Does reporting the words and deeds of an elected official constitute “sexism” if the official is a female …

… and the reporter is a male? Or, vice versa?

Last night Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and I attended the Chamber of Commerce’s Pat ourselves on the Back dinner at the DECC. The School District has a table at it every year. (We are Chamber members) In fact, this year we paid for two tables. I sat at a table with two Board members that I’ve not spared in recent blog posts. One was Rosie.

After the dinner Rosie stopped in front of me and gave me a tongue lashing about not asking her where she’d been before I blogged that she may have been avoiding speaking at a candidate forum. I only once began to say something but she shushed me and plowed on to her threat at that women were noticing how sexist I was treating women. She told me she had missed the forum for a family function that had been planned for over a year. She chided me for not asking her where she was before insinuating that she was skipping town to avoid the exposure. It occurred to me that this was fair enough criticism. This is the offending paragraph:

“She ducked out of recent school board forums quite possibly because someone warned her she is a poor public speaker. That did not stop the Trib’s editors from granting her the only private interview with the Editorial Board of the four District School Board candidates. Such favoritism is hard to swallow but what they said of Rosie’s challenger Kurt Kuehn could also have been applied to the two at-large candidates the Trib’s editors did endorse. What did they say of Kurt? Just this:”

This is the offending post if you’d like to keep reading.

Had I asked Rosie where she’d been off to I’d have reported her answer. I’ll add, perhaps gratuitously, that our relationship is strained enough that I wouldn’t have necessarily believed her excuse. I will also add that Rosie has known for four years that October of 2017 would be her last month to campaign for reelection. That she was willing to set a trip far away from Duluth when she would be expected to speak at forums (she missed two of them) was her own fault even if it was a family function. She nonetheless left her daughter to stand in for her at both functions although the folks running both refused to let her daughter speak for Rosie. Geez, I forced my wife to take a trip to China in the most excruciatingly hot month of summer so I could file for reelection.

If anything, my mention of Rosie’s special treatment by the Trib’s editors was my chief target of ridicule. Rosie was collateral damage.

As for the threat that I’d be pegged a “sexist” that was hardly news. Rosie began consorting with a newly organized woman’s group months ago and had already won their devotion although to my knowledge none of Feminist’s Action’s members knew a whit about the Duluth School Board. Heck, I probably marched with most of them during the Women’s March last winter. They never approached me for information but I learned from a friend who attended their semi-secret meetings that they had already targeted me as an enemy of women. Is it possible that Rosie and other school board members attending these meetings said the same kind of things about me privately that I publicly say about Rosie on my blog where everyone knows it comes from me? I’m not really asking. I have no doubt Rosie has little good to say about me. If I’m right about this Rosie is violating one of the tenets of the School District’s Civility Code, “Don’t gossip,” that she reads aloud before every school board meeting gets underway.

Whatever the Feminists discussed I began seeing signs of their repugnance for my politics six or seven weeks ago.

I have always looked sideways at the distaste of gossip. Gossip is the sharing of information informally regarding people who are not part of the conversation. This can be both innocent, instructive and corrosive. The latter quality is what springs to most people’s minds. Take, for example, the notorious daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She had the legend “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anyone, come over and sit by me,” needle pointed onto a sofa pillow in her living room.

But I’ve just been hearing about a very useful kind of gossip regarding powerful people like Harvey Weinstein the Hollywood bully who did his exercise on the casting room couch. Gossip is how his victims warned other women to beware. Surely the Civility Code we adopted does not mean to prevent gossip under these circumstances.

I’d like to take one of Rosie’s implications to pieces – that by criticizing the words and deeds of women I’m a sexist. Tosh!

Bear in mind that my serious criticisms of Rosie et al began with the vicious attack on Art Johnston. Was that attack sexist on the part of his female colleagues?

When Alanna Oswald, not then on the school board, asked Annie Harala what had happened Annie told her privately, that if Alanna knew what Art had done she would want him off the school board too. Well, if there was anything Annie knew about Art I didn’t know she didn’t tell me what warranted canceling the election that put him on the School Board. In fact, I knew a lot of mitigating circumstances that made me extremely sympathetic to Art.

I would have to go back and read year’s worth of blog posts to discover exactly when I began emphasizing the not so sunny machinations of my board colleagues, both male and female, but I’ll bet there were very few pointed criticisms until the Board hired an attorney to assassinate Art’s character.

The names to look up for this research would be of both genders Male: Mike Miernicki, Bill Westholm Keith Dixon Kevin Rupp and female Annie Harala, Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and Judy Seliga-Pynyko.

If anything, the unwillingness of the Board to compensate Art for his legal expenses and the subsequent censuring of both Art and me only made my comments about our “colleagues” more pointed as diplomacy took a backseat to candor. And remember, my blog is read by a few hundred people each day. The News Trib has a far wider readership. How about waking up to this headline just before Christmas (although I do like the picture)?


I also laud people I like regardless of gender. I’ve heaped praise on many women including Mary Cameron, Alanna Oswald and Dana Krivogorsky. (I’ve sent out fundraising letters and paid for a pro-Krivogorsky flyer that I’ve been passing out for Dana) I’ve excoriated women, other than my colleagues on the School Board, like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter and men like Donald Trump.

So Rosie. Its true I didn’t ask you where you went.

Readers, pay no attention to that post.

As for all the other posts I’ve written. Bear them in mind before you follow the siren song of the editors of the News Tribune. They didn’t think Hillary Clinton was any better than Donald Trump. They aren’t the sharpest pencils in the box either!

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