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Dick Palmer: Vikes higher priority than local politics

Summarizing this past week's events, something struck me as kind of weird. We have little interest in the upcoming school board races where serious, neighborhood leadership is desperately needed. We have a horse race developing in the City Counci...

Summarizing this past week's events, something struck me as kind of weird.
We have little interest in the upcoming school board races where serious, neighborhood leadership is desperately needed. We have a horse race developing in the City Council races with the local DFL endorsing candidates before the campaigning even begins. And, season tickets to Vikings football games have already been sold out, and it happened by the middle of July. Is there a correlation to all this?
Let's take a look at the School Board races first. With little or no contests, it would appear the current board has a complete community endorsement. There are no issues, no controversy and no need to get involved. Funny thing, just a couple of months ago there was talk of closing neighborhood schools, going into deficit spending, laying off teachers, etc.
Have these issues been resolved? Are you kidding? But alas, school board races apparently aren't worth the effort; they are not exciting enough to take seriously.
So, incumbents will get re-elected, the challenges of educating our kids will remain on the table, and a few vocal opponents to almost everything will continue to dominate the issues with letters to the editor, misdirected facts and misguided energy. Ho hum.
The City Council races are a little more exciting, but again, a number of current councilors up for re-election don't have a clue about their ongoing role as legislative leaders. We can't help but wonder if they ever read Duluth's City Charter defining the format for our city government.
There has been far too much meddling by overzealous councilors who want to micromanage the people's business at the expense and implied embarrassment of the executive branch. It makes interesting headlines, but it really makes no sense.
Again, good government can only be directed by local citizens who are willing to take a serious look at the issues, define priorities and collectively seek solutions.
The local DFL party in Duluth asked candidates to come to a screening meeting. Seven were invited, but only four were allowed to speak. Isn't that interesting? It's easy to assume the endorsed candidates selected were, shall we say, pro DFL rather than pro community.
Closed-circuit endorsements for nonpartisan offices are unrepresentative of the qualifications of private citizens who are willing to give of themselves to promote the best interests of the total community.
The local DFL stronghold is certainly suspect and maybe needs a little community cleansing of its own.
And finally, with the seriousness of electing local officials to do the people's work at a low ebb, it appears the real priority is for the individual purchase of Vikings season tickets to support multi-millionaire athletes and billionaire owners who could care less about the fans. It's the bucks that keep them in Minnesota. Somehow, public interest in government needs some readjusting.

Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached at 729-6470 or by e-mail at rpalmer@duluth.com .

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