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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.
You don't have to be the descendant of a Pullman striker or a "breaker boy"—a child who worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines—to appreciate the power of Labor Day. The Upper Midwest had its own share of workplace horrors that labor laws helped put right. Here's one example. Think about it today, as you survey from your backyard the magnificent farm fields that are the glory of the Red River Valley.
On Aug. 24, North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott sat down for an interview with the Herald Editorial Board. The transcript that follows has been edited for clarity and length. Q. You're in town for an unmanned aircraft systems conference. What are your thoughts on that industry and its potential?
Crime in New York City was a national issue throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Then it wasn't: The crime rate plummeted in the 1990s, reaching levels that New Yorkers hadn't seen since Dwight Eisenhower was president. New York remains one of the safest cities in America today. In North Dakota, the following change isn't nearly so momentous. But it's still striking:
Budget cuts, athletic shortfalls, an upcoming legislative session: UND President Mark Kennedy has a lot on his plate. So we'll understand if he chooses not to focus on UND's speech codes until next year. But once 2017 arrives, Kennedy should consider the issue. For by resolving to join the few universities in America that robustly protect free speech, Kennedy would elevate UND in the eyes of not only its peer institutions, but also the North Dakota public.
Kudos to Grand Forks for advancing the local housing discussion to the point where a) the scope of the problem has been identified, and b) serious policy changes may be made. Would such changes make a difference? Probably yes. Would they make all the difference? Probably not. But they're still worth trying, because the need for new housing now is urgent, and every reasonable encouragement for homebuilders can help.
North Dakota's in good company. Even Norway is feeling the pinch of low oil prices and is making withdrawals from its sovereign wealth fund. In North Dakota, as Forum News Service reported last week, state leaders "are signaling a growing willingness to use earnings from the state's Legacy Fund to shore up declining revenues." But there still are big differences between the two situations, and they point out how North Dakota can and should learn from Norway's example.
On Tuesday, North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley visited the Herald to talk about the protest near Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The following is a transcript, edited for clarity and length. Q. Tell us why you're here. The evolving situation with Standing Rock is obviously very serious, and I don't know that publicly it's been discussed as broadly as it's going to be. The governor went on the radio, and we'll be talking much more about what is actually transpiring there.
A protest can be a volatile scene, a place where hot words can act like sparks on tinder and bring about a conflagration. That's why Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault deserves praise for publicly calling for the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline to remain peaceful. He could have been much more militant, after all. And if he had been, the past few days may have been much more confrontational. But Archambault should add one more word to his call, which is the word, "lawful." The protest must remain both peaceful and lawful.