For an actual example of government overreach, we turn to Lead city administrator Dan Blakeman, who reached into developer Joyce Carsten’s property and took her diesel tank:
Joyce Carsten, who owns Thunder Ridge Housing Development, said she discovered Friday that the tank she uses to re-fuel equipment at the development was missing. After making some inquiries around town, she discovered City Administrator Dan Blakeman ordered the tank to be removed and placed in a city shop for inspection. Carsten was not given prior notice about the removal.
Blakeman said Monday that he had received reports from the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources regarding complaints about the tank leaking. He admitted to sending city crews to the site, an empty lot across from 106 Heritage Dr., to bring the tank to a city shop.
“I got a call from the DANR that they were getting calls about public safety, so I made the decision to put it up at the shop,” Blakeman said. “Nothing was leaking. I mainly didn’t want the controversy about anything from the DANR” [Wendy Pitlick, “Everett: ‘We Were in the Wrong’,” Black Hills Pioneer, 2021.10.19].
Oh, Dan, DA(NR) isn’t going to get you off this hook:
Brian Walsh, public affairs director with the DANR said the agency received one complaint. The complainant did not say a leak had occurred, but only expressed concern about fire danger and the possibility of a leak. Walsh said officials contacted the city of Lead about the complaint and were told the city had handled the situation.
“DANR did not require the city to remove the tank or direct them to remove it,” Walsh said. He added that the agency has since been in contact with Carsten and arranged a time for a DANR representative to ensure the tank is properly registered and in compliance with regulations [Pitlick, 2021.10.19].
Pitlick notes the Blakeman’s confiscation violated state law:
South Dakota Codified Law 9-27-1 requires a two-third majority vote of the city commission before private property is appropriated, or taken without permission or consent. During the Sept. 20 Lead City Commission meeting Richard Chadwick, who lives in the Thunder Ridge Development, approached the commission with concerns about the diesel tank. Schumacher told the commission he would research the issue, but the commission did not take official action at that meeting [Pitlick, 2021.10.19].
Mayor Ron Everett returned the tank Monday morning and apologized to tank girl Carsten. The city also needs to call DA(NR) back: while returning the tank, they spilled some diesel.