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Take a long, hard look at Fargo's mayoral race

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Fargo, 58102
West Fargo Pioneer
(701) 241-5487 customer support
Fargo North Dakota 101 5th Street North 58102

While West Fargoans will have a pretty easy time of it when they head to the polls coming up in mid-June, the situation in Fargo has reached a boiling point, as four legitimate candidates and two dark horses get set for the summer election.

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On a side note, I dont know whether the lack of participation in the city commission and school board races this year in West Fargo are a sign of contentment, or a simple sign of apathy. Either way, we would like to have seen a bit more participation from this community of more than 20,000 people in this years election.

Now, thats not to say the current boards havent done a great job. A little competition, however, is never a bad thing.

Now back to the task at hand. It would behoove West Fargo Pioneer readers to play close attention to the races going on in our neighbor to the east. As former commissioner and current Fargo School Board member Arlette Preston, former city manager Dennis Walaker, current Commissioner John Cosgriff and lawyer Brad Swenson duke it out, we here in the City on the Grow can learn a lot about how future relationships will be handled.

Theres also a tightly contested race between four men for two City Commission spots in Fargo. Rob Lynch is looking to re-gain his seat. Tim Mahoney is hoping to retain his seat. And Frank Anderson and Brad Wimmer are hoping this is the election where they finally break through.

The fact is, most of the candidates will tell you that the strained relationships between West Fargo and Fargo are the result of bad practice. Swenson, for example, has compared it to kids fighting in a sandbox.

Hes hit the nail on the head. Swenson (who were by no means endorsing here) recognizes that the system is flawed, and it has caused the communities to be reactive, instead of proactive.

He contends, as do some of the other candidates, that this intra-community squabbling is hurting the communitys status as one of the best places to work, live and relax in the country.

Again, Swenson is right. Anyone can see that Fargos main competition comes in the shape of communities like Sioux Falls, St. Cloud, Brainerd (yes, its growing) and even Bismarck.

But the disturbing trend of squabbling over land has repercussions. Its daunting, now, to build a ranch near Horace or Harwood, for fear of being annexed, losing your rights to raise livestock in the city limits. Its tough to live in Fargo and work in West Fargo (trust me) when there are such hostilities between the two communities.

Some candidates are ready to work on this. Some are fine with the way things are, and are more concerned on focusing on Fargo alone.

Id say West Fargoans, who have many friends over in Fargo, have a definite interest in how Junes election turns out. And Id ask them to use their influences to move both communities forward in the end.

We can get a lot further together, if we work at it a little bit.

* *

The loss of yet another area soldier in action in Iraq brings home the message of Memorial Day, and the status of the American efforts to combat terrorism.

Whether or not you believe were in Iraq for the right reasons or the wrong ones, if its time to hunker down or cut and run; one things for sure.

Its time to come up with a strategy. Right now, there isnt any indication of one. And to maintain the status quo is killing too many fine young men and women, and limiting our resources for the future.

The Iraqi government has moved forward. Now its time for us to do the same.

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