MASON CITY — Many people who were planning to visit Mason City say they have changed their minds because of the content of the billboard on South Federal Avenue comparing President Obama to Hitler and Lenin, according to the Chamber of Commerce.
Robin Anderson, executive director of the Mason City Chamber, said the Chamber and Visit Mason City received numerous e-mails, Facebook comments and about 50 telephone calls about the billboard.
“The majority of the callers indicated they were planning to visit or do business in Mason City and have changed these plans as a means of protest,” said Anderson.
She said the Chamber has retained copies of these e-mails and has responded to each with the same message.
“The organization that purchased this sign represents a small number of North Iowa residents and they are within their rights to express their opinion. However, these views are not representative of the values of North Iowans,” said Anderson.
She said the letter to potential visitors says the Chamber defends the right of the individuals who purchased this billboard.
“As community leaders, we are simply standing up to express an opposing view. We do not want Mason City and North Iowa to be characterized as a place where issues are confronted with acrimony, name-calling, and innuendo.”