Better Government

The school board gave initial approval to the Central project during its 1/29/20 meeting. Rather than handing out the resolution 3 days before the meeting, like it’s supposed to, administration handed it out right before asking the board for approval. With $31.5 million on the table, the Chair of the board–Jill Lofald–didn’t even bother to read the text of the resolution before declaring full support for the plan. Prompted by a question from board member Alanna Oswald, the district’s CFO told the board it could go to a public vote on the project, but the Chair immediately threw her weight behind the no-vote option touted by administration. She brushed off the whole idea of a vote by observing dismissively: “A couple of people might come in here and tell us we’re going to go to hell for taking away their vote on this,” as though those citizens and their birthright to vote meant nothing to her.
I want our government to function better than it has. Most citizens seem focused on the national scene these days, but better government and protection of our civil rights begins in our back yard. I am concerned about our society’s rising debt, the fiscal house-of-cards we’ve become. I want better plans, better oversight and better value for our tax dollars. It is unacceptable use of precious resources and wealth for our government to close down a 40-year-old multi-million dollar building, lose millions on it for ten years, then tear it down and–with no vote from the public–and start spending millions more tax dollars.
For years, I’ve called out for changes in the boardroom, such as opening up the agenda meetings. More transparency is needed in the process of government, so the public can see how its government is operating and how priorities are decided. The citizens of Duluth also deserve a vote on how their money is used. Stealing the vote is an act of distrust towards the public, and distrust breeds distrust.

About the author