Sept. 6: Readers' views

Time to tone down negative attacks on Ness As can be expected this time of year, the News Tribune's editorial pages have been dominated by mayoral politics. What has taken me by surprise recently, however, has been the negative slant some letter ...

Time to tone down negative attacks on Ness

As can be expected this time of year, the News Tribune's editorial pages have been dominated by mayoral politics. What has taken me by surprise recently, however, has been the negative slant some letter writers have taken. I've also found it interesting that many of the negative letters have been slamming one candidate: Don Ness.

Up until this point most people were simply writing in to talk up the candidate of their choice, which was great -- it may help those undecided voters get to know the candidates in what is a crowded mayoral field.

But suddenly, just two weeks before the election, there seems to be a calculated attack on Ness. Apparently, supporters of other candidates felt that attacking Ness was a better plan for success than offering the positives their candidates would bring to the office of mayor. Perhaps these people should check Ness' Web site and read his pledge to run a positive campaign, a campaign devoid of the slamming of other candidates, of whisper campaigns, of stealing of lawn signs, and of the rigging of online polls. These same people could also familiarize themselves with Ness' actual positions on issues facing Duluth, as opposed to the ones cited in their mud-slinging letters to the editor.

Chris Pekkala



Gilbert can help Duluth unite in face of challenges

As treasurer of a troubled local nonprofit environmental organization, I first sought Greg Gilbert's assistance to resolve the organization's dysfunctional structure and related interpersonal conflicts. He deftly worked with us and our human frailties, led us to focus on the overarching values that united us and steadily guided us to a resolution that has been healthy for two organizations and the common good of Duluthians. His knowledge of corporate law and municipal law, with sensitivity to the political realities of the city, were essential in reaching that amicable resolution.

In February 2003, I accepted the responsibilities of "point person" for Neighborhood District 7 as we engaged in oversight of residential development and public shoreline preservation along the shore of Lake Superior. We wanted development done right! It was immediately evident that the resolution of conflicting interests would require compromise.

Councilor Gilbert's knowledge of and respect for private business, his passion for preserving public access to Lake Superior, his support of citizen participation in civic government and his knowledge of how government in Duluth functions have been critical to achieving what we can look forward to having accomplished.

The city of Duluth has many assets. It also has many challenges. We need a strong mayor whose vision we share and whose solid leadership qualities we can respect and trust. Gilbert has the vision of Duluthians coming together with focus on what unites us and the integrity, knowledge, skill, experience and wisdom that are essential to our trusting partnership with him to work through the challenges. Greg Gilbert will provide the balanced leadership that Duluth needs.

Alison Jean Clarke



Bergson stands up for ordinary people of Duluth

As a native of Duluth, I take pride in the city and follow its politics closely. I have watched Mayor Herb Bergson inherit mammoth problems and try to deal with them in the best interests of Duluth citizens.

As Minnesota's attorney general, I also had the opportunity to watch many public officials. Most refused to stand up to powerful special interests or to fight for the rights of the ordinary Minnesotans. They applied two standards: one for special interests and one for the rest of us.

Duluth faces a lot of challenges and cannot afford a mayor who is indebted to special interests. Herb Bergson has stood up for ordinary people and deserves another term.

Mike Hatch


The writer is a former

attorney general of Minnesota.


Compassionate, gracious Bell is a breath of fresh air

The mayor must possess knowledge and experience in creating new jobs and have the ability to make sound fiscal decisions. He or she must have an understanding of Duluth's diverse population and be able to interact with the city's youth while also being able to listen to the city's knowledgeable senior citizens.

Mayoral candidate Charlie Bell has demonstrated all these traits, and in June 2005 was honored as the 2004 Hall of Fame recipient, an honor he well-deserved.

In a mayoral field filled with current city councilors and the incumbent mayor, Bell is a breath of fresh air.

Given Duluth's current standing the city needs decisive leadership, not a mayor who bows to one party (DFL or GOP); after all, this is a nonpartisan.

Duluth needs to get things back on track. The Lake Superior Zoo is in need of major funds, maintenance and the restoration of its accreditation.

On the health care issues, here's a quote from Gary Meier, the city's former human resources manager: "Although this was known, the council unanimously, and without any real debate, approved contracts 2004 that took only a tiny step toward resolving the post-retirement issue"

All in all, Bell is extremely compassionate, trustworthy, reliable, courteous and gracious with a strong sense of integrity and honor.

Voters can join me Sept. 11 in supporting Charlie Bell.

Sandi Ralph-Hendrickson


The choice for mayor is clear

Duluth faces many challenges. To meet those challenges, Duluth needs to elect a mayor who is a strong leader and an energetic, experienced business manager. A person who has compassion. Of the broad field of candidates, one stands out: Charlie Bell.

Bell has the business acumen City Hall needs now. He has experience in many business areas, including job creation and economic development. He was a business owner who helped to establish the grassroots Spirit Valley Citizens Neighborhood Development Association and the Oneota Industrial Park. He served on the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, and his leadership contributed to the creation of hundreds of jobs. Bell is the type of leader Duluth needs to expand its tax base.

Some say, "We need to run the city like a business," and I agree. But the business of city government is more than just dollars and cents. That's why the mayor must have a commitment to people.

Bell has spent a lifetime in civic service for the people of Duluth. He served on the Boys and Girls Club Board, United Way, Arrowhead Council of Churches, Ordean Foundation, Corneal Eye Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota, the St. Luke's Board and St. Luke's Foundation. He was chairman of the athletic facilities' referendum that led to the redevelopment of athletic facilities at Central High School, Ordean Fields and Public Schools Stadium. The list of Bell's volunteer experiences in Duluth could go on and on.

For me, the choice is clear: I want a mayor who is a strong leader and who has demonstrated the ability to bring people together and get things done.

My choice is Charlie Bell.

Jim Caesar


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