- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
For the clearest view of the policy considerations sparked by FedEx's move from Grand Forks to Fargo, skip Grand Forks and Fargo altogether. Instead, drive south on I-29 some 700 miles to Kansas City. Take the exit for either Kansas City, Kan., or Kansas City, Mo., because on both sides of the Missouri River, you'll see the same thing:
In America, local officials worry about getting on the wrong side of public opinion. That's good. It's right that they worry, and it's right that they're always thinking about what the public will have to say. So for the benefit of Grand Forks officials, here's one indicator of public opinion, in the form of a Herald editorial: Grand Forks should get tough on enforcing nuisance abatement laws—especially against repeat offenders; especially against property owners who continue to be in violation after multiple complaints from neighbors and actions from the city.
Earlier this month, UND President Mark Kennedy sat down for an interview with the Herald's editorial board. What follows is a transcript of that interview, edited for clarity and length. This is the second of two parts. Part 1 of the interview was presented on this page July 17. □ □ □ Q. Some have argued North Dakota State University is the leading liberal arts institution in North Dakota today, and that UND trains professionals—doctors and lawyers.
Before Ronald Reagan became governor and then again before he became president, people said, "An actor? For the top job in politics?" The rest is history. Because show business, it turned out, was the perfect background for a politician, given that modern politicians are always "on." And learning to be comfortable on stage and in front of cameras now is recognized as being great training for elected office. Before Mark Kennedy came to Grand Forks, some in North Dakota wondered, "A congressman? For the UND presidency?"
The Fighting Sioux nickname controversy was one of the most contentious in North Dakota history. It boiled for decades. It still simmers today, judging by the turmoil and argument over UND's new Fighting Hawks logo. So, why would a state agency get anywhere near that pot of scalding water, let alone plunge in its hand? Especially unbidden — that is, without pressure groups or, really, pressure of any kind forcing the move.
When former Gov. Wendell Anderson died last week, every obituary mentioned his famous appearance on the cover of Time magazine. The picture from a 1973 issue showed a beaming, flannel-shirted Anderson holding up a northern pike. And the headline to the story inside has entered state lore, remaining a source of great and justifiable pride to Minnesotans to this day: "Minnesota—A state that works." Is Minnesota still "a state that works"? We'd argue that yes, in many ways it is. But that's not the point of this editorial.
The money's in the bank, the building plans have been finalized, and construction could begin in less than two weeks Which means the plans to build a new governor's residence in Bismarck are too far along to stop now. So, lawmakers who're thinking about delaying the project should reconsider, and construction should be allowed to proceed.
As Americans, we have the right to do all kinds of things. But we should have the wisdom to avoid doing a great many of them. And in our view, that includes filing civil complaints over weed and tall-grass ordinances, a modern version of tilting at windmills that's likely to be just as frustrating and just as doomed to fail.
The Thompson, N.D., residents who are trying again to pass a tax increase to renovate local schools have the right idea. The most recent effort failed by only nine votes; no wonder the "Yes" voters are trying again. Now, here's a tip for where they might find those extra votes: Ask the "No" voters for advice. Specifically, find out why they voted "No," then adjust the "Yes" campaign accordingly. It's possible that the "Yes" voters already have taken this advice. If so, good. But it's also possible that the pro-renovation side wants to boost turnout.
On Thursday, UND President Mark Kennedy sat down in his office for an interview with the Herald's editorial board. Today we present Part 1 of a transcript of the interview, edited for clarity and length. Part 2 of the interview will be published next Sunday, July 24. □ □ □ Q. You've now been here eight days. What hasn't surprised you about your first eight days?