Tracker Pixel for Entry

Piepkorn wins the Breitbart lotto

by Raul Gomez | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | August 9th, 2017

Our opinion: More than serendipity: Breitbart writer at City Commission meeting

Last October 22nd, Fargo made a headline in Breitbart news when City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn made an announcement at a commission meeting that took place on October 10th. He wanted to know how much is paid for each refugee that settles here, who decides how many are settled here and does Lutheran Social Services have any responsibility once a placement is made.

It was a meeting like any other, except for a couple things. Then-candidate Trump was also making headlines with his anti-immigrant and anti-refugee statements, so it seemed like a wild coincidence that Mr. Piepkorn would be bringing up issues so closely tied to the election. What seemed like an even crazier coincidence, double-lightning-strike sorta crazy, was that Breitbart writer Lee Stranahan happened to be there too. Earlier this year in an interview with C.S. Hagen, Mr. Piepkorn denied he had spoken to Breitbart news prior to their arrival at the city commission meeting.

The article headline read “Refugee Resettlement Is a Hot Topic in the Heartland.” It cites concerns over tuberculosis, a statement that resonates with the age-old fear of immigrants and their diseases pouring into the country.

We at the HPR often run into strange coincidences, but there are times when they pile up so high we have to ask if there is some sort of “intelligent” design. We find it so strange that commissioners would be grandstanding about the same topic used in a closely fought election. And I ask you, good reader, isn’t it a strange and magical world we live in when that same day, never to return again, there just so happens to be a Breitbart writer there to catch it?

This is troubling for many reasons, but the one that sticks in my craw is the possibility that a local official might have a telepathic connection with a Breitbart writer and it’s dang creepy.

It’s a head scratcher for sure. So we at HPR, believing in coincidences but not magic, thought it would be a good idea to make a Freedom of Information Act request on the commissioner’s emails. Unfortunately for us, the records only went back as for as November.

Well, that’s the end of that

We gave it a shot: no emails, no story, and that’s where it ends, right? Well, not really.

On August 4th the City of Fargo put out a press release outlining HPR’s request for the email communications between Mr. Piepkorn and one Breitbart writer with uncanny timing. The press release ends with the note “Commissioner Piepkorn requested that this information be provided to members of the media.”

Piepkorn then goes on the Flag morning show to discuss our interest in his emails. “What do you think High Plains Reader was looking for by getting into your emails?” Piepkorn responds by saying “You would have to ask them, but I’ll give you my opinion, obviously they’re trying to discredit me, doing whatever they can to do that.

“What they thought was that Steve Bannon, as you know, who is active on the President’s staff. I think what they thought that they were basically telling me what to do and giving me instructions when actually if you look back at the initial executive orders for refugee restrictions, they actually used quite a bit of my material in the original one, so that is what went down.”

Wait, what? Is Dave Piepkorn taking partial credit for a presidential order?

“That’s very flattering, obviously to be a humble little city commissioner in Fargo, North Dakota is pretty cool.” he continued.

Totally humble, Mr. Piepkorn, and quite a news story if you ask me. But here’s my problem with the statement. No story ever came of our Freedom of Information Act request so where’s the discrediting coming from?

The only person discrediting Dave Piepkorn is Dave Piepkorn. Dave is the guy coming out trying to place a price tag on every refugee’s forehead so he can stare at it and determine if they have the right to be here.

Which by the way led to an unsuccessful recall effort led by a group of immigrants.

And frankly who could blame them? A city leader is playing politics and using them as scapegoats.

It seems strange to us that Dave Piepkorn thinks it’s okay to start pricing out the cost of people living in our community. What’s next, the cost of Mexicans? What about the Irish?

It is unclear why Mr. Piepkorn decided to send out a press release that HPR was looking into his email. Was it an attempt at intimidation? Was it to let us know that he knew what we did last summer?

Whatever his reasons, we at HPR have ours. It’s our job, our duty as media to question activity built on a series of politically opportune coincidences.

Recently in:

FARGO – Republican optimism for enlisting Senate candidates is suffering blow after blow. Democrats have flipped eight Republican-controlled state legislative seats across the nation, from Roy Moore’s loss to former federal…

When I was a young boy of five I was lucky enough to have a black and white TV in our house. I had a lot of friends in those day because I let the whole neighborhood come over on Saturday morning to watch cartoons. I distinctly…

Wednesday, January 24, 6pmFargo Theatre, 314 Broadway NThe very first showing of “Homegrown: From Farm to Fargo,” a half-hour documentary shot, written, edited and produced by mass communication and journalism students at…

Last week I was asked to appear and speak on behalf of Matt Pausch, owner of the Oasis, before the Public Works and Safety Committee in Wahpeton. The Pausches are great people and I will never forget the time I spent at the Oasis.…

Corky had a knee replaced in late December and she has been diligently doing the physical therapy connected with the rehab. Although the operation was done in Fargo, I imagine the procedure would have cost about the same if it had…

Rhombus GuysWhile they may be known locally and throughout the region for their restaurants, which feature over thirty different pizzas, and their recent addition of a brewery in Grand Forks, Rhombus Guys also proudly pour from a…

Do you eat enough vegetables? Almost no one does. The current USDA nutrition guidelines for adults recommend 2.5 to 3 cups of vegetables to be eaten daily. Other nutrition sources indicate this number can be upwards of 6 cups of…

No one who has lived in Fargo for any length of time has to be told how bitterly cold it can get here during the winter. As much as we might complain about the cold temperatures, the biting winds, or the copious amounts of snow, we…

Now playing on Netflix Instant Watch, Voyeur is the curious story of strange bedfellows Gay Talese -- the once influential and celebrated journalist -- and Gerald Foos, a creepy peeper who spied on the guests at his hotel,…

High Plains Reader: How did the idea for Daily Trump Cartoon come to you -- what was your call to action?Peter Yuenger: It wasn't really a call to action, It was more of a New Year’s resolution to get back in the habit of drawing…

Smoke starts to seep from the sides of the stage and a rocker’s voice echoes over the crowd: “Are you ready to rock?!”You might think that you’re at a rock concert, if you weren’t seated in a black box theatre. For the…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

“What are some of your favorite bottles of whiskey?” is a question I get asked quite frequently and is often harder to answer than one might think. One of the great rewards of my profession is getting to sample some of the…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu“Kissing a man without a beard is like eating an egg without salt.”— Dutch proverb, probably written by a man.“Kissing a man with a beard is like going on a picnic. You don’t mind going…