MOORHEAD — When the candidates for the Ward 3 Moorhead City Council seat were asked what they felt they could contribute to the city's governing body, each had their own ideas and priorities for the southwest neighborhood that runs along the Red River.
That was different than most of the rest of the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum Thursday night, Oct. 3, at the Moorhead Public Library. All of the candidates said they supported the school bond referendum that will be voted on in conjunction with the city council vote on Nov. 5, would like to see the strengthening of the arts scene in the city, disliked the proposed new city logo, favored a new south side dog park and supported the downtown revitalization effort.
When it came to what they could contribute to the council, the differences between candidates became clearer.
Edwin Hahn said he was a strong believer in collaboration. He said he would like to see task forces that would work on local business issues, another that would work on infrastructure while seeking help from the state Legislature and another to help and work with the city's large immigrant population.
John Bell said he went to college here and decided to stay and buy a home because he liked the community. He believes he could bring the voice of a young person who wants to settle here to the City Council.
Brent Behm said his background is in urban planning and architecture, and with all of the changes planned for the city, he could provide some experience to the council.
"Sometimes it's a question of when to build or not to build," he said. Behm noted his experience with budgets would also be helpful.
Larry Seljevold, who served on the council previously, offered up his experience and also pledged to be "open-minded" when it came to issues.
"I just think there are a lot of wonderful things happening in the city," he said, adding he wanted to be more involved in it.
Candidate Troy Krabbenhoft didn't appear at the forum, and officials said they didn't hear from him on why he wasn't attending.
One other issue that drew varied responses from the four candidates at the forum was about the possible sale of city hall and the closed door sessions surrounding a predevelopment agreement with the Roers Co. of Fargo.
Bell said he was "super excited" to see what plans may develop, but agreed that the privacy surrounding the deal was "frustrating."
Hahn said the "pulse of a city" can be determined by its downtown and that he favored revitalization with input from the voters.
Seljevold said if it's one thing he's heard "over and over through the years, it's that something has to happen downtown."
He said it was a little early to make any decisions but wondered if a new library was really needed at this time.
Behm said the current city hall kinds of looks "like a fortress." He said it's not as "welcoming" as it could be and he was looking forward to seeing what planners, architects and developers might come up with.