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.

Noem makes incredibly ignorant statements about industrial hemp

I guess I have never thought Donita ‘Noem’ Trump was the smartest knife in the drawer, but I also didn’t think she was a total idiot, until I heard her make this statement;

“I believe if we move ahead with industrial hemp and we aren’t prepared with it from a regulatory standpoint, from an enforcement standpoint, if we don’t have the equipment and dollars to do this correctly, we will be opening the door to allowing marijuana to be legalized in the state of South Dakota,” Noem said.

Industrial Hemp isn’t the gateway to legalizing recreational pot. Never has been. Two completely different industries, not only in the products they provide but how it is grown.

“The plant looks exactly like a marijuana plant because it’s exactly the same plant as a marijuana plant,” Noem said.

Lesmeister disputed Noem’s claim, saying that they’re two separate plants and “standing in a field, there’s a vast difference.”

Why would any farmer in SD want to risk losing their entire farm over a rotational crop by sneaking in illegal cannabis? It’s ignorant. First off if the plants were hidden in the field, they would be overpowered by the industrial hemp, and secondly, and more importantly, the plant that contains THC, has to be grown in a greenhouse. You could plant it outside, but your results wouldn’t be something you would want to sell. If you have ever seen a grow house you would realize that it is a very delicate plant that has to be watered properly, lighted properly, special organic fertilizers and hand pruned to make it a viable crop to sell. Industrial hemp is pretty much planted and harvested (outside), that’s it. I’m amazed that someone who calls herself a farmer and sat on the ag committee knows very little about a crop that actually built our nation. Even Ellis agrees with me;

We can debate the pros and cons of marijuana legalization another day, but let’s first dispense with the asinine argument that hemp and marijuana are the same.

Well, we choose the hills we want to die on. Noem has chosen hemp.

Like I said in my first post about this, Kristi, grow a brain. It makes you wonder what she has been smoking?

Sioux Falls Voter Analysis; More to Come

Cameraman Bruce has been crunching the latest numbers when it comes to ‘Likely’ voters in Sioux Falls. While we have much more data coming, some of the early results show of the approximately 17,000 consistent households that vote, only 3,000 are in Lincoln County. For all the talk of a “fast’ growing Lincoln County, the Sioux Falls resident voters still don’t like to vote in local elections.

It also seems that $100K VOTE YES for Schools campaign was able to encourage a lot of first time voters or people who rarely vote.


Has the Midco Aquatic Center caused parking issues around the VA?

I won’t get into the argument about whether we needed an indoor public pool or not in Sioux Falls, that ship has sailed. But I do know the neighbors of Spellerberg opposed the location, mainly due to parking issues with the VA. We all knew at the time that the VA wasn’t going anywhere and was expanding. We also know that the VA has a quit claim deed on Spellerberg, so if they want to expand either buildings or parking, they have the right to do so in Spellerberg park. SAVE Spellerberg warned of these issues before the vote. They fell on deaf ears. Now we have an expanded VA, which needed more parking, so they cancelled their lease with Lifescape and we have an indoor pool with a parking lot next to the VA that sits empty most of the time. Earlier this week, a member of SAVE Spellerberg and a Veteran and Volunteer at the VA sent an email to the City Council, here is a portion of it talking about the parking issues;

Parking is a problem with all city projects going back decades.  The city and NFPs intentionally build where there is insufficient parking expecting residential street parking to be a cost savings option.  City leaders have routinely handed over streets to business for their convenience, making homeowners/taxpayers second class to the business of city hall.

Not only do I personally think Spellerberg Park was a bad location for an indoor pool, the evidence is showing that it was a HORRIBLE location. Destroying a park for larger parking, and not having any space for expansion of the facility.

I truly believe if the pool would not have gone in there, the VA would have been able to expand parking to accommodate their future needs as well as Lifescape. I found it interesting that NO ONE brought up the reason why there is congestion, because all of the facilities next to each other. Maybe this SAVE Spellerberg person is right;

Lifescape’s poor planning the last 30 years has caused them with the help of city leaders to promote the decline of the very neighborhood that has supported them.

Maybe this is one of the reasons they put Midco at Spellerberg, so they could institutionalize the neighborhood. Seems their plan hit a snag Tuesday Night.

John Kennedy Claussen announces SDDP State Chair Candidacy

Dear Fellow South Dakota Democrats: This past Friday, I turned 58 years old.  But it is was not only a birthday, it was also my 40th anniversary as a registered South Dakota Democrat.  Fore, I vividly remember registering at the Minnehaha County Courthouse back on my eighteenth birthday in 1979, after a day of classes at the old Washington High School.  Since that time much has happen to and with the South Dakota Democratic Party.  In fact, we have all been through a lot as a political party.  There have been victories and there have been many defeats, but in recent years we have drifted into a malaise, which cannot be corrected by staying the course, rather only remedied by taking on a new course and seeking new leadership, and in so doing, that is why I declare my candidacy today for the chairmanship of the South Dakota Democratic Party. I seek this challenge, because I have been a fighter all my life for the values, which the Democratic Party are and are suppose to be about.  In my lifetime, I have been a student, even a student leader as a former Student Body President at a USD, a store clerk, a janitor, a member of a union, even at times a self-proclaimed and recognized ”union steward” in non union employment situations, a political activist, a banker, and an insurance agent. I have worn many hats, which prepared me for this position, and these experiences have further taught, or reassured me, that we as Democrats are right on the issues, but those issues cannot be heard nor implemented here in South Dakota if we continue the same course.… And as I think of the course we must take, I reflect upon the memories of my Democratic life, which stretch over fifty plus years, with some symbolic while others are of substance, which cause me to run today to help my political party to reach the stars of a greater hope.  Fore, I remember attending a Democratic women’s coffee, that my mother hosted at our house in ’64, when I was 3, where one of the local Democratic women leaders gave me a LBJ/HHH button, which flashed, that I still have to this day.  I shook RFK’s hand in ’68.  I attended Democratic Forum for the first time in 1971 at age 10.  I stuffed envelopes for McGovern in ’72.   At age 12, I attended the Ward Clark dinner – a SDDP fundraiser – with fellow family members and with Senators McGovern, Abourezk, and Adlai Stevenson III in attendance. In the mid 1970s, I remember attending a premier showing of  ‘Give’em Hell, Harry!’ at the Western Mall theater in Sioux Falls, which was a Democratic fundraiser, with then Governor Kneip setting right behind me as we all laughed as Truman’s character in the film enlightened us all.  And before much of this, I especially remember as a child working at the fair in Minnehaha County with my older sister, as passerbyers would ask us at the Democratic booth if it was pronounced, “Nip or Nipe?”  With them thinking the “K” was silent.  Then later in life as a young adult, I volunteered and interned for then Rep. Tom Daschle in DC, was Student Body President and Young Democrats President at USD, and a delegate at a national political convention before my 20th birthday, where I heard in person one of the greatest political speeches of the 20th Century, when I and others were reminded that, “The hope still lives and the dream shall never die.” Throughout my Democratic life, I have served many positions within the Democratic Party, too.  Not only YD President at USD, but I have also been past treasurer and vice-chair of South Dakota Young Democrats, chairman of the Legislative District 12 Democrats, treasurer, vice-chair, and chair of the Minnehaha County Democratic Party, and a Democratic nominee for the State Senate in District 12, a delegate to five state Democratic conventions, and a course was a voting delegate as a part of the South Dakota Delegation to the 1980 Democratic National Convention…..  In fact, I served at that national convention some 40 years ago with Billie’s grandfather.  He was a Carter delegate, while I was a Kennedy delegate. My personal electoral experiences have been very intriguing, too.  Before receiving my BA in political science with minors in history, french, and economics from USD, along with a summer at Georgetown University studying comparative political and economic systems, and having been a Truman Scholarship nominee from South Dakota, I was elected Student Body President at USD, while also being President of Young Democrats on a northern plains campus in the age of Reagan; a time when College Republican could get hundred plus students to show up for a meeting to defeat McGovern, while Young Democrats were in the teens in attendance.  And I accomplished those feats because I understood the math involved and my strategy overcame any issue of popularity; an understanding which then played a great part in allowing me as a 19 year old to be found standing on the floor of Madison Square Garden at the 1980 Democratic National Convention as well.   When running for the state senate, I lost in ’92 by a 49 to 51 margin to a very popular Republican incumbent in a very Republican legislative district.  And for what it is worth, I carried six of the eleven precincts in my district that year; and I often joked prior to the advent of Bush43 and Trump, that I actually won the electoral college in District 12 back in ’92, too.  The last time I ran for the state senate in ’96, I was the only Democratic state senate candidate outside of the heavily dominant Democratic District of 15, in the city of Sioux Falls, to carry more than one precinct, when I stood for election that year.  And the real reason I have had these proud feats is because I understand that it is more than message…. It is also the math…..In fact, before taking early semi-retirement, I worked for a major retailer for almost 30 years, were I was a district ‘All Star Salesperson’ for over 20 years and ranked nationally three times with a 2nd and two 1st place national placings in sales with my employer.  And like my electoral feats, I understood it was the math and not just the art of the sale, which made we successful with my employer.  And I believe, it is now that understanding which needs to be applied to our South Dakota Democratic Party….  And I also ask you to realize that throughout these electoral and employment feats and endeavors, I can proudly claim that I have been married for 31 years, and my wife, Beth, and I have two great children with Master’s degrees, straight teeth ;-), and now good paying jobs.   But that is my story, but what is the story of the SDDP today?  Well, it is a story of a political party that appears to be dependent upon a “Rock Star” strategy, where we throw anything at the wall hoping that something sticks.  In this post McGovern era, our party has become overtime too sanitized, too stale, and too cautious as well.  Realities that worked for a time, but whose self life has now been spent.  Fore, it is time we recognized as Democrats that it is not really 2019, rather it is 1953, and we must begin again to rebuild the party.  Because we have gone full circle as a political party and it is time we seized an opportunity to be proactive in our decision making and accept a frankness of where we really are right now as a political party….Else we will continue to dwell in a world of continual malaise.   2018 was a lost opportunity in my opinion, where we allowed image and an attempted message to ignore the need to understand the math involved in order to truly win elections.  Our culture as a political party needs to change.  We must recognize that if we do not understand the math involved in a political race, then we do not understand what we are really up against.  Currently, we spend a third of our party budget on staff, but to what avail?  Had it not been for the racist comment by a Republican Minnehaha County legislator and the efforts of the women’s organization LEAD in Minnehaha County, we would have actually lost seats in the state legislature this past election cycle – but a cycle we were told was a part of a “Blue Wave.”

So it is time to ask, if we are better off than we were four years ago as a political party?  I believe the answer is “No.”  It’s “No,” because our party no longer knows or cares to know how to win elections.  Because elections cannot be won without an effect canvass/GOTV effort, which was definitely lacking in 2018.  Nor can a Democratic Party win, if it tries to play the religion card, or does not trust a woman’s choice, or is willing to be an enabler to a culture that contributes to the deaths of many of our children while in schools throughout the land each year; with all of these latter comments illustrating an ill fated attempt to be what we are really not as a political party….and thus no wonder as to why we lost so greatly in 2018.

With 2018 as a missed opportunity, it is time to take advantage of 2020 and beyond, but to do that, we need a strategic plan that takes us through 2030 and here are my ideas: – Establish a more adequate messaging of what exactly our legislators are trying to accomplish in Pierre as a minority political party. – Recognize the importance of a full slate and that no Republican personality is too great to be challenged; i.e. Thune/2010 – Continue work to develop the vote on the reservations, but also attach that strategy to particular legislative districts – like District 15 – which are underperforming for us as a political party. – Develop a boot camp in addition to YELL on how to run elections with an emphasis on the art of canvassing/GOVT to create the next generation of young men and women party leaders in the tradition of Hildebrand, Jarding, Erpenbach, Hauffe, and Samuelson – and the boot camp should be named after the great South Dakota political strategist, Pete Stavrianos.

– Target races in a proactive manner and not rely merely upon a matching funds program.

– Re-establish a political culture in our party that recognizes that is takes more than message to win, noting that we also need to understand the math involved in order to win elections. – Develop a 2030 plan to return the Democratic Party to relevance over the next few years in preparation of the 75th anniversary of McGovern having taken over and organizing our political party – a plan that encompasses ending the Republican super majority in Pierre, regaining a majority on the PUC, and having at least one member of the South Dakota delegation in Washington as a Democrat.

– Develop a 2022 Plan, too, to deal with the pending reality of further Republican gerrymandering in this state and other factors which could uniquely make 2022 a challenging year for Democrats in South Dakota. – Hold state conventions where picking constitutional candidates is the last thing we do and not the first thing we do, so that democracy can breathe.

– Deputize a 100 Democrats throughout the state with a goal of registering 50,000 new Democrats in South Dakota by 2024.  (That’s less than 9 per deputy per month.)

– Seek-out greater contributions from former affluent South Dakota Democrats who now reside outside of South Dakota – especially in D.C.

– Develop a true canvassing and GOTV program to assist statewide candidates, with local candidates then benefitting from this as well. – Keep offices in Rapid City and Sioux Falls with long term plans to add a permanent office in Aberdeen and satellite offices in Brookings, Vermillion, and Pierre during election years, and when the legislature is in session.

– I also agree with some of the ideas of the other candidates for State Chair as well, when they call for expanding relations and coordination with county parties, continuing to develop our use of social medias, and continuing the growth of Founders

Club and other potential fundraising programs.

As far as a running-mate for this chairmanship race, I will also add, that while others have chosen a running mate in hopes of winning, I am running so the Party will win again and my vice-Chair will be your pick – the State Central Committee’s –  and not mine, because we must all work together to get the job done.  Fore, it is time we became once again a political party and not just continue as a social club.  And I am also not running as a part of a ticket, because I have a greater confidence in my beliefs than any need to be dependent upon an other’s personality, or status, to carry me. In conclusion, the struggle regardless of the outcome on March 23rd does not end there, it only begins a new chapter for us all.  Because whoever is the new chairperson will need the support of us all.  So let us make this a positive campaign from the start, knowing that whether you support my candidacy or not, we need a change; and I believe I am that change who also brings a strong understanding of the institutional history of our state political party and where we have been, and what we need to do to be more…..But If you like the status quo on the other hand, then don’t consider my candidacy or vote for me….  And as a fan of the late musician, Prince Rogers Nelson, I think it’s time that we turned something red into purple and will you join me in doing so?….

Thank you very much for your consideration and hopefully for your support,

Respectfully, John Kennedy Claussen, Sr.,

vice-Chair of the Minnehaha County Democratic Party

and Chairman of Legislative District 12 Democrats

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Secret Study Groups and a ‘War Room’

As transparency continues to go in the toilet bowl in our city (getting worse than the last administration) we found out last night that our (uncertified and overpaid) City Clerk did not have access to city contracts that the city council has to vote on in the consent agenda. Further more, the council doesn’t have access either and are expected to ask in advance of the contracts by NOON on Monday before the meeting on Tuesday. Apparently instead of these being filed in the clerks office (where they belong) they are filed in various other departments. Besides NOT being readily available to the Clerk and City Council, the citizens should be able to go into SIRE and read these contracts online. Reminds me of the disappearing act of the Executive Orders.

But it gets even better, today Mr. Epp decided to interview Deputy COS, TJ TypeOver about transparency and specifically the secret study group. While TJ tried his damnest to argue the administration has been transparent, there was a few snags in his testimony. 1) was how this secret group will have the opportunity to bid on RFPs that may be produced from the recommendations of the study group (well isn’t that F’ing convenient);

Nelson did not say members of the study group would be barred from bidding on any Requests for Proposals that might come out of the study. However, he said anything that comes out as an RFP will be “very clear and very prescribed.” He said it would not be an “open-ended stew.”

“This group is not an advisory board in the capacity of those (official) groups,” Nelson said. “So the study group is really no different than the mayor bringing in a consultant to create a report, beacuse this group is making recommendations for the Mayor’s office.”

He keeps peddling this two-sided story that on one end they are un-important volunteers then on the other end he calls them paid consultants. So which is it? But this statement should have us all worried (not in the text of KELO’s story, audio translated);

“There are times when you just have to shut the door and get stuff done.”

He also went on to say;

“We won’t get all the facts only the ones they feel we need to see.”

I had to rewind and make sure I wasn’t hearing former Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut. When it comes to government, these things must be open. We are not running some race to see who can redevelop this area the fastest. Most everyone who has attempted in the past has failed. The only thing that ever manages to stay viable is private entities that are propped up by taxpayers, like the recent hotel and restaurant that was built there. And also remember, even with all the success of the Denty, we still have to subsidize the place around $10 million a year for the mortgage payment out of the 2nd Penny CIP fund (intended for roads). Ramrodding any secret plans down the throats of the citizens or city council will only result in failure. Have we learned nothing about the history of this cursed area of town?


I have often argued when you open these discussions up for public inspection, some of the best ideas and suggestions from the public can be molded and refined by the specially selected ‘study group’. I don’t have an issue with study groups or task forces, but they must be open and they must involve people with NO conflicts of interest.

So there is another group meeting on the unfinished 3rd floor of the new administration building (Transit Study group), in which the group is calling the ‘War Room’. I guess solving our transit problem in Sioux Falls is like fighting a war. Who knew?

A SouthDacola foot soldier had a recent tour of the ‘War Room’ by the recently anointed by God, Innovation Director, Jason Reisdorfer. To Jason’s credit he did tell them that he was willing to show the war room to anyone that wanted to see it (City Councilors, public, etc.). I guess it is curtains suspended by poles with hundreds of sticky notes of ideas tacked to them.

Jason said that this study group is limited to 12 directors/management that work for the city. The group is also engaged in the Harvard/Bloomberg leadership training program, and learning how to solve problems as a group is part of the training and solving the transit issues.

On the more negative side of things, it appears that the study group will not be looking at older studies or ideas from the past. They also will not be bringing in experts at this time in the field of transit (it may happen in the future).

Some other things this person observed was that they felt Jason was unaware that the city OWNS Sioux Area Transit (SAM) and it’s busses, facilities, etc. and that the outside contractor only manages the the system and it’s employees. I would think this would be an important thing to know if you were leading this group.

They also observed an idea in the ‘War Room’ that businesses may be requesting bus passes for their employees at a discounted or FREE rate to help get their low wage employees to work. There is a whole host of reasons why this is a bad idea. It only encourages businesses to continue to pay poverty wages while getting subsidized by taxpayers. If these businesses want to PAY for the passes and GIVE them to their employees, so be it, but we shouldn’t be subsidizing a private industry so they have bigger profit margins by tapping into a low wage workforce by giving them free bus rides to work.

I asked a city councilor today if they knew about the ‘War Room’ and they said they were unaware, but I was told by another person today that the Argus did this story about it.

I’m not sure why the contracts are being withheld from the public, or what the EC Campus study group will be discussing or what the transit/leadership group is up to, but it’s time we let a little sunshine in on Sioux Falls city government, or I’m afraid it’s going to get very dark for our citizens.

UPDATE: On Facebook today Mayor TenHaken clarified that 15 city employees are going thru a leadership program administered thru the USD Beacom School of Business. The program is called ‘ONWARD’. Not sure if this is tied to the Transit group.

Does 5G even exist? Sprint argues that it doesn’t . . . yet

So here’s the latest in the long list of lies surrounding the roll out of 5G;

“What AT&T touts as 5G, however, is nothing more than an enhanced fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution wireless service, known as 4G LTE Advanced, which is offered by all other major wireless carriers.”

I guess in at least this case you could get behind the argument that industry can regulate itself, at least when one of the competitors is lying.

That was the question I had when the council voted to roll this out, “Can you use 5G wi-fi if you don’t have a 5G phone or tablet (that can receive the data). Apparently NOT.

“AT&T’s 5GE network is not, in fact, a 5G wireless network, nor does AT&T sell a single 5G-enabled mobile phone or tablet.”

Reminds of when I used to drive a VW Jetta, the model I had didn’t change it’s body style in like 6(?) years, so I always told people it was 4 years newer than what it really was 🙂

I wonder if Sprint wins this lawsuit if Mayor TenHaken’s Deputy COS, TJ TypeOver will put out a correction press release celebrating the roll out of 4G LTE Advanced Technology? Maybe Thune really isn’t the Majority Whip, maybe he is just LTE Advanced?

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City council votes 5-3 to NOT vacate Elmwood Avenue

It takes a super majority to close a street (6-2). Councilors Starr, Stehly and Brekke voted against the vacation saving Elmwood. Watch the Replay.

I will tell you that I was on the fence about this, but still lean towards leaving the street. But ironically, Lifescape still gets their parking, and still got to remove houses (Which moved to Lennox, NOT somewhere else in Sioux Falls). Lifescape didn’t lose. Also, I don’t believe there will be (worse) safety issues. The kids will still be dropped off in the same manner. All this would have done is provide about 10 more parking spots for employees while losing an important inner city street.

Brekke is right, it’s time to put together a strategic plan for our central neighborhoods so they don’t continue to get gobbled up. I was fortunate to buy my home around 16 years ago in a central neighborhood at an affordable price. I couldn’t afford my home today. All I ever see city planning and city councils do over the past decade is put out fires for poor planning. It’s got to stop.

We need to implement a strategic planning vision for the future of central neighborhoods and we need to overhaul the TIF program to assist those neighborhoods in fixing them up. The Sanfords and Lloyds of Sioux Falls are doing just fine.

UPDATE: Cameraman Bruce weighs in after attending last night’s meeting in person;

The night was full of interesting observations.

LifeScape was not the only issue the city failed on but it was the most active one. I actually want LifeScape to be creative in order to solve this issue. I have great respect for LifeScape and want them to succeed.

I for one, am always excited when people show up to be part of the process. This vacation vote showed people wanting to be involved. We must have people showing up and adding their voices to the discussion.

Most of the following thoughts reference the evening’s vacation vote because it was 3 hours and 10 minutes of the meeting. The Sioux Falls street vacation process is a cluster of a high degree. Our town’s street vacation methods have forced the town government to just let it happen because what else can you do? It is always done as a force majeure after the neighborhood damage has been done. The houses have been torn out. The trees have been cut down, The property has been made ugly. The process forces acceptance of what the applicant wants because everything is ready to go, so you better let us do this (whatever the applicant’s goal is).

If the city had a policy of helping companies and institutions with growth planning, they could stop this type of show. Why not bring in the neighbors before the plans are started? Bringing in the neighbors early into a growth discussion, an applicant might have a chance to succeed with the neighbors support. Why not have a checklist to show actually show the due diligence has been done?

The vacation issue failed because it was down to a question of process. Where and how far do we want our city staff to go with planned developments potentially destroying neighborhoods and the policies allowing it to happen.

Consider these back row observations from the back row:

– why was there so much city data available on this item but no data or contracts on most of the other evening items

– the use of tear jerking emotions not having anything to do with legal issues

– attempts at government secrecy by administration

– threats by the administration to withhold information from Council

– the use of an insensitive photograph by the administration

– the repetitive testimony, especially by the 2 dozen non-neighborhood applicant employees

– what was the purpose of the long drawn-out rambling, with pregnant pauses, by the engineering department

– the inability of some members of the dais to read the situation and move on, was it an attempt to “wear down” or “run out the clock”

– the childish behavior of some members of the dais during the presentation and after the vote (only seen by being in the room, there might be some special video coming)

– watch the emotions, I know tantrums when I see them, computers don’t like to be slammed around

The LifeScape issue should not have been a win or lose proposition. The issue was made into one by the poor way the Sioux Falls has done so many previous vacations. I am sorry it was LifeScape that got caught up in the town’s abusive past vacation policy.


Popular Political Blog changing name to ‘DakotaFoodCollege’

Well, we should have seen the writing on the wall, or at least the food splooge on his keyboard

After years of regurgitating press releases from the right-wing whack jobs that run our state, he must have finally gotten tired of the acid reflux it was causing, and decided to go after the real deal. Of course Pitty has been dropping hints, like his yearly fart-fest he takes to DC where he tries to find this weird dish called ‘fish & chips’. I guess he forgets we celebrate Lent in South Dakota also.

I think the biggest clue came when he posted this table of high sodium, high fructose, corn syrup and bowls full of bacon grease.

I’m glad to see Pitty is going after his real passion while staying true to his blogging style – Sh*t in, Sh*t out.