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Fargo Forum Attacks MN Gov. Mark Dayton Again

Fargo Forum Editorial Board

During the August 26th, 2014 Editors’ Roundtable on 97.9 KSDU, Fargo Forum opinion editor Jack Zaleski indicated that Forum would be taking Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to the “wood shed”.

It is rather comical that Jack Zaleski and his Forum Editorial Board suffer from the grandiose delusion that they have the ability to take MN Gov. Mark Dayton to the “wood shed”.

However, their discourteous polemic rant towards Gov. Dayton does not establish any sought after credibility for diversion project zealots…, in fact it further defines their arrogant ignorance.

Here is the audio clip:

2014-08-26 Editors’ Roundtable

Jack Zaleski: “…taking the Governor, Governor Dayton to the wood shed…ummm…, and y’know…, beatin’ up on him pretty bad…”

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Here is the editorial with commentary:


Forum editorial: Reject Dayton’s ‘request’
Posted on Aug 26, 2014 at 11:33 p.m.Gov. Mark Dayton hasn’t done his homework. Minnesota’s chief executive, who ought to know better, has come to conclusions about the Fargo-Moorhead diversion that are not based on facts. His letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers requesting that work be halted is a disturbing indication that he has accepted, without serious appraisal, the self-serving claims of diversion opponents.


Jumping to conclusions with trite nonsense is becoming rather habitual for Jack Zaleski and the Fargo Forum editorial board.

Had they done a serious appraisal rather than a cursory review “chapter n verse” Fargo Diversion Authority mouthpiece attack against MN Governor Mark Dayton’s letter, perhaps they would have understood that Gov. Dayton is protecting his states rights and permitting authority and is bound by Minnesota laws to do so.

Excerpt Gov. Dayton Letter:
I urge that no further federal efforts be made to advance the Project to construction, including endorsing federal funding, issuing federal permits, and providing construction assistance to the Diversion Authority, until Minnesota has completed its environmental review, and has had an opportunity to explore the implications of our analysis with the Corps and the State of North Dakota.


It appears that Gov. Dayton is fully engaged and pursuing an opinion from the MN DNR responsible to 5.4 million residents and is urging that their review is not done under heavy handed duress or compromised by attempts to prejudice a project intended to foster future development for the city of Fargo, ND which is geographically landlocked by natural flood plains and neighboring cities.

Zaleski and his crew:
Dayton wants work halted until his Department of Natural Resources, which has an obvious and uninformed bias against the North Dakota project, completes an environmental assessment. The DNR work is a peculiar exercise since the corps has conducted its own very thorough environmental review. Furthermore, the DNR’s work, which was to be completed shortly, now won’t be done until late 2015. No surprise in that. The DNR bureaucracy likely is as incompetent as the agency’s leadership.


Any obvious and uninformed bias is on the part of the Zaleski and the Fargo Forum editorial board.

The project is not a “North Dakota” project, however, it appears that it is the underlying politics and admission of the Fargo Diversion Authority, Fargo Forum and land developers salivating over the natural flood plain.

It is rather peculiar that the Fargo Diversion Authority is acting like an impatient child and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, rife with bureaucracy, incompetently gives them what they they want to keep the money flowing, knowing full well that the overall project places new impacts onto Minnesota and needs Minnesota permitting to proceed.

Zaleski and his crew:

But Dayton, allegedly the responsible leader of a serious state, is the greater disappointment. Instead of first accepting an invitation to come to Moorhead and meet with diversion supporters and others in order to get a complete a picture as possible of the diversion’s benefits and challenges, the governor punted. Instead of embracing an opportunity to learn, he bought into a version of the project that is rife with misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies.


This is where Zaleski and the Forum Editorial board prove they are just bloviating jackasses.

The entire premise of the proposed project is built upon misrepresentations, distortions and outright lies by the Fargo Diversion Authority, Fargo Forum and Corps of Engineers.

The project was not based on the FEMA regulatory flood plain because it does not provide flood numbers that will support levels and damage estimates that would justify the $2+ billion dollar boon-doggle. Corps documents openly admit that adding a dam to the project significantly increased the ailing cost benefit ratio of .65 and the misrepresentation of a “control structure” was used to minimize controversy relating to the “dam” component.

Then the Corps further distorts the process by resorting to an EOE (Expert Opinion Elicitation) to manipulate historical weather data and USGS records to postulate higher flood crests and cfs flows more than twice the Red River flood flows than have ever occurred in North Dakota’s history. Then further distorting conditions by downgrading previous flood events with project goal driven data to strike fear and support into the heart of residents and lawmakers to support the overall project…, without fairly quantifying the net effect of encroachment into the natural flood plain and how it is creating a greater flood risk to Fargo.

The fundamental flaw is the arrogant assumption that the Fargo Diversion Authority knows what is best and can educate Gov. Dayton who already has qualified state experts at his disposal.

So let’s recap:

• it’s really a dam, but it’s called a control structure
• the cost benefit ratio was .65, but the dam and EOE data make it look good on paper
• the open and transparent process methodically excludes project opponents

Zaleski and his crew:
He also has pretty much snubbed his nose at North Dakota’s leadership, in particular Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who a few days ago reached out to Dayton regarding the prospect of civil discussion about the diversion.


If there is to be any “civil discussion” about the primary dam and secondary diversion features, then it would be prudent to observe Minnesota’s agencies and permitting rights in this matter.

This matter, as it has been presented by the Fargo Diversion Authority, Fargo Forum and Corps of Engineers is not really about a “civil discussion”. It is about the Fargo Diversion Authority and Corps of Engineers imposing their will upon Minnesota and using the Fargo Forum editorial board as the billy club.

Step into the way-back time machine:

Zaleski and his crew: September 26 2011
“Opponents of the diversion groused that they were not allowed a place at the table at the Washington meeting. They had no place there. Why would diversion supporters who are trying to get the project funded invite project foes whose goal is to scuttle the project? They were not invited for good cause.”


It is highly doubtful that a genuine offer of “civil discussion” exists, when the parochial and myopic Fargo Diversion Authority mouthpiece hasn’t changed its tune in years…

Project supporters simply do not want “reason” or “accountability” to enter into any discussion that could threaten Fargo’s pet project.

Zaleski and his crew:
The diversion has cleared with flying colors all the regulatory hurdles and environmental examinations conducted by the corps and other federal agencies. The corps itself has advanced the diversion as one of the most thoroughly reviewed and best formulated among projects authorized in the new federal water projects bill. Congress agreed. In that context, it would be curious for the corps to concede that Dayton’s skewed perceptions are valid.


The Fargo dam and diversion advanced by corruption, not by credibility.

The 404 permit and FONSI (finding of no significant impact) obtained in 2013 relating to project modification included a proposed ring-dike around Oxbow, Hickson and Bakke, ND. The alignment was east of the upper reach of Drain 51, however, quietly moved west interrupting Drain 51 which flows into the Wild Rice River.

In early 2014 an new 404 permit application was submitted pertaining to OHB project. The Fargo Diversion Authority vigorously tried to assert that it was independent of the overall project, however, Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt stated on January 22, 2014 that the OHB project is: “…designed to be compatible with the diversion project…”.

The Minnesota DNR didn’t buy into the fabrication of “independent basis” and neither did the U.S. Army Corps of engineers Omaha District ND Regulatory office.

Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, ND Regulatory Office
“The application for a stand-alone project is no longer necessary, as the OHB Project is part of the overall Federal Project.”

By April, the USACE received several comments regarding impacts and requested a 404 hearing. Then the permit application was withdrawn by the Fargo Diversion Authority, then another 404 permit was issued under an outdated Corps regulation contingent that the Fargo Diversion Authority pay $34,000/acre ( $587,180 ) to ND Ducks Unlimited.

“The corps itself has advanced the diversion…”

Truer words have never been spoken!

Why? Because it’s their paycheck.

Zaleski and his crew:
The corps should politely acknowledge Dayton’s request,
and just as politely reject it.


On the contrary…

The Corps should politely acknowledge Dayton’s request, and respect Minnesota’s sovereign rights and permitting authority, and allow the Minnesota DNR to either affirm the alleged “great project” or explore sensible alternatives that does not take nearly two townships of Minnesota land to benefit Fargo, ND natural flood plain development plans.

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4 Responses to “ Fargo Forum Attacks MN Gov. Mark Dayton Again ”

  1. This attitude is what got them in this kind of trouble in the first place and further strengthens the assertion that all is not right in the Kingdom. I believe Governor Dayton did do his research and formed his opinion based on fact without the burden of being involved or influenced by either side.

  2. Send anybody or agency that doesn’t see it their way through the Fargo Fool’em brainwash facility…

  3. the letter dayton sent to the corp covers all the bogus statements made by zaleski. the corp says the OHB project is part of the diversion project. vanyo says it has independent utility. one lies and the other one swears to it.

  4. The more editorials the Forum publishes the better. When they write these they must assume all their readers are stupid. In reality they are exposing themselves and the DA. The general public can read through this propaganda. Hail to Zaleski or should I say Col. Klink.

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