Welty Lawnsigns

I started putting up lawnsigns this afternoon. I covered the area between 6th Ave, East and to East High. I was afraid I wouldn’t have time to get started today so it helped when I woke at 3AM and got to work on my garage. By 10AM I was almost done. I loaded lawnsigns in my car but then I had to deposit the latest contributions and get lunch for my family.

I didn’t get started putting up signs till noon and I aimed to quit when my Grandson got back from visiting family in Iowa. I haven’t seen him in a week and I wasn’t going to miss his return for lawnsigns.

I got a kick when I stopped to put a sign up on Howard Gnesen Rd. and another car pulled up and asked one for her house. If these are as easy to get permission for as the Let Duluth Vote signs were three years ago this should be a breeze – providing I have time. I’m taking the afternoon off with the Tan Man and will have a little time after church tomorrow before my in-laws arrive.

This is a general call. If anyone would like to pick up some signs or have me deliver one to you tomorrow send me an email at harrywelty@charter.net.

I’d especially like to put them up on well traveled roads.

The only way to shut me up

My fellow renegade, Brian Matuszak, wrote in today’s Budgeteer column about me saying:

“Say you’re in Hermantown and you’re enjoying a Saturday afternoon doing “Hermantown-y” things – like counting all the businesses that used to be in Duluth – when, suddenly, your stomach starts grumbling louder than Harry Welty at a Duluth School Board meeting. What do you do? (About your grumbling stomach, not Mr. Welty. There’s really nothing you can do about Harry, other than elect him to office so he’ll finally quiet down.)”

Actually, if I went to a Duluth School Board meeting I’d be very quiet because Chair Grover would unplug the microphone on me then walk out of the meeting.

I’ve watched a few school board meetings on cable but I’d have little appetite for anything at Sam’s Club after witnessing them. Why just today at the Farmer’s Market a former City Administrator asked me how the Board could borrow another five million dollars and then announce that they magically had saved $32 million dollars to spend on even more goodies.

I protested that I didn’t have a clue what kind of accounting method the District’s finance office used.

He estimated that $32 million would be enough to return $900 to every homeowner in the District. That is a radical idea that has apparently not occurred to Dr. Dixon.

Ten day countdown

This election represents both the shortest campaign I’ve ever been in (two months) and the one I’ve spent the least effort campaigning.

I’ve had a dozen of my hundred or so lawnsigns picked up by others to put up but I’ve not put any up in the several dozen sites offered to me by contributors. I could have spent today doing this and that would have made sense because tomorrow its supposed to storm. Continue reading

“You immediately lost 64%”

Glenn Beck beckons your bacon.

The bottom line:

“A 2000 investigation in goldline by Congressman Anthony Weiner discovered that their average markup on numismatic coins was 90% above melt value and 47% higher than their competitors. According to the report, the 1/4 oz Proof Gold American Eagles have a melt value of $285. competirors sell them for $318 and Goldline sells them for $813. If you bought these as a hedge against inflation, you immediately lost 64%. The price of gold”

Needling the Press

Another email exchange between me and the Trib.

Editor:

Your letter is good to go, Harry. Thanks for your consideration and extra work.

Chuck

Me:

My pleasure, Chuck.

Its always fun to needle the press. And I appreciate the fact that you guys can take it and even offer suggestions on how to make the point go in cleaner.

Harry

Facebook Farce

Chuck (the Trib’s editor) pointed out that the letter-to-the-editor I sent him had a factual error that I will be changing tonight. He made a couple of good suggestions but I’ll wait till tonight to think about them.

The editorial endorsing Roger was extremely long almost as though its length would cover up its lack of substance. Driving back to Duluth this afternoon I could think of nothing of consequence that the Trib claimed Roger had accomplished. Oh, he set up Facebook. If that’s the criteria he’s your man.

I hate Facebook as a political tool. I have a Face bookpage I set up years ago that I rarely visit despite getting lots of friend requests. They come from both family friends and political junkies. That’s oil and vinegar. I much prefer my blog to communicate to the world (or one of my websites) and I much prefer email for collecting feedback and data.

If Facebook is the criteria for election to the State Senate Duluth has thousands of adolescents with bright political futures.

Giving Roger a scare

An avid reader of my blog from the Twin Cities sent me this audio clip from the conclusion of a political talk show on the June 11th KUWS show Final Edition:

Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to implant the audio here.

Greg Grell, Nick LaFave and Mike Simonson were talking politics. At the end of the broadcast Nick said that because of the Red Plan he thought I’d give Roger a scare but he didn’t really think I’d win. Nick’s a sharp fellow but he hasn’t been wading in Duluth’s politics for the past four decades like I have.

I only filed because my prospects were so good. A lot has happened since June 11th none of it adverse to my campaign.

Just in case you think I’m a jerk

A grown up relationship doesn’t mean holding grudges. In the old days Republicans and Democrats could fight hammer and tong but put their harsh rhetoric aside after an election. Now they believe their rhetoric and treat it as though it was handed down to them from Mt. Sinai.

The same should be true of pols and the press. Here’s the quick comment from the editor and my reply resulting from the submission of a tough letter to the editor this morning.

Editor:

Thanks, Harry.

As long as this hasn’t and won’t wind up on your blog we’ll work to use it in the coming week. Even if we sometimes disagree I appreciate the respectful dialogue. Good luck on Aug. 10 (and I do mean that!).

Chuck

Me:

Chuck,

I know you mean that. Withering sarcasm aside I like you guys.

Harry

More on Congdon

Here’s a little more background on the acquisition of property at Congdon. I received this email after my post this morning.

Would be nice if they finished a project before starting another. This whole plan reminds me of crafters who buy more fabric, yarn… and don’t
always get a project done. Too many irons in the fire.

Back when money was being raised for the lawsuit a man answered the phone at a home by Congdon that was slated for “property acquisition”. (does that phrase
allow the board to sleep better at night, not having to call the action by its name: forcing homeowners out)

He stated that his father had had a massive stroke and it was not known if he would survive. This son went on to say that he believed the stress of the district forcing his Dad out of his home had brought on the stroke.

The man also stated it was OK to repeat his story. You can bet the farm that the DNT would never print a personal story like that. . . . If the district would give me $230,000 for my house like it was worth 5 years ago I would be outta here.

And another sad fact, the design is very ho-hum at Ordean. Very boring. Thought this was going to be cutting edge. Looks very 90’s.

“Retain?”

Here’s the Trib’s Editorial endorsement of Roger Reinert.

I’m mostly pleased with the Trib’s editorial endorsement of Roger Reinert. I was but an afterthought but the Trib didn’t go out of its way to disparage me other than to say it appears my desire to have the state pay for part of the Red Plan is illegal. That changing the law is part and parcel of what legislators do seems not to occur to them. Perhaps this should not surprise me because the Trib seems not to understand that journalism and the news often go together.

Quibble Two: The headline uses the wrong word, “retain” when taking about electing Roger to the Senate. But Roger is not in the Senate. This is analogous to saying Roger should be reelected. Clumsy word choice.

Quibble Three: Roger is given credit for seeing that LGA (Local Governmental Aid) will probably die off in the next ten years. I told the Trib almost the same thing so Roger’s brilliant analysis seems to apply to me as well.

Quibble Four: This gushing compliment ” For two years, he’s been trying to engage Minnesotans – via Facebook, e-mailed updates, letters to the editor and other avenues – to partner with him and the Legislature to find solutions. The teacher in him has worked tirelessly to educate constituents about tough decisions that must be made.”

I’m sorry but for three years the teacher in me has created websites, a blog, emailed extensively, organized a grass roots organization, and kept the public up to date about an issue of surpassing importance that the Trib dismisses (Quibble five) as “hardly a statewide issue.”

Quibble Five continued: Just because the Trib finds the Red Plan tiresome and reporting about it likely to cause subscriptions to be canceled doesn’t mean that the theft of a vote is not a state-wide issue or that the cost of the biggest ever school building project does not have state wide significance. If every other school district in the state did what Duluth is doing the State would see something like 43 billion in construction without local approval. That’s almost seven times larger than the current state budget crisis.

Quibble Six: In the four sentences devoted to me in the Reinert endorsement the Trib published one good quote of mine: “I’m not afraid to say what needs to be said for fear of compromising my political future.” Considering how Roger and most other local pols hid under rocks rather than deal with the Red Plan I think what the Trib said about Roger: “He’s the DFL’s best option for representing our city on a larger stage'” would be better said of me.

Since this is now the public record I’m posting the editorial in its entirety here: Continue reading

Congdon parking?

A friend told me that the Trib just published a notice in the real estate section explaining that the school district had purchased a home at 3208 Greysolon Place perhaps for parking at Congdon Elementary. It was a hefty $230,000 price tag which is a fair amount to pay to level a house for asphalt. If this is for parking the District will need City Approval however with city councilors not much different than Roger Reinert this shouldn’t be a big problem even though the lot would be places in a residential zone.

My corespondent noted that the deal was closed in April and wondered why the announcement of the sale took so long to be published. I don’t know if the School Board discussed this sale but then the majority of the Board seems to have given the Administration authority to do such things without bothering to tell the board. Rubber stamping speeds things up.

This lot is approximately behind the home of my pro-Red Plan counterpart Mimi Larsen. Its nice to see that Mimi is putting her home’s selling price where her mouth was.

Mother’s milk

Here’s my Minnesota Campaign Finance Report.

Here’s Roger Reinert’s.

Sometimes I feel like an old dog who can’t learn any new tricks but I forced myself to learn how to enter all my data electronically. It’s gratifying to see the much younger Roger Reinert turning in his reports the old fashioned way on paper.

He’s currently got five times as much money as me. This is one election where that advantage may not amount to much.

In the beginning


This is the universe that the shepherd priests who took dictation from the Almighty didn’t know about.

Within the last year I read a very convincing article in my Discover magazine in which an astronomer lamented the absence of Earth Sized objects in the Universe. His lamentations were evidently premature.

Life, no matter how tortuous its definition, may very soon to be regarded throughout the cooling universe as being as common and tenacious as weeds. Of course, it took four billion years on Earth for life to start talking so we may not be borrowing any cups of sugar from an extraterrestrial any time soon.

Why I’m not a Republican any more

I got a letter from Falmouth, Maine the other day. It was the first of the sixty or so I received from my fundraising mailing that didn’t contain a donation. Instead I found a letter from a fellow who had once contributed to Let Duluth Vote and our lawsuit who told me that he left Duluth because he was “fed up with the smug chumps.” He said of his friends left behind: “Well now they’re being shafted by the RED PLAN, but I’m not!” To this he adds: “Its sad that you’ve gone DFL. Look at you’re DFL colleagues . . . how can you be one of them?”

The answer is that in spirit I’m more Lincoln than Democrat. But even Lincoln worked hard to pull a party out of disperate parts, No Nothings (anti immigrant), ex Whigs (big government), Free Soilers (abolitionists), Anti Slave Democrats (who simply didn’t want the Supreme Court to rule that slavery could be legalized in all states). In his second presidential campaign he chose a Democrat, the much criticized Andrew Johnson, to be his running mate. How about that for a big tent?

Today’s GOP insiders are doing their best to keep the GOP a small tent. Read this about the conservative, South Carolina Senator, Lindsey Graham, and tell me I should have stuck around. He’s being hung in effigy by the GOP’s Circular firing squad. C F Squads is how Democrats used to describe what they did to each other. At least I heard Lincoln’s name invoked and his wonderful quotation read aloud about ours being a government “of the people for the people and by the people” at the last DFL function I attended. As long as Abe is quoted somewhere even on the lips of folks in the other party our nation shall not perish from the Earth.

When same old, same old, becomes “an unprecedented partnership”

I think the photo of the three men with their grim demeanors is the best indicator of how innovative the District’s latest PR band-aid is.

I’d post it but the Trib would ask that I remove their copyrighted picture. Dr. Dixon will probably get all his Red Plan but I don’t think he’s having much fun any more now that he is a pariah in so much of Duluth. What better than to pose with the reasonably popular Mayor and the innocent new President of the local community college to announce “an unprecedented partnership.” Calling potato soup vichyssoise only hides its primary ingredient.

My daughter took PSEO (Post secondary education) classes at Lake Superior State in 1998 twelve years ago. In fact, two decades ago the college was administrated by the School District. When its relationship was severed the District’s Vocational Ed program got the soon to be abandoned Secondary Technical Center. That was a seven million expense that was doing a very good job but abandoned when a more ambitious building plan caught people’s attention and now it has been eviscerated in the name of brick and mortar.

Funding this with the City’s job training money…..Some may remember former Representative Dale Swapinsky who was paid by these city funds as a “dropout recovery” specialist for the District with the job training funds. Too bad the city has more homeless kids than ever with fewer programs to keep them in schools. Fortunately the District is able to hide this fact probably because even more children have fled to other schools.

The funniest thing I’ve read about this trail blazing proposal is the idea of having students take “online classes” while at Old Central. Online education is intended to free students from school. They can be students wherever they have a computer, in their homes, at the library. Why should they go to school. This falls under the general title of distance learning. So the Schools will put kids on busses and take them to school no doubt frittering money away to have district employees monitor the kids while they are online.

Dr. Dixon has been described as an educational visionary when in fact he’s simply a very successful smooth operator. This well timed publicity strikes me as just the latest “good news” spin to give the Trib cover for endorsing Roger Reinert. But then again maybe I’m just flirting with my old nemesis cynicism.

I note the Trib’s timid editorial informing us that this could be a good idea. Yet again the Trib’s editorial board has good reason for timidity. A couple of the editorial’s sentences do get it about right:

The details are sketchy, a lot of what’s being talked about isn’t really new and the whole thing is at a vague visioning stage