Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

MC Election Review Committee Videos

This is from the last meeting January 16.

The first is a demonstration of the tabulation machines, the second is the meeting.

Election Review Commission to meet again this Friday

I would like to thank Robert Wilson with the county administration for having a change of heart and including me on the press release email list!


Should Bloggers be allowed to be included in Press Releases?

While we are talking County bizzo, I was told the other day that assistant Minnehaha county administrator, Robert Wilson told the chair of the election commission that he didn’t want bloggers on the email press release list. His reasoning was we ‘have a point of view’. Damn right we do, and you are going to hear that view right now.

The chair submitted the email contacts of three important blogs in the state, South DaCola, Madville Times and Dakota War College (well at least two of them are important :)

I found this odd, because we are all different, and as we would all attest, we are on several press release email lists (I often get chastised when I don’t post something from these peeps). They range from ag, art, party politics, candidates, medical, homelessness and several other non-profits and government entities.

We are not monsters in the closet. But after the appointment of Jean Bender today, I’m finding out more and more that the county likes to operate from the view of information lockdown.

Speaking of that, I guess at the election review meeting today the new machines locked up on the ES & S techs as they were bragging about how great of machines they were.


Image: John Hult, Argus Leader Twitter feed

Priceless. Nothing better then a car salesman telling you how great a car is and it won’t start.

There was also a diatribe from (an elected official) defending Bob Litz because he doesn’t have enough cold storage space (Hey, Bob’s house is big enough to store his beer, free weights and deer jerky).

During the meeting, Pearson didn’t hold back. She says the commissioners aren’t providing adequate amount of space needed to work on election day. Pearson says they need enough space to keep the ballots secure. Ballots need to be in a temperature controlled room, otherwise moisture can effect whether the counting machines will read them.

As commissioner Kelly recommended from the beginning, there should not have been any other elected officials on this commission, and in my opinion, public employees. They are only going to defend instead of fairly review. I recommend the rest of the commission purge these members now and reappoint.

New County Commissioner may have conflict of interest


It may be legal for the newly appointed Minnehaha county commissioner Jean Bender to serve as commissioner, but I was disappointed that the public didn’t have an opportunity to question her on how she will handle votes when it relates to her husband Michael’s business, Bender Realty.

While I think as an attorney, Bender will bring a lot to the commission, she has incredible credentials, but I worry that big development in this county has just squeezed their way into the commission.

And as I have stated before I found the process to be extremely non-transparent;

• The 29 applicants were kept secret besides the 5 finalists.

• In the above meeting they admitted that ‘commission staff’ chose the 5 finalists and not the commission.

• The commission interviewed the finalists in private and when they finally decided to appoint someone they called a special Friday meeting and didn’t allow the public to voice their opinion on the finalists or ask questions.

A gigantic thumbs down to the Minnehaha County Commission today for a very ‘secretive’ process in picking our new commissioner.

Either way, I wish Jean Bender luck.

Dennis Olson for Minnehaha County Commission


Dennis Olson. Sometimes people without ‘connections’ do the best job.

Usually the day you get a rejection letter (see below) that you didn’t make the final cut, you don’t go endorsing other people. But the heck with it, I am in a giving mood.

The County Commission picked their ‘finalists’ today;

Five finalists have been named to replace John Pekas on the Minnehaha County Commission. Pekas resigned his seat after being elected a circuit court judge in November.

The finalists include:

  • Former Brandon Valley school board member Jean Bender.
  • Sioux Falls radio host and former mayor of the city of Sioux Falls, Rick Knobe.
  • Former Brandon city administrator, Dennis Olson.
  • Sioux Falls health care executive John Paulson.
  • Former Minnehaha County Commissioner Carol Twedt.

The remaining commissioners and the county auditor will appoint the new commissioner. They will make their selection no later than January 20th.

After eliminating the obvious (A former mayor and radio DJ, a former commissioner, that would only be a seat warmer for the next two years, a Sanford Health Executive, WTF?! and a prominent attorney in town married to big time commercial realtor, Michael Bender) I decided it came down to only one choice. A former city administrator (worked for Brandon since 1988) Dennis Olson.

If any of the others get in, big money, big real estate, big healthcare and big mouths have just penetrated another hole into our county commission.

ALSO, I hope the CC releases the names of the other applicants before they select the new one. If anyone reading this today got this same letter, please email me at (fb.art@sio.midco.net) or comment. I would love to compile the list.

Click to enlarge below letter


Commissioner Dick Kelly votes against re-electing chair

If you watch the meeting from this morning (FF: 10:40) you will see why Kelly votes against re-electing Cindy Heiberger for chair. He felt it should go to a new person, then reminds the commissioners that Cindy voted against him two years ago. Not sure what that was all about, but Barth made light of the situation and said that while he felt he should be elected as chair, he would support Cindy. She was re-elected on a 3-1 vote and Beninga was elected co-chair.

The commission also voted to not give themselves a raise this year, while Barth’s recommendation of a 1% raise failed.

They also closed the open commission seat application process and said they had 29 applicants to choose from. That’s a lot of paper to shred :)

Minnehaha County Dems get their party on!


On Monday, December 29th, 5-7 PM, the Minnehaha County Democratic Party will host a reception at the Falls Overlook Cafe at 825 N Weber Avenue in Sioux Falls to thank all of the Democratic candidates and volunteers, past and present, for their hard work and all past and present Democratic candidates will be honored for their hard work and dedication to the Party’s core values of Fairness, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity.

Save the date and join your local Democratic officials as they celebrate everyone’s hard work and look to the future. Champagne and hor devours will be served. Tickets are $25.00 and they are available at the door.

Huether says government can be run like a business

I have often shaken my head when Huether suggests this. They are not the same, for several reasons.

To my surprise I found this page in a booklet I was reading from the SD Association of County Commissioners. The booklet is called ‘So You Want to Be A County Commissioner’.

I thought the one page was very concise in explaining the differences.

The middle part that I highlighted actually intrigued me the most. While they are referencing County Government, I think Municipal Government would apply. Notice ‘Sharing decisions’, ‘Public involvement’ and ‘Public Eye’.

Huether prefers to run the city like a business because he doesn’t like to share the ball with the city legislators, the council, or the general public. He acts as the CEO of the city instead of a fellow lawmaker.

I want to remind Mike, once again, that government and business ARE not alike.



Minnehaha County Commission appoints election review commission

Before I go into it about how this has turned out to be a total Kangaroo Kourt, the appointments;

Kea Warne (Public Employee, SD Department of Ag, former Elections Supervisor for the SOS)

Lorie Hogstad (Public Employee, Sioux Falls City Clerk)

Bruce Danielson (Citizen)

Sue Roust (Former auditor and elected official)

Joel Arends (Citizen, attorney)

Julie Pearson (Pennington County Auditor)

Deb Elofson (Citizen, Minnehaha County Democratic Party, Political director at Craft & Associates)

When they originally discussed how this process was supposed to go, Commissioner Kelly recommended that NO elected officials sit on this commission, which I agree, but as you can tell, they threw the bath water out with the baby, and have several former and current elected officials and public employees REVIEWING themselves. That seems fair :(

I was originally asked by Jeff Barth to be on the commission, and I accepted his invitation, but when he relayed that information to county administrators they had to call a whaaabulance about Jeff’s choice, so he chose someone else.  The commission is so lucky they have administrators making choices for the commissioners, kind of reminds me of the directors telling city councilors what to do. I told Jeff I wanted to serve to keep a record more then anything about the proceedings, not to make a mockery of it. I also think I have covered enough of these elections to know what has and hasn’t work. When super precincts were first introduced by city clerk Owen, I saw the potential for problems, and there were, they promised those kinks would be worked out, but they haven’t, they have only made the process confusing. The first proposal I would bring to the table is the elimination of super precincts and a common election process within our city.

Besides Debra, Joel and Bruce, this Kourt seems to be stacked with people who cannot possibly give a fair assessment of the situation. There are several defenders of the SOS’s office, Bob’s office and the offending software supplier ES & S, not to mention defenders of our very clunky government processes when it comes to elections. Elections are NOT about saving money or new fangled devices, they are about fairness.

The findings should be interesting.

UPDATE: Who will apply to be on the Minnehaha County Commission

UPDATE: Yesterday the commission decided they will be accepting applications and resumes until December 31 for the appointment job. There was some discussion on whether they should appoint a ‘caretaker’ or basically a ‘seat warmer’. This of course was Dick Kelly’s idea, and Cindy pretty much said that was a bad idea, and they should appoint someone who is prepared to do the job in the fullest for the next two years, and if they want to run again, that would be fine.

YouTube Preview Image

I found out yesterday that Dean Karsky has withdrawn his name and said he is NOT seeking the appointment, but expressed interest in running for the seat in two years when he is term limited from the city council.

Mark Millage has also told me that he is not interested in the appointment either.

I’m not sure who the ‘ten’ people are, but it should be interesting when those names are released.

In other County news, it seems that the commission is backing out on their set of rules for picking an election review commission. The names I have heard so far are either elected officials, past elected officials or public employees. Bad idea. This commission should be citizen driven, NO elected officials, NO public employees and NO past officials BIAS to the process. Looks like another Kangaroo court.

I also have some other inside information about the formation of the commission that I will share AFTER the appointments. Let’s just say the cattle wrangling has already begun.