Continued Minneapolis schoolteachers contract impasse would mean $800,000 fine

With a midnight deadline looming, officials of the Minneapolis Public Schools say they have given up hope of reaching a contract with district teachers.

Tom Madden, the chairman of the Minneapolis School Board, and outgoing Superintendent William Green in a statement to the community said that talks with the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers have broken down, meaning the already financially strapped district faces an $800,000 fine. Districts that have not reached contract agreements with their teachers by midnight face a $25 per-student fine by the state.

As of Thursday, roughly a third of the state’s 342 school districts had not reached contract settlements with their teachers.

But no situation was more grim than in Minneapolis, where it appears talks broke down a week ago when the district made its “final”offer to the teachers’ union.

“Unfortunately, our offer was rejected by MFT without a counter-proposal,” Madden wrote in his two-page memo.

Lynn Nordgren, president of the Minneapolis Teachers Union, denies that claim. She said in an interview this morning that the union kept coming back to the district with proposals throughout the weekend and as late as Tuesday. After that, she said, it would have been impossible to get an offer out to the district’s teachers for a ratification vote.

Nordgren said that the teachers offered what she described as a “soft freeze” on wages, meaning a zero percent increase on base salaries for two years. Additionally, she said, the union offered to accept other changes in contract language that the district wanted and “a moratorium on some benefits that equaled $3 million” in savings for the district.

“They [the district] over-reached,” she said. What it described as its final offer last week “was insulting.”

For years, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been critical of school districts for yielding too much in negotiations with teachers.

But Nordgren says that rhetoric simply isn’t truthful — at least in regards to Minneapolis teachers.

She said that salaries and benefits to Minneapolis teachers amount to about 36 percent of the district’s entire budget, a figure that’s down from 43 percent six years ago.

That decrease, she said, is in addition to the loss of 2,000 jobs, an increase in hours worked, increases in class sizes and increases in costs borne by teachers in such areas as health insurance premiums.

“We know we have to work with what the district has,” Nordgren said, “but we’re not missionaries. We do expect to be paid.”

In their message, Madden and Green said:

“We have maintained a commitment to preserving teaching positions and to providing as much stability as possible for our classrooms, our teacher teams and our schools. Throughout negotiations, the two parties made significant progress in identifying the reforms that would be necessary to move the district’s academic agenda forward.

“However, the distrct and MFT are still too far apart on money to reach a final agreement. Simply put, the district cannot meet expectations for substantial increases tied to base pay, without serious impacting the classroom and threatening our longer-term financial stability. We have been clear since July 2009 about the financial position of the district.”

The difficulties in Minneapolis are in direct contrast to negotiations in St. Paul, where the union and the district reached a tentative agreement in December. That agreement was ratified by teachers on Tuesday and approved by the school board on Wednesday.

“Our ink is drying on our contract,” said Mary Cathryn Ricker, president of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers. “The minneapolis situation makes me very sad — and a bit angry at their district.”

St. Paul teachers received a 1 percent wage increase and preserved step and lane increases (which are based on such things as years of experience and advanced degrees and training).

St. Paul teachers also received a freeze on health care contributions until next January, when teachers will pay an additional $20 per month for health insurance.

 
There are, of course, many differences between the contracts of the two districts.

And one other thing created a huge difference in the negotiations: Minneapolis teachers entered talks for a new contract in a state of mistrust.

In their previous contract, they had agreed to a number of outcome-based incentives, inspired by the union even before Gov. Pawlenty came forward with his Q-Comp program for districts and teachers.

The teachers claim that the district reneged on those promises, costing district teachers $4.6 million.

“The teachers were livid,” said Nordgren of the payments she said teachers expected.

In their message, Madden and Green, deny the charge that teachers didn’t received promised payments. Or at least denies part of the charge.

“All teachers who assumed leadership roles or additional professional responsibilities in 2008-2009 and who applied for compensation through [the program] have received lump sum payments in recognition of that work.”

But in the message, Madden and Green did say that teachers who expected payments based on additional training had not received payments “pending the outcome of negotiations.”

Madden and Green also said that to meet teacher demands, the district would have to cut 100 to 140 teaching positions, increase classroom size and tap into the district’s “vulnerable reserve fund to meet these obligations.”

They said the district already has reduced “central office budgets by as much as 15 percent in 2009-2010 and have asked the same departments to submit their budgets assuming an additional 5 percent reduction for 2010-2011.”

Nordgren said teachers aren’t without empathy in the negotiations. The union president said one of the big financial problems the district faces is caused by federal and state underfunded mandates regarding special education.  Currently, she said, the district is shorted by about $28 million in underfunding from the feds and state on special ed.

“We will keep working on coming to a solution,” she said.

Doug Grow writes about public affairs, state politics and other topics. He can be reached at dgrow [at] minnpost [dot] com.

Correction
The original story misstated the authors of the school district message and the intended audience. The message, for public release, was from both Tom Madden, the chairman of the Minneapolis School Board, and outgoing Superintendent William Green.

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Comments (28)

  1. Submitted by myles spicer on 01/15/2010 - 11:04 am.

    It is sad and pathetic to underfund education as we have done locally, statewide and nationally. The decline in educational funding and resources has widespread implications. First, to the families who seek a more enriched and prosperous life for their children…and to the state, whose skilled labor force has been essential to our growth and vitality…and then to our nation whose workforce now competes on an international scale in a highly technological world. Until and unless we resolve our committment to better education and loyal teachers, we could feel the impact for generations to come!

  2. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 01/15/2010 - 11:20 am.

    It is sad and pathetic that we continue to invest in unions instead of children.

    Let us have real change and give children hope when it comes to education. Hopefully, our children can have the same kind of education that Mr. Obama had and his children currently have.

    Teachers unions are designed to keep as many children as possible on the reservation of union education.

  3. Submitted by David DeCoux on 01/15/2010 - 12:23 pm.

    An 800,000 fine? Isn’t that just about the amount of money the state needs to borrow from the schools?

    Hmmmm.

  4. Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/15/2010 - 12:24 pm.

    “Hopefully, our children can have the same kind of education that Mr. Obama had and his children currently have.”

    In other words, private schools and parents or guardians who take an active role in their children’s educations. Those are great things that I have benefitted from as well. But it is not at all clear how you deliver on that hope to every child in America or Minnesota, or even Minneapolis.

    Given the topic at hand, what is Mr Gotzman’s recommendation – bust the union & hire people off the streets to teach? Maybe we can call it a jobs program and start paying minimum wage to every tom, dick or harry that’s willing to stand in front of a classroom of unruly kids. We’ll call it ‘Minnesota Miracle, part two and a half.’

  5. Submitted by Joe Johnson on 01/15/2010 - 01:26 pm.

    To whom is the fine being paid? Out of one branch of Government and into another, big deal. Speaking of overpaid unions, congress reached a temporary agreement that Cadillac health plans will be taxed except if you are in a union. Not that you would read that at Minnpost, but that 60 billion dollar gift to the unions will get made up for with a medical tax surcharge on capital gains. I bet that will help spur job creation.

  6. Submitted by Tim Jacobson on 01/15/2010 - 02:06 pm.

    Ron – I love your comment regarding the investment in the unions. Too many times the unions are overshadowing the actual tasks at hand. The children dont have a voicein the process

    Brian – The Toms, Dicks and Harrys would most likely go above and beyond the UNION requirements to keep their jobs and educate the children. Toms, Dicks and Harrys dont EXPECT raises for poor performance and mediocrity. Toms, Dicks and Harrys take pride in their accomplishments. Its the Toms, dicks and Harrys of the world that create and innovate. Unions have DESTROYED the very fabric of our workforce by guaranteeing jobs for those that are otherwise unemployable. Unions are a great concept that would work in a perfect and fair world… Welcome to the real world

  7. Submitted by dan buechler on 01/15/2010 - 02:32 pm.

    Good article doug. You or some tom dick or harriet should do a multi part series on special education. There probably no easiest answers but both parties gotta move forward. This news is abysmal and someone or some party should be indicted or something for this most basic of failures. Is MPLS ever in danger of becoming insolvent? What would happen then something on the order of what has happened to the auto and news industry? Just some hypotheticals.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/15/2010 - 03:06 pm.

    Tim Jacobson has, of course, framed the issue perfectly, but I can understand it might be a truth some Minnpost readers might find it hard to swallow.

    Fortuitously for us, we can get the message straight from the union itself:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-piPkgAUo0w

    If after listening to the NEA’s chief legal council, Bob Chanin, lay it out for you in plain English anyone can still believe that a blue collar trade labor union has any business within 3000 miles of the nearest school, there is no purpose in my listing out the very generous compensation packages our teachers are already receiving….if you are as sickened by Bob Chanin’s remarks as I was, there is no need.

    These fines were put in place by Democrat legislators to pay off their debts to the teachers union; and that’s a fact.

    I’m not cynical enough to believe that they realized at the time that it would be the kids footing their bill, but that is the sad result nonetheless.

  9. Submitted by Brian Simon on 01/15/2010 - 03:30 pm.

    “The Toms, Dicks and Harrys would most likely go above and beyond the UNION requirements to keep their jobs and educate the children. Toms, Dicks and Harrys dont EXPECT raises for poor performance and mediocrity.”

    But if compensation is stagnant, why do we expect anything beyond poor performance or mediocrity? In my opinion the union issue is irrelevant. Teachers a paid a pittance; which is true for non-union private school educators as well. If you believe the truism that ‘you get what you pay for’ why would anyone that cares about education want to spend as little as possible on teachers? Seems to me we should be boosting salaries to incent our best & brightest to consider teaching as a viable career option, instead of seeing them turn instead to careers in law or banking, which aren’t doing a whole lot of public good, last time I checked.

  10. Submitted by ellen wolfson on 01/15/2010 - 04:21 pm.

    I can’t believe the union bashing in these comments.Would that we could return to the days when unions were strong and the middle class had living wages and the economy benefited all of us, not just the wealthy. These people have no idea of what it is like to teach in an urban classroom with too many children, parents who provide no support and a school board that doesn’t respect the teachers.

  11. Submitted by myles spicer on 01/15/2010 - 09:46 pm.

    To frame this as a “union” issue is a red herring and a cheap diversion from properly funding education. It so happens my daughter has taught in the Minneapolis school system for 20 years, and yes, she belongs to a union. And after 20 years her income is less than I pay my office manager. She has incredible challenges nowadays — including those of language, parenting relations, and diversity. Those who are trying to escape the real issues and real problems of our educational system simply have no idea what is going on in the classrooms of our schools — and they are totally unrelated to “unions”. The teachers have had minimal compensation increases for years now, yet they plug away every day, doing their best with dwindling resources. Most are committed to enhacing the lives of those valuable beings entrusted to them: our children. Many even use their own money to buy supplies. How rude!

    Those who are trying to frame this as some kind of union busting issue are trying to divert us from the real problem: insufficient funding of a vital area of our society. An issue exacerbated by our “no tax” governor. Fail to invest MONEY to recruit and retain good teachers, build new facilities, properly equip labs and technology — will result in inferior education. Period. Unions or not.

  12. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 01/15/2010 - 10:04 pm.

    Strange thing about education reform is that everyone thinks they’re an expert just because they went to school. No need to review the existing research on what actually works in practice because teaching is so easy that anyone could do it, right? It’s kind of like people thinking they are qualified to advise on economics just because they have a bank account.

    Teaching is actually very similar to management, you have to persuade people to do things they often don’t want to do. However, managers can sack lazy workers, but teachers can’t sack lazy students, you have to deal with them.

    I am all for performance evaluations of teachers, but, if you take the issue seriously, then take the time to learn how to do it properly and be prepared to pay higher taxes to attract, train, and retain good teachers.

  13. Submitted by myles spicer on 01/15/2010 - 11:55 pm.

    I not only agree with Schulze, but would add that those who are not familiar and current with the educational scene, actually have no idea how demanding it is. Imagine standing in front of a class all day in say 1st grade, trying to teach young boys and girls from Somalia, Cambodia, Mexico — as well as American kids from the inner city — how to read, write, spell as well as a myriad of other subjects they will need to compete in the 21st century. Imagine that, in classroom sizes that are too sometimes too large for serious individual attention. I can tell you it is demanding and exhausting. Then, imagine going back the next day and repeating the process. Then, drive yourself to make certain each and every one of those kids will leave your classroom at the end of the year, fully prepared and ready for the next grade — because you are committed and professional.

    Then, after giving it your best shot, you are told not only will you not get a raise, nor to expect one, but also that many of your good and competent associates will not be back, and likely you will have to pick up the slack with even larger class sizes. That then becomes the funding issue.

    These teachers did not go into the profession thinking they would get wealthy after giving 20 or 30 years of their lives to a job that is assured of modest pay. Instead of reckless admonitions, most teachers should be given a medal for service — not criticism from those who are ignorant of what they do, how they do it, and the demands involved.

    Those who talk the talk, have not walked the walk, as Mr. Schulze points out. Yes, there are problems with the system that need revisiting; and currently the U.S. is falling behind. But it is not the fault of the teachers, as I have learned to know them. And most certainly, it is not because of “unions”.

  14. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/16/2010 - 10:59 am.

    Allow me to interject with a bit of hard data.

    To get a feel for just hard against the wall our public school teachers really are, let’s look at this years actual compensation from Saint Paul, shall we?

    The school year is 189 days long. Subtract from that the 21 days schools are closed (this does not count “professional development\planning days where students are not at school, but teachers are expected to be there) and we have 168 working days, or 1344 hours.

    Check the schedule:
    http://www.spps.org/uploads/SPPSStaffCalendar_809ver4.pdf

    A newly minted teacher with a BA started at $34,674. That’s $25.79 an hour, folks; base.

    Middle of the road; teacher with BA at step 20, lane 7 earned $71,838, or $53.45 an hour; base. (Compare to $43.26 an hour for an electrical engineer with 20+ years)

    In 2008 this same teacher made $69,757 or $51.53 an hour, base…..better than a 3.5% raise; anyone you know get that kind of bump this year?

    Top dogs; teacher with a doctorate in education after 20 years earned $82,261, or $61.20 an hour, base (they, of course enjoyed the same raise in base the rookie received this year)

    To these salaries any teacher may add up to $6000 for mentoring, coaching, monitoring & etc., as well as earning a flat $25.00 an hour rate for miscellaneous tasks not covered specifically.

    Check the numbers:
    http://hr.spps.org/sites/796838e5-b16a-499a-8c29-8e37dabb6712/uploads/Teacher.pdf

    These “modest” salaries are paid without regard to the actual performance of a teacher…the scrub is paid the same as the star.

    And after a 30 year career of either hard work and success, or of sloth and failure, a teacher can retire with a pension plan that is unknown in private industry.

    And if Myles has his way, they get a medal too.

  15. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 01/16/2010 - 09:59 pm.

    Mr. Swift, I know you often claim and take pride as being a “citizen journalist”. Clearly your standards are no where near I.F. Stone levels. You simply aggregate polls and news from other sources. It’s not the same thing, nor or a substitute for investigatory journalism. A true citizen journalist goes out, gathers and investigates “original news” and then reports it. What you do is simple punditry. Commenting on news that other people have gathered. By the way, love that red herring (“unions”) you serve… Although I prefer my herring smoked with apple wood.

    //but teachers can’t sack lazy students, you have to deal with them.//

    This makes identifying good teachers very difficult because objective measures of performance are difficult or impossible. There are huge problems using standardized test scores to rate teachers. One is that even a few problem kids in a class can make a huge difference to mean score gains, so you need some way of analyzing score gains to isolate the contribution of the teacher from all the “noise” in the data. Very few administrators have the statistical skills to do that rigorously enough to stand up in court. Let’s face it; most people with post-graduate training in statistics or psycho-metrics are going to work in fields that pay much more than education.
    Another major problem concerns “regression to the mean”, a well-known problem in statistics that is frequently overlooked in analyzing standardized test results. This paper by an Educational Testing Service researcher (http://tinyurl.com/mebdvg)
    describes the problem. I would suggest that anyone who can’t follow the fairly basic statistics in that report, really has no business demanding that people be sacked.

    BTW, I’d be curious to know how you arrived @ the teacher’s hourly wage. Was it using a 12 month year or a 9 month school year?

  16. Submitted by myles spicer on 01/16/2010 - 10:37 pm.

    Teaching salary summary page for the state of Minnesota
    Salary range: $20,131 – $68,612

    Average teacher salary: $47,393

    Average beginning teacher salary: $29,907

    Further, the “average” is conditioned on 15 years of service. I KNOW first hand what teachers in the Minneapolis system make, and Swift’s $71K figure is beyond absurd! Teachers do not get rich in this profession, and go into for reasons beyond accumulating wealth.

  17. Submitted by myles spicer on 01/16/2010 - 11:11 pm.

    As one further comment on the “veracity” of Swift’s remarks, I should note that his claim of:

    “Middle of the road; teacher with BA at step 20, lane 7 earned $71,838, or $53.45 an hour; base. (Compare to $43.26 an hour for an electrical engineer with 20+ years)”

    I actually for a teacher with 20+ years of teaching WITH A MASTERS DEGREE, and SPECIAL SKILLS SUCH AS SPECIAL ED. This is far from “middle of the road” teachers.

    He also pulle his figures from the highest paid system in the state — not the average or typical system. His claim of “a pension plan unknown in private industry is also misleading, and not accurate, the pension plan if teachers is rather pro forma compared to private industry.

    In short, this kind of teacher-bashing is not only unwarranted, unproductive, and unfair to a profession vital to our families and nation — it is also not factual.

    Yes, teachers can earn extra money by adding other tasks to their schedule, indeed, many DO work summer sessions, which defeats the argument of the hours Swift claims (those are minimum hours and most teachers far exceed them nowadays)

  18. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/17/2010 - 02:49 pm.

    Using all caps doesn’t really add credibility, myles. I provided links to the documents (the union contract in fact) that I was referencing, anyone can go and check out the veracity of my comments for themselves….they are perfectly capable of standing scrutiny.

    Richard, I’ve never referred to myself as a “citizen journalist”. That tag is a silly bit of fluff used almost exclusively by paid minions of leftist special interests looking for credibility.

    I’m just a guy with an opinion.

  19. Submitted by dan buechler on 01/17/2010 - 02:57 pm.

    As you can probably read both sides throw red herrings and both are factual. Thats the nature of the beast of seeking personal advantage or politics not policy. Richard does offer a very good outside perspective and he doesn’t throw herrings.
    I could be mistaken but eventually don’t teachers get a masters degree as it enhances earning power? The mpls union negotiater made a claim that some teachers have trouble paying their rent. That most businesses pay for experience. Yes to a point but after 7 years without a step up in responsibilities most wages are flat. That has always been the conumdrum as most don’t want to be pincipals etc. or work in more difficult settings which is all very understandable. I think the real or hidden dispute in mpls is over promised back pay that never fully materialized just as it often does in many jobs without a contract. Goddamn it then hire a mediator or arbitor but don’t forfeit $800,000 dollars or the equivalent of 16(?) teachers.
    I also think the timing is terribly bad. A lot of jobs in finance, insurance, realestate, retail, transportation and manufacturing have evaporated and they are never coming back even under the best of administrations (choose your poison) We are an aging society and thank goodness for some of the breeders/parents out there or we would really be up a creek. Revenues are way down even with a tax increase there is still a target on the governments back. Personally I think some of the anti tax hysteria comes out of the fact that the gini coefficient (a measure of inequality) has the U.S., Mexico and China having similar numbers. The last two not being terribly democratic nations. If the problem of the U.S. Senate/fillibuster isn’t solved it will be downhill.

  20. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 01/17/2010 - 05:58 pm.

    Mr. Buechler makes a number of good points. What Dan says about the employment prospects is also true.

    While the current politicians extol the virtues of education, the reality is that we are dumbing down our public education system. How do we invent the next “new” thing, while shrinking higher education budgets? If my local high school can’t afford new computers, how is it going to feed tech companies with a computer literate work force?

    Alternative energy and biotechnology are two possible drivers for a new economy. Unfortunately, the last administration did everything it could to slow progress in both these fields. Choosing instead to coddle big oil and starving stem cell researchers of federal cash, ceding the lead there to others.

    Since we are not creating the new industries essential for real job growth, the unemployment rate will stay stubbornly high at around 10%, much like Germany has seen for decades. The jobs that left for China or disappeared on the Internet are never coming back. It’s hard to see where the 27 million jobs we need to accommodate natural population growth and immigration and get us back to a 5% jobless rate are going to come from.

    The total job growth in the last decade was zero. It is obvious now that while big business has stopped large scale layoffs, they are just plain not hiring. They have also probably figured out that starving, bankrupt consumers don’t buy much.

    I continue to be an optimist. The real challenge for we aged career advisers is that probably half of these new jobs haven’t even been invented yet.

  21. Submitted by dan buechler on 01/17/2010 - 06:30 pm.

    Richard, thanks for replying if you want a some great optimism I reccomend the #1 bollywood movie “3 idiots” about 3 engineering school friends and their lives 10 years later. Everyone should see this movie says a lot about culture, education, families. It is at Wynsong till thursday. Great reviews and trailer on the internet.

  22. Submitted by dan buechler on 01/17/2010 - 07:01 pm.

    If people look at other states everywhere (except for ND and Montana) are facing some serious hurt due to the new economic fallout and the great recession of 2008-2009. Obama much to his credit in my view bailed out the school systems because they were so shovel ready and they affect a great number of people students and parents. but and people can pile on me I think there is a time to put country first. What would Roosevelt’s response be?
    Again on the Gini coefficient the reason so many in the U.S. are so nervous is that as laborers we are less protected from some of adverse effects of globalization. As private uniouns are approaching nil and we are considered traitors if we are lukewarm about government employee’s demands. There was an article today in the PP as there may be more demand for income distribution as the youngest generation is getting hit in the gut hard. Is there a unioun representing college students and rising tuition? How are parties going to respond to them as a whole and please spare the some old trite answers. Bring it on!!

  23. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 01/17/2010 - 10:00 pm.

    The fact that we’ve done diddly squat since 2000 but create a giant paper chase explains why job growth since then has been zero, real wage growth has been negative, and American standards of living are falling.

    The only way out of this is for the economy to return to a long term 3%-4% growth rate. That’s obviously what Obama is hoping for with his programs. He’s taking big risks, but he doesn’t have much choice. He really did inherit a bad hand. If he did nothing, we’d be in a depression by now, with 25% unemployment. He understands what he’s doing and understands the risks.

    Obama couldn’t have allowed the banking system to collapse. We need banks as the economy’s linchpin. A year ago we could have lost the entire financial system over a weekend. Ships were being turned around at sea and going back home because their letters of credit were failing. The freeze up in credit could have gone on for years.

    The stock market is up 50% since Obama took office, so it likes the uneasy stability that we have now. Credit markets have recovered tremendously.

    We are no doubt better off now, than when Obama started office. Is it all sunshine and lightness? Of course not. I don’t think any reasonable person can expect this to just go away without some pain.

    What’s the alternative, more tax cuts? (lite snark)

  24. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 01/17/2010 - 11:00 pm.

    Mr Swift, you stated: //”I’ve never referred to myself as a “citizen journalist”. That tag is a silly bit of fluff used almost exclusively by paid minions of leftist special interests looking for credibility.”//

    Funny that you should say that. At the 2008 GOP convention, you were digitized as you waved an American flag @ war protesters while they marched. In the video you were shouting “Bin Laden loves you” as the marchers passed by. I imagine your goal was to get a rise out of one of them so that you could create and record the “drama”. While you were helping instigate, I mean create the news, you were being recorded by one of your consorts.

    The name/title of your production was “Swiftee Citizen Journalist”. Ring a bell?

    Or perhaps it was just someone that looked amazing like you and was just up to some Tom Foolery. You simply can’t have it both ways Mr Swift.

  25. Submitted by dan buechler on 01/18/2010 - 08:31 am.

    Schulze I agree with you 100% on #23. #24 sounds interesting. I also think 65% of the afghan war is about a trans country pipeline to india.

  26. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 01/18/2010 - 09:09 am.

    In all fairness to Mr Swift. I have to amend and correct my #24 post. The comment that Mr. Swift was shouting at the protesters was “bin Laden Thanks You”

    Mr Swift’s claim of being a “citizen journalist” was made by him on his former Blog, along with a link to the YouTube video. As his former blog is no longer operational, I am unable to provide a link to it. The YouTube video can be found here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgZm51zsKHc

    I apologize for being so far off of the topic/subject. But if a commenter is going to make claims that are “not accurate”. The veracity of such claims should be called into question.

    “And that’s all I have to say about that” Forest Gump

  27. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 01/18/2010 - 10:20 am.

    “The veracity of such claims should be called into question.”

    The video was created and uploaded by a “herrdrjonz”; the name/title is “Bin Laden Thanks You”; you don’t have a link, but you’re really, really sure you read something called “citizen journalist” somewhere. Really.

    Nice get, Richard. You keep taking those “not accurate” claims to the woodshed…….

  28. Submitted by dan buechler on 01/18/2010 - 01:09 pm.

    I excoriate both of you just like Rybak should do but probably never will. Maybe he should have intervened in MPLS school politics. After all it is the city of which he weakly presides over. May be the green party will change MPLS politics but I doubt it. They should create a seperate school district with Hennepin county for some students.

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