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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Candidate Arrested for DUI Opposes County Drink Tax

I've always wanted to be a novelist, but I wonder sometimes why I would bother making up stories when reality provides richer irony than fiction.

Reviewing the Lake County Commission candidates' questionnaires in the Wednesday and Thursday MDLs, I note that Gene Anderson offers this opinion on pursuing a drink tax for the counties:

I think the drink tax would be taxing a certain percentage of our taxpayers and not all. We try to make fair taxes, but I think we should find another way to supplement our county budget that would effect [sic] all the taxpayers of the county and not just a partial group. [Gene Anderson, "Anderson, Johannsen Among Five Seeking Commission Seats," Madison Daily Leader, 2008.10.29, p. 2]

Incumbent Craig Johannsen takes the opposite and more clear-headed view:

Yes. Well over half of the cost of law enforcement, court, public defenders, states attorney and jail are directly related to alcohol. I think this tax should be used specifically to offset these costs. At last estimate, Lake County's share would be approximately $300,000. [Craig Johannsen, ibid.]

Some folks drink to excess and impose significant costs on county government. Johannsen thinks those folks ought to bear some of those costs. Anderson, who apparently is one of those folks, prefers that we all share the wealth... or in this case the expense.


  1. If Gene Anderson were an elected official, he would be pressured to resign. Since the election is Tuesday, the voters get to act as his boss and turn him down for the job. I think your picks of Giles, Bohl and Johansen are what will happen Tuesday, and that will be good for our county leadership.

  2. I am concerned at some of Johansen's statements in the Madison Daily Leader question and answer.

    1. Let the oil roads turn back to gravel. For one who lives on an oil road in the county this is a stupid idea. I think the money is better spent fiduring out what roads need to be repaired. The economy is going to turn back around again and what is the price tag going to be for his mistake then.

    2. Get rid of the jail.

    I have a family member who works in the jail. What sense does that make. They are going to transport more people and not have anybody for the county to make it safe. Maybe they should hire some more people to make this happen. This is a wrong idea.

    3. Cut hours for court house employees.

    What sense does that make. Put extra burden on other employees in the county with some hours that he had to cut. What would make more sense is if he would give up his insurance money that he has to have for not taking the counties health insurance. He was one of the proponates of this, and then he leases a new Dodge Mega cab truck. Good spending of tax money Craig.

    Lets get real here, Gene Anderson getting a DWI is also sending a bad message to the people. I agree that people make a mistake, but he should have known better right before an election.

    Gene you should resign if you are elected as you aren't fit for the job. You are sending the message.

    Corey it also seems funny the the MDL has failed in their job again. They were quick with the deputy DWI, but not he commission candidate, Seems wrong to me.

  3. Johansen wants to get rid of the Jail? What kind of schmuck would want to do that?? Whenever someone is arrested the deupities/police department would have to transport them to another county for holding. Then when the person has court, they have to travel back to the county they are being held in and bring them back, and then possibly take them back there when they are done. I am not even mentioning that all this transportation time would take away from the patrol time, answering 911 calls, and also would increase the fuel bill for the county/city.

    Johansen, you THINK you would save money, but in the long run, you would spend more. Deputy overtime, extra fuel costs, ware and tare on the vehicles, and you would be putting the public's safety at risk.

  4. Actually, Anons, more SD counties do not have jails than have them. Johannsen points out a hard fact, that the state ties the counties' hands in seeking revenues to cover the costs of their jails. The drink tax would help cover those costs and allow us to maintain a jail and better protect public safety, with revenue straight from folks who drive those costs up through irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

    And you know, I'd like to see some numbers: someone find how much it costs to maintain a jail (facility, personnel, etc.), then find numbers on how many prisoners we house and just how much it would cost (mileage, overtime, etc.) to transport them to some other facility. You want to call someone a "schmuck," you should at least provide numbers to back that up.

  5. And if you're man enough to call names, Anon 4:47, you should be man enough to leave yours.

  6. While it is true that many counties in South Dakota do not have jails, we must look at the size of those counties in comparison to Lake County.

    It would make no sense for let's say, Miner County to have a jail as they do not have many people that actually sit in jail. It would be a drain on the taxpayers in that country.

    However in Lake County, there is always someone in jail, so it makes sense.

    Paying another county to house prisoners is not cheap. Then to transport them back and forth for hearings and what not, your cost just keeps running up. (sorry no actual figures, just using my common sense here).

    Then taking money aside, we are losing an officer off our streets to go to Sioux Falls, Brookings or whereever on these transports. So if something happens while they are gone, we have to pay overtime becuase the other officer is out of town.

    Keep the jail in Lake County. One thing they do not do is take out of county prisoners, like from Miner County. That money can be used to fund our own jail, plus Miner County doesn't have much for eating establishments and the cop can run to the DQ and grab some food on the way out of town! I smell economic development Mr. Chapel!

  7. Anon 5:51. Well put!

    The jail in this county COULD be a money maker, thus providing money to the county to offset the expenses of the jail.

    If I am correct, the closest jail facility is either Minnehaha or Brookings. By getting rid of the jail, it would add not only extra expense to the county budget, but it would also add GREATLY to the City Budget. Eventually the county would end up adding additional deputies to cover all of the transport time needed for its prisoners.

  8. If Johanssen wants us to turn blacktop roads back to gravel, maybe we should start riding horses to work again. Craig is a nice person, but doesn't have a clue about being a leader in Lake County. No new ideas, no ways to actually save money or create new income.

  9. Well it should be now known that the Gene Anderson that was arrested for DUI is not actually the same Gene Anderson that was running for County Commissioner. It would be nice if those that have such great opinions on these topics could get the facts correct before they start running their mouth. Regardless if it even was the same person he is at this point guilty of nothing.

  10. Anon 4:04 p.m. - I must respectfully disagree. I think you are mistaken.

  11. Go read the ticket, Anon 4:04: just how many age 60-ish Gene Oscar Andersons are there living in rural Volga? Help us out with some explanation....


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