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Nothing fortifies those who are in power so much as silence from those who are not.

I cannot attribute these words, but they certainly illustrate the strategies of the pro-Renaissance minority in Mason City. As more time passes and the IEDA tires of Mason City testing their patience, it seems odd to me that the "Vote Yes" partisans are now mute.

Given what those whom are suspect of the project already know about G8 Chodur, and Mike Kohan, the silence from the Vote No segment is even odder still.

The majority should not be so sure that the project will implode on May 18, the G8 Chodur financing approval deadline, as we have seen this Phoenix rise from the ashes of what should have been its final cremation, several times over.

Chodur has requested and gotten, from Mason City taxpayers, a half million dollars be given to him, allegedly to pay for pre-construction costs. It appears that no lending institution will approve a loan if he has not sunk your dollars into the hotel project before breaking ground.

G8 Chodur cannot get a loan for a candy bar let alone the RCR hotel project.

His only hope is to plop down a half million-citizen dollars as a down payment, collateral, or an enticement for a loan shark to set up some funding. When you bought your home, did Mason City give you your down payment? That is exactly what G8 Chodur is asking you to do with your tax dollars.

I think there would be a consensus that once that 500K is gone and May 18 comes, there will still be no one on the planet that will loan this guy the needed funds or provide a flagship hotel commitment.

Throughout various city governments over many decades, Mason City has hired and received academia and governmental analyses and professional studies, delivered in full reports providing our city with revitalization recommendations to pursue. Some cost significant taxpayer monies, starting in the 1970s, only to be shelved, forgotten and never even publicly debated.

We were hoodwinked and misled by the myopic, unstoppable vision of power brokers of the day ramming through to completion the Southbridge Mall Project. That action irreversibly killed off our classic downtown.

By the way, Southbridge Mall was never recommended as a project by any of the comprehensive urban development experts so engaged.

Of the reports paid for by you and received by your city government, a 2004 comprehensive downtown plan prepared by Gould, Evans and Goodman, LLC, and elaborated on by a further in-depth Historic District Master Plan prepared by The Incorporation of Antecedent Studies in 2007, essentially represents and provides site plans for the River City Renaissance Project as we know it in 2018.

The Vote Yes backers have repurposed and resurrected downtown revitalization plans, paid for by you, that have been sitting on a shelf collecting dust as far back as at least 2004. There is no victor in allowing this second coming of Southbridge Mall to reach fruition.

We have before us, the end game of a circuitous and baffling process that seems to cost us more in terms of money and integrity than even the protagonists of River City Renaissance ever expected. The only legacy is to stand tall and end doing city business with questionable actors.

I know you are weary of this circus and wish the three-ring tent would get packed away, and Barnum and Bailey would just move on. G8 Chodur cannot be handed your half million dollars as this could turn into a second coming of the Southbridge Mall debacle. This is how these things always get started.

Your silence is worrisome and will be costly if you choose not to engage your opponents. Fill the council meetings with your presence, contact the state IEDA, and most importantly, become an advocate regarding how your money is being spent.

J.W. Sayles is a retired university professor and U.S. Treasury agent and also a veteran of the Vietnam War. He lives in Mason City.


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