I have not wanted to write about the Dickinson Mafia until now. No, I am not joking about the Dickinson Mafia, though they are a joke. They are a group of business owners and a few of the city leaders that try to decide and control what happens in Dickinson. Though I could name them, I won’t, yet.
The Dickinson Mafia have agreed more or less amongst themselves what they envision for Dickinson. They tell themselves and each other that they are looking out for the best interest of Dickinson and its citizens, but it is amazing how this coincides with making themselves richer and trying to control other people for their benefit and to maintain their power.
Two of the members of the Dickinson Mafia own large local companies. Even now, their wages are low in comparison to what out-of-state companies and corporations operating in Dickinson pay. These two large local companies attempt to pay skilled tradesmen and educated professionals the same wages as entry-level workers at Burger King, Wendys, and Wal-Mart here in Dickinson. For the last thirty years they have treated their workers like slaves, paying them meager wages so that they live pay check to pay check with no chance of saving enough money to start their own business, or to leave Dickinson and not live pay check to pay check. Paying low wages ensures that these workers have no choice but to be obedient, they have no money saved up to afford to be without a job, and should they not be obedient and lose their job, the Dickinson Mafia will try to make sure that they don’t get hired elsewhere.
Though these large local companies try to make their employees believe that the low wages they receive are just a matter of economics, what the company can afford to pay and remain in business, these large local companies have their names on the walls of the St. Joseph’s Hospital, the West River Community Center, and the Dickinson State University for their donations of millions of dollars. It disgusts me that wealthy people deliberately pay their workers low wages so that they have no option but to work their whole lives to provide the bare necessities for themselves, so that the wealthy can make large profits, so that they can give away their extra millions like they are such lovers of mankind, yet really they are slave drivers.
In 2010, when work began to pick up in Dickinson, local workers in Dickinson began to see that they could earn higher wages from out-of-state companies that came to operate in Dickinson. Many workers quit working for the locally owned companies. The Dickinson Mafia did not like this, they did not like this at all! In the past in Dickinson, a local worker could only afford a tiny apartment, or if his wife worked, they could afford a small plain house or a single-wide trailer. This was how the Dickinson Mafia wanted things. If you could just barely afford a place to live, you had to go along with what the Dickinson Mafia wanted: you had better do whatever it is that they told you at work, you had better not cause any problems around town after work, you had better not try to start any business without their permission, you had better not try to compete with them in business, and you had better not try to do or say anything against them politically.
In the South, there used to be what was called the Good-Old-Boy Network. If you came to a small town in the South and tried to start a business, let’s say a construction business for instance, your success or failure would depend on what the Good-Old-Boy Network wanted. You might not have known, that the concrete company owner, the lumber company owner, the building inspector, the fire marshal, the city engineer, the bank manager, and the mayor had already gotten together, discussed it, and decided that you were not somebody that they wanted to succeed. Consequently, you would have problem after problem, and the Good-Old-Boy Network would make sure that you went out of business.
In the South, if you were conservative, Christian-Protestant, not a criminal, not pushy, and assured some of the members of the Good-Old-Boy Network that you were not going to do anything crazy, they would probably let you do business. There is an expression, “People like people, who are like themselves.” When I lived in Idaho, I came to find out that the region I lived in was about sixty percent Mormon, and I also came to find out that you were not going to get a good job, succeed in business, or go on a date with a good-looking Mormon girl, unless you were Mormon. In Dickinson, the Dickinson Mafia is associated with the Catholic Church. The members of the Dickinson Mafia grew up Catholic. They associated with each other growing up at Catholic functions. I suppose this is why they are called the “Dickinson Mafia”, I didn’t make the name up. The Dickinson Mafia give preference to people who graduated from Trinity High School in Dickinson. Trinity High School is a private Catholic school in Dickinson, some of the members of the Dickinson Mafia went to school there, most of the members of the Dickinson Mafia send their children there.
The Dickinson Mafia use their association with the Catholic Church to further their agenda in Dickinson. I already stated that the Dickinson Mafia share a vision of what they want Dickinson to be, and though they tell themselves and each other that it is for the good of Dickinson and the well-being of its citizens, it coincides with making themselves richer and controlling others to benefit them and maintain their power. I will try to give a few examples of the Dickinson Mafia at work, where they use their association with the Catholic Church as a tool to achieve their goals.
If you are an out-of-state worker, you already have a home in another state, if you would have wanted to move to North Dakota, you would have done so years ago. You are here because the economy is bad in the state where your home is. You would rather be home where it is warmer, and there are trees. You are only here because there is work here. You would just like an affordable place to stay while you are here. You don’t want to stay in a $150 per night hotel, or a $1,500 per month one-bedroom apartment. Back home, $1,500 per month would rent a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house. There were developers that proposed temporary housing for workers in Dickinson, so-called “man-camps”. The city/county council members and zoning boards voted against “man-camps” in Dickinson and Stark County. There were concerned citizens in Dickinson that were worried about “all those men in those man-camps”, surely they would be raping women in Dickinson. I remember the discussions of “man-camps” in Dickinson in 2011. The citizens of Dickinson were saying that for the safety of the families in Dickinson, for the safety of the women and children, for the well-being of Dickinson, and to not destroy the God-fearing morality of Dickinson, that they be spared from the wickedness and the lawlessness of the “man-camps”. How did everybody in Dickinson get so worked up about the wicked and lawless man-camps? What happened is, apartment developments got approved and built instead.
I would like to point out, that the same wicked and lawless oil-field workers that would have lived in the man-camps on the north side of Dickinson are the same people that rented the newly constructed apartments on the north side of Dickinson. The Dickinson Mafia put the word out and got it into people’s heads, particularly the church-going people that were determined to fight evil, that the man-camp dwellers were savages, but the people that would rent apartments were the kind of people Dickinson wanted. Keep in mind the people were the same workers whether they lived in a man-camp or in an apartment. The difference was, that the Dickinson Mafia wanted to force the purchase of acreage rather than the leasing of acreage. The Dickinson Mafia wanted millions and millions of dollars to be spent on the construction of permanent apartments, and the permanent property tax assessment on those apartments.
Another thing that I think the Dickinson Mafia and the Catholic Church have initiated are the over-zealous DUI arrests in Dickinson. The Dickinson Mafia and the Catholic Church want you to go to work, then go home to your family, and stay home until you are ready to go to work again the next day. They do not want you to go out in town and get into any trouble after work. Your life is work, and your family. As far as the law in the United States goes, it is not illegal to go to a bar, have a couple of drinks, and then drive home. But in Dickinson, the police will get behind you with the intention of finding something, anything, any reason to pull you over, so that they can ask you if you have been drinking, give you a field sobriety test, then arrest you for DUI, even if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit. Why do the police do this in Dickinson? It is because they have been directed to do this. The police would not do this unless they had been directed to do this and they were backed up and supported by those in power in both the business community and the dominant church community. They have a vision for what Dickinson is going to be, and they have decided to control other people to benefit them.