countdown photo – Day 59

I kept door-to-dooring until 8 PM. I’ve given up all hope of avoiding a campaign and am digging in. I waved my wife and grandsons off at noon as they headed for her family reunion in Iowa something I’ve never missed before. The boys will get to drive some big half-million-dollar-machinery. I’ll be door knocking from sun up to sun down while they are gone.

I will not quietly surrender my board seat to a well heeled candidate who just sent out a postcard to every household in Duluth that said only this: “Help me make Duluth Schools the Best in the state” That’s all it said. No ideas shared, No concerns, No priorities. It was just wave a magic wand and Shazzaam! If this candidate is elected and spends taxpayer money like that, instead of donor money, our children will be none the better.

Meanwhile I pass out my campaign lit on foot 400 to 600-a-day and chat with Duluthians about our schools when I find them gardening, washing their cars, or playing catch with their kids. I will keep this up until my 10,000 flyers run out or I get enough donations to print out some more.

I could have passed out another hundred lit pieces today in the Washburn neighborhood except that I stopped to have two long conversations. The first was with a woman who left the Denfeld Graduation last June in tears and steaming because of the cat calling as graduates picked up their diplomas. She was burned by her treatment when she brought up her concerns to the District and gave me an earful. I asked her to resend the letter she sent to all board members because I think her concern has merit and we should start early in the year preparing for a much more respectful graduation. While I’m an agnostic I do treat education as something sacred. Years ago the kids in my classes would tease me because I always wore a suit and tie instead of blue jeans. To me Proctor High was a temple of learning and I wanted to dress accordingly.

The other person I met asked me to pull up a chair in the shade. Her brother-in-law rescued Jews during the Holocaust and paid for it with his life. Her son, an old East graduate, joined us. I asked him if he took classes from the legendary East teacher, Burroughs. Yes he did and he shared some stories with me. The son was also one of the first business people admitted into East Germany after the Berlin Wall fell. Some conversations you just can’t quit to go stick political lit in doors.

Here’s my pic:

I AM DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED . . .Postscript

I, of course posted my letter to the blog for my eight loyal readers. (I know, I know, I recently said the loyal readers had doubled……but eight is part of my tag line!)

To my delight one of the newbies sent both Chuck and me this email after reading the post concerning my rejected letter:

“VERY WELL DONE. You’re “the MAN”!

ENJOY the weekend?”

She CC’d her comment to three of the folks on the editorial board. I think she was offering them a swift kick in the tuchus.

I AM DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED . . .Part 3

Chuck replied with an email including this photo of a photo Jimmy Kimmel sent him for a story we were both a part of many years ago. He wrote:

Hey again, Harry. Almost forgot. I finally took a picture of my autographed picture from Jimmy Kimmel. Sorry about the glare, and you may have to zoom in a bit. But I thought you’d get a kick out of seeing this …

(In late August I mentioned our discussion about Kimmel in this post.)

Setting my professional irritation aside I wrote back:

That’s fun Chuck,

Thanks for sharing that. As I noted before Jimmy has grown up since those days.

Harry

I AM DISAPPOINTED BUT NOT SURPRISED . . .Part 2

The justification from Editor, Chuck Frederick, for not accepting my reply:

Thank you for your submission. I’m sorry to inform you, however, that we have decided not to publish it at this time. Your Candidate’s View column was just published on Aug. 19, and, as you know we require at least 30 days between published submissions (with exceptions for syndicated and regular columnists, of course). We do consider exceptions to that rule to address particularly egregious or erroneous published submissions that demand immediate response. That doesn’t seem to apply here; your response doesn’t really specify or attempt to clarify or correct anything within Mr. Miernicki’s letter published today.

Despite your suggestion otherwise, we work very hard to publish elections letters by the Friday or Saturday prior to a vote rather than the Monday or Tuesday. That very intentionally allows time for necessary responses or corrections.

Please note that candidates will be offered another opportunity prior to the general election to submit a commentary for publication. Whether that’s this submission or something else will be left up to you.

I recognize that this isn’t the response you were hoping for. I do appreciate your respect for our decision, however. It was reached by our entire editorial board after a thoughtful exchange of viewpoints this morning.

With respect for your service to our community,
Chuck

My shorter reply:

I follow your reasoning Chuck. But your logic doesn’t consider the outsized credibility of a former colleague of mine who speaks with the authority of a past chairmanship. His was hardly a run of the mill opinion.

I will look forward to my next chance to share my views in the paper should I survive the primary. It will not be this one.

Thank you, and all the best to you.

Harry

NOTE: I made my point. Its not my paper. I believe in being personable more than I believe in being civil with that words frosty connotation. Besides, I like Chuck and this was a professional not a personal decision. And he was only one of six or seven votes on the Editorial Board.

I am disappointed but not surprised . . .

. . . that the Trib has chosen not to print my reply to former School Board Chair Miernicki. I’ll post that email exchange later today. For now I share the thoughts tat you will not be reading in the Trib prior to the Election:

To the Editor,

It has been a quiet year-and-a-half since my old friend Mike Miernicki stepped down off the noisy school board he chaired. His leadership in spending two hundred thousand tax payer dollars falsely accusing a colleague of racism, conflict of interest, and assault was a thinly disguised attempt to violate every teacher’s mission: encouraging students to ask questions. And such questions Art Johnston was asking: Why did the spending for “21st century” schools balloon to a half billion dollars? Why did promises of great savings lead instead to spending $11 million dollars less of local taxes in the classroom annually than just ten years before? How could laying off hundreds of teachers and swelling classrooms to 40 students be justified while 30% of its students were exiting the schools?
For Chair Miernicki, such questions called for silencing with false accusations of assault against a School Superintendent who denied it had taken place, on the word of a single witness who was later rewarded with the chairmanship herself.

With Mike’s retirement, these questions are again being addressed with few easy answers. It’s not easy to patch up a system that has cannibalized 11 million classroom dollars to repay building debt. Mr. Miernicki yearns to return to the good old days when a dictatorial majority could suppress debate by overturning the election of West Duluth voters.

Supt. Gronseth told one of this year’s candidates that, “campaigns can get ugly.” I’m just sorry the News Tribune’s editors would confirm this by printing Mr. Miernicki’s asinine letter on the Friday before the election leaving Mike’s victims almost no time to reply before votes were cast.

Harry Welty
Candidate for reelection to the Duluth School Board, At-large

Three days before the election!

Like I said in an earlier post. The Trib’s new motto could be “fair and balanced.”

Reader’s View: School Board election about moving forward together
By Mike Miernicki, Duluth on Sep 7, 2017 at 5:05 p.m.

The News Tribune’s brilliant political cartoonist Steve Lindstrom once published a cartoon about Duluth voters in the far future still being haunted by ghosts of the Red Plan. The message was prophetic. Duluth voters are faced with a choice to either move forward or continue the ugly battles of the past.

I commend the News Tribune’s Sept. 1 “Our View” editorial, “Voters can reject ugly battles of the past.” The endorsement illustrated how Duluth voters this fall have a choice between those School Board candidates who want to move forward (Josh Gorham, Bogdana Krivogorsky, and Sally Trnka) and those who seem to want to continue their tired battle against the Red Plan (Loren Martell and incumbents Harry Welty and Art Johnston).

The Red Plan is over a decade old. Superintendents Keith Dixon and I.V. Foster are gone. Superintendent Bill Gronseth had little to do with the passing of the Red Plan. None of the current School Board members were involved in passing the Red Plan. It is time to move on.

The editorial wisely stated that, “Voters can resist succumbing, once again, to the tired negativity, all the ugliness, and the mire of battles fought — and settled — long ago.” Let us move forward together.

Mike Miernicki

Duluth

The writer is a former chairman of the Duluth School Board.

I’ve sent in a reply, of course.

If the Trib doesn’t publish my retort by Monday there will be little doubt that the new motto, borrowed from Roger Ailes, will apply equally to the Tribune as well.

By the way, in that earlier post I commented that the Trib not only refused to endorse someone other than a demagogue for President but failed to defend the attempt to overturn Art Johnston’s election. However, I completely forgot to mention how the Trib failed to stick up for the right of Duluth voters to play a part in making the ruinous Red Plan decision. How Putinesque of them!

Three strikes?

CAMPAIGN PHOTO – DAY 60 AND COUNTING DOWN

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.

Well, I shudda known better than to boast

It turns out that Gary Westorff has me beat in his giving to school board candidates. His wife also gave Josh Gorham $500 making their joint contributions an impressive $1,500 for pro status quo candidates. If you don’t count the money I’ve spent on myself so far I’m behind Gary in funding candidates. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

So far the fundraising champ is Sally Trnka who has cash on hand, as of the latest report, of $3515 almost the equal of everything I’ve spent on my own campaign. She’s raised a close to a record $6100 to date for a Duluth School Board race. Not bad for a novice.

This is the first year I haven’t sent out a fundraising letter. I have about three weeks of literature to pass out so I’ll wait and see if my appeal (in the door to door piece I’ve been handing out) pans out. I need to make one more $400 dollar expenditure which will extend my lit dropping by another three weeks after that. I’ve got time to consider sending out a letter although my blog and the website serve that purpose as well.

My eight loyal readers have nearly doubled as the election season has started kicking into gear. I have, until 2016, always believed that voters make rational decisions when given ample information. Duluth voters have had forty years to size me up. They know my eccentricities. If I’m not reelected I’ll be relieved of the great burden of undoing the damage past school boards have done.

A critical email asked me recently what I had done for the Duluth Schools since my return to the Board – what educational initiatives I’d brought to the table or supported.

Before I jot down my reply I’d just like to note that for the first two years I was on the Board some modest inquiries for public data by Art Johnston and me brought about a two year Kangaroo Court persecution that embarrassed all of Duluth based on charges championed by the folks who are behind the candidates I haven’t been donating to. I was pretty busy defending the 2017 election results for those two years and had little time to visit schools or do anything useful. Nonetheless:

I pushed for more transparency in School Board actions leading to the videotaping of all of our meetings for the public to see at their leisure rather than at 4PM when many citizens are still at work.

I successfully helped replace rubber tire mulch that had our parents in a tizzy and giving them one more reason to open enroll their students elsewhere.

I helped conclude the best teacher’s contract possible with the very pro union majority on my school board.

I have cheered on Administrative attempts to better coach teachers.

I helped champion the work of Alanna Oswald which brought about the state’s intervention and funding to greatly help one of our struggling schools and, while they were at it, realigning our long neglected curriculum a requirement imposed upon us by the state of Minnesota.

I unsuccessfully, but forcefully, pushed for a more equitable spending of our funds for the western schools particularly the Compensatory Education funds meant for children on free and reduced lunch. Half a million of this is spent on eastern schools that do not generate the funds because they have a much smaller population of impoverished children.

I also tried to sell our costly empty old schools to get more money for our classrooms. Again, the same folks championing the candidates I have not been contributing to did everything they could to prevent these sales. This cost ISD 709 about $20 million dollars and cheated our students.

Oh to be in a majority! Check out the lawnsigns in my front yard……..when the construction crews leave.

I know, I know. You can only vote for two of these At-Large candidates. But you can’t miss with any of these three.

Campaign Photo – Day 62 and counting down

This is a cheat. I took it from my front yard. Every day for the past two weeks sand, clay and concrete molds have been what I wake and go to sleep to. Yes, I start and end my day at home but this isn’t door knocking. Although I did a fair amount of it today. Lots of folks said they planned to vote for me. They must read the opinion page to see what not to do.

I got a note from Old Central today worried because I hadn’t sent in my second finance report. I broke early to fill it out and so avoid criticism but it was pretty spare. The first one I completed a couple weeks ago showed $3,000 in spending. (Far too much but not nearly enough) This time it was just over $400 of spending with only a pittance left in the kitty.

I also got inundated with email from a skeptic who has been debating me a great deal lately. I passed on replying to the last couple because its not easy to text while passing out political flyers. The pointed questions raised deserve serious treatment

Oh, and the fellow I was so short with in yesterday’s last post. He also kicked in $500 for Josh Gorham. I’m still ahead of him.

Gary Westorff has a grievance

Gary is one of the Education Minnesota union leaders and was rumored to be likely to file for the Duluth School Board election. He makes a lot of money representing the union. A friend complained to me today that the President of Education Minnesota makes $200,000 a year while the Minnesota Commissioner of Education only makes $150,000. I told my friend that this was probably true in every state in the nation.

I suspect Gary makes as much as the Commissioner. That may be why Education Minnesota is planning to raise dues in light of the Supreme Court case that may not go their way.

As you can see Westorff is angry that I claim to be a former teacher. In fact, I told the Editorial Board one of my chief motivations for being on the School Board was my utter failure as a teacher long ago when teachers were so common School District’s threw them in the water like suspected witches in Medieval times to see whether they would sink or swim.

I also made light of my credentials for the biography Education Reporter Jana Hollingsworth asked me to send her. I was surprised how safe I sounded like in her story for tomorrow compared to what I sent her. This is what she got from me and cleaned up to make me sound more respectable. As you can see I didn’t tout my being a great teacher:

Hello School Board candidates,

We are putting together a preview story to run before the Sept. 12 primary, and would like each of you to provide the following:

Age (this will run in September, 1-2 weeks before the primary, so consider an upcoming birthday)

I was born in 1950 which makes me 66 years of age. I’ve outlived my Father by four years.

Occupation

Unsuccessful, long retired teacher, unpublished author, Stay-at-home Dad, Politician who lost 13 of 16 previous elections, If it’s true that we learn from our mistakes mine is a formidable intellect.

Family situation if applicable (partner or spouse, kids and where they go to school, for example)

Grandfather of two boys aged 7 and 10 who attend Northstar Academy. Father of two graduates of East High School, one a teacher in Two Harbors, the other in his last year of doctoral studies in Physics and Chemistry at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri. Also, a heavy cross for my better half, Claudia Scott Welty, to bear.

By the way – I am donating to the serious school board candidates who know something of what our District faces and are tough minded and honest enough to win over our public to the cause of fixing the problems past school boards have inflicted on our children. I have put my money where my mouth is. So far half of my yearly stipend for being a school board member has been donated to them.

Gary is a generous contributor as well. So far he’s given Rosie Loeffler-Kemp $500 but he’ll have to dig deeper than that into his six figure income to match me.

NOTE: The Welty campaign could use a little help. Consider donating here at: http://www.weltyforschoolboard.com/

Countdown photo Day 63

I think that sounds snappier as a title than counting up so I’ve changed it. Here’s today’s pic

When I went out to drop literature in Piedmont it began raining. So I took my door knocking friend out to eat and returned home to organize piles of paperwork. That led me to begin the process of mailing or delivering my snow sculpture trading card decks to donors. This is the basic package along with my thank you showing the dancing bear clay sculpture I used as a model for the real thing.

And my friend sent me this story as well. And if anyone wonders….

…I would absolutely join the union rather than simply pay “fair share.”

https://www.americanexperiment.org/2017/08/education-mn-braces-loss-thousands-members-millions-dollars/

On the other hand I can understand how the teacher’s union ran afoul of the new Republican Party forty years ago when it took such a pro choice stand with the dues of a lot of pro life teachers. I say that as someone who is about as pro choice as anyone I’ve ever met as my category on “abortion” makes clear.

By the way here are a couple of the comments I got at yesterday’s Labor Day picnic.

“Why didn’t you sell Central High to the charter school?”

“I don’t think teachers should be on school boards.”

As to the latter matter I simply said state law gives them the right. Its up to the voters to decide if there is a conflict of interest worthy of denying teachers that right. It would take a brave soul to vote against contract increases for your teaching colleagues.

a Twin Cities journalist friend comments on the DNT School Board endorsements

he writes:

Unbelievable “editorial board” decision by the DNT

They just have no shame at all.

Inconsistent too

Never have liked newspapers making endorsements at all. How much influence does that paper have anymore? The circulation is barely 20,000 daily now

the circulation and the staff is about 1/4 of what it was just 20 or 30 years ago

Ironically the Star Trib had an article today about the frequently brought-up topic about “getting along” with your fellow elected officials

Here’s that story. It rings true. Art Johnston could never get his motions seconded for discussions until I got elected with him in 2013. Because of Dixon era policy changes we couldn’t even get subjects on the agenda until Alanna Oswald was elected two years later.

Local Minnesota officials who often cast the lone dissenting vote talk of ‘life on an island’

They agreed the majority is eager for agreement and to avoid a public fuss.

By David Peterson Star Tribune

September 2, 2017 — 6:59pm

Janice Rettman said she never gets a second for the motions she offers on the Ramsey County Board. Continue reading

mowing the lawn and cutting my hair and other trimming

Almost eleven and I’ve been busy getting ready to pass out more flyers. Hope my unruly hair doesn’t put people off. I have to trim it and my lawn which has grown equally unruly with all the rain. I just got a call from my friend Tim of “Driving while black” who features in my DWB posts. He offered to pass out literature with me for a couple hours today after I snuck in a couple of quick posts.

And on the theme of minority board members MPR had a revealing story today about how white Minnesota school boards are. I noted that myself in an August 8th post:

By the way, I took some of those cards to the MSBA conference thinking they could serve as my new “business card.” I ended up only passing out a few. A half dozen went to African American board members and administrators. Their numbers are soaring over their numbers twenty years ago when I went with Mary Cameron to similar conferences. I’d judge they constituted a magnificent .016% of yesterday’s attendees. That is a ten fold improvement over what was closer to a .0016% twenty years ago. As one black superintendent told me when I gave him my card “people of color” would need to count on people like me (colorless I guess) for support on the equity front because there just weren’t all that many of them in positions of power in good old Minnesota.

By the way, I’ve been heartened in some of my door-to\-door conversations with parents of eastern children who deplore the uneven spending that kids in the western schools are getting. Until we can think of a better solution some of them seem willing to endure a trim for the greater good.

Labor Day (Day 5) campaign pics

Art called a little before I left to greet folks at the Labor Day Picnic at the Lakefront Festival Park. He’d just read the post about the Trib’s editorial snub and thanked me. He hadn’t wanted me to much write about him or his campaign but he appreciated what I wrote. I didn’t write it for him. I wrote it for me.

Art reminded me that four years ago when he attended the Labor Day picnic without the Labor endorsement, Alan Netland told him he couldn’t come in or pass out campaign information. He told me he ignored Mr. Netland. Its a public park after all. Then Art told me what his attorney’s told him about how the Christian zealots sued the City of Duluth for denying them access to Bentleyville and won court costs and attorney’s fees a couple years ago. I didn’t want to have a confrontation so I was grateful for that heads up.

After I arrived a nice young couple did explain to me in the nicest way possible that it was a Labor Picnic and that it was requested I not join the actual Labor endorsees in passing out campaign flyers. I just as politely declined to which one of the not-so enforcers apologized, “I’m just the messenger.”

I laughed and told her that as a member of the school board I was a messenger too and had plenty of sympathy for her. Later Al strolled by and gave me a friendly hello. Its amazing what Christian zealots can do.

I passed out flyers and chatted folks up for almost two hours. Everyone was extremely friendly and most knew who I was and many told me they liked what they knew about me. My trading cards seemed to be a hit too.

I paused to listen to the Labor endorsed School Board candidates speak. That was more than most of the people chowing down under the tents did. My pic of the day shows candidate Jill Lofald speaking. I told her later she gave a “spirited” speech. Josh Gorham stands next to her looking the part of solid candidate.

After I ran out of people I decided to spend an hour on Park Point to see if I could pop up some signs at the Ariel Lift Bridge end to catch all the traffic as it entered and left the point. I was so into the Labor theme I found myself singing the song I used to put my grandson Jake to sleep with. It was the old Labor song and 1970’s ballad, “Joe Hill.” I used to sing it to an ISD 709 school administrator of the same name too. I sang it between doors a Capella.

Listen to me sing the first two verses if you dare:
file:///C:/Users/Owner/Documents/2017/School Bd Election 2017/Trading Cards/Joe Hill.wav

Oops. I can’t figure out how to upload this sound wav. Just as well. Jacob liked me to sing songs about dead people. He always requested Hang down your head Tom Dooley too.

Oh, and I put up five lawnsigns – in less than an hour.

Order your own set of 50 snow sculpture trading cards here: http://www.weltyforschoolboard.com/

Day 4 campaign picture

Yesterday’s five hours of door to door ended with one very nice location for a lawnsign with two young parents who went to school with my daughter, Keely. I have generally been avoiding looking for lawnsign locations up to know because they are a challenge to keep up for a two month stretch. But this was too nice a spot to ignore. It was near this odd looking remnant of a once mighty pine. Now it looks like something out of Tolkien.

I had many lovely conversations with very supportive people.

Snow sculpture Trading card 48 of 50

Three people have told me that pictures have failed to appear in my recent posts. I was afraid that would continue but judging by Ms. Congeniality up above I have figured out a fix. I make some points with snow but I’ve mostly relied on word pictures to make my points over the last 40 years. I believe my word pictures are the reason I will likely defeat most of the Duluth News Trib’s endorsees for the at large school board position…….that and the fact that yesterday on a gorgeous day I spent five hours passing out literature door to door.

I’m bad news…..which means I’ve helped sell a lot of the Trib’s papers over the years. But the bad news for the Trib is that I report what the Trib is unwilling to investigate because it could offend advertisers and big shots. I think that helps explain my snubbing.

Their main stated reason for denying me an endorsement was that I couldn’t stop harping about the consequences of the Red Plan which this entire town has to deal with – lost millions for the classroom, lost teachers, and lost students. As ever the Trib’s leadership, now tied to the conservative Forum Communications group, prefers blinders and hates reminders. Reminders that they rooted for the Red Plan and joined the angry chorus of Red’s fans who brooked no dissent from citizens like Art Johnston, Gary Glass and me.

I could rest my case with a single editorial that is emblematic of their, finger-in-the-air-to-test-the-wind editorializing – their deplorable failure to point out that one of last year’s presidential candidates was a demagogue and a threat to our Democracy. The Trib was too chickenshit to choose an alternative to the Donald Trump. But that wasn’t their first offense against democracy. I saw their indifference to the attempt by my former school board to subvert the 2013 election of Art Johnston with petty, overblown accusations of racism (false), conflict of interest (false), violence and assault (false) that cost the taxpayers $200,000 and the good name of the Duluth School Board. The Trib was so consumed by a desire for payback against Art, who shows them little respect, that they were willing to abandon an election to curry favor with the pro-Red Plan mafia who hate being reminded that they screwed up our schools.

I, on the other hand, spent all last year warning that a demagogue was running for President because I’ve read enough history to know what could happen. You have only to look down this blog’s list of subject categories on the right to find “Trump.” This shrewd, billionaire, ignoramus even earned a place in my trading card deck of snow sculptures. Its by far the most disgusting pile of snow I’ve ever put in my yard. Jabba the Hutt pales in comparison.

Today I will passing my cards out to the folks at Bay Front Park celebrating Labor Day. Today only one in ten Duluth families have union members. That’s a sad decline from the 1970’s when over 30 percent of Duluth families had union members. I remember this well because back then I was forlornly running for the legislature as a Republican (albeit a liberal Republican). I managed to make at least one friend, however, Mike Jaros, my campaign chairman. He was the Democrat I tried to knock off twice in 1976 and 1978.

I’m big at predictions and good at them. And I have a startling prediction to make now, not about the Schools but about the next Presidential campaign. If Robert Mueller can’t get the goods on Trump for an impeachment I think Trump’s got a good chance of being reelected. That is how much disarray I see in the Democratic Party.

And among Trump’s voters will the 70 percent of Duluth families who were in union households forty years ago.

I’ll be passing out my cards to the remnant of the old union movement today and I fully expect most of them to take their voting cues from the Red Plan problems that have been heaped on their children and grand children rather than the endorsements that their union leadership is handing down to them.

When I read the Trib’s editorial page I often I see the flattery of imitation. Their slogan (at least where our schools are concerned) could be: “fair and balanced.”

How’s that for a word picture?

PS. I’m a journalist at heart. I was tempted to start a boycott of the Trib during the early stages of the Red Plan but never did. The Press, however plagued with humans it may be, is central to democracy. Every great newspaper had their fallible and myopic leadership – New York’s Horace Greely, Chicago’s Colonel McCormick come to mind. And who can forget Citizen Cane?

I’ve subscribed to the Trib for 43 years and I hope to die thirty years from now with a Trib in my hands. I’m rooting for the paper. We need it even if their endorsements can sometimes disappoint. And I can’t help but like all those folks who snubbed me. They have given me a great motivation to campaign door-to-door from now until November. Like everybody else in this town – The Trib needs me on our school board – words, warts and all.

Oh, and here’s my inspiration:

You can order all 50 cards for a donation here: http://www.weltyforschoolboard.com/

DAILY CAMPAIGN PHOTO 3

As you can see in the lower left there is a TV station logo on this picture. This is cheating. I was so busy passing out my trading cards I forgot to take a picture of Duluth’s Pridefest at Bayfront Park. I snapped this on the TV tonight as I remember these colorful balloons. In fact everything about this event was colorful. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone more observant caught a real rainbow during the shortlived showers that hit Bayfront.

I passed out several hundred cards and was impressed with everybody’s good cheer. Over half the folks who got my cards were from outside of Duluth so I asked them to show them to other folks they met and ask who this guy Harry was. My uber volunter four years ago insisted I attend. Everybody knew him and after I passed out my cards this year I felt like I was pretty well known too. Snow sculptures pics are a very nice way to say hello. I was there from 1 until a little after 3 when I had to race off for a rehearsal for a duet with my daughter at church tomorrow. Shes the one who has the pipes and studied and sang opera but I have all the high sustained notes. I’m cringing a bit thinking about soldiering through this (I listened to myself on my cell’s recorder) but I’m getting immune embarrassment. Being on the Duluth School Board has left me with pretty thick skin.

The official source for all the blather of the eccentric Harry Welty – Duluth School Board member, off and on, since 1995. He does his best to live up to Mark Twain's assessment: "First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he invented the School Board."