Tutorial on a Harry Welty campaign Part 1

What follows is how I will either win or lose this election for the school board. It may end up being 7, 8, or 9 posts. I got three hours sleep and then woke up wondering how much more I would have to spend to guarantee the kind of campaign I’d like to end my career with (assuming that at age 66 this really will be my last campaign – a tall assumption that!)

So here a a couple of preliminaries because I’m just too fussy to KISS (keep it simple stupid.) Stuff about me:

A. My favorite comedian is Harry Anderson. You may remember him from the tv series “Night Court” where he played a judge. Before that he was a comic magician and I think he once made an appearance on SNL. (Ah, I see he did) As you will see from this video his schtick was to show his audience how his magic tricks worked. Then he would end up confounding them anyway. Heck, that’s what all my Internet stuff from 1999 on has been – an attempt to explain what I do…….and yet I still confound people.

B. My Mother who raised me to revere her politician father (for his war heroism) once told me on the outset of a campaign that she really didn’t want me to be a politician – such was her disdain for so much of politics.

C. I’m sure I could fill out the whole alphabet but lets go on to the next post:

Lincolndemocrat eleven years ago – stats

I was curious to see how much more traffic the blog gets than the year I began it 2006, eleven years ago. Those stats are all available. I appologize for the sardine like packing but I’m too lazy to separate them for my reader’s viewing. I have the stats for the full October of 2006, 31 days. I’ll note one stat. At the end of thirty-one days I had 11,602 “pages viewed.”

So far in 2017 with five and a quarter days measured I’ve had 42,890 “pages viewed.”

2006 STATS

Day Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
01 Oct 2006 226 834 972 8.03 MB
02 Oct 2006 185 613 783 9.87 MB
03 Oct 2006 179 511 613 7.74 MB
04 Oct 2006 143 502 670 12.02 MB
05 Oct 2006 96 316 467 8.49 MB
06 Oct 2006 54 274 378 5.83 MB
07 Oct 2006 57 221 281 4.11 MB
08 Oct 2006 53 141 203 3.50 MB
09 Oct 2006 75 196 279 4.03 MB
10 Oct 2006 68 563 688 9.10 MB
11 Oct 2006 71 775 980 13.40 MB
12 Oct 2006 59 323 520 9.95 MB
13 Oct 2006 76 364 627 11.77 MB
14 Oct 2006 60 182 320 4.61 MB
15 Oct 2006 56 131 223 3.40 MB
16 Oct 2006 57 530 821 16.85 MB
17 Oct 2006 80 316 556 8.98 MB
18 Oct 2006 83 341 609 11.20 MB
19 Oct 2006 71 288 506 8.57 MB
20 Oct 2006 95 363 575 9.93 MB
21 Oct 2006 87 435 666 11.31 MB
22 Oct 2006 73 499 656 10.74 MB
23 Oct 2006 96 587 785 12.68 MB
24 Oct 2006 98 361 571 10.39 MB
25 Oct 2006 79 260 431 6.66 MB
26 Oct 2006 69 304 499 9.19 MB
27 Oct 2006 61 229 368 5.94 MB
28 Oct 2006 47 267 430 7.47 MB
29 Oct 2006 66 251 411 7.11 MB
30 Oct 2006 77 378 623 11.74 MB
31 Oct 2006 95 247 455 7.25 MB
Average 86 374 547 8.77 MB
Total 2,692 11,602 16,966 271.90 MB

2017 STATS

Day Number of visits Pages Hits Bandwidth
01 Oct 2017 381 17,680 17,936 100.08 MB
02 Oct 2017 440 10,559 10,916 82.77 MB
03 Oct 2017 401 4,655 5,015 49.43 MB
04 Oct 2017 455 8,484 8,893 71.23 MB
05 Oct 2017 422 1,315 1,697 40.17 MB
06 Oct 2017 132 197 245 9.30 MB
07 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
08 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
09 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
10 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
11 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
12 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
13 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
14 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
15 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
16 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
17 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
18 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
19 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
20 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
21 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
22 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
23 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
24 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
25 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
26 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
27 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
28 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
29 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
30 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
31 Oct 2017 0 0 0 0
Average 371 7,148 7,450 58.83 MB
Total 2,231 42,890 44,702 352.98 MB

If you are curious what I’ve written about past events related to selective subjects you can type in any phrase, name or subject in the search engine. Don’t be surprised if five hundred pages pop up all covering the term you typed in. Such investigations will increase the “pages viewed” stat greatly.

Into the rain

I was surprised to find I had 19648 steps on the pedometer today. I got a late start but kept working until dark and rain descended. I came home wet. I passed out a lot of flyers today filling in missing gaps in the region between Kenwood and Duluth Heights. I only have about five days of flyers left but I’ve ordered more which should be available by Monday.

On one of the roads I found a stand of beautiful blue flowers with an aspen backdrop. I have no idea who planted them but I deemed them worthy of a picture.

I don’t seek out conversations but every day I meet more people who have their own little slice of the public school pie to share with me. I’m on the right track. So is Loren Martell. A sample:

The narrative the DFL is selling–the great fallacy of this campaign–is that the conversation should have nothing to do with the past, that what happened over the past decade is irrelevant. In fact, in the DFL’s narrative, any glance in the rear view mirror should expose only one villainous group–the powerless Board minority members, like Art Johnston and Harry Welty, who were speaking the truth.

Blaming the people who had no power in the room is like blaming creditors who bring up the bills for a bankruptcy.
As the dominant, majority voice, it was the DFL-endorsed who rubberstamped Keith Dixon’s spending spree. It was the DFL that blew a thirty million dollar reserve fund, jacked the tax levy by $19 million, concocted a debt payment plan that robs more than $3 million annually out of classrooms to pay for swimming pools, and left the district so broke it had to raid its already pathetically under-funded maintenance fund.

21,000 steps and a mulch footnote


I just pounded in a couple hundred words and was on a role when my clumsy fingers replaced them all accidentally with nothingness and there was nothing saved for me to go back to. I haven’t had that happen to me for a couple years and it drove me nuts.

I began by saying I’ve been very busy juggling again. I offered a litany of things I have been doing this morning. Reflecting on it the most interesting thing I wanted to write about was the candidate forum held last night by our students.

The eight of us had a minute and a half to answer really big questions that each of the seven students present asked us. Most of the questions involved problems our kids face in class. Many of the replies were glittering generalities. I won’t say who glittered the most. I didn’t sugarcoat things.

I explained how twenty years ago when I was on the Board $14 million local dollars went into the classroom. I described it as a “Golden Age.” I then explained that this year only $2.5 million local dollars are going into the classroom. I then parenthetically mentioned the much decorated school counselor who heard me say the same thing earlier in the week and came who over to tell me that when she was hired she was one of 30 counselors in the District. Today there are only 12 counselors – the kind of people who might be able to address the needs the students at the forum were asking for.

I was surprised that Fourth District candidate who spoke immediately after me dismissed this factoid by saying that lots of other District employees had stepped in to do the work of school counselors.

Its becoming apparent that Ms. Lofald now views herself as a chief defender of the School Administration, by which I mean a single individual. He was in the audience listening at the time.

And yes, I got 21,000 steps in yesterday marching across Duluth Heights despite the donation of a pint of blood. More friendly but aggrieved people met me. Here’s a pic I took of the sights along my travels. The nest was closer to half again the size of my hand.

Oh, and of interest to Mulch folks. I just got my school board packet. You may recall that at the September meeting the Administration offered anguished justifications for paying an additional $12,000 for a mulch change order when a bare majority of us asked to table the expenditure until the October meeting. Well, the Administration now wants us to postpone the consideration of the expense until the November meeting. Vindication for us skeptics?

19,000 steps

After noting that I had yet to lit drop yesterday I steeled myself to do just that. I got in four hours (19,000 steps) covering a portion of Duluth Heights and was greeted by this not so little arachnid at one door. I got the willies when I saw him/her and subsequently dropped my literature when putting it in the screen door. It had the leg span to cover a fifty cent piece.

Compare it to the key lock.

I’m used to seeing large spiders in the early fall but they are more often orb spiders with fat abdomens. This looked like a baby tarantula. In either case they live precarious lives as a favorite bird snack.

So far I have covered most of my imediate eastern part of town and felt like I was getting a pretty good reception. That only improved as I moved west to the Denfeld area but this Central Part of town seems even more sympathetic. They know they and their children have been shortchanged.

At one door I met a woman as she was leaving her car and she asked if I was “lincolndemocrat.” That was very gratifying. We had a long talk about bullying at her daughter’s school which I’d never heard of and of grade school children sending emails to her daughter telling her to kill herself. Remember the last post about the counselor bemoaning the loss of so many counselors from her early years? So how did this mother deal with this issue. She reluctantly informed the schools then took her child out despite being a third generation Duluth public school student herself.

The current school board’s policy is to adopt an articulate but mostly symbolic anti-bullying policy and then sugarcoat some grim realities…..realities that are the direct consequence of cannibalizing classroom money to the tune of $11 million dollars annually to pay off loans to build new schools.

I told Chuck Frederick, the Trib’s editor, yesterday that I won’t be upset if I lose this election. That is the voter’s choice and I have other things to do. I also told him that I will never forgive myself if I don’t work my fingers to the bone to win reelection. That’s true too. In 40 minutes I’m scheduled to donate my 101st pint of blood. When I do this I’m always told to go home and avoid any heavy work. Today I will test that recommendation by resuming my leafleting of Duluth Heights despite a painful limp that I suspect comes from an undiagnosed bone spur in my left heel. Its a good pain and I’ll take plenty of liquids.

Tonight at 5 I will attend a school board candidate forum put on by our high school students. I’m looking forward to that.

BROKEN RECORD ALERT: You can donate to my campaign here.

Its sunny again so why am I not out going door to door?

Because I’m juggling right now. I just came back from the offices of the News Tribune where the Education Reporter had scheduled a half hour interview with me. She turned off her recorder with about five minutes to go and we had a candid cordial conversation about stuff she wouldn’t put in the story anyway. There’s nothing I would have minded her recording so she only saved a little battery power. I also stopped by to see the Trib’s editor Chuck Frederick and show him my proposed op ed piece. Its a little novel and I wanted to plead my case for putting it in the Trib as written. He saw nothing wrong with it other than some data he wants to confirm before he publishes it. I was pleased. It was a cordial meeting and I joked that my testiness with the Trib’s editorial board isn’t new. I recall twitting (not tweeting) the editors a quarter century ago long before he found himself in the Editor’s chair.

I’ve also been making calls to arrange for my first fundraising letter. It may go out Friday if all goes well. My hints to my eight loyal followers about helping out seem to have been falling on deaf eyes. I could use a little help as Claudia has been noticing my regular withdrawals from our bank account. She is good with the 70-hour-weeks I’ve been putting in to campaign but she seems to think that if I want to get back on the School Board there ought to be some tangible demonstration of help from my potential constituents. (That’s a hint and none too subtle hint at that. So is this link.)

I mentioned that there were some interesting happenings at the Ordean/East school board forum on Monday night. I’ll just mention one.

It went pretty quickly because for the six questions we were asked we were given one minute to reply. They were questions like do you believe in God, why or why not? You know, easy-peasey questions. I answered one of them in 31 seconds and another in about 12. The quick replies caught poor Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, who answered them after me, off guard. And one of my answers brought a school counselor over to chat me up. It was the astounding factoid (the one I’ll have to prove to Chuck Frederick) that twenty years ago our District put $14 million local levy dollars into the classroom whereas now we only put $2.5 million into the classroom.

The counselor came over to lament the loss of her fellow counselors. She told me that when she was first hired, in what I called the District’s “Golden Age,” she was one of 30 school counselors on the District payroll. Now she is one of 12.

She could obviously relate to the loss of $10 or $11 million dollars from the operations budget and understand how that impacted her. The kids she helps have critical, emotional needs that no teacher with 40 kids in a classroom can attend to.

As I told the East parents: Our school board could use financial experts far more than public relations experts.

Now I can go door to door.

Habitat for H2O

My rain gauge showed just shy of two and a half inches of rain. It was just one more setback to finishing up the intersection.

I woke up in the dark to find an ICO truck fueling up the heavy machines parked in front of our house. There was a foot of water sitting in the forms where sometime soon our new sidewalk will be poured. Yesterday the gutters were finished and a little asphalt was sprayed on fourth street. Its hard to imagine what will be attempted today.

As for me I’ll be working at Habitat for Humanity in Superior today. Our outside project was cancelled so I expect I will be doing some interior painting.

Yesterday it was rainy too and I made some headway on writing fundraising letters and organizing my next mailing. I also printed out some more flyers and stuffed more envelopes for door to door which won’t likely continue until Wednesday.

I also attended a PTA candidate forum at Ordean East last night. If I didn’t have to hop in the car and head for Habitat I’d mention a couple of them. But no time. Ta, Ta.

58 deaths, so far, in Los Vegas

I searched my voluminous files for the letter I once wrote to the Editor of the News Tribune calling for sensible gun regulation. It was noteworthy because the editors placed the picture of a gun pointing at the reader above it. I can’t remember how long ago it was that it was published. I didn’t find it.

But readers will find what I think of our promiscuous national gun policy in posts found in my gun control category.

Rendezvous with Dana

Yesterday at the Lester Park Rendezvous was a long beautiful day. Dana Krigovorsky and I had set up Alanna Oswald’s canopy the night before but we arrived just after nine and set up tables, campaign lit, and Dana’s selection of kid attractors including jumping frogs, balloons and some chewy candy. The later would pull off a crown of one of my molars before the day was over. (No prob. I already had a dentist appointment scheduled for Monday and I have insurance.)

The lines are drawn. Even as the sister of one of the other side’s candidates bemoaned the stupidity of the school board dividing up into factions that process has hardened into cement. The other side’s materials could be found in the DFL booth’s literature a couple spots down from ours.

Kurt Kuehn reserved our booth. He’s running for the First District seat. You will find my signs paired with his along London Road.

Dana Krigovorsky and I are the At-large contingent for the non partisan school board race and you can see a few of our paired signs already although I have discouraged Dana from putting up too many yet. They are a bear to maintain and she has already noticed that her signs are beginning to disappear especially in the vicinity of large clusters of DFL candidates signs. As I recall she told me that she had replaced eight successive signs at the home of one such black hole. I’ve told her its coincidental but new candidates are usually extremely sensitive to the general rough and tumble of a political campaign especially when each sign costs five dollars.

We were so busy passing out balloons, frogs and, of course, my snow sculpture trading cards that we hardly caught a breath until about 1:30. I placed my cards in a messy heap and told the kids to pick out the one that appealed to them. It was like watching kids pick out penny candy in the old days.

Dana is short for Bogdona. Mike Jaros who speaks several Slavic languages told me it means “God’s gift.” If she is elected she surely will be mine. Although being in the minority for four years improved when we grew from two to three in the last election its still not much fun when the insiders seem to be, well, insiders. Over the past month it has seemed as if the DFL candidates who are not on the Board have had the benefit of inside knowledge that has not yet been shared with we three actual board members. Something may be cooking with the Central sale. At least one of the DFL challengers hinted about some machinations that we actual board members in the minority have yet to learn of. An 11th hour announcement, perhaps, to help the preferred candidates? If I found myself in the majority I don’t think that would be a concern any longer.

Dana doesn’t care if folks call her Day Na. Its pronounced Donna as is Bogdona.

Wish us well. We don’t have a political machine shoving us onto the board and we will work as hard as board members as we have worked as candidates.

CONFESSION. I asked for a DFL endorsement myself this year hoping my antipathy for Trump would count for something. Nope. It was the first time in 16 campaigns that l asked for it so complaining is probably just sour grapes on my part.