Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

I suggest Minnehaha & Lincoln Counties use the almost $50 million in Covid recovery funds for a mass vaccination site

According to NACO (National Association of Counties) The two counties are going to get almost $50 million between the two of them from the latest Covid recovery bill. That’s a hefty chunk of change.

Besides helping alleviate medical costs for the uninsured, I highly suggest starting in April they setup a drive thru massive Covid vaccination site where individuals and families can drive thru to get shots simply by hanging their arms out the window of their cars.

Other states and cities are doing this or at least prepping for it as a fast and efficient way to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.

Sometimes good ideas are just that simple.

They are also recruiting volunteers from any sector (besides nurses, doctors and pharmacists) that are qualified to give shots like animal vets.

The health systems, the community health clinic, and pharmacies could join forces and set up such a site(s).

Sadly, I suspect they will blow it on something else, you know like the state did with the first round of relief money giving it to hotels, developers, restaurants and go kart tracks.

I hope the counties get their poop in a group and spend the money wisely, but like most places run by right winger nutzos greed and selfishness will probably win the day.

Proposed Residential Airport


Yes, in a town where most people are middle to lower income some rich folks in town want their own airstrip next to their homes. The two petitioners are involved with a large construction company and the ethanol industry. The developer helping with the project is former City Councilor and current State Legislator, Greg Jamison.

While the proposal was a tie/stalemate with Minnehaha County voting for it and the City Planning Commission voting against, that means it goes to the Minnehaha CC and Sioux Falls city council for joint meeting approval on March 23.

A city official told me today that it may not make that date because the FAA is rumored to have already put a kabosh on it. We will see.

Who is paying for the $500K road screwup by the Minnehaha County Jail?

I joked with someone yesterday when asked what I thought about all the turmoil in Brandon (no police chief, no mayor) that it seemed the city is just on cruise control and about to pull a Ravnsborg and hit the ditch. I’m starting to wonder the same thing about the City of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County.

Remember all the endless road construction on the road in front of the jail last year? The road construction was supposed to be in conjunction with the new jail, but apparently when all is said and done, when it rains the road causes water to run down into the jail’s door. The price tag to fix it? $500K. There also seems to be a debate about who should pay for this colossal f’up? County or City? The county says they over budgeted for the jail so they have the money to fix the screwup the city caused and they don’t want anybody with the city to get angry with them. While the city was responsible for the road, I am curious why the taxpayers should foot the bill? What about our anger? Shouldn’t the engineer and contractor fix their mistake at their expense? That’s how it works in the real world. I had a friend a few years ago that had a leaky roof after her roof was re-shingled. After wrangling back and forth with the contractor he agreed to fix it at his expense. That is how these things work. But it seems like these days when contractors screw up roofs, windows, siding or HVAC systems for city owned facilities, we the taxpayers have to foot the bill and our cruise control government just says ‘oh well’.

I’m starting to think the Mayor’s office, the City Attorney’s office, the HR department, the Health Department and the Public Works department seem to all be on cruise control these days. I think everyone went to work from home at the beginning of the pandemic, fell asleep and never woke up.

How is the new Minnehaha County Treasurer doing?

I haven’t heard anything concrete, but the rumor is since Swanson took over it is pure chaos. I guess she has been admitting to employees that she in over her head. This is what happens when you elect someone based on the letter behind their name instead of qualifications. Just look at our State Legislature who continues to write bills to enrich themselves and friends while taking freedoms from us.

Swanson had ZERO management experience and from what I am hearing, doesn’t really know what goes on in the treasurer’s office. I could have guessed this after reading her Facebook posts that were incomprehensible.

I guess the Auditor’s office isn’t much better, he isn’t fairing well either.

Folks, this is why one-party rule hasn’t worked for us.

Will the City of Sioux Falls & Minnehaha County provide a public vaccination site?

I know I have touched on this recently, but what I have been hearing from people who have been vaccinated (because they are in the correct category) is that people who are not patients of the two major health systems in Sioux Falls are NOT being contacted for their vaccination appointment. Some have even reached out to Falls Community Health and have been told they can’t get one there. On January 17th in a FB video, Mayor TenHaken said the city will be relying on the two systems to do the vaccinations and get a hold of patients to schedule them. He said they are ‘the professionals’ which is true, but also added ‘you don’t want government doing this.’

This is not right for many reasons;

• In the past mass vaccinations were handled by the Federal government in partnership with private volunteers, hospitals, local governments and pharmacies.

• As Federal taxpayers we paid for these vaccines and their Federal distribution there is NO reason why there shouldn’t be a public option for those who don’t use our two major health systems.

• We have the money to do a public site as proven with the almost half-million the city has already spent in ‘education’ programs.

• Privacy issues. Many people who don’t use the private systems don’t want them to have that information which they may use for patient recruitment.

I won’t make this argument about how much money the health systems will make from this, I really don’t care at this point, and it is moot. This is about citizens being able to have every option possible to receive a vaccination, whether they get it at the two hospitals, a private pharmacy, Falls Community Health or a drive-thru site ran by Feds. I also think that as a community we are better than this, we have the money and the resources to provide this, and ethically we should.

Once again I am disappointed that Mayor TenHaken, the county leadership and others in state government just pass the buck on covid prevention and leadership to the private sector. While I appreciate all the great work they have done, it really needs to be a true partnership not a passing of the buck.

I’m hoping the Biden administration and the Feds get involved and force the city and county to provide a public option, even if they have to throw more money at this epidemic. Let’s face it folks, our economy and lives will never get back to normal until we can provide immunity to almost everyone, and sitting on our hands while the private sector handles this is just not acceptable, but unfortunately with most local government issues, predictable.

Is the South Dakota Legislature considering legislation to appoint county auditors and treasurers?

There was a rumor roaming around the halls of the Minnehaha County Administration building that a District 13 Republican legislator is considering sponsoring a law that would allow county commissioners to appoint their treasurers and auditors instead of electing them.

I know what their main arguments will be, they want to appoint someone with experience in the field. But I am no dummy, that is a ruse. They want to appoint people they can control, and since most legislators and county commissions are Republicans that means these appointees will be Republicans.

I will tell you why I am against this move;

• Keeping our county officials who run elections and collect taxes as elected officials means accountability to the taxpayers not the county commission.

• There is more transparency from elected officials versus bureaucrats.

• This is a power grab by the SD Republican Party since they control all the other bodies of power in local government they can now snatch up one party rule in these offices.

• Less compassion and understanding with tax collection. If the treasurer doesn’t have to answer to the citizens, they can pursue all means possible to collect taxes and inflict harm and penalties.

• The appointed auditor may also set policies forward that inflict voter suppression in certain districts.

This is a bad idea all the way around. There are simpler changes to the law to get more qualified elected officers. First you could make the positions non-partisan (I would say this for the county commissioners also). You could also require candidates to at least have education or experience in accounting or auditing before they could be allowed on the ballot.

If it makes it to the floor of the legislature, which I think it will, it will likely pass and give even more power to the super-majority authoritarian fascist radical right SD GOP.

I have also heard the recently appointed (non-elected) auditor who replaced Litz got quite the pay bump over what Litz was getting. There was also some shuffling of deck chairs between the treasurer’s and auditor’s office due to conflicts of interest. Another reason why appointing these officers is a bad idea.

This should never happen in the World’s greatest democracy

This was the scene about 4:30 yesterday at the election center in Downtown Sioux Falls (photos by Theresa Stehly) the line was several blocks long.

This of course could have been avoided a couple of different ways;

• Do what I have done for almost a decade, vote as soon as early voting starts. I believe I voted about a week after it started and there was about 3 people voting when I walked in. I have done this for a long time because I got tired of the musical precincts in every local election (something else that should end, another form of vote suppression).

• We should mail every registered voter a ballot, NOT an application, in at least state and national elections.

• We should have dozens of drop boxes available throughout the county at city and county properties (this of course would be possible if we didn’t have a political hack as the mayor of Sioux Falls who belongs to a party that promotes voter suppression).

What is crazy is that while we hand out $20 million dollar TIF’s and build $26 million dollar mural substrates, we can surely afford to make voting easier.

We live in a great country that allows us to choose our officials, but we make it really f’ing hard, even right here in South Dakota. I never thought I would see the day that people had to stand in this long of a line in Sioux Falls to vote. These pictures made me very sad.

****Note; if you have not mailed your ballot in yet DO NOT! I won’t make it to the election center by Tuesday. Drop it off in person or have a friend do it for you!

SD GOP lies about Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr are not about the law, they are about Voter Suppression

Councilor Starr is responding in a press release below about the rabid right’s attempt to smear him for calling voters in a public service announcement about absentee voting during the middle of a pandemic emergency in our state, county and city. FCC law allows public officials to call citizens in emergencies and what Pat did was far from being against the law.

In fact this smear job isn’t about the law to the SD GOP it is about blatant voter suppression, something they strive at every day.

I have listened to the call several times, and Pat never mentions once that he is running for Minnehaha Treasurer, he also paid for the call himself and not a campaign expense.

In the call Pat asks voters to vote ASAP to protect themselves from a deadly virus that both Mayor TenHaken and Governor Noem have warned us about in Emergency Declarations.

In fact since the call has gone out Pat has received mostly praise from people for alerting them on how to vote safely. Some didn’t even know he was running for treasurer. I have heard some of the voicemails he received and they are absolutely glowing. Of course the right wing dingbats and their minions think that telling people how to vote safely is some violation of a law that is meant to protect consumers from SALESMEN, ironically one of the biggest complainers was using his position as a state official to SELL more from his private business, but AG Jackboots let him off because he didn’t ‘STEAL’ anything. LOL.

As for some of the calls going to voters out of Minnehaha County, as Pat explained it is because voter lists are not current and up to date. But does it really matter? Especially since the message is important to ALL voters across the state.

Once again, the SD GOP ran by an Iowa Bail Bondsmen cries wolf because they really don’t want you to vote. I’m sure the Whaaaaabulance will be showing up shortly in Dakota Dunes.

PRESS RELEASE from Councilor Pat Starr (605) 321-9680


“I am not going to apologize for doing the right thing” Pat Starr said today, “Making it easier and safer for people to vote, is my number one priority.”

“In the face of a declared emergency, a public official is duty bound to use all means to give proper instructions to the public for their safety.” Starr added saying “I saw the public’s confusion being created by misstatements in the media by many officials.”

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has issued regulations governing the use by duly elected and appointed officials to issue statements in the public good.

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz informed the county commission and public recently when saying the anticipated problems with mail deliveries and duplicate ballot issues, “If you are within ten days of the election, and you have something you’ve got to get to us, you better use the Pony Express, or come on down here, or do something besides the mail.”

Many elected officials including Governor Noem, Minnehaha County Commissioners and Mayor Paul TenHaken have been declaring various “States of Emergency” this year causing great confusion and health fears. The issued Executive Orders are in effect until at least December 31st, 2020 or until rescinded.

Gov. Kristi Noem didn’t take any chances and declared on April 11th and then again on May 26th, 2020 when she extended South Dakota’s “State of Emergency” declaration regarding COVID-19 through Dec. 30, 2020.

“I do hereby declare that a state of emergency continues to exist in all counties in the state of South Dakota, and I direct the plans and procedures of the State of Emergency Operations Plan continue to be implemented,”


Federal Communication Commission Regulation:

“Prerecorded Voice Messages and Autodialed Calls to Cell Phones and Other Mobile Services. Prerecorded voice messages and autodialed calls (including autodialed live calls, prerecorded or artificial voice messages, and text messages) to cell phones and other mobile services such as paging systems are prohibited, subject to only two exceptions: 1) calls made for emergency purposes, and 2) calls made with the prior express consent of the called party.”

Governor Kristi Noem Emergency Declaration: https://www.capjournal.com/news/coronavirus/state-of-emergency-noem-declares-south-dakota-will-maintain-designation-for-rest-of-year/article_bcb2166a-9f98-11ea-bf41-1feea4e7c37f.html

Sioux Falls Executive Order 218: Subject: Declaration of Emergency to Address the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Given that time is of the essence, pursuant to Section 33.025 of the Code of Ordinances of Sioux Falls, SD, I hereby declare there exists a threat to the public’s health, safety and welfare necessitating immediate measures to prevent the spread and potential effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Upon the declaration of an emergency, the Mayor shall have all powers as set forth in Sections 33.026-33.028 of the Code of Ordinances of Sioux Falls, SD.

County Treasurer Candidate calls Residents Erections

This is why I often tell people running for local office to have someone proofread their campaign materials before releasing them. Besides the fact that the first two sentences were incoherent, I’m sure she meant to say we are ‘Hardy’ in Minnehaha County, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the treasurer’s office? Maybe it means we can tolerate standing in long lines for hours?

Pat Starr is the perfect replacement of Pam Nelson

I don’t say this simply because I consider Pat a good friend and stalwart of open and transparent government. I say it because he is uniquely qualified for the position of Minnehaha County Treasurer. Pat has been one of the few Sioux Falls City Councilors under the Home Rule Charter to vote against tax and fee increases on a regular basis. Only two councilors come to mind Staggers and Stehly who have done it in the past, yeah the ‘St’ has a ring to it.

As county treasurer he will hold those purse strings tight and do everything in his power to make sure what you pay is fair as Pam has done.

Pat has also told me personally he will try to go above and beyond the incredible customer service Nelson has provided. Making it even easier for taxpayers to have access to services through a wide variety of technological advances.

I don’t know much about Starr’s opponent, heck I’m not even sure how to spell their name. But it is pretty clear that Pat has the track record to lead the Treasurer’s office for years to come.

I encourage everyone to vote early at the election center, and cast your vote for Pat.

Disclosure; Pat has not paid me to write this endorsement and has not seen it in advance.