RIP Dole

City of Sioux Falls Meetings, Dec 6-8, 2021

Audit Committee • 4 PM • Monday 6th

• Update on External Audit of City’s 2021 Financial Statements by Eide Bailly, LLP

• Annual Risk Assessment

• 2022 Proposed Audit Plan

Sioux Falls City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tuesday 7th

• Engineering Design Standards Updates

• 2021 Crime Trends & Statistics by Police Chief Jonathan Thum (So now the City Council is finally getting a presentation yet still NO links to the Power Point presentation).

Sioux Falls City Council Regular Meetings • 6 PM • Tuesday 7th

Item #6, Approval of Contracts,

Sub Item #7, RR Crossing Improvements, $82K (I would assume this has to do with some of the development going on with the RR Redevelopment. I recently had a few beers with a business fellar who works closely in this industry that flat out told me any major changes to rail traffic through this area MUST go thru the FEDS.)

Sub Item #11, Zoo design for Lion exhibit, $482K (I find it curious this is going thru Parks and Rec. So now our parks budget is being used to ‘Design’ things for the Zoo. Just think of using this money for actual improvements to our FREE parks system?)

Sub Item #17, (you will notice this has to do with a payout to the Chamber for BID taxes since the separation from the CVB that NO ONE in the media wants to talk about. There is also NO mention of the dollar amount).

Item #40, 2nd Reading, the mysterious alcohol licensing fees.

Item #47, 2nd Reading, Fire sale for parking lot for UN-affordable housing DTSF.

Item #50, 1st Reading, approving new districts in Sioux Falls

Item #53, Resolution taking money from streets to the Facade Core Revitalization Program, $120K, but who is it going towards?

Sioux Falls Parks Board Meeting • 4 PM • Wednesday 8th

Ironically, this meeting is being held at the Overlook Cafe at the same time as the CRC meeting. How convenient? There is one item on the agenda that sparked my interest under ‘New Business’;

Sanford Parking Agreement – Don Kearney

Not sure what this is about, but maybe it has something to do with the soccer and ball fields they are building right now?

Charter Revision Commission • 4 PM • Wednesday 8th

Well, well, well. It seems the CRC has decided to move this meeting back to 4 PM instead of 3:30 PM like last month. I wonder why? There seems to be a lot more agenda items this time around . . . this will actually be a really interesting meeting. While I support Kirby’s ideas about the mayor, I don’t support rank choice. But it really doesn’t matter because the CRC will KILL all of these proposals anyway.

UPDATE: Does a Specialist Doctor have the time to Serve on the Sioux Falls City Council?

UPDATE: I found Cole’s boilerplate website. After the 5 minute read, I’m really not sure how Cole would be much different than what we currently have on the council. She does belong to a book club though.

As someone joked to me, “Don’t you know we need someone from both hospitals on the council now since we have a banker from Sioux Falls #1 Bank.”

Unfortunately, their joke will probably come true.

This week a Specialist Doctor in Sioux Falls announced they are running for city council and while I could comment on several fronts why they don’t qualify, I am mostly concerned about their time constraints. As I have been told by peeps in the medical field, they probably can rearrange their schedule to make it work, but what’s the point? This person literally has NO political foot print. I can’t even find if they have served on ANY non-profit or semi-governmental boards in the community.

It is however pretty obvious why someone with such a busy schedule was ‘picked’ by the golden team, because they would make an excellent rubber stamper who would never question the mayor’s agenda and quickly move stuff along and get home in time for bedtime stories.

While I agree we need all walks of life serving on the council, I would much more prefer to see more piano teachers than specialist doctors. Representation of the common Jill and Joe on the council has almost disappeared and that is because of the enormous amount of money poured into these races by the SD GOP and Developers in this community and the Rah Rah Taupeville Churchies. It would be impossible to compete with the kind of money this candidate will raise. The only hope is the incumbent in the race (Janet Brekke) can ride into a second term based on her incumbency and solid voting record of mostly supporting the council agenda over the past 4 years while fighting for more transparency, legal clarity and long term planning.

While I commend this person for wanting to serve, I question if they even have seen a council meeting or know how city government works and that is exactly who the cruise controllers want.

Sioux Falls CountCilor Jensen continues to push useless trickle-down policies when it comes to housing

You know what they say, even if you know your are wrong, never admit it, just dig in deeper. During the latest episode of Inside Town Hall in which Councilor Brekke tells us to eat more vegetables and drive electric cars, Jensen continues to push the narrative that if we just give contractors and developers even more tax breaks we will get more housing (he supports legislative proposals that would create entire neighborhood TIFs, instead of individual homeowners and a rebate of excise taxes to contractors). While at the same time promoting (low-wage) workers to live someplace else. When it comes to affordable and accessible housing, it starts at the bottom, not at the top. But not in Sioux Falls, hand all the TIFilicious goodies to the ones at the top hoping they will throw us some crumbs while spray painting the poorer neighborhoods sidewalks.

And why would we NOT think Alex’s plan wouldn’t work? He works at the number #1 bank in the Nation, and he had no problem advertising the place while appearing on a tax payer funded program. Actually surprised me because every time he sits on the dais at Carnegie he has no problem flaunting his SF City Council logo wear puffy vest we all paid for (even though I suggested they just all get magnetic badges instead). It must have been at the cleaners when he recorded this show so he had to wear his primary employer’s vest instead.

Mayor TenHaken continues to push the false narrative of Med MJ being dangerous

In a recent email Mayor Poops told the council this;


Sharing this task force report as an FYI – very relevant info on ND, IA, and MO. This is important data to be familiar with for if/when we move into the recreational realm.

The message was sent a couple of days ago after the SD Supreme Court decision that told voters to GFY. Does he know something I we don’t know? Also, one councilor told me this was the first time since Poops has been in office that he sent the council any thoughts on policy. I breezed thru the (slanted) 82 page report that contradicts itself on many levels. But this sentence stood out to me;

• Marijuana represented 89 percent of the total drug weight seized by Midwest HIDTA enforcement initiatives in 2020.

Well, doesn’t that tell you something? STOP SEIZING IT AND FOCUS ON OTHER CRIMES!

The whole point of the report is that illegal cannabis use went up after the legalization of Med MJ in these states. That you should also tell you the same thing, make it legal for every adult.

Besides the beneficial tax revenue we would gain from Rec MJ there is the millions upon millions we would save in justice costs. I couldn’t find any references to that in the report, just that more people are using Medical Cannabis after legalization. Shocker, I know.

The Zoo & Butterfly House are considering a merger

When I saw this press conference yesterday I was confused about this possible merger, Thanks to SF Bizzo for some clarification;

The Butterfly House & Aquarium and Great Plains Zoo & Delbridge Museum of Natural History might be joining forces.

The boards of both organizations have approved entering formal discussions to determine whether it makes sense to combine.

A joint exploration committee will be working with a consultant to determine whether to recommend the organizations combine. The process was endorsed by Mayor Paul TenHaken, who held a joint announcement with the organizations today at City Hall.

The mayor can endorse this all he wants, but it is the city council that will have final approval. A city councilor told me today that they were not informed about this consideration until last week. However, I do think it is worth exploring and would be a good match. But I do have some questions.

What is the financial strength of the Butterfly House? Are they just struggling so they saw this as an opportunity for a tax payer bailout? What is the financial strength of the Zoo? How about exploring another option like merging and becoming a private non-profit all together and have the Zoo lease land from the city and let taxpayers off the hook?

I have heard since they terminated Ms. Whalen things haven’t been going as well (though the employees may be happier). Why is it that the first option is the taxpayers bailing both of them out? Why create this monster and take on more Capital Improvement Debt? Also, like the Pavilion and Events Center, while we all subsidize the venues with our 2nd and 3rd pennies, we still have to pay to walk through the doors. What percentage of people who pay taxes in Sioux Falls can afford to pay admission at the zoo or even go there? Should we be subsidizing the place?

While this needs a lot more studying, I suggest the City Council get involved and have the consultant look at them merging and become a Private Non-Profit. It’s time we start spending tax dollars on infrastructure instead of bears and butterflies.

A Newcomer’s Perspective on Sioux Falls

This was an interesting read, the thing that made me chuckle the most from their post and the comments is how much people are irritated by the political corruption in South Dakota, but you never hear much about how bad it is in the local media. Sure they do stories about it, but they really don’t hammer on how serious it is. It was refreshing to read real comments about it after this post.

I will touch on the finer points in the post;

This is for all the people asking what it’s like to live here. I honestly didn’t know this place existed before about a year and a half ago and I moved after one week of searching for a home. I’m from the north east and was living in the deep south for about a decade so the Midwest and South Dakota were not on my radar at all. I feel like I have a good perspective as I have lived in a handful of other states so here we go.

The problem is SF doesn’t promote itself to ‘people’ it only promotes low taxes for businesses, and they think by bringing in these businesses they will bring in the people, just like flies are attracted to turds.

This unfortunately does not apply to the developing areas which are 110% parking lot sprawl.

I already live downtown, but if I also worked downtown I would probably never leave or drive a car very often. Everything I need or want is within 10 minutes walking time. I have never understood how the rest of the town is being developed, always baffling to me.

Also I have never lived in a place where you have to fix the sidewalk.

Me either. It would be different if the town coffers were broke and we were NOT giving all of our 2nd penny infrastructure money to play things. The city CAN afford to fix its own sidewalks and trim the trees in the boulevard, they just choose to pass it onto the citizens. I have actually suggested a petition drive to change this in city ordinance. If it got on the ballot it would pass by more than snow gates did. The city could also just assess each property owner a little bit more in property taxes to pay for these services, but that would require them to work and do math.

The food scene is amazing compared to other cities this size.

I agree 100%. I travel quite often and I can honestly say we have top notch locally owned restaurants in Sioux Falls. Franchise crap, not so much.

There are constantly events largely free that are actually worth going to. Riverfest, The Parade of Lights, and Levitt at the Falls provide a great atmosphere for anyone. 

I think the Levitt has been an incredible asset to the community, I just wish there was more transparency and less restrictions.

While I find the state politics a dumpster fire that doesn’t come across in day to day life.

We are somewhat isolated from that in Sioux Falls, but our local government entities seem to suck up to the Queen in Pierre quite a bit even though Sioux Falls leans moderate.

It seems new development ignores what people love about the town (or at least what I love). The downtown area is being developed but the other areas are just large shopping centers or housing. If they spread the vibe downtown around the city we can avoid where others have struggled.

This is the number one issue facing development, housing and economics in Sioux Falls, rebuilding our core and creating density. It seems there is a desire by leadership to want to do that, they just want to do it the old school trickle down way, which just won’t work. It’s never worked. When rebuilding the core we must start from the bottom up and stop spray painting the sidewalks.

State politics. This is obviously personal but in the year I have been here it’s been scandal after scandal with no end in sight. People just seem ok with it because it’s their team. The state can do better red or blue.

Like I said at the beginning, most people ignore it because the media doesn’t dig into it deep enough and people are so busy with their lives they don’t see it going on. They also don’t want to get involved. But this person is right, whether it happens in Pierre or Sioux Falls, it is one scandal after another.

Overall I love it here. Everyone who has visited me has loved it. I hate the thought that I will inevitably have to move. It feels like home.

I would say I ‘like’ it here, for some of the reasons they mention but also it hasn’t gotten to big and so far it is pretty inexpensive to live here, if you have a decent job. I think we could drastically change Sioux Falls for the better if we had more of a bi-partisan city government and told the developers, banksters and bondsters to get in the same line the rest of us do. We should also take big money out of local races. Sioux Falls is still a good canvas to work from we just need a more diverse palette in local government to get there.

Three Wishes

Who doesn’t bring an AR-15 to an Emergency?

I’m Flattered

Imagine my surprise tonight while out for a bike ride. The city took my advice and put up sign(s) about proper decorum on the bike trail, even though I’m not sure what a ‘courteous speed’ is. There was another sign further down the trail that said ‘DON’T FEED THE GEESE. GIVE TO CHARITY’ 🙂