- Member for
- 3 years 6 months
In recent years, the cities of Billings and Bozeman, Mont.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; St. Cloud, Minn.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Madison, Wis., and Bismarck and Fargo all have rebuilt or significantly renovated their main libraries. All of those libraries are located in the cities' downtowns. Clearly, a downtown library is a signature asset, and on balance, Grand Forks probably erred by moving its own library out of downtown in the 1970s.
In Grand Forks last week, the main event was the re-election of Mayor Mike Brown. The Herald's editorial said it plain: "Mayor Mike Brown won re-election Tuesday, confirming what many in town already know: That Grand Forks residents generally are a happy and content lot, and that it was going to take a historic effort to remove the genial Brown from office." But another vote in Grand Forks also deserves notice, because it offers a fascinating complement to the above observation as well as insight into voters' mood statewide.
Unless our ears are failing us or we need new glasses for reading transcripts, the election in Grand Forks on Tuesday strikes us as boosting the odds for both a new library and a sales-tax increase. That is, as far as the City Council is concerned. The mayoral election is something else again. (And if challenger Terry Bjerke is elected, it will be, as Bjerke himself happily admits.)
On June 1, the Herald hosted a forum for the candidates for Grand Forks City Council. Here is a transcript, edited for clarity and length, of the candidates' opening statements...
On the calendar, it's just another Tuesday in June. But in homes and offices across North Dakota, especially Grand Forks, it's much more. For throughout the Flickertail State, this coming Tuesday—Election Day—represents a potentially historic turning point. At the state level, it'll likely determine who'll be North Dakota's governor for the next four years; and the voters will be choosing between two candidates with vastly different leadership styles.
It's unusual for a sitting UND president to endorse a candidate for governor. But "unusual" is not the same as "scandalous." Furthermore, if it's scandalous you want, forget Interim President Ed Schafer's endorsement of candidate Doug Burgum. Instead, look at the reaction of outraged lawmakers who contacted the North Dakota University System in response and "in my opinion, threatened retaliation," as Schafer said in a news story. Threatening to make UND or the North Dakota University System pay for the "sin" of a lame-duck, weeks-left-to-go president speaking his mind?
The trouble with playing chicken is that every now and then, your car really does fly off the cliff. That's not quite the situation Minnesota Republicans are in. Their "car" isn't sailing out over the void. But it is teetering on the cliff's lip. And the drop to the next ledge is long. Meanwhile, the guy with the tow-truck and the rescue rope—Gov. Mark Dayton—is parked nearby. He's whistling as he sits in the driver's seat, clearly in no hurry to pull the Republicans back onto solid ground.
Will Gov. Mark Dayton reconvene the Minnesota Legislature in special session? Will Republican lawmakers agree to the Democratic governor's conditions? As of this writing, the answers to those questions still are not clear. But here's what the recent session did make clear—as clear as the water from the most sparkling of the 10,000 lakes: Minnesota's legislative process needs reform.
In Grand Forks on June 14, the election for mayor could be a turning point, a Herald editorial suggested last week. But why could it be so? Here's why. And it's a reason that's important for voters to understand: In Grand Forks, the office of mayor comes with great power. True, that power has not been on full display in recent years. But make no mistake, it's there. The reason it hasn't shown up is that the current mayor chooses to share power rather than forcefully exercise it. Might that change, if challenger Terry Bjerke is elected?
On June 1, the Herald hosted a debate between Grand Forks' two mayoral candidates—incumbent Mayor Mike Brown, and Grand Forks City Council member Terry Bjerke. Here is a transcript of...