Cheap money makes us stupid

Eleven PM, Saturday. I should be going to bed. Feeling hot and sweaty. Just clicked a link to a blog post Vic sent me. This one is by the Atlantic’s Meg McCardle.

Meg predicts that we are in for a series of new financial shocks this time in the commercial real estate world. A quarter trillion of possible defaults could take place each year for the next couple of years. It may not be the end of the world but its not got to be good.

This passage comes near the end of her post:

The best explanation for the calamity that has overtaken us may simply be that cheap money makes us all stupid. The massive inflows of international capital, which Ben Bernanke has called the “global savings glut,” poured into our loan markets, driving interest rates lower and, since most real estate is purchased with borrowed funds, pushing up the price of property in both the commercial and residential sectors. Rising prices, in turn, disguised any potential problems with the borrowers, because if they ran into cash-flow problems, they could always refinance, or sell. Everyone was getting bad signals from the market, and outlandish purchases looked almost rational.

That answer isn’t quite satisfying, especially in the face of another financial meltdown. We don’t want ambiguity and complex systems; we want heroes, villains, and a happy ending. But by now we should all know that real-estate markets are rarely the stuff of fairy tales.

Read the whole thing but if you are not an economist or a commercial landlord you may have a hard time following it.

So having read it I’m all hot and sweaty. Why? Well, I wanted to be something of a political sage, like Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mocking Bird. I might be trapped in insane times but I’d personally stand up to the foolishness and do what was right. Well, I’ve not been very successful at that.

This notion of easy “cheap” money is much on my mind. Early on in my fight against the denial of a referendum on the Red Plan I ran across a UM Law Professor who was telling me about a book he’d been reading. The upshot was that bankers loved to have government borrow money because government in the US never goes bankrupt. All the state constitutions with the exception of one require that state’s never go into default. In Minnesota’s case ( and probably most other state’s cases) subdivisions like Cities that get into financial trouble can tell banks and bond companies to have the state pay up should they go into default.

Under these circumstances what banker wouldn’t lend government more than it could easily handle? And so Duluth’s school board got the biggest single school construction project in state history. It won’t save money on energy. It will cost double what the District told voters. The banks will be paid back by the taxpayers because that’s how it works. Easy money and everybody who is part of the project can hide behind school children and say Its for our city’s future.

I’ve been fighting two battles over the past three years having to do with the foolishness easy money provokes. The Red Plan is the first and its taken up three quarters of my energy. The other has been very personal and I’ve only alluded to it occasionally in the most veiled way. Continue reading

Teach your children well

Almost all textbooks in the US are teaching children that evolution is a big maybe because text book publishers bow to the standards required of them by the state of Texas. For a couple decades Christian fundamentalists have called the shots on what can be printed in text books. Most recently they determined that the US Constitution is an “enduring document” not a “living document.” You might have guessed that this is GOP speak for we don’t want any damn “librul” activists judges messing with our Constitution. Conservative activists they’re not so concerned about because to be a conservative (and not one of those damned fool RINOs) is to understand that America’s founding fathers were all good inerrant Christians who wanted to found the new Zion.

Pay no attention to that global warming stuff or evolution. You can’t trust those scientists anyway. This isn’t evolution at play.Tain’t no sech thing. Its just God’s wrath:

Oh by the way, this story is about how the entire world’s wheat harvest could be killed off in the next couple years. What might that mean? a billion starving people? Earthquakes and tsunamis and contraception pale by comparison.

Indeed, 90 percent of the world’s wheat has little or no protection against the Ug99 race of P. graminis. If nothing is done to slow the pathogen, famines could soon become the norm – from the Red Sea to the Mongolian steppe – as Ug99 annihilates a crop that provides a third of our calories. China and India, the world’s biggest wheat consumers, will once again face the threat of mass starvation, especially among their rural poor. The situation will be particularly grim in Pakistan and Afghanistan, two nations that rely heavily on wheat for sustenance and are in no position to bear added woe. Their fragile governments may not be able to survive the onslaught of Ug99 and its attendant turmoil.

When I was running for the legislature a decade ago I wanted to introduce a law that forbade Minnesota School districts from using any books authorized by the state of Texas.

Why the Civil War up north?

The Timberjay outlines 11 reasons.

Number 8:8. Conflict of Interest:

There is a serious conflict of interest in hiring a construction company to come up with a school reorganization plan. The design of the buildings maximizes linear runs for the benefit of Johnson Controls’ primary business. The buildings have a high surface area to volume ratio, more appropriate for California than northern Minnesota.

From an email rcvd 2 26 2010

My husband, two daughters and I attended registration at Duluth Central last night from 6-? Hundreds and hundreds of parents and students were there for the class of 2014. I can’t imagine the school in the fall with 4 combined classes; classes of 2011 to 2014 all in the school at once from Denfeld, Central, and the ones coming from Kenwood Ave West, who came last night from Woodland and Washburn Edison. It will be full indeed as we filled up the auditorium alone.

My husband had only seen the gym and auditorium years ago. He was stunned when he saw the rest of the school, flabbergasted I guess is a better word. He said, “This school is beautiful, are they nuts?” Why would they be tearing apart a dilapidated school like Denfeld and close this school? He graduated proudly from Denfeld I might add. I simply said to him, “Can you now see why I have been fighting so hard the past two years?” (I know many of you have been fighting longer) I showed him STC, he was even more shocked.”Why can’t they use this school for a middle school or something instead of wasting more money on that new school out by Wheeler?” Yes, Why? He is still in shock this morning. Now there is a perfect example of a Duluthian who is clueless as to what Dixon and these horrible Dixonites are doing. Of course the majority of Duluthians do not like the Red Plan and what it has and is going to do our our city and it’s children…but did they do anything? Say anything? Nope, just a few and we were such “trouble makers.” I will never forget they rest of my life the awful feeling I had in the pit of my stomach the day Tim Grover, standing next to KD said to me, “Betty, why are you fighting so hard? Give it up, it’s over, it’s too late” That was nearly a year ago now after a board meeting. It was like dictator telling citizens of a once free country, fighting for their freedom, give in, your fighting is useless, you can’t win because we have POWER

atoyoT two

I commented on Toyota’s troubles a few posts ago. A more fully reasoned commentary on the subject can be found here. (My thanks to Vic)

One paragraph from the post above about the lives we know we will sacrifice for comfort, speed and convenience is worth quoting in full:

And don’t imagine that we do not coldly calculate the price of a human life. In 1974, the speed limit was lowered to 55 mph to conserve oil. That also led to a dramatic drop in traffic fatalities — approximately 3,000 lives every year. This didn’t stop us, after the oil crisis, from raising the speed limit back to 65 and beyond — knowing that thousands of Americans would die as a result


Best and Worst

I picked up this week’s Reader Weekly. It is the Best and Worst of the Northland edition. I wasn’t terribly surprised to see that readers had voted the Red Plan as the “worst local government boondoggle.” Even less of a surprise was the winner of the “worst politician” category. It was Dr. Dixon, of course. (Good thing I didn’t run for the school board last fall)

Grounds for firing Dr. Dixon

You probably read reporter Brandon Stahl’s surprise at the sudden insertion of a new agenda item in the last School Board meeting. Dr. Dixon has had no trouble setting secret agendas and calling last minute meetings to have his deeds done. But this was different.

The Board has a policy that goes way back as to how a lone board member can get an item on the agenda on the board meets. To accomplish this the board member must get a unanimous vote of all other members of the meeting. I asked for such a unanimous vote on at least one occasion and did not get it.

This is important because the public deserves a chance to know what decisions might be made ahead of time so as to give their elected representatives their input and to prevent the rule of secrecy. These rules no longer count under the dictatorship of Chair Grover.

Ann Wasson brought a motion on Tuesday evening to name the two Red Plan high schools. Several board members objected to adding it but board Chair Grover permitted a vote to be taken by claiming it was related to part of an informational item on the Education Committee report, even though it had not previously been scheduled for a decision. While this decision caught several board members by surprise Red Plan supporters were clued in well beforehand and succeeded in getting about 150 people to the meeting. This was the work of Dr. Dixon’s cheerleader Mimi Larson who sent out the email posted previously encouraging her troops to turn out and stay the course on the Red Plan.

The surprise motion on retaining the names of the existing high schools passed on a 6 yes – 1 abstention vote, after Dr. Dixon read a “letter” from Mayor Ness offering his support for the Red Plan. NOTE: DR. DIXON MAY HAVE MANUFACTURED THIS ENDORSEMENT. MORE ON THIS LATER.

Even more reprehensible was the refusal by Chair Grover to put items on the agenda brought to him by two Board members some days in advance of the meeting. Continue reading

An idea

I’d be tempted to circulate a petition demanding a vote on the following question.

Any plaques placed in Duluth’s new schools commemorating their construction under the Red Plan will include not only the names of the School board members and the contractors responsible for their building but the following historical notation:

“This school was part of the single biggest school building project in Minnesota history. Under a dubious interpretation of state law and contrary to a statewide tradition this building was authorized by the Duluth School Board without the approval of the voting public in a bond referendum.”

I suppose any such referendum question would be non-binding on the School Board. Pity!

Its only another $45 million

From Duluth’s City Planning Staff

Notice of public comment period on the Environmental Assessment for the proposed Western Middle School

The City of Duluth seeks public input on an Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EAW) which has been prepared for the Duluth Public Schools’ Proposed Western Middle School. The approximately 75 acre site is located west of the existing Lincoln Park neighborhood between Wheeler Field and Skyline Parkway.

The EAW is not meant to approve or disapprove a project, but is simply a source of information to guide other approvals and permitting decisions. The information in the EAW process has two functions: to determine whether an Environmental Impact Statement is needed, and to indicate how the project can be modified to lessen its environmental impacts; such modifications may be imposed as permit conditions by regulatory agencies.

The EAW states, “the project will include construction of a new middle school to accommodate 1,000 students in the western half of the Duluth Public School District boundary area. The project will [also] include outdoor site components typical of schools, including but not limited to vehicle, bus, and fire lane access, loading docks, parking areas, sidewalks, athletic fields, and playground areas.”

Written comments will be accepted during the 30-day public comment period, which begins Monday, January 25, 2010, and closes at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, 2010.

The City of Duluth Planning Commission, as the Responsible Government Unit (RGU), will also accept public comments on the Western Middle School EAW at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, 2010, during its regularly scheduled meeting, held in the Council Chambers, Third Floor of Duluth City Hall, 411 West First Street.

The EAW is available for review at the Duluth Public Libraries located at: 520 West Superior Street; 105 Mount Royal Shopping Circle; and 5830 Grand Avenue, Duluth.

EAW without Appendices [File size 512 KB]

Full EAW [File Size 13.2 MB]

Written comments should be directed to:
Kyle Deming, Planner II
City of Duluth
Planning Division
411 West First Street, Room 402
Duluth, Minnesota 55802-1197
Telephone: 218-730-5329
Fax: 218-730-5904

The City’s AFSCME union employees are considering a labor action because the City doesn’t value them. After the brown nosing treatment they’ve handed the Duluth School District on the Red Plan leading to the tax rape of the citizens they work for….. Well ….. I’m just not all that sympathetic to their sorry situation. The voters are already paying through the nose for their wonderful new schools. Some taxpayers don’t have any more money left to pay for City services.

“It doesn’t seem even legal to me”

Forum communications has about as much respect for its duty to journalism as the Duluth School Board does to education or the public.

As contemptuous as I have been of Forum Communications and its lackeys in DNT management I feel for the reporters at the Trib. Among the better reporters is poor old Jason Stahl who is fighting a last ditch effort to save the remnants of the reporting pool at the paper.

Not surprisingly I appreciate his blog observations today which includes this:

And so it’s baffling to me what the school board did last night, which, if I understand, was to make a major decision on names for the future high schools last night that wasn’t on its agenda. Had DNT reporter Jana Hollingsworth not been there last night, the public might still not know about the decision.

I follow the school board and its decisions like an average citizen — basically what I know is what I read on the paper or what I see on TV. While I can’t speak out on an issue, at least I feel OK in the knowledge that their decisions were made with fair warning to the public that one was coming. But not this time. It doesn’t seem even legal to me that the board can introduce a resolution that night and vote on it, which is why I have a call into Minnesota Newspaper Attorney Mark Anfinson to find out what the law states on this. But even if it was legal, it doesn’t seem right.

“I hate Woodrow Wilson with everything in me.”


The quote above is from Glenn Beck. See the previous post. This picture shows one corner of my office where the visage of the despised Woodrow hangs sandwiched between my door jamb and a bookcase. Ironically, I don’t much care for Woodrow Wilson myself. I stuck Wilson up on my wall because he figures into my Grandfather’s life story. My Grandfather didn’t have much use for Wilson either.

His presidency was so long ago preceding the birth of my parents that I don’t bear him any personal grudges and I recognize his importance in US history. When this picture was offered to us I snapped it up along with the flag which was tucked into the frame. It came from the Iowa farmhouse attic of my wife’s Grand mother. The picture, I can’t quite tell if its a photograph, was given out by a national farm magazine.

I don’t know what Beck was reading or if he was drunk at the time but his understanding of Wilson is worthy of some Southpark treatment.

When I was a kid in junior high school and long before I was paying much attention to politics my rock ribbed Republican grandfather was telling me about what he characterized as the biggest mistake of his life. In 1916 when my Grandfather was 28 he voted for Wilson’s reelection on Woodrow’s promise to keep America out of the Great War. As my Grandfather was concerned Wilson broke his promise. Needless to say Wilson was the only Democrat my isolationist Grandfather ever voted for his greatest mistake. Subsequently FDR got us into WWII, Truman got us into Korea and Johnson got us into Vietnam. You couldn’t trust Democrats to mind America’s business as they had no respect for George Washington’s warning in his Farwell Address to keep the nation out of entangling alliances and foreign adventures. You can hear an echo from my Grandfather today when you hear Congressman Ron Paul the hero of one third of CPAC.

And yet it was the damn fool war Wilson tricked America into that made my Grandfather’s life a great success. Continue reading

Losing brain cells

Ten years ago I bought a book by Rush Limbaugh much to my wife’s annoyance. I got through a couple chapters of his mangled historical analysis before I gave up on the book before it cost me any more brain cells.

Rush hasn’t got a thing on his immatator Glenn Beck. Glenn, who pulled himself out of an alcoholic stupor to make something of himself gave the keynote address at the CPAC convention. They are the conservatives who love Dick Cheney and one-third of whom love Ron Paul.

George Packer who listened to Beck’s address – so we wouldn’t have to – gave a quick synopsis of some of Glenn’s historical analysis. I’m not sure Mr Beck really has given up the drink.

Beck puts on reading glasses, walks over to a blackboard that’s been wheeled onstage, and pretends to know things about American history that the educated people would keep from you. For example, the postwar recession of 1919-20 was worse than the Great Depression, which was only great “because of all the Progressive ideas to cure it.” He writes the word “Progressivism” on the blackboard. Progressivism is the main theme of his speech, the “cancer” that’s killing America, that has to be eradicated because it cannot coexist with the Constitution. Progressivism is Marxism and utopian Socialism. Did you know that Communists called themselves Progressives in the nineteen-thirties? To prove it, Beck reads from a 1938 Communist pamphlet that’s he’s just received from a fan, “Progress and Democracy in Rhode Island.” But the worst kind of Progressive was Woodrow Wilson. “I have to tell you, I hate Woodrow Wilson with everything in me” are Beck’s first words when he comes to the microphone. He holds Wilson responsible for the “progressive” income tax and for Hitler, who was created by the Versailles Treaty, which Wilson negotiated. And Wilson gave us Prohibition, which was the beginning of the campaign for health-care reform. Beck spreads his contempt around both parties, he hates T.R., too, whose Bull Moose Party was also called the Progressive Party (take that, McCain). Coolidge, though, was a great President, so great that Harding’s death must have been an act of God. Then came Hoover, another Progressive, who raised taxes and increased spending, which led to the Great Depression, which was not as great as Wilson’s.

You can read more from Mr. Packer and even listen to some of the speech at the New Yorker on line if you are willing to lose some brain cells.

atoyoT in the cross hairs

I don’t much care for Fox’s John Stossel. When he’s wrong I find his self importance grating. I think his comments about the hysteria over the Toyota safety issues is on target.

We have two Toyotas and my Prius was subject to the floor mat recall. In fact, Much to my annoyance the clip holding the floor mat under the driver’s side failed a year before I heard about the recall. It slid around for a short time before I took it out of the car.

According to the Toyota recall website:

There is the potential for an unsecured or incompatible driver’s floor mat to interfere with, or entrap, the accelerator pedal in the worst case, in the wide-open position. A vehicle with an entrapped accelerator pedal may be difficult to control and/or stop.

Long before I bought a Toyota I had other cars with slippy slidey floor mats. I suspect my fairly hurried removal of the Toyota floor mat might have been hastened because those other floor mats had interfered with either the gas or break pedal. I’ll bet this was the cause of other casualties long before anyone ever paid attention to the problem. According to Stossel’s column only about 19 people are known to have been killed over the years due to this design weakness in the Toyotas. The NPR story I was just listening to gave the figure at about 3 dozen people.

Toyota has apparently set aside some of their once vaunted emphasis on quality control and acted ham-handedly about this and other flaws. The recently released emails sound particularly damning although its hard for me to blame them for wanting to limit the recall to the floor mats as opposed to a recall of the whole car.

At least Toyota is being subjected to a little political scrutiny. Would that Johnson Controls faced the same.

Here are a couple more things to consider:

My removing my own floor mat without any prompting was not exceptional. As a child I used to stick my head out of car windows just like a dog on hot summer days. This was before we had AC. My grandmother would would have me pull my head back in by warning me about other daredevils who had their heads chopped off by passing cars. This was also before seat belts. It was my Grandmother who enforced a little common sense not General Motors.

And there’s this: Back when I was in high school more Americans were dying in car crashes every year than died in the Vietnam War over the entire decade we were stuck there. If more people had removed their loose floor mats it might have been even less. So, is this a good reason to kill the production of American manufactured Toyota’s during the worst recession since the Great Depression?

About 40,000 Americans die in car crashes annually now. How about we have our politicians mandate that alcohol sensing devices that kill the motor be installed in cars? That alone would probably save twice as many lives every year as were lost in 9-11. Of course, it would raise the cost of cars by a couple hundred dollars money which would be much better spent fighting terrorists.

Magnet Schools

Once again the DNT is channeling the Dixon line this time on Duluth’s magnet schools.

Its possible that Dr. Dixon could be using the lower achievements of minority children in the Duluth Schools to find a better way of educating them. I have become far to jaundiced about Dr. Dixon to believe this to be the case. I figure Dr. Dixon sees a million desegregation dollars and wants to spread it around because he has so many programming holes to fill since failing to pass operational levy for additional operational money and diverting other op money for Red Plan construction. This makes it verrrrrrry convenient to raid the deseg funds and he can blame the poor minority children for taking their money because it was their own fault they failed to achieve they way they were supposed to. Now one of the benefits of their magnet schools (and one of the few recognized ways to combat low achievement), small class sizes, will be taken from them as they are merged into the general school population.

Dr. D. has a laundry list of goodies to take the place of the magnet schools which are Dixonianly vague. ,The State Board of Education which seems to be about the easiest bureaocracy to hoodwink, will accept the rationale given them by Dr. Dixon to approve this and explain that its OK to try something different.

I note that the achievement of minority students seems to have fallen since Dr. Dixon got to Duluth. No doubt his constant raiding of the operations budget has had something to do with this as well as the gravitational pull of the Red Plan which has warped every part of the Duluth School District. Shortly after Dixon arrived in Duluth one of my former School Board colleagues wrote that much the same thing had happened in his former School District, Faribault. I dismissed her accusation at the time but I can’t help but wonder if she wasn’t correct.

One of Dr. Dixon’s fiercest critics in Duluth told me that Dr. Dixon said of integration programs and the children who participate in them that if a child hasn’t overcome his/her prejudices by high school it was too late to change them. For crying out loud the last presidential election seemed to show that an aging American voting public was able to set aside old racial prejudices. Kids are supposed to be much more malleable. Maybe she’ll read this and give my poor recollection the nuance I seem to be missing.

To me its clear that Dr. Dixon has a building fetish and children are simply an obstruction that he can move about willy nilly with the hope that once the disorder is over things will be put right. That will be something to look forward to in two years although it remains to be seen how long it will take for the voting public to approve an increase in local operational levies. Like Faribault it may not happen until Dixon moves on to greener pastures.

The magnet schools had their problems but it is worth noting that minority children and their families from outside the magnet attendance boundaries kept confounding the District by wanting to send their children to them. This, of course, turned the Deseg program’s goal of attracting non-minority children to the magnets on its head and subjected Duluth to the attention of the state. We weren’t meeting our non minority enrollment quotas. The letter from Jim St. Pierre, a social worker at Nettleton and Grant in today’s DNT makes it clear why this was so.

Under Dr. Dixon’s predecessor Duluth was making headway with minority children. That’s come to an abrupt end.

Doesn’t this make you proud?

As “conservative” pundits spread misinformation and falsehoods around to each other like a herpes virus concerning the Bush Administration’s mistreatment of prisoners, 100 of whom died in custody, its good to see a little disinfectent on the Internet:

From Glenn Greenwald of

Essentially, the current posture of the U.S. to the world is this:

Yes, we implemented a worldwide torture regime that we justified with lawyers’ memoranda that were false, wrong, shoddy, lawless, sloppy and extremist, but because those lawyers were such warped radicals, they probably believed what they were saying at the time, so we’re going to declare that we had the right to do what we did and are shielded from all consequences, even though we’ve signed treaties agreeing to prosecute anyone who authorizes torture and constantly demand that other nations prosecute their own torturers. Besides, we have important things to do and so we want to Look Forward, not Backward.

Ah yes. Always look forward.

Read the entire column which leads up to this caustic summation here.

No P virus

I am a little reticent about pulling my family into my blog. Not nearly reticent enough, however, according to my family.

I happen to think that a little personal revelation gives balance and perspective to my online rants and eye winks. Those rants and eye winks have diminished greatly since last Fall’s election because I’ve been attending to two year’s worth of neglected home and family projects as well as taking on new challenges. The biggest of all the challenges has been grandparenthood.

The Tan Man has a new little brother “Jakie-Jake”. The Tan Man even chose Jake’s first name. Like all babies the new brother is cute as a button and when placed in a grandparent’s arms immediately brings down the heart rate.

Ten days ago he also raised our heart rates by picking up something called acronymically the RSV virus. I find it easier to remember if I think of it as the “no P” virus (as in RSVP).

Like all viruses it disobeys God’s commandment not to evolve so that it is constantly finding new ways to bedevil folks. In Jakie Jake’s case it probably would have killed him if I’d been left in charge of him two friday’s back. He was turning blue but he’d just been to a Doctor who hadn’t quite realized how hard the virus would hit the little fellow. Hindsight allows me to see the reality I wasn’t able to see when I was holding him in my arms poking him with his bottled milk trying to get fluids into him per the doctor’s orders. I’d jab his mouth with its rubber nipple and he would open his eyes wide, look at me and then shut them again. He was not taking in his fluids. He was not pink. He was swaddled but not fighting it and not waving his arms like the little signal corpsman he usually is.

Smarter heads took him to the emergency room and within moments of admission he was being triaged and given oxygen to combat the apnea that would likely have done him in. He’s out of the hospital now but its been a hectic week. Even now its 4AM and I’ve been up a couple hours. I haven’t had so little sleep since my active war with the Duluth School District last fall and that was strictly a matter of conscience not life and death.

By the way, the RSV virus is running rampant in Duluth these days. When we brought Jacob into the hospital for a second overnight stay there were three babies with it in the same wing and a couple more in the emergency room waiting for admission. One online article my daughter googled told her that 2% of RSV infected babies get hospital admissions. The disease can be a killer. you can read more about it and its prevention here.

I still find time to consume information even if my public comments and postings have become spotty. I was sent this thought provoking column about the possibility of a surprising and well deserved Pulitzer nomination for the scruffy and disreputable National Enquirer. I would highly recommend it to the publisher of the Duluth News Tribune.

Cock’n bull from the Red enders

After several months embarassed silence on the biggest news story in the last decade the Trib finally poked its head out of the closet and reaffirmed its dreadful support for the Red Plan once again reminding its dwindling readership how out of touch the paper is with the community it so often fails to inform.

This offered great cheer to the Red Plan groupies who want to push asside the last roadblocks to the unnecessary Western Middle school project and the $45 million it will cost that could be better used mending a broken staff and violated student programing.

The hogwash hasn’t changed a damn bit and I’ve addressed virtually all of it before. If I had the time and energy I’d be tempted to rake Mimi Larson’s latest rah rah message over the coals. I’ll simply reprint her email here for your amusement and or annoyance.

Critics of the Red Plan should feel free to remind the public that they haven’t enjoyed the District’s rape and pillage. As an antidote to the Larson piece I’d highly recommend the damning personal account of how Amy Zontelli’s child is faring at Woodland Middle School which ran two weeks back in the Reader Weekly.

Now, without further adieu – Heeerrrree’s Mimi:

From: Mimi Larson []
Sent: Monday, February 22, 2010 7:54 AM
To: ‘Mimi Larson’
Subject: MoveForwardDuluth update: Time to speak out (again)!


Sunday’s News Tribune had impressive coverage of the District’s Long Range Facilities Plan (LRFP), Plan B and the Red Plan Plus. Proponents of each plan were given an opportunity to highlight the advantages of plan they supported and the paper provided a succinct graph comparing various aspects of plan operation. It was clear that each side felt passionate about their plan; however, in the end the LRFP was clearly the superior option. Fiscally as well as educationally. Just look at the graph if you have any doubts.

While I applaud the DNT for giving the public opposing viewpoints and comparison data to consider I have to admit I am tired of alternative plans. Alternative plans that by comparison cost the taxpayers more and provide less. Continue reading

“Sound familiar?”

From an email I received this morning. It comes from Northern St. Louis County:

Things are getting so hot up here, the School Board meeting scheduled to be held at the Orr School has been changed to the much smaller district offices in Virginia. I quess 300 people is more than this board can handle. The Virginia office can only handle 30-40 people.

A special meeting to discuss the contract with Johnson Controls, Inc will be held on the 25th, also in the district offices in Virginia. Power play, make us drive farther and discourage a large crowd. Sound familiar?