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Letters
Letter: When Schickel talks, I listen

I am writing in support of Bill Schickel for mayor of Mason City. I have known Bill for many years both inside and outside his numerous elected positions. In all of these, I have found Bill to be an individual of the highest character.

His integrity, honesty and commitment to Mason City make him the right candidate as we hopefully move forward with such exciting opportunities as the River City Renaissance Project. Bill may not be the loudest or most boisterous individual, but when he talks, I listen. After all, what more can we ask from our elected officials? His experience, leadership and commitment will make him a great asset for Mason City.

Please join me in voting Schickel for mayor on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

David McLinn, Mason City


Columnists
Skipper: Election-day challenge is putting meaning to a lot of moving parts

Well, once again, election day is approaching and North Iowans will have to decide whether their glass is half-empty or half-full and who's going to fill it.

In Mason City, in addition to a mayoral election, a park board election and three council elections, there are two ballot issues related to the River City Renaissance project that will make or break the deal, depending on how the vote goes.

In Sunday's newspaper and online, we have tried to provide a comprehensive look at the project with all its ramifications and to answer as many of our readers' questions as we could in order for them to make informed decisions.

But it is no wonder there is some confusion. There are so many moving parts.

One of the outspoken critics of the lease agreement on the ice arena and the bonds on the hotel project is Pat McGarvey, who served as interim city administrator for one year a decade ago. Among other descriptions, he has referred to the city's plan as a "scheme."

Yet 18 months ago, McGarvey was singing its praises.

"Wow. This is exactly what Southbridge needs to re-invent itself," he said in an interview with the Globe Gazette. "I hope it all comes to pass."

The late councilman Alex Kuhn was one of the original champions of the Renaissance plan and some people think completion of the projects would be a more fitting tribute to him than a statue. Others, while revering Kuhn, are opposed to the project.

In promoting the plan in Des Moines in May 2015, Kuhn told state officials, "This is true re-investment of existing infrastructure in the hub of North Iowa. It also fills a massive funding gap to build the venue (ice arena) in an existing space without putting our population in serious debt."

In fairness, there have been many i's dotted and t's crossed in the past couple of years and a whole new hotel project has been substituted for one in the original plan. As I said earlier, a lot of moving parts.

Of the 11 Mason City candidates who are on the ballot Tuesday, eight are in favor of both ballot issues, two are opposed and one (Lionel Foster in the Second Ward) was undecided, the last time we checked.

The three mayoral candidates, Alex Klein, Colleen Niedermayer and Bill Schickel are in favor. In the Fourth Ward, candidates John Jaszewski and Jack Leaman are for, while candidates Phillip Sanchez and Matt Marquardt are against.

Tom Thoma, running unopposed as an at-large candidate, favors both proposals as do Troy Levehagen and Will Symonds, running against Foster in the Second Ward.

But the fate of both issues and, ultimately, the fate of the Renaissance project, is in the hands of the voters, not of the candidates.

As for the glass being half empty or half full, as my friend in the restaurant business used to say, "Either way, it's our job to refill it."