Politician's Diary - January 2002

The first paragraph of each day's entry follows the dated link to the full text.

Note, the men working icon indicates that I have put an outline or rough draft of an entry into the site. 

Tuesday, 1-1-2002 Hard to Ignore  Dear Political Diary,  Happy New Year! Last night's feast of crackers, cheese, shrimp, chocolate truffles, Australian port and classic 1930's movies was followed by a good night's sleep. That's a good start for 2002.

Thursday, 1-3-2002  The Competition  Dear Political Diary I was still thinking about my conversation with Joanne Fay yesterday. She had suggested that I call Yvonne Prettner Solon to encourage her to run for Sam's seat. I sat in front of the phone for several minutes thinking that the last thing I wanted to talk to a widow about was politics. And yet, its commonly believed that she has her heart set on being Mayor. Running for Sam's seat would keep her name in play and give her options. Instead, I sent her a note of condolence with some strong encouragement to take Sam's place. 

Saturday, 1-5-2002 Funeral  Dear Political Diary, This was a most interesting day for a political junkie like me. Too bad that I have to be so mealy mouthed in reporting about it. The kind of people I like to talk about don't always want their activities scrutinized. For instance, one of my most enthusiastic supporters sent me an email after reading my last diary entry. My pal was appalled that I supported Yvonne Prettner Solon. After a brief flurry of email the only thing we could agree on was our mutual scorn for Brad Bennett. My pal and I agreed to meet later on; our field of combat, a coffee house; our chosen weapons, verbal sparing. 

Sunday, 1-6-2002 Epiphany   Dear Political Diary, It was my appointed task to check with Jim Gustafson today to see if he would be willing to run for the Senate if both Swapinsky and Yvonne Prettner Solon file for the DFL primary. I caught him milling around the coffee table after church and discovered that he was cool to the idea. He didn't mind running against Dale but he didn't want to run against Yvonne. He was sure she would win the primary. 

Monday 1-7-2002 State of the City  Dear Political Diary, I got two mentions in the paper today. The first was the article on what other people think the Mayor should say at his State of the City speech tonight. I have no idea why anyone other than the half dozen of us quoted would bother to read the article. More gratifying was a letter to the editor from George Balach qualifying his comments in the big story about the Duluth and Superior schools. George knocked me a bit for my emphasis on saving elementary schools but he wasn't nasty. The real compliment was his turnaround on the idea that Central might be a better location for a high school. He could have been quoting me.

Tuesday, 1-8-2002  Classy Lady  Dear Political Diary, I called up Dick Pearson and asked if he had a little free time to tell me about his service as Superintendent of the Duluth Schools. He told me to drop by his place at 9AM which gave me an hour to type up the resume he'd requested. I titled it:  "an eccentric's resume." Its not one I'd take to the bank or to a job interview.

Wednesday, 1-9-2002 Powder Keg Dear Political Diary, I woke up at about two this morning and didn't get back to sleep till after five. When the alarm went off at 6:30 it woke me out of a sound sleep. I had the presence of mind to remember my 6:45 appointment with the Glen Avon Men's Morning group. I was the featured speaker on the "ABC's" of the Duluth Schools. I made it there in my allotted fifteen minutes.

Thursday, 1-10-2002 Uncivil Wars Dear Political Diary, I got on the web this morning to check up on the legislation authored by Representative Dale Swapinski. I was preparing to meet with one of our mutual fans who was none too happy about my recent diary entries. That's because I support Yvonne Prettner Solon for the Senate and not Dale. Our fan had advised me to investigate Dale's "conservative" record and sent me a link to Dale's legislative web page for this purpose. I was frankly dubious of the "conservative" label bestowed on Dale. Besides, since I'm not all that conservative myself, it wasn't the best argument to use on me.

Friday, 1-11-2002 The Big Fix  Dear Political Diary, So the Governor spelled out his Big Fix for the state's anticipated 2 billion shortfall yesterday and it was outlined in the Trib today. The general assessment for K-12 education is that it could be worse.

Wednesday, 1-16-2002  Memorial Carnival  Dear Political Diary, Gosh, I'm tired. I haven't gotten a good night's sleep for a couple days but I just took a benadryl tablet for my drippy nose and its going to knock me out. I got the nose by working on the Memorial Winter Carnival snow sculpture from 9 to 5 today.  Heck, even without the benedryl the physical exhaustion from chopping up and throwing a couple tons of snow around would have done me in. I wish I had another day. I didn't have enough time to do it justice.

Thursday, 1-17-2002 Heads Up Dear Political Diary, The alarm went off at 5AM and I was off and running to my sixth MSBA (Minnesota School Boards Association) Conference in Minneapolis. I stopped at Hinckley, halfway there, and made a prearranged call to a radio station. KOOL Radio was covering the Memorial Winter Carnival and wanted to interview me about my sculpture during the drive time. One of my interviewers twitted me for bugging out before the lutefisk eating contest. I told him that as a Duluth school board member I got more than enough lutefisk to eat.

Friday, 1-18-2002 Iced Fish Dear Political Diary, After speeding through the vender exhibition to scarf up some chocolates I caught the last fifteen minutes of a session on Minnesota's Profiles of Education. Since none of the other sessions appealed to me I stayed to attended it in full on its second go round.

Saturday, 1-19-2002 Platitudes with Attitude Dear Political Diary, I missed Eileen Zeitz Huddleson's opinion piece in the Tribune on Thursday while attending the MSBA convention. It was full of undeniable platitudes but it was self serving enough to annoy me even though its digs at me were too veiled for the general public to follow. 

Tuesday, 1-22-2002 Ink Dear Political Diary, Ron Brochu called this afternoon to ask about the proposal to reduce the size of the Duluth School Board from nine to seven or fewer board members. I told Ron I thought the change would be largely cosmetic. I suggested it was a little like Governor Ventura's proposal for a unicameral legislature although that change would have more profound implications for the state than a smaller school board would for Duluth. Expounding on a smaller school board gave me a chance to get some ink, or as Will Shakespeare put it, to I strut and fret my hour upon the stage. 

Wednesday, 1-23-2002  NERCC Dear Political Diary, I went to the Northeast Regional Corrections Center this morning to meet with Diane Mozol's latest parenting class. Its about the forth time I've done this. I pulled out my gorilla slippers and read a couple of good stories to the class. 

  Thursday, 1-24-2002 Cosi fan Tutte  Dear Political Diary, I don't know how to put this delicately. I drove all the way to Minneapolis last night so that I wouldn't have to be on the road this morning after downing a foul concoction intended to drain me like punctured radiator. 

Friday, 1-25-2002 Institutional Coffee  Dear Political Diary, I can not believe that modern medical science had any other reason for inventing the colonoscopy other than to humble prideful men. Fortunately medical science also invented general anesthetic.

  Wednesday, 1-30-2002  Augean Stables  Dear Political Diary, I've got a ton of paperwork lying around my office. Some of it is six months old. I've not let it spill out beyond the office but it is disconcerting to think some vital bit of lost paperwork will trip me up. Organizing it and recycling it was my job today. The stables are still full. 

  Thursday, 1-31-2002  Elephants and Donkeys  Dear Political Diary I got an abbreviated start on a new snow sculpture up north this morning. Palo is a tiny community on the edge of the Iron Range and I've made sculptures for Laskainen, a Finnish sledding holiday, a couple of times now. They had a 10x10 block of man made snow waiting for me from from Giant's Ridge Ski Hill. God has been stingy with the natural stuff this year. I started sculpting them an elephant which is something I've always wanted to do.  (Just cut away everything that doesn't look like an elephant) 

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