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Bell Calls Donny a "Bad Daddy" for Running for Mayor

Well, not exactly those words, but that was Charlie's point in an interview with the local Fox affiliate last Wednesday. Now he's trying to take it all back and make it all better.

His exact words were...

I think you’ve got your priorities wrong here. I’ve always wanted to be running for public office because of my civic involvement. I’ve seen the problems Duluth has with City Hall. City Hall needs leadership — proactive leadership, aggressive leadership...

But I had to spend my time with kids. You can’t be an absentee father. It doesn’t work, with the commitment you have for a mayor, seven days a week. There’s a disconnect there. I don’t think we can have a part-time mayor.

I guess Bell wants to keep the young people of this community in their rightful place. Isn't that nice of him to be so concerned? By all means, let's wait until our children grow up before we try to accomplish anything. Sheesh.


What a tool. I'm sure the hours required to run a funeral home were quite conducive to being around your children 24/7. God knows nobody ever dies at night or on weekends. Charlie positioning himself as some pious father of the year is laughable. He needs to worry about coming up with another $100 grand so he can buy this election more than he needs to question Donny's parenting skills. On the other hand it will certainly make all of our jobs easier if this rich, old fool continues to try and hoist himself upon his own petard. Go get 'em Charlie!

yeah, I heard about this misstep by Bell...though this is the first I've actually read on the quote.

I don't know what he's trying to say in relation to this. he was asked if this is how he felt about higher level politicians and families, and his reply was that the situations weren't the same.

Weren't the same. IMO, the time commitments to the post of mayor of any city are relatively minuscule compared to the amount of time a state or federal level politician spends away from his family.

Sounds like Bell is the one with his priorities out of whack.

His later comment about Fedo really solidified my personal feelings on the guy: "John Fedo is the best example I can think of when you’re a good strong leader." Umm, I wasn't in Duluth at the time but wasn't Fedo responsible for a lot of the current financial problems that this city's facing right now (i.e., the Retiree Health Care liability.)? Didn't he do some other unsavory and legally questionable things while he was in office too?

What can we expect from a man who admires Fedo's leadership style anyhow? Next thing you know he's gonna be calling on Doty as an advisor.

Bell continued: “I think our society has really changed over the years, and I think we lack close relationships that we used to have in our families, and I wanted to raise my kids a lot like how my parents were involved with us. I knew they were always there. So I think there’s a disconnect going on when you put a political career ahead of a family, and I know that might sound wrong, but that’s the way I really feel.”

Friday, Bell said he “didn’t know” if someone could be a full-time mayor while still being a good father to young children.


Asked Friday if Ness has the wrong priorities, Bell responded, “He’s a politician. That’s his life. He’s a career politician. There’s no doubt about it. He has different priorities than I do.”


So.. bad father, career politician, too young, too contemporary with mixed up priorities--anything else I'm missing?

Sheesh, plus ça change..

Bonus material here.

If you get a chance watch the re-run of Almanac North Sunday. They had Fedo and Doty on talking about the election. BTW Fedo was 29 years old when he tool office as mayor of Duluth. I don't know why Bell wants to put his foot in his mouth either. However, don't count the baby boomers out when it comes to voting in this election. We vote in high numbers and probably put Fedo in back when he was young. I'm gonna listen and see what Bell has to offer. I already have seen plenty of how Ness operates. Bell to me is an unknown.

I totally forgot the John Fedo aspect of the story. So he sights Fedo as his mayoral hero. First off I would guess that since Fedo was 29 when he took office, his children were young when he was mayor. And then his hero also takes off and leaves his wife and children to take up with Rudy Perpich's secretary. Not to mention the fact that John Fedo found himself under indictment while in office over the small matter of a missing $13,500. You might want to aim a little higher when picking which public servants to model yourself after.

exactly why I brought his statement about Fedo into the conversation.

It's difficult to could out the Baby Boomers, anarchy...it's the Boomers who seemingly count out the younger generation...as evidenced by Bell's commentary about Ness' age. This is an increasingly young city...with increasingly young leadership (our chief of police...Gordon Ramsey is a year or so younger than I am at 35), and I'm sensing a lot of disdain from the older generation because of that...at least by what i have been reading on some of the message boards around town.

A lot of the Boomer population is leaving town (whether out of frustration for our city's state of affairs or for warmer climates), and younger couples are moving to town, having children and becoming increasingly involved in our communities. Our vision for Duluth might be quite a bit different than the industrial mecca that Boomers and older generations are used to. But, as we see it, that might be what a.) we want to see in Duluth; and b.) the thing that Duluth needs in order to survive.

Fedo, Doty and the rest of Bell's peers made the mess that we're faced with today, and it's going to be up to us to fix it.

I think Charlie's "tell it like it is" commentary" might just serve to seal his fate com election day.

The candidates aside for a moment, what do we want for Duluth, those of us who are college educated and younger? Anyone who is single here knows that the dating scene here completely SUCKS - anyone else who is single either has no education, is a religious fanatic, has 8 kids, doesn't work or is on disability at 30 (!!) - you know? This is a great place if you are straight and coupled. If you are not straight, or if you are single, you are in a real bind. It's especially difficult if you truly love this city and the beauty of it, but it's the people living here (young and not young) you wish you could swap out. Everyone talks about 'families, families, families'; what about single adults with no kids? They are the ones who are going to bring money, unique skills and a new vision here. I can guarantee you, if they come here and see what I see (no prospects) they are going to turn around and leave within a year. We either need more social gathering spaces or something different (I'm not sure what yet - but I'll let you know when I do!)

Just my thoughts...


I think y'all are being too hard on Charlie. Its not like he said Hitler was a great man or something. I agree in principle with what he said. There are only 24 hours in a day, about 8 go to sleeping. That leaves 16 to work with. A career can easily suck up all those hours and leave no time for families, hobbies or whatever. Someone or something is going to have to be sacrificed.

Actually in my generation it was not to trust anyone over 30. Ramsey, Ness, Bell and you ZRA have all past the 30 mark. The city will change little whether Ness or Bell are elected mayor. I doubt either one will fix the streets. Just my opinion of the whole thing.

actually, the quote was first coined by Jerry Rubin, co founder of the Yippie movement in the late 1960's, along with Abbie Hoffman (who later committed suicide after over a decade on the lam from the FBI)...wrote the book "Do It!" as a biography (which I still have in a box someplace) of the Yippie movement, and was one of the original Chicago 8 (later the Chicago 7, as the only african american in the group (Bobby Seale) asked for and got his own trial.

Incedentally, Jerry Rubin was indicted in the early 1990's for his involvement in several pyramid scams, and was killed as he stepped off of a curb in Los Angeles, AND Tom Hayden was a California state Senator.

Let us not forget that Ness has a wonderful wife to take care of his daughter. I am positive she knows full well what kind of sacrifices she will have to make in order to support his career. Being mayor isn't the only job that takes up more than 40 hours a week. At least he won't be 30 or more miles from his office.

Wow. Go to hell Charlie Bell. What an ass. It seems to me that someone such as Mr. Ness, who has committed himself to the betterment of Duluth deserves a little better fight than this. What's up Charlie, don't want to bring up the real issues that the City faces?? You just want to resort to Bush/Rove like tactics that question someones ability to be a father. I think an apology is in order. How embarassing that you even brought that up. Insulting to many. I hope this is your last attempt at Duluth politics as you have sunk to a new low. This is why people don't vote and are sick of elections/politicians in general. Thanks Mr Bell. Now leave us alone and don't run for office again.

I have to cite maturity on the side of Don for not jabbing back at Bell. That is quite an insult assuming that Don cannot handle things. If I am not mistaken, hasn't Don had a regular job while being on the council. My guess is that the council will take up a good 25-30 hours a week with all that goes into it. I am still just getting acquainted with the Ness family and am in no position to comment on them(not that it is any body's business anyway)but they seem like a wonderful family who will embrace this opportunity rather than buckle under it. I think that the Ness' are a family that Duluth can be proud of and look up to as role models in the community. Who better to lead our town!!!! Don't listen to em' Donny, keep up the good work!!

What Duluth needs is someone who's good at makin a corpse look good. Bell can paint lipstick on a stiff like nobodies business

Let me say this much in defense of Bell's statement. It's true that there are some jobs that are more demanding of a person's time than others and that people with young children have to make big trade-offs to pursue these jobs. Being mayor of a small to middling sized city is probably one of them.

So is being in the armed forces with long overseas deployments.

So is being a professional musician who is on the road a lot.

So is being a doctor.

My mother was a doctor back in the day when women were supposed to stay at home and let men bring home the bacon. I know she was ridiculed for "selfishly" choosing a profession over motherhood. I will not say that I grew up in a normal family, but I grew up in a family full of love and as a professional now I look to my mother's example of what a professional is supposed to be.

Fact is that the world will not fit neatly into the conservative family values notion of what a family should be. Mr. Bell has shown his prejudice against any family structure that is outside the norm. How can we expect him to represent the totality of our family experiences if he is elected mayor?

"Fedo, Doty and the rest of Bell's peers made the mess that we're faced with today, and it's going to be up to us to fix it." "disdain for the older generation"

Ya ya ya and in 25 years you will hear a new "younger" crowd saying Ness and his peers made the mess that they are faced with. As for disdain for the older generation.....how sad though expected. Don't forget your day will come. Those next 20 years will pass quickly my friend.

What do they call that thing when you say one thing just to sound good saying it.. lip service?

"Don't forget your day will come. Those next 20 years will pass quickly my friend."

You have no idea how many times and how often I have heard (or versions of it)this tired old mantra from my elders...

I have only as much disdain for the older generation as you did for your elders...therefore that part of your retort holds no water.

fortunately, there is the whole concept of "learning from the mistakes of others," of which I am certain we shall be able to accomplish...I'm not certain that Duluth's situation can get any worse off than it already is, and again, that situation is at the hands of the people you and yours put into office.

I'll agree that there is a certain degree of nepotism in any group of people but the outright arrogance displayed by this member of the Good Old Boys club (Bell) is downright insulting.

we shall see...we shall see...we should pick this conversation up in three years regardless of who gets elected, and compare notes. I'm not trying to say that i'm right, or that you're wrong...we simply see things in a completely different light.

would like to state that there is another candidate in the mayoral election: Kat Kitten.
Kat Kitten is a great alternative to Mr. Bell or Mr. Ness. Ms. Kitten believes that Duluth is a great place to be a kid and wants to keep it that way. Please write in Kat Kitten instead of Don Ness, Charlie Bell, Mr. Nice, or some strange name that you might make up at the voting area. Thank you.
Rachel, age 9-3/4

Does Kat Kitten have a campaign website? And, if not, who will get it up and pronto? We need more information about this write in candidate!

Yikes, yelled Rachel when I (her mom) read her the above comment from ironic1. . .I'd better create a website and you, mom, have to take a picture of Kat Kitten, so people will know what she looks like! It shall be done.

zra Most of my disdain was towards those of my same age although disdain is not really the word I would use. To me it is a nasty word that you brought up. As for the older generation I don't know as I had any feelings one way or the other back then. I wish more of the older generation used computers and would read PDD so they can see what Ness supporters are saying about them. BTW I never voted for Doty. I'll give you the last word since I'm sure you have some clever come back.

gee, since you put it that way...


The problem with Duluth is less who runs it than how it is run. Younger people often believe that "things will be different" when they are in charge. The sad truth is that if the system doesn't change, today's "young turks" rapidly become tomorrow's "old guard."

None of which, of course, excuses Charlie's ridiculous statement.

I say give Charlie a pass on this one. Don Ness might need a break once or twice along the way- this'll set a good precedent. I think in frisbee golf you'd call that a "mulligan"

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