There is a great saying that can sum up the essence of the Fargo Diversion Authority and its various member counterparts.
“The Blind Leading The Blind”
Which is loosely defined as the leaders who know as little as their followers, who are likely to lead themselves and others astray with bad information and bad advice.
In short, the “NEW” JPA, which is nothing more than a polished turd (totally unfair ridiculous document) intended to create a pseudo “home rule of charter”, wherein the Fargo Diversion Authority would be given discretionary powers over all dam and diversion related decisions and failure of any member entity to comply with the terms of the new JPA would be in default and liable.
Sounds simple enough…, but it’s not.
The proposed JPA re-drafting is like three day old seafood, that has been thrown into a stew with other nefarious ingredients and is being sold as a delicacy. Despite a high likely-hood of the stew being TOXIC, the sales-pitch is enticing because the optimism being placed in the concept of new and improved shrouds the inherent danger.
For instance: Tami Norgard, Vogel Law, suggested to the BRRWD (Buffalo Red River Watershed District) on Monday March 28, 2016 that: “if BRRWD is the one doing flowage easements they would have more authority to negotiate and be more fair with people”. Implying that the BRRWD would have more flexibility in determining value.
So let these four words sink in: “more fair with people”
From the outset of the project, fairness has never been the focus of the Fargo Diversion Authority.
Ironically, the people that made the real bank are select property owners in Oxbow, ND who built adequate flood protection in 2010-2011 and have made upwards of 500 percent under “federal guidelines” (not local) relating to “housing of last resort” under the auspices of being in limbo and flood prone. Somehow, it seems highly unlikely that the BRRWD will come up with the millions needed via the Fargo Diversion Authority to make farmers and other property owners the same “housing of last resort” offers, let alone the vitality of their lively-hoods.
Despicable as it reads, the new JPA terms will require BRRWD to use eminent domain if they are unable to come to an agreement on price with a landowner on the property that is target by the Fargo Diversion Authority, for Fargo’s development and encroachment into the last natural flood plain south of the city, which will displace thousand of acre feet of water onto Minnesota interests.
So what happens if the BRRWD refuses to do eminent domain? Under the terms of the new JPA, the BRRWD would be in default of the agreement, and potentially liable.
It would be interesting to find out if the law firms representing their clients on the Minnesota side are willing to guarantee their legal advice (cover clients losses), should that lead to a decision to move forward with the new JPA agreement that proves to be against Minnesota law and the interests of landowners.
Of course, this is the same proposed JPA that requires the City of Moorhead and Buffalo Red River Watershed District to impose a levy and collect a Storm Water Maintenance Fee for costs associated with maintaining and operating the Project.
How much is the maintenance? Nobody really knows yet…
Something even more sinister is in play. One of the architects of the new JPA, attorney John Shockley, Ohnstad Twichell and Tami Norgard, Vogel Law, both conveyed to the BRRWD that the only people voting on any future Budgets would be the DA. The original JPA required approval from all individual member entities.
Isn’t it interesting that the BRRWD, the only member without Fargo Diversion Authority voting rights on all other matters and the only member that has NOT APPROVED the budget, is largely behind the apoplectic reactions from Fargo’s Development Machin…, err.., I mean Fargo Diversion Authority.
Think about how corrupt the Fargo Diversion Authority has been.
The BRRWD refused to approve the FY2015 and FY2016 budgets. So rather than the Fargo Diversion Authority behaving like responsible adults, they form an adhoc authority, ignore the charter JPA terms and spend like entitled immature little children throwing around mom and dads credit card.
As of today, the project is over $180 million in debt, with over $100 million in bank loans held off the Fargo Diversion Authority books; to make the financials more “palatable” to entice P3 investors into getting in bed with the project.
The local share for the project has gone up significantly, with new project cost estimates topping 2.15 billion the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion growth machine is pressed to find funding that will not burden and bankrupt the local economy.
Despite the ensuing propaganda following Chief Judge Tunheim’s court decision, which DID NOT lift the injunction against the project, it is clearly evident that proponents have a long road ahead of them before permitting and funding will be achieved.
That being said, the propagand that will inevitably follow will be a message of fear tied to greater flood losses based upon incomplete data sets and theoretical assumptions that have not been scientifically proven.
There are so many dangerous moving parts in the proposed JPA that leave Minnesota, Moorhead, Clay County and the BRRWD exposed and obligated, it seems negligent that these elected officials have not requested an opinion from the Attorney General before moving forward.
If you would like to convey your thoughts to Moorhead City Council, Clay County Commission and Buffalo Red Watershed District, use this following form: