Coming up short

I’m not quite sure how the Saint Paul Public School District managed to have two years where there were 20 million dollar shortfalls in the four and a half years that I worked there but somehow it did. That’s greater than 40 percent of the time that I was employed by the district. The district likes to point out that paying staff is its biggest cost-the district says salaries account for 81 percent of its operating budget. Not too many districts cut more jobs between 2005 and 2010 than SPPS did and nearly all of those jobs were never reactivated. The jobs are gone forever. Continue Reading

A Walk in the Park

For Minnesota it’s really been quite the mild winter.  If you’re one who doesn’t like winter (I often fall into this category) we shouldn’t complain TOO much this winter (complaining a little Continue Reading

The Pictures I See

It’s hazy in the morning.  Haze over here.  Haze over there.  Haze everywhere.  It’s like a stampede of angry bulls racing to get to their pens.  Racing as fast as they can Continue Reading

The Continuous Work

I am a laborer.  I worked the land for thousands of years with little more than my hands and a few simple tools for plowing and tilling the earth and planting crops into the earth.  If mo Continue Reading

Keep up the good work

It’s the end of the year and almost the start of a new year. That means it’s the time of year when the Saint Paul Public School District’s Board of Education gives SPPS Superintendent Valeria Silva their full and unyielding support and signs the contract that keeps Silva in power for yet another year. District employees received the notice from the SPPS Board of Education today. Of course, why wouldn’t the Board of Education stamp their seal of approval for Saint Paul’s top administrator? Silva’s list of achievements include: Continue Reading

Christmas blessing

I was not born into a handy family. My dad never owned a power saw, router, grinder, etc. (the best I’ve done so far is acquire a sawzall) so we didn’t work on any do-it-yourself labor intensive home improvement projects growing up. The biggest annual “handy” project that my dad had to do every fall was put up and hammer nails into boards to cover the screens in the screen porch that was attached to our detached garage back in my hometown of Duluth. That was always a big event and a big deal. To his credit my dad never once complained about having to do it. When I was a teenager I realized that my dad didn’t care for this task very much but he knew it was something that had to be done; just like he knew that it was better for the life of the driveway to shovel down to the pavement and breaking through the inch or so of ice that would sometimes build up on top of the driveway. This is something that my dad always did and always wanted us to do even if my brother and I didn’t always want to do it. Keeping the driveway as clear from snow and ice as is possible in Duluth, MN paid off because the blacktop on the driveway never needed to be replaced in the 14 years that I lived in the house. My dad did all of this with basic metal and plastic shovels. Maybe he used an ice pick every once in a while but it wasn’t very often. Who says you need expensive tools to do certain jobs right? Continue Reading

The train that was a bus

Saint Paul’s Green Line-the Central Corridor. It cruises down University Avenue at a remarkable 45 MPH at its fastest speed. It has got the speed of a llama and the heart of a lion! – well, maybe it has the heart. By comparison, the speed of the Blue Line that runs between Downtown Minneapolis and the Mall of America is 55 mph in many spots along Hiawatha Avenue and 60 mph through the airport tunnel. You can get from Target Field to MOA and vice versa in less than 30 minutes. You’re lucky to make the trip in 55 minutes between Target Field and Downtown Saint Paul, even though the actual distance of the Green Line is about two miles less than the total distance of the Blue Line. That’s OK, though. There’s plenty of places to park your car along the Green Line, right? Continue Reading

Colliding Currents

Sometimes my expressed views might be perceived as liberal and sometimes they could be perceived as conservative. Sometimes my opinions might be technical and sometimes they might be artsy. Continue Reading