Column: Turn to Albert with your burning election-week questions

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 2, 2002

Abigail Van Buren. The late Ann Landers. Heloise.


No advice columnist in the world can hold a candle to the hidden treasure who lives in the basement of the Tribune’s headquarters: Mr. Albert L. Tribune.

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Albert has worked here longer than anybody can remember, and when we need an answer, he’s our equivalent of the oracle at Delphi. Albert always knows what to say.

Here’s the latest installment of questions we posed to our wise old adviser:

Dear Albert: Somebody came by my house and put a political sign in my yard. I didn’t want it there, so a friend and I went out and removed it. Now the guy who put it there is suing us for theft and defaming us in public. What gives?

Albert says: That seems to be a common problem in this town: Somebody puts their stuff on somebody else’s property and then acts outraged when they move it. Strangest thing I ever saw.

I can’t tell you much about what to do; hire a good lawyer, I guess, because the guy pulling these shenanigans is rich, has way too much time on his hands, and is bent on making your life miserable.

Dear Albert: If the school levy referendum passes, how will my taxes be affected?

Albert says: That depends. Judging from what people are saying, there’s a strange phenomenon going on. The perceived tax impact (PTI) will change depending on whether you like the idea. If you’re against the referendum, your PTI will apparently go up by 10,000 percent, leaving you broke, homeless and without medicine or shoes. If you are in favor of the referendum, your taxes will probably go up anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred bucks, a relatively small amount which you’ll happily pay for the betterment of the community.

Dear Albert: Why did the Tribune go and endorse candidates for this election? Shouldn’t you be impartial about all this?

Albert says: Well, we at the Tribune are always looking for new ways to anger as many people as possible. There’s no better way to do that than to endorse candidates. If you figure each endorsement angers at least 50 percent of the readers, and you’re doing, say, 10 endorsements, you’ve got a pretty good chance of ticking off 98 percent of the reading public. I’ll probably take care of the remaining 2 percent with this column.

Dear Albert: Why can’t Albert Lea get new businesses to come into town?

Albert says: I’ve heard enough about that topic. The better question is why we can’t get certain businesses to leave town. I’m thinking of a big blue building on Front Street near Pearl, in particular &045; you know the one, don’t you? It has a big agricultural-type symbol on the side, but the stuff inside ain’t corn and soybeans, that’s for sure.

Dear Albert: Why wasn’t my letter to the editor printed? There aren’t enough letters going in these days, you know.

Albert says: Yeah, I know, there’s only been an average of 20 per day for the last week.

But seriously, if your letter didn’t get in, it was probably either too long, or it didn’t include a daytime phone number or address, or it wasn’t signed, or it isn’t about the election so we’re waiting until all the election letters are out of the way.

Dear Albert: Can you tell me why the Tribune is so biased in favor of the school referendum? You’ve been ramming these positive articles down our throats all week.

Albert says: Listen here, folks, just because the boys upstairs are covering the thing doesn’t mean the news coverage is biased. They’re trying to get out as many of the facts as they can, because most thinkin’ people agree this is an important decision. They’re just reporting the facts of the matter.

Dear Albert: Can you tell my why the Tribune is so biased against the school referendum? You rammed that negative article down our throats on Friday.

Albert says: Sigh. See what I mean? The boys upstairs are doing a good job of ticking off everybody equally.

Dylan Belden is the Tribune’s managing editor. His column appears Sundays. E-mail him at