Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
February 4th, 2016
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Perry Miller, Richland County Commissioner
In his 1/26/16 letter, Cass County Commissioner & Diversion Authority (DA) board member Ken Pawluk ridiculed the calling for ‘nothing less than a re-do’ of the current F-M Dam/Diversion project by upstream resident Shelley Lewis. Pawluk claims he was ‘shocked’ at this statement from a member of the Upstream Coalition.
So here are a few things that I find ‘shocking’.
Rather than focusing on in-town protection for Fargo that we all supported, the DA spent over $100 million on a massive ring dike for the already protected town of Oxbow, along with a new private golf course and other ‘goodies’. I fail to see how Fargo is protected by spending public dollars on a private clubhouse and swimming pool in a neighboring community.
I’m shocked that DA leadership finds it acceptable to push the negative project impacts onto the school districts south of the FM area, while Fargo’s ‘impact’ is the ability to develop the existing flood plain, which they achieve by pushing the water that is naturally stored there onto the high ground to the south.
I’m further shocked at the DA’s spending. To date they have spent $262 million on this project with little to show for it other than their Oxbow boondoggle.
I’m shocked that Pawluk thinks anyone upstream would accept his ‘seat at the DA table’. As a Richland commissioner I was also offered a ‘seat’, but let’s be honest, this offer was only made to appease elected officials such as Gov Dayton, Colin Peterson & Paul Marquart, who publicly expressed their dismay at the one-sided, bullying tactics of the DA. This ‘seat’ was non-voting, and had no significant meaning. It was the modern day equivalent of beads & wampum. I declined their ‘seat’, not out of disrespect to the DA, but to avoid being used as public relations window dressing.
I’m shocked at the ‘engineering’ the supposed public vote of the assessment area, where the city and county had a majority of the votes needed to pass, and people were told their votes would be made public. Welcome to Central America!
As a property owner in Fargo, I support the goal of permanent flood protection, but their current project is financially unsustainable & irresponsible
Pawluk’s final statement is a real ‘doozy’. He says “they’ve made attempts to come together, but presumably the folks upstream are opposed to flood protection for Cass/Clay Counties”. Remember Ken, you’re the one willing to flood southern Cass & Clay counties. NOBODY has ever said that Fargo shouldn’t have flood protection, and he knows it. Pawluk acts like a spoiled teenager that wants a new Corvette, but when his parents say no, he claims they ‘never want him to drive’. Sadly, his letter validates the concerns of MN leaders, and truly indicates the attitude of the DA, and their contempt for anyone that dares oppose their current plan. That is truly shocking.
Richland County Commissioner 2002-2014