Get your umbrellas

Gee Whiz, the School District doesn’t want the Sixth District Court to accept cash on the barrel head instead of a surety bond. No, No, No, The District wants a bond that could be turned in for $100,000 in cash. Because the taxpayers actually gave the court cash the School District wants the case dismissed.

This is Let Duluth Vote’s Ta Da moment and the District is raining on our parade. Let me rephrase that because we all need umbrellas. The District is wetting its pants.


As I was pulling into our Treasurer’s driveway to hand over $20,000 worth of cashier’s checks I got a call on my cell phone. A woman on the other end told me her Father who was 85 and frail wanted to help us out with a thousand dollar donation. She wanted to know if it was too late. I assured her it wasn’t and she will be dropping it off shortly along with her own less substantial contribution. My heart is still pounding.

Judicial politics

Brandon Stahl’s reliable which describes itself as: “A running conversation on city government and politics” has an interesting post on judicial politics. Its something I could discuss regarding the taxpayer’s case but which I ought not to speculate about just in case we raise our bond and the case proceeds. The post is titled. Spin the BUZZ: Retiree lawsuit edition


I just heard the Tan Man yell “Tunnel” from my daughter’s old room. He wants her to crawl under the covers of her bed and lift up the sheets to play under. That’s one of the things I missed in California. I’ve gotten spoiled by seeing him regularly. This morning he was talking to himself in his crib when I peaked in at him. He rolled his head over to look at the door and smiled when he saw me. He stood up with his hands outstretched and called “Moloch!”

That’s our yellow short hair cat with the short helicopter tail. “So what am I? Chopped liver,” I asked. When I turned around with the boy in my arms Claudia, who had followed a short distance behind me, turned around to scamper with exaggerated tippy toe racing steps back to our bed. “Grandma,” “Tunnel!” he shouted.

I tossed Tanner on the bed, Claudia lifted up the covers and we all crawled under them with Grandma and Papaw lifting up the covers into a “tunnel.” Moloch usually joins us to make it a foursome but this time he only skittered around outside despite the Tan Man’s efforts to entice him under the covers with us. I hadn’t fed the cats yet and I’m sure Moloch was more interested in luring me downstairs to prepare his breakfast.

Tunnels are one of the Tan Man’s favorite things. I think an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine helped inspire his enthusiasm for them. Its great fun to seclude yourself with your friends in the dark of a tunnel. I rather imagine Dr. Dixon’s school board doing the same thing for the past three years knowing, or thinking, that no one would interrupt their Red Plan reverie. What an annoyance it must have been for them when Gary Glass got elected with 60% of the vote. Gary’s no fun in a tunnel and they kept him prowling outside of it like our hungry Manx waited for us to come out.

Now I read that three and perhaps four of the incumbent school board members have decided to run for reelection to finish their Red Plan fun because, as Dr. Dixon says, it would be a challenge for a new board to figure out how to untie his Gordian Knot. He said much the same thing two years ago before he had pulled it quite so tight.


Do you have friends and business associates who have been sold a bill of goods and think the Red Plan will be a great new day for the Duluth Schools so that you have to bite your lips when they say as much? Are you a teacher fearful of being punished for taking a stand against it. If so I want you to understand that the money being put at risk in the bond will be kept anonymous. This is not being used for political ends.

If you step forward to post a cashier’s check or if you send a check our way we will keep its donor’s name to ourselves. Years from now after the lies and fraud behind the Red Plan are finally clear you can reveal yourself to have been one of the prescient few willing to oppose it. Until then your help will be our little secret. In fact, I’m not being told who a couple of you are. Even my Let Duluth Vote crowd is afraid of what I will put in this blog.

Another record month

To read this blog one has to be very interested in the Red Plan because for the past two years I’ve excluded commenting on just about everything else. That’s been a challenge for an ecclectic like me.

Yesterday I had more visitors than ever before in a single day, 320, up 70 from the previous record. By the end of today I’ll almost certainly reach an average of 200 visitors a day which would be a first. I expect a fair number of folks to check in to day to see if we make our bond. Since I’ve got so many of you here today I’ll apologize again for the fitful blogging from my laptop while I was in California and the absence of my spell checker. Hey, I’m only the pronouncer at the local spelling bees not one of the contestants.

As I begin putting a slate of school board candidates together I’ll attract a new set of readers and when the court date (should we raise the bond to proceed with it) nears in October even more people will join the crowd.

Whether we raise the bond or not I will put my attention into writing my book. My goal is to put it together in two months time which I should be able to manage with a judicious culling and editing of this blog’s posts. It will be like whittling a Sequoia down to a maple tree. The challenge will be to keep it fresh and find new material while keeping it to two-hundred pages. I like a good challenge.

I hope some of you buy it.

Babysitting money

Just before I left for the LDV meeting I got another email announcement of another $50 donation to paypal. After I returned a father drove up with an envelope from his children with a note for me. Its too big to fit here but you can see it atop the LDV website.

It contained babysitting money. $35.00 of it.

Id could sure use a little more of that spirit and cash. Yes cash. Checks take a couple days to clear and we’re down to the wire – 3PM Tuesday.

Picking up my slack

I went to the LDV meeting tonight drained of all energy. The $100,000 I kept insisting to all the skeptics in the group we could raise seemed pretty far out of reach by the time I headed to the meeting. Some of the folks I’ve been trying to track down are making themselves scarce. Maybe its that farce of a story about how expensive and unproductive Plan B is compared to the Red Plan.

Its Dixon’s blue light special. Tell the customers to spend twice as much by telling them it will only cost half as much. That’s the kind of economics which led to 2008’s recession. Keep the economy healthy by spending money you borrowed.

Well, the LDV folks would have none of my defeatism tonight. They have become the believers. We won’t be standing corners holding out tin cups so I can only hope their confidence is borne out. We had $6,500 a few days before I left for San Francisco. Now nine days later we have almost $25,000. It would be a shame to fall short.

Tomorrow’s 3PM deadline – Cash please

Here we are with just under 24 hours to go and we’re still short. 1150 $20 bills would put us over the top. Are there 1,150 Central Grads who would drop a twenty into a fundraising bucket tomorrow? Are there that many people who believe their vote is sacred enough to do the same to put us over the top? Are there that many people who resent the heavy-handed way people’s homes have been taken by this “incurious” school board? I’d guess the answer is that there are easily and three or four times that many people living within a fifteen minute drive.

I can’t keep making calls asking for $1,000 or $500. I talked to one landlord who was on a roof repairing it. He’s got lots of vacancies. He said he would send us $20.00. Like a lot of other licensed rental property owners he’s hurting with vacancies galore and higher property taxes than ever. Thank you Red Plan and your ever increasing bonding. A year ago he could have kicked in a grand easily. Today he’s doing his own roofing.

I’m heading to an LDV meeting tonight where some of us might agree to put a little bit more in the kitty but not twenty-three grand. We need cash. Checks won’t clear in time but a crisp or wrinkled bill is as good as gold.

I’ll raise the possibility of setting up a bucket where donors can bring cash. Could the Central High face book’s get the word out? I don’t know. Would Duluthians ask their friends to turn over twenties and then drive them up to a spot where they can be dumped in? I don’t know. Let Duluth Vote’s volunteers are operating on fumes. I went on California without my head last week. It was stuck back here in Duluth. We are all that stand between the demolition of Ordean, Central and the rights of voters.

I’m sure there are 10,000 people rooting for us but we’re pooped. We need more than applause.

Shooting a lot of blanks

Its 4PM and I hate to admit I’m shooting lots of blanks fundraising-wise. I need 25 additional thousand dollar cashier’s checks tomorrow made out to the St. Louis County Court Administrator or our case is over. That would be a damn shame. Dr. Dixon got his money’s worth out of twisting the Red Plan inside out and trumpeting the bloody and inaccurate results in the Chamber of Commerce’s Newsletter otherwise known as the Forum Communication’s Tribune.

We still have the Environmental Impact Statement and four new school board members to elect but it would have been nice to have the Sixth District Court rule the contract between JCI and the District ruled unlawful.

Send me an email if you want to plug the hole in the dike or give me a call. I’m in the book.

Cash flow

One of our contributors will wire $5,000 to us from the East Coast as soon as we have $85,000 in pledges. It would be nice to have the rest tonight because we might not be able to turn that $5,000 into a cashiers check in time tomorrow even if its sent to us.

Keep that in mind. We don’t really want to be like those Public Radio fund drives waiting until the last minute to finish up.

Another $5,000.00

This is a good day. We’ve got another pledge of $5,000. Its better than a pledge because it will be in the form of a cashier’s check and given to us tomorrow morning.

And I learned something today I didn’t know before. For those wishinging to remain anonymous and avoid the risk of someone forcing Let Duluth Vote to open its books a cashier’s check will make this possible. Cashier’s checks don’t have to list the account from which they are drawn.

They must be made out to: St. Louis County Court Administrator. You can drop it by my house today or tomorrow morning.

Pure cash is also better. If you wanted to write a $200 check please consider making it a $200 cash donation. It can be immediately drawn from or added to the cashier’s check coming from Let Duluth Vote tomorrow. We will have a tidy little pile of them all made out to the St. Louis County Administrator.

Yeah team – another $2,000

It took a while but I got my first donation as I ran down my list of phone numbers. $23,000 to go. Readers who know some likely contributors are advised to email me the name, phone number and a little information on why they might like to contribute. I’ll call them before the day is out.

$25,000 to go

Like Public Radio’s final pledge days Let Duluth Vote is down to the wire. I’ll be on the phone from my house all day. Anyone who wants to pull in my driveway at 4th and 21st. Ave. East should feel free to drop a contribution in my mailbox off my patio.

I probably made a big tactical error by only showing donation figures of $500 and $1000. I was eager to get them and we’ve collected quite a handful but I came home to find an envelope with $100 in it in my mailbox and a township Board member’s phone message offering another $100. If everyone who had already contributed did the same thing again we’d have $125.000.

Feel free to copy and send this link to people on your email list to get the word out. I’d love to have 400 people drop by my house tomorrow with donations of any size.

We’ve got about 1/4th of the way to go. We’ll still need some big donations but every little bit helps.

LDV’s comparison vs.Dr. Dixon’ comparison

One of our LDV workers who has worked with ATS&R on the Plan B Presentation wrote an email pointing out the non delusional way to compare our Plan with the Red Plan. Dr. Dixon’s comparison twists Plan B around like a pretzel. If clear and unbiased thinking had been permitted the Tribune might have noted some of these differences”

Here is the debate and what should be talked about:

1. The School District refused to have a vote on $293 million of construction,
2. They aren’t being asked to answer why their class sizes are larger,
3. They aren’t being asked to answer why their plan costs $104 million more in construction costs ($184 million more if we only use Phase 1), [Note- Plan B allows for two phases one of which beyond repairs doesn’t have to be done unless a referendum OK’s it.]
4. They aren’t being asked to answer why their plan eliminates 50 teacher and staff positions per year;
4. They aren’t being asked to answer why their total tax levy is $127 million greater than our Plan B ($271 million if we only use Phase 1);
5. They aren’t being forced to answer why JCI claimed the all the schools would cost $254 million but ATS&R computed that fixing the all the schools would only cost $116 million. LDV’s claim that JCI bloated the school’s defects has been vindicated
It is up to all of you to correct the School District B.S. Don’t expect the DNT to do it for you.

The Sprint to the finish

Mysteriously absent from my blog reports over the past week have been my portion of the tally for donations. I headed to California with plans to make fund raising calls. I put them all off. This is supposed to be a vacation. I figured my time was best spent keeping track of what was happening and reporting it here so as to prevent a lack of information from sowing fear and paranoia. I’ve kept careful track of the dollars raised and who else needs talking to. I’ve got a long list of people to call. Other than blogging and checking up on phone traffic I’ve had that vacation. It would have been a dirty trick to our hosts and to Claudia to have saddled them with my constant communication back home.

I found a substitute to read the news for me on Monday at Lighthouse for the Blind’s radio show. That required asking my daughter to find the list of volunteer readers and phone back their phone numbers so I could find a replacement. I had lots of people in Duluth doing things like that in my absence. Remote organizing is a challenge.

I found a replacement and now I’ve got all of Monday and Tuesday morning to polish of the $100,000. With a little bit of help we’ll get it done.

Now for some coffee and my long trip home.