Don Ness Posts

Bicycling the Hillside

Don Ness Saturday EssayThe climb feels endless. Tattered concrete fills my field of vision — taunting and mocking my painfully slow bike ride up the hill. My legs ache and are starting to shake. My lungs burn and seem to collapse a bit more every time I turn the pedals over and try to suck in a great, heaving gulp of oxygen.

The front wheel wobbles for lack of momentum, forcing me to cross back. Now I’m shamefully zig-zagging across the steep avenue, which both relieves the burdensome pitch, but quadruples the length of the climb. There is a deep desire in me, immutable by logic or maturity, to ride the whole way, steep inclines notwithstanding.

Then the moment of kinetic equilibrium arrives in which the depleted energy of my legs can no longer overcome gravity’s backward force and for the briefest moment my bike and I are stuck in suspended animation. I dismount at the very moment gravity begins to prevail. With humility washing over me, bike and I switch roles as I become the vehicle delivering the two of us up the hillside.

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

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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 6 p.m. at Clyde Iron Works, 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 7 p.m. 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).

Mayor’s Mix: 17 pretty great local songs for $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 …

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.

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.