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A key word is missing from the ads opposing Measure 4, the proposed increase in North Dakota's tobacco tax. The word is "tobacco." Opponents of the law should recast the ads to include the word. Because as soon as voters spot its absence, they resent the attempt to manipulate them. And then they look skeptically at the rest of the ad, too. After all, if an ad deliberately omits such a vital piece of information, what else is it omitting? The ads we're referring to are the ones that instruct, "Say no to North Dakota's 400 percent tax increase."
A few years ago, North Dakota had a chancellor who took a chief executive's approach to running the state's system of higher education. He's no longer the chancellor. And the reason Hamid Shirvani lasted less than a year as chancellor is because the straightforward chief executive, decision-maker model doesn't work well in higher education. On Wednesday, Herald sportswriters Brad Schlossman and Tom Miller wrote penetrating columns about the spectacle of coaches and players pleading their teams' cases in front of UND's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee.
There's lots of talk about mental health in the proposal to remove the State Hospital and its Jamestown, N.D., location from the North Dakota Constitution. But sooner or later, the talk should turn to economics. Because lawmakers and voters will consider the economic impact of such a change on Jamestown, and rightly so. That impact might even be decisive. And if that's the case, then unless the proposal is revised, it seems likely to be shot down.
Two thoughts about Grand Forks' anti-panhandling ordinance, which likely would be declared unconstitutional if challenged, the city attorney has said. First, City Council members should remember that they have other options besides repealing the ordinance. Revising it is one. For example, is there a way to reframe the ordinance so it achieves some of the goals of the original, but does so in constitutional ways?
As Marsy's Law proponents note, two states—California and Illinois—have added Marsy's Law-like amendments to their constitutions. But the California and Illinois amendments are not the same. In particular, the Illinois amendment lacks a clause that some judges say opens Marsy's Law to constitutional challenge: the clause that gives victims a "right to refuse an interview, deposition or other discovery request made by the defendant," as the amendment on North Dakota's Nov. 8 ballot would do.
UND President Mark Kennedy and his administration took two praiseworthy actions this week, both of which required good judgment and the courage to hold true to first principles. One action was to refuse to adopt a policy of "zero tolerance" for racist or racially insensitive expression. Kennedy was asked to adopt that policy by students who'd not only taken offense to two widely circulated photos, but also said they'd experienced racial slights at UND themselves. Such slights can be cruel, and malicious expression of any kind is unwelcome at UND, Kennedy stressed.
Protests play a key role in American history. And when protesters understand that their real mission is persuasion, protests can have spectacular effects. But having neglected that key mission, the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters for weeks have been turning to coercion. And that's a mistake. For when protesters disrupt debates, seize the stage at public meetings, defy trespass laws and vandalize other people's property, they alienate huge numbers of the people whose support the protesters need.
Fargo was lucky, back in 2009. The skies stopped pouring rain at a critical hour in the spring. That meant the Red River stayed within its sandbag-raised banks, and Fargo didn't flood. Fargo also was deeply unlucky in 2009. And for the very same reason. Because today, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is holding Fargo's narrow escape against the city and its tens of thousands of residents.
On Friday, UND students and others held a Rally Against Racism, a response in part to recent photos that had surfaced on social media. Such rallies are important—or even vital, to the extent that students use them to call attention to slights they've experienced on campus. But before people pass final judgment on the photos themselves, it's essential that UND answer one key question: What happened? In other words, what circumstances led up to the creation and release of the photos? Who did what, when did they do it, and why?
The Q&A on the Herald's editorial page today deals with city's proposed sales-tax increase. And deep in the feature's text, there's a web address. It would be easy to miss. For that reason, it's also worth calling attention to. The site is GrandForksGov.com, and if readers would like more information about Grand Forks' proposed sales-tax increase, it's an exceptionally useful source.