Monday, March 22, 2010

Let's call a spade a spade

<$BlogMetaData$>March 24th, 2010

Let’s call a spade a spade!

I must apologize to the people that wrote UCC ordinance 2007-003 on guidelines and rules for getting a liquor license in Union County. I made fun of the business plan submitted by Sean Brady for getting his liquor license for the Exit 31 Grille. He followed the law to the letter. I even checked with the State of South Dakota to see what the minimum requirements were to get a license. Are you ready for this? You cannot be a convicted felon! That’s it. They don’t even require a background check. If the county wants to do one that is fine, but so far as the state is concerned, they don’t require one. Now you might be a drug user, a sex offender or an alcoholic, but as long as you aren’t a convicted felon, you’re home free. Yakoff Smerinoff says it best. Is this a great country or what? If the business plan ordinance is so relaxed, it is no wonder that the planning and zoning acts like it does. They have a free reign to do what they want and the devil take the hindmost. At least the treasurer and the register of deeds have somewhat stringent laws they must adhere to.

I’m getting a fast education lately in how this county operates. As an example, if you want to get on the agenda for the county commissioners, the auditor will ask you for a synopsis about what you are going to talk about. She says this is just a courtesy to the commissioners. They must think we are totally stupid or they only do it to certain people, but the reason she is asking is that she can give a heads up to the States Attorney so he can look it up in the codified law and the commissioners can have an answer for you immediately when you are finished speaking.

Let me give you a an example. I submitted a complaint against the land use administrator to the county commissioners, I was asked what the topic was about when I asked to be on the agenda and I told her. I read my complaint to the commissioners and immediately (within 5 seconds give or take a few), Mr. Karpen pulled out the exact law in the zoning ordinance that says they have no jurisdiction over the LUA and that I must take complaints about the LUA to the board of adjustment. Now if you think he knew the answer to that one and exactly where to look and have the ordinance marked, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona for sale.

Anyway, when I was finished with the presentation, I made a statement to the BOA that Dennis was the most powerful man in Union County. I was mistaken. It is Jerry Miller, the States Attorney. He is ultimately the one responsible to ensure that the laws and ordinances that are passed will stand up to a lawsuit and that they are lawful orders. Now he was the SA (States Attorney) when this law (UCC 2007-003) was passed, so he must have given it his blessing to put it into law. After all, the only thing the state requires is that he not be a convicted felon.

Now to give you an update on what to expect if and when Hyperion comes to town, a Texas based oil pipeline company was fined $450,000 in civil penalties to the United States to settle allegations that it failed to prepare and maintain proper facility response plans to deal with spills and environmental accidents at eight of its oil storage terminal facilities in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Now what gets me about all this is that the fines are paid to the government. Why not pay the fine to the people who are inconvenienced or damaged by these spills. This is just another example of the utter disregard the United States Government has for its people or is it acting as their sovereign? Individual states create the laws for their states regarding pollution hazards, but the government gets the reward if there is a spill or catastrophe. HM-M-M-M… in the case of the oil spill it was a violation of the clean water act, so I guess the government is the party who was grieved. (Getting a bit cynical aren’t I?)

There is a law sitting at the Governor’s desk that I don’t think the county commissioners or any government body for that matter wants to get signed. SB 104 says that any agency of the government state, county, city or any convening body must make information that it receives prior to the meeting available to the public at least 24 hours in advance, or have it available for viewing. Not only that, all government agencies must take minutes and have them published in the paper within 10 days or it is a misdemeanor. I have been an advocate of this for at least 3 years. I testified in Pierre about this 3 years ago but it never made it out of committee. The government moves at a snail’s pace, but at least it moves. Maybe it doesn’t move as fast as we want it to sometimes, but it does move. “Hoo-Rah!”


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