Bless you Mike Jaros

I was very pleased to see that a couple letters to the editor appeared while I was busy tending to family business over the weekend. They took a very different tack than a Mr. Keller who wrote a couple weeks back that Art Johnston was draining money from our children by defending his free speech rights. NO, NO, NO. Its the School Board that is violating Art’s free speech in a travesty of justice.

The first letter took the majority to task for harassing Art Johnston for asking questions that should be asked:

It’s time for all School Board members to have the integrity to ask such questions. It seems a judicious time to stop harassing a board member for raising these questions.

Then Mike Jaros weighed in with a full fledged rebuttal of Mr. Keller’s arguments. Here’s Mike’s letter in its entirety:

Reader’s View: School district continues to waste taxpayer money
Posted on Mar 29, 2015 at 8:33 p.m.

A letter March 15 claimed School Board member Art Johnston’s lawsuit will cost the district money that could have been used for children’s education. Why didn’t the letter state that when our school district hired a Twin Cities law firm to investigate Johnston it also cost our children?

The district spent $315 million plus interest on new schools, which was too much. It could have remodeled solid old buildings.

I am not against taxing and spending, as I am a liberal. But I am against wasteful spending, such as with the Red Plan, as conceived by Johnson Controls of Milwaukee. I tried to correct that mistake in St. Paul in 2007 and 2008 with a bill to require a referendum first. But Johnson Controls hired a former Republican legislator and revenue commissioner-turned-lobbyist, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he would veto my bill.

I lost and had to go on because that is the way the democratic system works.

What I cannot understand is how our superintendent and former School Board chairman are using hired guns and lawyers and even a retired judge to go after Johnston. Why didn’t they call law enforcement if they felt threatened during the incident for which Johnston was investigated? Probably because they didn’t have a case. It also seems they went after Johnston’s lady, a school district employee.

Sounds like what Vice President Dick Cheney did to Valerie Plame when ambassador Joe Wilson, her husband, said Saddam Hussein didn’t have nuclear weapons in 2003.

I chaired three committees in the Minnesota House and some members were difficult. But I never even imagined cutting them off when they wanted to say something with which I didn’t agree. Free speech protects even those who may be wrong. We should expect more from our most educated people.

Mike Jaros
Duluth

The writer represented District 7B in the Minnesota Legislature for more than 30 years, resigning in 2008.