This letter is paid content. I was a resident of GF for 50+ years. Educated K-12 in GF schools, still driving GF disgraceful, potholed, Granitoid streets. I shop in GF stores, eat in GF restaurants, pay GF city sales taxes.
Dennis Almer used Chicago Transit Authority song lyrics to support Mayor Brown. The song “Big Yellow Taxi” is more appropriate. Mayor Brown and City Council destroyed Arbor Park in downtown Grand Forks in order to benefit corporate interests.
“They paved paradise / Put up a parking lot / With a pink hotel, a boutique / And a swinging hot spot.”
The irony is that Downtown is short on parking, long on congestion. The Joni Mitchell on Fourth, along with the Olive Ann Events Center, will make that worse.
Mayor Brown has overseen a staggering amount of money wasted on frivolities that only benefit special-interest groups. His Blue Ribbon Commission on affordable housing was packed with industry insiders, with NOT ONE PERSON looking out for the taxpaying citizen. Downtown is so toxic that no one will invest there without being bribed. Projects that would benefit the entire city are low priority. You have city buses driving around empty, a social detox center, public art, and other gingerbread, but no money for a water plant or street repair. They had to raise taxes to pay for the necessities. The Original Socialist Mayor Brown doesn’t need another four years; he and the City Council have done enough damage to my hometown.
“Bo” Bochenski would continue the tax-funded giveaways, even increasing subsidies for affordable housing. He’s a real-estate industry insider who wants to interfere in the free market, while claiming he doesn’t want to interfere in the free market. Bochenski wants to be the New Socialist Mayor Brown. His song? The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again: “Meet the new boss / same as the old boss.”
Robin David’s vision of leadership is seeing which way the wind blows on any given day. She supported a legal but unethical process to bring distressed workers from other countries to Grand Forks so that they can fill low-wage jobs. This leads to high welfare use and an increasingly-segmented society. Imported workers drive down wages, their families’ assistance benefits and education requirements drive up taxes. This is not the fault of the New Americans. It’s the fault of government-gone-nuts, supplying businesses with cheap, compliant foreign labor at taxpayer expense. I think of David as the Pro-Human-Trafficking Socialist Mayor Brown. Of course, she’s innocent until proven guilty. No song, this is too tragic to minimize with humor.
I don’t remember Art Bakken having any special regard for fiscal responsibility when he was on the City Council. On the other hand, he’s expressed realistic expectations of both immigrant labor, and Downtown, and calls for volunteer help with affordable housing rather than tax-funded help. Perhaps he’s the best of the rest, but I’d still want to see his City Council voting record before writing his name and putting a check-mark, or filling-in the box beside it on the ballot form. Bakken’s song comes from The Who, due to insufficient press coverage: “Who are you / I really want to know.”
It’s too bad there’s not a standout candidate for Mayor. Grand Forks is in deep trouble, with no end in sight. The best write-in could be “ √ None of the above.” Schurkey Swanke
East Grand Forks