Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
Apr 23th, 2015
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
JPA Editorial Team
Let’s just call it Cass-ikstan. Last week it was Fargo City commissioner Dave Piepkorn that called the special assessment vote for Fargo’s diversion “un-American.” This week it’s West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern that says “This is just plain wrong…… The average homeowner, his vote really doesn’t count. In most third world countries they at least try to hide the fact that they have stacked deck. ” This time however, unlike the Fargo City Commission, the West Fargo governing body did something about it, and voted no. But like the rest of the property owners who will have to put their assets up for collateral, their vote doesn’t matter. The clever apparatchiks who designed the voting process needed only Fargo and the Cass commission’s vote, which they got, to leverage everyone else’s property for $725 million.
This process has come as a shock to everyone except the people living upstream of the proposed project. Bullying has become a well-polished means to an end for the diversion authority. Just ask the folks who live in Hickson and Bakke that were told by both Army Corps and Cass County officials they wouldn’t have to live behind a ring dike if they didn’t want to. It only took two weeks for county officials to reverse themselves and throw them under the dike.
Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney took pen in hand this past week to “urge major businesses to vote yes on this ballot.” In the official letter-headed piece, Mahoney went on to say “The final tally for the vote is an open record, and since the F-M Diversion is a highly visible project, the media will be interested in how organizations voted.” A quick check of North Dakota Century Code 16.1-10 Corrupt Practices section ought to have the Attorney General’s office in an uproar. The heavy handed attempt by the mayor to threaten businesses by making public voting results is beyond the pale. What media outlets would stoop to use their ink to back up the mayor’s threats?
Who would have imagined, ten years ago, that our honest, small town culture would have come to this? To quote a famous movie line, “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” That’s right Dorothy, just call it Cass-ikstan.