Over the past few weeks Darrell Vanyo and other proponents of the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion the have made rather comical attempts to spin a public relations message to Minnesota to appease valid concerns about an undeniable imbalance of representation on the Fargo Diversion Authority.
Although comical…, these disingenuous attempts have a more sinister side which underscores how unscrupulous and fraudulent the Fargo Diversion Authority process really is.
Darrell Vanyo issued two different versions of his offer crafted unique to the recipients.
One on September 8th, 2014 to MN Gov. Mark Dayton expressing a “commitment” and one on September 19th, 2014 to Perry Miller, chairman Richland Wilkin JPA and Dave Morken, chairman MNDak Upstream Coalition expressing a very different tone.
• Limiting Work on the OHB levees to 100 year protection until the EIS is complete.
• Delaying Construction of the Diversion Channel until the EIS is complete.
• Adding Broader Geographic Representation to the Diversion Authority Board.
• Expediting the Resolution of the Pending Litigation.
In Darrell Vanyo’s September 19th, 2014 letter to Perry Miller and Dave Morken the word “commitments” never appeared once. However, it did appear three times in his letter to MN Gov. Mark Dayton. In fact Vanyo went out of his way to be vague about whether the matter would be placed on the agenda and placed restrictions on the seat that don’t exist for other Fargo Diversion Authority voting members. The empty offer essentially makes a mockery of the public relations attempt floated past MN Gov. Mark Dayton to address his concerns about representation.
How “BIG” of Vanyo to vaguely suggest limiting work on a totally unnecessary OHB ring levee without publicly stating to which 100 year level he is referring. The OHB project should have never have been started in the first place, so it will be interesting to watch the political gymnastics used when Vanyo explains “which” 100 year elevation…, FEMA regulatory or augmented Corps EOE data, the limited construction will be tied to? Impacts to Minnesota were referenced using the FEMA 100 year regulatory flood level in an April 2014 technical memorandum. So it goes without saying that an honest person would use the FEMA regulatory flood level to determine the height of the OHB ring dike-levee, however, that is not the case.
As for Vanyo’s reference to delaying construction of the diversion channel.., there is no “delay” in construction of the diversion channel, because the project needs Minnesota approval and permits to move forward along with federal funding. The defiant LIE that proponents are embracing of the federal authorization is giving them the right to move forward, is utter nonsense. The USACE chiefs report clearly spells out that authorization is contingent upon compliance with state law. Something that has not yet occurred.
The suggestion of creating a token “seat” of representation that must recuse themselves from closed meetings due to a potential conflict of interest is curious when the entire Fargo Diversion Authority operates in state of conflict of interest and circular reasoning with a bias towards the project. The very actions of Cass County commissioners, especially those seated on the board, creating an assessment district to be used as collateral against loans nearing $150 million without taxpayers accepting the premise of the assessment district illustrates how corrupt these people have become.
The “token seat” is a joke, offered by scheming hucksters. Let’s put it another way. If someone sold you a raffle ticket for a prize that already been given away, that person would be attempting to defraud you. Willing participation in a Fargo Diversion Authority scheme, such as Vanyo has suggested, is no different. The “seat” serves no genuine purpose because the imbalance would still remain along with the moral turpitude that created it.
The sticky one is expediting the resolution of the pending litigation. Perhaps the grand-daddy of BS statements coming from Vanyo, on the behalf of the Fargo Diversion Authority. Proponents are not interesting in a fair balanced solution to this matter. Fargo wants to develop the natural flood plain and is using the Fargo Diversion Authority, stacked heavily in Fargo/Cass favor, as a vehicle towards that end. Every inch of development into the natural flood plain is an intentional impact on to entities outside Fargo’s jurisdictional boundaries. As of September 30th, 2014 the Fargo Diversion Authority has spent $1,721,698.94 of taxpayers dollars on legal fees to bring them to the crossroads they are at and they offer no sign of compromise with opponents on impacts created by the proposed project.
The Fargo Diversion Authority has further attempted to poison their message by claiming representation is based on the amount of financial contribution to the overall project. Whether Minnesota contributes one penny to the overall project does not negate Minnesota’s right to protect their states interests and lands. This “offer”, in all reality, it is a veiled attempt to marginalize Minnesota into a position that would sacrifice portions of their state territory for the benefit of Fargo’s irresponsible development of the last natural flood plain south of the city.
Sen. Kent Eken, Rep. Ben Lien, Rep. Paul Marquart and Rep. Jay McNamar got it right in their October 1st, 2014 letter to Darrell Vanyo (FM Diversion Authority), Perry Miller (Richland Wilkin JPA) and Dave Morken (MNDak Upstream Coalition).
|•||The current configuration and strategy of the Diversion Authority Board will not accomplish the goal of permanent flood protection for the Fargo Moorhead area.|
|•||The project’s decision making process must recognize that this is a cooperative project with the federal government and the two equal states of Minnesota and North Dakota.|
|•||Approval from both states on all components of the project is necessary for the successful completion of the project.|
|•||All decisions regarding components of the diversion project would be required to have majority approval from EACH state.|
However, Darrell Vanyo’s reaction to the letter, in a Fargo Forum article October 1st 2014, is curious.
Vanyo said: “he was puzzled by Wednesday’s letter.”
Vanyo said: “in all honesty, he doesn’t think the Diversion Authority should have equal representation between North Dakota and Minnesota.”
Vanyo said: “the makeup of the board is fair because Minnesota is funding a smaller share of the project compared to North Dakota.”
“Why in the world would we give someone 50 percent of the voting rights on a board when we’re paying 90 percent?” Vanyo said of North Dakota.
In this high stakes poker game with flood waters, in essence, Vanyo is stating that if you don’t spend a cent, you don’t get a say. This mindset has permeated the Fargo Diversion Authority policy towards water easement and other impacts caused by the proposed project from the outset.
Darrell Vanyo and his ilk live in a greed based bubble that is so encapsulating that “reason” doesn’t enter the equation. They measure the value of any square foot of land on what benefit Fargo/Cass can receive from it and not the lively-hood and equity that is taken away from another. The physical and psychological violation of relocating a known flood problem onto others, “because you have deep pockets filled with taxpayer dollars”, is at the heart of this issue.
Despite Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Representatives Sen. Kent Eken – District 4, Rep. Ben Lien – District 4A, Rep. Paul Marquart – District 4B, Rep. Jay McNamar – District 12A and Richland Wilkin JPA attorney Rinke Noonan clearly defining the problems the Fargo Diversion Authority is facing with their current project proposal and behavior…, they choose to ignore the wiser course of action and resort to their Imperial Fargo/Imperial Cass tactics, in hopes that they can further prejudice the overall project into existence with heavy handed tactics, legal manipulation and the pathetic excuse that they have let bids to contractors and would lose millions if they didn’t proceed.
Meanwhile, Fargo is no closer to permanent flood protection, developers continue to place Fargo at greater risk with their irresponsible encroachment into the last natural flood plain providing vital flood attenuation to the city and taxpayers are being bilked for millions for a private golf course, clubhouse and swimming pool that they are not allowed to use without ponying up more money for a membership.
But the most ironic and tragic thing about Fargo’s obsession with placing a 12-13 mile wide dam across the Red River Valley to gain access to future growth area is that the Fargo Diversion Authority and Fargo city leaders care less about protecting the city that currently exists than project opponents.
There is only one solution to flooding in Fargo, ND. That solution is to complete internal flood protections and enter into genuine dialogue that explores alternatives for the entire region.