Do you know some place where we could put our return envelopes for supporters to mail back donations? 
Tell us where and we'll deliver them

Donations online are no longer being processed.

UpOld Home Page2
Sleazy and ImmoralOld Home Page2

Johnson Controls little deceits

Johnson Controls knows a thing or two about school referenda. In fact, it advertises its ability to help pass referendums to school boards in order to win contracts. All this knowledge about Minnesota Law relating to school bonding means that its lawyers probably had a hunch that there had been enough changes in Minnesota law over the years to allow a School District to avoid a referendum. If this was so, it was inadvertent on the legislature's part.  This new loophole would allow JCI and school districts to bypass Minnesota's notoriously hard to please voters. It would also mean that the sky was the limit. Meanwhile, Duluth had an ambitious new Superintendent, a lot of new and naive school board members, and a long standing perception of indecisiveness about its facilities. It was Shangri-La and sure enough, the plans which JCI presented Duluth; Red, White, and Blue, were all quarter-billion-dollar plans. Each guaranteed JCI a juicy contract.

After a long series of meetings to which the public paid very little attention it was revealed that a JCI paid for survey had found that Duluth voters really didn't want to bother with a referendum because of their eagerness to finally solve the District's facilities needs. The most important question on the survey, Question 27, was a fraud and so important that its results were hyped no less than four times on the report JCI gave the State for comment and review. What was Question 27's conclusion? It was that Duluth voters didn't want to vote.

Next JCI had to make it sound as though the cost to taxpayers of the costliest school building plan in Minnesota history would not be very painful.

Little Deceit #1. JCI's plan said it would plow half of the tax increases into property tax reduction. This promise isn't worth the paper its written on because no new school board is obligated to uphold it. If future excess levies for the classroom fail (and after the Red Plan they almost certainly will) and future school Boards decide to renege on this promise by putting the Red Plan's "savings" into classrooms to replace the failed excess levies, then the taxes on the Red Plan will double.

Little Deceit #2. JCI's plan set the taxes to increase at about 5.5% annually so that by the end of the plan, in twenty years, taxpayers would be charged triple what they were being taxed in the first year. In the first year the taxes would look deceptively low.

Little Deceit #3. JCI used a lowball figure for the average tax impact by suggesting that the average house in Duluth cost only $125,000. This was suspect from the start because even in the JCI survey on question 58 only 15% of respondents said their houses cost less than this amount while 46% said their houses cost more. $125,000 is hardly the average home price. Let Duluth Vote found out from the City Assessor that the average selling price for homes over the past three years in Duluth is $168,000! That is $43,000 more than JCI's supposed average. Furthermore, this does not take into account the many pricey homes found in the townships which undoubtedly raise the District's average home values higher.

How many other lowball figures have snuck into the JCI's facts we can not be certain but its obvious that the Red Plan's true costs have been camouflaged. We have no choice without a referendum. Its property tax theft by swindle, of four school board members who are the sole buyers. The voters merely have to pay.


If you care about Duluth and its schools 
don't put your faith in the Duluth News Tribune
The last word on the Red Plan can be found on Harry Welty's blog:
And if you're looking for some particular piece of information use the blog's search function.
You never can tell what you'll find.