Eliot Glassheim talks Congress & Polling Stations

Eliot Glasshiem
Politician, Entrepreneur, Newspaper Columnist

Longtime Grand Forks politician and now a columnist for the Grand Forks Herald Eliot Glassheim joins us to talk (1) Federal Assistance after disasters and the requirements that need to go with that aid, (2) what “regular order” means in Congress, (3) the challenge that Senator Heidi Heitkamp ahead of her as she seek reelection to the US Senate and (4) his frustration at the Grand Forks City Council’s decision to have only one polling station for the November 2017 Sales Tax vote.


Eliot Glasshiem

Eliot Glasshiem joined us to discuss reforms to the US Constitution.  Should political parties be prohibited, have they outlived their usefulness?  Should political campaigns be entirely funded by Federal/State/Local funds so those elected can execute their duties in the best interests of The People who they are elected to represent.  We’ll talk about it.

We also discuss the parameters for the upcoming debate for increasing the sales tax in Grand Forks.


Terry Bjerke

My former Grand Forks City Council colleague Terry Bjerke joined the program to talk the prospects of a new sales tax discussion in Grand Forks. Terry is no stranger to the the details of this discussion and walks us through what he believes to be the basics of the any substantive discussion on additional revenue for the City:

  1. ASSUMPTION:  Declining City Sales Tax Revenue & declining State Infrastructure Funding will both return to “historically normal” levels within five years
  2. REVIEW & DEFINE RESERVES HELD IN THE FOLLOWING ACCOUNTS:   Loan & Stabilization, Economic Development, JDA, Cash Carryover
  3. DEFINE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS TO BE FUNDED:  a finite prioritized list of those projects to be funded by additional taxes levied on the citizens of Grand Forks

With these fiscal pieces in place, Terry believes an empirically based debate can be held on the size and length of additional taxes that the City may need to levy on the citizens of Grand Forks.

Wednesday, June 07 2017 — Hour 2: ARBOR PARK — Ken Vein

Ken Vein
GF City Council
Ward 7

Grand Forks City Council Member Ken Vein joined us today to discuss the Arbor Park issue and his hopes for the vote.  While Ken was on we also discussed his thoughts relative to 20 years after the Flood of 1997 — Ken was the City Engineer at the time and on of the “Tri-Chairs” who made critical decisions in the aftermath of the flood.

Vein discusses his thoughts on downtown development and what it means for Grand Forks to be “open for business.”



Doug Christensen
Former Grand Forks City Council member

The longtime Grand Forks lawyer and former Grand Forks City Council joins us to discuss issues the City has faced since the Flood of 1997 in Grand Forks.

Doug discusses the Grand Forks City Council going from fourteen members to seven members, the decision to rebuild downtown, the landfill and the bumpy road that any community travels as it recovers from a catastrophic event.

We also discuss that big infrastructure bill and how to pay for it.

20 YEARS LATER: Hal Gershman

Hal Gershman

Hal Gershman, the owner/President of Happy Harry’s Bottle Shops, former President of the Grand Forks City Council and current member of the Alerus Commission joins us to discuss his work since the Flood of 1997 in Grand Forks.

Hal discusses the Grand Forks City Council going from fourteen members to seven members, the decision to rebuild downtown and the bumpy road that any community travels as it recovers from a catastrophic event.

We’ll also get a quick Alerus Commission update.

A GREAT thoughtful interview.

20 YEARS LATER: Steve Wasvick

Steve Wasvick
Bergstrom Electric
President, Grand Fork Planning & Zoning Commission

Steve Wasvick, Bergstrom Electric’s Branch Manager in Grand Forks and the President of the Grand Forks Planning and Zoning Commission joins us to discuss the work he did leading up to the Flood of 1997 and the then the work during the Flood and Post-Flood.  Steve represents the huge number of contractors that worked tirelessly for months without days off to restore services to citizens in need.


Eliot Glasshiem

How did the State of ND get into the revenue situation it’s in currently?  Longtime Grand Forks Council-member and North Dakota State Representative Eliot Glasshiem joins MacTalk to offer his rationale as to the structural mistakes that our legislators made.

Eliot talks us through how the Republicans majority had “the wrong mindset” relative to revenue and how they created structural flaws in the way the State now collects revenue — which has help create the budget situation the State is currently experiencing.



AL GRASSER TALKS INFRASTRUCTURE PRIORITIES: 47th Avenue South Interchange first, then the 42nd Street Underpass

Al Grasser
City of Grand Forks

Al Grasser, the Engineer for the City of Grand Forks joined MacTalk today for a discussion on Infrastructure Priorities, here are some of the highlights:

Transition Infrastructure Priorities:  If Grand Forks City Engineer had to prioritize transportation projects the I-29 Interchange at 47th Avenue South would be at the top of the list, followed by the underpass at 42nd Street.

The interchange at 47th Avenue South:  Grasser explained the linkage to 32nd Avenue South, without the interchange, 32nd has to be made substantially wider to accommodate traffic that would otherwise be diverted by such an interchange.

The underpass at 42nd Avenue South:  Grasser cited the population growth via apartments on 42nd between Demers Avenue and Gateway Drive and longer trains that are up to one quarter of a mile longer than trains of the past, which take more time to clear the intersection.

How will City Street repairs be funded:  A 50/50 Split of City Funds and Special Assessments would fund the repair of local streets which he knows won’t be popular.

An interesting interview that has big implications for the City’s upcoming sales tax vote.




Ken Vein
GF City Council
Ward 7

When asked to assign the City Infrastructure a grade Ward 7 Council Member Ken Vein gave it a “C” grade  relative to the condition of its infrastructure.

Ward 7 Council Member Ken Vein join MacTalk today to  discuss infrastructure needs in Grand Forks from streets, the underpasses to off ramps, stating bluntly that the City needs to focus on infrastructure.

When asked if he had a prioritized list of infrastructure projects Vein responded “streets,” along with infrastructure related to “growth” coming second.  “It’s probably cheaper for us put in a 47th  to relieve the congestion on 32nd and leave it as the existing four lanes than it is.   It’s probably a better alternative do 47th and plan for the additional growth on the south end.”   Additionally, he discussed replacing University Avenue which has been repeatedly milled and overlayed.

If no additional sales tax is levied, the funds to do infrastructure will come from utility bills via the City Council hiking rates and special assessment for roads or you simply don’t do them.