Fargo Forum Has An Ethical Problem When It Comes To Opposing Fargo Tax Cut Proposal

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Today the Fargo Forum’s editorial board, in typically juvenile fashion, slammed Fargo City Commissioners Tony Gehrig and Dave Piepkorn for supporting a property tax cut.

Gehrig’s plan failed on a 3-2 vote.

“Smarter heads prevailed Monday when the Fargo City Commission turned down an ill-conceived property tax cut proposal that was more political and ideological fluff than substantive tax policy,” the Forum opines.

“It’s not perceptive or clever to toss out a tax-cut scheme without a vigorous and thorough discussion of potential demands on a new city budget,” the paper continued. “It might fly well among folks who think the city’s limited role is to make sure their streets are plowed first. But more enlightened residents of the city understand that the legitimate needs of a growing, successful city are more complicated.”

Ok, fair enough I guess. I thought Gehrig’s plan was well thought out and based on an undeniable reality: Fargo property owners have been getting stealth tax hikes because of rising property values, and the city doesn’t necessarily need all that new revenue. But whatever. I’m not surprised that the left-wing editorial board at the Forum hates tax relief even when it doesn’t have to come at the expense of city spending.

There is an ethical problem with the Forum’s position, however. Back in April I reported on the fact that one of the Forum editorial board members – the folks who form the opinions expressed in the paper’s editorials – backed one Gehrig’s opponents in the city commission elections earlier this year.

Specifically, Jane Ahlin hosted a campaign event at her home for candidate Mara Brust:



It’s worth noting that Forum opinion editor Jack Zaleski claimed in a radio interview (audio here) that Ahlin only attended the campaign event. Clearly, that’s not accurate. It was held in her home.

To my knowledge Ahlin’s involvement in Brust’s campaign has never been disclosed by the newspaper which is now blasting tax policy proposed by the man who beat Brust in the campaign.

I’m certain that both Ahlin and the Forum would probably have opposed Gehrig’s tax plan anyway, but yet this connection between an editorial board member and one of Gehrig’s political opponents is real and factual and should be disclosed by the paper which bills itself as being objective.