There is a fundamental difference between Imperial Cass and Richland County commissioners.
It is not in any grab for headlines and political posturing to write a legacy for oneself. How vain would that be?
It’s in the day to day, genunine helping hand that arises impromptu and creates moments that legends are made of, largely due to the core character of the individual.
It started innocently enough. Diane Ista, former MN Wildrice Watershed manager, presented a sweatshirt to myself just prior to the monthly MNDak Upstream Coalition meeting. Being physically smaller in stature, it was determined that the sweatshirt would be better served as an auction item to raise money for the Richland Wilkin JPA legal challenge against the FEIS for the Fargo Moorhead Dam and FM Diversion.
Ironically, the sweatshirts origins comes from the downstream flood group that shares in the proposed flood impacts at the will of Fargo, the Diversion Authority and Cass County commissioners. This illustrates that this isn’t just an upstream battle. Affected interests both upstream and downstream are sick and tired of Fargo’s bloviating stance that “what’s good for Fargo is good for the region”.
A more accurate statement is “what is good for the region – is what benefits the greater Fargo-Moorhead metro area” – which is basin-wide retention without natural flood plain development encroachment immediately south of the metro area.
What started as a simple gesture of a gift turned into a “happening” that added to the legal war chest against the FEIS, multiple dams and staging of water.
Sid Berg took the microphone like a pro and began raising money in the one item auction.
What started out with light chuckles ended up in an excited roar filled with laughter and memorable moments wherein a county commissioner cares more about his Richland constituents and those affected interests in neighboring Cass County – than any political ambitions and social climbing played out by Imperial Cass County Commissioners.
By the time the meeting ended, the group was invigorated and abuzz about the strides being made in removing the multiple dams and water staging from the ill-conceived plan for Fargo’s future encroachment into the last natural flood plain which provides vital protection to the metro-area.
How much resolve do upstream opponents have against the multiple dams and staging of water?
The winning bid of $500.00 came from Pat Redlin of rural Hickson, ND for the sweatshirt that prominently displays the messages:
“Say No to Denny’s Ditch”
“Build A Diversion – Screw Your Neighbor”
Catching a glimpse of Pat’s smile and the twinkle in her eye helps one understand her resolve against the dams and staging associated with the proposed Corps of Engineers project and offers a solid indicator of the human factor and socio-political battle that Fargo is facing.
One could only hope that Fargo, the Diversion Authority, Cass County and the Corps of Engineers would wake up and get the message:
Hey, Hey Ho! The Dam Has Got To Go!