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We're imagining ourselves as being UND President Mark Kennedy today, and reading the higher-ed portion of Mike Jacobs' column on today's editorial page. And we're imagining acting on Jacobs' sharp-eyed observations in two ways. Jacobs spends lots of time in Bismarck these days and talks to lots of legislators. So, when he says there are other forces driving the higher-ed budget cuts than just the state's budget, the North Dakota University System should listen.
UND has about 4,300 employees, according to a December report. And every Grand Cities resident knows the immeasurable impact such a workforce has on the local economy. So, imagine hoisting up a workforce of that size, transporting it 50 miles to the northeast, and gently setting it down ... In Thief River Falls. Now you can see why, whatever else happens in St. Paul during the rest of the session, Minnesota lawmakers simply must pass the incentives that Digi-Key needs to fuel its expansion.
Not one Democrat voted for North Dakota's new Voter ID law. That's reason enough for Gov. Doug Burgum to veto it. Understand, it's not the only reason. The courts are likely to block the law, because it fails to address a federal judge's strong objections to North Dakota's previous Voter ID law.
Years ago, after giving a speech at his alma mater, Fay Vincent was asked by a student for the secret to success. Vincent would know; at the time, he was chairman of Columbia Pictures, and he'd go on to become executive vice president of Coca Cola and commissioner of Major League Baseball. So, what was his secret? "In my experience, the key is the ability to get along with others," he said. Not degrees; not smarts; not marketable skills, although all of those matter, Vincent continued.
It started with an act of nature. Fate took a glass of water and dumped it onto the tabletop that is the Red River Valley. The result was a staggering disaster that ruined homes, emptied bank accounts and submerged an entire metro area. But what started as an act of nature, ultimately was made right by acts of American society. And that's the biggest lesson from the flood of 1997. It's the lesson that permeates virtually every 20th-anniversary flood story: The system worked. Local government worked. State government worked. The federal government worked.
The year 1997 looms large in Grand Cities history—especially this week, the 20th anniversary of the great 1997 flood. And the Herald joins with every other organization in town in celebrating Grand Forks and East Grand Forks' spectacular recovery. We've chronicled that recovery for two decades now, and we'll proudly and happily keep doing so for decades to come. But at some point in all this commemorating, one other year deserves mention. The year is 1826.
When a roomful of otherwise quarrelsome consumers agree on something, marketers listen. That's the value of a focus group: It's not scientific, but it is a quick read on public opinion that executives know can be very valuable. Politicians know this, too. So, for the benefit of lawmakers in St. Paul, here's a Minnesota "focus group" that could point the way to bipartisan agreement this spring. It's the editorial boards of the state's newspapers, and the boards' idea is a good one: To get to "Yes" on tax and budget policy, start by cutting Minnesota's business property tax.
So, which would you rather have: a million dollars? Or a checkerboard that has one penny on the first square, two pennies on the second, four pennies on the third and so on, doubling each time through the 64 squares? Your answer probably should be, "It depends." And what it depends on is whether you mind losing your checkerboard, given that by the end of the penny sequence, it's going to be buried under 18 quintillion pennies.
The UND University Senate resolution that passed last week "to affirm and support diverse populations" does not mention the words "sanctuary campus." Good. It's right that the resolution stops short of asking UND to become a "sanctuary campus." For a campus which adopts that designation is declaring that it won't cooperate with federal authorities—or even, in extreme versions, that it won't obey federal law. And that's no way to run a university, especially one that depends on public support.
It was a vast landscape of cuts, that budget that Gov. Doug Burgum presented in January. But across that windswept prairie, one "grain elevator" stood out. It was a program whose budget the governor actually wanted to increase. That would be the university Challenge Grants, the program that leverages private dollars by promising a partial state match.