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Don Ness - Author Archive

Proclamation (official and certified) »

Whereas, the only logical way to make an official proclamation regarding PDD is to post it on the PDD site, and

Whereas, there is ten years worth of history that is both well-documented and too boring to include in an already too boring proclamation, and

Whereas, the founders of PDD are personally responsible for the loss of literally thousands of hours of workplace productivity across all sectors of the local economy, and

Whereas, PDD has established itself as the premier source of  local popular culture history, random yet thoughtful observations, hipster complaints, and band promotions, and

Whereas, Perfect Duluth Day has become a common phrase in the local lexicon, used to describe those days that are 70, sunny, a cool breeze off the lake, a ton of great community events through the day, and a huge TBT concert at Bayfront to end the day.  You know, those sort of days, and

Whereas, PDD is first and foremost about community and the contributions by the thousands of people who follow, post, and celebrate the uniqueness of the city we call home, and

Whereas, PDD is an important part of our community, our lives, and our connection to this place.  Everyone who has contributed over the past decade should take great pride in what it has been and what it has become.  Congratulations on ten great years!

Therefore, I, Don Ness, Mayor of the City of Duluth, to hereby proclaim, June 29th, 2013 as

PERFECT DULUTH DAY Day

in the City of Duluth

Show your support for Bentleyville »

This is probably bad form to cross-post from facebook back to PDD… sorry about that.   But it’s for a good cause.

I’ve created a post that’s serving as somewhat of an informal petition in support of Bentleyville in Duluth – in less than a day, over 1400 people have “liked” the statement and 250 people have written supportive statements.

Essentially, it’s just a simple thank you to Nathan and all of the volunteers who make this event possible.  There are times when the little annoyances can be frustrating and feel larger than they are.  Hopefully this will help keep the focus where it should be, the hundreds of thousands of people who enjoy this event and would like to see it continue.

Here’s the link to add your support – Support Bentleyville

LPOE »

There seems to be a lot of concern for the rights of the millionaire businessman who is attempting to use loopholes in the law to make money at the great expense of others who want nothing to do with his business, but are forced to carry the burden of his business model.  Jim Carlson hides behind a dubious technicality claiming that the poison he is selling at the Last Place on Earth is OK because the chemists keep playing Russian roulette with his customers by changing the chemical compounds on a regular basis.

A true libertarian wouldn’t hide behind technicalities of the law – they would take full, personal responsibility for their actions.  Carlson has a business model in which he is making millions and externalizing costs onto the community.  Because of his business model, other businesses are struggling, the government pays for the emergency health care for uninsured addicts, and our public sidewalks and parks are taken over by people getting high, selling drugs, and harassing other folks who want no part of his business – yet are forced to absorb the costs that Carlson is imposing on them.
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Homegrown Origin Myth (2 of 3) »

(When we last saw our heroes…)

Suddenly, the light was upon them!  Surrounded by flames 20 feet high!  The rebels cowered in fear and shielded their eyes.  A thundering voice boomed, “I AM STARFIRE!!!”

Then the light dimmed.  When they dared to look up, they expected to see a God-like creature.  But such a creature was not to be found.

Instead, there stood a pleasant looking young man in a flannel shirt. (more…)

Homegrown 2012 Memories »

Huge thanks to Walt Dizzo, the steering committee, all the volunteers, and the artists for making the 2012 version of Homegrown one of the best. Now, for the sake of recording history, please post your favorite moments from the week – the best shows, the best overheard comments, the most memorable moments…

Homegrown Origin Mythology (part 1 of 3) »

Our story begins in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred and ninety eight, A.D. in a city built upon a hill, overlooking the greatest of the Great Lakes, the Zenith City of the Unsalted Seas – Duluth!

For those too young to recall, these were dark days in our fair city.  The musical landscape was largely barren – a virtual wasteland of yellow beer and cover bands.  A dark cloud hung perpetually heavy upon the arts community.  A fog of pessimism and oppression obscured the vision of what this city could offer and whispered a sinister, “move to Minneapolis.”

In this darkest hour, a small group of rebels were desperately fighting to establish a foothold for original live music and authentic culture.  One dark and dreary night they gathered at Enger Tower.  Among the rag-tag group of rebels – Bacigalupo, Monroe, Lindquist, Brewhouse Boys, The SparHawk, and Rick Boo.

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AAR to Bring 200+ Jobs to Duluth »

It’s a great day in Duluth!  This afternoon we announced an agreement with AAR to bring over 200 jobs to Duluth.  According to the AAR representative, the jobs will pay between $30k-80k depending on technical skills.  AAR will operate out of the old Northwest Airlines base at the airport.

I want to point out the importance of the team who made the AAR deal possible. The City’s Business Development Director Brian Hanson was the leader of this effort and we literally had dozens of partners who contributed to this effort. Thanks to DEDA, APEX, the Airport Authority, DEED, Governor Dayton, St. Louis County, Monaco Air, and our city staff who have been working on this deal for the past year.  We also need to especially thank the 700 people who came to our job fair – that was the difference maker.

AAR officials hope to start hiring this summer – once fully staffed this operation will have a $25 million impact on our region.  Not only will the City be receiving rent on the facility, but we will be avoiding the $180k that it costs to keep the building heated and the equipment in working condition.  I’d say that today is most certainly a Perfect Duluth Day!

Monday, January 9 – City Inauguration Festivities »

In the past, the swearing in ceremonies were a very small part of the State of the City activities. This year we’ve decided to try something different in order to give City Councilors their own event, allowing the newly elected councilors to be the focus of that event. So, next Monday, I will have a very short outdoor inauguration at noon at City Hall. That evening, the council inauguration will be held at 6pm at Clyde Iron, the ceremony starting at 6:30. As a reminder, the councilors being sworn-in include Jay Folse, Sharla Gardner, Jennifer Julsrud, Garry Krause, Linda Krug, and Emily Larson.

At 7pm there will be a reception featuring live music by Teague Alexy and the Boomchucks. All these events are free and open to the public – we’d love to see you there!

Absolutely Perfect Duluth Day. »

How did you spend yours? What was the best part of your day?

October 6 – Turtles! Parr! Ness. Clyde! »

I’m hosting a concert to raise money in support of music programs in the Public Schools.  We’ve got a few old friends who’ve agreed to play for a good cause.  Tickets for this show go on sale on Friday and will sell out quickly – you won’t want to miss this show.   Details here

I love the concert poster.  Thanks to Vega Productions for pulling this together.

National Citizen Survey Results – Duluth »

Find the full National Citizen Survey results for the City of Duluth here (PDF).

The numbers are still lower than we would like, but we’re seeing progress over the past couple of years.  A good example of this is the question on “The overall direction Duluth is taking.”  In 2009 it was only 33%, today it’s 51%.  That’s a number that I’d like to see around 80%, but we’re making progress.

I think PDD deserves a lot of credit for consistently pointing out the good things happening around town (as well as pointing out those things that need to be improved).

17 pretty great local songs – only $5 »

So yeah, you can find it at the Electric Fetus.  If you’re like me and you think it’s pretty neat that our little city produces so much incredible talent, maybe you should buy this cd.  It has a low-key vibe to it, good for your family BBQ this summer…

I self-financed the production, if I can cover my costs on this one, I have another one in mind, more of a rock mix.  What are you’re favorites here?  What would you like to see on the next one?

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Rental Reform – Read first, then substantiate your hatred »

First of all, you can find the full summary and the proposed ordinance here.

The primary purpose of this ordinance is to acknowledge that it has become a business to convert single family homes into multi-tenant boarding homes in a way that maximizes income for the business owner.  That business model also puts stress onto the neighborhood because these homes and these lots were (in many cases) not designed to hold 5 or 6 college students each with their own car.  This business model is at the core of the student / resident conflicts.

The problem is not students, rentals, or renters.  I personally believe that we should have more of each in Duluth.  The problem is that when a person converts a 3-br single family home into a 5-br apartment building, they are maximizing income and externalizing the costs onto the rest of the neighborhood.

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Homegrown Wizard »

Last night Old Knifey, Walt Dizzo, and I won the Homegrown Quiz at Carmody.  The prize?  This wizard.

The wizard (who needs a name) spent the afternoon in the Mayor’s office reviewing the Homegrown Guide (and the City budget).   He’s now ready for the complete Homegrown experience, he’ll need hosts to bring him around to various shows.   If you see him around, feel free to take him elsewhere.  Post your pictures of the wizard to the flicker account.

More NorShor Details »

I was going to post this as a response in a previous thread, but made it a post instead…

There are questions about the sale price.  Legitimate questions, $2.6 million is a lot of money.  Between the three buildings, there is a lot of value.  This is both a fair price and makes economic sense for the city.  I’ll share our value assessment with you.

First, we have examined the sq ft comps in the neighborhood.  There is 40k sq ft of commercial / office space in the Temple and Annex space.  The average per sq ft cost for sale in old downtown is $37.75 based on building sales of Coney Island Bldg and Gardner Hotel (and other area building sales).  I think we could make a strong case that the Temple is a much more valuable property than those, but using this standard, the value of the commercial and office space would be $1.5 million.
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NorShor and Temple Opera Block »

On Saturday Eric Ringsred signed a purchase agreement to sell the Temple Opera Building, NorShor Theatre, and NorShor Annex to DEDA for $2.6 million.  The sale is contingent on approval by DEDA and the Council.  It’s my intent to make the NorShor the crown jewel of the downtown, to make it the center of a regional arts and entertainment district.

There is a lot of discussion on this, let me fill in with a few thoughts:

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Tweedy with ‘teenaged boy who claims he’s the mayor’ »

Thanks PDD for the help with the proclamation.  Wilco was very gracious about it and accepted it in good humor.  I half expected that it would be handed off to a roadie for disposal.  Not only did Jeff take it on stage, it then played a prominent role in the show.  That was amazing.  I’m also glad everyone got a good laugh at my expense – it’ll take me a while to live that one down.  Fortunately, I have a pretty good start on grey hairs and a beer belly – and with the stress of the job, I’ll have that ‘teenaged boy’ label taken care of in no time.

Draft Proclamation – Suggestions? »

The following is my first draft of the Wilco proclamation.  I found it harder to write than I thought it would be.  So your thoughts and suggestions would be helpful….  Move quickly, I need to finish this up by 4 p.m. today.

Whereas, most Duluth bands have many of the following characteristics:

1) At least one band member looks like a musician-sized lumberjack (more…)

Wilco (the city) = Duluth »

Wilco’s fog show in Duluth was the equivalent of two young lovers waiting out a downpour in a phone booth (if the weather wasn’t so bad we’d still just be holding hands).

I loved that show – the fog, the ore boat, the Brewhouse beer, the unseasonable cold, and a band who seemed to thrive in the elements.   It was perfect because it was such an authentic Duluth experience and Wilco seemed to appreciate it every bit as much as we did.

It seems to me there something special going on between Wilco and Duluth, a sense of connection between band and city.  Duluthians recognize and appreciate the authenticity, the talent, the lack of pretense – it’s all those qualities that we see and expect from our local rock stars (Al, Mimi, Charlie, Turtles, Jerree, Tony B, etc).

So, here’s the deal, since there is nothing in the Charter that strictly prohibits me from doing so, I’m going to officially proclaim Wilco as an honorary Duluth band.  I need your help to define exactly what that means…

1)  We need to come up with some sort of “official trinket” that represents their honorary Duluth band status

2) We need to present the ground rules for being a Duluth band – with power comes responsibility

3) What are the special perks to being a Duluth band in good standing?

Obviously, they would now be eligible to play Homegrown (we’ll have to remind them that registration closes at the end of February).

Thanks for your help.

Gigabyte broadband from Google – in Duluth? »

Here’s a press release we’ll be sending out about our intent to explore Google’s offer to bring gigabyte speed broadband to an entire community.  There are many unanswered questions and any application may be a long shot, but it would be a game-changer for Duluth.  I think it’s worth putting our best foot forward and see what happens…  If you want to help out, check the bottom of the post.  See you around…  Don

Mayor Don Ness has indicated the City of Duluth’s intent to pursue a partnership with Google to bring fiber-to-home connections to city residents.  Google plans to select a community to test ultra-high speed connections at more than a gigabit per second later this year through a competitive process.

The following is a statement from Mayor Ness on the city’s intent:

We want Duluth, Minnesota to be at the forefront of a new gigaband revolution in America.  For America to be competitive into the future, we need to be aggressive at investing in our data infrastructure.  To unfairly paraphrase Tip O’Neill “All bandwidth use is local” – Google’s community initiative will be a powerful tool to demonstrate the positive impact of local broadband improvements.

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