Not Eudora
By Harry Welty
Aug. 29, 2008

When this column did not appear in the Reader on the week I was scheduled to have one published I told the Reader not to put it in any subsequent Readers because Roger would have no opportunity to rebut it before the Primary.

“My Name is Reinert . . .Thank you”


Next to cluelessness, arrogance is about the last thing Duluth taxpayers can afford in a state legislator. I’m afraid that with Roger Reinert Duluth will get a little of both along with bad spelling.


As the president of the City Council no one has a better view of Duluth ’s financial abyss. As fire trucks and libraries fall into the void the School Board continues to gobble up ever more tax base. This spring Roger muffed a chance to let the City have a small say in the development of the Red Plan. Instead, Roger squelched the discussion. One testy citizen sent him a scolding email:

“President Reinhart:

What are you and the city council doing? I watched the news about your pulling an agenda item to vote on the Red Plan. We want the City Council to vote on this. Quit using parlimentary slight of hand movements and start representing us and stop the Red Plan.”

Although Roger gets good marks for his calm, reasonable, public demeanor at Council meetings his email revealed a nose-out-of-joint:

“First, my name is Reinert and not “Reinhart.” Thank you.

Second, there was no “parliamentary slight of hand.” Councilor Fedora has the right to move to remove something from the Council Agenda. That is what our agenda sesison is for. My job is to conduct the meeting and honor the rights of every Councilor. Which I did. The motion needed a 2/3 vote to pass which it received.”

For a fellow so sensitive about spelling Roger sure cranked out a poorly spelled reply to Progressive Action when it asked him about the Red Plan. As a ten-year Spelling Bee emcee I feel a particular obligation to highlight this shortcoming.

 “I support better and more aduquate funding of education for ISD 709 and across Minnesota . That’s the real issue at stake here. The operating levy for ISD 709 will likely faily this fall and that will mean cuts to programs and staff. It’s time we get back to a Minnesota that supports strong public education across the state, and not just in weathly districts.

I am not a fan of the Red Plan. It emiminates all the schools in the central part of town where I live. However, I do believe the school district needed to adopt some plan, and should have done so a decade ago. Local elected officials these days are having to go it alone and make very tough decisions. I respect the authority and responsibilities of all local elected officials, including School Board Members, and am not interested as a Legislator in micromanaging their authorized duties.

However, I would sponsor legislation requiring signioficant bonding comittments outside of normal operations by any local government to go to a non-binding referndum. We did this with the DECC project and the required sales tax. As A Councilor I voted for the referendum.


Of course, the non binding referendum Roger advocates still strips our voting rights away and will permit the School Board’s plunder of our tax base for a dubious plan. Its noteworthy that every other candidate for Mike Jaros’s house seat, including Democrats, Republicans and Independents, would go further than Roger to defang the School Board. Roger’s most serious opponent in the DFL primary (and the only DFLer willing to talk to Let Duluth Vote) answered Progressive Action's question this way:

“I oppose the ‘Red Plan,’ primarily because the citizenry of Duluth was not allowed to vote on the issue. The ‘Red Plan’ as presented, makes bad use of a law designed to help cities of the first class, namely Minneapolis , St. Paul and Duluth , address safety and desegregation problems. The “Red Plan” is too
extensive and too expensive. I fear that the manner in which the “Red Plan” was forced on taxpayers will leave, not a chilling, but a freezing effect on the passage of future operating levy referendums, which will inevitably result in teacher cuts, larger class sizes, and program cuts for our children. To date, the largest bond issue brought under this statute was for the St. Paul School District, which is several times larger than the Duluth School District – and that bond issuance was for under $50 million – six times smaller than the Duluth bonding issue.

If Roger Reinert is unwilling to stick up for his part of the City while the School Board imiminates its schools I’m not sure I’d trust him to represent my interests in St. Paul. Heck, Roger doesn’t even care if we lose our votes. If  I lived on the west side of 21st Ave E. I’d vote for Marsh Stenerson but I don't and I can’t. I hope someone else will do it for me.

Welty is a small time politician who lets it all hang out at www.lincolndemocrat.com