News tips.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More thoughts to come tomorrow.

More thoughts on the debate and much more tomorrow.

Heather Rand interview ( 3rd district council race.)

Response to Candidate Questions posted by Duluth Needs Help - 10/07

1. My name is Heather Rand and I am a candidate for the Duluth City Council 3rd District seat which represents both the center part of the city and the larger city as a whole. I am employed as the State of Minnesota’s regional Business & Community Developer, working in all 7 counties of NE Minnesota for the last 3 plus years to help businesses that pay good wages expand their business operations and add employees. Prior to this, I was employed by Minnesota Power for years and I have worked as Asst. County Administrator in St. Louis County and as an asst. city administrator. I believe having both this private and public sector management experience makes me a more valuable candidate to Duluth. I am 44 years old. I am a Cloquet High School graduate, but have purposely chosen to make Duluth my home for over 18 years now. I serve on the city of Duluth’s Planning Commission, Higher Education Commission, and Heritage & Preservation Commission currently. I am very committed to Duluth. I also served as chair of the Duluth Comprehensive land Use Citizen Committee of 27 Duluthians that developed the unanimously adopted Comp. Plan.

2. I decided to run for office because I was disappointed with the spending decisions a majority of the existing city council were supporting on non-essential projects, especially given the city’s dire fiscal situation as a result of the retiree health care obligation and LGA cuts. Duluth has not been providing the basic essential city services (street maintenance, snow plowing, police & fire protection) at levels the taxpayers deserve. My skills set and sound fiscal judgment (I’m more fiscally conservative than a majority of the existing city council) will better reflect the interests of the average taxpayer in Duluth. I also decided to run to insure that the 3rd district has good council representation for it’s neighborhoods and business districts, and so that I will be in a better position to advocate for implementation of the City of Duluth’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan which will provide us with smarter land use decision making tools going forward.

3. I have not sought nor received any special interest group endorsements. My opponent has many special interest group endorsements including AFSME, a union that represents 2/3 of the city employees. I believe this is a conflict of interest, especially given she is an AFSME union member herself and serves on the AFSME leadership council. You can’t represent a broad base of Duluth citizen’s interests and have this conflict of perspective as a city councilor. I am prepared to represent the broader majority of Duluthians interests.

4. See above

5. The number one issue facing the city is solving the Retiree Health Care obligation because if not controlled, the obligation continues to grow and eat up our tax payer dollars that could otherwise go to providing essential city services (street maintenance, snow plowing, community policing, fire protection, etc.).

6. Crime is a major issue for the city and especially in the 3rd District. While some crimes have decreased, assaults and property crimes have increased. In the hillside, people don’t feel safe. On Park Point they complain of speeders and in Canal Park and downtown they are concerned about panhandlers and loiterers. Around the college campuses, the concern is loud parties and illegal, dangerous parking and driving. It’s clear to me that the city needs to spend more tax payer dollars on community policing and related law enforcement activities.

7. We can reduce crime by adding police officers including community police officers and by insuring that our city ordinances and state laws have the teeth they need to clearly tackle criminal behaviors. We need to add a city grant writer to pursue more federal and national grants for funds to support our police department.

8. Our park system has not been properly maintained. We must allow for reasonable changes in city ordinances, policies and our city civil service system to allow citizens to volunteer to assist with park maintenance.

9. I support a code of conduct for city councilors and mayor that includes sexual harassment policies if indeed one does not exist in various sections of the city charter. This is done in other large cities, counties, at the state level and most companies in the private sector.

10. I believe Duluth has made great strides in providing affordable housing in the last 3-5 years and I’m not convinced a large need still exists. Times change, markets change, supply and demand change. I would like to see more home ownership and support non-profit efforts along these lines like the work of NHS.

11. To solve the Duluth unfunded health care liability for retirees, the city needs to encourage retirees to accept the same health care plan as employees which has co-pays, reasonable deductibles and less administration costs. The city must also bid out the plan’s administrator to reduce costs and hire a professional actuarial so that we can estimate the obligation given employee concessions and utility rate increases and other measures that have already occurred.

12. Businesses will continue to come to Duluth and existing businesses will expand as long as the city has demonstrated it has it’s financial house in order by resolving the retiree health care obligation, not raising taxes and utility rates and fees sky high and not burdening Duluth businesses with extra-ordinary rules and regulations that hamper their completion in the free market. Businesses need good roads to move their goods to market, good police and fire protection services, and access to a quality of workforce to thrive. The city must work with others to accomplish the above.

13. Duluth should focus on supporting the growth of our existing businesses and their suppliers first. This includes Cirrus Design, Northstar Aerospace, health care industry, transportation industry (airport, rail, trucking, port) precision manufacturing like Ikonics and Hydrosolutions Inc., and its downtown retail/business service hubs. Right now, the regional economic developers are working to recruit additional businesses that compliment and even strengthen our existing economic base. This includes wind turbine component manufacturing, bio-diesel plants, high tech service providers, other aviation manufacturers and parts suppliers, among others.

14. Young folks will stay in Duluth if it’s an inviting, safe community where they can find appropriate employment opportunities and affordable housing. As baby boomers retire, more employment opportunities will become available than every before to young people. They need to make certain in high school that they have a plan for gaining the skills that will enable them to perform in those jobs. The city’s involvement in this workforce development with other city/county/state/private sector partners is crucial as that will be a win for businesses productivity and win for individual prosperity and opportunity. Helping our higher education (CSS, DBU, UMD, LSC, etc.) students better connect with what Duluth has to offer in terms of neighborhoods, parks, housing, community events, and employment opportunities via mentorships will increase the odds that those students when graduating will stay in Duluth.

15. I consider renters an important part of the community. Renters deserve a safe place to live and must be held to the same standards of good neighborly behavior as non-renters in our neighborhoods. Police enforcement and consistent code compliance by city staff is key to achieving this. Cracking down on absentee or slum landlords, nuisance parties, illegal parking and other illegal behaviors will improve and maintain our Duluth quality of life in traditional family neighborhoods. Funding more law enforcement (police) and building safety/code compliance resources will be required of the city of Duluth to better meet these challenges going forward. The current administration’s hiring freeze has meant we are operating with 4 fewer city building safety employees due to retirements in the last year or so, and less police patrolling our city and more police overtime costs. Our neighborhoods and the city’s budget which impacts our property taxes, have suffered as a result of this.

Live Blog of Mayor's debate at CSS.

8:23 Time to leave CSS however there will be more to come about this debate tonight and much more as well.

8:15 Many comments are rolling in from you can tell that those college students that did not have questions put in there hands by special interest group and those that did. those that did not are talking about the real issues that students are concerned about. Such as Jobs, a good wage, Students and residents relations. Those that were put there our agreed to ask a special interest question are standing around talking to only the special interest people.

7:58 The debate is now over keep it here for much more. We will have comments from those that are here live.

7:56 It is now time for closing statements. Mr. Ness is first. Much like his opening statement he is not saying much. He is saying that his involvement in city government is the big difference.

Mr. Bell followers with his closing statement. Mr. Bell closing statement is about leadership.

7:54 I have noticed that Michelle Lee has no problem cutting off Mr. Bell but will not cut of Mr. Ness when his time is up.

7:51 A question of funding for the DFD has game up. Both candidates seem to think that the DFD is funded. Mr.Ness said that the DFD should get involved in different aspects.

7:50 Charlie Bell seems to want to change everything. I think he is going to far with change. does the city need change? Yes, however everything is not bad in Duluth. It seems like tonight that is what Charlie is saying. It seems like most everything is negative.

7:35 You can tell that questions have been forced to ask by special interest groups. More on that soon.

7:22 They are now asking questions from the audience. The first question was asked a by a CSS student that happens to be some one I know well. He the son of a local business owner.

The question was do you support the events that have been going on with college students.

Just a reminder if you have a comment or question please post it when you can. I will give you a live response.

7:18 The question came up if city employees should be able to sit on the council. Both candidates said that it is okay as long as they look at conflicts of interest votes.

7:14 city services comes up as a question. Both candidates said they need to look at if the city should provide some services. These would include a Zoo, golf courses ect....

Mr. Ness said in effect that we need to look at weather the city has been doing an good job of providing that service. Mr. Bell said that it has been the city's fault. We have not help the systems up in good conditions.

7:05 The debate has started. It started with the moderate Micheal Lee coming on and thanking people for joining and such. She then introduced the panel that would ask questions. The panel included former mayor Gary Doty. More on the panel later.

They then had opening statements. Mr. Bell went first. Followed by Mr.Ness. Were Mr. Ness implied that he knows more then Mr. Bell does.

The first question dealt with the casino and when it comes up for renegotiation with the tribe in 2010.

6:52: The candates are in place and we are getting ready to hit the air.

Just a quick note please feel free to leave a comment about the coverage or if you have a question I can answer live I will do that as well.

6:37 p.m. : Welcome to Duluth Politics live blog of tonight's very important debate. Tonight's debate is being help at the CSS.

The candidates are both here. Mr. Ness and Mr. Bell look ready to take part in yet another debate in this long political season. The crowd is also starting to file in. It looks like it will be a good turn out for a crowd.

Keep it here for all the info on tonight debate. More to come in a few minutes. Remember the coverage will continue after the debate is over with comments from people who are here in attendance tonight.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


I have been very busy. I will try to post at least twice a week, and more if possible.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New sign, a SIGN of things to come?

Duluth mayoral candidate Don Ness has new signs. I have seen a few of them out around town. I thought at first no big deal. It may still remain that way but I don't think so.

The new signs has an air plane fliing over the city behind the plane. Now my thought is this. The last thing I want to see for real is a plane fliing around Duluth with a banner behind vote Don Ness for mayor, or any other candidate for that matter.

I however would not put it passed this campaign to use this stunt.

Ness/ Bell debate.

This is my conversation on another forum. Duluth Solutions,

The conversation is about the debate the Mr. Ness asked for and Mr. Bell declined to take part in.

From Duluth Solutions:

On a local level I find it very questionable that a candidate asks for a debate. Normally the debates and forums are set up by groups.

I find Ness asking for a debate to be wrong. I also find it wrong to be on a specific issue. Ness however is smart enough to realize that he has been in the fold of the retiree health care issue, ( part of the problem), well Mr. Bell has only been involved to the extend of any other Duluth Citizen. Yes he may know more then some people but not as much as Mr. Ness does.

I agree with Mr. Bell that it was a political game. Now do I think one hand that he should have taken on the debate? Maybe, but if he was to do so he would have had to move with caution.

Most post to come tonight. It has been an interest weekend and week so far.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Clean campaign?

This statement is off Don Ness's blog. What is the diffence of this comment made by him and the one Mr. Bell made about people have there [riority's striaght? Can some one please explain it to me. If you don't know Mr. Ness if talking about a local blog called perfect day duluth. PDD's please note this is not a slam on you it is a question about a comment Mr. Ness made.

I hear all this talk of a postive run yet I don't see it. In fact I what I see is two peopple running the same type of campaign. You mae the deciosion is if it clean or not.

"What I like most about Perfect Duluth Day is that most of the people there love Duluth. These folks find what is unique and authentic about our city and then they take the time to celebrate it. PDD is also worth celebrating - thanks to all who contribute to its spirit."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I will be posting as news comes up. Also as things that I think are importain pop up as well. However for now I will be consentracting on the interviews.

Check back and see what is new with DP.

No more Duluth Athletic Club.

As reported the DNT

The DAC will not reopen after water damage in late September. It is two bad the DAC was a great alternative to Grandmas and those types or restaurants. I will miss the DAC and wish they would reconsider.

I alwasys enjoyed it there, great food and never had a problem with service.

Sharla Gardner interview ( 3rd disctrict council seat.)

Hrere is Sharla Gardners interview. Don Ness's interview will not be moved to the interview page you can view it there. We still have a number of interviews out there being filled out by candidates.

Personal information (name, interest, ECT…..)?
My name is Sharla Gardner, I am a widow with 2 grown children and I live on the East Hillside . My interests are wide and varied - history, travel, gardening, music (I am an amateur musician), creative and technical writing, community theatre and, last, but not least, working with our community to create better lives for everyone.

2. Why did you decide to run for office?
Aside from the urging of the incumbent, Russ Stewart and others, I decided to run because it is my duty as a citizen to step forward and serve the community on behalf of the interests of all of the people of the District. Since our District is so diverse, culturally and economically, we need to be represented by a person who understands the dynamics of the District and will work with all the different groups.

Do you have any special interest supporting you? If so which groups?

However, I’d like to talk about what is meant by “special interests”. For instance, the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce is not supporting me, although many of their members who own small businesses in the District ARE supporting me. The Chamber is a special interest, and that organization, for this election, has chosen not to endorse candidates; but their leadership is definitely contributing monies and providing support to certain candidates. This year, the term special interest is code for unions. Personally, I think the term “special interests”, especially the way it’s being used this year, is extremely divisive and hurts our community. How can we work together to solve serious problems when some community organizations are singled out and labeled as “special interests”? We all have to work somewhere and if you look at the current make up of the council, there are many different “special interests”. For instance, there are 2 attorneys on the council, 2 landlords, a person with disabilities, a union employee, an electrician, a businessman working for Gold Cross and a person who worked for our congressman and is currently working for a private foundation. With that said, I am proud of the support of my colleagues and the labor unions that represent workers in construction, hospitality, government and other industries. I think all working people, whether they belong to a union or not, deserve more representation on the Council and I will provide that representation.

Do you believe this support will be benefits you? If so how?
Yes. A vibrant labor movement benefits the community by lifting the standards for all workers. Whether labor support benefits me politically is of less concern to me.

5. What is the number one issue facing the city today?
The retiree health care issue is very important, but can be solved by fully implementing the 14 recommendations of the Retiree Health Care Task Force. One of the major factors in the Task Force recommendations is timing. Each day implementation is delayed, it’s costing us money. Once this is done, we must prioritize basic city services, particularly public safety, including neighborhood community policing.

6. Do you believe crime is a major issue facing Duluth ?
Yes. That is why we must fully restore the neighborhood community policing program. This program is tried and true. It works because the police officers are known within the community and people feel free to approach them with problems AND their presence is a great deterrent to criminals.

7. What can we do reduce crime in the City?
In the short-term, as I said earlier, we must fully staff neighborhood community policing. In the long-term, the best way to reduce crime is by providing better job opportunities, especially those with wages in the mid-range. A wise person once said that the best anti-poverty and anti-crime program is a good job. Another, often overlooked crime prevention/reduction solution, is to get to know your neighbors. Becoming involved with our neighborhoods and our community and looking out for each other, is a major component in building community and reducing crime. We’re in great danger of becoming an isolated society, using our computers and televisions as our ways of communicating and interaction with the outside world. This isolation promotes unwarranted fear. There is no substitute for human contact, neighborliness and community.

8. What would you do to improve the city park system?
Duluth has one of the best park systems found anywhere. Unfortunately, we don’t always maintain it as well as we should. We need to take better care of what we have, which will save us money in the long run. I also want to take this opportunity to recognize the many good people in our District who volunteer to take care of our parks and cleaning them up. It’s not fair to expect them to do that, but they deserve our respect and appreciation.

9. Would you support a code of conduct for the Duluth City Council and Mayor that included sexual harassment policies? Why or why not?
Yes. Elected officials should be held to the same standards as city employees. Period.

10. Do you think Duluth needs more affordable housing? If so how do you accomplish this?
In light of the current problems with the housing market nationally, we need to be careful to not overbuild and create a surplus in our local housing market. However, Duluth does have a shortage of decent affordable rental housing, in particular. We must continue to work with private developers and community housing organizations to promote affordable and decent rental housing and make sure that existing rentals are kept up to code.

11. How do you solve the Duluth unfunded health care issue? (Bet you thought you would not have to answer this again).
Please refer to question #5. In addition, it’s important we understand that each day we delay implementing the recommendations is costing us money. The timelines that the task force recommended in 2005 have not been honored and that’s causing even greater financial liability. I’ve concluded a major reason the timelines have been ignored is because a couple of local politicians used this issue for political gain. This divisive rhetoric has deeply harmed and divided our community. It’s been needlessly hurtful and it needs to stop now. I note that the News Tribune published the Arbitrator’s decision in full regarding the Police Officers union’s contract on Friday, October 12th. It is about 36 pages long-very interesting and illuminating reading. The more informed people are about this issue, the less likely they are to believe divisive, untrue, political rhetoric. As citizens, we should be emailing our city councilors and asking what they will do to avoid additional delays.

12. Any other information you would like to share?
Our neighborhoods need to become more sustainable and attractive. The reason I love living on the East Hillside is because of all the neighborhood businesses that are within walking distance or a short drive. When I need something, I don’t have to drive all the way to the mall – I can go to the Plaza, Daugherty’s, Canal Park or the Co-op. If I want to eat out, I can go to the Burrito Union or Chester Creek CafĂ© (just outside of the district, but close enough). I’d like to see more neighborhood business develop that are culturally specific. The VeBene’ restaurant and the Italian Import store next to it are good examples of that kind of specialization that will add charm and interest, as well as dollars to our local economy.

13. What would do to bring business to Duluth ?
As a city councilor, I will work with whoever is elected Mayor to develop creative ways to bring mid-range jobs to Duluth . We must be more forward thinking and creative with the kinds of businesses we want to attract. Our hospitality industry is booming, as are the Medical Centers. We need manufacturing jobs, that pay salaries between $14 and $20 per hour, because these are the jobs that bring people out of poverty and that help them get a decent start in life.

14. What kind of business should Duluth focus on bringing here?
Please see #13 and, I would add, I’d like to see green collar jobs, such as a wind turbine manufacturing plant and green professional jobs, that develop alternative forms of energy in Duluth . These are the career opportunities of the future, and they will not detract from our quality of life and cannot be outsourced to another country.

15. How do we keep our young people in Duluth ?
Make sure there are jobs that pay decent wages AND make sure they are hired for them. When I’ve been doorknocking, people have expressed frustration about the fact they graduated from UMD, but don’t get the jobs they are qualified for. People are being imported from other cities. We have a wealth of talented, well educated young people who have made career sacrifices to live here because it’s their hometown and because of our excellent quality of life. We need to make sure they’re employed. The workforce of Duluth is one of our greatest and most valuable resource.

16. What thoughts do you have on renters vs. the community?
Renters are not bad people. Many people prefer to rent and not own a home for a number of reasons – many relating to time and interest and career demands. Being a home owner takes time and energy and many career people prefer to rent. We shouldn’t forget them – they are desirable neighbors and good citizens. These folks are one of the reasons I addressed the issue of decent, affordable rentals in an earlier question. However, I think this question refers to student rentals and so I will address that component as well. Student rentals are a problem, often because of the parking issue. I think our rental ordinance addresses that problem, in part, but it remains, because the existing rentals were grandfathered in. We must engage the university administration to help with solving the problem their growth policies have created in our neighborhoods. We must also make sure that problem houses (party houses) are reported to the police consistently and we must request that the police ticket these houses, in a consistent fashion. By that, I mean informing the landlord, issuing a warning the first time, ticket with a fine the 2nd time, and, if there’s a 3rd time, the landlord will be penalized, as well.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Pick your candidate for Prez.

Here is a quize to help pick who you will vote for. Here is the site, .

My results below:

Tom TancredoScore: 49
AgreeIraqImmigrationTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoMarriage
DisagreeEnergyDeath Penalty

Duncan HunterScore: 40
AgreeTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoMarriageDeath Penalty

Fred ThompsonScore: 40
AgreeTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoMarriageDeath Penalty

Sam BrownbackScore: 37
AgreeTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoMarriage
DisagreeIraqImmigrationEnergyDeath Penalty

John McCainScore: 36
AgreeTaxes Stem-Cell ResearchHealth Care Abortion Social Security Line-Item Veto Energy Death Penalty
Disagree Iraq Immigration Marriage

Jim GilmoreScore: 34
AgreeTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareSocial SecurityMarriageDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationAbortionLine-Item VetoEnergy

Mike HuckabeeScore: 33Video
AgreeStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoMarriageDeath Penalty

Mitt RomneyScore: 27
AgreeTaxesHealth CareLine-Item VetoMarriageDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationStem-Cell ResearchAbortionSocial SecurityEnergy

Ron PaulScore: 25
AgreeTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionEnergy
DisagreeIraqImmigrationSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoMarriageDeath Penalty

Rudy GiulianiScore: 22
AgreeTaxesHealth CareSocial SecurityDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationStem-Cell ResearchAbortionLine-Item VetoEnergyMarriage

Joe BidenScore: 11
AgreeSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionEnergyMarriage

Bill RichardsonScore: 6Video
AgreeLine-Item VetoDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityEnergyMarriage

Barack ObamaScore: 3Video
AgreeDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoEnergyMarriage

John EdwardsScore: 3Video
AgreeDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoEnergyMarriage

Hillary ClintonScore: 3
AgreeDeath Penalty
DisagreeIraqImmigrationTaxesStem-Cell ResearchHealth CareAbortionSocial SecurityLine-Item VetoEnergyMarriage

No News but .....

No news as of late but there will be with tonight's council meeting stay turned.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I need to be clear about something here. It seems like there maybe some confusion. I have given all candidates a chance to take part in these interviews. Just because I have posted some ones interview it does not mean I am endorsing them.

I am again giving everyone the chance to take part. I believe it is importain to know the candidates and that is what I want people to be aware of.

Interview number one: Don Ness (Mayor's Race)

Personal information (name, interest, ECT…..)?

Don Ness, 33, husband and father of two. I work for the Zeppa Foundation as their Director of Programming and Policy. I am a life-long Duluth resident and I currently own a home just 5 blocks from where I grew up in the Hillside neighborhood.

Do you have any special interest supporting you? If so which groups?

We have endorsements from two organizations the Duluth Building Trades and the local DFL party.

Do you believe crime is a major issue facing Duluth? What can be done to solve it?

Safety in our neighborhoods has long been a strength in Duluth. We need to be sure that it remains a true advantage in the competition for jobs, investment, and people. Community policing is my primary funding priority in city government because it allows for pro-active police work that is vital in protecting our quality of life.

What can you do to bring business to Duluth? What industries should we focus on?

I believe that by creating and investing in a workforce development system in Duluth that we can create real value for employers in our area. The strength and talent of our workforce will become our most prominent advantage in attracting business to Duluth and to encouraging growth in our core industry sectors: aviation, health care, and light manufacturing.

How should the unfunded health care liability be solved?

I'm proud of my leadership role in establishing the Retiree Health Care Task Force and my advocacy of implementing that plan in a timely basis. There is still much work that needs to be done and I'm committed to putting the full plan in place by the end of 2008.
What can we do to keep our young people in Duluth?

So much of our future success in Duluth will be determined by the quality of young people that we are able to convince to make their home in Duluth. We should be deliberate about identifying those young people who will bring real value to their work place and their community and convince them to invest themselves in our community. We need to do a better job of providing opportunities - economic, cultural, and social opportunities - so that those talented young people don't feel a need to leave Duluth to find them.

Note: Don may pass more along to me. If he does I will post it here.

Interview update #2

I have now heard from a number of candidates. They have been sent the questions when they send them back I will post them.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Interview update.

I have heard from two candidates so far. I think I what I am going to do is get questions together and email them to those who have already replied and get them up asap. Also don't forget you can have your question asked here as well. You can email me the question(s) you have and I will ask them.

The post

Here is more info on the "the post" it is taking some time because there is more and more info coming out about it. What is it?

The county board. I have many comments coming on the issues it has been facing as of late. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I have emailed every remaining council candidates and mayor candidate for interviews. I hope they will take part. I also hope you will as well. If you have a question you would like to ask please email me at or just leave a comment here.

Here is a copy of the email sent out tonight to the candidates.

Hi everyone:

John Rathe here, I wanted to again say congrats to you all for making it passed the primary. Regardless of our political believes every one of you is an out standing person. I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know you all better. I also enjoyed the debate and conversation on how to make Duluth better. I hope that is what your campaigns will focus on.

Now on to the point of my email. I am writing because I would like to know if you would be interested in doing an interview on my blog. Many of you know by now that I run a blog called Duluth Politics, the web address is

The interview will be a number of questions that I will send via email. The interview will not be changed in any way. This includes spelling and grammar. I don’t want to be accused of altering an answer. The interview will include questions that I have. It will also hopefully include questions from the readers of the blog,

I hope you see this to be a great opportunity to reach even more voters. I also hope you see this as a fair process.

Please get back to me ASAP. I am drawing up questions now and will start sending them out soon. I will be doing this in some order. What it is not sure yet. We will have a few days on the mail page for each council race and mayors race. It will then be put on the interview page were people can still read the interview. Again I hope you are interested in this process. Please let me by email,


John Rathe

I am also looking to gives this opportunity to the school board candidates. I need email address for them however if any one knows please email that to me as well. The process will be decided after I get a response from people so I know who I have and don't have to do a spotlight on.

State smoking ban.

Note I started this post yesterday that is why it say's today and not yesterday.

Today marks a black day for Minnesota business’s because of the State smoking ban. As you may or may not know today marks the first day of the State wide smoking ban. If you have read this blog in the past you know I am against smoking bans. I have never favored one, nor do I expect to ever do so.

One reason some groups liked this is because it said it made if fair for all of Minnesota. What they seem to forget is it does not make if fair to those city’s (such as Duluth) that are next to a different State. It is unrealistic to believe that smokers and non-smokers will not go to these other States. As a non smoker I believe people have a choice. I will support those cities and States that still leave it up to the people. This means I will go to Superior more then likely to eat or drink.

This is about protecting business and peoples rights.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Still working on the post.

I am still working on the post that I promised. I am also now working on a second great post I hope to have one or both up tonight.

Life has been so busy as of late. It is hard to get things done.