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Friday, November 02, 2018


DEVELOP AN AUTHENTIC ND BRAND  Among advertising professionals there is general agreement that a successful advertising slogan or brand must be genuine.  The advertising must reflect the real reputation and strengths of the product or entity it represents — it should be believable.  ND has been using the brand “Legendary” which has recently been refreshed to “Be Legendary.”  Does anyone know what that means?  Is there any obvious association with the state?  Over 700 design professionals and businesses have signed a letter asking the state to pull back and reconsider the logo.  While their main objection seems to be to the appearance of the logo, I urge the state to go even further and reconsider the authenticity of the “legendary” brand.  ND has real strengths and values — incorporate them in a brand.

HEARTLAND REGIONAL STUDY  The study was conducted by the Brookings Institute and covered 19 states.  The period was 2010-2016, a time when the oil boom caused the ND economy to grow sharply, until low oil prices created a dip.  Despite the dip, jobs, wages and population in ND grew strongly during the period — poverty decreased.   ND ended the period with the country’s highest GDP per capita, $70,000, versus a national average of $57,000.  The study showed Minnesota leading the heartland states in education and health.

FORUM ENDORSEMENTS  An editorial in Forum papers endorsed Kevin Cramer for the U.S. Senate (“his conservative views are in sync with North Dakota voters, who appreciate his candor”) and Kelly Armstrong for the U.S. House (“provides the right background and approach”). 

SURPRISE BLUNDER  Mike Jacobs, one of ND’s most veteran political observers, has maintained U.S. Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp “could deliver a slim victory on Election Day.”  He is sliding away from that prediction attributing the change, in part, to a surprise blunder by Heitkamp’s campaign, which earned the ire of women included without permission in one of her campaign ads.  Jacobs says the blunder, plus polls favoring Cramer, is causing national interest to shift away from the ND race.

THE U.S. SUPREME COURT allowed a new ND voter ID requirement which has its biggest impact on reservation Indians.  Tribal authorities are issuing free IDs to mitigate the impact.  But the farther you get from ND, the more the requirement is viewed as a threat to the reelection of Heitkamp and control of the Senate.  The New York Times wrote: “It is an extraordinary situation: The electoral process thrown into chaos at the last minute in a state that will help decide which party controls the Senate.”  The NYT said further, “She’s behind in the polls, and if turnout is low among American Indians . . . it will be all but impossible for her to win.”   

AG COMMISSIONER  The U.S. Senate race in ND overshadows all other races this year.  The Senate race is closely followed in ND, but also nationally because of its possible effect on control of the Senate.  The race for state agriculture commissioner between incumbent Doug Goehring and state senator Jim Dotzenrod is one of the overshadowed races.  Former ag commissioner Sarah Vogel said that office “is one of the biggest economic development offices in North Dakota, and I would submit that it is right up there with the governor for the capacity to influence business.”   The office derives much of its influence from the ag commissioner’s position on the three-man Industrial Commission which oversees 13 separate entities, including those governing agriculture and energy.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY FARGODOME.  The dome is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.  Young in human terms, but aging in the world of domes.  As new domes pop up in other cities, the Fargo City Commission must consider what is needed to keep their dome competitive.  More circulation space and bathrooms head the list.  New seats -- maybe. 

DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE litigation has a long tail.  State and federal criminal suits are just are winding down.  Two years later, defendants in federal suits are entering plea deals, rather than face more serious outcomes.  Dion Ortiz (22) of a New Mexico tribe was sentenced to 16 months this week under a plea deal for setting fire to a bridge.  In a long-shot suit, several individuals from the Standing Rock Reservation are suing Morton County and a security contractor for shutting down a highway during demonstrations.

A THREAT  “If the system doesn’t respond, we will act to protect our water and future generations. This is a time of necessity. We will see thousands of people come” to protest. — Minnesota Indian activist Winona LaDuke threatening demonstrations (if the Enbridge pipeline is approved) like those against the Dakota Access Pipeline in ND.  The Enbridge pipeline is an election issue in the current Minnesota governor’s race.

LATEST WORD ON ASHBY COOP  The death spiral of the Ashby Farmers Cooperative in Ashby, Minnesota, has been mentioned previously.  The collapse is the result of a multi-million dollar fraud by the general manager, who is presently missing.  Another example of the cluelessness of the directors surfaced this week.  The elevator has 300,000 bushels of permanent storage capacity, but only 5,000 bushels of grain could be found.  The manager is believed to have sold grain held for storage.  A state legislator said this had not been the only elevator fraud in the region, but it was by far the biggest.  The elevator property is being sold in the bankruptcy process.  There will more developments next week.

DAKTOIDS:  A poll indicates the passage of ND Measure 3 (recreational marijuana) depends on strong support from voters under 50 . . . The UND aviation school has agreements with major airlines for pilot training — UND has arrangements with Delta, UAL and Sun Country . . . American Crystal is short of workers for the fall sugar beet harvest — entry level workers in Drayton are offered $18 an hour . . . Hockey fans from around the nation are streaming to Las Vegas for tomorrow night’s match between UND and Minnesota.

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