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Published March 03 2013

Forum editorial: Deniers of reality win weeds

Leafy spurge: To the deniers of the new realities caused by the oil boom in North Dakota. Consider last week’s news: Williston, in the heart of the boom, had its bond rating lowered from A- to BBB+ by Standard & Poor’s Rating Service, calling the outlook for the city “poor.” Not to worry responded Williston officials. No big deal because interest rates are so low the rating reduction won’t make much difference when the city borrows, which it has been doing a lot of in order to keep up with oil boom demands. Of course, that reaction assumes interest rates will remain at historic lows, which is unlikely. Another indication: The Gallup survey dropped North Dakota out of its top 10 high-quality-of-life states, from No. 2 to No. 19. That’s quite a fall. The criteria Gallup used include life evaluation and work environment, the categories that reflect some of the problems associated with rapid oil development in the west, such as crime rates. It’s a tad dishonest to try to put a happy face on the obvious effects of industrialization and population growth brought on by the oil boom.

Prairie roses: To Rep. Jessica Haak, D-Jamestown, and Rep. Al Carlson, R-Fargo, who handled Haak’s clumsy and offensive Twitter post with civility and style. Haak called Carlson “a Nazi” after the majority leader instructed her not to tweet things happening on the North Dakota House floor. She responded with the “Nazi” hashtag, an unfortunate and frankly juvenile reaction. She apologized to the full House and to Carlson, after he said he wanted her to do so because the House “has a set of rules we have to follow.” After her apology, Carlson noted how difficult it was for her to apologize and said “we can’t let personalities get in the way of policy.” Haak learned a valuable lesson, and Carlson handled the situation well.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.