by EMILY SCHNACKY
Attending the Duluth City Council Meeting Monday evening gave me much
insight into government and the city of Duluth as a whole. When we first arrived we
met with Counselor Hartman, UMD history alumni, former Student Association
member, and program director for Veterans' Memorial Hall. He told us about his job
and explained how he is a "Counselor At Large" which means he represents the
entire city of Duluth. He explained some of the projects and issues in Duluth that are
in the works, such as parking meter cameras, bike routes, water mains, and the 300‐
I found his personal story about how he got into politics interesting. It all
started back when he was a student at UMD and thought that having no clocks in the
hallways was ridiculous. He took that idea to the Student Association and the
problem was promptly fixed. At that moment he realized that there are many issues
that have been left unfixed simply because no one has brought it up. Soon after, he
himself became an active member of Student Association. When talking about the
elements of politics Counselor Hartman said, "You have to make a decision that will
upset somebody." He explained how he could see both sides of an issue, but in the
end a final decision has to be made.
During the budget hearing in which the 2011 public works and utilities
budget was being presented, I gained insight into how controversial the budget of
the city actually is. Jim Benning, the Director of Public Works, presented this. He
explained how there is an increase in the budget from 2010 to 2011. The water
fund, gas fund, sewer fund, clean water fund, and storm water fund were presented.
An interesting thing I learned was that the gas fund was at a 13 month low that day.
During the city council meeting I was surprised at how most of the votes on
the issues on the agenda were passed unanimously. Also, I found the concerned
citizens arguments extremely interesting. Overall, by attending the meeting I
learned much more about the city of Duluth as a whole and how politics and issues
in the city are brought to attention and resolved.