by Max Frank Weaver of Mason City –
I hope you prove me wrong Councilman. There’s so much one can say about the art of this deal. How it came in just before Christmas, and how our elected and nonelected (NICEDC) officials sat on it for 3 months before tipping their hand. Before we knew what was happening there had already been one meeting held, with fewer than a dozen citizens in attendance, who, to my knowledge, kept the deal a secret as well. The Mayor and staff (Brent Trout) already had the state tax credits lined up, already had the tax abatement figured out, already had the change of zone, and already had the not-so-rough draft of the development agreement written. Lurking in the shadows was inappropriate and inconsiderate. No one was going to steal this out from under us. Prestage did not have a plan B.
Very, very sneaky.
There is a bright side to this issue: All of the people on both sides that have come forward, to get involved and fight for their cause. They have learned about the good, the bad, and the ugly that exist in our politicians and in our political lives. Hopefully this will change the face of our local politics, with less apathy and more involvement.
Now let’s go back to May 3rd, and I’ll try to make this simple. Councilman Bill Schickel said, to paraphrase, “for this to work it needs the acceptance of the community, and it doesn’t have it. There’s too much turmoil.”
Schickel and I have, at best, a dubious relationship…all of it political. We’ve never voted for each other. I did ask him to run for mayor against Eric Bookmeyer in 2009. If he’d done that maybe all of this could have been avoided. You’ve put us in a hellova predicament Bill.
I can imagine all of the attention you’ve received, Bill, and I think you like it. I feel like you knew what you were doing with your no vote on the night of May 3rd. Politics is funny that way. It’s like a good hand in a poker game. Are you that smart Bill? Maybe I’ve underestimated you all these years. I always thought your wife, Candy, was the dealmaker.
The big question is: What Has Changed, Bill? Nothing! We actually have more turmoil and division in the community since you announced that you are rethinking your no vote. I know you see yourself as an ethical man, but as rumors and innuendoes abound across the community (and state), with names like Brandstad, Doug Gross, the Prestage’s, along with many unfounded comments of all sorts, there is now a cloud of suspicion. It’s always shameful when politicians try to monetize their situation, and it happens frequently. It may not be illegal, but it is unethical. Bill, it seems like you’re a man with a fishing pole just waiting to hook the big one. I hope you prove me wrong.
Now that we know that the Prestage move to Worth County is in doubt, and the evil-doers (John Skipper, Globe Gazette Editorial Board, Brent Trout, Robin Anderson, and Mayor Eric Bookmeyer) have toned down their rhetoric of misinformation and flat-out lies, maybe, Bill, you can take a step back now, sort through everything, and maintain your no vote. Mr. Schickle, please respect the will of the majority of your employers. Don’t go over to the dark side. Find the courage to protect your adopted community. Remember…nothing has changed.