This November is one ugly month in Des Moines. The sunset on the sound and the turning leaves hanging above our misty morning beach has become overshadowed by the vile display of the lowest forms of humanity. I can’t figure out who’s worse …The Political Anon-Oh-Bloggers that spew hundreds of postings of lies and innuendo, or those of us that don’t rebuke baseless allegations …essentially turning the lies into truth for the casually informed voter. Over the past few weeks, a small group has made every attempt to decimate the character of Bob Sheckler. I’ve known Bob since he entered Des Moines politics; he has always been self-assured and passionate about his vision for the city. You can’t be a council member and mayor for sixteen years, and not make a few enemies.
Bob’s few enemies use the web as their sounding board and they use it anonymously, with great frequency, and of course …with impunity! They have zero regard for the truth and vengeance as a motive. These folks are even willing to support a virtually unknown candidate, sending her up against a strong incumbent and regionally respected elected official. Sheckler led the fight against The Port for environmental and noise abatement concessions and in a short period of time …somehow managed to rebuild a positive relationship with The Port and The City of Des Moines…all the while, maintaining solid ties with HSD and the neighboring municipalities. The complexities of his low paying/no paying job are truly immense. I’ll shed some light on a few of the many positive things Sheckler has done for Des Moines through his steadfast dedication and business savvy …and I’ll do it through the allegations and lies of the Anon-Oh-Bloggers.
I called Bob and asked for answers to the allegations – the candid conversation went like this:
Me: Bob, they’re saying you take pleasure trips to China and the city is paying the bill…
Bob: The first trip to China was to follow up on some foreign investor interests willing to build in our city, I paid entirely out of pocket for that trip and The City of Des Moines paid zero. At the time, the progress of the negotiations were going well, so the city council approved $1,500 for the second trip, I covered the rest. The Artemis Hotel folks have since paid The City of Des Moines $64,000 in fees and permits and the final incoming permitting revenue to the city should reach around $1,000,000 once the 238 room hotel is built.
Me: Bob, they’re saying you’ve had booze fueled parties at Anthony’s and The City of Des Moines pays the bill. If this is true…I’m angry you didn’t invite me. Back in the days I used to drink, top shelf Anthony’s Bar + me + DM paying…well, you don’t even know budget crisis!
Bob: The City of Des Moines does not, cannot, and has not paid for liquor for me or any other council members, citizens, etc…while I have been in office.
Me: Bob, they’re saying you had a Charlie Sheen type moment at “The North Hill Community Club Candidate Forum” ….I mean The North Hill “Lack of” Community Sheckler Heckler Ambush. The Anon-oh-Bloggers even went after your wife! I hope your marriage is OK! Every time I have ever seen you and Vicki together, you seem to be a solid, loving couple! I just spoke with her, sounds to me like she still loves you! Here’s a couple gems posted by Anon- oh-Blogger – Jenny on DM Block “he insulted and disrespected his loving wife in front of witnesses” “Our city deserves better. So does your family.”
Bob: A few folks that don’t like me spent the twenty bucks (or so) to rent the hall and invited me under the ruse that it was some kind of candidate forum. When a group tries to publicly humiliate an individual, things can run amok. The alleged tirade was greatly exaggerated and overblown, it was obvious once I arrived that the small gathering tried to get me to implode ….didn’t happen
Me: Bob, they’re saying the new jail that you fought to have built is a waste of our tax dollars. BTW, hate the name. It’s jail not an Entity! …Cops up, non-violent misdemeanor offenders down.
Bob: We save $230,000 a year that we used to pay other jurisdictions to house our prisoners; we also collect $44,000 in taxes from S.C.O.R.E.
Me: A blogger going by Susan White stated that “People have said that you refer to Des Moines as “Bobbyville” Well that would clear up the ongoing controversy as to whether we pronounce it Des Moyn or Des Moines… Sure would be nice to settle the decade’s long Des Moines singular/plural issue.
Bob: A few years back I attended a charity event (mystery/whodunit dinner theater). The person that wrote the whodunit story put together a competition between me and the Mayor of Normandy Park and the moderator stated that if I win …Des Moines would absorb Normandy Park and rename the city to “BobbyVille”. When people lead off a statement by “People say”, please ask what people …because they usually do not exist! I believe Susan White was present for the charity event where “BobbyVille” came from. I am one of many that have had the pleasure to serve the city, rumors of my inflated ego are greatly exaggerated.
Me: Remember the fight over the conveyor belt to move soil to the 3rd runway? That is when I got to know you best. That land is sacred to me, growing up … I spent as much time there as I did our house on North Hill. If that conveyor went through (and it almost did) the dirty soil moved through their would have made the trail a toxic waste dump. Because of you and a couple other council members, we don’t have a trail of Tacoma smelter contaminated soil left behind by the 3rd runway contractors.
Bob: There has been a lot of fights like this one, and believe me …the guys that were going to profit from the conveyor do not like me! Unfortunately, you do make enemies if you are to be an effective leader.
Me: Reminds me of my favorite Paul Newman quote –“ If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.”
Me: Gotta go Bob, that’s enough Des Moines politics for me….
Bob: Bye Matt …thanks for caring enough to inquire, and you can’t even vote for me!
Bob has always been sincere, approachable, self-assured, and passionate about The City of Des Moines. His conviction, self-assuredness, and passion is sometime misconstrued as arrogance by those that don’t agree with his vision for Des Moines. We are not the only city that has issues… Check out Normandy Park’s shrine to vacant businesses/no tax revenue (Old XL Sooper Complex). Sal’s Deli in Burien just went under this week, a victim of city government betting on the come, then the economy tanked. When they relocated to the bigger building with a bigger lease, Sal’s was counting on a solid customer base from a successful Burien Town Center… Sad day, I’ve been eating their sandwiches since 1982. Renton sure is neat, have you been to The Landing? Oh yea, they have the main factory that leads The United States in exports. Bob’s right, Des Moines needs “the right” businesses to move in and improve the quality of life of the citizenry …or at least maintain the current level of services. Property values aren’t what they used to be and the taxes have to come from business. It would be great to expand Parks and Rec, but it is not feasible right now. Des Moines has one of the best Parks and Rec departments in the northwest, they do so much with so little.
Good Luck Bob!
- Matt Moeller
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