This is an election year for city officials and it could be a dandy one in Mason City.
Mayor Eric Bookmeyer is up for re-election as are Councilmen Scott Tornquist and Travis Hickey and Councilwoman Janet Solberg — if they choose to run again.
Although no one has announced for re-election and no newcomers have stepped forward yet (it’s early), perhaps it’s time to trot out a few “bewares” for voters before things heat up.
• Beware of comments from anonymous sources. They often offer opinions as if they were facts and hide behind their anonymity.
• Beware of any “facts” that come from someone who says or writes, “I heard ...” That’s code for “if this isn’t true, don’t blame me.”
• Beware of people who resort to name-calling to try to make their point. That’s usually an indication they can’t make their point with the facts.
• Beware of casting candidates in terms of good or evil. They are almost always people trying to accomplish the same thing but with differing ideas on how to get it done.
As I’ve reported previously, when Sen. Bob Dole was running for president in 1996 and campaigning in Mason City, he said, “Bill Clinton and I are opponents. We’re not enemies.”
• And finally, beware of outrageous critics. The late German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer said:
“Folly is a more dangerous enemy to the good than evil. One can protest against evil; it can be unmasked and, if need be, prevented by force. Against folly we have no defense ... ”
There are lots of legitimate discussion points for this year’s elections. How do you feel about:
• The city’s investment in the MicroEnterprise program.
• The city’s investment in development agreements with companies such as Metalcraft and Harley- Davidson.
• Investigating the possibility of “managed competition” for sanitation services.
• Looking at the possibility of building a multi-purpose center.
• The city producing a budget with no increase in the tax levy for the second straight year but reducing the budget of the Human Rights Commission from $143,000 to $15,000.
Yeah, I know. There’s a lot more. That’s my point. Let’s focus on the issues and sweep away folly when it creeps in.
Reach John Skipper at 421-0537 or firstname.lastname@example.org.