Chairperson of the Recall Dave Piepkorn Committee discusses explains why he thinks Commissioner Piepkorn needs to be voted out of office.

Chris Berg:
A GROUP IS LOOKING RECALL DAVE PIEPCORN BECAUSE HE WANTS THE FACTS, THE TRUTH, THE DATA ON THE IMPACT OF REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT RIGHT HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY. SO THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE RECALL JOINS US HERE TONIGHT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

Andrew Lenzmeier:
THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

CB:
WHY DO YOU WANT TO RECALL COMMISSIONER PEPCORN?

AL:
DAVE HAS BEEN ON A CERTAIN PATH TARGETING THE REFUGEE COMMUNITY AND TARGETING SPECIFIC INFORMATION THAT DOESN'T CURRENTLY EXIST IN ORDER TO, IN OUR VIEW, POTENTIALLY FURTHER HIS POLITICAL CAMPAIGN. THE WAY THAT HE'S BEATING HIS DRUM HAS BEEN DAMAGING THE REPUTATION OF FARGO.

CB:
HOW, SPECIFICALLY?

AL:
HE'S BEEN ON BREITBART THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, HE'S GIVING THE CITY OF FARGO A NEGATIVE --

CB:
YOU JUST SAID YOURSELF, WE DON'T HAVE THE DATA. WHAT'S WRONG WITH GETTING THE FACTS AND DATA.

AL:
NOTHING IS WRONG WITH THAT.

CB:
SO WHY RECALL HIM?

AL:
THERE WAS A BILL RECENTLY PASSED SETTING UP A STUDY TO LOOK INTO THIS. DAVID HIMSELF REQUESTED A STUDY THAT JUST CAME OUT ON THURSDAY, WHICH HE DIDN'T LIKE THE RESULTS OF, AND HE TOOK OFF TO MEXICO AND SKIPPED THE CITY COMMISSIONER MEETING.

CB:
SO FORMER DIRECTOR OF MLS RAN THIS STUDY. DO YOU THINK IT'S REAL DATA?

AL:
YEAH, IT'S REAL INFORMATION.

CB:
IS THERE A DIFFERENT BETWEEN AN IMMIGRANT AND A REFUGEE?

AL:
YES.

CB:
WHAT IS IT?

AL:
A REFUGEE IS SOMEONE WHO COMES OVER HERE FLEEING THEIR CONDITIONS BACK HOME BECAUSE THEY NO LONGER HAVE ONE.

CB:
WHAT IS AN IMMIGRANT?

AL:
AN IMMIGRANT IS SOMEBODY WHO COMES OVER --

CB:
ON THEIR OWN VOLITION?

AL:
NOT NECESSARILY, BUT IN GENERAL.

CB:
TYPICALLY.

SO THIS IS REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT. THE AVERAGE FIRST GENERATION IMMIGRATION. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE. SO THIS IS PURE PROPAGANDA. SO I WANT TO GET TO WHAT YOU HAVE ON YOUR WEBSITE CALLED RECALL DAVE. YOU HAVE THE FACTS. WE CAN BRING THIS UP. I WANT TO SHARE WHAT YOU HAVE. YOU SAY IN 2016, THE REFUGEE'S RESETTLEMENT PROGRAM IS A MANDATE. THIS IS FALSE. LET ME SHARE WHY I DON'T THINK IT'S FALSE.

49% OF THE REFUGEES IN THE FARGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS USE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS PROGRAM. THAT PROGRAM, TOTAL COST, WE CAN BRING THIS UP. $2. 7 MILLION. THIS IS ACCORDING TO FARGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS. 719,000 OF THAT IS PAID FOR BY THE STATE AND FED. THE REST IS LOCAL FUNDING. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT AN UNFUNDED MANDATE IS.

40% OF THE KIDS ARE BORN HERE.

$1 MILLION OF THAT, 49% USED BY REFUGEES.

DOES IT SAY HOW MANY REFUGEES ARE IN THE COMMUNITY?

AL:
IT DOESN'T SAY HOW MANY PEOPLE LEGALLY BORN HERE CAN USE THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

CB:
LEGALLY BORN AND A REFUGEE IS A PRETTY BIG DISTINCTION?

AL:
ABSOLUTELY. TALKING SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE PROGRAM. IT'S LESS THAN 2% OF THE ENTIRE BUDGET FOR THE SCHOOL DISTRICT. IT'S 21 TEACHERS --

CB:
ALL RIGHT. DON'T TRY TO SPIN ME.

AL:
I'M NOT SPINNING.

CB:
ON YOUR WEBSITE, THE FACTS –

AL:
IT'S CERTAINLY NOT PROPAGANDA. IT'S FACTS.

CB:
IT IS PROPAGANDA WHEN YOU TRY TO PUT IMMIGRANT WITH REFUGEE, THEY'RE NOT THE SAME THING. YOU ALREADY TOLD ME THAT.

AL:
THE STUDY STARTS SAYING THAT IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO GET THE FACTS ABOUT REFUGEES AND SPLIT THAT AWAY FROM IMMIGRANTS BECAUSE REFUGEES ARE A TYPE OF IMMIGRANT. THEY COME OVER HERE FOR A VERY SPECIFIC REASON.

CB:
THIS IS WHY PEOPLE GET UPSET WITH THIS WHOLE CONVERSATION, BECAUSE YOU JUST TOLD ME, CHRIS, WE CAN'T GET THE DATA. THEN YOU GUYS PUT ON A WEBSITE, HEY, LET'S GET THE FACTS.

AL:
THE DATA --

CB:
HOLD ON A SECOND, SIR. YOU'RE SAYING HERE ARE THE FACTS. YOU'RE CALLING DAVE PEPCORN A LIAR. THAT IT'S FALSE. AN UNFUNDED MANDATE.

CAN YOU BRING THE DATA BACK UP. I'LL ASK YOU AGAIN. DO THE LOCAL PEOPLE IN FARGO HAVE ANY SAY -- 49% OF THIS IS REFUGEES. SO LET'S YOU AND I BE GENERAL FOR FUNDING SAKE. FUNDING IS BEING USED TO EDUCATE REFUGEES. IF THEY'RE GOING TO COME HERE, THEY SHOULD BE EDUCATED.

AL:
THOSE CLASSES WOULD ALREADY EXIST.

CB:
DON'T SPIN ME. SIR, YES OR NO.

AL:
NO. AND THERE'S A REASON FOR THAT.

CB:
THEY DON'T. IT'S AN UNFUNDED MANDATE --

AL:
WHEN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT APPROVES THEM TO COME OVER HERE, THEY BECOME LEGAL RESIDENTS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THEY HAVE A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO TRAVEL. A LOT OF FOLKS COME TO FARGO BECAUSE WE HAVE BIG HEALTHY COMMUNITIES. 50% OF REFUGEES COMING HERE ARE REUNITING WITH FAMILY MEMBERS. A CLOSE FRIEND OF MINE, HIS MOTHER CAME OVER HERE AS A REFUGEE. SHE SAVED FOR SEVEN YEARS. SHE CAME OVER AS AN IMMIGRANT. HE'S BEEN HERE THREE YEARS. HE'S NOT A CITIZEN YET. HE'S HELPING FOLKS GET JOBS.

CB:
WHY DON'T WE TALK ABOUT THE FACTS. I DON'T KNOW IF WE HAVE THIS ONE. ANOTHER FACT ON YOUR WEBSITE. OCTOBER 10TH, 2016, THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT ADMINISTRATOR FOR THE CITY OF FARGO PRESENTED THE RESULTS FROM HIS EXAMINATION ON REFUGEE COSTS TO THE CITY OF FARGO. I GO THROUGH THIS DOCUMENT. WE'LL PUT IT UP ON OUR WEBSITE. HE EVEN SAYS IN HIS DOCUMENT THESE NUMBERS INCLUDE BOTH IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES. THIS INFLATION CREATES IT TO BE FAKE NEWS. IT'S NOT TRUE.

AL:
THE PERSON COMPETING THE NUMBERS IS DAVE PIEPCORN. THE REPORT ITSELF IS VERY CLEAR.

CB:
FROM DAN MALLEY, THIS SAYS IMMIGRANTS AND REFUGEES -- I WILL ALSO GIVE YOU ANOTHER IDEA. WE'LL HAVE THIS UP ON OUR WEBSITE. IT DOES NOT TRACK WHO IS AND WHO IS NOT A REFUGEE. WE DON'T HAVE THAT DATA.

AL:
BECAUSE REFUGEES, AS WELL AS PEOPLE ON NATIONAL ORIGIN ARE PROTECTED -- IT'S INFORMATION THAT DOESN'T EXIST YET. THERE'S RECOMMENDATION TO IMPROVE THE CITY'S DATA ON HOW PROGRAMS ARE IMPACTING REFUGEES AND HOW THEY'RE AFFECTING THE COMMUNITY AND HOW WE CAN MOVE FORWARD AND HELP PEOPLE INTEGRATE INTO THE COMMUNITY. CERTAINLY RUNNING AROUND CHASING DATA THAT DOES NOT EXIST CURRENTLY IS NOT THE RIGHT WAY TO GO ABOUT IT. THERE'S A STUDY THAT'S LIKELY TO BE FUNDED AT THE STATE LEVEL THAT'S GOING TO LOOK INTO THESE ISSUES. IT'S SOMETHING THAT HAS TO HAPPEN DOWN THE LINE. BANGING ON A DRUM AND SAYING, WE NEED NUMBERS NOW IS NOT FACTS ON THE GROUND.

CB:
OKAY. SOME MIGHT SAY DAVE HELP GET THAT BILL PASSED. WE'LL MOVE ON.

AL:
THE ORIGINAL BILL, A LOT OF FOLKS HERE IN FARGO, A LOT OF REPRESENTATIVES HELPED CHANGE THAT BILL INTO THE STUDY THAT CURRENTLY EXISTS.

CB:
SO LET'S DO THE STATEWIDE STUDY AND GET THE DATA. AND THE DATA SHOW, OH MY GOSH, REFUGEES ARE A HUGE BOOM TO THE ECONOMY. WE SHOULD BE DOING MORE TO ASSIST REFUGEES. GUESS WHAT, THE DATA COULD SHOW WE SHOULD BE DOING MORE FOR REFUGEES. SO WHY ARE YOU RECALLING DAVE PEPCORN?

AL:
IT'S HIS PERFORMANCE AS A CITY COMMISSIONER. THE STEP TOO FAR WAS HIS DRUM BEATING ACCUSING THE LARGEST RELIGIOUS SOCIAL SERVICES OF CONSPIRACY, THAT THEIR INDEPENDENT AUDITOR WAS MISHANDLING THE ACCOUNT AND TRYING TO DO A STATE AUDIT OF THEM. HE'S LIED ABOUT SOCIAL SERVICES IN TERMS OF THE COST OF THEIR FARGO HEADQUARTERS. HE SAID IT COSTS THREE TIMES WHAT IT ACTUALLY COSTS. EXAGGERATING THE CEO'S INCOME --

CB:
SO HE'S GIVING OUT BAD DATA. YOU'RE GIVING OUT NO DATA.

AL:
WE'RE A RECALL COMMISSION. THERE ARE FOLKS LOOKING INTO THE ISSUE. WE HAVE A CITY TRYING TO HELP FORWARD THIS. THIS IS A PETITION THAT CAME FROM THE IMMIGRANT COMMUNITY. THERE'S A LOT OF SYMPATHETIC FOLKS. LUTHERAN AND CATHOLICS HAVE BEEN GIVING THEIR TIME. THAT'S THE DIRECTION WE NEED TO GO.

CB:
WE'RE GOING TO HAVE YOU BACK. WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME RIGHT NOW. THANKS FOR BEING HERE. WILL YOU COME BACK?

AL:
YES.



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