Elect representatives, not autocrats

The ideals of the right to redress of grievance and the consent of the governed are the cornerstones of a representative democracy. If elected officials don’t allow the public to comment on their actions, then they can’t honestly claim they are representing the voters of their district.

The White Bear Lake School Board needs to be reminded of this simple truth. Less than five minutes after opening its last meeting, the school board canceled its public forum, citing audience members who were not wearing masks. In essence, the board is hiding behind the pseudo-science of masks to avoid being accountable to the public. The mask mandate itself was passed in a closed meeting that did not include any public comment, and at the meeting in question, presiding member Kim Chapman stated the meeting was cut short because citizens would not comply with those rules. These are not representatives; they are autocrats dictating behavior to the very people they are elected to answer to.

In November we have the opportunity to remove four members of this board and replace them with members who will actually represent the people of the district. I encourage everyone to become familiar with those running for the board and vote against any current member or any candidate whose resume is a list of various educational groups and councils but shows no actual accomplishments in increasing student test scores or graduation rates. The teacher’s union has been represented long enough by this council. It is time for the parents to get their chance at being represented.

Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." This school board has given up our liberty in exchange for the illusion of safety. The voters of White Bear Lake should send a clear message that we expect more from our elected officials and in November they should choose candidates that reflect that commitment to liberty even if they have to write in candidates to do it.

Joseph Kessel

White Bear Lake



Elect qualified candidate who listens

Tony Vosooney is the most qualified candidate for the Mahtomedi School Board in this November’s election. To begin, Tony has diligently volunteered with our community for many years. He actively engages with the Mahtomedi Elementary PTO from 2015 until today, including his year as the PTO president. Also, Tony was a contributing member of the Mahtomedi Strategic Plan Team. Currently, he volunteers on the District Curriculum Committee and he is the Mahtomedi School Board Treasurer. In addition to the schools, Tony gives his time to the Boy Scouts as a Pack Master and to his church as a Sunday School teacher; Tony even finds time to volunteer in individual classrooms.  

As a current school board member, Tony tirelessly collaborates with other school board members and makes student-centered decisions. He wants all students to feel included and safe. Tony actively listens to community members and always responds in a respectful manner. Finally, Tony’s governance is grounded in student achievement data and the Mahtomedi Strategic Plan; his vision is focused on specific outcomes and objectives.

Throughout his volunteer years with Mahtomedi Public Schools, Tony has shown that he can engage and collaborate with students, parents, teachers and community members. Tony Vosooney is the candidate who has the experience and skills to keep Mahtomedi Public Schools moving forward. Tony’s actions and words show us that he is truly dedicated to the students. As a public school teacher and the parent of three teenagers in Mahtomedi Public Schools, I know that Tony Vosooney has the background and ingenuity to guide our school district through any challenge it faces. 

Erin Tarnowski




Forum lacked full disclosure

I watched the Mahtomedi School Board Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of White Bear Lake (can be seen by Googling “Mahtomedi School Board Forum” or by going to the LWV website) which featured the three candidates for school board: Tony Vosooney, Barb Black and Paul Donna. I thank the LWV for putting on this forum and encourage all voters in the Mahtomedi School District to watch it. Prior to the forum I supported Tony Vosooney because he has already served on the school board for 11 months as a replacement and, in my view, the school board has done great work to keep our students safe during the pandemic and has worked hard to keep the Mahtomedi school district among the best in the state.

Tony’s performance during the forum strengthened my support for him, as he came across as a committed school board member and parent. I was disturbed, however, by the apparent teamwork demonstrated by Barb Black and Paul Donna. During the first part of the forum, they appeared to agree with each other on most of the questions. Then, halfway through, Ms. Black stated that, by the way, she was no longer running for the school board because she supported Mr. Donna and she and Mr. Donna had discussed their views before the forum. It was apparent to me that Mr. Donna was aware of Ms. Black’s decision. They both showed extremely poor judgment in participating in the forum in this manner.  

Their ethical course of action would have been to inform the League of Women Voters of Ms. Black’s decision or, at a minimum, both candidates should have stated that they were working together at the beginning of the forum as full disclosure for voters.

Phil Williams




Board member for our times 

The last several months have been beleaguered with chaos and dissatisfaction. This extended to the atmosphere in the schools and highlighted the need for compassionate change. Kathleen Daniels, a candidate for school board election coming in November, can help lead change in a caring and thoughtful way. As a former educator, Kathleen has the experience of having worked with complex school funding and being creative in how to use funding to best serve students. She has experience in curriculum development and how to best meet needs of students. Kathleen has advocated for mental health supports for students. 

Kathleen Daniels will be committed to the district’s vision of being a safe and welcoming place for all students and families. Help bring reason and experience to the ISD 624 school board by casting your vote for Kathleen Daniels.

Sonja Irlbeck

White Bear Lake



Resident input is vital

There is so much to love in our city — the beautiful lake, the wonderful parks, the old-growth trees, the small-town feel, the walkable downtown. Residents and visitors are drawn to the lake and the city because of its authenticity. White Bear Lake is more than a first- or second-ring suburb of St. Paul — it’s a town and destination of its own with its own history and vibrancy, and its uniqueness is worth celebrating and fighting to hold on to. 

The city and community already work toward that end — Marketfest in the summer, Winterfest in the winter, Manitou Days, Friday Farmers Market, downtown shopping days — contribute to making our area special and reinforcing our small-town feel.

Maintaining our unique small-town feel while allowing for growth is a long-term challenge for our city leaders. Decisions regarding growth should be led by the city’s 2040 plan, which was shaped with input from the city, stakeholders, businesses and, importantly, residents. This long-term plan maintains our city’s small-town charm while allowing for carefully managed growth, including where multifamily housing meets single-family dwellings and plans for zoning changes. It’s so important that city leaders are disciplined and intentional in making decisions that affect the future of White Bear Lake and its citizens, rather than grabbing at the first opportunities for development that come along. 

I’m running for City Council because I love living in White Bear Lake, and want to be part of keeping the unique feel of our city in the midst of growth. I look forward to talking with other neighbors, hearing about how the city affects them, returning phone calls and emails, and being involved. Resident input is vital — it’s our city. All our opinions matter. This is such a great town — let’s keep it vibrant and unique. 


Heidi Hughes

White Bear Lake



Elect a compassionate leader

I am writing to strongly support my friend Kathleen Daniels for the White Bear Lake Area School Board. Kathleen knows the White Bear Lake Area school district well, having lived here, raised her children here and dedicated her career to serving all children and families in the district.

I have known Kathleen for over 30 years since we both had children in the district’s Early Childhood Family Education program. She is a natural leader, organizer and collaborator who identifies problems and works on solving them.  

Kathleen has been fiercely committed to meeting the needs of all children in the district. As an educator and an administrator, her main focus has been students with special needs such as a disability, an English language learner, or a need for family services. 

Kathleen’s commitment to the children of the district is such that after retiring as the director of student support services, she desires to work for our children’s educations for four more years.

If elected, Kathleen Daniels will continue to serve the White Bear Lake school district with intelligence, warmth, and compassion.

Ellen Auger

White Bear Lake



Solid character and fresh perspective

I wholeheartedly encourage your support of Paul Donna in his bid to serve on the Mahtomedi School Board. As next door neighbors, I have known Paul and his family for almost 10 years now and given his education, experience and passion for excellence for our youth, Paul is very well qualified for this position.

Paul is a person of solid character and a leader with an infectious commitment to service above self. He is clear and articulate in his speech, and in a recent forum sponsored by the White Bear Lake Area League of Women Voters, he focused on the specific role and responsibilities of the school board as well as his vision.  Paul will bring a fresh perspective and a long-term outlook to our district. He will ensure our resources are spent and invested wisely. He is a great listener and has always had our students, as well as our communities, best interest in mind.

Find out more about Paul by visiting his website at or on Facebook at Paul Donna for Mahtomedi School Board. The Mahtomedi district will be very fortunate to have Paul Donna as a member of our school board.


Diane Barry


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