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Published October 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

Don’t take word of public officials

The Forum’s recent editorial about me, “Lindgren’s credibility takes a hit,” surprisingly had much I agree with.

By: Jon Lindgren, Fargo

The Forum’s recent editorial about me, “Lindgren’s credibility takes a hit,” surprisingly had much I agree with. Voters should not accept blindly whatever I have to say about an issue and vote accordingly. In fact, they should not take the word of any public official, past or present. They should learn as much as they can about an issue and make their own independent decisions.

The Cass County Commission’s proposed sales tax for flood projects is one such issue. The public should be aware of some indisputable facts. One is that there is no approved flood diversion project that the county can now spend these tax dollars to build.

Second, a fast timeline for approval of this project is contrary to recent North Dakota history. The Garrison Diversion District completed an environmental impact study to build a water supply system to serve the Red River Valley four years ago. We have not yet received the final approval to proceed.

Third, the county has reserved the right to spend our tax dollars in Minnesota. It has not revealed whether it would be willing to send all the money there or just some.

Fourth, the County Commission has the power to proceed with contracts and agreements for any flood project it wants to pursue without this sales tax. If the current measure fails, it can be brought back to voters again when there is an actual pending project.

Fifth, only one other time in recent history of the United States has a local government rejected the corps’ first choice in the solution to a flooding problem and chosen a different one. In that case, Congress did not provide funding.

Lastly, let us not forget that some huge public works projects are total failures. One is here in North Dakota: the New Rockford Canal. It was endorsed by nearly all of our state’s officials and The Forum.

Let’s obtain approval of a successful project before we raise taxes yet again.


Lindgren is a former mayor of Fargo.

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