Anyone who follows North Dakota politics closely is familiar with the term “Imperial Cass.” This sprung out of the tendency of officials in the state’s most populous county, home to the state’s largest city Fargo, ought to get their way at the expense of the rest of the state.
The term is an old one – the east vs. west political battles are as old as the state is – but Fargo officials today are earning that moniker. The Fargo Forum reports on grousing among Fargo-area officials over the legislature’s handling of issues impacting their community, even stating that legislators asked Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker to stay away from the capitol:
Mayor Dennis Walaker also expressed frustrations with the current Legislature, calling it the most partisan he’s ever seen. State lawmakers told City Administrator Pat Zavoral this year not to let Walaker return to the Capitol because they found him too brash.
“Which didn’t bother me at all because I hate the Legislature,” Walaker said. “I thought it was extremely partisan – extremely, extremely partisan. They did not want anybody in the Democratic Party to get credit for anything.”
But you have to wonder why Fargo officials are complaining. As Zavoral admitted, the community got everything on their wish list from the free-spending legislature:
Zavoral pointed out that while the process was difficult, the end result was that Fargo received “exactly what we asked the governor for,” in terms of flood protection dollars, school funding and others.
Apparently these officials need a lesson in democracy. Spending taxpayer dollars should be an arduous process. The legislature shouldn’t be the rubber stamp for Fargo’s demands that Fargo officials think they should be.
Maybe the problem isn’t the legislature – which, to be sure, is more than deserving of its fair share of criticism – but rather the quality of people in leadership positions in Fargo.