Last Saturday the Mitchell Daily Republic published a letter I wrote:
When I walked into City Hall during the start of the last City Council meeting, I was surprised to see the Mitchell cronies had overflowed the chambers and into the hallway. I was even more surprised to read in this paper that they were using governmental transparency to fight on behalf of one of their fellow cronies.
Public/private partnerships are being used by many of these cronies to mask transparency. The board of the Mitchell Area Chamber of Commerce and the interlocking board of the Mitchell Area Development Corporation are informal public/private partnerships whose meetings are not reported on by this paper. We can only speculate as to what decisions are made during those board meetings, and get only a small glimpse when board members appear at governmental meetings to advocate their interests.
The proposed aquatic facility is a public/private partnership, which demonstrates how public tax dollars can be used to fund private wants. Those who benefit will be out in force when it comes time to vote. Many who are being asked to pay for it will not be allowed to vote, because they live outside the city limits.
The heads of the Mitchell School District and Dakota Wesleyan University have promoted their public/private partnerships with op-eds to this paper last year. The fine arts center is an example of how public tax dollars—that were intended to pay for K-12 education—end up going to benefit a private sectarian university.
In South Dakota, we have recently witnessed two unfortunate alleged shotgun suicides that centered on those who were involved with public/private partnerships and questionable financial practices. Governmental authorities use the right to privacy of the private component of the partnership in order to hide the purposes to which public dollars have been spent.
When the crony capitalists' bread is buttered, transparency is not important. When the butter is taken away, they become hypocrites. Unfortunately they are very powerful and intimidating hypocrites. Woe to those of us who become transparent and stand up to the master class and their public/private partnerships.