Out-of-the-box thinking

Darel Harrington


Chris Baker’s Letter in today’s MDN has a good point. The “experienced” politicians are in the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mode. Whether it is the City , County, Legislature, or Congress, they resist change.

A good example is the City/County giving big bucks to the State Fair, because they have always done it. Lloyd Omdahl laments the creation of separate Higher Ed Boards for NDSU and UND, even though 30 years of trying to have a Unified Board have failed. Governor Burgum’s Legacy fund spending proposal will meet with terrific headwinds; because that isn’t the way we’ve always done it.

The proposed merger of the Parks & Rec departments seems like a “no brainer,” but in the big picture, they stand out as doing a good job, so let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

The City and County Library merger is long overdue – Technology and the internet have diminished the need – that’s probably why the Library has resorted to loaning tools, and do we need a “bookmobile”? Mr. Baker’s idea of converting the State Fair Property to a new High School may seem far out, but remember the good folks in Minot paid for most of it.

Governor Burgum is a businessman and his approach to the Legacy Fund, while contrary to the established norms, is designed to increase tourism, business expansion, employment, and why shouldn’t the Bank of ND give loans to ND cities? He is not spending the Principle, he is investing the interest.

Mr. Omdahl laments that fewer students are attending traditional college. Maybe we should see where the needs are and encourage students in that direction. We need engineers and technical folks, medical of all types, but don’t forget the trades like airline pilots, mechanics, oil field workers, and in short “wrench turners.” We certainly need less liberal arts graduates with a degree in picketing.

The biggest problem is the lack of students wanting to become a teacher, which is understandable when you impose the liberal philosophy of “the kids have all the rights and the teaches (and parents) have none.” As an “in the box guy” Mr. Omdahl would certainly not consider the number of eleven colleges in North Dakota as being excessive, but that should be addressed. We are told that competition is good, so why shouldn’t NDSU, UND and the rest of the colleges compete?

I encourage all politicians to look at every line item of expense and ask the question, “Is this absolutely necessary or are we doing it because we have always done it?”