News tips.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wal-Mart update.

Well my source did not have much different information then the DNT has already told us about there were just a couple things I found interesting.  Dam DNT if I would have talked to my source earlier I could have beat them with the info lol. 

It is now clear that the Wal-Mart expansion is all but a go now that the MN pollution control agency seems to like there current plan. I don’t see what the city council would stop supporting the Wal-Mart expansion.

Well I don’t remember when the expansion is to start. One thing I did find interesting was that they will build around the current store.  Out side walls and frames will go up around the current building.  As work moves to the inside of the store departments will be moving around.  The store will never close. This is what my source said.  Also some other things that I can’t share right now.

Friday, January 30, 2009


Post will come tomorrow.  I meant to post on Wal-Mart and more today but ran out of time.  Now off to bed because work tomorrow morning. 

Look for updates in the late afternoon. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wal-Mart expansion in the works again?

It seems that is it possible again. Yes the Duluth News Tribune is reporting that Wal-Mart is again talking about there expansion project to the Hermantown.  

As many people know I have been a supporter of a super center at that location for many many years. 

I will talk to my source and see what info they may have. Check back later tonight or tomorrow for more info.

You can read the DNT story at

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My super bowl predication.

Well many aren’t giving the Arizona cardinals  much of a chance. I do, I think there defense will play well.  We all know what there offense can do.

The game will be close here is what I think Arizona 21- Pittsburg 17

Stimulate this.

The Obama stimulus package is doing what good?

More zoo chat.

A local caller to talk radio programs seems to think now that the zoological society have control of the zoo, it will be much like the fish tank.  His line of thinking is that the society will now keep coming back to the city for money.  Because it was more then they expected. 

Now I disagree with this person.  I think and I would encourage the society if it comes up more then you expect over they years then they must close the zoo.  Now I don’t want to the zoo to close that is why I was a supporter to turn it over to the society.  Again however if it is more then an expected of the years then it must close.  Yes the society needs the chance and I would expect the first couple of years to be trouble sum for them.

With that said I believe the society will not need to come back to the city for money.  They now have many more opportunities to get money then the city ever did.

Lose of 2.3 Million dollars a good thing?

Duluth Mayor Don Ness was thrilled that Governor Tim Pawlenty  only cut 2.3 Million dollars from our state aid. Why? Because Monday night at the council meeting Mayor Ness had said he would be surprised if the governor only cut out 4 million so he expected it to be far worse then what it was cut on Tuesday. 

Well the Mayor understands the hardship this will put on the city it turns out not to be as bad as thought.  He said we will over come this.  There will be tuff choices to make once again.  Mayor Ness said “We’ll have to focus on core services in city government and continue to find ways to let go of services that aren’t core to our mission,” he said, citing as examples cuts to the senior dining program, the grocery bus, the Washington Center pool and zoo operations.

The above is cross posted on

The Mayor is taking a great approach to this cut.  He understands the problem the State is having as well as many cities across the state face.  Now it is our time to figure out what can be done.  I like that the Mayor is not talking about cutting core service. 


Some information provided by the Duluth News Tribune.

****UPDATE**** 10 AM.

I saw this on Brandon Stahl’s blogs .

The Mayor praised the Governor. Say what?

"I would like to give the governor credit for the way he addressed the LGA cuts. Certainly the cuts are going to be significant and have a detrimental impact. But basing it on a percent of levy and aid, he made a statement that he expects every city and community in Minnesota to contribute to solving the issue. There are ways he could have made his proposal that would have put additional burden on core cities and regional centers; Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Mankato, St. Cloud. So I appreciate his approach on that decision."




Tuesday, January 27, 2009

DTV extended by Obama.

This was my first disagreement with the President.

Now it seems as if that the president has extended the time to some time this summer.  Now the switch to digital TV seems have to wait.

It was reported that our local station will still go with the original time.  I am not sure they can with the extension. I will have to look in to it. 

We won one.

When I say we, I mean all of Duluth and the tax payers.  With the zoo vote last night (6-3) we all won.  The vote means the zoo now has a chance to stay open. The Mayor said he would have to look at closing the zoo.  Now lets be clear the Mayor has done what he has had to as of late.  The closing of the zoo would be a disaster.  The Mayor would have closed it. 

This will safe the city a huge amount of money.  Well the money will have to put a limited amount of money to the zoo.  The city is now out of the business of running the zoo.  The society will now have complete control of the zoo.  This mean everything from animals to workers.

Two lines for fishing?

As many anglers know you can use to lines in the winter.  Ice fishing has long allowed you to use two lines to fish with.  Most anglers use a tip up and then a standers ice fishing rod many times in an ice house. 

Now the State of Minnesota may allow fisher man and women to use two lines in the summer.  One would have to be rigged with a bobber and bait well the other must be rigged with a spinner bait of some kind that you must cast with. 

I like this and I hope that the bill passes. 

Lake Superior Zoo goes to society.

Last night the Duluth City Council approved the zoo to be taken over by the zoological society.  Well it almost seemed like it would not pass at one point last.  As the union councilors pressed forward to allow workers make sure they have a job.  Now the contract stated that the workers would have a job with the city.  However that did not seem to satisfy the union councilors.

Well councilors Sharla Gardner and Tony Cuneo were not going to support the contact because of the unions.  They did not say this direct but you could tell by there comments that they were holding the union line.  They used buzz words instead of union.  They kept using the workers, and employees.  Yet think about this if you were getting laid off from you job would your employer call you in and ask you think you should be laid off.  No, yet this is what these councilors wear working for in part.  

The 6-3 vote in favor of the contact was great to have now the zoo has a chance at surviving.  There is nothing for sure but now the society has a chance to run it and see what they can.  Well the if the vote would have failed the zoo would have closed end of case. 

  The three that voted against the contact should be voted out of office next time around.  Those councilors are Sharla Gardner 3rd district and at large councilors Tony Cuneo and Jeff Anderson. 

Test post from Windows live.

This is a test post from Windows live. 

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Friday, January 23, 2009

It's day three for Obama as President.

Three days in to the new President's term we are close to a stimulus package. That according to President Obama. We are on target for a two year plan said President Obama. His package would give couples up to $1,000 dollars and singles up to $500.00 dollars.

I like getting money back. I don't know about you but as a working person I have long felt that we put to much money in to the government. Getting just tax money back is no were near enough. Now do I think a stimulus's package is the way to? I am not 100% sure. I am not sure how many people would spend the money they want you to.

Judge gives mom a second chance.

I now know why I have never voted for Judge Shaun Floerke. When you put your kids in danger what will he do? Basically nothing. What a joke.

Here is part of the an article in the Duluth News Tribune. A Duluth mother who put her 3-year-old twins in danger by exposing them to her crack cocaine smoke was given probation Thursday — and with it a chance to turn her life around and resume a nursing career.

The woman pleaded guilty this the defence said she was taking responsibility for her action. Judge Floerke accepted the defence suggestion and now the woman has just two years of probation and continue with her life.

When you put your children in danger you should have to do your time and this just is not it in my eyes. This was drugs and she was doing in front her children teaching them it is okay to do an illegal and putting them is serious danger with the smoke from the drug.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I don't like to lose business's.

The Greyhound bus company has said they are thinking of dropping the but run from Duluth to the cities. Which means most likely they will drop it. It would leave just one other running company to use the shelter in West Duluth.

I don't like to lose business's in Duluth but I am not sure that losing the bus service is such a bad thing. It is nothing against the Greyhound bus company at all. They provide a great service to those who need it. I just think it will help with some other things if it does have to close.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Interesting video.

There is an interesting video on the following blog, I urge you to check it out. It is called born again American.

Well I find the video to be very powerful and even agree with parts of it. I take issue with the title. I have always and will always be an American and proud of it. No matter who the President is. Now I know green tea is feeling this way (I am sure the point of the video is the same) is because Obama is President. I hope she has always been proud to be an American as I know I would not want to live any were else.

Well at this point I don't share in the enthusiasm in Obama as some do only time will tell. Again I was a proud American when Bush was President, I was a proud American yesterday and remain one today and forever.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Chamber believes what?

Okay so I did get a chance to hear the show. There for I don't know the direct comment made by chamber president David Ross. He appeared on the new business show on KDAL radio yesterday 1p.m.

This morning well listening to the news on KDAL they said he made a comment. The comments he made concerned me a bit. He said something like if you improve every business in Duluth by two or three employers then we don't need new business. Say what?

This sure sounds much like a good old boys club. Many citizens have been concerned about for years. Now yes I believe it would be great to improve our exciting business as along as they can grow. With that said we need new business as well. By not looking for new business we hurt the city. By the way it is part of the chambers mission to get new business to come to Duluth and grow the city.

If anyone knows exactly what he said let me know then I can make more comments. I am interested however in your thoughts on this. Should we just focus on the business we have and not worry about new ones?

Today's Focus: Obama

The new President will be our focus today. We will blog here about interesting things that happen. I will also look at other blogs and post things that are found there. Plus more. New updates will be on top.

!!:17 His speech has just begun minutes ago. It is much of the same message he has said all along so this will conclude this part of the blogging. We will have more later on Obama and we will also get back to local issues as there is a few things to report on.

11:06am We now have a new President Barack Obama was just sworn in to office. Mrs. Obama had a very goofy grin on her face. I am sure she was proud but still.

11am Secretary of State Joe Bidden is sworn in as the Vice President of the United States. Oh did I say SoS. I mean Vice President Bidden.

10:45a.m. Obama has been introduced and is greeting the guest.

10:23am The former Presidents are being introduced to the crowd. George H.W. Bush does not look in that great of health.
10:08 just made mention it will be interesting to see who is announced as the Senator for Minnesota. Franken or Coleman. They did not know who it would be.

10:06am The important people continue to file in.

10am Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Obama take there places at the speech. They walk in together. The Mall lawn is full of people. They look excited and energized.

9:50a.m As I am watching live coverage on it is interesting to see the people gather to watch the speech of Obama. It appears as if Obama and bidden are on there way to the location of the inauguration.

9:41 am Glad to see a few blogs have taken the opportunity to thank President Bush., Take the time to read them.

The MLK Day Keynote Speech.

This years Key not speaker was Curtis Austin. I thought his speech was very interesting. There were a couple of things I did not realize.

The speech he called will the real Martin Luther King Jr. please stand up focused on the power of people. I thought the message was delivered very well. Well the message focused on what MLK was able to accomplish it called on people to take action and do what they believe is right. The basic answer to his question will the real MLK please stand up is we are all like him. We need to do are part what ever we believe that to be.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Okay so maybe I just don't get it. Everyone tired to make the connection of President Obama to the movement of MLK today at the program. I see little connection other then the work MLK. With out we for sure would not be were we are today on the issue of discrimination and other such issues. The only connection I see is this. Because in part the work MLK did has Obama were he is today. Is this it or is there more.

I truly want to understand the connection. Let me know your thoughts.

MLK Day Duluth.

The crowd was huge this year for the march and program at the DECC. It was great to see. This year was the first year in a number of years I have been able to attend because of work.

In part I am sure the crowd was bigger from years past because of the last election. I know the crowd was bigger this year as it made mention of many times in program. Now they did try to tie the election of Obama into the day and well I fail to see a connection that is neither here or there for this post.

The march was great. The weather was very nice for a change. The crowd was very up beat. As they marched to the DECC from the washington center they sung songs. I have to say my daughter had a great time as this was her first march. She is three and enjoyed the singing.

As we entered the DECC they had cookies and punch and coffee which was nice after the walk. They also had cookies and drinks before hand at the washington center. Back to the DECC and the program. The auditorium was full. It was a concert like crowd.

The speakers included the school superintend, Mayor Don Ness and the key note speaker and I forgot his name but the speech was very good. There were also a number of music acts.

More thoughts on MLK day coming.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

New poll.

There is a new poll up. It is should there be a walgreen's in Kenwood.

Planning commision say's no to Walgreens.

Walgreen's was again in found of the planning commission looking to get a spot in the Kenwood area. The store has been trying for a number of years to get a store in the Kenwood area.

Every time is has been meet with rejection from neighbors and business's in the area. The planning commission however has always approved the project. The council has then declined to follow there lead. This time they did not allow the project to pass the commission.

The issues of vacating an alley which Walgreen's wants will now go in front of the city council. It would seem this has little chance of passing the council after the commission denied it.

The above is cross posted at .

I think this is a good thing. I love Walgreen's and do a lot of shopping there. I think however this would ruin the Kenwood area. It would also hurt a long standing local business. As much as I like shopping at Walgreen's I also love our local shops and try to shop at them just as much.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Page updates.

New items at a couple of pages. also at . Check them out.

My first disagreement with President-Elect Obama.

My first disagreement comes before Obama even takes office. It will not be the first one that is for sure. I will however agree with him many times. I will post when both happen.

This disagreement is not a big deal but it does give me something to blog about. President-elect Obama feels that we are not ready as a country for digital t.v. now lets be honest we have known about this for a long time. Everyone has had plenty of time to get there boxes is they need one. You don't need one if you have cable or satellite t.v.

The box is not hard to set up at all. As far as having not have a box yet again there has been plenty of time to get one. If you don't have the coupon then just go buy one. They are $50.00.

I hope that President-elect Obama does not put off the start of digital t.v.

The big Zoo vote.

The big vote to allow the zoo to be taken over by the zoological society was last night. This was a much anticipated vote and was glad to see the council was going to vote on it. Well of course there was a new councilor appointed last night I still thought the vote should happen. This is because the councilor appointee should have been keeping up on this and all issues.

To the vote last night Tony Cuneo said he would like to see it remain on the table because he had yet more question. Now remember this has been in the news and the council has seen it for a number of weeks. The society along with the city has been ans wearing questions all along. Sharla Gardneralso said she would like to see it on the table again because she still has questions plus the union had just submitted some paper work to the council that she wanted to make sure there would be no law suites.

The vote to table passed 6-3 this is a bad because now we must wait two more weeks for a vote. When every councilor said they were in support of the society taking control of the zoo. This vote better be 8-1 I don't expect Gilbert to support this. Councilor Gardner said last night she does so she better vote that way.

Monday, January 12, 2009

President Bush's last press conference.

Today the President held his last press conference. You can view it here if you wish. It is interesting. It is about 45 minutes. Here is the link,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If you have not heard.

The next city councilor will most likely be Gary Eckenburg. We will find out for sure tomorrow.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Should the zooligicail society take over the zoo?

Councilors and Public if you want the zoo to have any chance of staying open you must let zoological society take over control of the zoo. The city has had control of the zoo for a number of years. Well the zoo has been getting by under management it could hopefully do much better under private ownership.

The may has already said that if the vote is against the society taking over control of the zoo then he will look at closing it. I would not consider this a bluff the Mayor has been very stead face on his disicion to balance the budget. This is to his credit. The Mayor is doing what needs to balance the budget.

The zoological society has an opportunity like none other. It will not be easy but it is better if a private organization is running the zoo. They can run it more like a business. This will open the door for looking a new ways to improve the zoo.

The society understands the project they are taking over and I believe they have a good starting plan.

Councilors public this is simple if you don't want the zoo then don't let the society take control of the zoo. If this happens it would be tragic.

The city will be forced to close the zoo if the society does not take over. It is that simple. They can ill-effort continue with the zoo.

My zoo story. Telling story's.

Well I have many memory's from the Duluth Zoo there is always one that stuck out to me. Well I was little and impressionable is more then likely the reason.

My first trip the zoo scared the living hell out of me. why? We headed down stairs to begin our journey. The first thing you saw were the big lions many times roaring. being little it scared me these animals are huge to a 5 or 6 year old. Even at that age what still surprised me. You could get right up to the cage of the lions. It was amazing to see the king of the jungle up so close.

Every time I went to the zoo after my first visit I could not wait to go see the lions. The were my favored thing to see. At the time there had four or five lions. Seeing the lions was the very beginning of a great experience at the zoo. Every time I have been there it is a great experience. Well the zoo has change from my first visit I still enjoy it today.

Tell your zoo story here. I am very interested in what makes the zoo special to you or maybe what you don't like about it. I can't imagine some one not liking the zoo however.

Much more coming on the zoo this weekend. I am hoping to have more up later tonight as a matter of fact.

Friday, January 09, 2009

post coming this weekend.

I will have quite a bit about the zoo. On Monday there could be a vote on whether or not the zoological society will take over the zoo or not. There is a lot to this story. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Talk of the Town.

Live tonight from 7-9 pm. His guest this week Mayor Don Ness. Mayor Ness has been on a number of talk this last week and of course he had the State of the City on Monday.

We will blog about the show. Should anything interesting come up you can read about it here.


The interview was short and uneventful.

Superior State of the City.

Here is were you can read the speech that Mayor Ross made last night. It is fairly length so I am not going to post the whole thing here. As I comment I may use parts of it.

Look for more later today on the State of the City from Superior Mayor Dave Ross.


Some idiot on the radio last week asked if newly elected county board member would be a full time commissioner like it is set to be. Today he announced that some one else will take over operation of his law office. Well he will still do a little most everything will be handled by other people.

Good video.

I saw this video link here The video is the news in review from Uncle Jay and it is good. The show is meant for children. Check it out however it is good.

Breaking News at Cirrus.

Read about it here. Breaking News at There is more there new if you have not been there for a couple of days.

Poll update.

Keep the votes coming there is still five days to vote on the question. Right now Eli is off his rocker is a head.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A great Mayor will deliever his State of the City tonight.

Superior Mayor Dave Ross will have his State of the City tonight. It is expected to focus in part on the employees and there hard work to keep Superior moving forward. Plus the cities other advantages. I would expect the Mayor to include a possible statement about Murphy oil expansion but not sure.

The Superior State of the City falls just one day after Duluth Mayor Don Ness made his speech at the DECC in Duluth last night. You can listen to the Superior State of the City on KUWS radio or you can attend it on the campus of UWS.

Just a side note I think Mayor Ness is doing a fine job. He is working his way into being a very good Mayor at this point.

The speech.

As you know the State of the City was last night. I had hoped for a little bit more from the Mayor. I agree in part with both councilor Stauber and council hopeful Scott Keenan. They were asked to comment to the the Duluth News Tribune.

Stauber said this:

“My reaction was, ‘Where’s the meat?’” said Councilor Jim Stauber. “I think the mayor could have made a speech on what direction the city was taking knowing full well he’s going to have a budget shortfall, knowing which services were going to be cut or trimmed. … He’s not a new mayor. He could have been much more specific.”

Keenan said the following:

What I liked about the speech was that there was hope,” said Scott Keenan, a candidate for the vacant City Council seat and president of Grandma’s marathon. “It was a positive, upbeat speech that provided hope of better things ahead.”

I believe the Mayor did lay out some positive direction to take the city. I agree with Mr. Keenan on that. You may not agree with what he said but it is the direction he wishes to carry the city. Now I like a number of thinks he said last night. I like the idea of possible selling the water and gas department. I however agree that we need to take a long hard look if it is the best thing to do. At least he is looking at it. This is positive.

I also like the idea he has had for some time for the zoological society to take over the zoo. This would help save money. He also said we need to look at all things the city provides and look at weather we should be doing it. I could not agree more.

I agree with council Stauber in part as well I had hoped the Mayor would have been much clearer as to how he was going to solve the budget crises facing the city. What are we looking at and what can be done about it. He should have let Duluth know what we could at least have a look out for in 2009. Here I thing he failed.

Now I think many us would look to what was done in 2008 and see that much of the same may be on tap for 2009. Yet many of the departments can not take any more cuts. This leaves many questions. One question is can we expect things to close? Will there be more combining of departments? Lay offs?

Your thoughts on the speech and the questions are more then welcome. Lets discuss.

Hermantown Mayor breaks tie.

I have many times wondered why we don't do the same thing here for a vacant seat. The Hermantown Mayor broke a tie by the city council. He made the tie breaking vote for his empty council seat.

Why can't Duluth do that. Now the fact is with the current mayor it may or may not be some one I like he would have chose but it seems like a better way to do things. I like it better then an instant run off.

The problem it does open up is favor tism to one over the other yet that is what the council is dong well voting as well.

Here is part of why the Hermantown Mayor chose Stauber.

Boucher, who had served on the council with both Stauber and Thielen, said both candidates were highly qualified but that he chose Stauber in part because “he made me a better councilor.”

Read more at the Duluth News Tribune.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Mayor's speech.

Here is the speech from the State of the City again I will have more tomorrow. I did notice and want to point out however that Mayor Ness could not stop him self from bringing up Obama.

Thank you, Councilor Reinert, and congratulations on your new leadership role. After five years of dedi-cated service as an elected city official, Councilor Reinert is about to become Representative Reinert, where as an elected state official he will continue to serve our community from St. Paul. Congratulations, Roger, and thank you for all you have and will do for

Duluth. I’d also like to recognize the service of two distinguished public servants for their lifetime of service to Duluth – Rep. Mike Jaros and Commissioner Bill Kron.
Councilors, I thank you each for your dedication to our city, and I look forward to working with you again in 2009. I also want to thank Amy Norris for once again providing her sign language talents to benefit our hearing-impaired viewers and for her work in coordinating this event. Thank you Amy.

2008 was a difficult year for our city, our state and our entire country. The national economy is in a re-cession, our stock market and credit markets are in turmoil, and our state faces a shortfall of more than five billion dollars.

However, there are opportunities to be found. Historically, we find during times of great uncertainty that the greatest change, the greatest growth, takes place. The future of our city depends upon our ability to seize the opportunity before us.

Today, we have the chance to choose a path that moves our community confidently from crisis to prosper-ity by successfully adapting to changing times, removing the outdated systems of a previous century, and adopting a shared commitment to reform and innovation for Duluth.
The budget crisis was our primary focus in 2008. It had to be. With a structurally imbalanced budget, we could no longer postpone the task of making serious cuts. In order to avoid annual multi-million dollar deficits, we had to move away from a strategy of simply surviving and hoping next year would be better. We needed to make fundamental changes to the structure of our budget to achieve a goal of long-term fiscal health.In addition to the structural problems, the City faced several major monetary losses – $6.8 million in state amortization aid, an unallotment of $1.7 million in Local Government Aid, and a loss of $2.3 million in a failed investment that we later learned was backed by sub-prime mortgages. These three factors alone accounted for $10.8 million of the now $20 million deficit that we were forced to overcome in ‘08 and ‘09.

All of these challenges forced the City of Duluth to make some difficult decisions that were unpopular with the citizens of Duluth – including myself. Believe me, I wish we didn’t have to make many of the decisions we made. But the circumstances made this decisive action necessary. I’ll stand by those un-popular decisions because they were made in the best interests of our city. And we’re beginning to see evidence that they’re working.

Our bond ratings were recently affirmed by both Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s, two firms that assess the financial viability of municipalities. Their renewed confidence in Duluth was largely based on our success in achieving over $18 million of budget recovery over the past 12 months. Progress hasn’t come easily – we’ve had to work for it and we should be proud of the accomplishment.

We’re moving forward, but the path before us is long. Our success depends upon our willingness to chal-lenge ourselves to do more, to do better – that’s a challenge I’ve given myself, to continually strive to do a better job as your mayor and to better serve our city.
Our success also depends upon our willingness to combat the forces that impede our progress. Unfortunately, I could spend every waking hour correcting misinformation, rumors, and inaccurate speculation on city issues. During a time of turmoil, we can’t afford these distractions.

In 2009, I call upon reform-minded citizens to have your voice heard. Our goal is not to discour-age disagreement or dialogue, but to raise the level of critical thinking, commitment to fact, and civil, ethical communication. Our community will be stronger when we give our attention to the constructive voices of reason who rise to advocate for solutions, reform and optimism about our ability to overcome our challenges.

I know most Duluthians love this City too much to see us fail either by inertia or by blunt force. Our spirit is not broken. In fact, 2008 has only strengthened our resolve to reform, and to earn a new prosperity for Duluth.

Many have already demonstrated their love and commitment by giving their time, energy, and initiative to an ever growing series of successes worth celebrating – not only for the results that we all enjoy, but more importantly for the power of residents to shape the future of our city.

The Heritage Sports Center is a shining tribute to our rich hockey history made possible by a committed group of volunteers who believe in Duluth. It’s a state-of-the-art facility that has given our Lincoln Park neighborhood renewed community pride as well as an economic boost.
The Duluth-Superior Area Community Foundation, as part of their 25th anniversary, helped build a new $25,000 playground on Park Point.

“Duluth At Work” is a collaboration between the City and several community agencies to work with 80 low income individuals with one simple goal, to increase their income by 25% over a three year period by investing in their skills and abilities to make them more productive employees.

The volunteers with the Chester Bowl Improvement Club have taken responsibility for the ski hill, keep-ing this popular winter pastime accessible and affordable for Duluth families.
At next week’s Council meeting, we will have the opportunity to add to this list. The Lake Superior Zoological Society is poised to take over operations of our beloved zoo. We can ensure the continued health of the zoo and its animals, while also immediately putting $338,000 back into the city coffers to help balance the budget. I encourage the Council to approve this agreement next Monday.


President-Elect Obama has often said, “You cannot address 21st Century challenges with a 20th Century bureaucracy,” and I couldn’t agree more. We must work to fix a flawed, overly-bureaucratic system, to use innovative methods to increase efficiency and accountability, and to give our best employees the support and the tools they need to provide great service to our residents.

In 2008, we began to plant the seeds of reform based on a commitment to the principles of service, innovation, and accountability that are beginning to transform city services. I’ll share with you just a few of the results of our efforts.

In the building safety office, our process improvement efforts have resulted in better customer service and a 31% reduction in permit cycle times.
Our commitment to an overlay and capping program resulted in 5.9 miles of improved roadways in 2009. This effort has allowed street crews to patch every other street and alley in Duluth at least once during the summer season - for the first time in more than 20 years.

We became one of the first in the nation to lease the unused capacity in our natural gas lines. This change could result in over a $1 million dollars in revenue that will be used to keep customer rates down.

We have undertaken the task of updating our existing zoning code and creating a new unified development code. It will include a streamlined development review and approval process to encourage investment and development in Duluth that is aligned with our city’s values.
At City Hall, we have consolidated departments to reduce overhead and made many other opera-tional reforms focused on improving service while reducing the cost of city government. I am proud of the efforts of our staff and thankful of their professionalism and dedication to service. It has been a very difficult year and they are deserving of our thanks.


As we look ahead to 2009, we are facing the likelihood of losing millions of dollars in cuts to state aid. It is an unfortunate prospect, with daunting consequences. We will deal with those consequences as they become reality, but we can not allow those consequences to define our efforts in 2009.

We will not become captive to those factors outside of our control, but rather double our efforts to improve and find solutions within our own sphere of influence. 2009 will be a year of reform and innovation within Duluth’s city government. We set upon an ambitious agenda.
We will create Duluth’s first five year strategic plan for city finances and hire Duluth’s first Chief Financial Officer to lead the effort of achieving long-term financial stability. Each and every division of city government will create a comprehensive business plan that will help align services, manage resources, and measure progress more accurately.

We will reform the present cumbersome Civil Service personnel system to more quickly fill open positions, attract a broader range of potential applicants, and streamline a burdensome process that requires significant staff time to administer.
We will engage the community with a series of monthly neighborhood meetings. We’ll rotate through Council Districts twice a year to discuss neighborhood issues, noteworthy projects and initiatives happening in their district.

Later this month, we will engage our retired city employees in a vital discussion about the future of a health care benefit that is an increasing burden to our city. It’s my hope and expectation that a plan for a more sustainable benefit will emerge from that discussion.
We will implement a constituent work order system for residents to request service from their city government. Managers will have the ability to assign work, track response times, and costs.

Residents will be able to view the status of their request online.
We will be fully implementing a modernized Comfort Systems service and billing system during the first half of 2009 that will allow citizens to view and pay their bills online.
We will implement a GPS-based system to remotely manage city vehicles. The system, called field force management, will streamline job dispatching and reporting while reducing excess fuel use and vehicle wear from indirect routes, speeding, excess idling or unauthorized after-hours use. This system will greatly improve accountability.

We will conduct a comprehensive citizen survey as our key performance measurement on the service we provide to the public. The data collected will help us refine priorities and identify improvement strategies. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly recognize and thank our funding partners for our survey project, LISC and the SMDC Health System.
We will soon select an energy broker to consult on the potential sale of the Steam Plant and the Gas Utility. The sale of these assets could bring the city tens of millions of dollars, aiding us in our goal of long-term financial stability and providing the ability to move to a pay as you go capital program. While we are serious in our intent to explore these sales, it’s not a decision that will be made lightly.

Equally as important as the city’s specific actions, we must reform our expectations of what city government can and should provide and come to a realistic understanding of the cost of providing those services. We must also affirm and strengthen the expectation that city resources are well-managed, responsibly used, and accountable for the service provided.
This is an aggressive agenda that challenges the status quo. Some efforts will undoubtedly be controversial. I’m prepared for a vigorous and healthy debate. I am convinced that the successful implementation of these reforms will be an important part of our effort to become a more prosperous city.

As Duluthians, we must be deliberate in our intent to create prosperity in our city. We’ll create that prosperity when we take the best of our collective ideas and work together to make them happen. When we talk. When we listen. When we choose to be respectful of one another – especially when we disagree. When we care enough to take not only the first step – but to see our journey through.
Prosperity will not simply be “found” or given to us. We have to earn it.

New council president.

This years council president will be Greg Gilbert. This was not much of a surprise because he said he will not run for re-election. Being president was something he had hoped to do before his term ended. To no shock to me the council gave him that chance.

There is no vice president yet. They will fill after an appointment is made for the open council seat. I am guessing it will be either Stauber or Fedora. I know that councilor Fedora had said he had planned on running. I don't know about councilor Stauber.

Thank you Roger Rienert.

I had a great chance tonight to thank Roger for serving on the city council. We did not always agree but I told him I believe he is (was) one of the best councilors ever. He conducts him self professionally and is very respectful. I also believe that his middle of the road stands on many issues will be missed.

I wish him the best as a State Rep now and as I said to him tonight I hope he can get more attain to Duluth for the capitol.


There was a very low turn out at the State of the City speech tonight. I was bit surprised and that was shared by many people. While others were not.

I expected a smaller crowd then four years ago. When he delivered his first State of the City speech. This was the smallest crowd I have in the ten speeches I have been to. As I talked with people they thought it may have been a number of reason's. Some thought it may be an indication on how some feel the Mayor has done. When pressed about the issue they claimed that many union members may have stayed home. Many thought the weather yet it was not that cold nor was it snowing.

The crowd was also less respective it seemed to me. Well the Mayor no matter who it is will normally get 4-6 applause during the speech this one did not. He only received one during the speech. The Mayor also almost always receives a standing overseen when introduced he did not this time.

The whole evening was just a bit off it seemed and I am not sure why. I will have more on the speech tomorrow.

New poll

There is a new poll up. The question is this. Should the city council take a pay (fee) cut. Place your vote.

Another Bush as President?

This is from Yahoo, .

Uh-ohWhile the Obama administration might not have gotten off to a picture-perfect start, that doesn't mean, necessarily, that the country is ready for another President Bush yet. But down the road? Perhaps, according to George H.W. Bush, the father of the current president. Speaking of his No. 2 son — former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — the ex-president said on FOX News Sunday, "I'd like to see him be president some day." Pressed further, Bush backtracked a little: "Right now is probably a bad time, because we've had enough Bushes in there."

Now I don't think the next election would be a good time for Jed Bush to run only because I think the this last President Bush was not the best. I do think that Jeb may run some time down the road however.


I have created a facebook group for Duluth Politics. What I will be doing there is giving updates to this and about this blog and much more. There is also a discussion board there on facebook. We will have exclusive discussion and other things there so if you have a facebook account join the group. If you don't it is free and easy to sign up

Here is the group link,

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Just a reminder.

State of the City is on Monday. It will take place at the DECC. The Mayor's speech will start at 6:30 pm, as the council meeting will take place first at 6pm.

Not my senator.

Al Franken seems to be Minnesota's Senator. I will now say what many democrats did with Senator Coleman and President Bush.

He is not my Senator.