Politics Posts

Where is the Leadership?

I will remind Mayor Larson that alligator attacks have been recorded in Duluth since at least 2011 as documented here. Just because she claims she didn’t see one on the beach yesterday doesn’t mean they aren’t out there ATTACKING INNOCENT CONSTITUENTS. It goes without saying that it will be hard to get re-elected if you are eaten by an alligator.

Duluth Mayor Larson MIA on Alligator Attacks

vlcsnap-2016-07-04-17h26m08s625A plea for action. After all that Mayor Ness did to keep Lake Superior shark-free, now is the time for the Larson administration to finally step up and tackle the growing alligator problem. We demand RESULTS.

Video Archive: Mayor Bergson says he won’t seek re-election

This clip from KDLH-TV 3 is from 10 years ago — June 14, 2006 — the day Duluth Mayor Herb Bergson announced he would not seek re-election the following year in order to focus on solving the city’s unfunded retiree health-care liability without politics interfering. At the time, the city’s health-care debt was projected to reach $300 million by 2014.

In early 2007, Bergson hinted he might run again after all, then announced two months later that he wouldn’t, only to reverse course three months after that and file to run.

His opponents in the race were Charlie Bell, Meg Bye, Joanne Fay, Greg Gilbert, Todd Gremmels, Sunny Helbacka, Reiner Nelson, Don Ness, Jim Pratt, John Socha and Robert Wagner. Bell and Ness advanced to the General Election, with Ness ultimately replacing Bergson as mayor.

Negative Voting

Paul Lundgren Saturday EssayIt’s been 16 years since I first announced in print my idea to change the American electoral process. Since then, my negative voting movement has gained absolutely no momentum, while election results have only affirmed my position.

In the summer of 2000, anyone could see the country was headed down the crapper. George W. Bush and Albert A. Gore — two of the country’s most hated men — were the favorites to become president. No one else stood a chance. I didn’t know the outcome of that election would be as controversial as it was, but obviously the result wasn’t going to be popular whether it was Bush or Gore ascending to the White House. It was clear our voting process was backward. It was time for negative voting.

When I launched the negative voting movement in June of 2000, it was already too late to save that fall’s election, and today it’s too late to fix the 2016 campaign. The timing is perfect, however, to get on the right path for 2020. So allow me to explain the simple change that would fix our broken democracy.

Live Stream from Trump Rally in Superior

Minnesota 2016 Caucus Results

Minnesota Republican Party
Marco Rubio – 41,397 | 36%
Ted Cruz – 33,181 | 29%
Donald J. Trump – 24,473 | 21%
Dr. Ben Carson – 8,422 | 7%
John R. Kasich – 6,565 | 6%
Write in – 207 | 0.18%

Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Bernie Sanders – 125,635 | 61%
Hillary Clinton – 78,317 | 38%
Uncommitted – 1,067 | 0.52%
Write in – 213 | .1%
Martin O’Malley – 153 | 0.07%
Rocque “Rocky” de la Fuente – 53 | 0.03%

Minnesota’s First Presidential Primary

Minnesotas First Presidential Primary

“In Minnesota, the Democrats are all for Wilson so far as the candidates for delegate are concerned. The crazyquilt presidential primary law has befuddled everybody from the rummy to justices of the supreme court. Only Albert B. Cummins, senator of Iowa, and Henry D. Estabrook of New York, are before the Republicans for their “preference.”

Full story text below:

Minnesota Caucuses

The St. Paul Pioneer Press has put together a (relatively) quick overview of how the caucuses work in Minnesota.

Video: Duluth Inauguration 2016

01:00 – Duluth’s Chief Administrative Officer David Montgomery recognizes outgoing city councilors Sharla Gardner, Jennifer Julsrud and Linda Krug.
04:09 – Sixth District Judge Leslie E. Beiers swears in newly elected councilors Joel Sipress, Gary Anderson, Em Westerlund, Elissa Hansen and Noah Hobbs.
07:40 – Former Duluth Poet Laureate Deborah Cooper reads “We All Wake to the Same Sun.”
11:08 – Outgoing Duluth Mayor Don Ness’ exit speech.
18:22 – Mayor Emily Larson recites the oath of office.
21:35 – Mayor Larson’s speech.

Senator Al Franken roasts Duluth Mayor Don Ness

Duluth Mayor Don Ness held his “Final Mayoral Address and Concert Celebration” at the DECC’s Symphony Hall on Dec. 16. Senator Al Franken was not able to attend, but sent this video in order to, “once and for all tell Don what I really think about him.”

The mystery of a gift not given: Where is it now?

Duluth Leatherhead Trophy 2008In promotion of his recently released book, Hillsider, Duluth Mayor Don Ness has repeatedly shared his story of “a gift not given.” It’s from pages 155-156, under the title “Clooney & Zellweger.” The abridged version of the story goes like this:

George Clooney and Renee Zellweger made a trip to Duluth in 2008 to promote the movie Leatherheads, the plot of which is loosely based on the Duluth Eskimos football team. Ness was in his first month as mayor, and obviously wanted to impress the celebrities and do Duluth proud in front of the national media. He assigned his staff to put together an appropriate welcome gift for Clooney and Zellweger. The process of hunting down an old leatherhead helmet for an impressive plaque turned daunting, however, and on the morning of the visit the mayor discovered the gift ended up being a rather pathetic-looking miniature leatherhead resting on a small wooden pedestal. Ness made the executive decision to present the customary mayoral proclamation instead. He concludes his story with the punchline: “Over the years I’ve reconsidered a lot of choices. This isn’t one of ’em.”

Ness told the story last night at the DECC, which reminded me that after he told the story a few weeks ago at the Red Herring Lounge I asked him what happened to the silly little leatherhead-on-a-stick. He said he had no idea. It’s not in his office, and he hasn’t really asked around about it.

Did it land in the trash? Is it on a city employee’s mantle? Inquiring minds want to know.

Video Archive: President Clinton and Donny Ness

nessPresident Bill Clinton was in Duluth on Nov. 4, 1994. Eyewitness News’ Colleen Mahoney interviewed three Duluth gawkers who were hanging out across the street from the Downtown Holiday Inn, where the president spent the night. One of the two unnamed UMD students interviewed was future Duluth Mayor Don Ness.

Clinton was in Duluth to stump for Ann Wynia, Minnesota’s DFL candidate for U.S. Senate. She ultimately lost to Rod Grams.

Clinton’s agenda for the day included a 3.5-mile run on Skyline Parkway from Twin Ponds to about 40th Avenue West. The Wynia rally was held at UMD’s Romano Gym.

Meet Emily Larson, Duluth’s next mayor


Ever on the lookout to meet interesting people, I reached out to Emily Larson a few days before the election by attempting to invite myself over for dinner with the family. To sweeten the deal, I offered to assist with meal prep and do the dishes. Wishing to protect the privacy of her family, she declined my generous offer. She did, however, carve out nearly two hours from her busy schedule for the sake of an unconventional interview. In the process, I acquired a friend. You can read more from my exclusive interview at Ed’s Big Adventure.

Sulfide Mining Debate + The Holidays = Watch This

Surely sulfide mining is close to the top of the things Minnesotans can disagree about with family and friends as we enter the holidaze. This two-minute video depicts one way the outcome of the PolyMet question could play out. Great for captive audiences who are too stuffed to resist. Enjoy!

Duluth City Council votes to oppose Trans Pacific Partnership

Thanks to the Duluth City Council for voting 8 to 1 to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership. The DNT article is here. 

The TPP has been negotiated in secret for years, and has been called “NAFTA on steroids” and a “corporate coup d’ etat.” If you’ve never heard of it that’s no coincidence. It will offshore jobs, raise the price of medicines, threaten net neutrality, threaten environmental protections, undermine human rights, roll back Wall Street reforms, and perhaps most frighteningly of all it will establish unelected tribunals whose courts will take precedence over U.S. and other national court systems with regard to trade disputes. Laws passed by democracies will no longer be the law of the land. This is an assault on our republican form of government. Please read more about it here and here.

Please email Senator Al Franken and Senator Amy Kobuchar.

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