Taxpayers duped once again by the pie in the sky dreams of developers and big business

I was very reluctant to post about this story, simply because it was no shock to me that this happened. I was waiting for the day to come when we would read this;

The company that would have been the first to build in the new Foundation Park development park has decided to look at other locations.

Stuless Whunder makes a great point;

Others question the role of taxpayer-supported public entities in the area of private development, especially if urgency to find companies to fill parcels at Foundation Park drives down the market.

In that same vein, I question why taxpayers (State and Local) are putting up over $20 million in infrastructure for a project that didn’t even bother to secure a solid purchase agreement? We should have never authorized the expenditures unless we had a ‘real’ promise from a prospect, we went ahead with the possibly of spending $20 million of tax dollars based on a ‘letter’.

Wow!

Another reason we can’t run government like a business. Unlike private enterprise, government shouldn’t be in the business of taking risks and land speculation.

As for saying I wasn’t shocked that this happen, it is because we have had precedent. For one, just peruse available industrial park land the development foundation and other realtors have available already. It’s like deciding to build a 3 car garage for your Fiat 300 and bag of golf clubs. There isn’t a need for more land, it’s a classic case of urban sprawl. Remember Phillips to the Falls? How did that work out for taxpayers? We spent millions so we can have a new location for German Fest. Also don’t forget the fiasco called EB-5. There is also the employment factor (I’m guessing that is why Logistics Buddy backed out). Capital One is leaving solely based on the fact we don’t have enough workers. There is also the promise of living wage jobs that has never been hammered out before we moved ahead with this project. But hey the city is throwing thousands of dollars at businesses for the “Welfare for Want Ads” project.

I know I often sound negative and am really a cynic at heart, but it pains me to be right about something so wrong. I hope things will work out in the end. But hey folks, it’s Meth Week in Sioux Falls, so don’t worry about failed developments and petition drives. We gotta nip this dang problem in the butt. You go Tiger Mike!

I applaud the generosity of the private donors towards the Arc of Dreams, kind of.

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If you squint your eyes a little bit, it kind of looks like a Trojan Horse

I will admit, I was skeptical when the organizers of this project said they would raise all the money privately (I still am a little).

The project is being funded by private donors, with a goal of $1.25 Million. Schiller says they are at $1.17 Million right now.

It’s not that I don’t think the money is here in our community, it’s just that taxpayers have been down this road before. I have pressured Sculpture Walk organizers over the years to become more independent, they have been listening. There is also the logistics of the project. Talking to engineers and others in the art world who have been around large sculpture projects before I have a couple of concerns.

1. Since the large structure does not connect in the middle, there could be issues with it’s weight when it comes to high winds and counter balance.

2. The quartzite that has to be drilled through in order to create that counter balance could become very costly.

I have put city officials on notice that if any trouble arises and we the taxpayers have to chip in, that they proceed with caution. Think Trojan horse. While this is a great gift to the city, remember since it is sitting on city property, we have a great responsibility to maintain it. Where will that money come from? The sky? It would be like your dying uncle giving you his classic Ferrari.

We took a gift from Mr. Fawick back in the early 70’s and the city has been reluctant many times to keep him around, even throwing David in a storage lot for several years because they didn’t have the money to put him back up. I would be curious what the city is budgeting each year for maintenance of such a large piece of public art?

I also take issue with this statement;

Supporters have high hopes this new, massive piece of artwork will bring more than just tourists to the downtown area.

“The new awareness will truly advance economic development, workforce development in so many ways for so many years,” said Schiller.

Um . . . how will it do that? Sure it will promote more tourism to downtown, but we already have a great tourist attraction downtown, and it’s not Minerva’s or the Statue of David (Though he is my favorite DT).

When I watch press conferences like this, I often shake my head when our city leaders make ridiculous statements like this.

But at the end of day, I do Thank You . . . kind of.

Judge Salter will rule on the validity of the petitions by tomorrow

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According to the AL’s Joey Snevaboloney’s live tweets, the hearing finished. There were two things that stood out from the Judge. He asked the city clerk, Tom Greco, if there was a difference in voter registration between the state and the city. (of course there isn’t, and Salter probably knew the answer, but wanted Greco on the record, he answered ‘No’).

The judge also admitted towards the end of the hearing that he will be ruling on the validity of the signers. This is important, and our argument all along.

UPDATE: Stehly apologizes to the council for ignoring the gavel and decorum

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Theresa didn’t apologize for speaking out for the citizens, but she did apologize for ignoring the gavel;

“Today I want to apologize to you for not recognizing the decorum of the gavel,” Stehly said.

“I want to say that moving forward, I hope that we can work together with a renewed sense of peace, integrity and respect,”

I will give Theresa credit for taking the high road on this one. Can we expect an apology from the chair? I know this wasn’t easy for her, but sometimes we have to face our humility.

The timing of her apology is kind of ironic especially with all the different letters to the editor supporting her online today;

As for Councilwoman Theresa Stehly, “You go girl.” She can keep fighting for us, the voters.

And the graces keep coming;

We are still wondering why three other councilors made a huge change in their vote on the new city building. The only reason given was that Mayor Mike Huether would have gone ahead with his plan unethically, no matter what the vote was. To change your vote just because you will lose anyway, is neither staying with your conscience and values, nor good for good government. Those three counselors all passionately said it was a hard vote. Voting right is not hard, but making a wrong turn is hard if you have a conscience.

And one more for good measure;

I have read a few articles on what Councilwoman Theresa Stehly is doing wrong, but in reality, these articles are saying what we the people are doing wrong. Stehly is the voice for those of us who voted her in, and to date, based on many examples she is doing, what we want her to do.

Amen.

Petition Hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, September 28

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Judge Salter presiding, Courtroom 5B, 8 AM.

During the interview with Belfrage this morning, the mayor proclaims at the end of the interview that the administration building is a ‘Done Deal’ and it’s good that the council has moved on (the 5 that voted against the advisory vote). Before that though, Belfrage asks an interesting question that the mayor doesn’t answer, Greg says that even if the petitions are approved, it’s just an advisory vote anyway? Not quite, and maybe the mayor didn’t catch that. If the petitions are found to be valid by the judge tomorrow the city council can still certify them and ask for an election, in fact they must. That election is an initiative ordinance. In other words, it is NOT an advisory vote, if the citizens vote down the selling of the bonds, it MUST go into effect.

And that is where I take issue with Mike’s comment ‘Done Deal’. The bond sale cannot take effect until Monday October 3, and even if that sale is ordered on Monday, it could take months before they are bought in the market.

Depending on what judge Salter decides tomorrow, this could be far from being a ‘done deal’. But once again, the mayor is using wishful thinking. But who can blame him, he got the EC and the Indoor Pool using the same philosophy.

 

Mayor Huether says Stehly’s performance last Tuesday was inappropriate

The mayor finally weighs in. And as usual when you give him a microphone he can’t resist to go on.

He says that he wishes he could say what went on in the executive session. Huh? Did I miss something? You were not in the meeting, so who shared it with you? I thought those meetings were not recorded and the people in those meetings cannot share what is discussed? So who shared that information with him? Is that a violation of the executive session?

He also goes on about the attacks to the city clerk and the city attorney. He claims the city attorney doesn’t just work for him, he works for the city. That statement in itself is hilarious. When Danielson brought up ethics charges against the mayor, he couldn’t walk 100 feet to his hearing, and the city attorney stepped off the dais as the advisor to the Ethics Board and defended the mayor as his personal attorney.

As for the city clerk, that is still unresolved as far as I am concerned until a judge rules in the case tomorrow.

Once again the mayor admits to some interesting stuff over the 34 minute interview.

What’s next for retiring Augie president Rob Oliver and term limited Mayor Huether?

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Rob has accomplished a lot as Augie president. He could easily run for political office, and win. At 62, he could be weighing running for office as something to cross off his bucket list. Many retired people in high stature careers decide they want to serve the public after their successful private careers. More power to them.

Is Rob considering a mayoral run in 2018? Not sure, you would have to ask him. But there are some interesting factors if he decides to run.

It is no secret that Rob Oliver is close friends with Mayor Mike Huether, they are probably besties. That being said, an endorsement from Mike and even getting him to help with a mayoral campaign would be beneficial to him. I have always said Mike’s biggest accomplishment is getting elected after being a virtual nobody. Oliver isn’t a nobody and well known in the community. With the help of Huether he could be a real contender.

There is also the factor if Mayor Huether runs for governor or another higher office. He has hinted recently on the Greg Belfrage show that he may become an independent. It is no secret that Joe Lowe and Jeff Barth are seriously considering running on the Democratic ticket. It is also no secret that Jackley and Mickelson have already organized their campaign camps on the Republican side.

So what about the Huether camp? If he decides to run, will he want to challenge Lowe and Barth or go it alone as an independent?

The more I watch Huether over the past few months, it seems to me he isn’t running for higher office. I think he has loved being mayor, and wants to be mayor again. So how does he accomplish that? The rumor floating around is that since Mike is term limited, he couldn’t run again for 4 years, and he may be looking for a ‘place holder’ to run. That could be a lot of people. Anderson is seriously considering a run, Oliver could run and even Jim Entenman has been mentioned.

I’m not sure what Mike has planned, as a huge anti-transparency politician, he keeps his cards close, but some people close to him have mentioned to me, he may not be interested in the governorship.

Time will tell I guess because there is also the Noem factor. Maybe the secret is written on the tyvek behind the bent up siding on the Events Center? Now that is a conspiracy theory you can fun with.

Where was Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether on Meth crime during the last mayoral campaign?

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He was silent and blew off competitor Greg Jamison that violent crime was rising in Sioux Falls. In fact he got the now Corvette convertible driving retired police chief Barthel to agree with him.

He said it wasn’t an issue.

It was an issue. Mike ignored it, but now all of sudden with a Wednesday hearing on petition drives is looming, Mike wants to change the dialog that he is being tough on crime and meth.

Bahahaha!

Violent crime has been increasing in Sioux Falls for the past 4 years at least, so now why all of sudden, you care. Empty suit. Blowheart. Also, if you care so much why give the FOP a lousy raise? (you know, the people who have to actually battle this issue)

Want to fight meth use? Fight poverty! Promote living wages, promote good jobs. Pay and train our police force well.

So what are you doing Mike? Holding press conferences like you care, pretending to cry. Thats it.

To say I’m a little excited would be an understatement

Lydia plays tonight at the District, she is opening for the Drive By Truckers. She is a weird combo of Stevie Nicks, Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris. Tickets are kind of spendy, but well worth it. Also a shout out to Scott Hudson for helping to produce a documentary about Lydia, if he can find it in his heart he will introduce me to Lydia.

God of Many Gavels

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