Citizen’s actions speak louder than words

I promised a post knocking local leftists and I must honor my promises to make my Buddy happy.

On Saturday I paid a brief call onto the Copper Top Church where the seventeenth annual Citizens in Action meeting was held. Ostensibly a forum for folks to learn how to be civicly engaged and for locals pols to strut their civitas its pretty much a gathering of the government-ally inclined. The most centered of organizations include the PTSA, YMCA of Duluth, the League of Women Voters, CHUM (Central Hillside United Ministry and the American Lung Association of Minnesota. The other 22 sponsors were clearly left of center.

I went to many of these meetings in past years, often at Rosie Loeffler-Kemp’s invitation, back in my first incarnation as a School Board member. I went last year in my first month as a newly incarnated Board member too. Last year I met a young woman who wished to become a legislator, Jen Schultz. This is a good forum for ambitious politicians to introduce themselves and Jen succeeded in her quest. I was surprised when she sat next to me at the beginning of this year’s forum. She was very cordial.

Citizens would not bill itself as Liberal but I’ve never seen any groups there that would fit any conservative mold. Perhaps that is not the Citizen’s fault. Even so, it suggests that local politics is every bit as tribal as national politics.

I only showed up to make a brief appearance because my littlest grandson was staying at our house for the day and his grandmother and I had made plans to take him to the Paddington Bear movie. No politics these days can compete with that.

Seated to my right, at our table in front, was Tim. He’s the young black man I’ve mentioned in earlier posts about DWB’s. He told me he’d finally spoken with the Chief of Police to find out about that more to the story that Chief Ramsay had mentioned to my Buddy. If I didn’t have so many other posts awaiting their turn to land I’d explain it further but I will say I was pleased for the belated update he was able to give me.

Tim had spoken at the January School Board meeting only to discover that we Board members remain mute through the public comment time. Here is how Loren Martell described his appearance:

The first was Tim Davis, who asked two direct questions: “What will the school board do to hold the district more accountable for kids-of-color graduation rates; to close the achievement gap? And why has the school board not spent more money on diversifying its operations in all schools, district wide?” Young Mr. Davis paused and looked at the Board after asking these questions, as if expecting an answer, then walked back to his seat.

Tim is unfailingly polite even in confrontation.

I stayed through the guest speaker’s Rep. Erin Murphy’s talk on getting involved. Rosie Loeffler-Kemp introduced Rep. Murphy and following her speech gave directions for the 150 attendees about where to go for the following sessions.

I took my leave but Art Johnston passed on a curious story concerning Tim and Rosie this afternoon as we made plans regarding his efforts to defend himself from the School Board’s excommunication.

Art and Tim left the meeting when it was over (while I was watching Paddington slide down the stairs in a bathtub) and stood aside when Rosie hustled over to talk to Tim, who was the only African-American in attendance at the forum while I was there.

After Rosie hustled off Art asked what the conversation was about.

Tim explained to Art that earlier in the day he had stood next to the guest speaker hoping to ask her some questions when Rosie bustled over and told him that Rep. Murphy had a very busy schedule and that she didn’t have time to talk to Tim. Tim made no objections and left the speaker alone. Not content to leave it at that Rosie reappeared when she saw Tim and Art together at the end of the meeting. She pulled Tim aside to reiterate her explanation for having shielded the Speaker from the only minority attendee at the forum. I guess, Rosie wanted to make sure Tim understood her “Citizen’s Action.”

It was a lot like Tim’s first school board meeting.