The Bismarck Tribune reported earlier today that the Bismarck Historical Society will celebrate the city’s 146th birthday at its annual Founder’s Day program. As part of the event, they will be “recognizing and honoring Bismarck’s mayors”. This will include a round table discussion that will feature four of Bismarck’s five living mayors.
Included in the program will be current mayor, Mike Seminary. It’s no secret that Seminary hasn’t exactly been a pillar of popularity or bastion of principle. Just over a year ago, a recall effort was in place in hopes of relieving him of his duties. And for good reasons. One of the most egregious was Seminary’s comments to NoDAPL protesters in September of 2016:
“…on behalf of the City of Bismarck, I want to thank you for being here today. I personally stand in solidarity with you. You have chosen this day to be here to stand up for what is right.”
You can see the despicable display here:
The mayor later tried to explain it away, said it was time for protesters to go home, and even used the term “terrorists”. But for many the damage had been done. Seminary came across to some as a political opportunist and disingenuous.
Of course, Seminary’s comments to the protesters isn’t the only issue that has been problematic for some folks in Bismarck. During his own “Livability Summit” – in March of last year – Seminary shared the results of a survey in which it could be argued that it’s evidence of how out of touch he is. Whether it was the desire for affordable housing, good schools, or more green space – among other things – none of it reflected well on the mayor and the city commission. You can see more about that here.
Giving tax breaks to those in Bismarck’s “Renaissance Zone”, while pricing people out of their home through special assessments, also didn’t go over well. Nor has Bismarck’s reported $222 million of debt that was reported last July. Then there’s Seminary’s questionable behavior regarding the corrupt practices law and complaints of him stifling dissent. We were even contacted by employees of the City of Bismarck who complained about the mayor’s inappropriately gathering re-election signatures.
Just a week ago, Mike Seminary’s arrogance was on full display in a debate with his opponents, Steve Bakken and Isaac Afoakwa. Of course, this was no surprise to us. We wrote about another example of this in a news conference he held just over a year ago.
“Seminary simply comes across as desperate, arrogant, and out of touch. Given the fact that it appears the equivalent of over 25% of voters in the last mayoral election signed a petition for his removal, I would think a dose of humility and willingness to at least understand those who oppose him would be in order. But no, it seems he has just buckled down and is going to portray himself as the mayor that can do no wrong.”
Things seemingly haven’t changed in the last twelve months or so.
It’s understandable that some want to celebrate the city’s birthday. And perhaps there’s mayors that are worthy of honoring. Unfortunately, we don’t believe that Mike Seminary is one of them.