HJ/EDHerald Journal, Jan. 30, 2006

Opponents of HLWW bond team up with Iowa consultant Paul Dorr

By Lynda Jensen

Opponents of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted bond referendum joined forces with a professional political consultant from out of state last week.

Paul Dorr, an outspoken opponent of public education and political consultant from northwest Iowa, accompanied Victor Niska of Waverly in a visit with HLWW Supt. George Ladd Wednesday, gathering information about the HLWW school district.

HLWW has a bond referendum set for Tuesday, Feb. 21, seeking voter approval for construction of a new high school and other upgrades.

Wednesday evening, the WISE committee (We Insist on Sound Education) – which Niska chairs – conducted a meeting which ended up at the Winsted Fire Hall, following a series of hasty changes to the meeting location.

When proponents of the bond question, they were asked by Dorr to leave. They refused, and the meeting came to an end.

Dorr has been employed by taxpayer groups across the Midwest to defeat public school bond levy votes.

“To date, I have designed the campaigns necessary to defeat 11 out of 12 new school tax proposals at the ballot box, saving taxpayers over $175 million,” Dorr wrote in an essay called “Why I defeat school bond levies for a profit,” on the web site, www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/dorr1.html.

Dorr did not respond to a request for comment by the Herald Journal.

Dorr’s campaign strategy has made headlines in Minnesota and Iowa, where opponents say he works behind the scenes at first – declining contact with the press and not willing to say if he is working with a local district at all – until he has trained local opponents to a school bond with pre-printed materials and other items.

From there, opponents say, he unleashes a last-minute blitz of slanted facts immediately before an election, according to news articles in City Pages, the Des Moines Register, and the Toledo Chronicle, among other papers.

Dorr was the subject of Iowa School Superintendent Larry Molacek’s seminar titled “One district’s response to a hired gun” at the Iowa Association of School Boards in November 2004.

On the other hand, taxpayer groups who are tired of funding school district requests say Dorr is a blessing saving taxpayer money and arms them with information that is not known by the average person; defeating referendums that are endlessly placed on ballots.

Les Norman, superintendent in Lake Crystal, Minn. says Dorr uses distortion statistics to try to make schools look bad, releasing the information just days before the polls open.

“He sends out a newsletter talking about how pathetic your district is, and that’s powerful information,” said Devin Embray, the school superintendent in Independence, Iowa where Dorr helped defeat a $15 million bond issue for a new high school in 2004. “It’s sad because a lot of that information was just not true.”

Dorr particularly chaffs school superintendents, being very open about his position over public schools.

“In the struggle for true liberty and in opposition to tyranny, we need to become more offensive minded and show that we have a superior educational program to replace the rapidly failing government system,” Dorr has posted on a web site. “And we need to do everything else we can to speed it on towards its certain demise.”

Resources and links

“State finds no basis in Dorr’s complaints vs. STC School Board, Administration,” Toledo Chronicle, March 24, 2005, http://www.tamatoledonews.com/ToledoArchive/2005/Mar/24/toledo.html

“The Gospel according to Paul Dorr,” City Pages, July 6, 2005, http://www.citypages.com/databank/26/1283/article13476.asp

“Superintendents call him bond issues’ ‘kiss of death,’” Des Moines Register, Jan. 16 2005, http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050116/NEWS02/501160339/1004

“Group of residents to fight Rock Port issue,” Jan. 26, 2006 St. Joseph News-Press, http://www.stjoenews-press.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=63001&SectionID=81&SubSectionID=&S=1

“Who is Paul Dorr?” web site: www.george-iowa.com/information_on_paul_dorr.htm

“Why I defeat school bond levies for a profit,” Paul Dorr, www.lewrockwell.com/orig3/dorr1.html

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