Tom Heuerman: The dearth of competency

The everyday headlines about the lack of competence in our schools, churches, government, and organizations and institutions shake our confidence and belief that anyone can get things done right. Our personal and national zest for greatness appears exhausted and almost everywhere we look we see decline threaten our democracy and way of life.This is a Community Voices submission and is moderated but not edited. The opinions expressed by Community Voices contributors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the TC Daily Planet.Incompetence surrounds us. I fought for excellence and against incompetence at all levels throughout my 18 year career at the Star Tribune newspaper. Organizations were designed to keep good people down and the design works well. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Voter Redemption

A parable tells of a room in which “a zillionaire, a Tea Party person and a union member” confront a plate of 12 cookies: “The zillionaire takes 11 of the cookies, and says to the other two, ‘That guy is trying to steal your cookie.’ ” Free Speech ZoneThe Free Speech Zone offers a space for contributions from readers, without editing by the TC Daily Planet. This is an open forum for articles that otherwise might not find a place for publication, including news articles, opinion columns, announcements and even a few press releases. Many Americans fell for the demonization of public workers by Republicans and turned on their neighbors while the wealthy laughed all the way to the bank with all the “cookies.” Wise up folks: In 2009, the richest 5 percent claimed 63.5 percent of the nation’s wealth. The bottom 80 percent held just 12.8 percent. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | The American Dream Overwhelmed

Historian James Truslow Adams coined the term American Dream during the Great Depression. He said: “The American Dream was of a better, richer, and happier life for all our citizens of every rank, which is the greatest contribution we have made to the thought and welfare of the world. That dream or hope has been present from the start. Ever since we became an independent nation, each generation has seen an uprising of ordinary Americans to save the American Dream from the forces which appear to be overwhelming it.” Some random information that overwhelms the American Dream today: 1.    Change in income during the Reagan Era: Incomes of top 1% increased 55%. Continue Reading


To destroy the dignity of a human being is evil. Peter Koestenbaum, author of Leadership: The Inner Side of Greatness M. Scott Peck’s book, People of the Lie scared me. I had always thought of evil, when I thought about it at all, as huge events like the holocaust and people like Adolph Hitler or gruesome and macabre murderers like grave robber Ed Gein, who murdered women and exhumed bodies from graves around Plainfield, Wisconsin in the 1950’s. But Peck-one of my favorite writers–wrote about evil in our normal lives and in everyday people: in families, churches, schools, politics, and in our organizations and institutions. His words alarmed me: I, and people I knew and cared about-ordinary people–could be evil, do evil, be part of evil systems and be unaware of evil in and around us. Continue Reading

FREE SPEECH ZONE | Public employee unions

The union steward for The Newspaper Guild walked smugly to my desk on my first day at the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With a condescending tone he told me how to cheat on my expense account, what to do to get overtime for not working, and that I dressed too well for the union guys. I made a personal vow to do everything I could to change this company and for the next almost 18 years I did. I never gave in to union pressures to be a mediocre worker or to act against my values. I rose rapidly in the management ranks-9 promotions in 16 years-and battled the Newspaper Guild, Teamsters, and other unions every step of the way. Continue Reading


 If the state workers go, we are all next,” said Grabski, who was tired, tearful and in need of a shave. “This is a defining moment, a defining issue for all of us. They are at war with the middle class–Private sector worker Adam Grabski at Madison, WI demonstrations Bravo, Bravo, Bravo. I applaud and send my best wishes to public and private sector citizen/workers in Madison, Wisconsin who demonstrate as I write (Feb. 19, 2011) on behalf of the middle class and a sustainable future for America. Continue Reading