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The survey begins for the Sioux Falls banner. I am #68, give me a 5! Though #27 is pretty comical.

OBEY!

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Welcome to Baghdad, South Dakota

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Image Submitted to the Argus Leader

Looks a lot like this famous landmark

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While I support public art, I wonder how much money the public will be ponying up for this project;

The Arc of Dreams will start fundraising with an initial goal of $650,000 that will allow Lamphere to start sculpting. An additional $300,000 will be needed for landscaping and foundation work.

300K for the foundation and landscaping. Get your wallets out tax payer of Sioux Falls, this is gonna cost you.

Will the Events Center siding be replaced?

At the SF city council informational meeting on Tuesday, the topic of ‘siding’ will most likely come up during the EC update portion of the meeting. In fact I am about 100% sure it will, because that is when the administration promised to release a consultant’s report about it.

The bigger question is what did the consultant recommend? I got word today from a foot soldier that a decision has been made and will be announced on Tuesday. What was that decision? Well not quite sure, but the probability of replacement before the facility is open is high. Very high.

IF this is true, it opens up a whole other can of worms, that involve courtrooms and attorneys. Don’t get me wrong, the siding HAS to be replaced, I think that is pretty obvious. And it needs to be done before the place opens, not a couple of months down the road.

So what does this mean? Well there is liability involved when something isn’t done properly, and a lot of times some finger pointing, which usually ends up in court.

Who is going to pay for the replacement? That will probably be up to a judge, but let’s just hope that judge is in the public’s corner.

Innocent property owners denied damage claim with city’s liability insurance

During the SF City Council informational meeting open discussion the topic of the landlords that had their property destroyed while police where capturing a fugitive came up. Councilor Staggers argued that they should be paid because they were innocent. City attorney David Fiddle-Faddle said that the city did file a claim with their liability insurance and were denied. Chief Barthel also said that since one of the tenants living in the building knew the fugitive (the fugitive was trying to find them) that doesn’t totally leave the landlord off the hook.

Huh?

I’m sure we ALL either know or are related to convicted felons or criminals, so does that make us guilty by association? Seems like a strange justification. Chief Barthel also says that if we just give them the money, even if the claim was denied, we would be setting a precedence.

In other words, when the SFPD breaks up innocent people’s property, no matter the circumstance, they won’t pay – EVER.

There is a solution. The city council can write a resolution and put it on the council agenda to award the landlords the money. This is fair for a couple of reasons, first off it shows their is no precedence and these things can be handled on a case by case basis, secondly, there would be public discussion by our legislative body whether it is appropriate to reimburse them.

Of course that would require common sense, prudence and compassion by our city council, something a few of them don’t have.

An open letter to Fareed Zakaria, from a Sioux Falls resident

I have had some time to digest the CNN piece done about our city (Where America Works). The mayor can’t help to take credit for the success. He does it on Channel 16 during a press conference, then again on the Ask the Mayor episode.

While Sioux Falls has had much success in many areas, it isn’t ALL because of city government. The Healthcare & Credit Card industry kind of run themselves, and rely more on state regulations and laws then city ordinance, unless they are tearing up neighborhoods for expansion.

As for development, the big developers are doing well, mostly because they get massive tax breaks through TIFs approved by a city council that receives thousands of dollars in campaign donations from those big developers and a Mayor who is let in on local development investments. It also doesn’t hurt they have the Planning and Building departments wrapped around their fingers. It also doesn’t hurt that since the laws have changed on home buying, many in Sioux Falls can’t afford to buy a home, so apartments are becoming even more popular, and developers are cashing in, and can’t build them fast enough.

As for city government ‘getting things done’ I have joked with many that dictators are pretty good at ‘getting things done’ in a short period of time ‘snark’. But the Home Rule Charter pretty much gives the mayor the power to sidestep the council and he has. He has bragged about his ‘collaboration’ with the council. That one made me literally LMAO. He has hidden information from the council as much as possible. In fact last year, he gave his budget to the council 7 minutes before his budget address to the public. Many times his agenda item PDFs are not listed on SIRE (online agenda software) until right before the presentation (EC updates for example).

It also doesn’t hurt that the city is flush with tax money and consistently raises fees and property taxes every year whether they need to or not. And who can forget about all the borrowing the city has done. We are $400 million in debt. Most of the debt the mayor has incurred was for entertainment facilities, including an indoor tennis facility that he has the audacity to put his name on.

The mayor also appoints the Ethics Commission and their advising attorney, the city attorney. This commission’s job is to look into whether the mayor is being ethical or not. That concept is laughable in itself. It would be like your boss asking you if you thought he was a nice guy. Guess what your answer would be? It also doesn’t hurt that you use the same advising attorney to defend you in an ethics hearing. It would be like playing Poker against yourself. Every hand is a winner. Remember, South Dakota is in the top ten as one of the most ‘corrupt states’ when it comes to government, and Sioux Falls’ ethics commission is certainly contributing to that corruption.

As for ‘good jobs’ and ‘low unemployment’, those statements in themselves don’t mean squat when you consider that over half of workers in Sioux Falls don’t make a living wage and many have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. South Dakota is #1 in working mothers in the Nation. Almost half of school children in the district get free or reduced lunches and our food banks can’t keep up and have been expanding over the past 3 years. Wondering how CNN missed that in their research?

Has Sioux Falls been successful on many levels? Yes. The rich have recovered very well from the economic downturn, mostly because the Sioux Falls residents they employ are hard workers with high productivity. But I wouldn’t exactly credit the mayor and his rubberstamp council for those successes. But like I said earlier, when you are King there isn’t anything you can’t accomplish.

Parking situation at the Events Center

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There has been plenty of talk about parking at the new EC site. Before a location was picked several parking studies showed that DTSF had more parking then the Arena location. How else can you get thousands of people DT for events like the Parade of Lights or Hot Summer Nights if parking wasn’t available?

Well that ship sailed, I guess Buffalo Wild Wings, Rollin’ Pin and Castaways are going to be able to fill the dining void before a concert :(

At the Mayor’s last Shut up and Listen session he said that the city has been exploring creative ideas for parking at the site, but NOT a parking ramp. He said it would be too expensive.

A South DaCola foot soldier told me last night that a football game scheduled for October 3, at Howard Wood Field (the same night of Jason Aldean) was moved.

The ONLY home game that night was WHS vs. Huron, the game will be played on the school’s field. Not sure if that was the game that was moved, but it is a little concerning that we feel like we can’t have multiple events going on in the complex area. So now we have to start shuffling around other events when a concert sells out at the new EC?

And that’s how you build a $100 million dollar Events Center.

Are you a Freethinker?

I have been asked to be the guest speaker at the local Freethinkers meeting Monday, July 28, 6:30 PM at the DT Main Library. I will be discussing City Government and Free Speech.

Come on down.

The city is purchasing art! Great! Wait . . .

I am all for the city buying public art to put on display in our city (Item #35) but two things concern me about this ‘purchase’ (See the details: DSPC-Sculp). First off, why isn’t the purchase of the sculpture coming from the EC budget?  (correction; it IS coming from the EC budget) And secondly why are we not using a local artist?

It also mentions that there will be two other sculptures placed at the site, gee, I wonder what one of them will be? The third one I suspect will be an abstract piece made from the removed bad siding . . . speaking of the siding.

STAY OFF MY LAWN KIDS!

Last night me and some other rabble rousers went to the EC to look at the siding, I will keep my opinion to myself at this point of the ‘work’ that was done and the materials that were used. How does that saying go? Putting a square peg into a round hole?

As we were there a construction manager chased us off telling us it was still a construction site. Actually it is public property and all the safety signs and fences have been taken down. Funny how when the mayor was running for office, anybody could come out and ‘inspect’ the EC, but now that our ‘inspections’ are causing a headache soon to be PR nightmare, we get chased away.

Get your ‘Boulevard’ on!

The city is tired of NO consistency with boulevard landscaping in town (and those pesky decorative mailboxes). How dare people allow their homes to look different then their neighbors. Better charge them with criminal nuisance! (I won’t get into that). So now they are suggesting a compromise of allowing up to 20% to be landscaped, and you have to get a permit from the city (never miss an opportunity to miss out on a pointless fee).

This is how I look at it. The city owns the boulevard, but the adjacent homeowner/business is responsible for maintaining it, they should be allowed to landscape it however they want to within reason, circumstance and how the area is zoned. If the city wants to TELL us how our boulevards should look, fine. You can come and mow them and trim trees in them. But since we are responsible for the maintenance, we should have a say in what goes in them.

Of course, in this document (DOC) they show a lot of bad examples. That is a whole other ball of wax, if someone isn’t maintaining it properly, then yes, they should have to. But telling people they can’t have flowers or painted green boulders (that one made me laugh) on property they maintain doesn’t make sense, seems they are getting their panties in a bunch over nothing. But since our city is run like a dictatorship, it doesn’t surprise me. Pretty soon they will start arresting people for not mowing their lawns.