Police State?

Where do I begin? An apology for not cleaning up the crumpled wad of paper post. No, I don’t think so. Perhaps I should, as promised, post my letter to the Budgeteer. No, I can do that later. Maybe I should begin with the hot political “debate” between Cravaack and Oberstar that the Trib did a good job forcing Jim Oberstar to attend but lost control of because they didn’t plan for the intense political passions that marched into the DECC arena.

Yes, I’ll start with that. Then I’ll segue into the subject that this post is really concerned with – Duluth School Board Chairman Tim Grover’s heavy-handed abuse of the gavel.

My political junkie days seem to be on the wane. I skipped the Oberstar debate. I’m not interested in either Congressional candidate. I’ve run against Oberstar twice as an independent (because my old party is consumed with giving lip service to stopping abortions). As for Cravaack, an intelligent sounding ex military man, well, he’s sucking up the Tea Party talking points which guarantees that if he’s elected he’ll keep spending the US into debt while letting the debt grow on our children’s backs. He’ll cut taxes alright and keep borrowing from China.

So, a surly crowd of tea partiers and sullen, defensive DFLers heckled their way through the meeting. (According to the Trib the Cravaackians started it)

The Tea Partier’s claims ring hollow to me. They might just as well ask that Roosevelt be removed from the dime since apparently his Social Security and the Medicare which came later are all part of a commie plot to socialize America. Oh, but don’t even think of taking their God Given socialistic social security away! Just kick out the greasers who pay social security taxes so our good, little American children can pick up the tab. That should take care of everything. Oh, and on the issue of communistic Obamacare. Don’t even think about making them pay to cover the cost of care for anyone else who hasn’t, like the aged tea partiers, already gotten on America’s health care dole.

Last night Oberstar, who can be justly criticized for ducking many political debates in the past including one with me back in 1992, faced down the toughest crowd he’s ever appeared before. He was unrepentant and essentially told them they’d have to kill health care reforms over his dead body. I only saw a snippet of this on last night’s news but I was impressed. Politics can be bruising and pols who shrink from political combat aren’t worth a warm bucket of spit. And that’s where I’ll leave the Congressional race to rail against our deservedly maligned School Board.


Last night the board passed a largely empty but right-minded policy to thwart bullying in the schools. Whoopee! Kids will get to watch a video! Maybe the Board should watch it. Just before that Chair Grover shut of the microphone of a speaker who had not yet used up his allotted three minutes and had Duluth police put him in handcuffs and removed from the School Board meeting. The microphone was shut off because soft spoken Loren Martell had the effrontery to read public statements Tim Grover had made during an election which were at variance with his subsequent actions after getting elected. Tim Grover has been embarassed enough already for this, thank you very much. If you dare read back his own public record to him its off to jail with you even if you do it under the three minute speaking limitation.

The Board has apparently made it a routine practice to keep police on hand at school board meetings. They’ve had plain clothes cops there before but now the police show up in uniform. If there have been threats against the board this would justify their presence. There can be no justification for preventing a speaker from using up his alloted time and even less for having him removed by police when he stood his ground waiting for the microphone to be turned back on.

Based on the recent letter I got from the School District’s attorney it is apparent to me that I can expect no quarter from our increasingly thin skinned Duluth School Board. Thank goodness their attorneys can keep milking the District’s lawyer insurance to monitor my blog and bill the District without formal approval by the Board. Loren Martell had better be prepared to dig into his pockets to defend his free speech rights. The District will no doubt be as happy to pay lawyers to dump on the First Amendment as they have been happy to pay for police to intimidate critics.

I might not be enthusiastic about putting Oberstar back in Congress but I sure as hell would vote for him if he ran for the Duluth School Board. He can face his critics.

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