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Opinion: Way, way too many vacant rooms in Mason City hotels, no need for another

I personally contacted the general manager of what would be considered the top 4 hotel/motels in Mason City that rent rooms. The accumulative total of rooms that are available for rent in these locations is 312. One has week day vacancies of 50 to 55 rooms that go unrented at least one or two times a week. One has 5 to 10 rooms…. a night…. every night. Just about all have vacancies every night.

Now the City of Mason city wants to bring unfair competition into the hotel market territory that these taxpaying businesses have invested their own capital into. They have not received subsidies or grant money to the tune Gatehouse will. They have put their own capital on top of the table and turned the lights on and waited for the public to come in. If I were a local hotelier, I would be seeking legal council with the focus on “class action” with multiple hotel operators joined into the suit.

If there were a “hotel survey” done I have never seen the results published. Probably because the results with just 4 of the top brands indicate there is no need for more rooms. As in the case of the one with 50 to 55 empty rooms…..I see the intrusion of a municipal-backed hotel as an act of war. Think….what if it were you that had invested in a lodging business in this community? What would be your course of action? One hotel developer is suing the city now…. will there be more now or will they wait to see if a new hotel is built? Hopefully it will never be built.

Those who want it built say there is nothing here to keep young people from leaving…. is your child going to remain here to change sheets? Get real!
They say those things because they think you’re stupid. As a community you stepped up and defeated the .67 cent measure, and you did it in such a manor there was no mistaking your intention. Bravo! Now do it again. Vote No!!

Today John Skipper traversed a patch of safe ground. He reiterated the political history of former local politicians, it just doesn’t get anymore exciting than that…. in this life we live there are many differences that separate us and define us. These are not necessarily anomalous. Politics draws a wide spectrum of humanity. While we are parked at this
intersection let’s pick two at random mentioned in John’s offering today; Max Weaver & Eric Bookmeyer. While it might be politics that has drawn them together, it is not necessarily what totally defines them. Let’s look at Max first. What are his passions? He’s a professional Picker; travels to various destinations in search of collectibles. Doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke. Now it’s Eric Bookmeyer’s trun; what are his passions? Alcohol. Numbers…. more numbers…. and more numbers. Put these figures in your CAFO’S and smoke them. I want everyone to grab the business section of today’s Sunday paper…. Business Section. The author is Allen Guebert. The title, “Picking up the tab as profits shrink”. While not surprised, the contents of this article will rock your boat. The writer estimates cash that the Department of Agriculture will pay farmers this year for everything from cattle to cauliflower to cat fish will total $366.6 Billion. The all-time record was 2014 when farmers collected $424.2 Billion. He goes on to say Americans spent $1.5 trillion in grocery stores. I suggest you try and pull it up in the Globe website. It’s well worth the read.

I am happy for the farmers, I wish they’d get more. So how much did the rest of the business world get? Oh I forgot…. they didn’t get anything! Years ago there was a government program called “The Soil Bank.” The theory was if you put part of your tillable land into the Soil Bank the government would pay you a fixed amount per acre. This move was supposed to reduce crop production and consequently raise the price of the crop because there was less of it. Sounded good but I don’t know if it worked. I do know there are a lot of violations. Hundreds of thousands of acres of imaginary land was placed in the Soil Bank, land that was just illusionary; make-believe would be a good word.

After all that we still ended up with .10 cent pork and milk that was poured in the ditches. So now we have CAFOs decimating small towns; destroying their way of life. Constant stench. Lord knows what’s going through the ground. I tell you this business is going to be moved south across the border and into Mexico.

Peter Children
Mason City, Iowa

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