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Last week, Doug Burgum, the Republican Party of North Dakota's candidate for governor, took part in a meeting at the Herald of local business, government and nonprofit leaders. Besides listening to briefings from the participants, Burgum delivered opening and closing remarks that touched on a variety of North Dakota issues. A transcript of those remarks, edited for clarity and length and organized by topic, is presented below. □ □ □ I'm super bullish about the long-term future of our state.
Will the Dakota Access Pipeline become Keystone 2? Probably not. In our view, the odds are that the pipeline eventually be completed. It won't be blocked completely, as the Keystone XL Pipeline was. And in his interview on this page, Doug Burgum offers two big reasons why. The first is the fact that Burgum takes the pipeline company's side. That makes it almost unanimous among North Dakota state leaders and would-be leaders.
"Neighbors of junk-strewn yard unsure of solution after hearing," Wednesday's front-page headline read. Here are a few ideas: The first is to get tough. The second is to get tender. Maybe with some combination of both, Grand Forks and other communities can get control of the complex problem of hoarding. Get tough. Actually, "getting control"—full control—of hoarding probably is not possible. That's because Americans wouldn't tolerate the snooping and government strong-arming this would require.
When a shopping mall loses a store, the mall management puts the best face on things. That often comes in the form of a mural—an artwork painted on the wallboards covering the empty storefront. But nobody's fooled. However striking the artwork, it comes down the morning after an interested retailer signs a new lease. Because the best and most optimal use of the space is not to display art. It's to house a business—which means the mural, as everyone knows, was a stopgap.
In Minnesota, there's a sense that the 2016 legislative session was a colossal waste. This is because lawmakers met for weeks and at multi-million-dollar expense, but failed to get much done. That frustration deepened in the months afterward, when lawmakers and the governor couldn't agree on a special session. And throughout both the regular session and the failed talks about a special session, one issue always was held out as the hold-up: The Southwest Light Rail project in the Twin Cities.
There are two parts to what happened on Friday to the Dakota Access Pipeline. And the Obama administration's political decision to block the pipeline was only the second part. The first part was a federal judge's legal ruling in the pipeline's favor. Minutes after this ruling was issued, the administration disrespected and contravened it. Even so, the ruling is worth considering in full. That's because the ruling destroys much of the case that the anti-pipeline activists had been making, and it does so in comprehensive detail.
For low-hanging fruit, this particular apple still is pretty far out of reach. But that shouldn't stop the UND Intercollegiate Athletic Committee from scouting the apple when the committee meets this week, then figuring out how to bring a tall ladder to the scene. That's because picking this apple—which involves changing conference affiliations, namely joining the Summit and Missouri Valley conferences and moving out of Big Sky—could solve a big share of the UND Athletics Department's' budget woes in one fell swoop.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple made a smart two-part decision this week: First, he called out elements of the North Dakota National Guard. Second and just as important, he did not "send them south," as the Guard commander described it in a press conference Thursday. In other words, Dalrymple did not deploy the Guard to the site of the Dakota Access Pipeline protest south of Mandan, N.D.
Now that the Grand Forks City Council has started acting to help spur new home construction, some residents are going to be upset. It's unfair that a few homeowners now may get better terms on their special assessments than we did, the residents will say. Or, it's unfair that if the city succeeds in getting more homes built, existing homes will stop appreciating in value as fast as they have been doing. That'll cost the owners of existing homes real money when they decide to sell. Here's how the council should respond to those concerns:
Grand Forks city leaders deserve credit for thinking about a bike-sharing system. While some taxpayers will harumph about the idea, a key demographic for the project is young people, especially students and young professionals. And young people are vitally important for an ambitious city to have on its side. But those same city leaders must do their due diligence before giving the idea the go-ahead. That's because not all bike-sharing programs are created equal—and some of them fail.