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New Recording Surfaces From the August 27 SDGOP Central Committee Meeting
More information comes to light....

September 7, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

A new recording has surfaced from the August 27, 2022 Central Committee Meeting, where state GOP leaders discuss the termination of voting rights for certain party members.

(0:00-1:16) The defeat of the substitute motion (by Anne Beal) has been just been confirmed and discussion returns to the original motion.

Marilyn Oakes restates the original motion, but there seems to be some confusion over the actual wording of the original motion and some discussion occurs away from the microphone in regard to that.

1:16- 1:31 - Dan Lederman takes the microphone and says they will re-state the original motion so everyone can hear it.

1:31- 2:00- "To direct the Bylaws committee to explore options to set election times for PCPs to allow time for training and familiarization prior to the convention, and then the report will be brought back [from the Bylaws committee] by the winter meeting."

2:00- 2:50 - Mary Fitzgerald (elected rep from Lawrence County) states that she would like to amend the current motion, and she is then asked how she wants to amend it, and is asked to go to the microphone so that everyone present can actually hear what she is saying. There is also cross-talk from someone (possibly Fitzgerald) about just having the Bylaws committee look into the duties of a precinct committee person and make recommendations to the executive board prior to the winter meeting.

2:50 - 3:20 - At this juncture, Mary Fitzgerald is heard to say:

"They [newly elected precinct people] want to participate in our county meetings, they want to try to take control of our convention, take control of our county [central committees], and I think it's really important that we have people who work hard and are rewarded by actually doing things. And now we have these people who come in and go to the convention and vote and we never see them again... until maybe when we have a county election and they try to take over [in] a coup and take over our central committee."

3:20 -3:40- She goes on to say "I know that [the suggestion for an amendment to the motion] it's really vague, so maybe someone else can change it or whatever. So vote it up or vote it down, whatever..."

3:45- 4:15 - There is some unintelligible discussion, and then a remark is made that Fitzgerald's motion to amend requires a second, and the motion to amend is seconded by Roger Meyer.

4:15-5:15 - Dan Lederman takes the microphone to say that he'll repeat what was suggested. "The motion (to amend) is to direct the Bylaws committee to rewrite precinct committee (PC) duties, responsibilities, privileges, and timing of service (timing of term) and come to the state central committee winter meeting with a proposal for bylaw change."

5:45- 7:10 - The "friendly" amendment proposed by Fitzgerald and seconded by Meyer is approved on a voice vote, and Lederman then makes an off-handed remark about the "Word Salad" they're creating. There is some small talk and discussion about giving Marilyn Oakes [secretary] time to catch up with the meeting notes in regard to the current amended motion.

7:10 - 8:10 - Marilyn restates what is being proposed in terms of a friendly amendment to the original motion.

Lederman remarks that they are now back to discussing the original motion as currently amended.

8:15- 9:35 Jefferey Church takes the microphone to suggest that they direst the Bylaws committee to explore options for removing Precinct People who do not participate in their county duties (as yet undefined) . Someone in the group suggests that should actually be made as its own separate motion. Church then retracts his motion and says he'll bring it after the current motion is voted upon.

9:50 -11:35 Charlie Hoffman of McPherson County (District 23 representative) takes the microphone and says:

"The inside baseball everyone needs to be aware of. We're at a pinnacle in this party where we can't allow disenfranchised people [to sever] the party statewide. If we don't do something- this is a very important meeting- and the meeting in January will be of utmost importance for this reason"

"I know for a FACT there will be legislation brought that will GUT our conference [convention], GUT our summer celebrations, that will do things to this party that we don't like... and there isn't much we're gonna be able do about it... [except] maybe get the Governor on our side to veto it."



"But there's a lot of power pushing back against the things that happened at convention. Now just to say this, because I've got the microphone and I won't speak again- My thoughts of the previous [proposal] is there has to be skin in the game for you to be able to vote at convention and here [central committee]. All of us have skin in the game, okay? The constitutional offices... when you come to a convention and you've done your homework and you want to be the best Secretary of State, or the best Treasurer, the best Auditor, or the best School and Public Lands Commissioner- that's fantastic- you're running for a position-not so much running against someone else.

"BUT...when you come to our convention, and you run against the Lt. Governor... you are not running to be the best Lt. Governor, you're running to SPITE the governor. There is no way in hell".... (Scattered applause from meeting attendees)

11:40-12:45 Hoffman continues his remarks- "I was at both last conventions where there were two people running to 'take out the Lt. Governor.' Now here's the deal... think about this: We all think we have the expertise and knowledge to elect the best person in our party to be the governor of this state, and whoever that is, that person ends up being the most powerful political person in the state.

"Yet by convention we don't think that person has the audacity, intelligence or drive to pick their own Lt. Governor. Let's have a discussion on that [the Lt. Governor nominating process], leave the [other] constitutional offices alone. That gets the grass-roots [involved], we don't want to screw up the grassroots in this. We're moving in the right direction- I'm not sure we can go all the way to 105 [seats in the legislature] - if it happens, that's fantastic...[then] all the constitutional offices are all held by us- let's keep that preserved.

"Let's work on making sure we don't get some Nut Bags from the other party - especially in the PUC (Public Utility Commissioner) race. But otherwise, that's all I've got. Thank you very much for your time." (end of Hoffman remarks) (applause from some of the meeting attendees)

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-08 08:54:56Last Update: 2022-09-07 14:59:42


The Dakota Leader Radio Launches with Special Guest Rep. Spencer Gosch
Catch us every Friday at noon central

The Dakota Leader has launched its very own radio show broadcast, which will air live every Friday at noon central time. Our first guest, Speaker of The House Representative Spencer Gosch, joins TDL Editor Breeauna Sagdal, to discuss South Dakota politics and headlines in the news. Join us live every Friday at Revolution.Radio, Apple Podcasts, on your ROKU device, or catch us later on our YouTube Channel.

This Friday at noon, we will feature special guest Senator-elect Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids)

The Dakota Leader Radio is Member Supported. If You Like The Information We Bring To You Each Week, Please Consider a Monthly Donation!

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-08 08:41:52Last Update: 2022-09-07 14:58:07


Renters Pay Higher Property Taxes Than Home Owners According to Researchers
A look at the correlation between property taxes and housing affordability

By Mike Zitterich *UPDATED 09/08/22 By Editor Breeauna Sagdal*

Each year, beginning the first of August through the end of September, the Sioux Falls City Council holds public meetings to discuss the Annual tax revenues, expenses, future projects, programs, and projected plans of the city government. Part of that process includes the City Finance Officer seeking approval of the residents to take its allotted increase from the State Property Tax Assessments.

This allotted increase, in addition to the increases of the Sioux Falls School District budget, could mean higher property taxes for residents in the 2023 fiscal year. Property taxes, aside from impacting home-owners, also impact renters and access to housing affordability according to researchers.

In May of 2018, SmartAsset published a nation-wide study of the "Most and Least Severely Housing Cost-Burdened Cities in 2016". The study found that many people in 2016 were paying 30-50% of their income on housing, but the authors state, "it’s especially a problem for households that rent."

"Nationwide, renter households are more than twice as likely to be housing cost-burdened as owner households," the authors state.

While South Dakota has some of the highest property taxes in the nation, the cost of living is is offset by a small sales tax, and no income tax. In 2016, Sioux Falls, South Dakota ranked amongst the lowest cost-burdened cities.

However, according to the SmartAsset study, "no city is perfect." In 2016 4% of households across all income levels within Sioux Falls were still paying 50% or more of their incomes on housing costs, while 10% were spending between 30-50% of their income on housing. In the five years since then, property taxes in Sioux Falls have increased by another 14.2 million dollars. It's important to note that the max tax rate is set by the state legislature, but each city, and county have separate agreements and operating expenses that fluctuate budgets and property taxes.

Over the past five years, the City Council has steadily approved property-tax increases by $14.2 million dollars. $60,129,933 (2017); $62,523,959 (2018); 66,576,460 (2019); $70,288,580 (2020); and $74,349,770 (2021). Per the "2022 Request for Property Tax Dollars", the City Finance Officer has assessed, and confirmed that the City may be entitled to increase property-tax evaluations again, by another $2.2 million dollars ($78,572,716) for F.Y. 2023.

The 2.2 million dollar property tax increase is on par with the last five years, and in fact Mayor Paul Tenhaken's budget proposal for 2023 is below forecasted revenues for the year. With the costs of inflation, living costs for many are increasing, but some are feeling the squeeze more acutely. According to Derek Lobo of SVN Rock Advisors, these cost increases disproportionately impact renters.

Derek Lobo is the founder and CEO of SVN Rock Advisors Inc in Ontario Canada, and says that sometimes renters actually pay more property taxes than home-owners.

"It’s widely believed that only property owners pay property tax, but it’s actually not true, and in fact renters sometimes pay more property tax than those in single-family dwellings. They just pay it in their rent," Lobo said in an article for Real Estate News EXchange.

Lobo also points out that most renters do not think about property tax, because these taxes are “seemingly borne by the landlord." However, like Ontario, the city of Sioux Falls taxes homes that are
owner-occupied, and homes or multi-unit residencies that are renter-occupied, differently.

Renter occupied properties, be it single-family or multi-family such as apartment buildings, are taxed at higher rates because they are considered income properties for the owner. However, these costs get passed along to the renter in the form of rent, as do higher interest rates, increases in water, sewer, electric costs and more. In addition, renters share the same, or higher, tax burden for school districts, regardless of use.

According to a study recently published by Zillow, minorities often shoulder more of the cost burden, and are further behind on their rent than non-minorities, following the pandemic. According to a study recently published by the University of Chicago, the disparate inequality of housing costs for poor and minority households, are driving factors of homelessness, and access to housing.

According to the study's author,
Christopher Berry, housing inequality across the country is being driven by disproportionately higher property taxes in poorer neighborhoods. "Across the country, in city after city, homes in low-income neighborhoods are systematically over-assessed relative to their actual market prices, while those in rich areas are under-assessed. The net result is a transfer of billions of dollars of tax burdens from rich households to poor ones."

The total property value assessed in Sioux Falls,
according to the state's Department of Revenue is $16,800,000,000 billion dollars. The tax rate for Sioux Falls is currently set at 1.42% of assessed value, meaning the average home valued at $250,000 will pay about $3,550 dollars per year for owner-occupied properties, slightly over more than the national average.

Lloyd Companies, is a rental property company that owns approximately $212,113,800 dollars worth of assessed property value in Sioux Falls. Renters of Llyod property's, such as those living at Philip Ave Lofts, The Cascade and so on, pay an annual combined $3.02 million of the property tax burden to the city. Similarly, Ronning Rental Properties owns $45,521,500 million in assessed value, with their renters currently paying an estimated tax of $650,000 per year to the city.

The City Council will discuss the 2023 fiscal year's budget at the next meeting, September 13th.



*Editor's Note: We have retracted a former version of this article, and we apologize for the mistake made by our team. The current version accurately reflects the author's intended story and corrected math.

Help Support Local Journalism... DONATE TODAY!

--Mike Zitterich- Edited By Breeauna Sagdal

Post Date: 2022-09-08 08:06:04Last Update: 2022-09-08 13:15:48


The U.S. and the Holocaust
A new documentary by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein

Premieres September 18 at 8/7c

The U.S. and the Holocaust is a three-part, six hour series that examines America’s response to one of the greatest humanitarian crises of the twentieth century. Americans consider themselves a “nation of immigrants,” but as the catastrophe of the Holocaust unfolded in Europe, the United States proved unwilling to open its doors to more than a fraction of the hundreds of thousands of desperate people seeking refuge. Through riveting firsthand testimony of witnesses and survivors who as children endured persecution, violence and flight as their families tried to escape Hitler, this series delves deeply into the tragic human consequences of public indifference, bureaucratic red tape and restrictive quota laws in America. Did the nation fail to live up to its ideals? This is a history to be reckoned with.

--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-08 07:08:16Last Update: 2022-09-08 08:03:31


A.G Mark Vargo Announces Settlement Against Medicaid Fraud Case

Essilor International, Essilor of America Inc., Essilor Laboratories of America Inc., and Essilor Instruments USA (Essilor), headquartered in Dallas, Texas has settled a case of alleged Medicaid fraud. The company manufactures, markets, and distributes optical lenses and equipment used to produce optical lenses. Pursuant to the settlement, Essilor will pay the United States and 35 states a total of $22 million plus interest.

The settlement resolves allegations that between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2016, Essilor knowingly and willfully offered or paid kick-backs to eye care providers to bribe providers into exclusively ordering and purchasing Essilor products for their patients, including Medicaid beneficiaries. The government alleges that the Essilor’s conduct violated the Federal False Claims Statute and South Dakota statutes, and resulted in the submission of false claims to the South Dakota Medicaid program.

According to a statement from A.G Mark Vargo's office, however, "the settlement is neither an admission of liability by Essilor, nor a concession by South Dakota that its claims are not well founded."

The total settlement amount recovered by South Dakota is $56,009.03, of which $31,286.18 will be retained by the federal government for the federal Medicaid share. The remaining $24,722.85 will go to the state general fund to offset alleged Medicaid damages in this case.

This settlement came after two whistleblowers filed lawsuits in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units (“NAMFCU”) participated in the settlement negotiations on behalf of the states. The South Dakota Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the South Dakota Department of Social Services assisted in recovering the settlement money.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Health and Policy Journalist for The Dakota Leader

Post Date: 2022-09-07 11:03:28Last Update: 2022-09-07 11:20:44


UPDATE - Noem Misconduct Allegations
Bi-partisan effort calls on A.G Mark Vargo to recuse himself

As previously reported by The Dakota Leader, the Government Accountability Board has turned over the case of Gov. Kristi Noem's "nepotism" allegations to interim A.G Mark Vargo.

As of August 23, 2022, three state lawmakers, from across the political spectrum, are now calling on Vargo to recuse himself from the investigation into Noem. State Representative Jamie Smith (D-Sioux Falls), is joined by Speaker of The House Rep. Spencer Gosch (R-Mobridge), and Rep. Scott Odenbach (R-Spearfish) in calling upon the interim Attorney General who was appointed by Gov. Noem this June, following the impeachment of Jason Ravnsborg.

Rep. Smith, who is running for the Governor's office this November, told Dakota News Now/KOTA Territory, “I am asking that we have a special prosecutor assigned this,” Smith said. “As honorable as the appointed Attorney General is, this puts him in a bad spot, there is going to be an impropriety because he was appointed by the current governor who is being investigated.”

Representatives Spencer Gosch and Scott Odenbach told Dakota News Now reporter Austin Goss,

“I think in order to show the people of South Dakota that we take ethical violations and complaints seriously, then it is only appropriate that the Governor appointed Attorney General in Vargo steps aside, to allow for a third party investigator to look into the ethics violations by Governor Noem,” Gosch said.

“It is only appropriate for him (Vargo) to immediately recuse himself and appoint a special counsel so that there is a continued faith and trust in the process, that you are held accountable no matter who you are,” Odenbach said in a statement.

Vargo contends that no decisions have been made yet.

Help Support The Dakota Leader... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-07 10:19:51Last Update: 2022-09-07 11:02:41


South Dakota’s “Gold Standard” of Elections On Trial
SPECIAL REPORT - Republics Defend The Minority, Yet in The Republican State of South Dakota, Multiple Non-partisan NGOs Fight For Election Reforms, Ahead of November.

September 07, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

The state of South Dakota has been embroiled in one of the longest-standing legal challenges to its election process. In 2002, the ACLU filed, "The Largest-Ever Voting Rights Lawsuit on Behalf of Native Americans in South Dakota." According to the ACLU, South Dakota state officials have ignored federal law meant to protect minorities from voting discrimination for nearly 50 years, as the Justice Department has approved more than 600 statutes and regulations that affect voting and elections in the state, without proper preclearance.

The ACLU has long since contended that South Dakota flouts elections laws. In August of this year, Federal Chief Judge Roberto A. Lange agreed, ordering the state, and specifically Lyman County to come up with a new redistricting plan that will provide for two County Commissioner seats by this November's 2022 election.

September 6, 2022, another lawsuit filed recently, was just settled yesterday. Filed by plaintiffs; Rosebud Sioux Tribe, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, Lakota People’s Law Project, and voters Kimberly Dillon and Hoksila White Mountain, was settled against Secretary of State Steve Barnett, Department of Social Services Cabinet Secretary Laurie Gill, Department of Labor and Regulations Cabinet Secretary Marcia Hultman, and Department of Public Safety Cabinet Secretary Craig Price.



“This agreement requires South Dakota establish training and accountability mechanisms so voters, including Native voters, actually receive the legally required opportunities to register to vote,” said Oglala Sioux Tribe President Kevin Killer, regarding the case.

Secretary Of State Steve Barnett, however, is currently seeking employment in Minnesota, as the Benson City Manager. Barnett, who recently lost his party's nomination at the SDGOP Convention to Monae Johnson, now appears to be entertaining job opportunities out-of-state. Barnett will not leave his office until the new Secretary of State takes office after November's election. With a family to care for, some have expressed concerns that Barnett might be understandably, occupied with where he will land. Meanwhile, trainings and collaboration between agencies must occur before the next election to satisfy the state's agreement with the Rosebud and Ogala Tribes.

Conversely, state officials have claimed that South Dakota has "the gold standard" of elections. During the 2020 federal election, Donald Trump won the state of South Dakota by a significant margin, while still losing his bid for re-election. Following the election, however, another group of voters have been in hot-pursuit of election materials, in an effort to audit South Dakota's so-called "gold standard." Some media sources, outside of The Dakota Leader, have conflated SD Canvassing with Trump sycophants, still angry about the loss of the 2020 election. The logical fallacy of this stigma caught the attention of TDL, and we began to investigate
after republican counties started to hire top attorneys, and fight back against full disclosure.

Jessica Pollema of SD Canvassing tells The Dakota Leader, "South Dakota is one of only four states in the entire nation, that do not conduct a post-election audit process." Post-election audits are vital to transparency as the integrity of any election safeguards minority thoughts, ideas, and candidates seeking to reform the status quo.

According to ES&S (Election Systems and Software) the company contracted with the state of South Dakota to help provide secure elections, "Post-election audits are a legal process by which election officials verify that votes were counted accurately." The company goes on to state that, "ES&S voting systems support these audits by providing election details," specifically CVRs or Cast Vote Records, which the company says is used by election officials to ensure accuracy.

These samplings ensure that ballots match what the computer is registering as the voter's preferred selection. The ability to access these drives was a highlighted selling point, after the contested election of Al Gore vs George W. Bush in 2000, which resulted in a very long process of hand-counting ballots.

The group tells TDL, auditors across the state have been told these records do not exist, or have never received training on how to access them. Several have reported feeling frustrated that they are expected to certify the results of the election, when they themselves cannot verify each ballot actually matches what the computer software has registered as the vote.

Now it has come to light that this information came directly from the Secretary Of State's office, and Steve Barnett himself. An email dated August 24, 2022 from Kea Warne, who works for Steve Barnett, states "a CVR doesn't exist."

On Friday September 1, 2022, the South Dakota Freedom Caucus hosted a public meeting for County Auditors and the public to try and facilitate trainings, and get to the bottom of varied information.

During the meeting, Lyman County Auditor Deb Halverson confirmed that she had been notified by the Secretary Of State that the Cast Vote Record did not exist, and due to the determination by the Office of Hearing Examiners, third-party documents could not be shared.

"It has been our understanding that the ruling that came from the Office of Hearing Examiners, called the ES&S data proprietary information. Um Past that, I understand the Office Of hearing Examiners if not a court order, but it is close to it, and it is not my responsibility to violate any sort of ruling that has been made. Whether or not that is, that is not something that I can determine. But we have been told that, due to the Office of Hearing Examiners' determination, third party documents are not ours to share."

In a follow-up question related to being told auditors could not share third-party documents, Senator-Elect Tom Pischke (R-Dell Rapids) asked, "who has directed you to that conclusion?" Deb Halverson responded, "to the exact person who told us that information, we, the Secretary Of State has very clearly told us that a CVR does not exist in the counties that do not have an ERM."

As previously reported from last week; Lincoln, Minnehaha, and Pennington Counties are currently in litigation with SD Canvassing over public records requests made in order to obtain the CVR data. Those documents are legally allowed to be destroyed 22 months following the federal election. On August 31, 2022, Circuit Court Judge John Pekas ordered these three counties to preserve all election materials from the 2020 election, until the case for public records and access to records could be heard.

On the following day, September 1, 2022, Judge John Pekas then ordered all counties across the state to preserve their election materials. However, in an unprecedented move, Judge Pekas vacated his own order within 24 hours "ex-parte," meaning without the presence of both legal sides. The order was issued as legislators met at the Capitol with the public and county auditors Friday afternoon.

The Dakota Leader was able to verify that Judge Pekas vacated the "all counties" order, but according to the attorney for SD Canvassing, the order for Lincoln, Minnehaha and Pennington Counties is still in effect.

Lincoln County Auditor, Sheri Lund, told Kelo News in a recent interview that she has no intention of destroying the data being requested. The Dakota Leader reached out to Lund to ask if she or her legal counsel were present as the Judge vacated his order. Lund replied that due to current litigation she is unable to answer questions at this time. Lund also notified TDL that the meeting County Auditors are hosting on the 8th, will in fact be open to the public.

The public records requests were made in an attempt to help provide expert training for auditors and agencies alike, according to SD Canvassing. With the potential destruction of that material in 63 counties, and the turn-over of the current Secretary Of State, Pollema tells The Dakota Leader, "the amount of time before November's 2022 election is dwindling, I worry for the Native American vote, down ballot candidates, and the over-all level of public trust for the democratic process, if the state can't get training and collaboration organized ahead of time. As we witnessed in 2016, and in 2020, concerns exist all the way around. It's time to address these concerns for everybody and ensure that the will of the people is being done."

Help Support Local Investigative Journalism... DONATE TODAY!

--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-07 09:25:32Last Update: 2022-09-07 12:54:56


Developers Plan For Solar Farm in Sioux Falls
The Sioux Falls Planning Commission Will Discuss Amendments to Plan for Solar Energy Next Wednesday

On September 7, 2022, the Planning Commission will meet at the Carnegie Town Hall to discuss a number of planning related issues of the City of Sioux Falls. One of the agenda items popping-up, is an Amendment to the Shape Place Zoning Ordinance (2013), adopting language to initiate, establish, regulate, and to plan for Solar Farm developments in the future.

Solar farms are usually built on retired farmlands or warehouse roofs, essentially anywhere that plentiful amounts of unused open space can house them. Solar farms are also known as "solar parks" or "solar power stations," as they create massive amounts of energy, just like any other power plant.

Utility-scale solar farms can produce up to 2,000 MW (Mega-Watts) per year, with community solar farms generally producing at, or under, 5 MW per year. To produce 1 MW, six to eight acres of land is required. Subscribers to Common Energy are accessing solar energy through community solar farms, a co-op that allows customers to use solar energy, without installing solar panels on their own roofs.

As part of the new Shape Places 2040 Comprehensive Plan, the City of Sioux Falls is hoping to incentivize, and give developers the ability to develop these new-age energy concepts. Their stated goal is to use energy from the sun in order to "sustain, and provide renewable energy to the residents of the city," while helping to shape the city's future growth.

According to the United Nations 2015 news article, "Financing Sustainable Energy for All," written by World Bank's Anita Marangoly George.

"For the global community, universal sustainable energy must be a top priority. We owe it to the 1.1 billion people still living without electricity and the 2.9 billion people still using polluting biomass fuels for cooking and heating. Energy is fundamental to ending poverty as it underpins economic growth and progress in all areas of development—from food security to clean water, education, jobs and health care."

As part of the City's Shape 2040 Comprehensive Plan, city staff are currently developing the following initiatives, and goals:



Through environmental stewardship practices, the City of Sioux Falls has plans that take a more proactive approach to environmental stewardship, including the Greenway Plan, the Parks and Recreation System Plan, and the Sioux Falls Master Plan for Storm-water Best Management Practices (this approach is to address both water quality and flood control). In the future, the City might also look at other master plans to further the environmental stewardship objective, including a Sustainability Master Plan.

Sustainability Programs utilize local governing policies in an attempt to convince residents to conserve resources, and alter consumer behavior through the use of taxpayer funded subsidies and incentives. These environmental policies for sustainability and biodiversity have been a mainstay-policy, first developed by the United Nations in the early 90's. Through newer global initiatives and goals such as Agenda 2021, and now the new goalposts set forth in Agenda 2030.

The United Nations has set about altering public policies at the local-level, in order to create a “world (by 2030) free of poverty, hunger, disease and want … free of fear and violence … with equitable and universal access to quality education, health care and social protection … to safe drinking water and sanitation … where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious … where habits are safe, resilient and sustainable … and where there is universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.” According to the U.N Agenda 2030's Human Securities, "this results in development that is more inclusive and sustainable."

Developers and Planners in Sioux Falls are now drafting amendments to the current city zoning, with the intent to create new regulations regarding the development of solar farms. Regulations for solar farm facilities would be subjected to reasonable conditions which will protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, while also maintaining the aesthetic integrity of the community. These regulations would govern the placement, construction, and modification of solar farms, while helping to encourage the the use of alternative energy sources.

Solar Energy is considered any type of energy generated by the sun. Solar energy is created by a process known as "nuclear fusion," which takes place inside the sun. Fusion occurs when protons of hydrogen atoms violently collide in the sun's core, and then fuse to create a helium atom. According to the United Nations, "solar energy is the most abundant of all energy resources and can even be harnessed in cloudy weather. The rate at which solar energy is intercepted by the Earth is about
10,000 times greater-than, the rate at which humankind consumes energy."

Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy, either through photovoltaic panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation, and can reportedly deliver; heat, cooling, natural lighting, electricity, and fuels for a veritable host of applications.

While the authors of the Shape Sioux Falls 2040 Comprehensive Plan have stated, "The environment should not only be considered as a constraint, and as something to mitigate, but also as an opportunity to enhance and to improve the quality of life of the citizens, of which, the focus of the plan titled Shape Community, addresses objectives within that goal of improving the sustainability of the community itself." However, per the Sciencing news article,
"Effects of Solar Power Farms on the Environment," in order to provide comparable amounts of electrical energy used today, solar farms would require large tracts of land.

Western states like California, have deserts with abundant space and sunshine, but these areas are also natural habitats that support wildlife. For example,
environmental reports underestimated the number of desert tortoises that would be displaced by the Ivanpah Solar Generating System in California’s Mojave Desert. The same solar farm also came under scrutiny when an increasing number of bird deaths were reported on its premises. Many of the bird's wings had been melted or burned off by heat from the solar farm’s mirrors.

Solar farms can also have devastating impacts upon entire ecosystems. The destruction of an individual species can send ripples throughout these ecosystems. Animals like burrowing owls in California’s Mojave Desert, rely on burrows dug by desert tortoises for shelter. As solar farms displace species within a habitat, they also remove the valuable ecosystem services that certain species provide to that habitat. Resulting in entire habitats becoming less livable for plants and wildlife who have adapted to specific conditions.

While the transition seems like a logical and profitable venture, especially as payments made by contractors are much greater than revenue which is received from farmland rentals. City planners must also consider that the transfer of land from agricultural use may result in additional tax liability, greater insurance requirements, personal injury/liability issues, potential future environmental mitigation, and even the inability to transfer lands into other uses such as the Farmland Preservation Programs.

In Craven County, North Carolina - "agricultural farm sales since 2007 (field crop and livestock production only) ranged from $40-$70 million annually, depending upon price of commodities and yield." According to an economic study by NCSU in 2008, "jobs and services supporting this industry added over $312 million to the local economy. However, the number of farmlands converted to other uses over the past 15 years have exceeded a twenty square mile area. This directly affects farmers and the local economy. Thus, any additional loss of farmland will adversely affect the agricultural economy." With food prices and the costs of inflation skyrocketing, some residents of Sioux Falls fear the risk of losing such vast tracts of farmland.

Other landowners are supportive of the plan to develop their lands into solar farms. As lands are transitioned from farmland to commercial property, it will also increase the amount of property-tax-dollars that counties can generate from the land use. Considering the total life expectancy of solar farms, which is anywhere from 15 to 20 years in length, the future income and tax revenues could ultimately add values to both the landowners, and the counties.

However, critics of the proposal warn that the issue is more complicated, and say abandonment of these solar farms, after they outlive their lifetimes, will only decrease land values, making reclamation difficult if not impossible. The issue of what to do with these large solar panels, after they have outlived their use, has become a very big sticking point, as the abandonment of solar farms is then subject to provisions of the Clean Water Act.
These panels tend to leak and leach toxic chemicals into the ground, surrounding environment, and are nearly impossible to recycle.

In particular, abandoned solar farms that have any type of wetland hydrology, would then be regulated by the EPA, the Corps of Engineers and the Coastal Area Management Act, leading to more involvement by the federal government. Chinese solar expert Tian Min, general manager of Nanjing Fangrun Materials, a recycling company in Jiangsu province that collects retired solar panels, has called his country’s solar power industry “a ticking time bomb.”

If Adopted by the residents of Sioux Falls, through the City Council, or by a petition drive, 'developers' will be able to apply for, and zone private lands with the intent to finance, provide for, and build out solar farms. Solar farms can provide renewable energy services to the many residents within a growing community, but how much energy, at what costs to the environment itself?

The Shape Sioux Falls 2040 Comprehensive Development Plan is seen, just as previous developmental plans, as citywide policies adopted by the people, to set aside specific plans, goals, and concepts for the upcoming decades. It will set a vision for how the people wish future generations to govern the city, and if adopted:

"The Shape Sioux Falls 2040 Comprehensive Development Plan marks a continuation of the progressive planning tradition in the Sioux Falls area."

The Planning Commission will meet next Wednesday September 7, 2022 at Carnegie Town Hall to discuss the plans further.

--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-09-02 08:53:30Last Update: 2022-09-02 18:06:28


The Alibi Bar-Lounge-Restaurant and Casino Plans-On New Building

September 2, 2022 by Mike Zitterich

Located North of E. Arrowhead Parkway, East of Six Mile Road @ 7400 E. Grove Trail (New Development).

On the Agenda for the September 7th Sioux Falls Planning Commission, is a petition request made by Johnson Properties to establish a new Bar, Casino, Restaurant, Lounge, on the east side of the city.

Part of a proposed new development, the project would be built on the old Arndt's Auto Wrecking Site. The plan is to build a new building on 1.98 acres of land. However, this must first be approved by the City Council, based upon the Sensitive Land Use zoning, due to the proposed site being within 500ft of residential housing.



Project Name: "Alibi Bar, Restaurant, & Casino Type of Application: Conditional Use Permit Owner: Johnson Properties – Justin Johnson Applicant: Reynolds Construction Management – Paul Reynolds Request: CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT to allow an on-sale alcoholic beverage establishment within 500’ of a sensitive land use. Purpose: Allow on-sale alcoholic beverages for video lottery terminals."

CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT STANDARD: 160.616 – Conditional Use Standards - On-sale alcoholic beverage establishments SENSITIVE LAND USES are land uses that need to be separated by a reasonable distance or incorporate buffer yards and landscaping to alleviate land use conflicts. Sensitive land uses are located not adjacent to, but within 500’ to the north of the proposed use. Uses will be buffer via drainage way.


The proposed bar and restaurant with video lottery terminals, supplemental to on-sale alcohol, meets the criteria and intent of the comprehensive plan. The site is located near a heavy commercial corridor with other commercial and industrial businesses. Specifically, along the south of Arrowhead Parkway but new development along the north will contain other C-4 zoned allowed uses. Required parking will be located on site. Buffer Yards are not required for the proposed use. A security management plan has been submitted and approved by the Police Department.

Presentation Link HERE

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--Mike Zitterich

Post Date: 2022-09-02 08:22:24Last Update: 2022-09-05 17:06:04


Circuit Judge Orders ALL Counties To Preserve Election Materials
It was previously ordered that Minnehaha, Lincoln and Pennington Counties could not destroy election materials in question. Today, Circuit Court Judge John Pekas ruled that ALL Counties will need to do the same.

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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-01 19:17:12Last Update: 2022-09-05 20:28:26


SD Freedom Caucus Press-Release and Remote Meeting Link
Election Meeting in Pierre Friday September 2, 2022 at 1pm

Dear County Auditor

Thank you for expressing your interest to participate in the efforts of South Dakota citizens’, their representatives, and our Governor to preserve the integrity of our public elections, by ensuring transparency and oversight by the public in our elections, as they were intended.

The invitation we received from the County Auditors to provide the people’s representatives with information regarding the election speaks to the very heart of our request to Governor Noem and the Attorney General, namely that members of our citizenry have been denied public records of their election and how such election was conducted, on the basis of protecting private, special interests instead of the people’s, which as elected officials we swore to uphold.

Whether or not issues or incidents occurred in the previous elections is immaterial to our request to uphold the inherent right of the citizens of our great state of South Dakota to oversee their elections. As we originally stated the issue at hand, and our Governor has publicly agreed with, we are proud of the right of our people to oversee their government and elections, which is “embodied in our laws allowing for the inspection of nearly every step of our elections while still maintaining the secrecy of individual ballots,” and is seemingly being denied by those officials we have entrusted with this sacred duty.

We are pleased to see that Governor Noem supports our efforts, and her administration will be assisting us in the fight for free, fair and transparent elections in South Dakota, as they are “actively researching potential legislation for the upcoming legislative session.”

That is why we have included the Governor and Attorney General in our response to you here today. Governor Noem recognized that inherent right of our citizens to oversee their elections and provided you and your colleagues a clear direction when she stated that “all aspects of state and local government in South Dakota would do well to conduct our elections in a transparent fashion.” We too would encourage you to take heed of our Governor’s wise and prudent advice.

That is why we must decline your request to attend the county auditors’ invitation only event, out of the view and inaccessible to the general public, and after the stated deadline for our request for the preservation of our election records has passed, on behalf of our citizens.

However, we would invite the various County Auditors of our state to attend a public informational meeting at our State Capitol before September 3rd where we, as the people’s representatives, and with an open invitation to the Governor to help us address issues or concerns any of our elected county public officials may have in serving the public’s interest and right in overseeing their elections at that time. We would appreciate you considering joining us in-person or remotely via Microsoft Teams on Friday, September 2nd, at 1 pm at the State Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota.

In addition, we would welcome the chance to hear from Governor Noem on her vision to strengthen our elections, and to restore the trust and transparency in the process as she’s alluded to. Like our Governor, we will work diligently to hold our elections to a higher standard than what previous administrations and their Secretaries of State have, and to restore the trust of the public in their elections.

We look forward to the timely response to our invitation and hope our County Auditors will join us in working for the people of South Dakota.


South Dakota Freedom Caucus


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--Staff Reports

Post Date: 2022-09-01 15:25:02Last Update: 2022-09-02 12:53:30


SD Republican Party Leaders Attempt To Terminate Voting Rights Ahead of Next Convention
Division is growing in the South Dakota Republican party

UPDATED* September 01, 2022 By Breeauna Sagdal

A recent audio recording has been sent to The Dakota Leader of an SDGOP (South Dakota Republican Party) meeting, which occurred on August 27, 2022. The Republican party's Central Committee is apparently upset about recent shake-ups that took place during the Convention, held earlier this summer.

Secretary of State, Steve Barnett was replaced as the republican nomination for the office, going into the November general election. In addition, Lt. Gov. Larry Rhoden, and Gov. Noem's choice for Attorney General, Marty Jackley, narrowly won their nominations. This has many within the current establishment republican party, frustrated and looking for ways around the party's by-laws.

Currently, the South Dakota republican party hosts a convention, once every two years, in which the by-laws read

"2. Delegates

A. County Delegation: The delegates to the state convention shall consist of the following from each county:
  1. The county chairman, county vice chairman, county secretary, county treasurer, state committeeman and state committeewoman;
  2. Not to exceed three at-large delegates elected in the primary election preceding the convention, who need not be members of their County Central Committee but must be registered Republican voters in their county; and
  3. Each precinct committeeman and precinct committeewoman.
Of these by-laws, #3 is what is being proposed for termination, "each precinct committeeman or precinct committeewoman." Precinct Committee People, also known as delegates, nominate candidates. Nominations determine who will run in the general election for the state-wide constitutional offices. The Central Committee is made-up of each county's executive leadership, along with the state party leaders, such as chair Dan Lederman.

Ahead of the last convention, the republican party saw a large increase of grassroots involvement, where many new Committeemen and women were elected as delegates to the convention. The new PCPs, fed-up with the current status quo, attempted to nominate new candidates for the November general election. The status quo on the other hand, feels frustrated that these efforts may hurt the party going into the general election.

Criticism has been heard far and wide, regarding "candidate quality," with many stating the grass-root selections are too "far-right." Grassroots efforts have been growing all over the country. In South Dakota, these efforts are not as wide-spread as in other states. However, those who feel the current party is too moderate, or too "left-leaning," are beginning to organize in ways that are upsetting to the current power structure.

As more kitchen table voters take a hands-on role in civics, and most importantly the dominate republican party, those currently in power are looking to change the rules and stem, or outright prevent, losing control.
On August 27, 2022, certain leaders within the SDGOP Central Committee proposed terminating the voting rights of duly elected Committee People, at all future conventions.

Editor's Note- We apologize that a former version misstated the organizational structure of the party. A huge thank you to our audience for quickly notifying us of corrections, and helping our writers to understand important details. If you spot a correction that needs to be made, please contact us at Editor@dakotaleader.com. Thank you

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--Breeauna Sagdal- Editor At Large

Post Date: 2022-09-01 08:36:14Last Update: 2022-09-01 21:13:25


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