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Commentary: Leadership is not a word to be used flippantly

The school reorganizing drama is moving along, but actions to date are far from conclusive. The Legislature is digging itself into a deep hole once again, but the snow is melting and there are positive signs of spring in the air.

The school reorganizing drama is moving along, but actions to date are far from conclusive. The Legislature is digging itself into a deep hole once again, but the snow is melting and there are positive signs of spring in the air.
Spring is representative of a new birth of nature's magic formula that also extends to the human mind. It is a time to awaken to the changing opportunities that are present everywhere. However, the real concerns about the future of Duluth are like our many streets and avenues, full of chuckholes with a lack of promise and direction.
Leadership seems to be the word most are concerned about today, and rightly so. For example, last week a Minneapolis newspaper was lamenting the fact that St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman was outdistancing the Minneapolis mayor in the public affairs arena. Norm has shown real spirit, and his leadership efforts have paid off big time.
St. Paul, today, is not perceived as Minneapolis' little brother, picking up spilled crumbs from the Mill City. Not by a long shot. St. Paul is alive, vigorous, healthy and running at a fast clip to build a solid future. Coleman has effectively brought people together, used soothing salve remedies to his advantage and has brought labor together with industry and other interests to promote his favorite topic, St. Paul. This is indeed a compliment to Coleman and a truism that things can happen when everyone is whistling the same tune and stays on key.
Here in Duluth, Mayor Gary Doty, with abundant talent and sincerity, seems to be fighting the windmills. Doty has a city council that seems so fragmented at times, it is embarrassing. He has a strong union constituency that too often dreams about the good old days when smoke stacks, Coolerator refrigerator products and American Paint were continuing union targets that had nowhere to retreat if the going got too tough.
That isn't the case today. Coolerator and American Paint are but memories. The steel plant is gone, and the railroads have cut back. There is no more Marshall Welles or Kelly Howe Thompson hardware wholesalers that employed thousands. Too many small business entrepreneurs have moved on.
And now government interests support a maze of nonprofit organizations, some very good and others, well, you can be the judge of that.
Doty's leadership is simply not enough without vociferous support coupled with energy and enthusiasm. When our Chamber of Commerce leader confesses that a declining population is the culprit, we say "Da!"
Excuses don't solve problems: Leadership and support are the tools needed. The people of this city and area are ready for some ideas, some support and some loyalty to all that we have and should be building on. Who is ready to get up to the plate and start swinging?

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