July 29, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    We were just talking about this the other day. The locals and the Football team were always getting fights.

  17. LVS Reply Report comment

    July 29, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    The problem is not just in the “North End”. yes, there is a problem here but it is not any worse than the South End of town and certainly not as bad as the center of town where most of the “D” Boys live. They didn’t come through NIACC but were brought here by the Housing Authority which gives them vouchers to have free rent for a year. The real problem in the North End is in the Northwest Corner and on Monroe where the imports live.

    • peter children Reply Report comment

      July 29, 2015 at 6:00 pm

      A former AD at NIACC used to work for me. It was he who told me of the recruiting practices used by the coaches there. He said he was against it but it didn’t do much good. I know he had no reason to lie. Then further fortified by a retired Chief of Police I know for a fact that what I said was 110% true, What you said was also true. I would not dispute one word of what you stated……so where is the police?

      • LVS Reply Report comment

        July 29, 2015 at 7:13 pm

        @peter Children-I believe you about the NIACC football players. But, our current problem is the imports from Chitcago and Detroit.

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2015 at 6:44 am

      It looks like the North End and Downtown get the prize…

      Damn North End!!

    • Anonymous Reply Report comment

      July 30, 2015 at 6:44 am