Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council Tidbits, 7/28/2015

There is only three fun meetings this week (excluding the regular meeting);

• 3 PM Land Use meeting, finally an update on the Billboard Ordinance changes.

• 4 PM Informational, Indoor Aquatic Center Update, whatever that is.

• 5 PM, Joint City Council/Minnehaha County Meeting, FEMA Map update, complete with 100 new homes in the flood plain in Northeastern Sioux Falls.

Does appointed Minnehaha County Commissioner Jean Bender know what a farm is?

I warned certain people with the county that Jean’s inexperience with the rural aspects of serving as a commissioner would probably not make her the most qualified for the job and her extreme conflict of interest with having one of the largest developers in Sioux Falls and the county as a husband. But of course, the county commission took a different route, kept the selection process extremely secretive and hand-picked (another) attorney for the commission.

What concerns me is that the commission doesn’t have one single person on it that understands rural issues, I think the only one that lives outside of Sioux Falls is Cindy, and she is an attorney. Barth is a retired union lineman, Beninga, who runs Active Generations, I believe is an accountant, an attorney, a former nurse, and Dick Kelly, a retired house and land salesman that spends a good deal of his time outside of Minnehaha county at his vacation residence (ironically he probably has the most experience with rural living – just not in Minnehaha County).

Recently Commissioner Bender went on a bender about the proposed CAFO’s, she seemed to be upset that someone didn’t bring computer renderings of their proposed site. But that wasn’t even a part of the proposal. The landowners were looking for the permission from the county to go ahead and take the next step of actually planning the CAFO’s. Their arguments were fair, why spend the money on expensive computer renderings and blueprints if the county isn’t going to give them permission to begin with to start the planning process (CUP) (They have to come back to the commission with the building plans before dirt can be moved). Bender wasn’t having it, she voted against the CUPs because of ‘napkin’ drawings continually changing (which was due to the neighbors and county attorney) and claiming the applicants were disorganized. While I could partially agree, it was evident they weren’t members of the toastmasters, they knew exactly where they wanted to build their CAFO’s (on their land) and they also knew how many cattle they wanted to operate with. They really didn’t need to tell Bender anything else. For that matter, they could have gotten out an Etch & Sketch and handed her that – it didn’t change the location of their farms or the size of the operations.

All she proved is that she doesn’t understand that in rural Minnehaha County there are farms, and some of those farms have cows, and some of those cows poop, and on occasion, that poop stinks (some of it). She also doesn’t get the fact that when a farmer may build a structure for themselves they don’t come to town and hire an expensive architect to draw up plans for a pole barn (just the city of Sioux Falls does foolish things like that). They get out a tape measure and a level and figure it out in their heads (believe it or not, farmers are good at math). She seems to be more concerned about where her husband may be planning his next big annexation/and housing development (that doesn’t have to breath in the evil smells of a farm) then she is about encouraging ag growth in the county.

I highly suggest a well respected farmer in the county runs against Bender in 2016 and send her packing back to the non-transparent, big-city appointment, computer rendering world she came from, and she can go back to using napkins for what they were intended for, writing down grocery lists, dirty jokes and keeping your martini glass from sticking to the bar.

 

Double Standard w/Ambulance service?

As we all may or may not know, ambulance service for the city of Sioux Falls is provided by Paramedics Plus (including non-emergency transfers) and county service is provided by Med-Star. Which is fine, because having two companies providing service in the area is good for a back up plan in case of a major natural disaster, or other instances.

I was told on Friday (still checking to verify information)  that if Med-Star (the county provider) can’t provide immediate service in their service area, Paramedics Plus can assist.

But what is confusing is why can’t Med-Star be allowed to assist Paramedics Plus in the city limits if they need assistance? Or can they?

Minnehaha County Treasurer, Pam Nelson informs the city about ‘Proper Service’

 

The Minnehaha County Commission approves Med-Star over Paramedics Plus today for paramedic service

I don’t know a lot of details at this point, but I do know their contract was approved 5-0 by the Commission and two of the main factors for approval was quality of services and response times.

Election Review Commission Final Report

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Transcript (DOC: MCRC Commission Report by Danielson)

 

 

The Sun may shine a lot in Sioux Falls, but dark clouds loom over our government offices

dark-sky-wallpaper

It’s Sunshine Week, or at least that’s what our local newspaper is telling us. They have been having fun setting up ‘scenarios’ when it comes to closed government in our state and city, but scenarios are not necessary, our closed government is all around us and not something to pretend about;

City of Sioux Falls

– The city council and public still have not received a contractor list of who built the Events Center. The council has been asking directors and the mayor for this list for almost two years.

– The Event Center siding consultant report has still not been released to the public or the council. In fact we have been told very little with the year deadline for a resolution looming in August. Officials with SMG and the city building department have said that the building is ‘water tight’ and the bent up siding makes the building look ‘interesting’. What will be ‘interesting’ is to see who will pay to fix the mess.

– Nobody is quite sure how many developers have been denied TIF applications (by the mayor’s office) over the past 27 months. Speaking of TIF’s one wonders if the mayor is picking winners and losers based on his personal investments with developers? Good luck finding out, the mayor doesn’t have to disclose his development investments with the public.

-The city council was asked to vote on the ambulance contract without seeing the scoring procedures or criteria and essentially created a monopoly in the city limits with little transparency in the process.

-We have NO idea what is going on with the RR relocation project, a project that will potentially cost Federal taxpayers $30 million dollars.

-While a proposed indoor aquatic center gets smaller and gets more expensive there has been no word as to why and where all the amentities promised before the election disappeared to AND we still don’t have and MOU on the Quit Claim deed from the VA, but the city attorney says he is ‘working on it’.

Minnehaha County Commission

-Besides the fact the appointment process for John Pekas’ replacement was behind closed doors, the appointee comes into question, Jean Bender, wife of major Sioux Falls developer, Michael Bender, and conflicts of interest. Especially after the joint city council and commission recently denied a CUP for a solar development farm that Mr. Bender and his group were appealing. Jean was not in attendance to the meeting, but one wonders about future zoning issues concerning her husband’s business? This isn’t like a county sheriff’s wife is running a city owned café, there is a heckuva a lot more at stake here then ice cream cones and turkey wraps.

Sioux Falls School Board

-Now that they have the future Superintendent list down to six finalists, the public still is not able to vet the finalists in a public forum. This coming from a school board that only listens to the public when a referendum is threatening them or if they are getting death threats. And even with the looming election they are skating on thin ice with state election law by promoting opposition to the late start date using teachers and administrative staff during business and school hours which is against state campaign laws.

As you can see from these ‘few’ examples, there is no reason to setup scenarios of the lack of transparency. It’s very dark in Sioux Falls, and the sun isn’t coming out anytime soon and neither is the truth.

Final Minnehaha County Election Review Commission Meeting

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Minnehaha County Commission application process

I started thinking about this the other day, and not to beat a dead horse, but I noticed that my rejection letter I received for my attempt at being on the county commission was signed by the chair.

letter-rejection-sig

So I wondered, if the county commission didn’t have a part in picking the five finalists, how is it that the chair was privy to the 29 applicants, apparently she knew who they all were (which is fine) because she signed the rejection letters.

My point is, if the commissioners (and another commissioner confessed to me that they did know who all the applicants were) were privy to ALL of the applicants, why wasn’t the public?

We can cry all we want about running transparent and accurate elections in the county, but when we appoint someone, that process should be transparent also.

 

Minnehaha County Election Review Commission Recommendations

Here is the abbreviated 3 pages of recommendations; (DOC: MCERC)

It seems the root of many of the problems are the communications between the Secretary of State office and the counties.

We won’t miss you Jason.