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"There were a few other things I heard about the (failed sales-tax) vote that I'll address directly: it was not the right recipe, and you didn't hear from me enough. "I own both of those." Those are the second-most important words that Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown said last week in his 2017 State of the City speech. The most important are these—the words that came next: "So I commit to putting in place as many listening systems as possible to ensure anything that goes on a ballot truly reflects the community's voice.
The objections have been noted. A compromise bill has emerged. So, the Minnesota Legislature should accept the new plan, and pass the Minnesota Senate's version of Real ID. And now would be better than later. That's because if the bill fails, Minnesotans no longer will be able to use their driver's licenses to board commercial aircraft after Jan. 1. And if the Legislature wants every Minnesotan to think of the 2017 Assembly as a failed session, all the lawmakers have to do is let that happen.
"If the voters give you a thumbs-up, the Legislature should just roll up their sleeves and get the job done," said an organizer of the medical-marijuana initiative in North Dakota. Well—no. That's not the way lawmaking works. It doesn't work that with the governor, and it doesn't work that way with the Legislature, either. Nor does it work that way with Congress or the president in Washington.
It isn't the position. It's the timing—and the president's response. That's our takeaway from the fracas over the replacement of a retiring event coordinator in UND President Mark Kennedy's office. A key bottom line: The position is important, even vital. Why is Kennedy himself among North Dakota's highest paid public servants? Simple: Because Kennedy's salary is leverage. It's an investment by North Dakota in Kennedy's talent and connections, traits that Kennedy is expected to use to raise tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars for the university.
Gov. Doug Burgum has three terrific people to choose from for the seat on the North Dakota Board of Higher Education. All three would be great candidates for leadership positions in any number of fields. But for the specific job of serving on the state board, one of the candidates stands out. He is Dr. Casey Ryan of Grand Forks.
Harold Shapiro assumed the presidency of the University of Michigan "during one of the worst fiscal crises in Michigan's history," a history of the university's presidents notes. "The crisis was caused, in large part, by a deep recession in the automobile industry. For three years in the early 1980s, the state could not meet its financial commitments to the university. In 1980-81, for example, state support for the general fund fell by 12 percent." Shapiro's response? Cut the budget. Lobby the Legislature. And very important: raise money.
We don't much like the news that UND's spring enrollment has declined by about 350 students. But we very much like the fact that UND President Mark Kennedy is not explaining away the drop. Instead, he's taking steps to reverse it. Plus, he's announcing those steps—and by doing so, he's giving the campus and community a goal to shoot for. That's the way an organization moves forward. And it's great to see that Kennedy understands this basic leadership key.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, as every Psych 101 student learns, puts physiological needs—food, water and shelter—on the bottom of the pyramid and self-actualization on top. But one of the in-between levels deserves a lot more attention, we think. In fact, it might even merit being pulled out of the structure and then balanced, precariously, on top. The level in question would be "safety," the instinct we all share to avoid danger and live our lives healthy and whole.
But the Constitution already protects free speech, critics of HB 1329 said on the House floor. Why should North Dakota require the higher-ed board to reaffirm that centuries-old protection? Because free speech on campus is under assault, and at public universities as well as private, experience has shown. It's wrong for lawmakers to mess with academic freedom. But it's right for the state to spell out foundational principles of governance, and to insist that public colleges abide by them.
On weekday mornings, some 1,000 and 1,500 Grand Forks commuters cruise over to Interstate 29, then head south to Fargo to work Once on the interstate, they pass a line-up of headlights coming to the north. These are the 1,000 to 1,500 commuters who live in Fargo but work in Grand Forks. Might there be a lesson in this daily parade?