Harry Welty: Debunking claims should be more important than perusing e-mailsLet Duluth Vote's Harry Welty responds to last week's column by Ralph Doty, which was pro-Red Plan.
By: Guest Columnist Harry Welty, Budgeteer News
Budgeteer columnist Ralph Doty quoted my e-mails extensively and out of context in last week’s column (see attached link). He had 1,288 of them to choose from. I had no obligation to turn most of my private correspondence over to the Sixth District Court but did so voluntarily in hopes that it would prompt Johnson Controls and school administration to turn over their e-mails, which are public data.
What dirt did Doty uncover?
1. My observation that Judge Eric Hylden faces re-election. Gasp!
2. That I’m feeling peevish about the Duluth News Tribune’s education reporter. Doty didn’t explain why. It’s because, in my opinion, she has demonstrated a reporter’s greatest sin: favoritism. She has done so by soft pedaling or ignoring stories that might damage the Duluth School Board’s reputation. For example, I’ve goaded her for almost a year to write about an exodus of students from the Duluth schools, which I estimate costs the district nearly $7 million a year. If she or her editors have hushed this up to shore up support for the Red Plan, everyone in Duluth should feel peevish.
Curiously the quotes Doty offered gave scant evidence of his claim that I am often profane. When I wrote that I didn’t use the “B word” it’s because I was chiding others who do. I dislike the word so much that I only typed the “B.” I did use the word “pissed” to describe Art Johnston’s irritation with me because after two, long, hard years, my allies are getting tired and cranky. I thought it was important to make this point candidly.
I’m thrilled and delighted that Art Johnston is running to replace a Red Plan supporter.
The day I told Gary Glass that Art was “pissed” at me I e-mailed this to Art: “I told Gary this morning in reply to an e-mail he sent me that you are politically inexperienced. I added that despite this you had something far superior: innate honesty. I’d take that over the shrewdest Machiavellian any time.”
I assume Doty was provided a copy of my e-mails by Steve Greenfield, a public relations consultant for Johnson Controls who is handing my e-mail out like Christmas candy to anyone who might take offense by what I’ve written in private. Both men are probably extremely disappointed to have found so little of the profanity and infighting that Doty grandly implies he read.
If I had access to a thousand of Doty’s private e-mails, what might I find? The half dozen or so that he has sent me — or that irritated readers have forwarded to me, such as this message from last week: “Clearly, you don’t have enough things to do to keep you busy. Thanks for writing.” — suggest a closed mind that doesn’t wish to be confused with the facts. Are these few e-mails representative?
Doty, who originally advocated for a one-high-school plan over the Red Plan, heaps abuse on those of us who have continued to voice our opposition. He has every right to do so.
I wish, however, that when we complain of duplicity and lies, he would debunk our claims rather than question our motivation.
I wish that when we point out the devastation the Red Plan will cause neighborhoods like Morgan Park, Ordean, Lincoln Park, Piedmont and Central Hillside, he would explain how the greater good outweighs the harm.
I wish that when the Sixth District Court acknowledges the merit of the taxpayers’ suit by allowing it to go to trial, Doty would concede this point rather than claim that JCI couldn’t possibly have a rotten apple in the barrel because he knows upstanding Johnson Controls Inc. employees.
I wish that when we point out that no other Minnesota school board has ever authorized such a massive project without voter approval, making the Red Plan an aberration, that Doty would not shrug off the loopholes that made this lawful rather than a crying shame.
I am reasonable to fret over the exodus of Duluth students from our schools, the oppressive environment that keeps our teachers silent and the political muscle which protects the greedy, vainglorious and anti-democratic champions of the Red Plan.
Doty urges voters to re-elect the School Board. I urge them to vote for Art Johnston and other non incumbents.
Writer Harry Welty served on the Duluth School Board from 1996 to 2004 and was a founder of the Let Duluth Vote group.