In County commissioners need to engage partners when considering where to build highway shop, Caledonia Argus editor Daniel McGonigle considers the toll that years of conflict--including battles over frac sand mining regulations--have taken on the process of governing in Houston County.
Although McGonigle spent some time in 2007 working at the Argus, much of his career as newspaperman was spent in towns in West Central Minnesota. He returned to Caledonia in 2014.
He stepped in a county torn apart, and has taken some attacks himself since returning, he writes:
I have come to expect the lack of respect shown by our Houston County commissioners of the very people they were elected to serve.
In my opinion, they have let the narrative become personal. On many levels I understand this emotion.
I am attacked personally for my work here in Houston County more than at any other time in my 15 years of working at small town newspapers.
I have been called names that I cannot repeat in print more times than I care to count, and I have only been here 12 calendar months.
I, however, am simply doing my job, reporting. I often respond to my critics with “I am just the messenger.”
As the narrative at the county level has also become personal in nature, and attacks on the character of the elected officials continue, I believe their ability to govern void of emotion has become affected.
The issue at hand is the placement of a county highway department building, but as McGonigle mentions:
The county, burned by years of battering on issues like frac sand mining, seem to simply be saying “process be damned,” we are moving forward whether you like it or not.
Photo: Dan McGonigle, photo by DeAnna McCabe via The Caledonia Argus.
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