North Dakota TV stations sold

North Dakota loses 3 TV stationsThose TV stations have been sold again — KNDX Bismarck, KXND Minot, and KXJB Valley City have all been sold to two separate out-of-state interests.  In related news, CBS programming has been confirmed to be moving to KVLY, leaving the stations to start completely from scratch.

Banning taxes we do not levy?

Supporters of Measure 2, which would ban the levying of “transfer taxes” on real estate, say it would just make buying properties too expensive!  This of course, coming from an industry funded by its own private taxation of property sales. When 3 to 6 percent is taken by the realtor, what is the harm in communities taking a mill levy at the time the house is sold?

The really funny thing is, nobody in North Dakota levies this tax that realtors want to ban.  But if someone were to start, it does not have to affect your average house sale; Taxes have been known to be levied on only higher-valued property, you know.  The vast majority of residences are valued under $300,000 , to quote an arbitrary figure.  Taxing only property above that would not really dry up the trade in commercial property in North Dakota communities, many of which have huge infrastructure demands and are not getting the support from the state they need.

When North Dakota communities and school districts are being straitjacketed by an ongoing jihad on property tax levies, local option sales taxes are already maxed out, and no other means of replacement income is available, say a local income tax — how are communities to cope?  Bond issues?  And when the next oil crash comes, why do our local governments get to hold that bag, instead of the state, or the transients that created the demand for local services in the first place?

Real Estate Hucksters invade Grand Forks

Move over Goldmark, there’s a new slumlord in town: The shady developer behind Grand Forks’ new privatized dorm, “The Grove,” has failed to build its complex on time, and will instead be clogging regional hotels. Property owner Campus Crest isn’t talking to the media, and has a history of irresponsible behaviour across the country.

Recently, a similar new property, ManCave, was forced to take down banners from city bridges after illegally stringing them up over I-29 and DeMers. All of this being symptoms of A) The University Tuition Bubble and B) The near-complete inability of the University of North Dakota Housing Office to not suck at their jobs.

Simplot Strikers Swing Signs Saturday

Strikers on Gateway

Members of Teamsters Local 120 strike outside the J.R. Simplot potato plant in Grand Forks, 9 August 2014.

The partly cloudy skies and 28 °C heat index made for a muggy but tolerable afternoon on the picket line; Simplot workers in Grand Forks have been on strike since Monday.

Around 2pm Saturday, about a dozen members and supporters were present along Gateway Drive between the Simplot plant and the North Side Café, happy to chat with the occasional visitor along the northside frontage road.

The labour action is about hours, healthcare, and retirement benefits. According to reports, the company was insisting on cuts. With any luck, an agreement can be reached before the annual Potato Bowl Fry Feed on September 4.

Remember Lac-Mégantic

Remember Lac-Mégantic.  Ron Schalow does. He’s petitioning the state to finally do something about explosive Bakken crude.

I know a lot of North Dakotans aren’t exactly jazzed about our well-to-do Canadian neighbours, who still have a middle class and the spending money to overwork our underpaid retailers.  Fewer still must pay any attention at all to the distant province of Québec, but North Dakota has an important connection with them:

We killed 57 Québecois with our oil. We are guilty of negligent mass homicide.

We killed them because we failed to do anything about natural gas flaring.  We killed them because we failed to build pipelines.  We killed them because we failed to regulate our oil development, to keep it within the bounds of our infrastructure, to keep oil development focused on the public interest and public safety.

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