Little details and NO inked deal with Feds, but hey, we’re getting a kiosk!

There has been little to no talk about the Rail Relocation project over the past 6 months. I have even pulled the ear of a couple of local reporters to see if they have heard anything. Nope. There was a mention in the 2015 budget of a fence. But that is about it. Now comes a Kiosk for the project in the consent agenda today at the council meeting.

Rail Relocation/Railroad Interpretive Kiosk; Confluence $ 5,100

So what has been going on? Are the Feds ready to ink a deal with the city and the railroads? How much has it been appraised for? What are we paying for it? How much money are the Feds going to give us? It’s nice we are blowing tax dollars on a Kiosk for a project that hasn’t been inked yet with the Feds.

What is going on? Is there a Federal investigation going on? It certainly would not be uncommon for the Feds to audit the process before handing over $30 million dollars, in fact it would be expected of them to do so. So who would do this investigation? The IRS? The FBI? The months of silence on this project is eerie.

 

Washington Pavilion memberships discriminate against single people

A South DaCola foot soldier told me that when they went to renew their individual membership they learned that they no longer offer an individual membership.  They have to purchase a “dual membership” or two memberships.  Apparently they no longer welcome “singles”.

This is discriminatory for the following reasons:

This person is a single individual.

This person often enjoy going to events as a single person.

They do not need to be part of a “couple”

This “new membership policy” is discriminatory against single persons.

This policy could be a form of  “financial elder abuse” by forcing seniors, widows and widowers to purchase two membership where only one is needed.

It is also discriminatory against students and young persons who may not be able to afford two memberships.

The Washington Pavilion already has a reputation of being elitist and now they don’t want singles?  Does this enhance their reputation as an inclusive facility?

I also find it strange that a dual membership costs $60 ($30 each) but a pals (5 people) membership costs $100 ($20 each). So why not just charge $30-40 for an individual membership? Why eliminate it?

I have often felt that this city is very anti-single people, young and old, I just never seen such blatant discrimination from a publicly funded facility. But no surprise from a money pit that continues to do the wrong thing most of the time.

Wages in Sioux Falls

During the financial report last Tuesday at the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting, councilor Staggers asked Tracy Turbak after he told us about the glowing unemployment rate in Sioux Falls what wages were like in Sioux Falls. Turbak of course says he doesn’t keep that kind of data (yeah right), but told Dr. Staggers he was welcome to check the South Dakota Department of Labor Statistics.

During the course of the meeting, councilor Erickson did some googling on her I-Pad and reported that the average median household income in Sioux Falls was $50,700 a year. Now let’s remember what this means, this is ‘household’ income, NOT, ‘personal individual income’. Big difference.

That aside, it got me to googling today. I cross referenced many different national websites and statistics, too many to link and after collecting data nationally, statewide and city wide on cost of living, etc. My educated guess is that the average individual worker in Sioux Falls must make at least $16.00 an hour to make a ‘living wage’ which comes to $33,280 a year. It varies in different parts of the country ($15-$20 per hour), but for a city our size, that is the closest. Now remember, my definition of a living wage is ‘covering expenses’ there is no wiggle room their for ‘extras’ like a recreational vehicles, vacations, or even basic entertainment.

It is believed that 53% of American workers make less then a living wage, we are a little bit better then that in Sioux Falls, and we will get to that in a moment.

After figuring out what a living wage in Sioux Falls should look like, I followed the SD Department of Labor MSA statistics on Sioux Falls (these are end of 2013 numbers)

Sioux Falls had 140,000 workers in 2013

42% of them made under a living wage (59,000) but what was even more shocking was that almost half of them (27,000) made 50% of the living wage or below ($16,640) per year.

Who makes the lowest wages in Sioux Falls? You probably already guessed it. In a town that loves to brag about all the great restaurants we have in town, most of the poverty wages come from the hospitality industry.

I was glad to see that we are below the national average, but I do believe Sioux Falls has a lot of work to do when it comes to wages. There is a reason our food banks are handing out food at a record level and that almost half of the kids in our school district are on FREE or reduced lunches. Low unemployment is one thing, but higher wages contribute to a better quality of life.

Rounds and Noem continue to peddle the lies about Keystone XL

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Enjoy your Labor Day

While I could go on for hours about how the common worker bee only gets ONE DAY a year dedicated to them for their trials and tribulations, I will instead leave you with the words of Mr. Bragg;

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There is power in a factory, power in the land
Power in the hands of a worker
But it all amounts to nothing if together we don’t stand
There is power in a union

Now the lessons of the past were all learned with workers blood
The mistakes of the bosses we must pay for
From the cities and the farmlands to trenches full of mud
War has always been the bosses way, sir

The union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters from many far off lands
There is power in a union

Now I long for the morning that they realize
Brutality and unjust laws can not defeat us
But who’ll defend the workers, who cannot organize
When the bosses send their lackies out to cheat us?

Money speaks for money, the devil for his own
Who comes to speak for the skin and the bone
What a comfort to the widow, a light to the child
There is power in a union

The union forever defending our rights
Down with the blackleg, all workers unite
With our brothers and our sisters, together we will stand
There is power in a union

Bring it on!

bringiton

Towards the end of the Governor candidate debate yesterday at the state fair, Myers asked that Governor Daugaard be asked to swear on the bible to testify about EB-5, Dennis yelled out at Myers (in the above image) ‘Bring it on!’ a couple of times.

We are waiting Dennis, we are waiting.

Peter Gabriel offers some advice to fixing the Events Center Siding

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Is the Pavilion coming around? Maybe.

I suppose I could talk about the (non) press conference about the buckling siding at the EC, but there was so much Beautiful Sunshine going on there, I think they had a couple of skid loaders waiting afterwards.

The BIG story of the day is the announcement of a new Visual Arts Center director at the Pavilion;

Kara Dirkson will become the new director of the Visual Arts Center at the Washington Pavilion beginning Sept. 29.

I have to tell you I was delighted to hear this. Kara is well worth her weight in gold when it comes to art, in other words, she knows her stuff. While Kara and I ‘Don’t Hang’ we have many mutual friends, and I am well aware of her talents. I just hope they let her ‘Do her Job’ of advancing visual arts in our community, that is all I have ever expected of the VAC.

Good Luck Kara! And I have an open invitation for an interview to tell readers what your future plans are for the VAC.

It’s not Rocket Science

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Nothing to see here, move along

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Take the shell off this turtle and it becomes snack time for their predators.

Yes, let’s have a press conference right before a holiday weekend so no one will remember on Tuesday;

City officials will give an update on efforts to find out why metal panels on bulging on the exterior of the Denny Sanford Premier Center.

Public Works Director Mark Cotter and City Attorney Dave Pfeifle will speak at a news conference at 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at the Premier Center, 1201 N. West Ave.

Contractors and architects have been looking into the issue since spring, and a third party expert visited the site this summer to help determine who was responsible for the way panels turned out.

The large steel sheets that line the curved face of the Premier Center are bulging where they meet, creating a ripple effect.

Cotter has said they don’t pose a structural problem and the building will open as expected in late September.

Models of the building will help determine how to correct the issue. Those are expected to be ready by mid-October.

 

And several councilors have still not been filled in on what is going to be said tomorrow.

Cotter’s statement about structural issues is ludicrous at best. There is not one single building inspector, construction manager, sheet metal manufacturer, etc, etc, that I have not talked to that says siding is an integral part of the structure. As a person who has worked in siding and construction, I can tell you, it is not only cosmetic, it is structural.

Rip the siding off of your own home, find out how structural it is.