The paper version of the DNT today ended its extensive letters to the editor with an unintentionally funny critique of me from a Mr. Paul Podemski. Sadly I can’t find it in the online version but while looking for Mr. Podemski I discovered that he and his wife wrote a glowing letter endorsing Jill Lofald back in June. Its Jill’s older sister that has been waving my fund raising letter around telling everyone that I have violated the law asking for donations for the several candidates I’ve been championing. No doubt echoing Patty Murto’s concerns Mr. Podemski can’t quite bring himself to say I broke the law. He simply wonders if I might have. Maybe he’ll be the person to take Jill’s sister’s advice and plunk down the money to file a complaint against me.
Here’s his letter:
Reject abusive, pushy candidates
I received a campaign letter from Duluth School Board incumbent Harry Welty. It opened with the salutation, “Dear fellow sufferers.” Unreal. Who writes a letter with that kind of greeting?
The body of the letter included a claim that board member Art Johnston was forced to spend $75,000 to defend his position on the School Board. School Board members receive a payment of $630 a month, which amounts to $7,560 per year. Who in their right mind spends $75,000 to try to keep a job that pays $7,560? Welty has said he helped Johnston cover some of this cost. Anyone spending that kind of money to save a job that pays $630 a month should not be allowed anywhere near a checkbook – let alone one with taxpayers’ money in it.
Welty’s letter also indicated he was sharing campaign donations with Johnston and with School Board candidates Dana Krivogorsky and Kurt Kuehn. I wonder if this is appropriate. [sic]
Duluth, it’s time to wake up. There are many excellent candidates running this year who can communicate with other board members without having to use verbal attacks or without having to push someone to get their point across.
Paul E Podemski
My eyes are still rolling at every sentence. Paul has no sense of the value of an election – the abuse of the power of censure -the costs to defend oneself in the face of a year’s worth of baseless allegations spread across the front pages of the local newspaper or, for that matter, campaign finance. He might ask Patty just who it was that asked her sister to appeal to a young lady not to compromise the reputation of an alleged assailant. It might help Paul come to understand the value of something as intangible as “reputation.”
As for “sufferers” its hard to keep track of them all: Taxpayers forced pay for a huge vanity project that has blown up in the City’s face. Voters who were bypassed with the denial of a referendum. Children who lost teacher contact time when earlier school board’s traded 200 teachers for new schools. Parents witnessing a stubborn gap between the success of rich and poor children. Residents of West Duluth who are finding their schools compromised and children exiting for neighboring school districts.
Here’s my letter which I sent to the 4000 people (all sufferers who donated to Let Duluth Vote to challenge our arrogant past school board in court over their Red Plan):
Dear fellow sufferers,
After ten long years its high time that the Red Planner’s death grip on the Duluth School Board is pried off.
You were with me when we demanded a vote on the half-billion spending plan. You saw the School Board thumb its nose at democracy by refusing a referendum and then attempting to remove your champion Art Johnston on phony charges. You saw their promises of an economical plan blow up into classes of 40 students and a mass exit of our students to neighboring districts. You saw them refuse to sell our white elephant buildings which continue to drain our district years after their debacle. All they offer now is cheerleading but the team they are cheering for has a 0 – 10 losing record.
What the Red Planners have done is best illustrated by the twenty years between my second year on the school board in 1997 and today, 2017. In 1997 local taxes for the Duluth Schools were $23 million dollars. Of this $14 million was spent in the classroom. This year our taxes are $31 million but of this only $2.5 million is spent in the classroom.
The Red Planner’s candidates are flush with money from the Democrat Party and Labor Unions. Our candidates are flush with good ideas and elbow grease. We desperately need some help to finally put the school board’s majority into the hands of sensible representatives who respect the public.
We must support Art Johnston, who was forced to personally spend $75,000 dollars to defend the election that put him on the school board. We must support Dana Krivogorsky who, like me, is running for one of two district-wide seats. We must support Kurt Kuehn who is running against the last remaining board member, Rosie Loeffler-Kemp, who tried to remove Art Johnston.
We are pooling our resources so I’m asking you to send a check to my campaign for me to parcel out to our team. Please write a generous check to: “Welty for School Board,” and send it back in the enclosed envelope.
Many Thanks for your past support and for anything you can do to help us win for the first time in ten miserable years.
formerly of Let Duluth Vote
now on the Duluth School Board running for reelection
and still fighting for honesty and common sense after all these years!