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Letter: Grand Forks is not above the law

It seems that the Grand Forks City Council is unaware of the U.S. Constitution. I am particularly concerned that the council is not following the requirements of the 14th Amendment. The amendment says "no state ... shall deny to any person within...

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It seems that the Grand Forks City Council is unaware of the U.S. Constitution. I am particularly concerned that the council is not following the requirements of the 14th Amendment. The amendment says "no state ... shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Inasmuch as the council is trying to sell public property (Arbor Park), acquired at an impressive price after the 1997 flood, for $1, the council would appear to be in violation of this provision. Of further interest to commercial property owners in Grand Forks (or any property owners in Grand Forks, for that matter) is that the city plans to forgive property taxes for 10 years.

If the city does this, other property owners should expect like consideration. In other words, their taxes should be forgiven for 10 years, too.

This, in turn, should concern the city, because taxes not collected for 10 years from everyone thus entitled would pretty much implode the budget.

The Arbor Park plan is what is going wrong in America: government picking winners and losers, and the taxpayer paying the bill.
The whole transaction calls into question motive. Why would the council do this? When asked, the council members tell us they don't like their integrity called into question. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich hated this also. So did Boss Tweed.

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The members should welcome the public looking at their integrity. It was the decision of each to seek public office and to be responsible for their public actions. Of course we should question their integrity-and they should welcome it. They are, after all, public servants. They agreed to this when they put their names on the ballot.

It has become a sloppy custom for city officials to think they are above the law, using devices like "community development" to rationalize illegal and inappropriate behavior. But this extra-legal use of power is harming us and costing taxpayers a ton of money. When the city does this, it is giving away something that rightfully belongs to someone else: the taxpayer.

Sally Morris

Grand Forks

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
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