UPDATE: Chickensh*t vote of the night; Sioux Falls City Council Chair Christine Erickson

There are two kinds of animals on the city council, Reindeers and Chickens.

With zero explanation or discussion, councilors Selberg, Kiley, Soehl, Erickson and Mayor TenHaken voted to leave the 50+1 idiotic election practice former councilors Rolfing and Erpenbach pulled from their butts. While I understand 4 of the votes (elitists who want to keep regular folk off of the council) Erickson changed her vote from two years ago WITH NO EXPLANATION TO THE PUBLIC! I also found it funny that Rolfing Jr. (Kiley) was Chatty Cathy all night about the Philosophy of Rick but said nothing about why we need to keep this silly ordinance in place. Sorry Rick, while some reindeer can fly, chickens cannot.

She receives the Chickensh*t Vote of the Night award. She can CHANGE her vote if she wants to, but when you do it without explanation you move quickly from ruling the roost to just another peckerwood in the farmyard.

Congratulations on your ignorance and obvious vengeance on fellow councilors, because really without an explanation, that is exactly what you were doing tonight. Maybe you can get a job with the Noem administration? Not sure though if she would let you yell out “Oh My God” during a public meeting in your hot microphone. Funny how you had to call out God’s name when your personal business was questioned by a fellow councilor but you had ZERO to say about switching your vote tonight.

BaWch! BaWch! BaWch! but NO Cockadoodle-Doo!

UPDATE: Here’s her grand excuse;

Following the vote, Councilor Christine Erickson, who opposed raising the election threshold in 2017, told the Argus Leader she voted against reverting back to the old standard because changing election rules so frequently would be a disservice to voters and office seekers.

“It’s confusing for voters and candidates to continue to change this year to year,” she said.

Christine, I think I would have said nothing instead. There has been only ONE election since the rule changed, and in case you didn’t notice, the rule change wasn’t even used (Soehl and DeBoer would have to still have a runoff under the old rules). Most voters would not even have noticed it changed back. But nice try. Let’s call a spade a spade, it was a vengeance vote.

Another snag with 5G, it’s all hype

Just when you think the 5G debacle couldn’t get much worse, the hits keep coming;

Wireless carriers are working hard to talk up 5G (Fifth Generation) wireless as the future of broadband. But don’t be fooled—they are only trying to focus our attention on 5G to try to distract us from their willful failure to invest in a proven ultrafast option for many Americans: fiber to the home, or FTTH.

A recent FCC report on competition found that the future of high-speed broadband for most Americans will be a cable monopoly. Without a plan to promote fiber to the home, that’s not likely to change. In fact, because the 5G upgrade relies on fiber infrastructure, even 5G will be possibly limited to areas that already have FTTH – meaning, they already have a competitive landscape and, therefore, better service. The rest of us get monopolistic slow lanes.

And what about all that rural service Ironic Johnny talks about;

Without a comprehensive plan for fiber infrastructure, 5G will not revolutionize Internet access or speeds for rural customers. So anytime the industry is asserting that 5G will revolutionize rural broadband access, they are more than just hyping it, they are just plainly misleading people.

In other words without the cable in the ground, they cannot put up the antennas in rural areas. And the speed? Laughable;

5G will also not be competitive with wireline Internet services. In the early Verizon home 5G broadband test cities, where the connections were marketed as faster than your cable broadband, it turned out that speeds average around 300 Mbps with some peaking to gigabit speeds. By comparison, cable networks had already deployed gigabit download networks earlier in 2018 and have plans to upgrade 10-gigabit networks (which they comically call 10G, because why not). In other words, 5G’s peak speeds match broadband speeds that are already in the process of being topped.

In other words, if you are hooked to the ethernet like I am, you are already getting the best internet speeds that 5G will never even come close to. Hopefully with all the lawsuits and congressional investigations this whole 5G scam will end before they roll over on us.

Midco Aquatic Center subsidized $625K in 2018

A presentation will be made today at the 4 PM Sioux Falls city council informational meeting.

Ironically, while there was 10,000 fewer visitors in 2018 than in 2017 that operational expenses jumped $100K. 2018 made $1,000 less than 2017.

It also interesting to note that many sponsorships expire next year and need to be renewed. We will see how that goes.

I have often argued if there is the NEED for a public sporting facility in the community, it will at least break even or come very close. As I mentioned before the vote, besides being a bad location (no room for expansion) there are plenty of other indoor swimming opportunities for folks in the private sector, and many of these facilities offer other fitness options at their locations, some even include bowling and golf passes.

We will continue to be in the hole for years to come on the MAC, because it simply really wasn’t needed and was built in the wrong spot. I still think we should have partnered with Sanford on a pool at the Sports Complex. There is a still a rumor floating around that they intend to eventually build an Olympic competition pool out there, and once Slaveowner High goes in it will be utilized.

UPDATE: How did the Premier Center do in 2018?

UPDATE: I just checked the calendar of events for the Denty. From 2/22 until the end of October there is 31 events booked. Only ten of them are major concerts, the other 21 are mostly local sporting events (Storm and HS and College sporting events). Obviously there will be other concerts announced, but as of right now that is 3.5 events per month. Ouch.

I have been wondering for awhile, is the honeymoon over for the Denty?

Recently we found out that the long time GM was terminated and now the Marketing Manager is moving to another market for SMG.

With new management moving in, it would be a good time to crunch the numbers from 2018. I will be honest with you, I don’t follow what concerts and events go on out there. After spending almost $200 (ticket and beverages) to see the Foo Fighters, my hunger to attend shows there isn’t high on my priority list.

With the EC Campus Book Club meetings going on, even if they are meeting in private, I think that information would be important to their decision making. It’s even more important for the city council that is moving on the 2020 budget to know how the place is doing. Not only revenue sources, but ongoing sponsorships, economic impact, and as it seems, very expensive maintenance costs of the entire campus (parking/SF Stadium, Convention Center and Arena).

My guess is that 2018 was down from the previous two years. But the bigger question is how much and why? General Managers don’t just get fired on a whim. I have a feeling SMG knows the numbers and are concerned. I also think that the Mayor’s office knows the numbers to, this is probably the reason they want to hand the Orpheum contract over to the Pavilion.

I asked a couple of city councilors to make a request to the city’s finance department with a 2018 audit update of the Denty. We will see how long they stall.

Returning the Plurality back to Sioux Falls City Council races ‘Should’ be a snap

Mayor TenHaken told the Argus that he hopes he doesn’t have to break a tie Tuesday night over changing back a 20 year old rule that served the citizens and city council just fine.

I agree, he should not have to. While I can’t predict if it will pass or not, I do think it will come down on a 5-3 vote. And it should.

It’s obvious that Stehly, Starr and Brekke support changing it back. While that is 3 votes, shouldn’t the other 2 they need be a piece of cake? Erickson and Neitzert voted against the change almost two years ago. Why? Because the process wasn’t broken.

Now some have argued that this should be up to the voters. I suppose, and if you believe that, Brekke has offered that this be looked at by the Charter Revision Commission for the 2020 ballot. But as we all know, it wasn’t broken and should not have been changed to begin with.

While Erickson and especially Neitzert have argued that they don’t want to be messing with city elections, this would be a perfect reason to change it back to as it was, unharmed for 20 years.

In the last election, there was a city council run-0ff, but it still would have occurred under the old ordinance, because neither DeBoer or Soehl received the 34% plurality. Another reason why the change was not needed.

I don’t expect the votes of Rex Rolfing Jr. (Kiley) or Selberg (who probably doesn’t even understand the math) or Soehl (who sold his soul to Erpenbach and Huether a long time ago) to change. But I would expect Erickson and Neitzert to hold their votes like Starr, Stehly and Brekke did on the 2nd go around on the Elmwood street vacation.

But I’m not holding my breath.

Mayor TenHaken on BNB show this morning

Unlike the last Mayor who made outrageous statements, and ramrodded outrageous projects, it seems the current Hizzoner doesn’t seem to know what he is talking about, or at least how to communicate his plans.

He talked about how he went to Haiti to learn about refugees in their country so he has a better understanding of the refugees we have in Sioux Falls. Here’s a concept Paul, why not go down to the Multi-cultural center and have some meetings with them? He feels we need to get the refugees to assimilate into Americans, okay Donald Trump. Also, though I have asked several councilors and city officials to get back to me about Public Works Director Cotter going with Paul on the missionary trip to ‘study the infrastructure’ and whether the taxpayers paid for the trip and if he used vacation time, I have heard NOTHING. I guess it would be safe to assume it was a junket for Cotter, spreading the good news of Jesus and running water on the taxpayer dime.

When Greg asked Paul about the Events Center Campus Study Book Club he told Greg that sometimes secret meetings get more things done, “Sometimes you need to shut the door to get the work done.” Which was ironic, because right after saying that he told Greg exactly what he wanted the EC Book Club to accomplish, solving the parking problems at the site by shuttling people from Downtown on concert nights. While this is a great idea, who is going to pay for it? Will this come from ticket fees? Will the artists be paying for it? Will SMG? Will the shuttles cost the concert goers as they get on the shuttle? Or will this just be ANOTHER 2nd penny subsidy to the Events Center? These are why these discussions need to be opened to the public, but on the other hand, I ask the question, what is so secretive about parking and shuttle buses? At the beginning of this topic though, Paul said it wasn’t worth discussing new development around the EC campus, because it has never worked. Well, that’s no secret.

He finished by talking about snow removal, and the wet panties it seems the last couple of mayors including Paul gets by saving snow removal money. We don’t pay our taxes so you can put it in a savings account, we pay them to PLOW SNOW!

He also talked about the Elmwood street vacation vote. He thinks the neighborhood lost by not allowing the street vacation of Elmwood. I still struggle with how taking a viable street away from a residential neighborhood is a ‘win’ for them. It’s not. I think by not closing the street both the neighborhood and Lifescape won. Lifescape can still build their parking lot, and they can still devise a safety plan. This was about GIVING taxpayer owned property worth well over a quarter million to a private organization at NO cost so they could increase the value of the property when they sell in a couple of years. I have argued for a long time that if these businesses or non-profits are requesting a street vacation they should have to pay us at least HALF of the appraised value. When we closed the street by Billion Auto we essentially GAVE a private for profit car dealership about a million dollars in property. It’s not right or fair. Enough with the corporate welfare to developers and private non-profits.

Sioux Falls Chamber Advocate concerned about NOT allowing street vacations

You can watch the 4+ hour council meeting above.

The Chamber Advocate uses some strong language when it comes to street vacations;

Resolution to vacate portions of S. Elmwood Ave to facilitate expansion of Lifescape parking fails

One of the longest public input periods and council debates in recent years led to a vote to not allow a requested street vacation at the Tuesday, Feb. 12 city council meeting. The decision may also increase uncertainty for future business expansion and development in Sioux Falls.

I was actually surprised that the Chair, Mayor TenHaken, didn’t implement a rule that the past chair used to do by limiting repetitive input. I counted well over 20 people who said the same exact thing “I’m a LifeScape employee concerned about the safety of the children.” While I support public input at all levels and think everyone has a right to be heard, I think after hearing it 4 times the chair should have asked the crowd to stand if they were going to testify they were employees of Lifescape that were concerned about the safety of the children. You could have easily shaved off an hour of testimony and it would have probably had a bigger impact seeing 30 people standing. I believe the chair allowed the repetitive comments because he was on their side.

Leadership of LifeScape, a non-profit serving children with disabilities, requested the partial vacation and street closures of portions of S. Elmwood Street. The street closure would facilitate planned expansion and alleviate on-street parking in other parts of the neighborhood.

The only evidence LifeScape provided was that they would gain about 15 new parking spots for employees and visitors for closing the street. I was disappointed that they provided NO evidence that the closure would make drop offs safer. If they would have, I think the vacation would have been justified.

City staff summarized their review of utility easements, traffic counts and projected traffic models. City traffic projections suggested that as LifeScape grows, there is likely to be increased on-street parking in the area if no additional parking is provided. Past right of way vacations in other areas for similar purposes were shown to have reduced traffic and on-street parking in neighborhoods. City staff recommended vacating the street as requested by LifeScape.

The only ‘growth’ LifeScape has committed to was building a parking lot for their staff since their lease was cancelled with the VA. There was ZERO discussion of expanding the actual facility.

LifeScape requested vacation of the right of way in order to add 148 on-site parking stalls. Numerous LifeScape staff and employees stressed the planned parking and expansion would facilitate student safety for those they serve.

Like I already stated, they continued to talk about how it would make it safer for the kids but never presented a plan as to how that would work. They did talk about staff crossing the street, but as I understand it, they try to drop off students at the door. Another fallacy is that closing the street and stopping street parking makes it safer. Actually street parking makes the street narrower which has been proven to make the area safer because cars go at a slower speed. By closing Elmwood, you would only increase traffic on streets surrounding LifeScape, and with employees not parking on those streets anymore, the speeds would increase. You could argue that the street closure actually makes the neighborhood less safe. Of course the Chamber, in all of their wisdom argues the exact opposite;

Councilors and public testifiers highlighted that irrespective of the council vote, the parking lot as proposed will be put expanded as LifeScape owns the property. The on-street parking would be reduced if the street vacation was approved. Likewise, street vacation will result in added safety for students, not only for children/students but for all staff and neighborhood residents.

The period for public testimony was very long, with nearly 40 proponents and opponents testifying on differing aspects of the project.

This was actually the best thing that came out of the night, public engagement by people who don’t normally engage their government (even though many of them were paid or forced to be there. I wonder if we will see them testify for other street vacations that don’t affect their employment?)

Councilors Selberg, Neitzert, Soehl, Kiley, and Erickson advocated for the street vacation – highlighting the importance of Lifescape in the community and the need Lifescape fills for students and families.

The Chamber has a long history of ‘Praising Councilors’ and shaming the ones that didn’t vote their way. I’m not sure the 5 that voted for this deserve praise. Voting to give away taxpayer property, a street that the public gets usage out of, to a private organization while telling it’s residents who live in the neighborhood to go to Hell goes against the duties of a city councilor. They are an elected representative of the taxpayers of this community. They should be looking out for OUR interests first. Councilor Neitzert made the comment that as a city councilor he needs to make decisions on what is best for the ‘city’. While their is some truth in that statement, he fails to understand who makes up this ‘city’. It’s residents who hold these neighborhoods together. When was the last time you saw a local non-profit or business donate to a neighborhood for it’s preservation instead of it’s destruction? I know that All Saints donated to the neighborhood after their expansion, which I felt was different because they owned the land they expanded on that was serving NO public good. And LifeScape is being afforded the exact same right. They are able to build a parking lot on the land they own, no one is stopping them from that. I am just puzzled how they lost Tuesday night?

Ultimately the council voted not to approve the street vacation as proposed on a 5 yes to 3 no vote. Street vacations require a super majority, hence it would have required 6 voting yes to pass.

The Chamber, economic development groups, and development companies in Sioux Falls monitored the process closely. Future business expansion and investment in core neighborhoods are anticipated lead to requests for street vacations in the future as the city grows.

This final statement while TRUE, is also extremely misleading and threatening. On one hand they are claiming they are investing in these neighborhoods. Quite the opposite, they are investing in their own business while divesting established neighborhoods, by eliminating affordable housing, decreasing personal home values while paving and institutionalizing established CORE neighborhoods. It’s all smoke and mirrors and it’s disgusting to watch our Chamber threaten elected officials in this manner. It’s also disgusting to watch 5 of the ‘praised ones’ roll over for the Chamber.

Sioux Falls Chamber Advocate publishes Thune’s comments on 5G

Well you know why I call him ‘Ironic Johnny Thune-Bag;

Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, was a featured speaker at an Axios-hosted event about innovation in America’s cities. Thune discussed South Dakota’s role in helping America win the race to 5G mobile broadband technology and his efforts to spur technology, spectrum availability, and innovation by way of legislative initiatives like his MOBILE NOW Act, which became law in 2018, STREAMLINE Small Cell Deployment Act, and AV START Act.

Who are we ‘racing’ against? All I see is the telecoms battling it out to see who can produce this technology the fastest, but the benefits to consumers is questionable. We already know that ethernet is 100x faster than any wi-fi connection (as well as safer, health, data security, etc.). So why the rush? Thune tries to explain that;

South Dakota Leadership:

“What I hope to do is to be able to see rural areas benefit from [5G] as well,” said Thune. “I think a lot of it will have to do with the individual communities … We have a new, young mayor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, who is very aggressively working to make sure that Sioux Falls and that South Dakota is on the map when it comes to fifth generation technology, looking at ways to lower barriers and impediments to that type of investment, and seeking partners who will help join in that effort.”

Mayor TenHaken hasn’t worked ‘aggressively’ – he was forced into this through the new FCC rules that now are being challenged in Federal court. Our own city attorney has confessed that the city had NO CHOICE but to go along with Federal guidelines. That can be done with little effort. The mayor, his administration and the city council rolled over like a dog.

“I think the companies that are going to invest in this are going to be looking for those cities and states that have a progressive view of how we get there and make it easier, not harder to develop that. Like I said, the city of Sioux Falls is really leading on that. Our municipal league in South Dakota has come up with a sort of a standard ordinance that municipalities can adopt that again would enable investment and build-out. I think we have to make it easier, not harder when it comes to the role that governments play if we want to see this really develop quickly.”

The National League of Cities has come out against the 5G rollout, not because they are opposed to the new technology but because the Feds are overstepping their authority of local control and what cities can do to regulate 5G and what fees they can charge.

“In a state like South Dakota, we have a lot of rural telephone cooperatives and smaller companies that are making investments, and there are programs that are available that provide incentives for them to do that. We have a company called Golden West Telecom in western South Dakota, which is where I’m from, and they’ve done a great job – have figured out how to leverage some of the federal opportunities that are available, and they’ve built out a lot and are continuing to build out, and we want to incentivize that.”

When Thune talks about ‘leveraging’ federal opportunities, what he is saying is TAKING ADVANTAGE. One of the reasons rural communities have poor cell service is because many of those towns asked to be fairly compensated for using taxpayer properties (like water towers) for antenna usage, and many of the telecoms refused to pay fair compensation.

Innovation’s effect on industries:

“I mean, the productivity gains are going to be enormous in so many sectors of the economy – agriculture of course being one that’s important in our state, but telemedicine, telehealth, I mean, that has life-saving opportunities. You heard about ‘smart cities’ and reducing congestion – you know, the amount of pollutants we’re putting into the environment. There are some enormous gains that are out there for us, but it is going to take a competitive, free market approach to this where everybody is in there trying to do their best to win the race.”

Isn’t it IRONIC that Thune talks about the ‘health benefits’ of employing 5G while the telecoms asked the FCC to take out the health effects of 5G when it comes to regulation. So which is it John? 5G will make us safer and healthier? We don’t know because the industry refuses to do either extensive studies or chooses to hide them. If you want to argue about the health benefits of 5G, require health studies in the regulation of this technology, or better yet, STFU.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Feb 19, 2019

Informational Meeting, 4 PM

Updates on Midco Aquatic Center and Falls Park Safety Report. These should be interesting presentations, NO docs provided at this time.

Land Use Committee Meeting, 4:30 PM (after informational)

Amendments to Shape Places. I was also unaware that there would be changes.

Regular Council Meeting, 7 PM

Item #15, Notice of hearings, Transferring wine license to Stensland from former Overlook Café management. This is strange considering I don’t remember the city council approving the new management contract with Stensland yet. Maybe I missed it. Of course this is just a hearing, but since they were the only one to bid on the new management, maybe they just assume they have it in the bag?

Item #23, I guess Fleet Farm is going to have a beer and wine department. Weird.

Item #30, 2nd Reading, changing council races back to plurality. I hate to say it, but I think this is going to fail. I think after Stehly, Starr and Brekke voted against the street vacation, the other 5 councilors are going to go into vengeance mode and vote against it. As I told one of the three councilors this week after the street vacation vote, “It’s seems the majority of the council only wants to support the illogical.”

Item #33, 1st Reading, Rezoning by Avera for the nun apartments. While I am pleased that they will try to move the houses if the rezone happens (it will) Once again we are seeing affordable homes in our core being pushed out.

Item #36, Resolution to extend employment of police officer so they can cash in on 15 year tenure benefits. Not sure if that is the case, but my assumption.

Items #37-39, Hearings and Resolutions, I guess in one quick, clean sweep, Raven is asking the city council to demolish an historic building. The testimony on this should be interesting. I guess I found it surprising that the old Goodwill building was considered ‘historic’.

Municipalities challenging 5G rollout in court

Over 80 counties and cities are filing suit against the FCC over local control and price fixing what they can charge the telecoms;

More than 80 cities and counties have filed lawsuits challenging the new FCC rules, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco is expected to render a decision in the lead case in April.

This was my biggest complaint against 5G, local control and what we can charge to use OUR lightpoles;

In an email to The Washington Times, Tom Cochran, executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, accused the agency of reinterpreting “federal law as part of its efforts to ‘nationalize’ city and other local public property in its quest to grant special and unlawful rights to private enterprises that seek to occupy local rights-of-ways and public property for small cell deployment.”

“Instead of working with local governments to win the global race to 5G, the FCC is forcing cities to race to the courthouse to defend the most basic of local government rights — the authority to manage and seek fair compensation from private users that seek to employ public assets, owned and paid for by local taxpayers, for their personal profit without any obligation to serve all of the community whose assets are occupied,” Mr. Cochran said.

Yet the nimrods that occupy our city hall decided to bend over for Thune-Bag and do as he wishes, while closing the public out. Heck, even the National League of Cities, an organization we help fund as taxpayers, opposes the FCC rules. Hopefully the courts will rule in the cities favor so we can end the nightmare called 5G.

Another STORY on the TOPIC.