A Nation of Laws Not of Men

Pat Powers takes up the case regarding a controversial proposed day care.

The Argus Leader has the story.

While I agree with Mr. Powers that people are going to call for more government control, I disagree with his premise that the Sioux Falls City Council and Minnehaha County Commission should have acted in the name of common sense and denied a day care operator a permit.

I don’t want any government official making decisions based on emotion. I want them making decisions based on the law.

The details that the Argus provides certainly don’t paint the petitioning party in a favorable light. Regardless, this is an unfortunate situation where the elected officials involved had to suspend their common sense in order to act in accordance with the law.

I’m sure all those involved in the decision-making process felt that this wasn’t an ideal situation for a day care, but they were forced to judge the permit based on the facts relevant to the current laws. This point is supported in the story by County Planning Director Scott Anderson who said, “I encourage you to review this from a land-use perspective.

If they had voted with their conscience and denied a permit they would have opened a Pandora’s box of litigation. They could have subjected themselves to claims of violating the petitioner’s right to due process. Inevitably, leading to this issue being decided in courts.

This case is a good reminder that government, no matter how well-intentioned, can’t protect us from everything. Regulations and permits only provide us with so much certainty. We are ultimately responsible for our own decisions; especially decisions concerning our children’s safety.

Credit goes to the Argus Leader for bringing this debate to the forefront. Knowing the details of the situation will better equip individuals to make the difficult decision of where (not) to seek childcare.

Note: As I wrote this post Troy Jones commented on the story making a valuable point:

“It is not the role of the City/County to assess the fitness of a day care provider. They are to assess the zoning impact on the surrounding properties.

It is first the parent’s. And, it is the role of the state to insure that certain standards are met.”

Michael adds: Personal responsibility is the core of this issue. If a sufficient number of people are concerned about the fitness of the day care to provide quality care for their children–then they will act as consumers and place their children elsewhere. One would think that a loss of customers might cause the day care to not remain in business. To put it simply, then, the market will address the issue which was not under the purview of the council or the commission.