Welty at his Zenith

There will be a lot to post today so I’ll start with the soul searching crapola.

The Zenith published a couple human interest stories in this week’s publication. The first is about the cold blooded acquisition of homes by holding the threat of eminent domain over the heads of homeowners. The other is mostly about my relationship with Tim Grover. Unfortunately the latter is hobbled by Tim’s unsurprising refusal to be interviewed about “personal” stuff. That makes it a bit myopic since its largely reported through my eyes because I’m as transparent as cellophane and enjoy talking to reporters. My supporters in Let Duluth Vote are likely to be disappointed that I don’t shoot Tim through the heart with a silver bullet.

The story of our old friendship is presented as a microcosm of Duluth, the civil war that divides the city. That much is true. I’ve been told that many family’s and friends avoid the topic of the Red Plan because its so divisive it could break them up.

I am a bit wistful about the old days. In all my years there has been no other person that I’ve more enjoyed talking politics with than Tim. We met twenty years ago when we both fought to keep Washington Junior High open. We both discovered then that School Board’s could be insular and impervious to common sense. Tim has has become what he once fought. Once a devotee of small government and fiscal conservatism he supports the Red Plan. Once a School Board member who gazed with detachment at a string of superintendents who emotionally imploded in the tough Duluth environment he has wedded himself to Superintendent Dixon.

The new Tim Grover promotes the Red Plan as though it was the best thing since sliced bread with the standard caveat that, “no plan is perfect.” Whereas Tim likes the Superintendent I consider Dixon a vain, unprincipled, manipulative, dissembler (That’s a polite word for liar). To me Dr. Dixon has sacrificed a pretty healthy public education system in a single minded quest to build grossly overpriced and mostly unnecessary new schools.

The husband of a former School Board member recently questioned my mental state. Maybe I am crazy but if I am its only because I’m publicly expressing what a hell of a lot of Duluth thinks privately. This plan is bullshit. (Apparently mental health depends on one’s willingness to just get over being raped) It also happens that I have the luxury of time to fight for my principles and the financial freedom of not having to worry that some local power broker will get me fired for threatening the gravy train. (Although I suspect Dr. Dixon has unleashed a pal or two to threaten me with lawsuits long before I ever took the School District to court)

When I ran for the School Board as a teacher who never quite made it in the classroom I was interested in what happened in Kid’s hearts and heads. That depended on what happened in their classrooms. That depended on good teachers. Schools are labor not capital intensive. People make a school. Buildings are barely even a close second except on a day when its ten degrees below zero.

In contrast Dr. Dixon prides himself on being a civil engineer. He lives to build new schools apparently at almost any cost.

He’s also a master of carrots and sticks. In Dr. Dixon’s world people aren’t much more than donkey’s. To disguise this unpleasant attribute he has mastered the ability to turn on the waterworks at the drop of a hat thereby suggesting a level of emotional concern that his actual work betrays time after time. Dr. Dixon’s heart is as tender as a brick.