Mary Mary Mars Letter

This letter raised a storm of protest. It was said to have been innacurate, unfair and negative. It was negative. It was written to counteract negative campaigning that had already been directed at Bob Mary and Mary. This letter is scrupulously accurate. Judge for yourself.

You can read more about the few criticisms leveled against this letter where the offending passage is highlighted.

Dear Friend,

Bob Mars, Mary Glass LeBlanc and Mary Cameron took a school district that was five million in debt and built a ten million surplus. They restored poorly maintained buildings and made student achievement the measure of success. They must be reelected to the Duluth School Board.

In the last election, four new pro-AFSCME/Duluth Federation of Teachers candidates joined the Duluth School Board and split it down the middle. Since then almost every important decision has been decided on a 5-4 vote. When, in the midst of contract negotiations, 300 angry teachers clad in red shirts filled the boardroom, the four new members met them wearing their own red shirts. This put immense pressure on the five remaining members. All the teachers had to do was get one more vote and the contract would have been settled on the teacher’s terms, whether there was money to do so or not.

The two leaders of the foursome have both been officers of teachers’ unions. All four signed pledges drawn up by AFSCME and the DFT to support a long list of demands including shutting down the Edison schools. Now imagine how this year's election could compound this situation.

In the recent at-large primary election three winners were AFSCME/DFT candidates. Two of these candidates have a significant conflict of interest since they are married to Duluth teachers. The other has a spouse who negotiates for the second largest union in the school district, AFSCME. A fourth candidate, Garry Krause, who is running for the third district seat being vacated by Tim Grover, sat on the same AFL-CIO screening committee that interviewed candidates for endorsement. The AFL-CIO took Garry's advice and did not bother to interview candidates for district seats before endorsing them.

The future of the Duluth schools is dire. Fiscal prudence has prevailed thus far, however, the slightest tilt to the four newer school board members will imperil this achievement.

Bob Mars, Mary Glass LeBlanc and Mary Cameron must be reelected. They saved the Duluth Schools. The Chamber of Commerce PAC has endorsed them all. Please send a generous contribution today made out to the Mary Mary Mars Committee.

Bob Heimbach, Chairman
Mary Mary Mars Committee

It was also claimed that the 50 people whose names graced this letter had no idea what they were signing. Since I contacted the majority of people I know they were given an accurate description of its contents and were given the opportunity to view the letter. Some people did decline for good reason even though they were sympathetic. After the election Frank Wanner hinted broadly that he would organize a boycott of the businesses of people who had lent their name to the letter.

It is true that a few people who's names were on the letter did not completely understand the nature of the letter. One of them, Nick Patronus, was particularly unhappy because he supported his friend Mike Akervik's candidacy. Al Netland wrote in the Duluth News Tribune that Nick Patronas quit the Chamber PAC in protest. Since Mary Mary Mars was not the Chamber PAC that would have been unneccesary. I haven't asked Nick but I've been assured he didn't quit the PAC in protest to the MMM letter. I'll check into it.