I think so.
What our current school board is in the process of doing is so egregious that I suspect ultra liberals, ultra conservatives and the most passionate libertarians will jump on board to counter them. It was bad enough that seven years ago that they embarked on a $257 million building plan to impose a school building project without voter approval. Heck, that was bad enough that lots of folks in the middle signed on to stop them…….only too late to stop them. Then the School Board talked compromise suggesting that they might build a somewhat smaller Red Plan to calm fears. Then they added to the cost by sixty million more dollars. That necessitated laying off teachers and cramming more kids into classes while cutting back on the curriculum. That’s the now that I would be raising money to address.
Even before this debacle I organized fundraising that generated $40,000 just from Duluth to take the District to Court. When the Court forced Let Duluth Vote to raise a $100,000 bond in case we caused an expensive delay to construction I managed to get that done too. And all this was when the benefit of the doubt still attained for the Red Plan and its supporters could imagine it to be an unparalleled benefit to our community.
Seven years ago when I first raised this kind of money far fewer people were on the Internet regularly. Now my blog is starting its ninth year and when I get typing my readership goes up dramatically. Yesterday I had 1,174 “unique” visitors the most since August of 2013 when the School Board campaign was heating up. I went back to check that month’s stats just now to see if yesterday’s totals were any kind of a daily record. Not quite. That August began with a day in which over 2,000 people visited my blog. I had half a dozen days that month with over a thousand visitors and ended with 7,000 visitors for the month. I believe that was mostly local Duluth readers which would be almost ten percent of the city’s population.
Not all of those folks are my allies, of course. I’ve had my critics over the years and I’ve proven pretty immune to the fear of being the tallest nail pounded down. A bunch of my old critics were at the recent Board meeting eager to see Attorney Mary Rice take apart Art Johnston. When I showed up on the front page of the Trib the next day after waltzing around making an ass of myself they were in high dudgeon. Then when I bone headedly spilled the beans on the sales price for Central they got a twofer followed by a nice critical editorial about me in the Trib. I suspect the Editors of the Trib, who I’ve enjoyed needling for years, got some satisfaction in that. I know I would have.
The challenge for my critics is two fold. 1. Making an ass out of myself twice has snapped me to attention. No longer will I make the mistake of telling Art Johnston that there is no way our school board could possibly be so stupid as to try to remove him. 2. I’ll be on this school board for another three years.
If the Board continues in its inept anti-democratic juggernaut they will hand me a lot more dynamite to post about. Three years gives me a lot of breathing room to figure out what needs to be done next. It will involve a lot of writing setting up fund raising websites etc.
I’ve sat on school boards longer than any other of my fellow school board members and I’m not so easily rattled as they currently are. Since Supt. Dixon the Board has gotten used to calling in the police at the merest hint of public disapproval. They even had Loren Martell handcuffed after he took to the microphone to criticize them. I went to numerous meetings where rancor ruled the day. Three quick examples.
A. I attended a meeting with 300 or more angry teachers clad in red t-shirt demanding a fair contract settlement and suggesting a strike was in the works. No police for that.
B. I attended a meeting (several of them) where a long line of angry hockey enthusiasts hurled insults at us for removing a hockey coach. No police for that.
C. In 2001 800 angry folks crammed into the 1000 seat Ordean Jr. High auditorium and beat us up because the Trib had written a story saying we were planning to close five elementary schools. Our Superintendent Almanza worried about the board inflaming the crowd put us in front of them without any microphones. I recall about an hour and a half of insults. I remember one of my fellow church members looking sick and appalled at the abuse hurled at us. No police for that either.
Ah, but I digress from the question that leads this post. As long as I’m not handcuffed I should be able to raise the initial attorney fees to defend Art Johnston. So far the only thing this Board has against him is character assassination. I’ll be happy to raise money to put that fire out.