Bathtub Hole

As Cameraman Bruce was taking a picture of this enormous hole, someone decided to drive thru it (she was yapping on her phone). In fact dozens of people hit it while we were walking to the Elmen Center last night (33rd street).

Click on photos to enlarge

More stupidity from Pierre

Citizen Advocate gets arrested after a landlord tells her she is best friends with Council Chair Erickson

What doesn’t appear on the video is Sierra being arrested on public property (sidewalk) for filming a property that has already had legal problems. (FULL VIDEO HERE) The massage parlor in the background had a person working their without a massage license and I believe she didn’t have a work visa either. The landlord calling Sierra ‘Crazy’ doesn’t seem to be to concerned that illegal activity is going on on her property. She then lies to the police that Sierra was trying to come into the place of business. While Sierra did walk around the parking lot, she filmed the rest of it from the public sidewalk. She was arrested for trespassing based on testimony from the landlord who claims she has ‘Erickson’ on her side. What is sad is that this lady decided to drag in a city councilor on this (the council has no authority over the police force, that is under the executive branch, mayor). If I was Council Chair Erickson I would NOT be to pleased that her name was being used this way.

UPDATE: TenHaken comes up short . . .

UPDATE: What is even more scary is the Emergency Declaration clause (not the clause itself) but what it permits. It gives the executive/legal branch the authority to hire contractors without going thru the RFP process or ‘lowest bid’. In other words contractors will be coming in and probably charging their ’emergency rates’ you know, like they do for our 100 buildings 🙂

I told a councilor last night if I were mayor, a couple of things I would do is ASK some of the big contractors in town to do the right thing and be fair in their rates, especially with an emergency. We are all in this together. I would have also asked ALL eight city councilors for ideas or references of people that can help. When you have something that could potentially be this big of an issue, you need as many people at the table as possible, good leaders rely on others for expert advice and frankly any advice that is helpful. I’m glad to see they are warning the public in advance, if you do the math, this has the potential to close down the entire city whether your neighborhood is in the flood plain or not. After watching the press conference, I have a feeling they are not telling us everything YET. Everyone was pretty nervous, including the State Hydrologist.

As I have already said, I have tempered my remarks about PTH’s leadership skills in this whole mess, from how Yankton Trail looks like the film set of the Titanic or how it should be renamed ‘Glacial Trail Park’. Or how they finally decided today to close Falls Park (sometime tomorrow – you still have a few more hours to get in your risky behavior). PTH kindly reminds us in this FB video that it is a misdemeanor to cross barriers. Ohhh, a misdemeanor, so baddddd! I’m also wondering why he is wringing his hands so much, reminds me of that scene where Lady MacBeth is washing her hands or is it Mr. Burns at the board table? I’m still debating that one. Fortunately I could not find any Seinfeld references.

But the kicker of this week is the below picture of Mayor TenHaken standing on his tippy toes during this very uncomfortable photo op. And people call me a weird little man. Stay safe Sioux Falls, we may all end up on Giligan’s Island. And for those who will rip me apart for this post, I always remind myself what has gotten me through difficult times is laughter and humor. I only PRAY I don’t split my pants.

Digital media is still popular . . .

Ms. Schwan wrote a great article about how digital media still works, if you do it right;

One headline proclaimed “BuzzFeed and the digital meltdown” and explored the challenges facing the once-darling of digital media. The next headline read “Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold.” It detailed a Montana community that lost its newspaper and now looks to a one-man operation for news, mostly through his Facebook posts.

Take those two examples, multiply them out across the nation, and you’ve got a glimpse at what media leaders are grappling with as they attempt to build sustainable business models.

In midst of the latest ‘reporter shield law’ signed by Governor Noem, I still find it a bit odd that they excluded journalists who are independent and work exclusively on the internet. Yes, there is a world of difference from what Jodi does and what I do, but we still work in the same platform, opposite of the failing one;

I used to half-joke when I was in the newspaper industry that, as a business editor, I had pretty good job security.

Someone would have to write the story about whenever the place went out of business, and it seemed logical the role would fall to whomever was left writing about business. By that point, it was really only me, anyway.

It became clear to me that my future wasn’t in that industry, though, during an earnings call in late 2016 when my company’s CEO was asked to “score” the opportunity for continued expense reduction. He compared it to being in the third inning of a baseball game. In other words, they saw plenty of room to further cut costs. I’m not sure where they would consider themselves at today, but I suspect they haven’t reached the seventh-inning stretch.

And it’s just not the dead tree version that is actually dying, the digital format our local newspaper applies is dying also. It’s almost like they are trying to kill off the traditional paper by putting stories online sometimes 2-5 days before they print in the paper. Only to direct people to a website that you have to pay to read (which I felt was a horrible idea). I always thought that they should have kept the online FREE and posted teasers to stories that you could read in the daily printed subscription getting people to read both. I was even surprised with all the stories about flooding emergencies in SF, they still were not offering FREE online readership (I think they had one story available for FREE?).

Jodi says it best, digital media works depending on your platform and opportunities. I often have people tell me across the state that they wouldn’t know what was going on in city government if they didn’t read my site;

I don’t know if this is the future business model for local media, but it’s working so far, and it definitely can grow more. I would argue it has to in order to deliver what the community needs and deserves.

The sad irony is that, in the case of Sioux Falls, there has never been more to talk about. We’ve never had this level of development and industry change. We’ve also never encountered the corresponding challenges that growth brings to a community in quite this way. Look even at this week, when unprecedented weather demanded we have credible information-gatherers spread throughout the state.

In short, there have never been more stories to tell in this city. And it’s sad to me that there is a decreasing number of journalists to tell them. It motivates me to figure out a better way. And two years into it, at least I can say I’m on my way. Thank you so much to all who help make it possible.

I would agree, there are so many stories out their to be covered and lack of experience, lack of creativity, lack of resources, lack of historical knowledge and just plain lack of people and lack of good leadership if there is any leadership at all. This all reared it’s head last week when KSFY reporter, Vanessa Gomez accused city councilors Starr and Stehly of ‘putting her in the middle’. Uh, it’s kind of your job to ferret out the truth (I will give you a hint, it wasn’t coming from TJ TypeOver and City Hall). Ironically shortly after their press conference there was an announcement from city hall to run 3 pothole shifts with a goal to get caught up by April.

Maybe other media digital platforms are failing, because essentially they have a losing team. Sorry Jodi, I wasn’t as polite about it.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • March 19, 2019

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, I guess it cost $1,500 to have an architect tell the city how to fill a hole, sorry, two holes. LOL.

Item #49, 2nd Reading, Making Elmwood a One-Way. This most likely will pass, but the pouting and carrying on from the five that voted for the full street vacation is going to be Academy Award material on Tuesday night. Wish I could witness, but I will be attending Boe Forum to hear about how REAL journalists uncover government corruption instead of complaining about being ‘stuck in the middle’.

Item #50, 1st Reading, More fiddling with city ordinance to allow Air BNB operators to skirt rules such as health inspections and lodging taxes other hotels and motels in Sioux Falls have to abide by. It is really curious our REPUBLICAN (connected) Chair of Council, Christine Erickson, makes quite the living from her and her husband’s Air BNB business . . . we wouldn’t want to burden them with undue taxes and regulations. I wonder if she will recuse herself from the vote? Either way, does it matter? The lobbying is always done behind closed doors. I have suggested to several city councilors it is time to tap into the Air BNB revenue and start at least a local lodging tax on them.

Item #57, 1st Reading, Supplemental appropriations for potholes. It will be fun to watch the 5 rubberstampers chastise Pat and Theresa for daring to question the Golden Boy, Cotter, about the money he needs to fix potholes, all the while citizens are losing tires and such to horrible road conditions, effectively created by underfunding our road repairs (stealing $10 million a year from the fund on the EC mortgage) and not building good roads to begin with. Most in the media say we need to trust the administration and Cotter, really? First off, Mayor TenHaken doesn’t have the experience yet to speak about road funding and repairs, and Cotter’s performance on the Water Reclamation plant and keeping it barely under the radar during Bowlcut’s administration doesn’t make the citizenry really confident in his opinion. It really is simple. Councilors Starr and Stehly want to help people. We have the money. Let’s use it to fill the potholes, and let’s do it now! Any sensible councilor wouldn’t argue about it, they would simply say YES.

Item #59, Resolution, Open up the Events Center Campus Book Club meetings to the public. Whether or not the Book Club decided to open up the meetings now is a moot point. It is NOT their decision to make. The council should pass this resolution and move on. Open Government should be the goal of any government body, whether that is in Bumphuck, SD or Sioux Falls. There is NEVER a good argument to keep the people’s business is closed. NEVER.

Drinking Liberally weighs in on the State of the SDDP

In South Dakota, the South Dakota Democratic Party (SDDP) will choose its Chairman for the next four years next week in Oacoma. There are five Democratic Candidates and one candidate who claims to be a Democrat when it is convenient for her. (Paula Hawks).

Despite a lot of good intentions and whatever the results, the SDDP will probably remain what it is today, a Top Down organization whose leaders will continue to wonder why its members don’t participate and do their bidding. Rather than live up to its name and reform itself and become a truly (small “d”) democratic organization, the SDDP will most likely remain a rural dominated Party in which “one county” rather than “one person” equals one vote and in which a Harding County with its 173 Democratic voters will have as much say in Party affairs as a Minnehaha, Pennington, Beadle or a Brown County with their tens of thousands of Democratic voters.

It was pointed out the other day that South Dakota has more cows per capita than any other state in the Nation. As long as the SDDP is governed on the basis of “one cow equals one vote” it and its candidates will never be able to form a message that resonates with a majority of both urban and rural voters. Instead it will lie moribund on the table as it does now, only partially organized and available to any cohesive interest group to use as a platform for its agenda, no matter how popular or unpopular that interest groups ideas may be to the general public.

It is a sad state of affairs because the Democratic Party affords ordinary people one of the few structures where they can regularly express their political preferences and attempt to influence the public discussion. Alternatively, people can either accept their powerlessness or choose to form and fund an independent organization of their own, an alternative, which for practical purposes, is available only to the wealthy, the well connected or those with a lot of extra time on their hands.

Despite my skepticism, I wish the SDDP well for they are the only alternative in town to the Republican Party, the Party of Trump, an alternative totally unacceptable to me for many reasons but also because, unlike our Senators, I don’t feel like Kowtowing anytime soon.

I need a Drink.

New Concept at former Fernson location

I think this will be an interesting joint. I do know the Book CO-OP downtown is doing very well, as I knew it would, because I think people want places like this, that stimulate intellectual thought, artistic creativity and good food and drink.

UPDATE: Potholes and Open Meetings

Here is the copy of the proposed pothole funding supplement ordinance; Pothole Supplemental TS

Funny how these things work;

Thanks to the absence of precipitation in the coming days, the Public Works Street Division is increasing the number of crews dedicated to this spring’s pothole repair efforts.

“It has been a rough winter for our city streets,” says Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works. “The current condition of our streets has prompted us to take a more aggressive approach to our annual spring pothole repair efforts.”

To increase its emphasis on patching potholes, Street crews will be working the following adjusted work schedule for the next three weeks:

Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of six crews addressing potholes.

Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and from midnight to 8 a.m.:Public Works will have a minimum of one crew addressing potholes in high-traffic volume areas.

Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of three crews addressing potholes.

 

While the media got their panties in a bind over being put between the mayor and the council (give me a break!) it seems Pat and Theresa’s pressure may have gotten the public works department to re-think the pothole situation moving forward. As I have been telling many people over the last couple of days, it is the Mayor’s job to run this city (direct Public Works), it is the council’s job to set policy and budgeting. No reason to get our shorts in a bunch.

I would also like to thank all the ‘grunts’ in our city’s workforce who have gone above and beyond to help people. You are appreciated, even if I am tough on the mayor and council, I do want you to be happy with your employment. I also would like to hear about any private contractors who decided to help the city out with flood management or cleanup. I haven’t seen anything in the media about that, but maybe they are just silently helping out?

Stay Away?

I found it interesting as I saw the stream of cars and people at Falls Park today that the city is telling people to stay away from the park, yet they had NO barricades to the traffic entrances to the park.

We will have plenty of time next week to talk about how well the city planned for this mini-natural disaster.