The Trenti Law firm?

I understand that the Trenti law firm from the Iron Range represented the District in the scapegoat case. Why not a Duluth firm? What happened to Beth Storaasli who has represented the District for ages in such cases and her firm which is on retainer for the School District?

Maybe the District only wants a firm with a classy web presence.

Maybe no attorney in Duluth wants to represent the District any more.

Maybe this case required a ten-foot pole.

Tony’s short review

Tony Stauber, a former Duluth School board member and outspoken critic of the Red Plan had a short riposte for the pro Red Planners in today’s Trib

Here’s a sample for those who would like a little reminder:

Here’s a short review: The district had about 40 percent more space than needed. School population declined from 25,000 to an expected 9,600. In 1991, there were 15,000 students, and the board attempted to consolidate schools with minimal success. Recent school boards demanded a long-range plan be developed. A consulting firm was hired to do a thorough review of facilities. An advisory committee was appointed (all good community members) as a good political move to listen to recommendations with little advice being wanted or accepted. Community meetings were held to add credibility to the input process, but again, input was accepted but ignored. A plan costing about $300 million was presented and approved by the board, and a chagrined and dumbfounded community was incensed and insisted on a referendum but was ignored. Petitions and lawsuits followed, at least one still pending, but would be advisory only.


As a school board member I voted to expel a student who tucked a gun in his locker at Woodland Middle School. I had a son attending the school myself at the time so it was hard for me not to take the threat personally.

Now the Board has expelled a student for making a bomb threat. I’m not sure the proof was as cut and dried as our gun in a locker.

I’m reminded of the many innocents who’ve been railroaded into jail over the years when politicians were a little too eager to prove they were being tough on crime. Of course, our School Board in Duluth is under no such pressure from unhappy constituents so its unlikely they would deprive a child of a year’s education with anything other than rock solid proof of his/her guilt. Or is it?


I met with Myron Orfield two years ago to discuss the segregation that would acompany the Red Plan. From an assistant of his I learned that the Minnesota Dept of Education did not require the Duluth School District to make any study of the impact of the plan on minority students. She subsequently told me that the deseg specialists had indicated they would have spoken against the Red Plan had they been able to see it before the Commissioner, Alice Seagren, approved it.

The situation in Duluth isn’t the same as it is in the Twin Cities so this story on the re-segregation of their schools doesn’t apply exactly but a friend sent it for my consideration.

The thing I took away from my meeting with Orfield was his comment about how banks and lenders loved and pushed government bonds because they were always backed up by taxpayers. The Red Plan is sort of Duluth’s version of the Federal Government’s bailout of the banks. Its good for them but not so much for the citizens who will pay the interest to the banks for the bonds.

The fellow who sent me the link to the story made this comment to me in his email:

(I can’t tell you how many people I know who open-enroll their elementary age kids out of the district public schools. There are so many open-enrollees in the Parkwood neighborhood in Piedmont Heights that there is regular bus routes for Proctor, Hermantown, and Duluth public schools)

But does he have anything to say?

I just read the cute comment by Roger Reinert who got a little free publicity in a non related Trib story today:

“I have nothing to officially announce this afternoon,” he said, referring to Tuesday’s news that he will run for the state Senate seat being vacated by Yvonne Prettner Solon.

Like a lot of other politicians in the one party state of northeastern Minnesota Roger knows that when one pol retires the underlings get a bye into an advanced office……….if they can win the primary.

I’ve got the names of over 2,000 contributors in his district who GAVE donations to Let Duluth Vote to stop the Red Plan. Since Roger was for the Red Plan he could be in for a very tough primary. Hell, I’d help manage the campaign of any decent pro voter candidate who wanted to challenge him for what I suspect could be a pretty easy victory in the August primary.

Filing closes on Monday. If anyone is interested they should give me a call.

The CBO on the ARRA

To the best of my knowledge the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) is still considered one of the most non partisan analysts of the American Economy.

Among other things here’s what they conclude the result of Obama’s ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) has been:

CBO estimates that in the first quarter of calendar year 2010, ARRA’s policies:
Raised the level of real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) by between 1.7 percent and 4.2 percent,
Lowered the unemployment rate by between 0.7 percentage points and 1.5 percentage points,
Increased the number of people employed by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million, and
Increased the number of full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs by 1.8 million to 4.1 million compared with what those amounts would have been otherwise. (Increases in FTE jobs include shifts from part-time to full-time work or overtime and are thus generally larger than increases in the number of employed workers.)
The effects of ARRA on output and employment are expected to increase further during calendar year 2010 but then diminish in 2011 and fade away by the end of 2012.

YUP. Its left a legacy of debt that will have to be retired by Americans but that should be easier with a functioning world wide economy than a ten year world wide depression.

Its representative government when you get your way

Back in 1989 or 91 Barb was widely expected to run for the school board. She had been a particularly fierce supporter (as I was) of a huge $55 million building plan for the Duluth schools that was put up for a vote in a bond referendum. That bond failed and its supporters were furious with the people who had voted against it. Many of them have been waiting for a second crack at a big school building project and they have been the greatest defenders of letting the ever evolving Red Plan proceed without a vote. They are the ones who keep repeating the mantra that school board members were elected to make these decisions even though this is not true in any other Minnesota city.

After the failure the bond that was touted by some as the biggest bond in Minnesota history (Its since been dwarfed by the Red Plan which is about three times more costly after inflation, Barb never filed.

After the election without Barb as a school board candidate a successful candidate told me a story which he seemed to be passing on with good authority. A prominent female supporter of the pro-referendum campaign had been stopped by police late at night during the election. She had reportedly been dressed in black, Viet Cong style, as was a child she had brought along with her. They were sneaking into the lawns of people with “vote no” lawnsigns and were stealing them.

One anti-bond voter, who may have already lost a few “vote no” lawnsigns, was keeping her eye peeled for miscreants who might steal yet another sign. When the thief struck she was reported so swiftly that she and her child were caught despite their stealth. It appears that Barb is no more troubled by the theft of our right to vote than the thief was of snuffing out a voter’s First Amendment right to express herself.

Barb’s letter today ridicules the minority members of the School Board who she disagrees with but that’s very easy to do as anyone who has read my blog knows. Filing for office and getting elected is much harder work. Its too bad Barb never ran for the office to appreciate that fact.

Man’s Search for Meaning

My wife’s reading of Frankl’s book thirty years ago was probably one of the most important factors in setting her in motion on a second career beginning with a seminary.

Frankl was a holocaust survivor. This ancient clip from 1972 found in the TED archive shows him explaining his notion that we should expect more from people than they may seem capable of.

If Frankl is right I’d ask you to ponder the question of which person more fully reflects Victor Frankl’s philosophy, Rush Limbaugh or Barrack Obama.

as the memory of Reagan fades

From the conclusion of a book review by George W Bush’s speech writer David Frum.

It might seem ominous for an intellectual movement to be led by a man who does not think creatively, who does not respect the other side of the argument and who frequently says things that are not intended as truth. But neither Limbaugh nor Chafets is troubled: “Over the years, [Limbaugh] has endeavored to carry forward the banner of Ronaldus Maximus, which he always credits as ‘Reaganism.’ But as time moves on the memory of Reagan fades. It is Limbaugh’s voice conservatives now identify with. For millions, conservatism is now Limbaughism.”

That is Limbaugh’s achievement. It is Chafets’s story line. And it is American conservatism’s problem.

Frum, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is editor of

Oh Great!

After a lifetime in politics I get political emails from all comers. I got the billboard photos in the last post from an email on the “right” and this one is Democratic in origin. My comments will follow.

Dear Harry,

Mark announced today that his Running Mate for Lieutenant Governor is Duluth State Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon!

In announcing her selection, he said, “I am very proud to introduce the woman I believe will be Minnesota’s next Lieutenant Governor, Senator Yvonne Prettner Solon. I am deeply grateful that she is willing to leave the Minnesota Senate, where she has been such an outstanding leader and superb public servant for her constituents in Duluth, to gain an even more important leadership position on behalf of all the people of Minnesota.

“Yvonne is the first and only person I asked to be my Running Mate. She fits perfectly my priorities for that important Constitutional Office. I want a Lieutenant Governor who will be a strong partner with me in leading our state toward a better future. Senator Prettner Solon brings her extensive experience in both state and local government. Her very thoughtful, sensitive, and visionary leadership and public service are further informed by her life experiences, which have forged a woman I deeply respect and admire.

“I look forward to our creating together a ‘Senior Citizens Service Center’ within the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, which will provide Minnesota’s seniors with one toll-free number they can call with any problems they are having with state government. As Lieutenant Governor, Yvonne will also play a key role in working with the Minnesota Legislature to pass our Administration’s legislative initiatives.”

Yvonne replied, “I am honored to have been asked by Mark to be his Running Mate. I have always admired him for his incredible integrity. I know that he is not running because he needs to be Governor, but because he cares deeply for the people of Minnesota and he knows what needs to be done to put our state back on track. One only need spend a short amount of time with him to understand how genuine he is and what deep sincerity motivates him.

“Besides his previous executive experience as Commissioner of Economic Development under the Perpich Administration and as State Auditor in the 1990’s, what better credentials could a state want from its Governor than his selfless wish to improve the economic environment and quality of life for all Minnesotans.”

We’re excited to be working with Yvonne for a Better Minnesota!

Dana Anderson

Campaign Manager

Where to start?

I’ve always liked Yvonne. She’s a bland but generally middle-of-the-road politician who was able to use her new last name to succeed Senator Sam Solon when he died. She might have been able to pull it off on her own but we’ll never know.

Sam was a man who bent over backwards to save Central High School. Yvonne let the Duluth School Board bend over backwards to close it.

I think she will give the rich but dotty Dayton much the same boost that her junior partner Tom Huntley gave what’s-her-name (No, really, I’ve been googling all sorts of queries to recall her name) when she ran for Governor with Tom as her running mate.

I couldn’t support Yvonne for reelection to the State Senate after her nose thumbing of Duluth voters over the Red Plan. Why would I support her as a crutch for the often stuttering Mark Dayton?

Our black Prez is the Antichrist of democracy

I saw the second billboard not far from the silly George W Bush “miss me yet?” billboard near Forest City on I35 a week ago when I returned from my first visit to Faribault.

Its a cross between the old “Impeach Earl Warren” billboards I used to see as a grade school kid. (He was the Republican Chief Justice that ruled that black people should be admitted to the same public schools that white children attended) and a precious college republican joke.

If we’d impeached Warren for the Old South back in the 1960’s Obama would be shining shoes today and black Americans would be the better for it. Instead the South had to hold their noses and take over the Party of Lincoln, end anti usury laws and let title loans loose on the poor.

It wasn’t enough and somehow the commies got the last laugh on us.