This is the Lowell School where the League of Women’s Voters held the at-large candidate’s forum. I counted 36 people in attendance. Subtract the League officials and the PTA co-sponsors and the candidates and their friends and families and the Superintendent that probably left 8 civilians in attendance.
There is no recording of the event. My microphone didn’t work most of the time but I enjoyed myself and gave the shortest answers.
I gave up on door to door this morning because of the rain. Instead I opened up the book on General Stilwell and read to Claudia. We sat by a fire in our living room and managed to finish the chapter I’d been stuck on since China. it ended dramatically with the General successfully marching over a hundred castaways through the jungles of Burma just ahead of a Japanese invasion without losing a single person. When the newspapers back in the US quoted him about the Burma campaign he was terse and honest explaining that the Japanese had whipped the allies. This came after newspapers back home had reported that the Japanese were on the run. It was the beginning of his public fame as “Vinegar Joe” for not sugar coating hard truths. My kind of guy.
As I was heading to the League of Women Voters event Claudia was heading to a Tai Che class. When I got home she gave me a head’s up that the Duluth Reader will publish a scorcher of an attack letter against me tomorrow. It turned out that Bob Boone, its publisher, was also in the class and realized who she was. I guess he didn’t want me to be surprised. As I told Claudia it’s his job to print such letters. Claudia was impressed with Bob, the only male in the class, who she deduced was there because to support his wife. She thought that the huge Boone was very funny as he asked tough questions of a tiny, ancient, nun teaching the class.
There must be something in the water. First there was Gary Westorff’s snide comment on Facebook. There is this letter in the Reader, as yet unseen by me, and then I was sent to a link in the DNT’s website from Mike Miernicki commending the Trib’s editors for not endorsing me. I told the friend who sent it that I’d been tough on Mike and that I didn’t begrudge him his opinion. I think he’s as wrongheaded as ever especially considering the folks I talk to when I’m going door to door. Mike commended the Superintendent and pronounced him innocent of the Red Plan. I never told Mike that when I complained to the Superintendent about being kept out of contract negotiation talks four years ago Mr. Gronseth strongly suggested to me that there was just no reasoning with Mike about this. I have always doubted that Mike blew a gasket over my attending because, until Rosie Loeffler-Kemp was permitted to take my place, Mike sounded happy to let me take part.
I described the event after-the-fact here on the blog writing:
I know I’ve written about the episode but perhaps only in a hot email to Janna Hollingsworth or Art Johnston or Chair Miernicki. I was furious with the Superintendent and sent him an angry text message telling him how angry I was [as] I sat on a couch in his office while his tight little negotiations group met behind closed doors including Rosie Loeffler-Kemp a Board member with no more authority than me. It was Tim Sworsky that turned to me as I was about to follow everyone else in and told me I couldn’t come in. I didn’t blame him but I did blame the Superintendent and our Attorney for not following policy. He was just the designated bouncer. I let Mike Miernicki, who had agreed in a closed meeting that it was fine for me to attend, know too. Mike seemed confounded and caught in the middle. He eventually decided he had to side with the Superintendent’s position.
As for the rain. I took a little nap. (My grandson had crawled into bed with us at 2AM the previous night seriously cutting my zzzzzz’s.) Afterward, the sky looked better so I spent two hours going door to door after all. One fellow gave me a rapturous testimonial to his friend after I introduced myself. I doubt if Mike has ever talked with folks like that. He used his vinegar to try canceling Art’s 2013 election with allegations that never panned out. Frankly Mike and the Trib have a lot of gall to accuse Art and me of negativity. We were the victims of his Board’s wrath for having the temerity to request public data. I guess we can’t expect a newspaper to care about such things. But Mike likes that.