The biggest discrimination issue in the Sioux Falls workforce; Wage Discrimination

Sometimes I just shake my head when government, whether that is National, State or Local, fiddle around with emotional topics that have nothing to do with what is on hand.

Our Mayor and City council have barked about workforce development for years now, so what major steps have they made? We got a fancy website and some billboards of our mayor in Minneapolis, oh, and we are considering an ordinance to not to discriminate against transgender peeps.

Hey, as short, fat German, I can tell you all about discrimination. It happens. I will also say I voted for and support city policy when it comes to public employees not being discriminated against when it comes to sex identification. When dealing with public employees and tax money, it can be a very sticky situation. The voters, city attorney’s office and the charter revision commission made the right decision.

As for the part that was withdrawn this week, not sure we need to step off that ledge (forcing the policy onto private employers and landlords). First off, we are a right to work state, I see some interference with those laws. I also see issues with housing*.

Whatever happened to not hiring someone because they aren’t qualified? Is that discrimination? I just see a huge can of worms we are opening by adding another layer of EOC regs with private employers. The worst part is that it may not hold up in court since this is just simply a city ordinance and not state law or federal law. And at the end of the day, are we really making employment better in Sioux Falls?

No matter how you feel about the debate, I ponder the bigger question? What are our local leaders doing to actually get good employment for our residents no matter their race, gender or sexual orientation? I could care less about religious freedom, bathroom freedom and sexual freedom.

This is a job or career, not a reality TV show.

What are our city leaders doing about female pay lagging male pay? Or management promotions? How about the minimum wage? Want to present real change through city charter and ordinance? Make employers pay a $10 minimum wage within the city limit. Require all new businesses that come to Sioux Falls to sign a promise that they will pay a living wage of at least $16 an hour for full-time work. Require employers to have a portion of their staff to be full time.

I could care less where you pee, who you sleep with, or what you choose to wear for clothing. Free country, free expression. We can have the church/bathroom/transgender debate discussion all we want, but let’s face it Sioux Falls, the real discrimination in our town is WAGE discrimination.

I ask our city council and mayor, what do you plan to do about it?

*The rumor going around is that the city was promised more HUD/Federal monies if they implemented a city ordinance to not to discriminate against LGBT peeps/transgender.

 

Darrin Smith uses common sense for once

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In one of his last decisions as community development director, he chose to use common sense;

May 26, 2016: Smith, in what’s likely to be his last press conference as Community Development director, says city will not build a standalone ramp and instead will look for new partners to move forward with mixed-use parking facility.

Not only was it obvious to NOT build a standalone structure, I don’t think the administration had the votes on the council to get a standalone passed and built, especially with the current discussion about the new administration building.

At least Smith goes out on a good note.

Will we ever see the Events Center settlement

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I hate to say it, but even with appeals, we probably don’t have a very good chance of seeing the settlement;

Argus Leader Media president Bill Albrecht wouldn’t rule out an appeal of Pekas’ decision, which he called disappointing while remaining steadfast that open record laws were violated when the city denied Argus Leader Media’s record request.

“We believe the public has the right to know what caused this million dollar transaction. It is a million dollars. Regardless if it is money spent by the city government, or money received by the city government, it is the public’s money and public needs – and has the right to know – the details,” Albrecht said. “The confidentially agreement was made outside of a lawsuit which does not garner it protection based on our interpretation of the statute.”

South Dakota Newspaper Association president Jeremy Waltner said regardless of the ruling, the city’s insistence that settlement details remain seals only keeps the door open to perceptions of impropriety among those involved in the event center construction, including the city government. Furthermore, Pekas ruling essentially says any government entity can contract through secrecy, he said.

“Whether it’s legal or not legal … all of that legal speak aside, the city should release the information. They should not hide behind this because all it’s doing is raising more questions,” Waltner said.

I think even if the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of the Argus, we could see a long challenge from the city. Not only that, there could be a significant white washing before the documents are handed over. Also, key players like city attorney Fiddle Faddle and Mayor Huether will be long gone.

I really think the Argus and the rest of the media in Sioux Falls missed the boat a long time ago when this was first brought to light (the siding issue) and when the consultant’s report hit the shredder. I think that report NOT being released was really the most damaging part of this whole deal. I think it was the key piece of evidence that the siding job was a pure sh*t show from the beginning.

Here is what we have speculated through this process from talking to contractors and engineers close to the project;

The original design was not used. If you look at early architectural drawings (above image), there were supposed to be large flat rectangular panels applied (about 8 x 16 Foot) giving the building an almost hexagonal look, and avoiding any unneeded bending of metal. It was dumped to save money. Several numbers have been thrown out there, anywhere from $1.5-3 million was saved. But saved for what? The rumor is to repair ‘other’ constingency problems in the building.

A couple of contractors who worked on the EC but did NOT apply the siding were pulled into the lawsuit. This is a real mystery to everyone, even the contractors. While there may have been some issues with the work they were doing in other parts of the building, they had nothing to do with the siding. Some may say it was punishment for agreeing to NOT do the work.

This isn’t cosmetic, something I think they are also covering up. It doesn’t take an engineer to tell you something has major holes in it. Just walk up to the building and see for yourself.

We think the consultant’s report was FULL of recommendations on how to fix the siding, but we also think once a price tag was put on the fix, they bailed.

The one million dollar settlement WAS NOT cash or transferred monies, it was a discount from Mortenson on the building. It would be like purchasing a $25 steak that was cooked wrong and the restaurant giving you a $26 coupon.

The irony is, even if all the speculation is correct, if the city was just honest from the beginning, I think most people would have forgiven and forgotten about the siding. But you know what they say about how many lies it takes to cover one lie.

The Best of DaCola

The beginning of Pitty Patt’s ruse

Promises. Promises.

Top stories of 2010

The first inklings of workforce development

The Contract Transparency debate

Hair Incident

Tired of talking about it already

David’s first rodeo

Remember the Potty Mouth bill?

Money talks.

The constant failure of eliminating the food tax

Thunediculous

We don’t need no stinking Medicare.

 

Civil War Historian or just another dumbass?

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Seeing stuff like this in my town makes me proud to be Merican. I love how the red in the flags goes so well with the body rust.

A public meeting is just that, public

Cameraman Bruce and the peeps say “Thank you Michelle!” Rex just doesn’t understand what Open Meetings are and why. Get over it Rex.

Cameraman Bruce showed up to the publicly noticed informal get acquainted council dinner at the District on May 24, 2016. Rex Rolfing was not happy and quickly showed it. Greeting Bruce with “No Bruce, not tonight!”

Well Rex, it is a legal open meeting he showed up, deal with it.

‘Infrastructure Mike’ makes his debut

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“Enough monkeying around folks, we are gonna fix these dang crappy roads with the day god gave us.”

When I first started watching this interview(?) I had to make a double take to make sure I wasn’t watching Reid Holsen interviewing Mike on CityLink and not Matt Holsen on Stormland TV. It was sure nice of Matt to allow the mayor to drive him around and pretty much write the story for him. I wonder if Matt also let Mike edit the video. Great piece of journalism, maybe Randell Beck will award you a Pulitzer? Probably not, but, I see Green Bay Packer tickets in your future (or maybe the mayor will buy you a Coors Light at the company Christmas party).

Enough of that.

Doesn’t anyone else find it a bit ironic that shortly after a municipal election where the winning candidates talked about fixing our roads, the mayor has a change of heart (he also changed the name of the Administration Building to the Public Services Building). Maybe he could sell sponsorships to the place? I think the Darrin Smith Commemorative Building has a nice ring to it, after all, the first phase of construction will leave half the building unfinished, seems fitting.

So after spending a lion’s share of the 2nd penny kitty on play things and fun houses the mayor is all of sudden concerned about our roads. Awww. It really warms a heart.

“That’s how I’m going out the final two and that is repairing and rebuilding and replacing this infrastructure and yeah including some of the bumpy roads in our town,” Huether said.

That should have been your priority when you were sworn in to begin with. With dwindling tax revenue over the next two years and bond payments coming from the 2nd penny like a payment on a sub-prime credit card, just how much can you spend on roads? No worries though, Infrastructure Mike has it handled with his personal press secretary Matt Holsen and Stormland TV.

New Council goes after admin building

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Do we need an new city of Sioux Falls Administration (or as the mayor is now calling it, the Public Services) building? Several members of the new City Council are keeping their promises to do something about it. On May 24, 2016 the Open Discussion portion of their Informational Meeting showed Greg Neitzert and Theresa Stehly taking the leadership roles in moving the process along.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Rex Rolfing still delusional about public input

Rex just doesn’t seem to get it, even when it is explained to him in simple terms. Right before the joint Minnehaha County/Sioux Falls City Council meeting, Rex and Commissioner Chair Cindy Heiberger were having a short conversation about public input before the meeting (they were unaware their microphones were hot).

 

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For the most part, well over 50% of public input deals with property and individual rights which could effect them financially and their livelihoods.

Some one really needs to sit councilor Rolfing down and explain to him that in a democracy we are all ruled equally, with no special classes. If developers, pipeline builders and railroads are allowed to talk as long as they want about their projects, Joe Smith should be allowed to talk just as long about his garage expansion. Equality is one thing that makes our country great.

Clarifying Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly’s agenda

Stu Whitney wrote a great column about Stehly and her upcoming agenda on the council. I thought I would clarify a bit, since these are some of the things Theresa and I have discussed long before the election, in fact some of this stuff we have talked about for years;

At tonight’s meeting, she plans to discuss the possibility of a “town hall forum” to promote public feedback on borrowing $25 million for a new city administration building, tentatively approved by the council last month. Huether cast the tiebreaking vote for that compromise measure, which approved the bond ordinance but delayed the actual borrowing of the money until this fall.

The idea was to allow more time in case county cooperation with the project materialized. But Stehly sees the delay as an opportunity to encourage more citizen input, and maybe even a public vote, on the proposed 79,000-square-foot building at Eighth Street and Dakota Avenue.

This is something Stehly has pitched in the past, a threshold ($$$) on when the council should approve a project and when the citizens should. Stehly thinks after a certain dollar amount, it should be on the ballot. Not such a bad idea since citizens are already voting on ordinances and policy on the ballot through the Charter Revision Commission. While I like the idea, I think the number should be rather high, like over $50 million. Theresa thinks it should be lower. Either way, worth the discussion with the public.

Stehly also wants the city to revamp its Project T.R.I.M. tree inspection program to make it more citizen-friendly, passing on the labor to city crews rather than homeowners in some cases. “I’d like to see one season where they use their staff to do the trimming,” she said.

A little clarity on this one. The idea that has been thrown around is to NOT eliminate the notification process OR allowing people to trim boulevard trees. Some people prefer to trim their own trees because they want them to look a certain way, or they want to hire an arborist to do it. I think that this ‘priviledge’ could still be allowed. This would be for people who either can’t physically trim them or afford to hire someone. Instead of wasting resources on public works employees driving around measuring and writing letters, if they see something minor, just chop it off right there or ask the homeowner if they can do it. This is really no different then what Excel does when trimming trees around powerlines. Many communities across our state are finding it is just much easier to have city employees trim the boulevard trees. In the long run it pays off.

Also on her agenda is addressing crime-ridden areas of the city with vigilant neighborhood watch programs, a pet cause of hers since she started her own program back in 1997. “It’s a very low-cost way to bring people together to be the eyes and ears of this community,” says Stehly, who plans to meet with police chief Matt Burns on the issue.

This one is really just common sense. With all the recent vandalism and robberies alone in this city, it is smart for neighbors watching out for each other.

Will Stehly be 100% successful on these issues? Probably not, but starting a good discussion doesn’t hurt.