Marcus Larson: Fargo Forum Insults MN Gov. Mark Dayton


In yet another goading Fargo Forum editorial, the Fool’em didn’t miss a chance to be discourteous and denigrate Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton with overtones and direct insults against Minnesota Representatives and state agencies.

Here is the editorial with commentary:


Forum editorial: Dayton should get here
Posted on Aug 20, 2014 at 11:43 p.m.

If Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is serious about learning all he can about the proposed Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion, he’ll welcome an invitation to come to town and talk about the project. On Monday, the Fargo Moorhead West Fargo Chamber of Commerce sent the governor an open-ended invite to discuss the status of the project with local business leaders, elected officials and others. The chamber’s letter also suggested the schedule could be arranged so North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple could participate. That would be a good thing.

Should Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton visit the Fargo area….? Absolutely!

He should come first hand and take a tour of his choosing (not the Fargo pseudo Cold War Era “Hide the Bad Stuff” Russian tour) to view first-hand the true nature of what the Fargo Diversion Authority is really trying to sell him.

For instance, Gov. Dayton should take a good gander at Elm street north, near the El Zagal golf course, Fargo’s artificially low benchmark where the city begins crying flood stage 20 feet below any threat to habitable structure(s) and 22.84 feet below the record crest of 2009.



Gov. Dayton should also stop by city hall and gaze eastward across 2nd street and note that Moorhead completed 99 percent of their permanent flood protection before Fargo took any serious interest in permanent protection for a large section of downtown Fargo. Something that should have been done after the floods of 1969, 1978, 1979, 1989, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Bring Gov. Dayton by Rose Creek area and show him the once massive flood plain that buffered Fargo flood crests that is now developed – which by “sheer co-incidence” happens to coincide with Fargo exceeding flood stage every year 1993-2014, with the exception of 2012.



Then Gov. Dayton should head by Deputy Mayor Tim Mahoney’s house and be reminded that Mahoney’s house didn’t exist then and the entire area was under feet of water in 1997. Then have Mahoney regale Gov. Dayton on how “nice and comforting” it is to live behind a multi-million dollar 9-12 ft high levee…, and in the same breath tell Gov. Dayton that dikes and levees won’t work for Fargo because they have no high ground to tie into.



Then head west to view the urban sprawl encroachment into the natural flood plain between I-94 and 52nd ave, which was flooded in 1997. Then remind Gov. Dayton that natural flood plain encroachment since 1969 has raised peak flood crests by over 25 inches, which has caused the majority of new FEMA flood insurance requirements – while “snickering” at how nice it is to have city and county leaders looking out for their constituents.

Next stop should be Davies H.S. to underscore that by intentionally building a school in the middle of a flood plain, which naturally brings more encroachment into the flood plain, displaces more water and creates higher future flood crests with the same or less water. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Dayton ask where all the displaced water goes? Or perhaps Gov. Dayton is wise enough to know that Minnesota has been relinquishing land to Fargo development – inch by inch for decades.1997-Flood-Showing-Locations-of-Davies-HS-Eagle-Point-RED-LINE-2013-03-28

Then head back west across the Sheyenne River and to show Gov. Dayton a fully functional working West Fargo diversion that does not require a Class 1 High Hazard dam to operate.

Onward to to Oxbow, ND to view several acres of the eastern levee built in the Red River floodway to accommodate golf course features. Then allow a few minutes for everything to “sink in”. Pausing to reflect on the previous argument that “dikes and levees won’t work without high ground”…, and then have Dayton ask why they would work at Oxbow?

Then hop across the Red River to view Comstock, MN which sits generally 2 to 4 feet higher than the FEMA 500 year regulatory flood plain and then explain why city of Comstock would need a ring dike or why Minnesota should relinquish nearly two townships of economic development area due to water easements for Fargo’s south-side tier 2 development plan.

A road covered by flood water in North Dakota

Perhaps Gov. Dayton should stop by a few MN properties in the proposed staging area to ask what their thoughts are on losing their homes and land to benefit the greedy development arm of Fargo/Cass?

Then a quick 10-15 minute jaunt up Hwy 75 to allow Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton a chance to look at Moorhead’s fiscally responsible permanent flood protection.


Nahhh…., that would be wishful thinking. The Fargo Diversion Authority will rely on the contrived data drummed up by the Corps of Engineers and spin a woeful tale of how close they came to losing the city in 2009, then lie to him about it being a 50 year flood event when the FEMA regulatory flood plain places it in the 200-250 year flood range.

Forum Editorial Board

Dayton made news when he apparently swallowed whole (and without critical review) assessments by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources regarding the diversion and ring dike work for three small communities south of Fargo. One-sided rhetoric from politicians pandering to project opponents on the Minnesota side of the Red River also likely affected the governor’s perceptions.

Another shining example of Fargo Fool’em arrogance to suggest that Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton should take the Fargo Diversion Authorities word over that of his own state agencies.

As for critical review…, isn’t that precisely what the Minnesota DNR is doing during their environmental review?

Yet Darrell Vanyo and the rest of his Fargo Diversion Authority cronies flipped the proverbial bird to Minnesota and proceeded with a project component without a permit from the Minnesota DNR and have tried to whitewash their lie to make it fly. We won’t even get into the $587,000 payoff contingent to get a 404 permit…, arranged by the Corps of Engineers, in early June 2014, through ND Ducks Unlimited to replace wetlands at $34,000/acres.

It is also ROARINGLY funny that the Fargo Fool’em would try to accuse anyone but themselves of one-sided rhetoric. But then again, the Fool’em Editorial Staff is naive enough to serve as chapter n’ verse mouthpiece for the Fargo Diversion Authority and willing to lap up any overstated engineering the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers doles out as though it were gospel…, without ONCE exploring the Corps’ financially motivated stake in the project with an ounce of journalistic integrity.

Forum Editorial Board

A call from Dalrymple seemed to persuade Dayton that diversion opposition was only a small part of a much larger story. In a mature bid for cooperation, Dalrymple said a state-vs.-state tiff would be counterproductive and should be avoided.

One has to wonder when Gov. Dalrymple is going to tell Fargo to grow up and stop making trouble for the rest of the state.

If Fargo is truly the “robust economic engine” for the state…, why do they always seem to have their hand out for state and federal aid?

Forum Editorial Board

The chamber’s welcome is in that spirit. Moreover, a civil meeting would afford Dayton an up-close conversation with informed supporters of the diversion – the only option for permanent F-M flood protection. To date, it appears he’s been hearing only one purposefully skewed version of the project.

What a steaming pile of Buffalo chips! The chambers “welcoming” spirit is to try to get up-close and personal with Gov. Dayton and try to convince him to abandon state sanctioned counsel of Minnesota agencies in favor of Fargo’s skewed development agenda. Not once, to date, has Fargo genuinely considered taking their development agenda of the natural flood plain off the table and seek a viable compromise that would provide Fargo with substantial flood protection and several hundred million less in costs and unnecessary impacts.

What good is an FM area chamber that is willing to sit idly by, while $70+ million in tax-dollars are poured into a project outside Fargo’s jurisdictional boundaries, when Fargo remains at risk without completed permanent flood protection and continuing flood plain encroachment has displaced enough water to bring about new and higher flood insurance premiums for properties previously unaffected?

Just how is the chamber, Fargo or the Diversion Authority working in the the best interests of Fargo residents and taxpayers?

Forum Editorial Board

Dayton should jump at the chance to come to Fargo-Moorhead. He can learn a lot, and the community can learn about his concerns directly from him. That’s the sort of dialogue that usually generates good results.

Isn’t it “IRONIC” that the Fargo Fool’em suggests that Gov. Dayton should jump at the mere chance to bask in the Imperial Fargo, Imperial Cass glow…, and learn all there is to know about flooding from the leaders of a small mid-west community of around 108,000 bent on natural flood plain development that don’t give a rats pat-tooty about Minnesota interests. It’s a good thing that Minnesota hasn’t had any experience of its own regarding flooding. Ohh…, wait a minute…, they have.

At least it’s a good thing Gov. Dayton isn’t responsible to a state population of around 5.4 million with more pressing matters than lining the pockets of Fargo developers willing to trample Minnesota property, water and permitting rights. Ohh…, wait minute…, he is!