You pave paradise and put up a parking lot

I was originally going to title this post: Grandchildren defenders vs. Grandchildren Killers

I have not heard anything yet about Duluth Students participating in a climate Strike during school hours. If they do I’ll gladly support them

For the past month I’ve been sending the alarming news about the accelerating destruction of the Earth to myself for inclusion on a blog page and lay out why Global warming denialists must be challenged.

Here are some of them with a description of the content

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/19/762090471/north-america-has-lost-3-billion-birds-scientists-say

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/09/great-spawning-corals-becoming-undone/597466/

‘The Water Rises From the Ground in Our Yards.’ How Dorian Devastated the Bahamas. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/04/opinion/hurricane-dorian-bahamas.html

How One Billionaire Could Keep Three Countries Hooked on Coal https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/climate/coal-adani-india-australia.html

The current existential question for the human race is climate change. If we continue on the current path, some currently populated areas of the planet will become uninhabitable. For instance, coastal cities will be submerged and the whole nation of Bangladesh will be displaced. Everyone will be … http://flip.it/fWJadw

David Koch Was the Ultimate Climate Change Denier https://nyti.ms/2MyMbJB

This list doesn’t include stories about the massive burning of the Central African rain forest or massive burning in the Amazon rain forest or the deforestation of the Indonesian forests for palm oil plantations orr China’s funding of 150 coal burning electrical generation plants across the third world or the melting of virtually all glaciers on the Earth.

Everywhere one turns there is evidence of world trauma and the displacement of peoples caught in the middle of wars over diminishing resources.

I welcome the environmental activism of young people. I remember avidly studying the world’s geography in grade school when much of the planet was still labled unexplored in world atlases. Now the new world ethos is summed up in the song lyric: “You pave paradise and put up a parking lot.

George S. Robb Center for the study of the Great War

I haven’t figured out how to upload Facebook videos to my blog. This one came from the Historical Center named after my Grandfather. My Mom saw to it her maiden name became my middle name Harry Robb Welty. In response to the video I shared it with the following thoughts

After the Great War the largely white officer corps was happy to award white combatants medals for their heroics. And minority warriors? Not so much.

My Grandfather was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He told his daughter Georganne, my Mother, that he thought it was “politics” that got him his award although his commendation makes clear he had certainly acted above and beyond the call of duty. Furthermore, he took pains for the rest of his life to make clear that the African Americans he commanded were every bit as brave, if not more so, than any other soldiers. One of them, about whom he reported extensively, is now also being reviewed carefully to see if he too should have been accorded more consideration for a higher honor, perhaps even the Medal of Honor.

Park College has taken my Grandfather’s view to heart. I can think of no higher tribute in these uncertain times than to look back and make amends for the past. Park College’s efforts are a national treasure

https://www.facebook.com/parkuniversity/videos/2323225397941172/?t=14

If bad news is better than no news maybe the Duluth Schools will be OK

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.

My plate’s too full. I guess I like it that way


This is appropos of nothing. Its one of a hundred print ads my Mom drew for a boutique shop in Mankato Minnesota from the 1970’s through the 80’s. I check out a Facebook Page dedicated to the city and found that someone had asked a question about the history of Harpies Bazaar and since my Mother was one of the Harpies I offered some insights. There were dozens of its former patrons who raved about the shop on Facebook. I told them that this was one of a hundred or more print ads that Mom drew for Harpie’s advertising.

Attending to this took twenty minutes or so mostly to find some samples of her ads. It was a small diversion but I’ve got some bigger ones planned. Tomorrow I’ll head over and offer my voice for the next Duluth Symphony Chorus, practices every week until November 23. Then tomorrow I’ll start putting up thirteen more new storm windows for our church. I’m also getting the last bits of paperwork I need so that I can start substitute teaching in the Duluth Schools. I picked some elderberries for making jelly this afternoon. I keep posting in this blog and putting an hour in a day for French practice. Somewhere in this schedule I’m campaigning for the School Board and every now and then I peck away at the book I’ve promised my donors about my witness of America’s public education system.

The best part of all this is that I’m not getting any panic attacks when some of the more optional items get set back like the book-writing part. The challenge for me is trying not to wake up for long stretches at night pondering how to save America. Mostly I’ve been able to fall back asleep. I guess my plan, as such, is to stop blogging after the election no matter how it turns out. That will give me more time to write that book. Late perhaps but with almost two months to prepare for the School Board should I make it back on in January.

BTW – the Congressional run I’ve threatened again. That too is optional and, other than having a heart attack at every hammer blow our President pounds out to divide America, I’m feeling not a particle of pain.

Taking it on the chin

I will make one point about all the negative publicity the School Board has recently attracted in a busy week of editorials, op eds and letters-to-the-editor. Its no fun to take it on the chin. Most of us don’t have armadillo like armor just the Armadillo’s reflex to curl up into a ball.

I caught a lot of grief for disclosing the sale price of a since scuttled sale of Central High. I was a bone head to do it but when I did it I was under the honest, if mistaken, impression that the $10 million dollar sales figure had already been made public. That gave the censurers an excuse to embarrass me but my real “crime” was speaking my mind on this blog. And I got off easy like President Andrew Jackson when he was censured by Congress. However, what my Board colleagues did to Art Johnston, by attacking him through his partner, accusing him an NAACP board member of racism, and violence when the target of his “attack” denied that there was one; was far more vile.

So, please pardon me for an un-gallant moment of small mindness. I am gratified to have prima facie evidence that I was not the cause of all the school board’s dysfunction when I served on it between 2013 and 2017. Josh Gorham, who defeated me in 2017, has made it clear that, like me, he was appalled at the District’s hush hush attitude about public data. If there was ever any doubt that we are in the right, the $55,000 penalty Minnesota Courts forced the School Board to hand over to another “renegade” board member, Art Johnston, simply demonstrated that State law is on the side of transparency.

Wealth Taxes and :( sigh ): This

23 minutes – This comes from NPR’s . Its about the Ultra Rich wealth tax of Elizabeth Warren. Since my college days forty years ago I’ve been worried that an unfair system leads to pitchforks too. Look at Revolutionary France. Look at today’s Venezuela. Look at the Tea Party railing against the gentle treatment of bankers to gave us the mortgage crisis. https://www.npr.org/2019/07/24/744962126/episode-929-could-a-wealth-tax-work

It would take an amendment to the Constitution which would be a very high hurdle to leap over. I’d support it.

2 minutes – And then Donald Trump takes the one decent, laudable thing he said in the last four years and slits its throat: https://www.npr.org/2019/09/14/760683504/opinion-president-trump-claims-he-was-at-ground-zero-on-sept-11-but-was-he

The Party of Lincoln metastasizes

The “Deep State” that so many right wing broadcasters rant about isn’t really a communist-like threat from the left. The Popular Front was strangled by the FBI and the original Red Scare of the 1950’s. Today a Deep State is really the product of all the right wing ranters financiers like Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Brothers, The pro-eugenic’s FAIR organization founded by the Scaife fortune and the billionaire who owns news stations in 30% of the American Market the Sinclair Group.

These forces have all acted together to purge old Republicans like me in primaries by calling us RINO’s. (Republicans in Name Only) Sadly, most of the old moderates rolled over and played dead but clung to the Party and whoever it nominated for public office rather than turn their backs on a family affiliation that sometimes went back to the Civil War. As anyone who has followed my career in Duluth knows all too well, I don’t roll over and play dead.

Well the Sinclair Group put a vile ad on ABC stations during the Democratic Debate last night. It didn’t play in Duluth but it pits brown Americans against each other using one group as Uncle Toms calling (in this case) Latina Congresswoman Cortez an accomplice to the genocide in Cambodia. Instead of cut up fetuses, the Sincliar Group took AOC’s photo and burned it to reveal the skulls of the Cambodian holocaust from which the narrator’s family escaped.

Other than the villainy of this ad it offers rich irony with the narrator proudly calling herself a “Republican” at its conclusion. The mass murderers who butchered her family in Cambodia were child soldiers orphaned when Republican Richard Nixon began a secret and illegal bombing campaign over Cambodia during the Vietnam War. The Khmer Rouge, a nationalist organization, adopted and armed these waifs and waved the banner of Communism, but really, their insane butchery was more “Helter Skelter” and “Charles Manson Family” than British or French socialism or, for that matter, American Social Security.

Too bad today’s Republicans aren’t very likely to have the class to denounce this hideous monstrosity. The good ones, like Senator McCain, are a dying breed.

Revelations 13:5

This is a religious Trump supporter’s reply to a friend critical of the President:

“So I’ll say this….it is in my OPINION….its impossible to be a Christian and support the democratic party. It is evil to the core! And a mature Christian would be able to see past the Character of Donald Trump and see exactly what God is doing. If you knew what these tweets and things were really about, it would blow your mind. If you knew how God was using Trump, it would blow your mind.

You can try to manipulate the situation anyway you’d like…but it doesn’t change the facts. You trying to change my mind on something I know to be fact is like a grocery checkout clerk trying to tell a brain surgeon how to do brain surgery or that he is doing it wrong. It just makes no sense.

Bottom line is….until you get your head out of the sand, you will not see the truth. But…for me and many other scholars of the Bible, we know the truth.

Satan is the ultimate deceiver… he knows scripture inside and out. But all he can do is pervert it by mixing some truth with lies and the same problem goes on in many churches today. They read from the Bible but many times miss the correct interpretation. There are severe consequences for that.

Cheryl….like I said…I’m not here to debate. I’m not here to convince you of anything. I’m just the messenger. And if you truly see me the way you say you do….then that’s your choice. In the 18 years that I’ve been studying I’ve had approx. 10-12 people that have tried to push me from my beliefs and I have removed them from my life by choosing to not associate with them. But even Jesus had to do that and He taught his disciples to do the same.
Although it breaks my heart…I just move on and I focus on the thousands who’s lives have been transformed by the work God is doing in and through me.”

I’m not a Revelations kind of guy but it might be worth noting a prophecy from that book:

Revelation 13:5 “The beast was given a mouth to speak arrogant and blasphemous words, and authority to act for 42 months.”

Donald Trump Inauguration Jan 20, 2017
12 months……………. Jan 20, 2018
24 months……………. Jan 20, 2019
36 months……………. Jan 20, 2020
42 months……………. Sept 20, 2020

Election 2020 Nov. 3, 2020

Sex-Ed

I was invited by my friend Marci Stromgren to have her interview me again on her PAC (Public Access Cable) television show which is recorded in City Hall. While she was at it she invited me to talk to the conservative CRC group that will meet at noon today. I, of course, agreed. She proceeded to tell me about a proposed state law to teach sexual intercourse to children in forth grade. I have a grandson that age. I just dropped him off at his public school this morning. The law states categorically that children will be taught, among other things, “anal sex.” That’s what Marci told me and I told her I’d do a little research on the law before I arrived to talk to her or to the CRC.

Well, here’s an article that spells out the law and how the opposition feels about it.

The chief bad guys in this article are Planned Parenthood, various unnamed LGBT groups, (sorry that acronym is missing a letter) and Democrats.

I have mixed feelings about this law. If I read the article correctly the teaching of this unit is to be carried out by approved experts who will no doubt be comfortable talking about this topic but not our children’s teachers. To be frank, I’d prefer timid forth grade teachers to teach this just as reluctant teachers taught me sex-ed in my all-boys health class. My friend Jim asked Mr. Roloff, “Is it true women’s nipples get hard during intercourse.” Poor Mr. Roloff!

I was in tenth grade during this class not forth grade. Vaginas and penises were in the text book, albeit, as line drawings. Much was left to my imagination. My imagination, limited as it was, was much more pleasant than any pornography I’ve ever seen on the Internet.

I was in 7th or 8th grade when Sex-ed classes were first being introduced in Minnesota. They were very controversial. The opponants argued that it was up to parents to teach their children about sex. Perhaps that was because most parents would have rather died than teach their kids anything sexual other than suggesting to their daughters the old cross-your-legs gambit. My Mother, however, did want me to know a thing or two about sex. My Dad was less enthusiastic. I was even less so. Up to that point My Dad’s advice had been limited to telling me he preferred cowboy movie stars, like Hopalong Cassidy, who didn’t kiss in their movies. A few years later he got worried I wasn’t interested enough in girls.

Long before I could even imagine anal sex I had a serious talk with my Mother about why an older boy would cry when he was called a “queer.”

It was my Dad, however, who broached the notion of anal sex with me when I was about 17. He told me about a well regarded book he was reading about the poor of Pueto Rico. The story involved a young woman who had to prostitute herself to survive. My Dad told me how she engaged in sex with an American sailor but in such a way as to avoid getting pregnant. It was anal intercourse. The warning from my Dad had to do with the consequences of this safe sex. When the sailor pulled out he pulled her rectum out of her anus as well.

We have a very articulate gay Presidential candidate running for the Presidency today. That follows a GOP appointed majority of the Supreme Court who ruled that men can marry each other and women can marry each other. The American acceptance of homosexuality has suddenly bloomed. But even I have some qualms about sending in teams of professional sex educators to tell my Grandson in fourth grade about anal sex. And my Grandson was just in a play about homosexuality called Funhome where two young women tussled under the covers discovering the joys of sex – presumably non-anal sex.

Am I up in arms about Democrats? NO!

Am I up in arms about Planned Parenthood? NO!

Am I thrilled with this law? No. Sometimes I prefer being mealy-mouthed in front of fourth graders about graphic sex. Although, I rather think such education is so off-putting that its about the most successful deterrent to pregnancy since the AIDS epidemic.

So what will I tell Marci when I go and talk to her and her conservative organization today? I know! I’ll tell them to look at this blog post.

A much appreciated pat on the back

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

Quick thoughts on . . .

Transpanency: The Trib adds to the story of an unhappy school board. I offered the video and some context here.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/education/4655508-Duluth-School-Board-members-call-transparency-of-superintendent-search-into-question

Tonya Sconiers

I must admit that the summary of Tonya’s crimes seems a bit inflated by the District. You would never know that Tonya once slavishly supported Keith Dixon and the early reign of Bill Gronseth.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/education/4654848-Former-Denfeld-principal-Tonya-Sconiers-termination-letter-claims-conduct-unbecoming-a-principal

Stauber, National Crisis, parking lots

Yes Congressman Stauber’s spouse was a warrior in Iraq. But its not just money for a parking lot in West-point that is being diverted to protect America from Mexican “rapists.” It’s billions of dollars from national security to save us from rape. That is a crises and Pete is happy to stoke it. If we really cared about rapists we might have been a little more careful about who we appointed to the Supreme Court. Or maybe Congress would help fund 200,000 untested rape kits sitting on evidence room shelves all over America.

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/news/government-and-politics/4653800-Citing-crisis-Stauber-approves-of-border-wall-spending

“Sankofa” at Duluth’s AME Church

I was invited to attend St. Marks AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church on Saturday. I haven’t decided whether to attend but after reading this article I calculated that the church was built in 1888. That was the year after my Grandfather George Robb’s birth. My grandfather’s next door neighbor was Larry Lapsley who escaped from slavery in Texas during the Civil War. When the Trib story says St.Marks was built by ex slaves its true. The Civil War had ended only twenty-seven years before construction began.

I particularly liked the description of the Ghanaian word “Sankofa” because only a few days ago I was accused of looking backwards at the School District’s misadventures. According to the folks who cherish this word it “symbolizes a sense of needing to look back in order to move forward.” To that I say, “Hallelujah!”

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/lifestyle/faith/4655507-St.-Mark-AME-Church-reflects-on-131-years

Not ready for the Junk Man

One reason I missed NP Radio is because I woke up at one minute to seven (what a wonderful night’s sleep that was) and found myself with sixteen minutes to comb my hair and race up to our Church on Woodland Avenue. I didn’t want to be late for the Men’s group.

Today’s presentation was an explanation of the Superior Street Project by an LHB engineer. But before it got started one of our members, an old pastor, began by telling us the story of one of his church’s old parishioners. She was always busy helping everywhere. She was alone with a wealthy family to the east she had little use for. When she died the family insisted that her remains be sent to the East cremated and forgotten. The church couldn’t stop that but they could at least hold their own memorial service for her. It was packed.

Our pastor read us the Carl Sandburg poem he had read at her service. Its titled, “The Junk Man”

I AM glad God saw Death
And gave Death a job taking care of all who are tired of living:

When all the wheels in a clock are worn and slow and the connections loose
And the clock goes on ticking and telling the wrong time from hour to hour
And people around the house joke about what a bum clock it is,
How glad the clock is when the big Junk Man drives his wagon
Up to the house and puts his arms around the clock and says:
“You don’t belong here,
You gotta come
Along with me,”
How glad the clock is then, when it feels the arms of the Junk Man close around it and carry it away
.

After the reading my fellow bass in the choir offered the lyrics of the song “For the Beauty of the Earth.” It was the song my Mother chose for us to sing at my Father’s funeral.

As for the presentation. It was very interesting. For a hundred and twenty years our narrow main street has been left largely untouched under its “skin.” One of the many features which are being replaced touches on Old Central. The steam pipes from the Steam Plant that heats downtown buildings also heat Old Central. But we have steam pipes. I had been hearing that the school district needed to begin planning to retro fit Old Central for the new hot water heat from the Steam Plant. I doubt we’ve done anything yet. Not with the cost of fixing the old building having ballooned from $18 million to $48 million dollars. It needs to be done now before the steam heat is discontinued. Old Central is not ready for the Junk Man.

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.

Nine – Eleven Remembrance

I am sure that shortly after 9/11 I posted my recollection of events as a spectator. I haven’t found them as yet so I’ll mention some things now. I had a two-year-old website at the time. For the next half a year I posted this photograph I had taken of the Duluth East Choir during its 1999 trip to the East Coast. Across from Lady Liberty’s Island, which the Choir was visiting, I framed the choir under the Twin Towers. I made sure that my daughter’s smiling face was dead center. When the towers fell I couldn’t think of a better remembrance to share along with the audio of an East Choir recording of the song, “Lost in the Night” with my daughter singing the solo.

I woke up on the day of the attack in good spirits. I don’t recall what was on my mind but I flew into the School Superintendent’s Office happy as a lark. When a secretary told me that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Towers I shrugged it off with a joke thinking it was a cessna or something on that order. It was only as I got back into my car to drive home that I tuned into the National Public Radio and began hearing the details. Once home after my five minute return trip I turned on the television to a picture of the first tower billowing smoke. I can’t remember if the second plan had struck by then but I remember wondering if the tower, either tower could remain standing as they were consumed by fire. I watched the first tower fall then the second.

Two years ago in France I watched minute by minute videos that had been taken at the time by witnesses during the deadly wait for the towers to fall. They had been gathered up by our nation’s national security as part of the initial investigation as to what had happened during those hours.Like December 7th, 9/11 will remain a touchstone for those alive at the time. Last year, after watching the fall of the Towers all over again, Claudia and I went on to visit the Normandy Coast of France. In the iconic American battlefield cemetery overlooking the invasion site we stopped and watched as an American Flag was raised and lowered and given to a spectator. I wondered if the flag might have been given to a descendant of one of the men lost in the Invasion of France.

For a month after the attack I put up our American flag on our Portico every day.

Up until the attack my chief concern as a school board member to offer an excess levy referendum to Duluth voters to keep funding the Duluth Schools adequately. One member of our Board, Bob Mars, made up his mind to oppose the levy. That was ominous as previous referendums had foundered without a unanimous Board supporting them. I was so disconsolate I asked my greatest foe on the Board to meet with me so I could tell her I didn’t have the heart to push for the levy referendum. She begged me to find the spirit to fight for it and over the next few days I found that spirit. In fact, one of my most controversial moments took place when I gave a speech explaining the need for the levy. Later I asked a television station for their recording of it. I swore once and that was later used against me by some critics. I called it “My Damn Speech.”

The levy did indeed fail and I always blamed that in part on the terrorists who put such a pall on American spirits. It was just one more victory for them. Perhaps our current national disorder can also be pinned in part on their actions. Or, maybe, we should be looking in the mirror to see the cause of that.

9/11 remembrance

Maybe when the campaign is over I’ll push everything to the side and spend all my time on the darned book I’m hawking. But there is so much else going on.

I have a couple blank posts to attend to but I’ll give myself the day to crank them out. 9/11’s anniversary deserves remembrance. But I’ll get to it and the other posts later today. Stay tuned. A lot is on my mind.

Here’s the list of postings. I wonder how many I’ll get to?

Superior Street Project
Old Central Steam Plant conversion
The DNT’s surprisingly weighty issue today
Transpanency
Tonya Sconiers
the Synagogue Fire investigation
Stauber, National Crisis, parking lots
Home-builders feel about local fees a lot like poor people.
“Sankofa” at Duluth’s AME Church

Rosie had to clean out her Mother’s House

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.

Buildings are crumbling all around us

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