Ralph Doty: Duluth needs a motto, so let's have a contest

I remember, while growing up in Duluth, that a few highway signs at the city's borders carried a city slogan. I think it was Duluth: The Air-Conditioned City.

I remember, while growing up in Duluth, that a few highway signs at the city's borders carried a city slogan. I think it was Duluth: The Air-Conditioned City.

Or maybe it was: Duluth: Hay Fever Haven.

A friend says he thinks the slogan was Duluth: The Zenith City. Or perhaps it was none of these.

The City of Hermantown has a slogan: City of Quality Living. Las Vegas proudly declares, What goes on here, stays here. (The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported a few days ago that the city will soon test a new slogan to complement, but not replace the wildly successful one: Your Vegas is Showing.

Duluth's slogan? None. I called Jeff Papas, the city's Director of Communications and he agreed that some day Duluth should have a slogan to complement its impressive new logo, along with its redesigned Web site, which debuts today (Sunday) at .


In a spirit of trying to be helpful, let's have a contest.

I'm looking for two winning slogans, a humorous one such as: Duluth: Experience Our Streets! or Wake Me When It's Over, and a more serious slogan the city might actually use, like: Duluth: A City of Friendly People.

The prize for the two winning entries is a CD with old-time drama or comedy shows of the winners' choosing -- you know, like the classic shows heard on "Radio Memories," Saturdays at 11 p.m. and Sundays at 5 p.m. on KDAL-AM (610). (How's that for not-so-subtle self promotion?)

The deadline for suggestions is Tuesday, July 10. Send your entries to: Rdoty71963, or Duluth Budgeteer News, 222 West Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55802.


The Duluth City Council on Monday approved a very modest lawsuit settlement stemming from the city's allegation that the Minnesota Council on Compulsive Gambling did not adequately account for $75,000 it supposedly spent on services paid for by the city.

So, as Sgt. Preston of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police declared at the end of each radio episode of "Challenge of the Yukon" in the 1940s and 50s: "This case is closed."

Well, not so fast, Mountie!


You may recall that about a year ago Minnesota Legislative Auditor James Noble gave to Mayor Herb Bergson the draft of a report on the city's complaint regarding the MCCG.

Mr. Noble asked Mr. Bergson to check it for factual errors before the final report was released to the public. The mayor promptly -- and illegally -- forwarded his copy of the draft to the Duluth News Tribune. (Each page of the draft said the document was confidential until the final report was issued).

The newspaper did what all good newspapers do when they get something like this -- a front-page story.

What followed was a buck-passing act worthy of the Three Stooges.

Mr. Noble asked then-County Attorney Al Mitchell to investigate the mayor's action. When Mitchell refused to handle the auditor's complaint -- he said it was not in his

jurisdiction -- the state official's request was forwarded to Duluth City Attorney Bryan Brown, who quickly said he could not act on the matter because he reported directly to the mayor. Brown sent it to the city council, which has refused to pursue the matter.

Three times last year I wrote about the need to investigate Mayor Bergson (see my columns of Aug. 6, Sept. 3 and Dec. 3). A majority of city councilors dug in their heels. If you or I had broken that law, we would surely be prosecuted.

On Tuesday I called Mr. Noble, who said the case has gone completely cold.


"I haven't heard anything about this in a very long time," he told me.

City councilors, including two who are campaigning for mayor -- Greg Gilbert, the council's leading foot-dragger on this issue, and Don Ness, who at first told me he favored an investigation and then later waffled -- need to act now. Their unwillingness to investigate the man currently holding the office they'd like to take next January leaves a lot of questions for which we've not received answers.


Several weeks ago I complained about my "trip from hell" from Duluth to Orlando on Northwest Airlines, which included a canceled flight, two late flights and no seat assignment after I paid extra for an aisle seat.

A few days ago we learned from tracker FlightStats that NWA has canceled nearly 11 percent of its flights during the last week because of poor pilot scheduling. That's more than 10 times the normal cancellation rate of the big airlines during good weather, according to USA Today. Two weeks ago it was reported that of the eight major airlines, Northwest Airlines finished dead last in a recent customer survey.

I rest my case.

For our upcoming trip to Cleveland to attend our son, Corey's, wedding, Diane and I are booked on a Midwest Airlines flight originating in Duluth.

Ralph Doty can be contacted at .

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