SFSD sends $100 million in interest payments to East Coast Bond Investors

As I predicted before the school district bond election, we were going to take out bonds which would cost around $100 million in interest payments over 20 years. Those interest payments DON’T go towards education, they DON’T go towards teacher pay, programming, or even building the new facilities. They go towards East Coast bond investors.

This was the fundamental issue with the bonding. We could have bonded less, built the schools we need now AND paid for the future schools through Capital Outlay. We would have still had to pay bond investors, but it would have saved us about $50 million. I will say it again, I am all for public education, I am even NOT against my taxes going up for it. But with all of our growth in SF we can pay for these projects as we need them with the current tax structure. We don’t need to line the pockets of Bond Investors.

50% of Capital Outlay goes towards debt service

This finance report is very telling;

Over half of our current Capital Outlay goes towards debt service. No where in the reports can I find the school district’s current debt (before taking out $300 million in bonds). But my educated guess is somewhere between $100-200 million. This would have been an important side note before we took out even more debt before the election.

Demographics Report of the SFSD

It seems we have a lot of smart people in the District educating our very poor student body;

As you can see, the more students that are enrolled in our elementary system need more assistance.

*What I also find interesting about posting the Monday agenda for the SFSD board meetings is that the final documents and attachments don’t get updated until Sunday. Is it because a school district employee is posting these docs on Sunday? Probably not. There is this little trick with the internets where you can ‘time stamp’ postings. I do it all the time with my blog. In other words I can schedule a post well in advance by using a ‘time stamp’. This tells me the District has this information in advance but chooses to post it only 24 hours before the public can view it. Why do they do that? Well that is a very good question.

Here are the ‘House of Lords’ members that killed IM22 – Vote them out on NOV 6!

And remember, VOTE YES ON ‘W’

(Click to enlarge)

Music Club: Blackberry Smoke covers Petty

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Oct 23, 2018

City Council Informational Meeting • 2 PM

I guess they are going to start the meeting off with a shotgun and go into executive session right away, than onto more planned city initiated annexations (they just won’t give up).

City Council Joint meeting with Minnehaha County Commission • 5 PM

The ‘Wedding Barn’ zoning is back (ironically so close to Halloween) and it looks like there is more sidewalk changes to county property. (click to enlarge)

Stormland TV Censors congressional candidates at debate because of $$$

Wow. I guess KELO-TV just went and flat out said it;

5) In addition to the requirements of Sections 1-4 inclusive, a candidate for a state or federal office must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, accepting at least $50,000 in monetary, as opposed to in-kind, campaign contributions, at least 25 percent of which must be raised from in-state constituents.  For local offices, a candidate must have reported, on official forms filed with the appropriate election authority, having accepted at least $15,000 in campaign contributions.

This is the reason why 3rd party candidates NEVER stand a chance, because the media essentially shuts them out because they don’t spend ad dollars with them. Call that a conspiracy theory all you want, but there is a little truth in it, a least a few years ago. A TV media salesperson told me a few years ago, “It’s NO secret we charge the political candidates more during the last throws of the campaign than we do our regular clients, because we give them the best rotation.”

As a person who works in direct mail and has worked on MANY winning local races the place I work for charges the normal rate. The only thing we require out of the candidates is that we treat them with normal turnaround times like our other clients and that they pay COD.

What is frustrating is that candidates like George Hendrickson has a lot to say. I had a very engaging conversation with George at the PRIDE festival. He is extremely sharp and is just as much qualified as the major party candidates. He would have been great in the debate as well as Mr. Wieczorek and he probably would have not worn faded tan socks at the debate like Bjorkman did 🙁

No surprise coming from Stormland TV’s GM, Jay Huizenga, who was personal friends with our former mayor, and would invite him to the station’s Christmas party and would go with him to Packer’s games in private box seats. I guess George and Ron need to give up some NFL tickets to be able to participate in the debates.

We will NEVER see a change in DC as long as we have a complicit local media that censors certain candidates.

Keystone XL Pipeline Protests

So a South DaCola foot soldier sent me an interesting email today;

Just a thought, this might come home quicker than we think. I would guess that our PD and firefighters will offer to fill in when the protests start. I’m guessing that we still pay and insure them when they volunteer.

What do you think as a taxpayer about that?

Trains in the Hood – Photos by Chuck Luden

I saw this the other day by my house in the NEW switching and storage yard by my house. I was going to snap some photos, but Chuck beat me to it;

Good morning,

Here’s a couple recent photos taken near your place.

It shows military tracked cranes.

In my love of trains, seeing military equipment on rail cars is an added bonus.

I refer this area south of 14th Street as the south rail yard.

Don’t know what BNSF calls it.

I suspect this area will see more activity after the downtown yard removal.

Yeah, you are not kidding. (click to enlarge)

Is it time Air BNB operators in Sioux Falls start paying a BID tax?

The hotels in Sioux Falls of a certain size have to pay into the BID tax. If you are long term rentals you have to pay taxes. If you are an Air BNB operator you just pay sales taxes;

AirBnB owners must register their property with City Hall as a rental.

Renting out a private residence as a bed and breakfast in Sioux Falls comes with other requirements, including applying for a $250 conditional use permit, making the necessary accommodations for off-street parking, registering with the state health department and filing a site plan of their home with officials.

In 2015, city officials raised a red flag when they found about 30 AirBnBs operating as rentals while breaking the law.

Last year, the San Francisco-based tech company agreed to collect sales tax from South Dakota renters.

But as we are seeing, it is becoming a very lucrative business for those operating it in Sioux Falls. And who can blame them? You make much more money from short term renters AND they are pre-vetted before they stay. In fact Sioux Falls city councilor Erickson and her Realtor husband have continued to expand their Air BNB business since it has been introduced in Sioux Falls.

What do you think? Should there be a separate BID tax for short term renters since they really are NOT supplying housing like long-term renters and are acting more like a hotel.

Amendment W gets some help from Lawrence

Sioux Falls Cell Phone Ban is rearing it’s head again

Oh, Shucks, Sneve beat me to the punch again. I actually heard about this this morning but dilly-dallied and didn’t post about it. He’s a better writer anyway;

City Councilor Janet Brekke this week said she plans to propose new restrictions on the use of cellphones and other electronic devices while behind the wheel in the coming months.

I still really haven’t changed my position on this. If I were on the city council I would vote against the measure. But I think if Brekke gets the whole council involved in helping to shape the ordinance, she will get more buy in, and I see at least 4-5 of them supporting it. If it is a tie though, not sure how the mayor would vote.

I guess I don’t get to worked up about this. I actually am more worried about Christian crosses being painted on snow plows owned by taxpayers. I would follow the ordinance if passed, but here are my issues with it;

• While talking or texting on your cell phone is distracted driving, so is eating, doing your makeup, playing with your dog, etc, etc. Should we ban ALL activity extra-curricular in a vehicle? Well maybe. But guess what, we already have laws for that;

• Reckless or careless driving is already an offense. If it is determined you caused an accident while talking on your cell phone, you can be charged. Should these penalties be stiffer? Should they be felonies with jail sentences attached? YES! But that is a job for our state legislature (if we can just get them to stop worrying about abortion and guns so much).

• It has also been determined through national studies that even hands free cell phone usage in a vehicle is distracting, because it is the conversation that is distracting NOT the actual holding of the device. So how do you remedy that?

• Enforcement is really a pickle. I think our patrol officers have enough to do without trying to see if people are talking on their phones or not.

• Lastly,  I often tell people, there are good drivers and there are bad drivers. No amount of laws will protect us from bad drivers. Ever! I tell young drivers something I learned riding a bike on the streets of Sioux Falls, you must ALWAYS be a defensive driver.

Like I said, I would follow the ordinance if passed, because it would make me a safer driver. But I also think it is just compounding laws that are already on the books.