Anti-Walz Billboard in Fosston Gains National Attention
JT Thaden | Jul 27, 2020 AT 7:08 am
FOSSTON (KDLM) - A billboard in Fosston over the weekend gained national attention.
A group calling itself “Rocks & Cows of the North” placed a digital billboard in the city of Fosston portraying a man looking up his own rear with the caption "Governor Walz - Northern Minnesota is trying to see things from your point of view".
The billboard received a lot of attention over the weekend both positive and negative. So much attention was garnered that Mayor Jim Offerdahl and the city of Fosston were forced to make a statement about the billboard saying the city has nothing to do with the sign.
Today I have received messages from media and individuals asking if The City of Fosston demanded that the advertisement placed on the digital sign at the west entrance to the City be taken down. I have not spoken with anyone at the sign company about the ad. In fact the City Council has not discussed it and as of my writing this I have not spoken to any of the councilmen other than Councilman Dufault about it.
Myself, Councilman Dufault and Administrator Heide released a joint statement yesterday after we received numerous complaints from local residents and businesses that the advertisement and the image used reflects poorly on the City. We also received numerous complaints blaming the City for allowing it which of course we have no say in. We also received messages questioning if the City had placed the ad so we felt it important for us to make a statement to clarify that the City has nothing to do with the advertisement and does not own or control the sign itself. That statement was posted on the City’s Facebook page yesterday.
I do support the group’s first amendment right to purchase the advertisement. I am equally frustrated by the Governor’s handling of the State’s response to the pandemic by making it a one size fits all approach. Northern Minnesota is vastly different from the metro. Early in the pandemic I offered the City Council a resolution that passed unanimously which requested the Governor allow us to locally control the reopening of businesses which to my knowledge we never received a reply to.
I too was offended by the Governor’s poor choice of words when he referred to rural Minnesota as “it’s mostly rocks and cows that are in that red area”. I am proud to have been born and raised in that red area of rural Minnesota here in Fosston. Clearly there is much more to it than rocks and cows. Most important the many hard working people that picked the rocks to grow the hay to feed the cows and everyone else that is part of our agriculture economy that remains the single biggest part of the economy of Fosston.
As Mayor however I do feel the image used was being seen by people as a reflection on the City adding to our feeling the need to make the statement that we did.