All posts by harrywelty

Can Duluth voters take an endorsement seriously from editors who did not notice that Donald Trump was an ignorant demagogue,…

…a liar and a seven-year-old sexoholic?

Well maybe, but I’m still profoundly disappointed in their at-large school board endorsements. They only grudgingly endorsed me four years ago and they have badly confused my principled fight to protect Art Johnston as something ugly when in fact, the only thing ugly about it was the Tribune’s siding with the School Board members who pushed lies to remove Art. As I wrote a couple year”s ago:

Art and I did have a chance to voice our displeasure with the attorney for the District Kevin Rupp. The allegation I leveled against Rupp for pushing the Board to throw Racism on the barn wall last June to see if it would stick comes from an unimpeachable source. I would be amazed if any Board member denied it. This was only the most disagreeable reason I cited for replacing Rupp.

It was chair Mike Miernicki who was sickened by our attorney Kevin Rupp’s recommendation to charge Art Johnston with saying racist things. But Miernicki took the vile advice and it was the Duluth News Tribune who trumpeted the baseless allegation over and over for a year. The Presidential candidate that the editors did not oppose calls this Fake News. Now he wants to undermine the First Amendment. Good work Editors!

In fact, for ten years the editorial board has played the prostitute to school administrations of dubious character. They jumped on board with Keith Dixon, who I’ve always suspected was a charming sociopath. When Gary Glass correctly pointed out that Johnston Controls would earn $30 million from the Red Plan the newspaper quickly countered Glass with Dixon’s lie that the program managers would only earn $4.5 million. After that their columnist at the Budgeteer used this gross misinformation to write a column calling Gary Glass the liar.

Time and again the Trib backed the wrong end of the horse. The Red Plan would not segregate Duluth. The Red Plan would only cost half of its real cost. The new buildings would save a great deal of energy. The old buildings were far too large for Duluth’s needs. The old buildings would be sold and help retire the bonding debt. Interest payments were not part of the cost of the Red Plan. Now the editor’s mantra is “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” The real crime of the incumbent, Harry Welty, is that he is one of the few people who spoke up as the disaster unfolded. That merits the Trib’s dismissal: “Voters can thank Welty for his service — and then jump at the chance for the change that’s needed to finally solve those problems…” The problems the Trib’s editors were to blind to anticipate and too vain to acknowledge

One of the candidates the Trib heartily endorsed showed up for only the second school board meeting tonight since she announced her candidacy five months ago.
I’ve never seen a candidate campaign so little in all the years I’ve been watching the school board. I guess the Trib finds her ignorance as blissful as their own.

Meanwhile the hardest working new candidate Dana Krivogorsky got the Trib’s try-again-at-the-next-election schtick. Alanna Oswald offered a far more cogent testimonial. I wonder if the editors can relate to anyone who understands our schools and takes the time to study them. Krivogorsky’s only crime is guilt by association – with me.

And there may be another reason the Trib acts as it does. Thin skin. I have twitted the Trib time and time again on the blog in posts like this one where I engaged the Editor. And there was the time the editor accused me of defaming the Trib which resulted in this post on his “big boy pants.”

I’ve been to 10,000 doors all across Duluth this summer. I am not sure who the editors think their audience is but I doubt that they understand them very well. The Trib is in an echo chamber populated with poobahs who don’t want to be reminded how wrong they were about the Red Plan.
Now the Trib’s editors are promoting the Superintendent’s “dream team” so we will never have to worry about him jumping ship again.

I write this not in anger but with resignation. The last “fresh face” the Trib endorsed over me in 2007 prevented Duluth from reevaluating the Red Plan before Duluth took the plunge. Had the Trib endorsed me instead of helping elect a pretty young pet of Dr. Dixon’s our schools would not have been ripped asunder. There are solutions to our problems, painful solutions, but I’ll guarantee the fresh faces the Trib is endorsing this election are no improvement on the Fresh Face who cemented the Red Plan into place with the Trib’s help.

I do not envy Congressman Nolan

This news story surprised me today. Annie Harala who is stepping down from the School Board; it has been rumored for health considerations; has been appointed as Congressman Rick Nolan’s campaign manager.

How being the campaign manager for the most imperiled Democrat in Congress, through what will be one of the most tumultuous campaigns in Northeastern Minnesota history will be an improvement over being on the Duluth School Board, I have no clue. Certainly my question will not be welcome by Annie but it is certain that it will be one of the mildest worries Annie will have to deal with.

My default attitude toward Annie was set at: “she’s the classmate of my son, what’s not to like?” One of the first things Annie told me when she began running for the school board four years ago was how my son, Robb, reacted when his teacher brought in a science lesson for the second graders to study. It was a bucket of lamb eyeballs from a family member’s farm. “[teacher], Robb’s on the floor.” That’s what the students told the teacher. One look at the bucket and my son was out like a light. Its one of the reasons I was skeptical when Robb suggested he might like to become a doctor in his early college years.

Other less enthusiastic comments about Annie’s four years serving with me can also be found on the blog. She was never able to rise very far above faction on the School Board but that is exactly what she will have to navigate as Rick Nolan’s campaign manager. Environmentalists vs. unions. Gun rights militants vs. gun control militants. Rural Trumpeteers vs. Urban look-down-their-nosers. And then there will be the money issue. Nolan is extremely reticent about becoming one of the Congressional money grubbers but he’s facing the most charming and alluring Republican candidate in the Eighth Congressional District who will have access to millions of Kochain money. All this while Nolan’s party is choked with dissension. Annie failed to win me over and I’m a cupcake. She’ll need to up her game.

Meanwhile, one of the DFL’s many factions, women still recoiling from Hillary Clinton’s loss in 2016, has waded into the local non-partisan City Council and School Board races. For the thinnest of reasons they are pushing three candidates one of whom is Annie’s close ally Rosie Loeffler-Kemp. But then again they aren’t endorsing anyone. (you could have fooled me) The Feminist Action recently published questionnaires they had given local candidates and I was one of four school board candidates who was listed as “Did not respond.” Its true. I didn’t. None of the feminists ever sent me or the other three school board candidates their questionnaire. I pointed this out and was sent one after-the-fact and filled it out with virtually no disagreement from the many positions they wanted their candidates to take. But, it was too late. I had already been blackballed when I tried to join their sorority.

I hope Annie can give Representative Nolan an admission pass to the group. He’ll need it because many of the people his shaky campaign needs seem hellbent on dividing up DFL votes to elect the Republican Stauber.

Roseate Spoonbill

Today’s pic is not mine and its not Duluth. Claudia is visiting her father in Florida. She saw this dramatic bird, a roseate spoonbill, in a tree by the man made pond at her Dad’s place. I’ve never seen one except in birding guides.

Because of Claudia’s absence, which will last through the week, I have had even more time to campaign albeit on one bum foot. I was working on a different end of town today. Everything about today encouraged me.

But I woke up at 3:30 and decided to get up and stuff envelopes. I’m a couple days ahead of schedule on that score. But I’m suffering sleep deprivation. Znnnnnnnnnooookkkkkk! Oops, sorry. Must of dozed off.

Wrenshall!!!

One of the most important aspects of a political campaign is getting in touch with the voters. By the time I’m finished I’ll have been to nearly half the doors of the voters in the Duluth School District. The status quo majority of the School Board ought to talk to the folks in Western Duluth. They would get an earful.

I limped on my sore foot for four hours today after church. I skipped dining with my daughter’s family to hit more doors. Along Piedmont Avenue I got a surprise when a young father seemed to think my campaign was not his concern. He told me his child hopped on the school bus which took him to school in Wrenshall. Wrenshall?

Twenty years ago a few children from far western Fon du Lac started following a friend who transferred to Wrenshall in preference to Stowe Elementary. Until the Red Plan the loss was confined to that far western neighborhood which is midway between Denfeld and Wrenshall. But Piedmont Avenue is almost the center of town just two miles from Messabi Avenue.

We don’t need school board members who wear blinders and who are too busy to knock doors to find out what’s going on. I did see a lot of Dana Krivogorsky’s lawnsigns our west. I put up a few of them myself.

Wrenshall!!!!!

Lawnsign Maintenance

One of my least favorite political chores is picking up and replacing damaged and lost lawn signs. But at five bucks a pop and with a limited supply I knew I had to put some back up on 21st Ave east when I saw them badly abused along with their lawnsign partners, the Dana Krivogorsky signs. At the bottom of the hill I discovered that one midnight author had decided to amend my sign to, I guess, humiliate me.

I am indebted to the anonymous vandal who thinks a man should not stoop to “woman’s work.” I’ve put it in my front yard and from now on will put any other signs of mine which are defaced right next to it. As for being a dreaded house husband, its true that baby boom boys were raised to be “bread winners” but a couple bad breaks put me in the position to test whether I could walk the talk. The “talk” was my 45-year conviction that women and men are equals. Being an equal meant valuing the work of women with the respect it deserved and not looking down on traditional roles. I was at home most of the time that our children grew up and they didn’t turn out so badly – a daughter with a masters in Education and a son a year away from completing a Chemistry/Physics doctorate at one of the nation’s top 20 universities in the field of science.

Besides, had I not been a “house husband” I would never have begun the hobby that makes all Duluth smile every winter- snow sculpting. While I have not bragged about being a house husband I’ve not shied away from the label. The following admission is taken from a post last year.

“Hillary’s sins were often petty as for instance when she told reporters that she wanted to do more than bake cookies. As a house husband myself when she said this I was mortally wounded but I got over it.”

I owe a debt of gratitude to the anti-feminist ridicule bestowed on me. That sign will help me win a much larger share of the house husband vote and, with the shaky economy of recent years, its probably enough to assure my reelection.

I’ve now relocated the sign to my front yard. 40,000 drivers and passengers who pass by will see it every day until the election on November 7th.

Trading teachers for new schools

Chuck Frederick handed these two documents back to me at the Chamber Forum.

Document 1 shows ISD 709’s summary budget, all of it for 1997 – twenty years ago. I fished this out of my old School Board files a couple years ago as I was trying to nail down what the Red Plan had cost our District.

The yellow line at the top is what Duluth property taxpayers contributed to the running of our schools – $23,191,000.00. Its only 22% of our overall revenues and far less than the state’s share of $66 million.

The orange line is what we were paying for “Debt Service.” That is money to pay off loans (bonds) borrowed for earlier building projects. It all comes from the local levy so if you subtract it from the levy the remainder is what is available for classes (operations). How much were local tax payers putting into their classrooms in 1997? Just subtract the debt servicing ($8,957,000.00) from the total levy for the answer. Twenty years ago we were putting $14,234,000.00 into operations.

Document 2 shows ISD 709’s summary budget, for this year Fiscal Year – 2017. (The School Board gets an update every month.) Both the local levy line and the “Debt Service” line are marked in orange on this document. In 2016-17 the levy had increased to $31,217.00.00. (eight million more than in 1997) You will see that the state’s share also increased by about $20 million over the $66 million from 1997.

The second lower orange line tells the tale. In Fiscal Year 2017 $28,684,000.00 of our total local levy was being used to pay off Red Plan borrowing (debt service). Subtract that from the total $31 million levy and what remains is all that local taxpayers today are putting into our classrooms. It is $2,533,000.00 – two-and-a-half million!

Its worse than that. According to an inflation calculator that $14,234,000 we added to operations in 1997 would be the equivalent of $20,812,920 million today. The citizens of Duluth are putting one tenth of the money into our classrooms now than we did twenty years ago. But we are putting a lot more in to paying off Red Plan borrowing.

The average teacher today costs the district $96,000 in wages and benefits. We’ve had to sacrifice a lot of them to pay off that Red Plan debt.

Like I said at the Chamber forum, “we traded teachers for new schools.”

Good luck making our schools the “best in the nation” with that financial burden placed on our children’s backs.

*******

To keep a clear thinker on the school board consider making a donation to his campaign here.

2 dollar note

My fundraising appeal to the 1,100 donors who contributed to the hiring of an attorney to challenge the Red Plan in court have been responding to this election as well. They may even be able to match the union dues being applied to DFL endorsed school board candidates.

Not all our contributors are flush with money. I opened this note in which had been placed two one dollar bills. It humbled me when I remembered my suggestion that taxes are probably the key to a fix for our schools. As former Representative, and my campaign Chairman, Mike Jaros, tells anyone who will listen – property taxes are “regressive” and fall harder on the poor and and folks with “fixed incomes.”

A tale of two reporters

Today’s Trib story about the School Board candidates speaking at the Chamber of Commerce Forum was covered by two reporters. Normally Jana Hollingsworth covers all the Educational news but this election has posed a problem for the Tribune. Jana’s Aunt, Jill Lofald, is a candidate and the Trib and Jana insist that this creates a conflict of interest so that Jana has written nothing about that race. For today’s story on the candidates for the 1st and 4th District candidates reporter Tom Olson took over.

All school board candidates were asked about seven questions and given one minute to answer each. Its tempting to take up all the time although I challenged myself and generally cut my answers even shorter than that. On one of the questions asked me I did nudge up to the sixty second mark and concluded by saying we board members talked for endless hours on the subject and I was pleased to have been given a minute at the forum to address it. That got a little laugh from the audience. The endless hours of talking by Board members would have been true of most issues.

Tom Olson’s story mentions Rosie Loeffler-Kemp’s absence. She missed the previous day’s big poverty themed question period too. Some of us suspect she has gotten nervous about public appearances but Mr. Olson reported that she had family business to attend to. She has managed to substitute nicely with a great many testimonial letters-to-the-editor from her supporters.

Olson captured the essence of the campaign in western Duluth – equity and the future of Denfeld. The differences between Jill Lofald and Art Johnston could be boiled down to a single issue. Is selling Central High School to Edison (which may no longer be possible) a threat to Denfeld? Jill says yes and asked the audience if it would make sense for a barber to sell part of his shop to a rival barber. Art is of the mind that we needed the money and that Denfeld’s biggest threat is too little resources.

If Edison no longer intends to build a high school that issue is moot. But when it was on the table I never saw a threat of closing Denfeld. The threat is and continues to be that the last ten years have been tough on Denfeld with school busses from Wrenshall and Proctor cruising through Duluth to poach western Duluth students. As long as Denfeld continues to be perceived as a lesser high school that will continue as well as the steady drift of western students to eastern schools.

Jana Hollingsworth did cover the At-Large candidate discussion and emphasized the discussion of school boundaries. Jana summed up each of the four at large candidates thoughts. Of mine she reported:

“The last thing we want to do is put a gun to a parent’s head,” he [Welty] said, and force them to change schools. At a previous forum, however, he suggested making one of the high schools for freshmen and sophomores and one for juniors and seniors.

My short term suggestion is to make the Western schools more desirable by pumping more into them especially the compensatory ed money which Duluth skews east. That is easier said than done. As I told the audience, previous school boards traded teachers for new schools.

Word is that if teacher Lofald is elected Jana Hollingsworth will be taken off the public school beat by her editors. I understand that no Tribune reporters are eager to replace Jana. I wonder why?

The Chamber Forum about which I will say very little

I think it was recorded. Haven’t checked to see where it an be viewed. Someone reading this will tell me. If it is available I’ll link to it. It consisted of four segments. City Council at large, City Council District candidates, School Board at-large, School Board District candidates.

I was usually well under my minute with my answers. It was concision on my part.

Chuck Frederick and I joshed with each other. He also returned the documents I showed him that demonstrated how twenty years ago we were putting nine million more local dollars into the classrooms than we are today…….despite our raising taxes for the Red Plan by eight million dollars.

I’ll be showing them to my readers shortly.

My best line at the Forum was that our past school boards “traded teachers for brand new schools.”

I’m sorry this is going to be brief but I’m bushed. I ran more campaign errands after the Forum. I put up more signs and passed out flyers until 6PM.

The most surprising thing all day was when I came home after the Forum wearing my suit. Claudia looked at me and said “That suit is hanging on you. Have you lost weight?” I hurried to our scale for the first time in a couple months and stripped to my skivvies. 188.6 pounds! I haven’t weighed that little for about twelve years when I was swimming regularly and caught pneumonia during Christmas and barely ate for a week. I have noticed that I’ve been cinching my belt up recently.

Walking is good for a person. I don’t expect to crest 190 again for the next four weeks.

Without a primary contest School Board candidates won’t be interviewed by the Editorial Board

4th District School Board candidate, Art Johnston, is denied a chance to have a half hour interview with the News Trib’s Editorial Board prior to their endorsements. Editor Chuck Frederick explains why:

From: Chuck Frederick
To: Art Johnston
Cc: Neal Ronquist
Sent: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 1:18 PM
Subject: Re: any additional info??

Hello, Mr. Johnston. As I said in an email reply to you yesterday, I have nothing at all to do with the News Tribune’s news coverage or news decisions and cannot address anything related to that. I’m confident Editor Rick Lubbers will get back to you on your concerns there.

As I also wrote, with regard to our endorsement process, the Editorial Board is treating you and your opponent in exactly the same way. We requested information from both of you, are doing independent research about both of you, and will be listening intently to your answers at our candidate forums on Friday. The Editorial Board did one-on-one candidate interviews prior to the primary. We are co-hosting candidate forums prior to the general election. Your race didn’t have a primary, so neither you nor your opponent was interviewed. We are treating your candidacies fairly and equally.

Thanks much for your note. I appreciate your concerns, and I welcome this opportunity to again offer clarity about our editorial endorsement process.

Thanks,

Chuck

Art appeals to the Publisher of the Duluth News Tribune, Neal Ronquist:

Neal,

All the other endorsements for At-Large candidates have had personal interviews, (and recording kept) by the editorial board, as we all had in past years. I would like to have a face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with them so I have an opportunity at being fairly judged.

Only being seen by the rest of the editorial board in a mass public meeting is not fair. We also have a personal side which I would like the editorial board to see.

The only contact that I know I’ve had with any members of the editorial board is with Chuck. Chuck’s editorial stance 8 years ago, 4 years ago, and 2 years ago was about as biased as one can get, in 100% opposition to me. Who Chuck will endorsement this time around is obvious. I request an opportunity to interact with the rest of editorial board on a personal level, and to level the playing field, to allow the rest of the board to see me as Chuck can’t.

Chuck certainly has a right to his opinion. But I’m asking that I be allowed to have a face-to-face with the rest of the editorial board so I can have an unbiased review by the rest of the editorial board before they make their decision.

Again, the disparate coverage of my candidacy, compared to the at-large candidates by the DNT is not in the public interest.

I request to have a face-to-face interview by the entire editorial board.

If you are going to be endorsing a candidate for 4th District, I request that I be interviewed by the entire editorial board, or else the only fair thing to do is not endorse anyone for 4th District.

Art Johnston

DFL Family Feud

I’ve earlier conceded that I sought my first DFL endorsement this year. But I first attended a DFL precinct caucus in 2006 or 07 after years of trying not to tie myself into a pretzel meeting the Gollum-like policy expectations of the Republican Party – taxes on the poor, free licence for the rich.

Loren Martell has a particularly strong start in his description of what it takes (took) to win the DFL endorsement for the non-partisan office of the Duluth School Board. I was a little surprised to see our Board Chair, David Kirby, in the screening committee weighing me as a candidate.

Our connection did me little good. I would have sold Central.

Asking for it

I have been waking up with posts to write lately but I’ve been forcing myself to turn over and fall back asleep. My attic office has been strewn with campaign projects and documents so that I’ve had to worry something hiding under a stack of papers of critical importance has been forgotten. So, after passing out 150 flyers in the drizzle I’ve decided its time for me to vacuum the carpet and sort everything. Its likely the last vacuuming my office will get until after the election.

I have put a few new posts in and I’m gratified at the interest they’ve generated. About 225 visitors since October 1st have spent at least half an hour pouring over the blog. This month may set the record that last month just missed. There are interesting things to note on LincolnDemocrat you won’t find anywhere else.

Another post will deal with the treatment accorded our six-month superintendent IV Foster. Foster was black and hardly given a chance before he was run out of town. He was rumored to have (gasp) dated white women!!!!!!! We’ve had lots of conversations lately about how minority children are treated in the District. If a black superintendent can be railroaded out of town in half a year I’m not sure they stand a chance!

Its also about time I show my readers the School District documents that show how our District has switched from using our local levy for classrooms to using just about all of them to pay off building bonds. I’m waiting for the Tribune’s editor to return those to me so I can upload them for my audience.

But before I enter any more posts I need to put my campaign finances in order. I’ve got to organize a couple more fundraising letters to pay for new campaigning. I’m worried that I will not be able to treat my earlier “loans” to my campaign as loans but will have to simply turn them into more donations. Between helping Art fight off the School District’s attorneys and this campaign I haven’t been able to put a cent of my school board stipends for the past three-and-a-half years, roughly $7,500.00 per annum, in the bank. This “job” is simply done for the “reward” of keeping boneheads from doing any more damage to our children. Remember Mark Twain’s evaluation of School Boards. He was not a positivist.

We threw away $14.5 million that could have hired a lot of teachers for three years running to get us back on track. The Trib editors that railed about how stupid this was endorsed a passel of candidates who said they would have turned it down too. That’s blindness, not “ugliness,” on the part of the Editors. I’ll have something to say about ugliness too. Especially if they end up endorsing a First District candidate who has organized a lot of tepid endorsement letters that have been popping up in the Trib. None of them mention the two years of ugliness she helped engineer. Its the victims that have paid the price.

Ah, but that all can wait. I have more vacuuming to do.

Throw away people

I tried to link to today’s Trib story from Lisa Kaczke on candidates addressing poverty. I don’t think it made it to the Trib’s online paper. Symbolic perhaps.

Yesterday’s forum at Denfeld was one of the few my wife has ever attended. Since getting her degree in Religious Leadership and interning at the Central Hillside United Ministry’s homeless shelter she’s been invested in the issue of poverty. Watching a sick woman being released from a hospital to a cot in a Homeless Shelter alters one’s focus.

I can say she didn’t have any superlatives for any of the many candidates who addressed poverty – including me. Claudia’s view of the event was that for once politicians had to listen to those in dire straights rather than the other way around.

There wasn’t much we candidates could say in the minute per question that was given us but we did hear extended life stories. The one that sticks with me was from an ex felon whose entire family finds itself blackballed in every regard because of the father’s past legal infractions. One thing the very Christian legislators have insisted on is that there is no Christ-like redemption in our legal system. Its all mandatory sentencing, a lifelong mark of Cain, and permanent disenfranchisement from citizenship. Even the Old Testament seems humane by comparison and if you are rich like our President you can commit all manner of larceny and get off scot-free with an army of attorneys.

So, this morning our church men’s group had a guest speaker from the State District Courts, Justice Dale Harris. He gave a sober talk that will keep me in deep thought for a while. He began by mentioning that last year there were 1.3 million cases brought to the Minnesota Courts. Heck, there are five million Minnesotans so that means one-in-four of them on average go to the courts each year. Whoa! I know I’ve been in court about once every three or four years myself fighting over the schools or family law or probate issues.

I had many questions for Justice Harris but I had to wait in line to ask them after my fellow attendees. I finally asked him about a concern that a black friend recently brought to my attention – the frustration of the St. Louis County attorney’s office with penny ante juvenile infractions brought to the courts from the schools such as “tobacco tickets.”

We had a short but useful discussion after the meeting and I hope to tap him for more insights in the future……provided I remain on the Duluth School Board. We have a lot of suffering children and I need to know more about Child Protective Services.

Brain drain

I’m only posting this so that my eight loyal readers (and the 400 other newbies) know that my heart is still in Lincolndemocrat. Its just that at this moment my brain is dragging itself behind my heart like one of those doomed extras in a movie about surviving in a long desperate Desert crossing.

I’ve been working on those eight jobs I mentioned stacking up yesterday and begun whittling away at them. And then tonight I attended the forum at Denfeld on folks who are down on their luck. Claudia reiterated her take on this forum by saying it was a way for the downtrodden to tell their truths to the power players. That’s her sentiment but my words.

I picked up the 10,000 snow sculpting trading cards I ordered and after I got home began inserting them in my handouts.

Claudia and I watched an engrossing series “Stranger Things.” while I worked. I have another three days of materials to pass out.

That’s it for me. I’m pooped.

Don’t let the cats out! Meow – Meow, Meow, Meow – Meow!

One of my constant fears as I go door to door is letting pets loose – especially on warm days when folks have their front door open and I open the screen door a crack to slip in my literature. A couple days ago as I finished up Park Point I saw this sign on a door.

Its going to be another lovely sunny day today and I’ve got more neighborhoods to canvass and more lawnsigns to stake up. But the list of eight things I wanted to get done yesterday is still sadly undone and its a minute to nine AM already.

I have an Education committee meeting tonight at 4:15 and a forum on Duluth Poverty at 5:30 at Denfeld with a school board question time to start at 6:30. Chair Rosie Loeffler-Kemp is using that as an excuse to avoid the meeting having scheduled her daughter Rachel to take her place. Its been quiet on our committees lately and last night’s business meeting was one of the shortest on record ending well before 6:30. I understand Rosie will be missing the big televised forum for the News Tribune/Chamber of Commerce on Friday too. The Duluth Trib’s editorial board will give her a pass on that absence and interview her privately later on.

The elephant in the room is what is happening in our western schools. In today’s positive Trib story about an unexpected bump in the enrollment of many area schools is the disconcerting news that some of that increase, like that at Wrenshall’s, is fueled by departures from Duluth. Half of Wrenshall’s 14% growth comes from West Duluth:

“Wrenshall’s 390 students this fall illustrate a 14 percent increase. Half of the district’s students are residents and half come through open enrollment, with the largest number coming from Duluth.”

In fact, the western elementaries have plunged while eastern elementaries have soared in enrollment. You can find that chart in the story. Congdon is bursting at the seams and Lowell and Lakeside have grown dramatically. Still, we have put off reboundarying as the Administration has not yet felt the need to move in that direction after three years of heated lobbying by eastern families to begin it. Piedmont has suffered the worst enrollment loss.

Ah, 9:12. I’ve got a lot of leg work ahead of me today. Pardon my brevity.

TUTORIAL ON A HARRY WELTY CAMPAIGN PART 6

I explained that long time West Duluth Representative Mike Jaros, would be the seed pearl of my next tutorial. But first let me check to see how many times over the last eleven years I’ve mentioned Mike on the blog……..Wow 95 times

The two posts which topped the list (prior to this entry) were “Bless you Mike Jaros” from 2015 and an earlier post from 2008 “Who will replace Mike Jaros.”

The 2008 post was the beginning of my unqualified support for Mike. He joined me in attempting to restrain the rapacious Red Planners and, like me, he failed. I made a personal vow never to undermine him again through any veiled criticism.

In one or more of the 95 posts I have described our first meeting back in 1976 when he agreed to meet me for coffee and despite our looming face off how we got along famously. Ever since my gold star seal of approval always begins with adversaries who are willing to sit down and palaver with me. That is a standard one of the other side’s candidates this year has badly botched this election. Not Sally Trnka. She met with me and, although I am supporting Dona Krivogorsky, I consider Sally a good soul. (I’ve not gotten round to inviting Josh Gorham for coffee although some of my allies have and that’s a good sign. I once told Rosie Loeffler-Kemp we should get together but her eagerness to censure me put a pretty cold damper on my former invitation and we’ve never had a one-on-one. I just get veiled lectures/threats from her at closed meetings about not blogging.

You see, I was raised in an Era of a genial, if intense, cold war between the two major political parties which have now fallen so out of favor. If you search for references to my Grandfather and Harry Truman you will see that I’ve said of my Grandfather that he had a grudging respect for Democrats. That is so unlike the current mood in political circles. From the outset of my political career that has been my chief modus operandi. I will not unfairly malign the other side. I will malign their actions or hypocrisy if the public ought to be appraised of it but the faults I point out must not get in the way of my being able to work with adversaires. As I’ve always said of school board candidates: “I’ve never met one who didn’t have the best interests of children at heart.” That includes the Red Planners of whom my chief criticism has always been that they were insensitive to the public, stubborn, self righteous and foolish. They still cared about kids…….although some of them have stooped to pretty despicable depths to mischaracterize the motives of their critics, like me and especially Art Johnston.

So, where does that leave me with regards to Tutorial 6? Simply here at the “Golden Rule,” the real golden rule not this one: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I practice this with one proviso. “Beat me up once, shame on you. Beat me up a second time, watch out!”

“good luck Harry and team!”

Tutorial 6 is in the air. It will be about Mike Jaros and me and it will be meant to be hopeful.

But I got home from church today and got a little whiff of hope in the form of a donation. As I mentioned in the Tutorial 5 post I learned that my Friday mailing had already been delivered yesterday – Saturday. Well one of the recipents couldn’t wait for the mail and saved themselves 54 cents postage. They stuck the return mail envelope in my mailbox while I was a church.

There was a note inside. It read:

“Good luck, Harry and team!

Thank you for all you have done. I still remember the first letter from you just after we moved to Duluth, and thinking: “if half the stuff this crazy guy is writing is true, this is terrible!”

All the best,

XXXXXXXXX

They enclosed a check for $100 dollars.

And for the record. What I told them in that first letter was far less than half of the terrible truth. We’ve got classes of 40 children to prove it.

Here’s that first letter. Gosh, was I ever prescient! – Except about winning in court.

TUTORIAL ON A HARRY WELTY CAMPAIGN PART 5

I’ve gotten a little blowback from my supporters about the tutorials. They wonder why I’m telegraphing to the “opposition” what I’m up to. One of the regular phrases I get when I email or text my friends is “this is not bloggable.” (Heavy sigh from me)

I understand that honorable reporters are constantly faced with requests for anonymity from their sources. I understand that sources are shy about being fingered lest they be punished (as whistle blowers) or for being gossipy. Our Civility Pledge disses gossip for instance. That’s one of the planks of the pledge I have a problem with. Ignorance isn’t bliss.

For instance’ I’ve already hinted that the Gronseth Administration is pulling a fast one first having begged us to OK a quick resolution of a change order for mulch followed by a recommendation that we delay a scheduled October discussion until November. Do they hope to delay of a potentially embarrassing million dollar snafu until after the election? The TMI in me (too much information) doesn’t think sweeping inconvenient truths under the rug is good practice or policy. It only aggravates paranoia. If we’d had open and honest discussions during the Red Plan years we might not have had 40 and 50 student class sizes.

So, back to my tutorial about all that stuff I’m passing out in my TMI package. Here’s a small portion of the four-foot-long map of Duluth’s political precincts (purchased in the City Clerk’s office) from Fondulac to Lake County that I have covered on foot. (marked in yellow) Continue reading