Paula Hawks voted in as new chair of the SDDP


Congrats to Paula. I’m sure she has a lot of work ahead of her cleaning up the Tornberg mess.

But in a surprising election, Paula had to go up against Tornberg in the 2nd and final round. No one reached 51% in the first round of voting, so the top two were picked. Paula got 72% of the vote vs. Tornberg’s 28%.

RIP – Dick Dale

I had the pleasure of meeting Dick Dale several times. One of the more funnier moments was when he was playing Knights of Columbus and kicked his grandson in the butt for not tuning his amp correctly. And he did it while playing the guitar . . . I’m sure him and Jimi are jamming right now.

There is a brief silent intro to video.

UPDATE II: Can the Sioux Falls City Council form legislation to help with pothole damages to vehicles?

I actually think the Sioux Falls city council has the power to put a policy into place to create a contingency fund to help citizens and visitors pay for damages endured to vehicles due to the pothole crisis.

So what would this look like and how would it work? I’m not a legal beagle so this is my BASIC recommendation.

The fund could easily be created/estimated by doing a survey of mechanic shops over the past couple of weeks. For estimation sake let’s say it is 1,000 vehicles with an approximate damage rate of $200. The fund could be set at $2 Million and could easily come from reserves. Current city reserves are around $52 million (end of 2018).

How would you stake a claim? The easiest way would be thru a 3.21 notice that would be sent directly to the mayor’s office (which is turned over the city attorney). This form basically says that you were harmed by the city.

FORM: SDCL3.21 Notice of Claim


You would have to have a window of time that pothole damages could be reported. With a 3.21 notice that is typically 6 months.

There would also have to be a ‘window’ of when the damages happened. For argument’s sake let’s say February 1, 2019 – April 30, 2019 (or whenever the policy is put into the place by the council).

All receipts of work would have to have a legitimate time stamp or date on them, or would be subject to being thrown out.

Who would review the receipts? An employee board would have to be formed from different departments to review the receipts and determine if the work is ACTUALLY from pothole damage. For example if you had a bill for tire repair, oil change and replacing a windshield wiper, you would only be reimbursed for the tire repair. There would also have to be an open appeal process if you feel you were not compensated correctly.

Like I said, this could all easily be done by the policy makers (the city council) and would go a long way in rebuilding trust with citizens who have endured damages. The city council could choose to do nothing and let the mayor’s office handle the legal fiasco and ramifications, but if they get a head of this and put a fair process in place, this could go a lot smoother, unlike our roads.

UPDATE: Omaha has agreed to pay for pothole damages, full story HERE.

**UPDATE II: Many government entities have special processes which must be followed prior to suing them for damages. These processes are ostensibly created for other reasons but almost always have the effect of creating complex hoops which must be jumped through prior to making a financial claim for damages against them or suing them. You lose if you don’t jump through one of the special hoops. Many of the processes also shorten the statute of limitations which would normally apply. South Dakota has such a process and it is embodied in Chapter SDCL 3-21.

You must provide written notice to certain individuals (SDCL 3-21-x) and you must do so within 180 days of the incident event per SDCL 3-21-x. The actual South Dakota Notice of Claim law is at this link .

When providing notice of damages, it is always a good business practice to be as specific as possible regarding the location, the time, the date, the persons involved and what happened.

Remember also, like most governments, the South Dakota executive, legislative and judicial branches agree that they should be allowed to lie to you without consequence but that it should be unlawful for you to lie to them. In other words, be as short and very clear with your facts. You do not need to give all detail in this form but do not stretch the truth. Be prepared to supply photos, invoices, medical claims and other information supporting your position.

This form was created by examining several forms filed with the City and using the language. The form provided is a downloadable, fillable Adobe type PDF document. When opened in an Adobe type Reader program you can type in your information. By filling out the form, two copies will be created. Sign both copies and save one for your records.

You may desire to mail the notice using a method that documents the delivery of the notice to protect yourself from a later claim you did not mail the notice. A signed witness statement to the delivery to the mayor’s office or USPS certified mail to the mayor.

There are potentially severe consequences for not providing the required notice correctly. If you have any questions you should contact an attorney.


The Pothole Math (H/T – CHB)

A foot soldier decided to do some ‘Propaganda Math’ when it comes to potholes, and it is interesting, this is what they sent me;

Paul TenHaken FB page as of Monday March 18, 7:34am:

“With the flooding beginning to subside, we are now dealing with the increased washout on roads that have already experience a very tough winter. As a result, we are taking an all hands on deck approach.”

◾️Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of six crews addressing potholes.

◾️Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and from midnight to 8 a.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of one crew addressing potholes in high-traffic volume areas.

◾️Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of three crews addressing potholes.”

City Council Meeting Tuesday March 19/19 Mark Cotter testimony:

We are running 6 crews M-F, 3 crews on the weekend, one at night.” 

City of Sioux Falls Facebook page as of Friday 3/22/19, 10:42am (this information was time stamped as being posted 16 hrs. prior to 3/22/19 10:42am. . . . so these stats apparently reflect pothole repair progress M-Th, March 3/18 – March 3/21 approximately 6pm):

We have cleared 413 potholes this week so far. We have four crews out every day 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and one crew out 4 p.m. to midnight. We will have four crews out this weekend as well working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.”

In terms of quantifying the pothole repair process, one variable missing in these three repair crew schedule announcements is the number of men on each crew. And, there are some inconsistencies in the specifics:

a) Mayor TenHaken’s info from Monday 3/18, claims SIX daytime crews M-F, TWO night crews M-F, THREE daytime crews Sat/Sun.

b) Cotter info from Tuesday 3/19, claims SIX daytime crews M-F, ONE [not two] night crew M-F, THREE daytime crews Sat/Sun.

c) from Friday 3/22, claims FOUR [not six] daytime crews M-F, ONE [not two] night crew M-F, FOUR [not three] daytime crews Sat/Sun.

Ok. All that now having been itemized, Public Works is allowed to modify the pothole repair crew assignments over time, or as conditions change/improve, or as impending flood priorities may change. These figures do claim that an additional crew has been added Sat/Sun over first two reports, so that’s a positive. Therefore, these inconsistent reports may be a moot point. However, in attempting to quantify the rate of progress the data shares, I’m uncertain what the most accurate math would be to quantify the progress in terms of potholes fixed per day or per hour. One equation I came up with from the 3/22 stats is:

A) [4] daytime crews x 8 hrs/day = 32 crew hrs/day

B) [1] evening crew x 8 hrs/day = 8 crew hrs/day

C) Subtotal: 32 + 8                    = 40 crew hrs/day

D) [4] days {M-Th} x 40 crew hrs/day = 160 total crew hours work for Mon-Thurs.

E) 412 repaired potholes ÷ 160 crew hrs = 2.575 potholes fixed per crew hour? If legit, seems like slow progress.

DL: Either this means pothole stop sites (and not actual potholes) or there is a heckuva a lot of miscommunication going on.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • March 26, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM, 3/26/2019

Presentations on Siouxland Heritage board meeting and CVB-BID Board meeting. There will also be a report on the Redevelopment Land Sale Process (I have NO IDEA what that is). It all ends with an executive session.


First ‘OPEN’ Events Center Campus Book Club meets Wednesday

This was posted today. I guess you better bring donuts because I guess these fine folks like to meet early in the morning, on a Wednesday, when everyone else is either at their day job or driving to it. That’s open government folks! Hopefully I can get Cameraman Bruce there, I will probably have to bribe him with bagels and lox.

City of Sioux Falls dismissed from Copper Lounge collapse lawsuit

On Tuesday, March 19, Circuit Judge Camela Theeler entered a Memorandum Opinion and Order dismissing the City of Sioux Falls from the lawsuit in which the Plaintiffs alleged that the City had liability as a result of the December 2, 2016 building collapse.

Attached a copy of the Judge’s written decision; MMO_DISMISS

Let’s clarify the $500K Pothole appropriation debate

I did the above toon in 2010 when the city was facing a similar situation.

I guess there is a lot of hurt butts since the pothole debate, on both sides. Not just on the council but citizens alike that are confused why a majority of the council voted this down.

Besides all the crying (that’s probably not helping the rising Big Poo River) it really isn’t that complicated.

As for the 6 that voted against the appropriation, I get why they did; the mayor and a city director told them the money wasn’t needed at this time. Okay, that’s fair . . . but . . .

. . . you also scratch your head why all of a sudden the council has decided to be fiscal conservatives in the middle of road crisis and a potential natural disaster? All eight councilors very well know that the appropriation is just a PIECE OF PAPER voted on by councilors and signed by the mayor and city clerk (if it passed). That’s it. It’s not taking $500K from anywhere. It sits in the bank and if the public works department NEEDS it down the road, they can use it. If they don’t use it, like I said it is just a worthless piece of paper. No harm, no foul.

I was surprised by all the rancor and disgust at Tuesday’s meeting. This was an easy vote. People are pissed about pot holes. They need to be fixed. This would have allocated an emergency fund if needed. If not needed it would go back into the CIP and spent on other projects. This should have been read, and passed 8-0 with NO debate or discussion.

Let’s face it, this was about the legislators proposing it, not the proposal. The public isn’t that naive, they see it week after week, they know what the ‘FIX’ is. Especially when you have a city councilor tell another city councilor that Mayor Paul told him he is “Thru (dealing) with Stehly”.

I continue to wonder why at least 5 of the councilors and mayor (when he breaks ties) continue to shoot themselves in the foot. Government is easy when you use logic and common sense. It’s not about who proposes the legislation it’s about the legislation. For example, Erickson proposing free bus rides for minors, or Kiley heading up the Annexation Task Force, or Starr’s idea to give land to the Glory House, or Neitzert proposing buffer changes or Selberg proposing a Siouxper Hero award. All fantastic policies. Having an emergency fund was a good idea. Tuesday’s vote didn’t make sense, and the 6 that voted against it only have themselves to blame for criticism. Just don’t stand over the river the next time you cry.

Sand Bag Cam, now that’s Open Government! (Snark)

The Sand Bag Cam – Because everyone hates lines!

While I get why they put these cameras in, I find it completely ironic that we were told by the past mayor and it seems the current mayor that it would be ‘to difficult to film citizen board meetings’ because of the varying schedules and some are even closed.


It’s funny how the city or any government entity for that matter always has a convenient excuse for keeping things closed when they are trying to hide something, but are quick to show off technology when it will make great propaganda footage later.

If we can film a sandbag pile (WITH TWO CAMS) we can easily record ALL citizen board meetings and link them online in YOUTUBE (Which hosts them for FREE). I would even go further and have a live cam in the mayor’s office.

As the city has been showing us over the past week, they have the capability to keep the citizens informed, they also have the capability of keeping things open, if only they had the desire.

I also see PTH had time to go out Tuesday Night and take some selfies with the crew. Man, they look exhausted. Sometimes I wonder if he is breathing in a little too many fumes from the hot mix. #photoopfailure

My Apologies

I have been thinking about this ever since the flood concerns reared their head this past couple of weeks. I want to apologize to city councilors who had the foresight to fund the Levees by borrowing the money in hopes to get repayment from the Feds. I especially want to apologize to Jamison and Litz who I was the hardest on. Not only are the levees proving to be a good idea, the Feds have repaid us for the bonds we took out (even though Bowlcut & Bucktooth decided to squander the money for an indoor pool, we now have to pay the bonds back from 2nd penny).

One of my complaints at the time was this was really about saving all the businesses in the FEMA flooplain in the mall area from paying flood insurance. Now that I look back on it, I can’t imagine what kind of mess we would have now if they didn’t build the levees.

So once again, sorry.