TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Wanted, A Cure For Stupid

Once again, the purveyors of stupid pills are making a fortune in causing some elected leaders or appointed boards to make some very bad decisions relating to both North and South Fargo. It’s time for the people to let them know they represent us. That’s why they exist!

Let’s take the Don and Mary Kinzler home in South Fargo as our southside example of stupid, narrow-minded thinking by the mayor and other elected or appointed officials.

The Kinzlers have an historic home, one-of-a-kind, completely restored and in a lovely setting. It just happens to be near Rose Creek Golf Course. (That’s not far from the Oxbow Golf Course, where the city gave away the gold to save the mine!) The Kinzlers hired their own independent engineers, who can show alternatives to the city’s plan to move or demolish the home.

What the heck is so important about golf courses?

When our young mayor matures, he will find that working with people is better than bullying.

I have had one personal experience with this when I appeared before the City Commission just once since my illness. When I rose to speak, Herr Mahoney looked down from his perch and said, “OK, but be quick!”

For 45 years, I had been the elected Fargo municipal judge and in those years never lost a precinct. I thought he might know what earned respect was, but he didn’t. I was elected by and represented the people and always listened to their arguments and positions “before” making any decisions.

This ties in with what I know to be happening to the Kinzlers and the dictatorial attitude they face. Without seeing the professional alternatives from Kinzler, Mahoney says, “The city will not consider any additional alternatives” (as quoted in the Forum editorial last Sunday).

The editorial was spot-on — correct in pointing out that the attitude of city officials toward Kinzler can be cited as proof of the city’s claimed unresponsiveness to upstream objections to the FM Diversion as now proposed.

The mayor asked to be given authority to interview applicants for the position of city administrator. They got a good man in Bruce Grubb, who has been chosen, but through a flawed process. We have elected officials who can only become dictators when their companions allow it. They haven’t learned since the Ternes fiasco. It’s time for all elected and appointed officials start listening to those who elected them, not those with deep pockets.

Just to be clear: Yes, I think there has been a lot of bullying going on — with both the diversion and the situation with the Kinzlers’ home. I don’t like bullying.

* * *

OK, on to my own stomping grounds, North Fargo, where more of those damned stupid pills are being distributed to special interests.

North Fargo needs mixed-generation neighborhoods. We do not have enough twin homes, townhouses, senior housing and affordable-sized homes.

Many seniors would like to stay in North Fargo because it is close to the interstate, has great parks and is resident-friendly, including walkable neighborhoods. There is not enough mixed housing for seniors and young families.

Many seniors would move from their present homes into smaller, more efficient homes if they could stay on the north side. Even moderately sized condo buildings and apartments would fit into the neighborhood. A smaller retirement villa would be acceptable, and I’m sure there are other proposals that would be a good fit also.

On the north side of 32nd Avenue North and east of University Drive lies a large plot of land known by the locals as Pony Land. A developer, with the apparent support of North Dakota State University, wants the zoning changed to allow a large apartment complex, which would house around 700 sophomore students —off campus, no regulation.

This area is ideal for the type of community development I described above. But those who propose the college apartments simply ignore the residents of the area and how that college apartment would impact them … parking, parties, hell-raising, all of the things that go with college life. Yes, I know there’s studying also.

It’s a bad idea. Shame on NDSU if, in fact, it supports the proposal at that location.

Driving around the NDSU campus, you’d think everyone had helicopters because of the blocks of parking spaces all over. How about a little imagination? Build student housing on campus, and convert some of that ground parking into elevated parking. Park up, not out.

The proposed dorm-apartment complex is an idea that the city shouldn’t even consider, much less change the zoning to enable it in this area.

We have it pretty nice in North Fargo because the residents appreciate what they have — and fight for it. In this case, they shouldn’t have to fight — we just need to get the “pills” out of the hands of those who are making this proposal and get back to an orderly development of the north.

There’s a city election coming up in Fargo. Candidates should make their positions on this housing proposal know. No one who supports this idea will be elected; and those who have already been elected — and support it — face a short political career, in my opinion.

Let the Realtors join in the opposition! Amen.

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