Category Archives: School Board 2019

After election analysis, hiccups

Remember. Any candidate who tells you what he or she will do after losing an election can’t be trusted. There was Nixon with his sour plaint to the press after Kennedy beat him then Pat Brown for California Governor.”You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around any more.” And there was me yesterday saying I’d never run again or sounding a lot like it. Well, as part of my after election clean up of my garage and a ton of Oswald and Welty lawnsigns (my workroom and office remain to be tidied) I kept my lawnsigns for potential future use. Sorry Pete.

I have been remarkably cheerful at the prospect of leaving the fate of the Duluth School District to others since the moment the first 25% of my vote returns made it painfully obvious that I was going to remain a civilian. Although I’m not yet done with the District. Like so many other things I set aside completing my training to be a substitute teacher as the last weeks of the campaign ground down. I’ll be giving that a try soon. Even if I neglect my blog I’m likely to return to that subject after I have a few subbing gigs under my belt.

And just as I deal tit for tat to the Trib’s editors they deal tat for tit to me. Their summation of my defeat was succinct if not fully dismissive, “”.

Another message Tuesday came from school district voters: We’re ready to put behind us, where it belongs, all the angst and pain and controversy stemming from the long-range facilities plan that resulted in new and improved Duluth school buildings. Two of the faces of the past were defeated Tuesday “Former School Board member Harry Welty lost by about a two-to-one margin to incumbent David Kirby, and longtime district critic Loren Martell received just 46.09% of the vote to retired public school teacher Paul Sandholm’s 53.91%”

As I myself indicated in the previous post the voters probably were ready to see the back of me but the Red Plan’s hit on teachers will last another decade until the District finally recovers the general fund money they dedicated to those “new and improved Duluth school buildings.” Getting rid of me will not get the teachers back.

And a growing school district just got the approval from their voters for building bonds that eclipse the $319 million in bonding of the Red Plan. White Bear Lake with just as many students as Duluth OK-eyed a 326 million school bond. I doubt that theirs will dive out 20% of White Bear’s Public school students.

A sympathizer sent me a message to tell my I’m not such a bonehead. They are wrong of course. Almost all humans are boneheads. I chalked up one more boneheaded more move this morning when I read in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Janet Kennedy was Duluth’s first elected black City Councilor. So I emailed the new Strib education reporter and corrected the story explaining that when I came to town there was a black city councilor. Then after sending that message I decided to do some checking that google seemed unable to help me with. I called the Duluth Libraries Reference desk for the first time in years. I asked them to tell me that councilors name. The call back set me straight. In 1975, the year after I moved to Duluth, Lurlene Baker was elected to the Duluth School Board. She was the black “city councilor” I had in mind. I’m surprised I’d forgotten that after making a big deal out of helping Mary Cameron get elected to the same school board. Mary was the second not first black school board member. I’m sure I’ve written that she was our first black board member before.

A bonehead’s after election analysis

My eight loyal readers might recall that after I blogged the then forbidden info that the School Board had agreed to sell New Central for $10 million dollars I was the first to admit I was a “bonehead.” I even voted to censure myself along with my board colleagues who were eager not to pass up the chance to embarrass me. Well, I’ve just discovered that I’ve been very boneheaded all summer and fall of my school board campaign.

Last night I got a wonderful call from the widow of a former school board colleague who I regularly irritated. She was surprised to see that I was on the ballot and wanted to let me know she supported me and wished me good luck. The only question in my mind was that I knew her address was just east of my 2nd District seat by a block. I mentioned this to her but couldn’t let this cartographic puzzle go.

I slept a little late this morning because at ten PM last night I headed out to retrieve my lawnsigns along all the busy roads that had fallen quiet for the night. It only took me till a little after midnight because I scrupulously avoided putting them in residential spots that would require my having kept much better track of them. I am a committee of one as you might remember. This is one of my hallmarks as a candidate. I don’t leave many homeowners with my unsightly post election lawnsigns stuck in their yards.

Well this morning I spent a little time looking through the Trib’s election coverage especially the precinct by precinct results. Sure enough there was Precinct 3 which I spent not a whit of time campaigning in. They didn’t get my mailing. I had no lawnsigns in their westernmost portion of Lakeside. I got creamed there…..but to be fair I got creamed in every precinct. I took from this the insight that I simply wasn’t going to win.

I was not outspent or out-campaigned. I would have let down my contributors had I sat on my duff so I was busy all through the campaign. I just don’t think the campaign was mine to win. The Trib’s editorial endorsement was not likely what killed me. It may have confirmed for its few readers their own doubts about me but I’m so well known that in 90% of voters minds they didn’t need any confirmation bias to vote for or against me.

While David Kirby may not be a very familiar name Name ID was not my problem. I’ve made my bed and most of those coming out to vote preferred to have me sleeping in a bed of snow. In East Duluth my support of Art Johnston did not go down well. I made a point of mentioning it in my letter to let people know I was proud to support him. Frankly, I think those who came to the polls were just tired of me. “Don’t do away mad, just go away,” would have been their mantra. They may take little comfort in my return Reader column at the end of the week because I explain how I plan to live to age 100.

I think the hardest obstacle for me was that this election was a repeat of the 2017 post Trump election. In that one a tidal wave of people looking for payback regarded anyone who didn’t have the DFL endorsement as suspect. Many of them probably had only a modest idea of what the local non-partisan candidates stood for including me. I just wasn’t on the list. And while that ferocious movement had softened a bit in this election it won’t dissipate any time soon. I simply was not on the DFL and Labor flyers that were sent out.

Loren Martel, who did significantly better than I in his 3rd District race, told me he was worried that my putting up Welty lawnsigns next to Alanna Oswald’s signs would cost Alanna votes. He told me of people who were angry at me for attacking Trump who would then vote against Alanna. Looking at today’s precinct by precinct results I see little evidence of that. However, I would guess that Alanna’s signs probably helped me. She won convincingly after all. The failure of her opponent, a former DFL chairman, to get the DFL endorsement was a much bigger deal. He got labor endorsements but his name was not on the DFL postcard.

I’m pleased with the outcome of the election in several respects. I like all the School Board winners. I feel freed from the last remnants of my fight against the Red Plan. I’m glad I gave my contributors a strong campaign even if I was a bonehead. At the bottom of this post is the map I made at the outset of Summer. At some point I drew a light blue outline on my district and left out precinct 3 which has a light pink border I should have followed. I folded the map and placed it in my office without this significant precinct and didn’t think about it again until I got that call last night wishing me well.I’m not a believer in God or omens but its hard for me not to think some sort of divine intervention diverted me from playing with a full deck.

I choose to take that as a sign that another four years on the School Board was not meant to be. When Claudia told me I was behind two to one with 25% of the vote in I knew it was curtains and stomach dropped for a spell. It only lasted a few minutes. But today it feels more like Armistice Day 11/11/1918. My School Board war is over.

Here’s my map with a faint purple circle around the neglected precinct 3 in the lower right-hand corner:

A couple 11th hour School Board election details

Tomorrow my paid advertisement supporting the election of Loren Martell will be in Sunday’s DNT.

TODAY in a letter to the editor the Equity people from wester Duluth said I would be a better choice for the school board than the incumbent and said that the Trib’s editors made a mistake in endorsing the incumbent.

Claudia and I got out of Dodge today to give our ner car a road test. We finally have three digits worth of milage on the odometer. We drove to Ashland, Wisconsin, for lunch and a tour of the museum dedicated to Lake Superior and its surroundings. It was quite nice. I saw a porcupine in a pine tree on the way there… at least I am pretty sure that’s what I saw.

I chatted with Alanna Oswald on the way home via text and suggested we do a go fund me page to buy a barcalounger for her to make sitting through school board meetings bearable for her. She toughed out a 2 hour meeting a couple days ago. She shouldn’t have to suffer.

I came home and replaced some downed lawnsigns.

I discovered Facebook’s very clever appeal to voters to vote on Tuesday. My listing had a link to Lincolndemocrat. Most candidates had some link to a page on the internet but not the incumbent that I am challenging. These days that’s a pretty serious oversight

The most frightening Halloween in U.S. History and me

Today, Halloween, the Congress began its fourth serious attempt to impeach and possibly remove a President of the United States.

I will not pledge to avoid running against Pete Stauber in 2020 even if I am on the Duluth School Board. I can not do it because today the Democrats in the House of Representatives did the right thing and something which one of Pete Stauber’s Republican colleagues predicted could lead to a second American Civil War.

I wish I could glibly say it will not come to that. Four years ago everyone but me, it seems, laughed when Donald Trump threw himself into the Republican Primary. They laughed at him like earlier generations laughed at Adolph Hitler.

Republicans and Newspapers knew him for what he was: a fraud, a clown, a blowhard, a cheat, a bully and an ignorant narcissist. The Duluth News Tribune is owned by a small time conservative media group that didn’t want to alienate their many rural readers. As a result the Trib failed to endorse the stable and competent Hillary Clinton over the candidate described too kindly two sentences ago. Their subscriptions and revenue were too important to sacrifice for the future of America. Today, damn near every Republican politician is following the fine example of the Duluth News Tribune’s editors.

To say I was disappointed that the Trib did not endorse me for the School Board is terribly off the mark. Rather, I am honored to be just one more obvious choice for an endorsement snubbed because of the editors small mindedness. Look at the final ad I placed in the Trib’s competition the Duluth Reader. Its written as though some neutral source was evaluating me but the fact is I wrote it (as my disclaimer puts it) “by his own darned self.”

I know my strengths. I am a seeker of new information. I value honesty as others value courage and believe that honesty requires courage. I hold self righteousness in low regard. I hold arrogance in even lower regard. I value humility but I know it doesn’t require me to deny my rather high opinion of myself. To prove my point I can point to the acknowledged two best presidents in US history. Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were brilliant. And yet, both of these men were graced with great humility so unlike the fetid stench given off by our current President.

I feel uniquely prepared to bring any Trumplican ????? to his or her senses. That would be Pete Stauber in Minnestota’s Eighth Congressional District seat. So, if I am elected to the Duluth School Board I still might try to hobble Pete in 2020.

Feel free to report this to the Duluth News Tribune. I’m sure if the Trib gets this information out by this weekend it might undermine my chances of getting elected to the Duluth School Board. If I am not on the School Board I’ll have more time to figure out how to keep the Constitution safe from Pete Stauber’s spinelessness. I’ll also have more time to practice my French. “Liberté, Equality, Fraternity”

Happy Halloween as I limp to the finish line

It occurred to me today that one reason I’ve been resisting a last minute campaign schedule is because I worked my tail off at the beginning of the summer to get everything done early so that I would not have to do a mad dash at the end. Even the weather and kids are cooperating. I’ve had very little replacement of my lawnsigns. That’s partly because they didn’t go up until about three weeks ago. I waited so long because I dreaded the prospect of driving around to see if they had fallen. It helps that this time I’m running for a district seat or one fourth of Duluth. I don’t have to drive the entire length of our 26 mile city. The farthest any part of this district is from my centrally located home is about two miles.

Wishing to avoid the planter’s faschitis that afflicted my poor foot two years ago as I went door to door in every neighborhood city-wide, I raised enough in donations this summer to mail personal appeals to 7 of my District’s 8 precincts. I don’t have the money that either the DFL or Labor has to blanket mail the entire City but their school board endorsees only get their name and picture on a post card sharing space with all the other endorsees. A voter has to take the union’s word that the candidate is top notch. But only 30 percent of Duluth employees are represented by unions and, in my experience, only the actual labor officials much care about the union’s endorsement.

I still have forty lawnsigns that I could put up but I’ve been busy with Choir practice, good deeds and fixing up a little Halloween Display……and as always practicing French. In fact French was one of the things I sacrificed early in the summer only spending twenty to thirty minutes on it daily while working on campaign related chores. I’ve enjoyed the hour a day that I’ve lavished on it over the past few weeks.

I did have one campaign chore remaining and I spent my afternoon yesterday doing it belatedly. On Monday I was supposed to turn in my campaign finance papers ten days before the election. However, I came home that morning after discovering that our 12-year-old Camray had a non-functioning gas gauge. We have been talking about replacing the car for a couple years and even looked at some other cars last week. But that last irksome discovery pushed us over the edge and we went out and bought the car Claudia had been keen on. Claudia hates shopping and we bought it on the spot. That left me Tuesday to get the finance forms in and calculated. I’ll have to amend them as I forgot about the $160.00 I just put on my credit card to advertise on Facebook. Supposedly I’m only advertising in Duluth’s 2nd school district but Claudia is skeptical because she told me she has yet to see any of my ads. I’m not sure I’ve seen any of them either.

I may find time to do a little more campaigning if I survive all the Halloween chocolates I’m likely to consume. There will be one last weekend and Monday before Tuesday’s vote. But I might content myself, as I did today, with tidying up our patio for winter.

My “community engagement letter”

The DNT will not print regular letters to the editor that have appeared elsewhere. However, Forum Communications will take advertising and now charges for publishing political letter to the editors, endorsements etc. I have been annoyed with this since the practice was announced a couple years ago although, I have to admit it has thinned out such regular endorsement letters from a couple candidates who begged tons of their friends to submit them.

A few days ago I posted a link to the letter my friend Kathy Bogan sent the Trib taking them to task for endorsing an “uncivil” Loren Martell. I believe that is a very unfair charge although, knowing Kathy, I don’t think she means to be unfair. But the Trib’s editors told me I couldn’t reply until November 17th over a week after the election. I opted instead for their community engagement letter AKA as an ad to make more revenue. Fair enough, but dammit, Half an hour ago their website told me I was going to get a confirmation email that would let me send in my letter. I’m still waiting for for the website I was referred to to sent me a notification that I am in their system. Its been 45 minutes and its still not in my email in box. Just in case I never get my “community engagement letter” in the doggoned Trib here it is. As a “paid” letter I guess there is no harm in my sharing it on my blog.

Here it is:

My friend, Kathy Bogan, criticized the editors of the Tribune for endorsing my friend, Loren Martell, in his fifth campaign for a school board seat.

I have known both Kathy and Loren for a long time during our school district’s tumultuous past. Kathy is an ardent caretaker of our children. Loren is the embodiment of speaking truth to power.

Kathy has called Loren’s justified critiques of school board members uncivil. Having faced unhappy citizen’s myself while on the school board, I see things differently. I have always asked myself, “if we can’t feel passionate about our children what can we feel passionate about?”

Loren Martell was humiliated by our school board during the Red Plan wars when his microphone was shut off during his allotted three minutes and he was handcuffed by a guard when the Board grew impatient with his criticism. Rather than fold under this coercion Loren dedicated the last decade to watching his tormentors like a hawk and scrupulously reporting on their work (including mine) in the alternative press.

I agree with the editors who endorsed Loren, saying that it was time he was elected to the Duluth School Board. I’d go farther. I believe that if there is any justice in the world Loren should serve on our school board. He will serve with distinction and humility. It is rare for someone with Loren’s keen insight on the complicated finances of public education or the duties of a public servant to offer themselves to voters.

I believe Ms. Bogan will come to see this in Loren as I have seen it in Loren for the last decade. Loren will do this, if for no other reason, than to honor the memory of his late wife, a dedicated high school art teacher.

Paid political letter

I’ve had a cordial email exchange with the Trib’s editorial page editor, Chuck Frederick.

He told me first that my letter about Kathy Bogan and Loren Martell couldn’t run until November 17 – after the thirty day delay and over a week after the election.

I told him that it was a damn shame my Op-Ed that they asked me to contribute would count against me.

He said he’d check with the entire Editorial Board but didn’t hold out much hope that they would go along with an early letter…..but, in a follow up email he reminded me of the Trib’s paid-for-political-letters. I’d forgotten that option…..which I have never felt very good about. But. I am nothing if not pragmatic. I asked Chuck to send my letter to the folks in that Department and have them contact me for payment.

I felt a little like our pathetic president negotiating with a dictator and letting them call all the shots…..but what else could I do? Chuck also reminded me that I could blog it but really! My circulation only compares favorably in terms of intelligence not volume compared to the Trib.

A letter to the editor from a wonderful person I had to disagree with…

… I just sent it in to the Tribune but I’ll not place it here lest that becomes an excuse for them not to publish it. I’m probably not past the 30-day period they usually enforce between commentaries even though I the Trib my campaign column a week or two before they published it. HOWEVER

Below is the letter my friend Kathy Bogan wrote to the Editors of the Duluth News Tribune: My response includes my belief that: “if there is any justice in the world Loren Martell will be elected.” (I say this despite the fact I very much like Loren’s challenger)

Kathy’s letter to the Editor:

I am writing to express my concern about the News Tribune’s editorial endorsement of Loren Martell for District 3 School Board representative (Our View/Endorsement: “Time for Martell to get in the game,” Oct. 9).

In light of the emphasis placed on civility at the Sept. 24 News Tribune- and Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce-sponsored candidate forum, it was puzzling that the newspaper would show support for a candidate who doesn’t always observe important tenets of civility in his comments at School Board meetings and in published commentary. I have attended several School Board meetings in which Martell displayed an acrimonious attitude toward board members and refused to leave the podium after speaking for the three minutes allowed for public comment. This was blatantly disrespectful to board members and those attending the meeting.

We need School Board members who show true leadership through working together and with school administration to address the multifaceted challenges of operating a large system that serves our children, families, and community.

Also running in the 3rd District for School Board is a well-qualified candidate who is knowledgeable about our district and what is currently happening in our schools.

The News Tribune’s endorsement left me wondering whether those involved considered the ability of candidates to function as members of a team charged with solving complex issues together.

Kathy Bogen

Duluth

Tomorrow’s column a few hours early

Duluth School Board District 2 candidate Harry Welty speaks during a candidate forum sponsored by the Duluth News Tribune and the Duluth Chamber of Commerce. The forum was Sept. 24 at the Duluth Playhouse Family Theater at the Depot in Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

Candidate’s View Column: Look back to move Duluth public schools forward
Written By: Harry Welty | Oct 16th 2019 –

Ten years after the Supreme Court legalized “separate but equal,” my grandmother rode her horse to an all-white Monroe Elementary School in Topeka, Kan. Fifty-six years later, the Supreme Court ruled that Monroe, now a segregated all-black school, was unconstitutional. The court ruled that even if white and black schools were treated equally, forbidding black children from attending schools with white children treated them as inferiors.

Three years after Brown vs. the Topeka Board of Education, I attended another all-white elementary near Monroe. In the first week of school, 100 black children from segregated schools were shepherded into our classrooms. Five years later, I was one of 14 white children in a sixth-grade class with 17 minority students. As the Supreme Court had hoped, I was vaccinated against any thought that I was superior to my black classmates.

My social DNA was formed in that integrated school, but my school’s integration was the exception. Over the years to follow, our nation’s schools re-segregated. When my dad was offered a job teaching law in Mankato, Minn., I found myself in an unfamiliar sea of white children.

Nevertheless, the issue of equity had taken root and came with me to Minnesota. In 1968, the year Martin Luther King was assassinated, I slept in a room with the first black student ever enrolled at Mankato High School. Bedru, an Ethiopian exchange student — and a Muslim to boot — was our family’s guest for the year.

I moved to Duluth to teach in another all-white Minnesota school 45 years ago and learned Duluth’s dirty secret. A 1920 lynching kept black Americans away until the Cold War gave Duluth a military base.

Among my Red Plan warnings was its uneven division of Duluth. It would re-segregate an integrated district. Along with this it traded 100 teachers ($10 million annually) for new buildings. Today, Duluth is not only more segregated, it endures overcrowded classrooms.

No one can fix our schools in 500 words, but I have spilled millions of words on this subject into a blog after retiring from my first eight years on the Duluth School Board. Since then I’ve served four more years. I’m once again offering my considerable experience to Duluth.

As bleak as our school’s current situation may seem, there is an opportunity to restore our schools with a new superintendent and School Board. We can have schools that rival the best public schooling Duluth has ever offered — despite the Red Plan’s bond repayments.

As we work toward this new birth, we must remember the rising of the oceans, the land’s parching, paving and flooding, and a sixth extinction that all are coming with climate change. Our children must be prepared.

I read that Duluth’s St. Mark’s church, founded by freed slaves, is inspired by the African principle, “Sankofa,” which means “to look back in order to move forward.” If I am elected to a fourth term on Nov. 5, that is the spirit I will bring to the Duluth School Board.

Harry Welty is a candidate to represent District 2 on the Duluth School Board. The seat is up for election on Nov. 5. He wrote this at the request of the News Tribune Opinion page.

Dr. Kirby’s column is something of a laundry list. He didn’t miss anything and you can read his comments in the Tribune here. By the way, The Doctor’s wife, a fellow general practitioner, oversaw the nurse who gave Claudia and I flu shots at the Mt. Royal Medical Center today.

1st more business

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When the electrical power to my house is restored I will post the picture of the Trib’s correction of their claim I released an unredacted report to the public. (Our house is being rewired as a safety precaution.)

I looked for it on the editorial pages where I was bashed in a tepid endorsement of my rival for the office. I didn’t expect the correction to undo whatever damage the faulty editorial did to me but, on reflection, I rarely look for corrections. I am sure I’m not alone.

The electricity is back on. Couple thoughts:

I’m not pleased that the correction of an untrue factual criticism of me in a column justifying an endorsement of my rival is so paltry. After faulting the old School Board chair for letting a potential danger to our children be placed next to the Superintendent without sharing this information with the other school board members the Trib now feels the sole objection to my election – my release of the price tag for a Central sale is worse. It is evidence of my “divisiveness.” In other words whistle blowers can’t be trusted. How Trumpian.

Furthermore, while there was a small chance my mistake could have cost the district the Central sale it didn’t. Chuck, when he left a message, told me that saying the sale fell though after I released the information was not wrong. True. However, the Trib left the implication of cause and effect to stand. I can only hope most readers can remember the truth of things and conclude the Trib was peddling Fake News.

That said, I’m hoping most folks don’t get past the first few paragraphs which were not kind to the former Chairman.

Look for my op-ed piece on Thursday. It will probably be side by side with the old Chairman’s sales pitch. I’m very pleased with my 500 words.

1st some Political business

I crashed at midnight with an UN-proof-read post. I intend to crank out 4 more posts on the power of American public schools that so many Republicans seem intent on destroying. But first, a couple School Board posts that need addressing.

I got a call this morning from a friend who was worried that the many visible double signs I put up (Welty Oswald) before heading to my reunion might hurt Alanna Oswald’s chances of reelection.

He was worried that Republicans who detest me for badmouthing Trump wouldn’t vote for Alanna. I acknowledged that this might happen. However, I would wager that the greater threat to Alanna would come from the pro-Red planners who have never forgiven me for being a naysayer.

I am content to go back to these yards and put some separation between our signs but I would guess that where my archest critics are concerned the damage is already done. If they wish to vote for a lesser candidate that is their choice and Alanna is innocent of my enthusiasm for her.

Back to my default self and 50 years later

What is a lie? Is an untruth a lie if it is spoken with conviction?

After a day of being wrung out over the Trib’s characterization of me being (As Trump would put it) a “leaker,” I am back to my default analytical mode. Yesterday’s string of six posts had an unwieldy title as it was. A more accurate and more unwieldly title could have been “IF THE DNT EDITORS HADN’T POORLY MISCHARACTURIZED ME IN THEIR EDITORIAL….PARTS 1-6.”

Had the Editors given it a little more thought they might have come up with a more charitable analysis of my occasional dropping of hints about what is actually going on in our School Board and District. They could have called me a whistle-blower. Instead they took the tack that the White House is holding fast to that anyone who points out Presidential duplicity, greed or stupidity is committing treason.

On the other hand the Trib made excellent and somewhat unexpected endorsements. Alanna Oswald was a cinch. They first endorsed her rival four years ago and then thought better of it after the primary. This year’s endoresment simply cemented her status as a worthy candidate. And today the Trib did the right thing. As I’ve told many over the past few campaigns, “if there is any justice in the world Loren Martell would get elected.” As the Trib’s editors note this is his fifth attempt at the Board after four defeats. If Loren is elected he will have bested me. I lost three times before finally winning a School Board seat.

The responsibility of the School Board is a management responsibility. Alanna and Loren understand that after twelve years of School Board members being cheerleaders for superintendents who only selectively told them what they needed to know which in many cases was not enough. David Kirby fell into this habit as well as the Trib’s editorial endorsement of him made clear. His board was forced to pay Art Johnston $55,000 to buy him off of his complaints about having been left in the dark over and over again by Bill Gronseth’s administration.

I like people. Bill came over to chat with me at this week’s Business committee meeting. I was cordial back to him. There is no need for nastiness. But I’ve always been honest and Bill has thrice seen my very bland assessments of him during the School Board’s evaluation of him. Each time I made it clear that treating Board members differently was not acceptable. Bill has done that in spades. Alanna confirmed that yet again when we spoke after her first every Cabinet and Board agenda setting meeting. Bill made clear that it was the Chairman’s call on whether to tell other Board members the details of the District. To which I can only say “SAY WHAT?” Truly since the days of Supt. Keith Dixon “all board members are equal but some board members are more equal than others” to paraphrase Animal Farm.

Its in line with what Bill told me privately when I first joined his Board. He viewed his job as protecting the School District from Board members…….that means he viewed his job as protecting the School District from the citizens, voters and taxpayers. Cordial or not I’ll be glad to see Bill Gronseth’s back. And I hope to serve with Alanna and Loren as we search out a worthy Superintendent for our schools.

BTW I’m heading out of town today to visit my old high school chums for a 50’th reunion. Claudia is staying behind because she is very much a person of today not the past and not my past. She’s accompanied me to my previous reunions. I’m looking forward to it. My high school experience was great after a really lousy Junior high immersion into white Minnesota. That experience has provided me with several humorous remembrances in my Not Eudora column. I’m like my Mother. I find people endlessly fascinating. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened next to my high school acquaintances, at least those who bother to come back. The ones who don’t come back, often because they had lousy memories, are the ones I’ll miss the most. High School can be cruel. I was lucky.

I don’t plan to blog much for the next couple of days but, who knows? I may wake up in the middle of the night with a brain burning to pour out more Lincolndemocrat drivel. Stay tuned.

If the DNT editors hadn’t lied about me in their editorial….Part 6

I’ve taken a step back. If I lose because of the Trib’s falsehoods I think Duluth will suffer just as it did when Forum Columnist Ralph Doty called me horrid things three days before the 2007 election preventing me from joining a slim majority of Board members willing to walk back the ruinous Red Plan. I never mind losing fair and square. The Trib is not playing fair and square. But, instead of fulminating I sent this email to Chuck Frederick for his consideration. His integrity depends on how he responds. I was tempted to go with guns blazing but have chosen instead my Mother’s admonition “Honey catches more flies than vinegar.” Honestly, I know of no one who has had much trouble with me other than arrogant fellow School Board members.

Chuck,

I have not been perfect but you have done me an injustice. In your critique of me in your Kirby endorsement you passed on two falsehoods about me. The first I could call a half truth. I did indeed reveal, bone-headedly, the sale price of Central on my blog and there was always a chance that the buyers could have used that as an excuse to drop their offer. Except that they didn’t drop it because I’d revealed the sales price. They dropped it after a couple months before they had to lose any earnest money because the Central site was not economical for them. They also found greener pastures and built the apartment block on London Road below McDonalds. But your column says I was the reason the ten million sale didn’t go through. That was wrong. And ironically I voted for a much larger sales price in later years but was in the minority. David Kirby voted against that sale.

This is, however, not your most damaging false accusation. You state unequivocally that I released the unredacted Mary Rice report on Art Johnston thus revealing the names of private citizens. I knew that was baloney the minute I read it. I just had to confirm that Jana Hollingsworth and Jennifer Martin Romme of the shuttered Zenith Weekly didn’t get it from me. Jennifer got it but won’t tell who she got it from. It wasn’t me. And I did not have any remembrance of sending it to Jana. She just told me that she has no recollection of getting it from me. She no longer has access to her email from the Trib but she pulled up your column of November 1, 2014 berating me for putting the Central sale at jeopardy. You will find a link to this column at the end of this message.

Along with that accusation you wrote a number of other things suggestive of my having made private data public. But even in your 2014 column you don’t mention the full unredacted Mary Rice Report which gave the Board cover to kick Art off. I did comment widely about the column, but I recall being very careful not to disclose information about innocents with one exception which I agonized over for months before listing her name. It was the villain who told the Board that Art, (a board member of the NAACP) had used racist language. This was only one of a great many acts of villainy on her part. Other than her name I think you would be hard pressed to find anything that I released to the public that would embarrass anyone other than the School Board. I had no idea when you published this column in 2014 telling me to “keep it to myself” that you were making reference to the entire unredacted report. I don’t think you did either at the time but in the haze of four years you have remembered incorrectly that I released the whole damn thing and you said so in your attack on me in today’s endorsement.

We have fenced before and I haven’t always gotten your endorsement. But until now you have never defamed me with inaccuracies twenty days before an election. I don’t mind your endorsing David Kirby. I do mind your staining my reputation with falsehoods no matter how innocently you intended them.

I want only one thing from you – an honest walking back of the false allegations that accompanied your endorsement. You can call me divisive; but my heroes Washington and Lincoln fought wars over principles that we all honor today. I prefer thinking of myself as steadfast. I have not fought wars but I have abided by all the tenets in Duluth’s famed civility proclamation. I would wish for the same from you.

Here is your column from November 1st 2014.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/opinion/editorials/3625279-our-view-come-harry-keep-it-yourself

You can see for yourself that the 2014 criticisms of me do not match your far more expansive comments today either with regard to my killing the Central Sale or of disclosing the full Mary Rice Report.
Knowing this now what are you going to do about it?
Harry Welty

If the DNT editors hadn’t lied about me in their editorial….Part 5

As I expected none of the twenty men in my church group mentioned the Trib’s editorial while we took a two hour tour of Superior, Wisconsin’s Amsoil production facility. On the way back my car load asked me how much it cost to maintain abandoned Central each year.

At the very end of our tour one fellow asked if Amsoil wasn’t originally Amzoil with a Z. That let to a fascinating story I’d not heard before which gives me considerable motivation.

Al Amatuzio was sued by Pennzoil over his product Amzoil name. The Z was Pennzoil’s according to their lawyers. Al was a man of principle and he fought the larger company for two years in court spending over a million dollars in the process. In the end he won the court case. As soon as he earned the Z he changed the name on his own to Amsoil with an S.

I just talked to the lawyer who won Art Johnston $55,000. We’re getting together.

IF THE DNT EDITORS HADN’T LIED ABOUT ME IN THEIR EDITORIAL…. Part 2

I’m still sitting on my previous post’s contents. I actually managed to get three hours of sleep after reading the Trib’s shoddy journalism last night. I’ve already been in contact with an attorney. I have ample evidence of “malice” the critical ingredient any any defamation suit. Simple lies are not enough proof.

I’ll be busy with my church men’s group this morning. I suspect my friends will be embarrassed to let me know they read the editorial. If the shoe was on the other foot I’d feel just as awkward. I have twenty days to get the truth out before I face the second election that a Forum Newspaper sabotaged with lies about me. The first time was 2007 and my narrow defeat then made it possible for the Red Planners to have a narrow majority to puke out a bigger Red Plan. Thanks DNT.

There will be no thank you’s this election.