Entries Tagged 'Jeff Barth' ↓

Minnehaha County Commissioner Barth calls out city for denial of crime increases

Funny how our Governor, Attorney General and County Sheriff have admitted to the drastic crime growth in our City and State but our own police department seems to be in denial;

The incredible addictive nature of Methamphetamine has led to a 50 percent increase in meth arrests here in Minnehaha County. Fifty percent in just three years.

Some Sioux Falls leaders deny there is a crime issue. Yes, some arrests are down, but murder, shootings, stabbings and assault are up. Failing to admit the problem helps nobody.

As citizens, we need to demand better. We need treatment for users, bigger prisons for dealers and help for mental health issues. That will cost money, but denial and early release put you and your children at risk.

When the country of Portugal changed their drug policy to full legalization and resources spent on treatment VS. incarceration they saw a drastic decline in addiction. Who figured?

Its time to allow micro-breweries in SD to distribute their own beer, and, time to raise the alcohol tax

I know what you are thinking, a few contradictions there, but not really. I have often believed a tax hike in alcohol would actually help the bar business and give property tax payers a little relief from paying for criminals.

First the distribution issue. Distributors are clearly fighting this because of greed. But they have their excuses;

Distributors, meanwhile, said allowing craft breweries to work as producer, distributor and retailer in some capacity could create problems for the state in collecting tax revenue and for consumers in ensuring their beer meets quality standards.

Breweries would still be paying taxes and as for the quality issue, that is silly. Distributors ARE NOT testing the quality of the product, if they were Coors Light would no longer be available 🙂 This is clearly a way for distributors to reap a commission for basically doing nothing but acting like a keg taxi. Distributors would still be in the picture anyway for mass distribution. All brewers are asking is to brew more beer and sell it from their locations.

As for increasing the alcohol tax, I agree 100% with Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth that it is silly that property tax payers are footing the bill for crimes related to alcohol. I think if alcohol taxes increase, liquor stores and bars will charge more, which in turn could mean bigger profits and less consumption, which means less crime. MPR has a great story about this.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the cost of excessive alcohol use is $2.05 per drink — costs that create financial burdens for federal, state and local governments.

“Currently, federal and state taxes do not even come close to covering those costs,” said Dr. Timothy Naimi, author of a recent article study on state alcohol excise taxes. “Public health is a strong rationale for alcohol taxation. … If we don’t recover the costs related to alcohol sales, then it amounts to a subsidy for people who drink, and who drink excessively.”

I don’t think the habits of casual drinkers would change with a tax increase, but I do think it would help to curb reckless drinking.

Minnehaha County Commissioner Dean ‘Chamber’ Karsky defends TIFs

During the open discussion of the Minnehaha County Commission Meeting on Tuesday (FF:42:15) dean defended TIFs like they were his children. It started when Barth wanted to explain further his position in the newspaper.

Jeff said he wasn’t opposed to TIFs but wished the County Commission could make an independent decision about forgoing their share of tax money instead of the city just making that decision for them.

Dean, being the good Chamber of Commerce brown nosed soldier he is couldn’t let Jeff’s comments stand.

Dean started by peddling the half-truth that TIF’s ‘Don’t take away anything (from the county) because as he put it, “You can’t take away something you don’t have.” Well, Dean, maybe I should tell Pam Nelson that the next time I refuse to pay my property tax bill.

He went on to say he thinks TIF’s are a wonderful development tool AND incentive (yes, wonderful to the developer who gets a 13-14 year property tax break*) Does Lloyd who owns thousands of apartment units and pays more property taxes than anyone else in the County really need an ‘incentive’ to the develop? Is the company that destitute? Dean also claims that we don’t buy them the land. No, but with the Lloyd TIF we are really just giving it away. The TIF is $4.1 Million, soil cleanup is $3.1 million and the purchase price is around $900K. The way I look at it, they are getting the land for free.

Jeff responds to Dean that the city is pretty much ‘giving away’ the property (as I have pointed out) he also points out that if the city has these kind of assets/funds to give away, they could have cleaned up the soil themselves at their cost (as I have also pointed out in the past). Jeff sums up TIF’s by saying, “Tools that belong to the city that spite our interest.”

*It’s actually almost 25 years when you consider this property was supposed to be bought and developed by Lloyd over 10 years ago, instead the taxpayers of Sioux Falls sat on this land, collecting ZERO property taxes from it and essentially holding it for the Lloyd Companies. How would you like a 25 year property tax break? Think of all the upgrades you could do to your home?

Jeff Barth @ Dem Forum (Friday, Aug 25, 2017)

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth explains the 2017 county budget planning, and tells a few jokes.

Republican Leaders in SD continue to grasp at straws about the evil weed

Doesn’t matter how many FACTS you throw at Republican leaders in our state about the benefits of eliminating the prohibition of marijuana, they continue to grasp at any made up crap they can to call out on the evil weed.

Mayoral candidate and all around Shaggy double, David Zokaites did a presentation about drug prohibition and especially the worthless nature of prohibiting marijuana at public input during the Minnehaha county commission meeting this week AND the same presentation at the city council meeting.

At the end of the meeting during open discussion (FF: 1:14) Commissioner Jeff Barth said that the county and state should start the conversation now in case marijuana gets legalized in our state next year (which he thinks it will) when it comes to taxation, zoning, etc. He thought we were blindsided by Marsy’s Law and should be better prepared with marijuana legalization.

Bob Litz who happened to be standing at the podium talked about an upcoming speaker at a conference who is a sheriff from Colorado, who will speak about the effects of legalization in his state.

Of course, the commission’s Neo-Con, since Dick left, Cindy Heiberger had to weigh in. She said while David pointed out that NO one died from marijuana usage, she had to point out that it causes ‘social issues’.

I would partially agree, because people are tired of being arrested and prosecuted over a harmless drug, and the ‘issues’ it is causing in their lives.

We pay the City’s Health director 6-figures to transcribe radio talk show interviews with County Commissioners?

Trust me, the following email back-and-forth between Sioux Falls City Health Director Jill Franken and Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth is intriguing enough, but what really stuck in my craw is that this seems like a very petty use of Franken’s time. And our mayor worries about subsidies to poor kids for swimming?!

To clarify, the Black NON-BOLD Lettering is the initial email sent to Jeff Barth and the BLACK/ITALIC Lettering is Barth’s response to Franken, dispersed in her original email;

Director Franken,

Sorry to make you go through all that work. I actually don’t think our views are that far apart although that may not be your impression. It may be that we just have different perspectives on the same issue.

Paramedics Plus and Metro communications are doing their work. I appreciate the competence and professionalism that they display every day. In no way do I want to disparage their efforts.

The people of Sioux Falls have demonstrated over and over a willingness to spend the money needed to improve our community. Hundreds of millions have been spent on our first class Events Center, swimming pool and now on our Administration building. People are willing to spend the money to make us a better city. I suspect our neighbors would pay more for this vital service.

I would be happy to meet you on the Belfrage show to debate these points. There is a good chance we will not agree on things!

Jeff Barth

From: Franken, Jill

Commissioner Barth,

Over the past several months you have made statements to the media expressing concerns about our EMS system, the REMSA board, the performance of Paramedics Plus, as well as the Health Department’s contract oversight.  Most recently, on July 7th, you were on the Greg Belfrage show and made a number of statements regarding our EMS system.  As I listened to you I became so concerned about the inaccuracies of your statements and the misperceptions you conveyed that I documented them and provided the accurate information regarding each, which I have shared with Mr. Belfrage.

I feel compelled to share this with you as well.  Along with reading this, I would highly encourage you to contact me at your earliest convenience and I will assist in setting up a meeting with the EMS leadership team.  At this meeting we can thoroughly discuss this high-performing system by sharing with you accurate, data-driven information about the performance of these agencies that comprise our EMS system and answer all your questions.

I urge you to reply to me with dates that work for you in the near future.  Thank you.

Barth: We are not spending tax money on ambulances, we are spending tax money on REMSA. 

Accurate: REMSA is a volunteer citizen board appointed by the Mayor and City Council. The REMSA board has no budget, and they receive no money from the EMS system, the

City, or through other tax dollars. A budget to regulate/oversee the EMS system is part of the Sioux Falls Health Department’s budget.

The City has spent millions paying Julie Charbonneau, Dr. Luther and others in support of REMSA. Are those funds not tax dollars?  

Barth: We’ve given a monopoly in our city to Paramedics Plus-god bless them- it’s a good deal for them so they extract the money from us and send it back to headquarters.

Accurate: This is a highly regulated exclusive surface ambulance service franchise. The city does NOT subsidize Paramedics Plus. Paramedics Plus generates revenues through patient fees, and those fees are used to pay the Sioux Falls operations expenses, to ensure future wage increases, hire additional staff, and make sure capital equipment needs are met for the Sioux Falls operations. A responsible profit margin should be maintained by Paramedics Plus, just like any other non-governmental community program or service.

We could have a long discussion about the difference between a “Monopoly” and an “Exclusive Franchise” but…

Paramedics Plus is making a profit. They don’t work this hard to break even or lose money. Those profits go elsewhere. 

Please let me know if someone locally is getting those profits.

Barth: Unclear how good our ambulance service is- concern about the delay in dispatching people.

Accurate: Paramedics Plus applied for CAAS accreditation within the first year of performance and received a perfect score.  This is a national accreditation, and it is very rare to achieve a perfect score.  As for “how good” their response times are, here is some real data showing their response times far exceed their contract requirements. It should be very clear, based on fact, that our ambulance service is meeting the needs of our community.

Also, dispatch is performed by Metro 911 based on specific procedures and guidelines, and the time of dispatch is based on those guidelines. There is no delay in dispatch. When calls are received, services are dispatched and the response clock starts.

When no ambulance is available, what ambulance is sent? When you say “services are sent” do you mean ambulance or fire or police?

Perhaps we could send a copy of your chart. 

Ambulance , fire and police are the three legs of Public Safety involving actual people not printouts.

Barth: They keep fudging with the numbers and the way they calculate things, used to call it zero status and now its phantom ambulance dispatch, some deal where they delay dispatch for 10 minutes I assume that’s to allow the paramedics to get the call.

Accurate: Ambulance contract compliance quality assurance was developed based on contract requirements and in consultation with Rich Oksol, the City Council’s internal auditor at that time. A recent internal audit validated the accuracy of contract response time compliance monitoring.

In an effort to consider what Barth is talking about, there was an operational policy and procedure change to Priority 3, non-emergency transport, calls to 911. Before the pilot project P-3 calls received both ambulance and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue response.  As a result of the pilot, P-3 calls still require an ambulance response time of 15:59 minutes 90% of the time per contract.  However, based on the changes from the pilot, a revised protocol now requires that if an ambulance isn’t available for dispatch within 10 minutes for these non-emergency calls, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is dispatched as well. In most situations, Paramedics Plus has a unit freed up to respond in less than this 10-minute window, and they meet the 15:59 response time target. If they can’t, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is dispatched to provide initial care and updates to Metro. This procedure change was an attempt to balance the need to keep critical Sioux Falls Fire Rescue resources available for emergencies in their area with the aim of having a responder on scene in about 15 minutes for non-emergency calls.

This new procedure has greatly reduced the unnecessary response by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to P-3 calls and balances customer service with the need to keep fire resources available for higher priority EMS calls, extrications, or structure fires.

Blah, blah, blah. Bureaucratic obfuscation.

Barth: Why should Humboldt, SD get better ambulance service than SF- I don’t know

Response: There is no comparable evidence to support this claim.

People in Humboldt might have to wait but they do not wait for a “phantom” ambulance.

Barth: When they first changed away from zero status and they had some plan going on we asked them to explain it to us and they said it was too complicated- it’s too complicated because they’re blowing smoke

Accurate: Within the first year of the new ambulance agreement, the EMS system identified there was confusion regarding when and how to call for a mutual aid ambulance.  To streamline the process to activate mutual aid in life-threatening situations, the EMS system utilized improved procedures, technology, and resource polling, making the process more defined.

The EMS Leadership Team tested these news processes through a performance improvement pilot project regarding resource allocation. The team identified three system improvement goals for this pilot: 1) Keep Sioux Falls Fire Rescue resources available for emergencies, 2) Refine best practices for appropriate resource allocation, 3) Improve the mutual aid process.

The results of this performance improvement pilot project were reported to the City Council and the REMSA board.  Information is publicly available.  Anyone wishing to know more about this pilot has been encouraged to call anyone on the EMS leadership team.  I have not received any inquiries from Commissioner Barth.

Greg- Zero status…basically it means they don’t have an ambulance at that time.

Barth: I’ve heard they’ve changed it to something else, the phantom ambulance…if they don’t have one they dispatch the phantom 980 and then the 981.  Now I understand that they dispatch the fire department preposition an ambulance nearby so when the call does go for an ambulance they will be there within a minute.

Response: This claim simply has no basis in fact.

Good to hear. 

That is not what I have heard from members of the fire department.

Greg- Is this a case there just aren’t enough ambulances

Barth: Partially true but there are more ambulances outside of town that could come in and get somebody.  If it is a question of paying people…it ought to be worked out.

Accurate: System design improvements were implemented this past year with an important goal being to minimize any dependence on mutual aid from outlying communities who need and depend on those scarce EMS resources. Paramedics Plus is exceeding their response time requirements, and the City does not require a specific number of ambulances in circulation. We do require Paramedics Plus to have one or more mutual aid agreements by contract. Paramedics Plus has two mutual aid agreements in place.

We could have more ambulances and we could have a quicker response but the City has chosen not to do so.

Barth: Them (SFFR) being on the scene means we don’t need an immediate dispatch of an ambulance why don’t we use ambulances out of Omaha, so what if it takes 3 hours why should we worry because fire and police is already there…clearly that is ridiculous. Also clear that waiting 20 minutes is not better than waiting ten minutes and 10 minutes is ridiculous.

Accurate: A 10-minute response time is not ridiculous and is well within the required response time for P-2 and P-3 calls, which made up 13,355 of the ambulance calls from May 2016- April 2017.  P-1 calls, which are life-threatening emergencies, require an ambulance on scene 90% of the time in less than 8:59 and in May 2016-April 2017, Paramedics Plus did so 536 times out of 544 P-1 calls. Response times required in the contract are based on national industry best practice.

No comment on 20 minutes? 

If 20 minutes, or 60 minutes was within the “required response time” you would be OK with that? 

I’ll reiterate, ridiculous!

What about 5 minutes?

Jill Franken

Public Health Director

Sioux Falls Health Department

*This email was CC’d to many other individuals in government, public boards and individual citizens.

Barth on the B-N-B show this morning

Jeff made some great points about crime and its relationship with population increases, he also stated the obvious about ambulance service in Sioux Falls; all we are asking for is more mutual aid.

Mayhem Averted

During the Farm to Fork dinner last night, apparently these three got into it about the ambulance service, but it looks like in the end, they cleared up their differences.


Jeff Barth strongly considering a run for Sioux Falls Mayor

Jeff met with friends and supporters tonight to tell us he is considering a run for the office. Jeff would certainly bring a different perspective to the office and some integrity. I hope he does it! Please encourage Jeff to step up!

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.


But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive‘ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.