Category Archives: Media

Reader’s Digest


The beginning of a “Drama in Real Life” published in the Reader’s Digest magazine exactly 70 years ago this month, November 1949 four months before Harry Welty came into existence as a zygote.

A couple years ago my friend Donna repaid the snow sculpture I made for her as she was undergoing chemotherapy. She had found a collection of a dozen old Reader’s Digests from the period between 1945 and 1953. These were the years of Harry Truman and the courting and marriage of my parents. It was also the when I came into existence. Although it was only last week that I began to peruse them it was the perfect gift.

In 1963 I was the new kid in my junior high. I had a funny Kansas accent. My seventh grade English teacher, Mrs. Jones, may have recognized this. Continue reading

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.

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.

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.

Rough notes

I’m not fussy about perfection which explains my comfort with the last post’s state – unpolished. Its an attitude that I think is useful to show students who too often think mistakes are some sort of blemish. They are great teaching opportunities….the same way that, theoretically at least, there are no stupid questions. I suspect a lot of missing homework stems from kids fear of showing their mistakes. I hated to write thank you cards after Christmas for the same reason.

I’m sure a lot of my readers remember times when they felt humiliated being called on by a teacher and not knowing an answer or worse yet being called to a blackboard and flubbing a math problem. Feigned indifference is one method of hiding this embarrassment. I remember a classmate of mine passing around his all-F report card in homeroom as though it was some sort of prize. I found out later (from a truly awful teacher) that the kid had the second highest IQ among my 454 classmates. If our President was not such an arrogant ignoramus his tweet flubs could be endearing.

My eight loyal readers have grown accustomed to my sporadic proof reading, tolerating it like an unmowed lawn next door. I trust that the contents I offer makes it worthwhile for them to come back for more. This post is meant to be a heads up to the new readers who check out lincolndemocrat every time I run for office.

I didn’t stick up more lawnsigns yesterday because it was too damp for my taste. This morning its still gray outside but I spent an hour in my garage yesterday putting the signs on bent up old stands. I’ll try to put up a few more today.

Oh, and I finished all my paperwork for substitute teaching. Now I have to study some online classes on how to sub in the Duluth schools these days. I got some hints from Paul Sandholm at the KBJR studios yesterday before we taped a school board candidate session for Sunday’s morning line up. Paul also told me that the Tribune’s and the Chamber of Commerce’s taping went horribly awry last week and the video was unwatchable. That was true not only for the school board candidates but for the Mayoral and City council races too.

Like students everywhere the Trib and the Chamber are only human.

Trump’s mistress Hannity gets highest ratings ever

I used to rib my now deceased “buddy,” Vic, that making Fox his go-to online news site was
Just begging to be brain washed by Roger Ailes. Today there is some hope for Fox’s news division.

As for Hannity’s all time high 4 million viewership? It reminds me of how when, during the passing of a hurricane’s eye, people in submerged houses escape to any higher ground they can.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/27/business/media/fox-news-sean-hannity.html

The Star Trib reaches out

I mentioned in my post about the last school board meeting that I met the new Minneapolis Star Trib reporter who will be covering education, or at least the Duluth School District, while living in Duluth. It turns out that there are four Strib reporters.

Katie just sent me this email as they start getting operations under way. I’ve filled out similar voter info forms for the Strib when I’ve run for Congress or the state legislature but not for the Duluth School Board. Here’s her note:

Hi Harry,

My name is Katie Galioto, and I am a reporter for the Star Tribune. I don’t think I’ve had the chance to introduce myself yet, but I am part of a new four-person team of journalists from our paper based in Duluth to cover local stories. I just moved to town this month.

I am reaching out because I am starting to compile information for an online Duluth Voting Guide we are working on putting together for this year’s municipal elections. We’re hoping it will be a good quick-stop resource for Duluthians looking to get caught up to speed ahead of Election Day with information on how to register, where to vote, etc.

We’re drawing some inspiration from the voting guide the Star Tribune produced ahead of the 2018 midterms, though our Duluth guide won’t be exactly the same. I’m attaching a link to that here in case it’s helpful to reference.

We plan on including a standard set of information about the candidates running in each race – so I am wondering if you would be willing to answer a few questions about yourself and your campaign. Here’s what we are asking for from each candidate:

1. A headshot in the highest photo resolution possible.
2. The link to your campaign website.
3. A short bio (roughly 50 words) – it could help to look at our 2018 guide linked above for examples.
4. Answers to the following three questions (using 50 or fewer words for each response):
…..1. Why should voters elect you?
…..2. In order of priority, what are the top three issues facing Duluth Public Schools?
…..3. What is your solution to that top issue?

We would need all this information by no later than Oct. 7 in order for our digital design team to produce the guide. Please let me know if this is something you’d be able to do.

Additionally, let me know if you have questions or anything needs further clarification.

Have a good weekend!

Katie Galioto
Star Tribune Reporter

My Reply:

From: harrywelty
Date: 9/27/19 5:54 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: “Galioto, Katie”
Subject: Re: Star Tribune Duluth Voting Guide

Thanks Katie,

I met you briefly at the last meeting. I will send you the info before the deadline.

Four of you? Whoa. The Stib is ambitious. If you get curious I have a free wheeling blog that has had a lot to say about the Duluth Schools over the last dozen years: Www.lincolndemocrat.com

I was on the board the 4 years leading up to the 2017 election when the Anti-Trump mania dumped me. I’ve had a nice two-year vacation but am ready to get back to work. If elected I’ll be starting my 13th year on the board.

All the best,

Harry

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphon

The humiliation of two skeksies and my modest ambitions

By far the biggest political news of the Trump era came today in the humiliation of two skeksies. If the world is lucky those humiliations will get considerably more expansive.

There is a reason that the BBC (British Broadcasting) became the source of conquered Europe’s news during World War 2. Someone had to keep shedding light in a dark time. They still shine that light. Check out how the BBC reports on Britain’s skeksie, Boris Johnson: https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-politics-49088773/boris-johnson-the-boy-who-wanted-to-be-world-king

For the same reason I rely on the New York Times more now than ever before:

The media outlets trumpeting the “Deep State” are close to outing themselves as the real deep state funded for decades by paranoid billionaires who have bought up once neutral news divisions and hired amoral shills like Tucker Carlson to foment a revolution of the downtrodden for the benefit of billionaires. Sadly, they purged all the moderates from one of two great political parties and financed political sycophants, such as Tucker Carlson, to take their place. Its a Deep State that is being pealed back by journalists who have tracked down the record and methods of these cynical opportunists.

For all my interest in the Duluth Schools I can not help but keep my wary eye out for the movement of these malevolent forces on the national and international level. The Fate of the Earth rests on the shoulders of democratic loving people all over the world who once looked to the United States as Ronald Reagan’s “shining city on the hill.” Now we’ve been soiled by a man who’s go-to spirit once seemed consigned to nowheres-ville until he infected a brash young Donald Trump with his creed – Never admit you are wrong or that or that you lied. Hit critics back a thousand fold and take no prisoners . Trump’s muse was the mentally syphilitic Roy Cohn.

I have never fully abandoned my ambition to win a higher office than the Duluth School Board. This blog has been my attempt to explain myself to anyone interested in taking my circuitous career seriously. Yesterday at the SB candidate forum I was asked about transparency and mentioned not only my success at getting the School Board to record its meetings for public view on Youtube but this blog that has been in operation since August of 2006.

I’m careless about editing. I’m often in a hurry. I bite off a lot more than I can chew. But, I strive to write honestly knowing that my point of view is just that and without confusing what I write with “THE TRUTH.” Considering all that, I’ve been pleased with the modest growth of my tiny audience. When I mention my “eight loyal readers” I am only being a little facetious. Here are my stats for my last month of 2017 with six more days to add and all the visitors of my first full year of blogging in 2007

Unique visitors for September so far 3,474
Total visits for September so far 21,829
Average number of times each visitor has viewed Lincolndemocrat for Sept so far (6.28 visits/visitor)

compared with the first year Mar to Jan of 2007

Unique visitors for all of 2007 9,957
Total visits for for all of 2007 21,229
Average number of times each visitor viewed Lincolndemocrat for all of 2007 (2.13 visits/visitor)

My totally improper disclaimer on my now-to-be-discontinued Reader ads (Paid for by Welty for School Board, a committee-of-one run by Harry Welty his own darned self.) does describe my campaign style. I was a lousy Republican and kept getting lousier at being one as the Party became a wall of nativist, self-interest. I refuse to defer to bullshit just to advance myself politically.

I have been promising a book called “First God Created the idiot…” I will write it but the demands of being a grandfather, doing good works keeping up with the deluge of the New York Times AND figuring out how to campaign all-by-my-darned-self has crimped my free time. Out of stubbornness, I am sticking to my daily hour of French study but I’ve only read one book from start to finish this year. After the election win, lose or draw I will get it written, published and sent to my small select cadre of donors. I hope that will be made harder by my election. I do really want to be returned to my life’s project of making the Duluth Schools wonderfuller. If I am elected I will start out running but my blog may take a hit. The time I take to spill so many beans on the blog will likely be shifted to finishing that book. It will be a relatively modest 100,000 words compared to what must be 10 million words on my blog. I do value brevity.





PS – As for my book title: First God Created the Idiot…” It comes from the ever acerbic Mark Twain. The quotation concludes…“That was for practice. Then God Created the School Board.” I love that quote. When I first got elected I quoted it back to everyone all the time…..to keep my humility in check.

Go ahead. A fifteen dollar donation is considered a purchase. I might not get it to you immediately but it will be every bit as readable as my posts in this blog. Gosh. I hope that doesn’t give “buyers” cold feet.

DNT Supreme

For the first time in years today’s Duluth News Tribune took up the majority of my news reading. NPR and the NY Times took a backseat.

Most of the list of news stories I would like to blog about today were covered in the Trib. I’ve already put in a longish piece on the 9/11 remembrance so I don’t want to put a burden on my eight loyal readers so whatever I comment on will be brief. I just wanted to say Kudos to the Trib. I hope their will be more mornings like this.

Another Republican King

For almost twenty years Iowan Steve King has been a rock ribbed “conservative” Republican in Congress. Calling him a conservative or a Republican should be an injustice to either term and King finally wore out his Republican credentials a short time ago by saying White Supremacy is what he learned in his school history books. He may very well fail to win reelection this November. Here is a story from the hertland not from Huffpost or CNN. It comes from the Sioux City Journal.
https://siouxcityjournal.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/at-western-iowa-town-hall-steve-king-jokes-about-forced/article_479ec7aa-cbc9-5d36-bbf5-ee3007c05130.html#1

King is one of those creatures who have been freed by President Trump to be become the very worst specimen of what Americanism gone wrong is like.