On a sunny Duluth day, St. Louis County Commissioner Frank Jewell and Mayor Emily Larson found themselves in behind the DECC, aboard the Russian tall ship Pilgrim from Duluth’s sister city, Petrozavodsk located in NW Russia. Jewell immortalized and shared the moment with a photo of Emily and the Russian crew on his Facebook page.
They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, and this photo, with it’s four, bare and bright smiling faces could certainly get close.
One could say, it’s a lovely day, they’re outdoors, and on a “stroll”, which is what the Mayor and Commissioner were doing before boarding the Pilgrim, a mask is probably not necessary. Although, Mayor Larson has been seen masked in Zoom meetings from her own deck, and Jewell recently declined to attend a county board meeting amid concerns an uptick in positive COVID cases in our area. To be fair, Jewell is not shown and could very well be masked.
We’re all sick of wearing masks. We all want to frolic bare-faced, smiling, and enjoying life like the good ol’ days of 2019, but those in charge say that’s not safe.
COVID is a really convenient excuse and a very effective control device.
One could also argue that these Russian gentlemen have literally traversed the world. Just this year they’ve been through the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, the Canary and Caribbean Islands, and most recently through all five Great Lakes by way of the Hudson River in Albany, New York. if there were any ragtag group of galivanting guys you should mask up around… these would be them.
The reality is the City of Duluth forced a mask ordinance on citizens and businesses before the even the state required one, but those in charge seem the first to shed mask and smile, while people are jobless and businesses are on the verge of closing. Meanwhile, the bean counters at city hall breathe an unmasked sigh of relief when they see Canal Park’s piers teeming with people each weekend.
One might also say that a representative of the city, perhaps even the Mayor should welcome important guests to our city. Especially guests that gain national media attention and can build awareness for our region. Of course, the Mayor should make time in her busy day to meet important folks.
A mayor is, after all, a city’s greatest ambassador.
Which does make one wonder why Emily was noticeably absent when the President’s advisor and daughter, Ivanka Trump visited Duluth in July to sign the “Pledge to American Workers” along with Duluth pack owner Tom Sega, US Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, and local congressman Pete Stauber. The short press conference wouldn’t have taken much time out of her day but would have shown respect to the administration and commitment to the pledge which focuses on creating education, training, and opportunity for American Workers, as well as, showing support for a century-old local business.
We can only assume the Mayor won’t be attending another important guest’s event when Donald Trump Jr hosts a COVID-safe gathering at the DECC this evening.
In the end, the big deal is that it’s not the pictures or the words that matter in leadership. They are important, for sure, but they pale in comparison to the actions of a leader.
That might be something for the leaders in Duluth to keep in mind.