Transcript (DOC: MCRC Commission Report by Danielson)
Editorial Cartoonist from South Dakota
Transcript (DOC: MCRC Commission Report by Danielson)
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Minnehaha County Election Review Committee will meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 6, 2015 in the Commission Meeting Room of the County Administration Building located at 415 N. Dakota Avenue in Sioux Falls.
The meeting is open to the public.
I have watched all the meetings so far and have discussed with Chair Danielson some of the recommendations he expects to put in the final report, and am excited for it’s release tomorrow.
There has been some discussion about whether the denial of the solar farm CUP permit last week during the Minnehaha County & Sioux Falls city council joint meeting was even legal? Why? Some motions were not voted on.
Not sure what will be done, but will be interesting to watch.
I’m not the only one asking the question. Several public officials asked me if I had any insight Besides Mike, Commissioner Bender was the only one that was not present with the two boards. Jean had a conflict of interest because her husband’s company has an appeal pending with the solar farm land, or something like that, ironically something I warned the Commission about when they were considering her for the commission, but hey, what do I know, I’m just a cranky blogger.
The mayor often calls himself a city councilor, and he should be available for tie-break votes. So why was he a no-show? Did he have a conflict of interest also? Bender fessed up with her conflict, will the mayor?
And the ironic part about it all, the permit was OUT of the city limits. The city council should not have even been voting on the project.
I have never seen two bodies of local government at the utmost level of immaturity.
Maybe City Attorney Loop-hole Fiddle-Faddle needs to give them a lesson in ‘civility’.
Watch the whole thing here. The arguments at the end are rich. The pure ignorance of the permitting process and attaining investors went straight over their heads. I even got to go up and poke the eyes of the Koch Brother-Teabagger dirty energy lovers and all of their BS rhetoric.
The only two members of the boards that showed any inkling of intelligence on the issue were a Staunch Conservative and a Staunch Liberal, Staggers and Barth.
If you wanted to pour yourself a big cup of ignoramus, they were serving it at Carnegie Hall tonight.