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Published March 31, 2014, 09:35 AM

Fighting diversion is right to do

As I read the March 17 Agweek article about Mark Askegaard’s plight and his fears for his farming future in the face of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion, I am reminded of the 20-some years that we lived south of Fargo and our experiences during that time.

By: Vern Kepler, Agweek

As I read the March 17 Agweek article about Mark Askegaard’s plight and his fears for his farming future in the face of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion, I am reminded of the 20-some years that we lived south of Fargo and our experiences during that time.

I was part of a great group called Citizens for Responsible Flood Control, and we were reasonably successful fighting off the heavy hand of Fargo and Cass County, but I was keenly aware that those two bodies would stop at nothing to achieve their objectives.

When we decided to move on with our lives, outside of the clutches of Fargo and Cass, I felt it would be futile to reside either north or south of Fargo because we would be vulnerable as these two bodies planned their actions.

Unfortunately, this is proving to be true today; it’s all about power and doing what is best for them; nothing else matters. We went west, well away from Fargo and its clutches, but still the heavy hand of taxation followed us with the countywide sales tax measure. Another case of exploitation.

When I read about a fourth-generation farmer, and his fears for the future, being overwhelmed by this $1.8 billion boondoggle, I feel his fears. He must fight this and have faith his fight will be successful.

Then I read about another farmer who is not going to be affected. He thinks it’s OK and disagrees with the other farmer, whose ox could be gored, while his will not. And then in the same vein, throws him a bone with crop insurance? How trite. Let’s look at value. Whose land stands to increase in value, and whose land stands to decrease in value?

This problem is not about flood control; this is about raw political power, exploiting someone to gain an advantage. And that is morally wrong, any way you slice it.

So who is coming to their defense, as their way of life is being threatened, by raw political power? Certainly not the politicians; they are driving the wagon. Just another case of might makes right.

I still bristle when I think of how the Cass County Commission exploited all of Cass County regarding the sales tax measure, knowing full well that there is no benefit whatsoever for us. Now that’s exploitation. I can tell you this: If the shoe were on the other foot, they would listen and nothing would happen. That long trail of experience tells me that.

I encourage diversion opponents to never give up, fight the fight, and have faith. Right will win at the end of the day.

Editor’s note: Kepler has been a longtime manager of a historically significant commercial building in Fargo, N.D.

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