Ring Out the Old

Dear Political Diary,

Along with one email, I got four calls of note today on this the last day of the first year of the new millennium. 

Ring number one, Pete called. A retired businessmen he'd read my column in the Trib and wanted to know how I meant to deal with the School Board ""forbidding" me the information on how much it would cost to create k-6's. I explained that it was more complicated than I had painted it. It would be over simple to say that no other board members had not supported me when I requested the information but this is closer to the truth. 

Pete suggested that I consider suing the Board to get the analysis done. I didn't regard this as practical or even politically wise. It would sure as hell alienate people like Bob Mars. On the other hand the threat might be of use if I didn't make too big a deal out of it. Pete had once sued the St. Louis County Board for financial shenanigans and he says he won. I am burned that the Board has apparently denied me information which might make their plans look stupid.

I told Pete I'd give his idea some thought. It was certainly nice to have a Chamber of Commerce type reassure me that my analysis of the district made sense. It was followed by Ring number two, a call from one of the heroes of the Ripsaw set. A fellow who would prefer to remain anonymous because he has his hand's full battling city hall.

He reminded me of an ancient study (late 1980's he thought) which had concluded that it was a terrible mistake to expand the Rockridge site. As Rockridge is likely to be enlarged in our latest round of planning he thought I should review the study. It was the "Alkire" study and it sounded vaguely familiar. I recalled that there were numerous worries about Rockridge lying remotely from the rest of the neighborhood with poor ingress and egress and questionable soils due to the runoff from above down the rock face behind the school. 

This concerned citizen applauded my message and urged me to do some more research. I explained that I was a pretty lonely voice on the Board and mostly driving the other Board members nuts with my insistence that they were headed in the wrong direction.

Claudia and I went to the library during the afternoon to check out some old movies for our New Year's Eve celebration. We had a bottle of port which we'd acquired long ago to accompany some rich chocolates. Claudia had a rare desire for some truffles so we searched the town for an open candy shop. The first two were closed but Hepzibah's in Dewitt Seitz was open. I purchased eight of the things far exceeding Claudia's modest desire. 

We put together a nice tray of snacks and sat down to watch the news when I got rung up a third time. It was a from former Duluthian who had moved out of state. I had sent her and her husband an email with the Tribune's story about Sam Solon's death. I knew she and her husband were  friends of Sam and Yvonne's because they had once had Claudia and I over for dinner with the Solons. 

Before we opened the port I got a fourth call. This time it was Senate minority leader Dick Day. I had called him a day earlier to ask him what the requirements were to run in a special election. I told him I hoped they were very fluid about establishing residency as I really wanted to run. He had checked and found out I was out of luck. Six months residency was a requirement. In that case I told him I was all for Joann Fay my county commissioner.

Dick's main concern was who would run as a Democrat. He'd already heard, and I'd affirmed, that Dale Swapinsky would be a pain in his side. Day was eager to help someone run against Swapinsky but he was worried that Yvonne might be the DFL candidate. He'd heard that she wasn't interested. I told Day that was certainly likely but that he would find Yvonne much better company in the Senate than Dale. Day had little interest in raising money for a candidate to challenge Sam's grieving wife. No more enthusiasm than I had for running against her at any time. Yvonne's a smart woman and she would follow in her husbands footprints getting things done for Duluth without alienating people a la Swapinsky. (Who am I to point fingers.)

Dick told me that his advisors had been thinking about having Joann or what ever candidate run as an independent. I told Dick that I thought that this was a questionable idea. A candidate ought to run as a Republican rather than make it look like they were a Republican in Independent's clothing. Of course, Joanne, my favorite county board member, like me, is a very independent minded person. A thirty day campaign would be an impossible challenge and a lot of fun.

I told Day that I'd do whatever I could to help Joann if she was the candidate. With that I was able to turn my attention to the snack tray, vintage movies and the countdown to a new election year.