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    Last Thursday, Aug. 5, I wrote and mailed a letter to Tim Putney, Washington County Gaming Commission chairman, resigning my position on the commission effective immediately.

    During conversations with him and another commission member in mid-July, I stated that my sole purpose for  accepting the invitation to join the commission was to influence the distribution of the non-profit share to community organizations should the referendum pass and a license be granted to Washington County.

    I clearly stated to them that my involvement should not signal that I was either for or against this issue.  A July 16 e-mail message to Mid-Prairie school board members and my statement at the July 19 Mid-Prairie school board meeting, which was reported by area newspapers, unmistakably supports my intention and motivation.

    Even though I have been clear in my purpose, community members on both sides of the issue, either deliberately or unintentionally, have recently misrepresented with their statement my position, intention and motivation.

    Two weeks ago, my aunt who lives in Coralville asked me how I was going to vote.  I refused to answer her.  My brothers and sisters, my parents and my wife do not know my position on this issue.  If you don't believe me, just ask them.  I can guarantee the public that if those who know me best do not know where I stand, I certainly did not share my stance with non-family members.  Criticism directed at me for not taking a public stance on this issue is fair, statements implying that I am either for or against this issue are not.  I was nšive in thinking that people would not distort or misunderstand my position.

    Regrettably, misrepresentations by others attack my integrity and, through association, the outstanding reputation of the Mid-Prairie School District.  I will personally defend the district's reputation at all costs.

    Therefore, I felt I had no choice but to give up any influence I may have had, now or in the future, on the distribution of the non-profit share should Washington County voters approve this issue.

    Please know that I remain publicly neutral on the issue of gambling in Washington County. I will not be urging people to vote yes nor will I tell them to vote no.  I will leave the education of  county residents about the arguments on both sides of this issue in the capable hands of others.  I look forward to the continued spirited public debate on this issue.  I also look forward to the removal of my name from this debate.

Mark Schneider

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