TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Bravo For Gov. Dayton And His Diversion Comments

Fargo leaders and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would be well-advised to heed the warning of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

He didn’t fire a shot across the bow; he can cause the sinking of the entire ship known as “The Fargo Flood Diversion.”

Dayton is a politician with the courage of his convictions who knows how to stand up for the people he represents.

Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, came in for particular criticism. Semonite, a Corps cheerleader for the diversion, apparently forgot that the permitting process of the state of Minnesota had to be honored if work was to go forward. The governor made clear he’s not happy that the state’s regulatory authority has not being honored by the federal agencies

The governor also took Semonite to task for claiming or suggesting that Minnesota, the Corps and North Dakota had come together on the project.

As reported in the Wahpeton (N.D.) Daily News (Sept. 16): “He went on to state that Minnesota has not ‘come together’ with them.”

The governor was not just angry at the Corps. He wasn’t too fond of the fact that when he sent a letter indicating an environmental impact study was adequate but did not constitute a formal approval, Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney — out of all who received it -— didn’t respond.

The Wahpeton news article included attorney Cash Aaland’s comment that the lack of response from Mahoney was particularly troublesome because Fargo and Cass County voters are facing November ballot initiatives that would increase their sales tax to partially pay for the diversion.

Given the Oxbow giveaway and the fact Minnesota can sink the ship, it would seem like the leadership at local and state levels in North Dakota might click the mouth and brain to run in sync.

My guess is that the average citizen, not to be confused with property developers, doesn’t understand this process (that includes me) because transparency and a clear vision for the public are missing.

You don’t have to like what Gov. Dayton is doing, but given what North Dakota leaders are “not” doing, one has to admire him.

More congrats for Dayton

Gov. Dayton is also due for congratulations on something he did that might never happen in North Dakota’s cloudy political climate. In June, he appointed Anne McKeig the first American Indian jurist to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The 49-year-old judge was born in poverty and disadvantage in the town of Federal Dam near Leech Lake. A descendant of the White Earth Nation, she specialized in child protection and Indian welfare issues. The ceremony was held at her alma mater, St. Catherine University in St. Paul. She has previously served as a district court judge in Minnesota’s 4th Judicial District and was presiding judge in its family court.

Judge McKeig has proven that if you set your mind to it, an individual can accomplish anything. Another great job, Gov. Dayton!

Speaking of great jobs — the North Dakota media and the GOP ship of fools has once again shown a lack of courage when it comes to the Native American protests at Standing Rock and beyond. Yes, the protectors have been active. Yes, a very small percentage have violated the law … although if you read the largest paper in North Dakota and most media, you’d think it was one big riot. That protest has been totally misrepresented, and the call for the military is nonsense.

There was a pow wow on the Capitol grounds, but the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general did not attend. My son, reg, who lives in Colorado, did … and he thought it was wonderful.

If the governor, Sens. Heitkamp and John Hoeven, and Rep. Kevin Cramer don’t have the courage to talk to their counterparts in the Native tribes, then perhaps the military should simply guard the Capitol and keep them from leaving so the bad old Natives don’t take them prisoner. The lack of communication in this situation equals cowardice.

Policing parks a good idea

Joel Vettel, Fargo’s new park board head, has a good idea. He wants one uniformed park policeman to patrol the city’s parks. I think that might work … if he takes the following additional actions: Assign an alphabet letter to each park, as well as a number to each facility within it. (Park A, baseball diamond 1. Family gathering facility, 2… and so on. Then post the number to call the parks officer.

With the simple signage, I suggest, anyone in the park who has a concern could easily report it. The officer could determine if and where to send the assistance and could notify FPD if more officers were needed.

Perhaps lookout volunteers could be recruited to assist the park officer by simply monitoring the parks and calling if they see anything suspicious or unlawful. Park employees would have the same number, and those being reported would never know who’d called. Just a suggestion, but it might be a cost-effective way to proceed.

One last word: There is one miserable SOB with a high-powered motorcycle — one either without a muffler or one that can be turned off and on — who always guns it by my home. My camera and I are now at the ready. The next time that fool tries to blow out my eardrums, I’m taking a picture that will clearly show his license, and Fargo’s Finest will have him for lunch. The license plate is visible. And the guy needs a haircut.

Now, I’m going to take my daughter, Diane, up on her suggestion that I ride my former mighty steed Rocky, whom she has quieted down. He’s a black-and-white Appaloosa. It will make me feel a little closer to my Native American brothers and sisters.

As has been said by others, I’m a North Dakotan with a Minnesota heart. Amen.

One thought on “TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Bravo For Gov. Dayton And His Diversion Comments”

  • Andy Rodrigues September 22, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Nice article Tom.


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