Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

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.

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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.

Commissioner Barth’s questions to Auditor Litz

These are the questions Jeff planned to ask Auditor Litz in the last County Commission meeting until the discussion got diverted;

Please consider giving specific and complete answers to these questions during the “election review” agenda item on November 18. My hope is that we can proceed in a calm, deliberative manner.

In the run up to the General Election two incorrect absentee ballots were discovered mailed to a relative and a friend of a Legislator. Rather than creating a potential political dustup I took those ballots to you quietly, asked you to fix them and to audit your ballot inventory to assure me that correct ballots were going to the correct voter.

When I asked you about incorrect absentee ballots during the Canvass on November 7 you responded that there “were only two of them” and that you “took care of them”. When pressed you ignored the issue.

Then on November 12 you told KELO TV that there were twenty incorrect absentee ballots.

1) Were there two or twenty incorrect absentee ballots?
2) Did you know election night that these wrong absentee ballots were coming in?
3) Is twenty the exact number or a general approximation?
4) If the issue was voters putting the ballot in a wrong ballot box how could that happen with absentee ballots?
5) The counting machines have a printer attachment that notes when it reads an error on a ballot. What do the machines say?

In the 2014 City Election wrong ballots were mailed out on absentee requests. When candidate Rebecca Dunn brought two of the erroneous ballots to your attention you threatened legal action against her. You then blamed the Secretary of State for corrupting your data base.

1) How many incorrect absentee ballots were counted in the City Election?
2) In a related matter, how many wrong ballots were handed out at the “Voting Centers”?

In the June “General Election Primary” wrong ballots were again mailed out. You accepted responsibility for printing wrong ballots and again pointed at data base issues. Going forward from there you tasked your staff with correcting the database before the November election.

1) How many incorrect absentee ballots were cast in the Primary?
2) Were you able to recall all the “printing error” ballots that were sent out?

These absentee ballot issues are 100% human error. Elections are a sacred responsibility given to our county. We must do better.

Thanks, Jeff Barth


There was some other confusion. Precinct 3-12 cast votes in Legislative District 9 and 11. It is not listed as a precinct in District 11 but if you go to the SDSOS website the results show Tom Cool won that precinct 6-5. Another reason folks are confused.


Pitty Patt Powwers still ‘Butt Hurt’

It seems the man who manages the Dakota Wuss College is still butt hurt I caught him running a business that was in direct conflict with his job in the SOS’s office. Call a whaabulance, maybe they can pull threw Burger King’s drive thru on the way to the crybaby hospital so he can pick up a fish sandwich for America’s #1 Catholic.

Pat’s diatribe about me was actually hilarious (he seems to be confused about the separation of government and religious organizations, and can’t seem to figure out why I ‘hate’ his brand of the Republican party). Because you are whackadoodle. And many other Republicans agree with me that your side of the party is noxious.

The under-super-sized Argus did a story about me today, and quickly Patty had to attack (ironically, I stand by most of those quotes, because they are true.)

First to the story in the 100-Eyed Monster rag;

Barth applauds Ehrisman for announcing his desire to be appointed during the public comment portion of a commission meeting.

Pat seems to think that Barth is going to vote for me. He is NOT. I had a private meeting with Jeff after the meeting, and specifically told me he would be voting for a Democrat for the appointment, and didn’t offer me much hope that the Republican caucus on the commission would be voting for an independent.

As I have said, this is more about the process to me then getting appointed. I will put my all into it, and use it as a learning experience. Trust me, if the county commissioners think my recital on Tuesday was over the top, they haven’t seen anything yet.

Now to Pat’s comedy piece;

Brown says bloggers like Ehrisman cross the line and get personal, like when a campaign picture of Brown with his daughter was the target of negative remarks on the blog.

“In one instance, a blogger called me a part-time husband and part-time father.  It’s really hurtful to family,” Brown said.

“I know what he’s talking about when it comes to his daughter. That was a political mailing he put out.  He used his daughter as a political prop.  He started it,” Ehrisman said.

Vernon hasn’t liked me since I did a toon of him having a sunburnt bald head in Drake Springs Pool. He couldn’t wait to drag me into the discussion. I don’t much care for politicians who wear their religion on their sleeves or use their children as political props. Okay, so you can read the Bible and you figured out reproduction, how does that qualify you to govern? Just look at Pat, he has figured out how to reproduce (several times) but the one chance he had to serve the public, he blew it because his greed to sell bumper stickers and shirt pins got the best of him.

Pat thinks this statement I made about religion should disqualify me to work in public office. Pat, I am applying to be a public servant not the janitor of our local mosque.

Why do the Jews embrace the Old Testament? Because it justifies killing people. Why do Muslims embrace the Koran? Because it justifies killing people. Christians supposedly embrace the New Testament (which justifies peace) but most of them choose to ignore those teachings. People ask why I don’t believe in religion.

And what is untrue about that statement? Nothing, and that is why it scares the crap out of supposed ‘followers’.

But this one had me rolling;

“The best knickname for Catholics I have ever heard was ‘Minnow Munchers’ because they eat fish on Fridays during Lent. Jesus fried in the sun all day, and the catholics eat Mickey D’s $.99 Filet O’ Fish, the sacrifice seems comparable.”

This has been a long running funny in my family, which are a mix of Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists. I often chuckle at the notion of eating fish on Friday is a comparable sacrifice to a cruixifiction. Did you know during Ramadan (Their version of Lent), Muslims fast the entire day (sun up to sun down). Can you imagine Pat fasting an entire day? BAHAHAHAHA!

If Jeff Barth, the man who wants to be Dem Chair, is truly seeking congeniality and independence to assume the vacant position on the Minnehaha County Commission, a word of advice. He’d better keep looking.

As I said above, he is.


Minnehaha County Election Review Panel discussion

The commission, auditor and SOS are going to pick the panel. Pekas’ comments on precincts are right on!

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I announced today my intent to be considered for appointment to the Minnehaha County Commission

I attended the CC meeting today to tell them about my intentions. I commented during public input portion of the meeting (FF: 25:00). I know my appointment is slim, because I don’t belong to a political party, and I have a ‘reputation’. But I figured since this is an appointment and not an election, it was worth trying.

I do know there are several people interested, and I heard another name today.

Here is a transcript of what I read;

I am here today to share my interest of being appointed to the Minnehaha County Commission. 11/18/14

A little brief history about me;

I moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the early Fall of 1991, I was enrolled at SE Technical Institute after graduating from Parkston High School.  I studied Graphic Communications and Printing Production and have an Associate Degree of Applied Science from SE Tech. It was a great school then and even better today, and I consider it an asset to our community, state and region. We are fortunate to have such an institution.

I currently work as a printing estimator and national salesperson for a local printer and weekly newspaper. My focus is government printing for states and municipalities. It is a job that has given me a unique perspective on government spending and dispersing information to the electorate in a highly transparent way.

I also work as a server in the hospitality industry. Both of my occupations are part-time which gives me a flexible schedule to be involved in local politics and citizen activism.

I have also worked as a plumber, carpenter, radio personality, a freelance graphic designer, an artist (painter), a lead usher at a leading SF entertainment facility, a telemarketer, a cook, a dishwasher, a busser and a farmer. Hopefully I haven’t confused you as our governor?

Growing up on a sheep and hog farm in Hutchinson county gave me a perspective far different then the current members of the county commission. Being involved in 4-H and open class competitions while growing up in a rural setting has taught me the struggles and success of rural South Dakota. I understand the rural issues of Minnehaha County and the state, I lived them and experienced them, and they have guided me through my life.

I also lived two years in a suburb of Seattle my sophomore and junior years of High School with my biological father, which gave me a broad perspective of big city living, crime, and diversity. I learned more about diversity and other cultures in those two short years then I have ever in my life. It taught me to treat every race and culture with an open mind and to always expect the best out of anyone, whether they are female or male, or black or white.

I am NOT like the current members of this commission. Nor would I ever pretend to be. I would bring an entirely different perspective to this board with my life experiences and my knowledge of local government.

There is not one single person applying for this position that has the depth of knowledge I do about our local government. I don’t say this out of arrogance, my resume speaks for itself. I have not missed a recorded public meeting by the Sioux Falls city council for almost 10 years and have watched every Minnehaha county commission meeting over the past year. I have a passion for local governing. As I tell people frequently, ‘All politics are local.’ and the greatest change can be made in these chambers, not in the halls of Congress in Washington.

I know you have concerns. I maintain a controversial website about local government. It is my child. It’s premise is simple, to inform and to entertain through political satire and activism. I often tell people, “If you can’t laugh at politicians, you will only end up hating them.” I am not a hater. I have often tried to use the blog as a catalyst for change and activism. Sometimes it achieves those goals, sometimes it falls on it’s face. It has given me a very thick skin, but it has also made me aware of the public’s sensitivities. If appointed to this commission, I would stop the blog or pass on the reigns to another author. I HATE conflicts of interest with public officials, and I would find it necessary to eliminate them by ending my authorship. I believe it is difficult to stop ALL conflicts as a public official, but also believe we have clear choices, and unlike other candidates applying for this position, I would CHOOSE to eliminate as many conflicts as possible.

I have also spent hundreds of hours donating my artistic and graphic design talents to local charities, non-profits, musicians and artists and have been involved with several art groups in the region. I have also dedicated thousands of hours of my own time being a citizen advocate in this community and county. I don’t believe I need to belong to a club or fraternal organization to prove my involvement within these government boundaries and community. My work speaks for itself, and I wouldn’t edit any of it.

What would be my priorities if I served on this commission? They would be simple and straightforward. I have been a registered independent for over 10 years and strongly believe in non-partisanship. I think all political parties offer good and bad solutions, and I prefer to look at the best solutions. I don’t care where they come from. While I would consider myself a progressive on social issues, I wouldn’t deny I am a prudent and fiscal conservative.

So what would I want to focus on for my tenor on the commission?

• TIF’s. I think the commission has a legal and justifiable right to either approve or deny TIF’s that the city of Sioux Falls proposes. I would make it a TOP priority to make this change in our state legislature.

• Consistent elections. As a good friend said to me, “Elections and ballots are sacred in a democracy.” I agree 100 percent. I think there needs to be a concerted effort between the county, the City of Sioux Falls and the School district to make election precincts identical. I would champion this cause on the commission.

• A more progressive and prudent approach to law enforcement. I would push for shorter sentences and more rehabilitation. I would also work with the City of Sioux Falls to encourage less arrests and focus more on resolution in the field. I would also like to combat overcrowding at our jails. Not only would it reduce our number of re-offenders, it would would save citizens tax dollars.

• Engage our rural communities more in Minnehaha County. While our county government seems to be focused on Sioux Falls, our rural communities matter. I would like to put a re-focus on them, and bring them to the table.

• Promote logical development planning. There seems to be this disconnect between the City of Sioux Falls, the county and the rural areas. We need to get on the same page. We should face the facts, zoning isn’t forever, and we need to be honest and transparent wit the constituents of this county.

• Funding. Let’s face it, the county is getting the shaft on tax funding. So what can we do? We have options, but we must be creative. The same old proposals are just not going to fly and Pierre changes about as much as the Queen of England’s hairdo. We must find a way within this commission’s legislative body to make those funding changes on our own, and we must also look at ways to be extremely prudent, while maintaining services and paying a fair wage to our public employees. I believe this is the biggest challenge of the current commission, and I would LOVE to dig my heels in deep to solve it with a long term funding plan instead of an opt out.

I won’t lie to you, I believe strongly in a ‘Citizens First’ government. The majority should always rule within the constraints of law while protecting the opinions of the minority. I don’t want this job for money. I want it to represent the public fairly. While I may be easily tempted by Peanut M & M’s or an Arnold Palmer on a hot day, I reject any temptation from special interests. I would do this job to serve the people, not the MAN.

Thank You!

Public Input, Minnehaha CC meeting, 11/12/14

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When is Minnehaha County Commission & SF City Council gonna work together

Prime examples in the past, McGovern School flagpole rezone, election precincts, law enforcement and jails, etc. Now the city picks a different ambulance provider;

The city’s selection could jeopardize a recently renewed arrangement between Minnehaha County and Rural Metro to provide ambulance service in unincorporated areas around Sioux Falls.

Commissioners said last month that the contract might fall through if Rural Metro lost its contract to serve Sioux Falls.

Rural Metro Division General Manager Mike Stuhr said they were disappointed by the news and that they’re evaluating what to do with its Minnehaha County contract.

While I am not going to question the city’s selection OR the county’s selection, I wonder why they couldn’t come to an agreement together. Now the county has to revisit the situation. I’m not sure why the city continually has to poke the county in the eye. It’s time to get over it. What the city doesn’t realize, when you constantly screw with the county, it costs US money, the very people who pay taxes to both entities. Yes the ambulance providers don’t charge tax payers, but there are other costs involved.

This tit for tat is getting really old.

Minnehaha County just finishes counting votes

That was at about 9:15 AM. How sad is it that the County buys brand new vote tabulation machines that cost $100K each and they just finish counting. I guess the problem was that the new machines wouldn’t count ballots that had comments or spills on them, it would spit them out. There was a ton of votes that had to go through the resolution board. But hey, does it matter, the National Press called the election at 8 PM last night.

As I assumed it was a clean sweep for the Republicans, the Dems in this state really need to get their poop in a group.

Their was some positives though. The Dems had a great victory with the Minimum Wage increase, and I will give Zach Crago credit on that, it’s just too bad he failed on party work.

Some other people had awesome victories last night.

Jeff Barth, Joni Cutler, John Pekas, Karen Soli all won.

I told Rick Weiland last night he ran the best campaign I have ever seen in years. You could tell that Rick was very proud of his campaign, and even if he lost, he should not have any regrets. None.

Now we will wait for our NEW senator to be indicted. Wanna make any bets on how long the Feds will wait?