Councilwoman Donna Amandus says Schulz’s comments were “racist”
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A Fort Madison City Councilman wants the city to get behind additional community policing with the city seeing more violent crime recently.
At Tuesday night’s regular City Council meeting, Councilman Tom Schulz said he would like to work on putting together an event to bring people together around the neighborhood watch program.
“I’ve been talking to the police chief about trying to beef up our neighborhood watch system. With the exception of the 34th Place group, it’s kind of fallen apart,” Schulz said.
The 34th Place group has shined above other groups, while offering assistance to get other neighborhood watch programs up and running. That group not only patrols the neighborhood in the area of the DuPont plant near 34th Street and 34th Place, but they also have an annual block party, fund raise, and provide scholarships.
Other groups such as Lincoln Neighborhood Watch Group and Dry Creek Neighborhood Watch have been organized and a group in the downtown historical area was trying to get organized, but COVID made getting together difficult for some of the groups.
“I really want to try and start a big social media push, maybe even with some help from local media, to put together an event to bring people around that that are interested in trying to help watch over their community more,” Schulz said.
“We’re seeing some changes in demographics in Fort Madison that no one can ignore at this point and we need more people looking out for each other. I’m not 100% sure how to make this happen, but I’m going to put more effort into it. There are a lot of people around here retired and a lot of people that have the time.”
Bowker said she couldn’t let the demographic comment go.
Schulz said the changes he sees are apparent.
“The demographic change I see is when I go to Casey’s in the morning, I didn’t used to see six people sitting out in front of the place or four people sitting out in front of the place. Not that they’re there because of any particular reason that I know of, but they’re there,” Schulz said.
Bowker said his concern should be based on socioeconomics and not demographics such as age or race.
“That’s more socioeconomic factors that shouldn’t necessarily be defined by demographics,” Bowker said.
“More people are being shot and stabbed in Fort Madison and we need to freakin’ stop it,” Schulz said.
“Because of demographics?” Bowker pushed.
Councilwoman Donna Amandus called Schulz’s comments racist.
Schulz said there was nothing racist in his comment.
“Oh My God, that’s exactly what you meant,” Amandus said.
Mayor Mohrfeld regained control of the conversation and said he agreed that if there’s something the city council can do to give the watch groups a helping hand, they should get involved.
“I’ve been a fan of theirs since I started and I love going down and getting dunked in the dunk tank and raising money, so Tom, I applaud that effort,” Mohrfeld said.