My “community engagement letter”

The DNT will not print regular letters to the editor that have appeared elsewhere. However, Forum Communications will take advertising and now charges for publishing political letter to the editors, endorsements etc. I have been annoyed with this since the practice was announced a couple years ago although, I have to admit it has thinned out such regular endorsement letters from a couple candidates who begged tons of their friends to submit them.

A few days ago I posted a link to the letter my friend Kathy Bogan sent the Trib taking them to task for endorsing an “uncivil” Loren Martell. I believe that is a very unfair charge although, knowing Kathy, I don’t think she means to be unfair. But the Trib’s editors told me I couldn’t reply until November 17th over a week after the election. I opted instead for their community engagement letter AKA as an ad to make more revenue. Fair enough, but dammit, Half an hour ago their website told me I was going to get a confirmation email that would let me send in my letter. I’m still waiting for for the website I was referred to to sent me a notification that I am in their system. Its been 45 minutes and its still not in my email in box. Just in case I never get my “community engagement letter” in the doggoned Trib here it is. As a “paid” letter I guess there is no harm in my sharing it on my blog.

Here it is:

My friend, Kathy Bogan, criticized the editors of the Tribune for endorsing my friend, Loren Martell, in his fifth campaign for a school board seat.

I have known both Kathy and Loren for a long time during our school district’s tumultuous past. Kathy is an ardent caretaker of our children. Loren is the embodiment of speaking truth to power.

Kathy has called Loren’s justified critiques of school board members uncivil. Having faced unhappy citizen’s myself while on the school board, I see things differently. I have always asked myself, “if we can’t feel passionate about our children what can we feel passionate about?”

Loren Martell was humiliated by our school board during the Red Plan wars when his microphone was shut off during his allotted three minutes and he was handcuffed by a guard when the Board grew impatient with his criticism. Rather than fold under this coercion Loren dedicated the last decade to watching his tormentors like a hawk and scrupulously reporting on their work (including mine) in the alternative press.

I agree with the editors who endorsed Loren, saying that it was time he was elected to the Duluth School Board. I’d go farther. I believe that if there is any justice in the world Loren should serve on our school board. He will serve with distinction and humility. It is rare for someone with Loren’s keen insight on the complicated finances of public education or the duties of a public servant to offer themselves to voters.

I believe Ms. Bogan will come to see this in Loren as I have seen it in Loren for the last decade. Loren will do this, if for no other reason, than to honor the memory of his late wife, a dedicated high school art teacher.