On the third floor of Duluth’s City Hall the PACT (Public Access Cable Television) TV station has its offices. I was recently given five minutes to explain who I was and why I was running for the School Board. I took four minutes. I also planted my cell phone to record myself as well. Here’s the view from my cell phone’s vantage point
Last night I got positively no sleep other than a quick doze for an hour at about 5:30 AM. I was awash in thoughts, enjoyable thoughts, much to my annoyance since the sleeplessness they cause puts me at risk of dementia. So, I was wide awake at 7:00 AM when I got up to prepare for today. I had another day of painting window casings at church waiting for me followed by putting up new storm windows. We had gotten so much work done the day before I had hopes of retiring the job for the year today. We only have 14 of 96 storms left to put up. No such luck. We’ll be putting them up tomorrow morning if the rain holds off.
I had to tell my work crew that I would be leaving them to go and film a five minute campaign intro speech at City Hall. This is where the office of Public Access Cable TV is. thinking about what I might say is part of what kept me up the previous night and I had an outline in my mind. I added a prologue to it after scanning a longish email from a friend who also couldn’t sleep last night. In her email she second guessed all my posts and my campaign. I only found it ten minutes before I had to the work crew so I had her concerns on my mind as I drove to City Hall. Her email was helpful. I added a prologue mentioning the difficulties facing ISD 709 and I compared myself to Elizabeth Warren – she of the many plans.
I had also gotten the idea of setting up my cell phone to record whatever I ended up saying at PACT. I did all that and was back at church in about an hour, by which time the rain had put an end to the window work. We found other tasks to accomplish and after lunch together I came home after promising that I’d go back if the rain ended. It did stop I went back to work until after 5. By that time tonight’s school board meeting was only an hour away.
It was a slog so little to do taking ever so long. A second “special” meeting was held after the regular meeting to talk once again about how to select a replacement for Josh Gorham. I could only take about 45 minutes of that and came home wishing the board members had done a little talking with each other beforehand. They ran the meeting like they were walking on eggshells. Come to think of it, they were. The Western Equity Group and the NAACP were on their case from the public comment time on. The District is making news but not the kind it wants.
I introduced myself to the Trib’s Ed reporter for the first time. To my surprise it was almost like she knew me. Maybe she’s peeked at the blog, poor thing. Then I got an even bigger surprise. I was introduced to the New Minneapolis Star Trib reporter who-has-moved-to-Duluth to cover the Duluth Schools! That is an absolute first. We are now under the microscope of the entire state of Minnesota.
In the last few days I’ve been rethinking my aims. Trump is bloating up like a corpse in a scummy pond. After feeling the magic ball of the Saudies they felt secure in carving up a reporter into mince meat and have now so provoked Iran, with Trump’s blessing, that they have accused Iran of blowing up half of the Saudi’s oil production. Just what the world needs a firestorm aided an abetted by the smartest person on Earth who is only giving the Iranians a good reason to build a nuclear deterrent to Saudi Arabia.
I may challenge Pete Stauber but as this election gets closer I’m realizing I’m not finished with the School Board. We’ve hit bottom and there is no way to go but up. I’d love to be on that rocket while the Strib covers our recovery. Yeah, Trump world is the Apocalypse but maybe we can put on a lead coat to protect our children. I want to do the tailoring.
BTW – my four-not-five minutes at PAC TV was swell. I’ll put it up in a couple days and share it with you.
I just authorized my mailing for next week and this is my latest ad in today’s Reader:
Want to be an at-large school board member without the campaigning and help choose our next School Superintendent? It’s possible.
My first round of “book selling” fundraising was very disappointing. I was almost afraid to send out the same letter again to a different precinct. Because of the new Postal routing the earliest I can receive a donation or comment in my return envelopes is five days after I mail it out on Friday. Today was the fifth day and several donations “book purhases” came in and one check was bound with this postit note:
I can’t count on the school board to continue reminding voters that a board without me on it can be dysfunctional. I have to keep campaigning and selling enough books (fund raising) to pay to keep mailing out my campaign letters. And 10,000 District 2 voters will not be visiting this ridiculous blog. So, I’ll share the letter that at least one donor thought was a good one with anyone who stumbles into this post. Its followed by a donation button if any of you would care to see me back on the School Board.
*** Continue reading
For a second night in a row I went to Old Central and the School Board room to listen in on the standing committees. Last night after two hours of a meeting I thought would be completed in half an hour I gave up the ghost and left. My brief discription of that meeting can be found in the previous post.
I made light of it but the tortured length of the meeting and the board member’s willingness to nail down every detail demonstrates how serious they all are about making the selection of our next School Superintendent next year flawless. No one could have, or should have, had any doubt about the importance of dotting every i and crossing every t. But evidently one person did just that. Perhaps intentionally.
I was amazed when former teacher and now county attorney Nora Sanstad called on Rosie to step down from the chairmanship in the Duluth News Tribune a couple days ago. Her ire may have begun well before she learned that she had been asked to vote to hire an assistant principal without being informed he had a colorful past. But when internal politics led Josh Gorham to resign Nora seems to felt Rosie Loeffler-Kemp’s machinations were responsible for his abrupt departure.
When Alanna Oswald joined the Board Art Johnston and I finally had enough votes to make school board meetings public on Youtube. Thank goodness. Here’s tonight’s meeting.
Alanna begins the meeting asking for an explanation about how the District can hire employees before the board approves of the hires. This likely related to the hiring of our new assistant superintendent who has recently been caught in the public glare. Then Nora put the topic in sharper focus after David Kirby brushed off Alanna’s question by saying that board members shouldn’t interfere in the hiring process other than their only employee the Superintendent of Schools. That lit a fuse.
23:00 minutes in Nora fiercely asked HR Director Sworsky why he ignored her request to preview the RFP (request for proposals) to potential headhunters who will manage our Superintendent Search. After some fencing Mr. Sworsky suggested Nora ask the Chair of the Board – Rosie.
For the next twenty minutes Rosie pointed fingers everywhere but herself. Nora pursues her lame answers like a surgeon with a sharp scalpel. In the end Rosie sniffs that she chose instead to help clean her Mother’s house. “The dog ate my homework.” That comes at 42:10.
I’ve always wondered if Nora would ever regret letting the public know that she thought Rosie should resign the Chair. That was answered at 46:34 when Nora repeats her belief that Rosie shouldn’t be the Chair.
I sympathize. A couple months into my return to the School Board Rosie stung me one-too-many-times. From then on I decided to capture every slight Rosie committed. There have been a lot of them.
I was slow to conclude that Rosie needed tending to but as I reflect on the two worst years of my School Board life Rosie Loeffler-Kemp always lurked around the periphery of every arson fire that Art Johnston and I got blamed for. And lately I’ve met people who are afraid of her. That blows my mind. But then again, Rosie seems to have oozed into every nook and cranny of Duluth politics. And she’s the School Board Chair.
I would remind Rosie what my old colleague, George Balach, said when I beat him for the Chairmanship. George told anyone who would listen that the Chairman only has one vote just like every other School Board member. Ah, but some Board Chairs are stingy with public data. I guess that’s because they are special.
As I headed to Old Central and the school board meeting to talk about how to replace member Gorham I found myself in the midst of cars frozen into place. When they began moving I discovered the reason for the slowdown. The Adas Temple was being combed through by the Duluth Fire Marshall. I found my way around the blockade and went to a meeting I thought would be over by 5:30 which included the Education Committee scheduled to follow the former. Instead I spent the next two hours reading articles from the New York on my cell phone as the board members analyzed the process of replacement with an exactitude little short of a Superintendent’s search.
The first eight years I was on the Duluth School Board we replaced three board members. The first left town after Continue reading
This time the Reader placed my latest ad on page 8 which seemed like a promotion from page 49. I sent this one in on the weekend long before the School Board fireworks blew up this week. It certainly seems topical.
I also authorized my campaign mailing to go out to another precinct. It might be in people’s homes by Saturday. I have another five precincts to go after the first two. I have enough in the bank to cover two of the remaining precincts.
I’ve also dug deep into my pockets to pay for some Facebook advertising. So far I’ve spent Continue reading
Its one thing for the boss to blindside his subordinates like President Trump does with every tweet. Its quite another for a subordinate to blindside his or her bosses. That was a rule I learned right away from my fellow school board members even before I was first elected to the school board in 1995. So, I am left scratching my head that David Kirby and Rosie Loeffler-Kemp are so silent, repeatedly, when their employee, the superintendent of schools, puts them in the public eye with their pants down.
I’ve ridden on the elevator with Mr. Horton. He is a very personable fellow. There is a big “but” here. When Dr. Tony Kinkel, executive director of the Minnesota Board of School Administrators, correctly explains that people can learn from their mistakes I am at a loss. I’m not sure Mr. Horton has learned from his mistake. He’s had a third strike just two years ago. I’m hearing crickets from the two most recent school board chairs. They were similarly zipper-lipped when Art Johnston collected $55,000 from the School Board for the District’s refusing to hand over public data to him while he was a school board member! That severe penalty was unprecedented. Of course, Rosie was part of the cabal that saw nothing wrong in keeping Art in the dark in the first place and then was so eager to remove him that she squandered two teachers worth of salary in a thwarted attempt to remove him. And for what? For assaulting the Superintendent despite the Superintendent’s public denial that he had been assaulted. At least, David Kirby had nothing to do with that nonsense.
I am looking forward to finding a superintendent who doesn’t have the attitude Supt Gronseth shared with me…that he viewed his job as protecting the School District from the school board. Just maybe, he had that backwards.
I’m writing this at 10:40 AM Thursday but I’d prefer people pay more attention to my contempt for Donald Trump the (gacck …. President of the United States) in the previous post for another ten hours before posting the rest of this. So, come back later for the rest.
LATER THAT DAY:
My plan yesterday was to come back today with a significant pile of returned envelopes from my recent fundraising mailing; take a picture of it and post it. I explained that a 1% return could be expected or about 20 letters. Three to five should have come back today. Before going to the PO I had half an hour to kill so I decided to mow my lawn or as the title suggests, my weeds. The end of summer has been dry and my grass has turned brown and stopped growing. The grass didn’t need a mowing but the weeds shot up. I don’t want to disappoint any passing voters who are fussy about yard work. I’m a diligent campaigner when I’m on top of the world.
There will be no photograph today showing me reaping the rewards of my compelling message. There was only an advert in the PO box. A Mighty Yawn indeed.
There was a lot more I meant to write but that was this morning. Eleven hours on I have more pressing concerns like feeding my cat. Sorry if I led you on.
I don’t spend a lot of time being discouraged. Too much to do. But I’ll postpone my book writing for another update of life and politics. First, having mentioned my kitchen remodling I’ll show you the minute long video tour of the almost finished kitchen from a couple days ago. It generated a number of friendly comments on my personal Facebook Page which is not the same as my school board page: Harry Welty Give’m Helty.
Its finally finished. Last night I painted the newly resurfaced areas of the dining room wall that leads into the kitchen. We had the door widened to better bring the rooms together. Today one of my Mother’s paintings will be reframed and hung in the dining room. Its always been one of my favorites.
And Summer’s over! My grandsons are back in school. I will have fewer reasons to be distracted from book writing except that I will continue to feel obligated to comment about the schools, Trump, and the school board campaign on the blog. The man in the middle of that list keeps trying to suck up all the oxygen in the room. No problem with the Amazon burning, diverting FEMA money to wall building just before another hurricane has set its course for Puerto Rico, telling subordinates to break laws to get the wall built by the next election because he will pardon them for their crimes. And that’s just the last ten seconds.
With Trump along I hardly have room in my head for campaigning but I’ll try to eke out a few words. My Mother’s art has stood me in good stead. I got one envelope today from a person who wanted a lawn sign…..but not a book. She told me she loved my snowsculptures. I’ll take that. BTW here’s the latest Reader Ad with my artwork that you should find in tomorrow’s edition:
The sole return envelope I found today had to have been dropped in the mail on Saturday (the day after it was received and) before the Duluth PO sent it to be postmarked in St. Paul. St. Paul postmarked it Monday and it took two days to get back to Duluth. That kind of turnaround has to be killing the US Post Office. Tomorrow will give me a better idea if there will be enough orders to proceed with more mailings. In the old days when mail was the only way for people to return campaign letters a fundraising letter might expect a 1% return. That would be about 20 replies for the one I just sent out. If I get them they may be just enough for me to proceed with additional mailings. Yesterday I was sitting on pins and needles. Today. Not so much. Que Sera Sera.
I got a notification from the Chuck Frederick by email that the Trib and the Chamber of Commerce will have a day at the Depot with candidates for this fall’s election. These are traditionally poorly attended affairs with a hundred of the 50,000 eligible voters present. About six questions will be asked of them and each candidate will get about one minute to explain how to lift the earth with a bicycle pump. “Uh, well, I’d.” “Thank you very much.” “Next!” Its always scintillating. I wish they could come up with a forum more like the Democratic Presidential candidates have recently had allowing them some time to challenge one another.
In the email Chuck sent to me there was no indication that the Trib’s hand-picked Editorial Board with citizen journalists would invite any of the general election candidates to have a private interview where this kind of one-on-one dialogue, might be possible. These are the meetings after which you could expect non-attenders to get an editorial scolding…”Candidate B did not choose to speak with the News Tribune so in good conscience we can not consider him for endorsement.”
I replied to Chuck that I was looking forward to the forum and the opportunity to write a “candidate’s view” column for the Trib but I asked him what had happened to this more in depth interview. Chuck wrote back to tell me that he thought the public forum (sticking finger down throat) would suffice. Geez!
Here’s how a local amateur does an interview that packs a punch.
Every campaign is a work in progress and although the progress on the Welty for School Board campaign began well before filing in June I’m pleased. Bear in mind that this school board campaign is also something of a trial run for a later run next year for Congress. Also bear in mind that I have little expectation of winning that race, my fourth Congressional filing, should I plunge into it. It will mostly serve to give me a forum to fight the single greatest threat this nation has faced since World War 2 by running against a Trumplican collaborator garbed in sheep’s skin. It will be against the forces of anti-intellectualism, racial disharmony, economic cretinism and environmental pollution. Each of these by themselves would give me plenty of reason to challenge Congressman Stauber but all four wrapped together look like the Hindenburg landing at Lakehurst, New Jersey.
This might be used against me in the School Board race. Some Trumplicans will ask why am I looking ahead to greater glory instead of concentrating on our children and our schools? Its a legitimate question which I’ll swat away with the truth. If the incumbent wins reelection our District will still be stuck paying off the Red Plan for the next dozen years at a cost of 100 teachers a year. If I’m elected I’ll face the same problems. And I have a duty, as a last remnant of Republican decency, to defend my parents and grandparent’s Republican legacies.
Unlike the incumbent, once “a teacher of principals,” I’ve been giving my lifetime to thinking about public education and how it is the corner stone of our Democracy and how, improbably, it could become more effective with some tweaking. Those are subjects in a book I’m writing to fund my campaign.
At the very least it needs a goad. The incumbent has been the opposite of a goad in his first four years on the Board. He has been utterly satisfied to support an administration which has lost some of its very brightest people. They jumped ship for better posts elsewhere. At the same time the captain of the Duluth Ship failed repeatedly to find new ports of call. He then said he would stay behind the wheel. He then announced he would abandon ship at the end of this school year. The incumbent, (one of the Joint Chiefs) has been content to watch this unfold with nary a complaint.
I don’t consider myself a complainer but I do call’em as I see’em.
So far my campaign has been quiet as I’ve labored to pick up steam as the School year begins. It starts next week. In June my initial fund raising letter to 125 people raised $2,000. Its paid for a much larger mailing that went out on Thursday. If it falls on 2,000 deaf eyes my campaign will stall.
The book accompanying this campaign is about my experiences in public schools. Although I wasn’t much of a teacher I do consider myself a writer. After losing my teaching job in 1987 I began making that ambition a reality. I’ve composed millions of words and have a small, dedicated, but largely anonymous readership. Do I have answers to make our nation tack in a less perilous direction? I hope so. Do I have solutions that will undo some bad financial bets our District made? For our student’s sake I hope so. What I’m not is a rubber stamp.
I will print at least 500 copies of my book no matter what happens. Two hundred book orders at $15 apiece will pay for its printing. But I’ll also need to raise more. So far 42 people have taken me up on my offer. Thursday I emptied my campaign treasury by mailing out 2,000 letters. I still have another 10,000 more voters left to send letters too. Over the next week of checking my PO Box I’ll find out whether I’ll be able to cover additional mailings. I like the letter I wrote but if it doesn’t convince people to buy my book or vote for me you won’t hear me bellowing, “YOU HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO VOTE FOR ME!”
The book isn’t finished yet but I think it will bring smiles to my readers faces just as so many of my snow-sculptures have.
The title? I cribbed it from America’s most famous author.
Don’t worry. Your 401K plans don’t depend upon your purchase.
Once again its the page number of my latest Reader ad placement.
Tomorrow I am going to get some much needed away time. The Minnesota Get Together. Our State Fair, beckons. We’re taking a grandchild who has never been to it before. I hope my kitchen is a little further along when I return home tomorrow night. If I come home to find my own fundraising letter in my mailbox that will mean I’ve begun the process of explaining my campaign to the Second District voters who don’t make it a habit to look at my online presence. I’m mailing to the 2,000 homes in my ninth precinct. If enough donations are returned it will allow me to mail my letter to another precinct. I have seven more to cover after tomorrow. There are 12,000 homes in all. It will be a less painful process than getting plantars fascitis again. I was crippled by that three weeks before the 2017 election. I’ll save my strength for writing a book and placing ads in the Reader.
And I finally put up a Welty lawnsign. Its in my front yard by Alanna Oswald’s sign. We’re up to three cylinders on our V6 engine.
Greenland is sliding into the sea, the economy is poised to tank next year or the year after Donald Trump’s reelection should that occur, Brazil’s forests are under assault as one of the new Internet Era’s collection of pseudo-fascist, plutocrat-hugging, mini-Trumps is setting armies of murderers out to kill the locals in order to burn down the Amazon for more methane spreading cattle ranches for Big Macs and yet I’m feeling pretty happy this rainy morning.
Claudia just baked our old favorite blueberry buckle, in our new stove, in our new almost finished kitchen and I used our spiffy new microwave to reheat my coffee. The old fridge is out of our dining room! I saw another compelling episode of Mindhunter (season two) last night and it involved Charles Manson who I was recently reading about. My campaign fundraising letter is about to be sent out to at least 2,000 of my 12,000 potential constituents. I’ve thought of a cool way to speed up an initial burst of lawnsigns by the end of the week. I got back to my book writing yesterday after a week of putting up new church storm windows. The writing went very well – although – its becoming obvious my early hope of having a book ready for shipment a month before the election was and is wildly optimistic.
Sometimes in face of even dire threats to your grandchildren’s future you have to be positive. In fact, I hope my Grandsons can help me preserve the Duluth Schools and reelect me to the Board after my glorious two-year hiatus from the sometimes wretched politics of the School District. What else can I say? I’m an optimist despite all evidence to the contrary.
Its almost 10 AM and I’m eager to begin writing again. This post is to assure my regulars that I’m still focused on the Duluth School District and also to assure them that I remain busy with life as well as the great issues of the day. I have never accused myself of being myopic!
After I race through today’s French studies I will post a couple of stories from the New York Times that caught my attention. One is about Germany’s role in the world economy and the other is about Jeff Bezos’s shoddy treatment of words……Not the Washington Post (thank heavens) but the unfolding booksales his company built its foundation on. So, Vive la France! Vive la litterature! Vive l’economie du la monde! Vive l’idiot! (That’s a reference to my book on Public Education. I’m hoping its sales will finance my school board campaign)
A fifteen dollar donation will get you one of these babies. Order here:
I completely forgot that I ordered some ads in the Duluth Reader a couple weeks ago. So, when I sought out a stack of this week’s issue to thumb through, I was surprised and delighted to see one of them on page 49.
I’ve gotta tell you. Five long hot days removing storms, scraping old paint, repainting putting up new storms one after the other under an intense sun on heavy to hoist scaffolding left me exhausted even though we finished our Summer’s goal well before noon today. Not only was I tired but I was bummed because my French streak had been lost. It took great effort today to start a new streak again. And four unread News Tribunes awaited me and more fascinating but unread NY Times stories than you can shake a stick at. I was like the butcher who sat on the meat grinder – behind in my work. I was at low ebb……..
…….until page 49!
Now I’m raring to start writing again. I’m not completely off the good deed hook. I will be serving at the Damiano Soup Kitchen tomorrow but I will also get our refrigerator out of my dining room. New kitchen appliances are coming tomorrow and we will have a real kitchen again for the first time in two months. And who knows. with this ad in the Reader maybe someone other than my loyal brother will make an online purchase of my in process book. I hope so. Now I’ve got to pay for Reader ads too………… hopefully not “by my own darned self.”
And check out Givemhellharry.org too while you are at it.
My wife read today’s banner headline story about the Principal of Denfeld being placed on “Administrative Leave.”
She wondered why Ms. Sconiers was only placed on Administrative Leave six weeks after she hired an attorney to “investigate” illegal actions by the District. Goodness Gracious! That sounded pretty suspicious on the District’s part. Payback maybe????? Then, when I went to replace storm windows at church an hour later one of the crew wondered the very same thing.
Well, writing as the KING of investigating suspicious things about our School District I’m not overawed that a school principal under fire would want to be the first to fire a shot over the opposition’s bow. That’s what her claim of investigating the District is. Its served its purpose well by thowing suspicion on the District………a District which I must admit has been infamous for bad decision making.
While the public sits back waiting for another shoe to drop I’ll confess that I’ve heard rumors going back not six weeks but more like 12 weeks that the Denfeld Principal had flown a little too close to the sun with wax wings. Whatever the concerns have been, Ms. Sconiors has certainly turned the tables trust-wise on the Superintendent and his supportive School Board.
I’ve been in that position myself as a school board member. I just ran across an old letter I saved from the Tribune’s columnist on high-minded platitudes, Tom Wheeler. (I’m still awaiting any comment from him about the current President of the United States.) Back in 2003 Mr. Wheeler’s wrote me asking pointed questions about why a paragon of hockey virtue should be relieved of his coaching duties. Coincidentally, that subject will be a chapter in the book I’m offering for sale to finance my campaign for the School Board.
There will likely be a chapter on race relations as well. And it’s a chapter that keeps getting bigger and bigger. See the previous post to purchase a book.
Next year Joe Radinovich should be poised to replace Congressman Pete Stauber. Instead the big shot DFLer’s on the Iron Range shot him in the foot in their eagerness to give him a glorious sinecure until the campaign rolled around. They killed their best candidate to remove a Trumplican from Congress. Today the DNT reported that Joe has decided not to be the DFL candidate.
I suppose its too early to give up on the Democrats. Donald Trump is making hash of America and its values with the middle fingers he’s planted around the White House. I haven’t mentioned my inclination to challenge Pete Stauber in the GOP primary for a couple months but its on my mind. If I successfully sell my book about my experiences with Public Education I’ll have even more time to write a book to finance a Congressional Campaign on my experiences with the Republican Party shooting America in the head. Thank you Wayne Lapierre.
But first I have a school board campaign to win. To be clear. I expect to finish my four year-term on the school board. But if a lot of Democrats had just one candidate running against Pete Stauber in 2020 and they wanted to vote for an old fashioned Eisenhower or Teddy Roosevelt or Abe Lincoln Republican instead of a supporter of the gold leaf covered turd currently rewriting the Constitution I’d be happy to take those votes.
BTW – If you want to help my with my school board race I’ve made progress on my book. Feel free to put in an order for it. I’ve sold almost one forth of what I need to pay for the printing costs. A little help?
Just fifteen dollars although I’d appreciate it if you added a bit more so I could also pay for new lawn signs and mailing costs.
… about the Teacher’s Union right now. Let me tell you why.
Its not because after an extensive several hour grilling they didn’t endorse me. I didn’t expect one. I had a lovely time talking to them. I met with six groups of two to three teachers and at each stop I loved explaining my ideas to them in very engaging conversations. The last of them was with a couple of fellows who had to ask me why I wanted to DFT (Duluth Federation of Teachers) endorsement. I told them I’d never gotten it before, didn’t expect it this time, but that I’d love to have it as it would signal that teachers were willing to bury the hatchet somewhere else than in my head.
I did think that would be a wonderful message. But I know I’ve taken stands they didn’t like. I’ve been a tough contract negotiator. I’ve taken on two former DFT Presidents. So, of course they preferred a Second District school board member who would represent teachers rather than management. That’s David Kirby not me.
I haven’t asked Loren Martell if he got the endorsement because facing a very nice retired Duluth teacher he wouldn’t get it either. Especially after Loren keeps pointing an accusing finger at an equally Labor oriented School Administration. The DFT also got Jill Lofald elected two years ago and four years before that they elected teacher-friendly “management” in Bill Westholm and Mike Miernicki.
I understand this. I don’t bear any grudges. I’ve gotten elected three times to the School Board without Union endorsement. Its not necessary. I don’t even think the majority of teachers will feel compelled to vote for David Kirby because he got their union’s endorsement. Hell, whether David or I are elected the teachers will still have the same pot of money to draw their future salaries from. David can’t raise any more than I can. In fact, I’d argue I’d be much better for them because if anybody has the credibility as being fiscally trustworthy and believable when advocating for additional levy spending its me not David. I hope to talk our voters into giving our district more money to protect the massive investment in new buildings that Keith Dixon and his besties on the school board forced down Duluth’s throats. At most, David Kirby and the other Union submissive school board members will only jointly write a column encouraging voters to pass new levy referendums in a Duluth News Tribune that fewer and fewer voters subscribe to.
As for me? I’m a one-person, pro levy juggernaut. I’ve helped pass other levies before.
I might be expected to be frustrated that the DFT is blind but I’m used to human blindness. It’s a failing not a sin.
But what I am exceedingly disgusted with is Continue reading
The non political first:
Its so nice out I decided to take my computer to our sundeck to fuss around with my campaign. This is the first time in a decade that an eggplant has grown on our deck despite many failed attempts. We’re getting some tomatoes too. Its been warm and our potted plants wilt very quickly unless they are watered daily. I’ve been by myself all week as Claudia is in Iowa with our grandsons at a church camp. I dasn’t let the plants die in her absence.
I haven’t been as consistent washing the dishes. I try to avoid eating much because our Kitchen remodeling is on hiatus with the long planned vacation by our contractor. He raced to get everything lined up before he left but a three day hunt for a broken electrical wire necessitated the removal of most of the cabinets he had just installed. We have a sink and appliances now but they are all in our garage. Claudia has been washing the dishes in the bathtub but when I got around to them there were too many for my taste. I Took them to the basement this morning and washed them in the washing machine’s tub. It will be well into August before we are back to normal.
In 2006 when I visited Springfield, MO and the new Abraham lincoln Museum I found this t-shirt. Continue reading
My long quest for public office probably began in my first week of second grade in Topeka, Kansas’s newly integrated schools. Sent to the playground I climbed to the top of the jungle gym where I saw the black children from the segregated Buchanan Elementary School led into my school Loman Hill.
Yesterday I was the last of 25 candidates for local office in Duluth to give a speech to the 710 Club. This, is what said in my 3 allotted minutes. (You can listen to the speech in the preceding post)
“I have lived in Duluth for forty-five years. Or as I tell newcomers, I’m still a new kid too, here in Duluth because of that spider web that Alanna just talked about. School here. But I did come up here to teach and teaching and children is a major focus of my life. I’ve been on the school board, off and on, for twelve years. I got bumped off two years ago I’m, I’m not finished. I’m ready to go back again.
“One of your Mayoral candidates was up here and mentioned a horrific number that I’ve heard before. 246 of our 8000 children are homeless. I grew up in the Baby Boom. We didn’t have homeless kids in Topeka, Kansas, when I went to school. But we do now. And those sorts of children need people because that’s what a school is. It’s a People business. You have teachers and counselors who are looking out for the interest of these children.
“But our school board about ten years ago took a great leap of faith and they decided that buildings were particularly important. You heard Mr. Martell, my dear friend, who keeps track of the School Board and our finances, talk about that. But when I was first on the School Board about twenty years ago, we were taking about 20 million of the local levy and it was going into the classroom. Today its ten million. The other thirty million goes to pay off our wonderful new schools. But ten million dollars every year – that’s a hundred teachers, that we don’t have to deal with our homeless children, our children out west and the increasingly segregated school system out there. And it’s a terrible, terrible, change for this District that was doing quite well when I was on the School Board for the first time.
“Sigh. It’s not going to be easy to solve. You can imagine how a school board is going to want to have the public help it out but they didn’t give, they didn’t give us a choice when they decided to impose the Red Plan that diverted twenty million dollars (correction), or ten million dollars from the classrooms to buildings. Anytime I have a chance to uh, to come to you for money its going to be asking you to vote for it. I don’t want to impose it. You can imagine how much we need it with ten million being taken out every year until the Red Plan is paid off. My priority will continue to be those 246 homeless kids and all the other kids that need teachers.”
I posted this speech on my blog the same night I gave it. It reflects my fear that a war has been declared on public education in America at the very time that the rest of the world discovered how good America had it because of our universal public schools. We may have the biggest GNP for another decade but we won’t keep it without educated workers, voters and citizens.
At about the same time that I began my long stalled political career I began to experiment with writing. Today these two vocations are wedded together from the seed planted in me back in second grade surveying the world from that jungle gym. I have stories to tell.
NOTE: Usually its only presidential candidates who get a biography ghost written to impress people. I’m just a small town school board candidate. I don’t need to “sell” books to raise campaign funds which is how I started this campaign. From now on I’ll simply send a book to anyone who donates at least $15 dollars to my campaign. You can do it online. If you don’t want the book give it to a friend, or an enemy, or use it as a doorstop.