Pie in the Sky Syndrome

Today’s Trib letter from Robin Downs today gave me pause. I thought it sounded identical to the one she sent in about a month ago. It was a broken record. Some examples:

Robin says that one thing unifies Red Plan Critics:

“One thing that unifies them all is they are centered on their own neighborhood’s needs.”

Robin appears not to realize after a year and a half that the chief organization fighting the Red Plan is “Let Duluth Vote.” In addition to being unified by an insistence on our right to vote, most critics are aghast at: the excessive size of the plan and the massive taxes required to pay for it; the sleight of hand (some say fraud) used to bring it about; the panicked haste to complete it; the pigheaded decision to cram too much school on too little property and the abandonment of poorer neighborhoods. NIMBYISM is a small part of criticism.

And then there’s this:

“we in Duluth have toiled on plans before only to see them ripped apart by partisan interest.”

The Red Plan has created a nonpartisan unanimity like I’ve never seen in thirty-five years of living in Duluth. We have allies a little shy of the John Birch Society on the right and a some on the left who think Michael Moore is a Neocon. President Obama would be envious of Duluth’s bipartisanship in the face of its preposterous School Board.

And this:

“The critical noise over school district plans serves to distract us from the fact our district really needs this change and our kids will benefit.”

Like the ostriches on the School Board Robin is unaware that several hundred students have already fled the Duluth School District in anticipation of the Red Plan’s disastrous consequences. They have taken millions of state dollars with them which has led to today’s School Board meeting cutting $4.5 million more from our rapidly diminishing school program.

and this:

“We can tout having high performance and efficient, green buildings while saving in operating costs.”

In addition to adding an unnecessary $50 million to the Red Plan’s cost, the air conditioners manufactured by Johnson Controls will wipe out any energy savings. Ironically there is a JCI manufactured AC unit in Central High school which has rarely been used over the past thirty years. We can’t afford summer school and there’s little need for it in Duluth, the “air conditioned city.”

and this:

“Are people aware the new and upgraded school buildings will have true kitchens suitable for preparing healthy lunches?”

Is Robin aware that to save money the District has trucked in preheated food for decades making these kitchens of little use for the foreseeable future?

and, of course, there’s Robin’s grand conclusion:

“The plan we have before us brings schools into the 21st century; it’s fiscally and environmentally sound, and it will bring into existence a system of which we can be proud.”

At the end of the 18th Century there were voices across America telling the nation that bicycles were the means of transportation for the 20th century. The Red Plan is neither fiscally or environmentally sound and some of us were proud of our schools long before the Red Plan. Of course, it was what took place in the classroom that made us proud. Our kids did better than Minnesota’s statewide average and Minnesota led the nation.

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