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Shaw: Mahoney, Roers Jones and other Fargo election thoughts

Shaw gives his final thoughts on the races in the June 14th election.

Jim Shaw
Jim Shaw
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With the Fargo city election upon us, here are some final thoughts…

People should not vote for or against Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney because of his emails to Fargo Police about a crime involving his son. Mahoney’s 18-year-old son, Dylan, was beaten and robbed. Dylan was the victim.

As a father concerned about his son, Mahoney had every right to contact Fargo Police, just like any other parent whose child was a victim. This should be a nonissue in the mayor’s race.

If North Dakota Rep. Shannon Roers Jones is elected mayor, she should resign from the legislature. Roers Jones has said she will wait until after the election before making an announcement on the matter. It’s just not possible to do both jobs effectively at the same time. When the legislature is in session, being a legislator is a full-time job. Being the mayor of Fargo is also a full-time job, even though it’s officially part-time.

The smart move for Roers Jones would have been to announce that she will immediately leave the legislature if she’s elected as mayor. That would have told Fargo residents that she’s all-in to be mayor. Roers Jones could have learned the lesson from Fargo City Commissioner John Strand. When Strand first ran for the city commission, he was on the Fargo School Board. He said if he was elected, he would stay on the school board. He lost. When Strand ran again for city commission, he declared he would be leaving the school board. That time he won.

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Fargo City Commission candidates Jodi Plecity, Ahmed Shiil and Ves Marinov pledge to get rid of special assessments, which admittedly we all hate. However, they have no realistic plan to pay for needed infrastructure projects or to pay back Fargo’s $550 million service debt.

At the urging of the esteemed Jack Zaleski, I will name the seven most qualified candidates (out of 15 running) for the Fargo School Board. In alphabetical order they are Melissa Burkland, Katie Christensen, Greg Clark, Nyamal Dei, Rebecca Knutson, Robin Nelson and Lyn Telford. You can vote for up to five of them.

It’s bad enough that Cass County United Republicans held candidate forums for the Fargo and West Fargo city and school board elections. Political parties should stay away from these forums because these are nonpartisan elections. However, the Republicans made it worse by only inviting eight of the 15 Fargo City Commission candidates to their forum.

They said they only had time for eight. What a bunch of baloney. It was blatantly unfair. If they’re going to hold these forums, which they shouldn’t, then do it right. That means inviting all 15 candidates at the same time, or inviting eight at one time and seven at another time.

Let’s hope Fargo voters utilize approval voting in the city commission race to prevent winners from receiving a small percentage of the vote.

Fargo voters should ask themselves who they would like to see on the city commission and school board when the next public health crisis hits.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

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READ MORE FROM INFORUM COLUMNIST JIM SHAW
"A 12-year term is what high court justices serve in countries such as Germany and South Africa," writes columnist Jim Shaw. "It would change the lousy system where presidents look for young candidates to appoint so they can stay on for decades with their extremist rulings."

Opinion by Jim Shaw
InForum columnist Jim Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director.
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