Michael Fields: Commissioners' actions are troubling

La Crosse Tribune, January 14, 2016 12:15 am  •  Michael Fields Caledonia, Minn

Recent letter-writers, and even a local newspaper editor, have referred to an “agenda” when describing the troubling, anti-democratic actions of some Houston County officials.

Side-stepping term-limit requirements in order to reappoint 20-year veteran Glenn Kruse to the Planning Commission is just the latest example of those troubling actions.

I’m among those who think this agenda involves maintaining a traditionally miner-friendly interpretation of the zoning ordinance (that often violates state and county law) in order to keep most of the county’s mines and quarries free of regulation and, by some accounts, appropriate taxation.

I also think some influential people plan to introduce industrial-scale frac sand mining into this regulation-free, Wild West environment.

The most effective way to advance that agenda would be to control the County Board, Planning Commission, Environmental Services Office, Board of Adjustment and have a County Attorney’s office willing to look the other way.

Mission: accomplished. Public be damned.

To see how determined they are to maintain this control, look no further than the willingness of County Board commissioners Steve Schuldt, Judy Storlie and Teresa Walter to twist the rules into a pretzel — and then break the pretzel. Hence Commissioner Justin Zmyewski’s call for a misconduct investigation.

These three commissioners may be good people, but they’re certainly unfit for the public trust they hold. Remember that in November.