Can Public transit in Sioux Falls be fixed? I think so!

While the city is busy recruiting all kinds of people to fix the transit problem (besides just expensive consultants and bureaucrats), which I commend them on, they need to be careful in that process. I’m a firm believer in the fact that too many cooks spoil the stew.

First I think they need to realize a few things that are important to the discussion;

• It will cost money, and will still have to be subsidized. We subsidize many things in our community such as the Pavilion, the EC, the parks system, the Zoo, for example, and like the transit system, many people in the community who fund these entities don’t use them. But we do get something back from subsidizing the transit system; a workforce that is actually contributing to our economy instead depending on the government for living.

• Needs to be expanded city wide and hours of operation. One of the biggest complaints I hear from users is that it doesn’t run 7 days a week and the hours of operation are not long enough. With a 24/7 workforce in a modern city we need a public transit system that reflects that.

• The grid system should be explored. Many have said that it won’t work, but unless we try it, we will never now. The transit problems won’t be fixed overnight, it will take trial and error over a long period of time. Let’s try the grid system. It may also solve shortening ride times (which are also an issue).

• Explore ‘Park and Rides’. This is something they do in larger cities. It may not be something Sioux Falls would embrace, but if the ride is a short and mostly a direct commute, it may appeal to more people.

• Should we continue to contract with a transit management company or should the city take it over? Not sure, but it should be looked at.

• The rate structure should be changed. There should be options based on income, age, family size, etc. I know that some of that stuff is being done right now, but it needs to be more diverse. I also think that when people are starting to use the transit system for the first time, or exploring using it, they should get a 30 day free pass to try it out.

I’m not sure what will come out of the new task force, but I think if they concentrate on solving the simple problems and stop focusing on the raw cost, it is a solvable problem.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Tuesday Dec 11, 2018

Informational Meeting, at 4 p.m.

Presentations and updates on the Multi-Cultural Center and Golf Course.

There is also a ‘curious’ executive session;

Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee. The term “employee” does not include any independent contractor (SDCL 1-25-2(1))

This is interesting, because this could include a city councilor OR city employee. IMO, after watching the council’s performance on Tuesday night, they all should be brought up on ethics charges for treating each other like sh*t.

City Council Meeting, at 7 p.m.

Item#7, Approval of Contracts;

The city is going to pay this DUDE $8,000 to train city peeps how to be ‘leaders’ and planners.

Agreement for Professional Services for Effective Leadership Training Session and Strategic Planning and Coaching Sessions which are determined and scheduled by the City

Shouldn’t the citizenry already be electing leaders? And shouldn’t those leaders be responsible to hire leaders?

Item#14, 2nd Reading, Ordinance to approve the Ambulance Contract

 

Sioux Falls City Council Meet & Greet, Saturday

City Councilors Brekke, Stehly and Starr will have a meet and greet at the 26th & Marion Rd HyVee tomorrow, Dec 8 from 9:30 to 11:30 AM. You can bring your concerns and have a chat about city business.

Argus ED Board Chastises SF School District on transparency

While I applaud the Argus for writing this, I have a feeling it won’t change much;

It’s hard to imagine a public entity that necessitates transparency more than a school district, which operates under a compact of trust with families that send their children to school each day.

(The Argus requested to see the bids for the Construction Manager at Risk and the SFSD refused to give them to them citing state law ‘competive proposal process’. I find it ironic that they said that the state ‘doesn’t require’ them to give the information, but they could . . .)

It often surprises me that the SFSD wants our help and all ears when they need to pass bonds or more for teacher pay, but say very little when spending our money. ALL taxpayers (with or without children) should be deeply involved with public education, not just for fiscal reasons, but for the future of our children.

FOLLOWUP ON ELECTION

We are preparing a response to the SFSD about the half-ass information they gave us on the election. I will publish once we finish it.

Is Niedringhaus planning to be the next Sheriff in Minnehaha County?

First the facts.

Sheriff Milstead recently got re-elected (he wasn’t on the ballot because he did not have a challenger). He has a 4-year term.

Milstead said he wouldn’t retire until the jail is finished, which would be in two years.

Milstead CAN retire in mid-term.

If he does retire, the MCC can ‘appoint’ a replacement (fake incumbent) to serve the remaining two years.

Milstead’s wife has decided to NOT pursue the food contract with Falls Park restaurant this Spring. The city is currently looking for bids.

Niedringhaus has to be working in ‘law enforcement’ in order to be appointed Sheriff (this is what I have been told). It is another reason why he has been moonlighting serving warrants while serving as the full-time Metro Director (to keep his certification). His new job;

Niedringhaus will be leaving at the end of the year.  He’s accepted a new position with the Department of Public Safety; working in an area of law enforcement and intelligence.

So is he looking to be the next sheriff? Don’t know. But it certainly looks like he is trying to make those stars align.

News Growl follows up on Deb Peters

Oh the web the SD GOP likes to weave;

What is more, the closing date for applications was November 9th – just three days after Peters won her election.

For her account of events to make sense Peters must therefore have three highly eventful days between November 6th-9th: Over a 72 hour period she must have discovered a well-publicized job she was unaware of, made a sudden decision to not take the seat she had just won an election for, and then rushed an application for a position she lacked some of the qualifications for as listed in the ad (such as a degree in marketing, communications, or similar field).

Meanwhile, the people of District 9 are preparing for two years of representation in the State House by a politician they did not elect. Or as Scott L. Ehrisman wrote in his South Dacola blog: “Once again a fake incumbent will be appointed by a Republican elect governor.”

Seems like a busy 3 days, even for a savvy Gipper like Peters.

UPDATE: The Council Meeting tonight got a little emotional

First, the council decided it was good idea to deny a sponsor of legislation (Brekke’s public input ordinance) from withdrawing her own legislation. It was extremely disrespectful, and to tell you the truth, I have never seen anything like it. I’m still baffled by it, and I think Janet was shell shocked. They essentially passed legislation she sponsored after she asked them to withdraw it so they could make it clearer. Than (Stehly and Starr) asked for it to be deferred and they denied that also (Brekke, Stehly and Starr tried to withdraw and defer) it failed a 5-3 vote.

The problem was that the new city attorney started a rumor that public input at first readings may be against the law. WOW! Really!? Then during the meeting he tried to deny he was being ‘political’. Uh, ok.

I basically told the council in the almost 17 years I have been addressing city council there has been extreme deterioration of public input, especially over the past two years.

In fact, the city dodged a gigantic 1st Amendment suit a couple of months ago, that I have said I will not discuss (I was also NOT involved) but am well aware of. I warned the city that if they ever want to go down that path, it will cost a lot of money and will be a huge embarrassment. The council is just a few nails shy of closing that casket.

UPDATE: Apparently some of the 5 who chose to move forward with the passage of this ordinance feel like they were making public input better, and the 3 (who actually fought for this to begin with) were against public input.

Oh the hypocrisy.

Quite the opposite. Brekke just wanted to make sure it was a solid ordinance before there would be any other entanglements. 

I find it ludicrous and laughable that the 5 who voted against Brekke’s polite wishes think they were making public input better. Those 5 were the very rat finks who took away the 5 minutes for 2nd reading to begin with, they also took away power points and limited public input at the beginning to 3 minutes per person and a total of only 30 minutes. Brekke was attempting to fix what they wiped away. If they think they are some kind of public input champions by voting against Brekke’s wishes, they apparently have gone stark raving mad or have dimentia, especially after the hatchet job they did on open government this past summer.

SEWER RATES

For the first time ever I saw Director Cotter get emotional over something, he started to cry, and reassured us that planning for the new sewer plant has been going on for years by his team. While I believe him, I made the point earlier that while that might have been happening, the public was not aware. Cotter did say it was in the capital plan.

That is probably also true.

When I testified about this, my intention was not directed at city personnel, though it may have came off that way. My point was we had a certain person in charge who tried to keep this as quiet as possible. So while it may have been on the books, according to councilor Brekke since the 90’s, it certainly wasn’t talked about very openly, and here is my greater point;

• We had NO IDEA of the final cost until all the consultant reports were in.

• We were never told about this potentially very expensive project when we were discussing the river greenway, millions in TIF rebates, an Events Center, an Indoor Pool and an administration building. Not a peep.

I also commend Cotter’s work on this, it took years and was difficult, he also gets paid very well to do that job. But whether Mark volunteered his time or got paid for it doesn’t matter. We know why this wasn’t in the public eye, and that’s not on Mark, that is on the past mayor, and I made a point in my testimony to say he was the architect of keeping this project on the lowdown, not Cotter or any other city employee who assisted with this. Because if we would have known this major of a project was on the horizon, I think we all would have questioned those other expenses.

I get it, and I feel sorry for city directors, they follow the boss’s orders, good or bad. But unfortunately at the end of the day, when we have an administrator who gags our public employees the citizens are left holding the bag. And tonight that bag just happened be full of something and it wasn’t free tickets to nine Garth Brooks concerts.

Further proof TIFs produce NO economic growth

Once again, we are probably going to break building permit records;

With one month left in the year, the valuation of building permits in Sioux Falls is $4 million shy of the 2017 record.

Permits through November totaled just less than $735 million. At the same time in 2017, it was $663 million. That year ended with a total of $739 million. In 2016, the total was $702 million, which also was a record.

As I have pointed out, further proof that the development community doesn’t need tax incentives like TIFs, they are flourishing on their own. Some would even argue our fast growth may hurt us in the long run.

So another TIF study, this time in Missouri (St. Louis and Kansas City) shows there is very little economic impact from TIFs;

Overall, the analysis conducted in this study finds no support for the claim that TIF generated tangible economic development benefits in either Kansas City or Saint Louis. In other words, we do not find evidence that the use of TIF generated economic development opportunities that would not have arisen in the absence of TIF.

This article I think says it best;

Until cities and states adopt meaningful reforms, we can expect developers to continue asking for taxpayer subsidies whether the need is real or imagined. And as long as politicians are willing to oblige the developers, taxpayers will be all the poorer.

I couldn’t agree more.

Lopsided Seal fitting tribute to Daugaard

As a person who has visited hundreds of museums and looked at thousands of portraits, it only took me about two seconds this morning while looking at this painting, “The seal is inaccurate and lopsided.” Sure enough, as my diagram shows, it’s off, and way off.

Some might argue that this is an ‘artist’s perspective’. I guess that is well and good if you are Matisse or Piscasso, but if you are a portrait artist, the little things count. Squares and circles need to be accurate and within perspective. Never mind that the artist shaved about 30 years off of Denny’s face.

Maybe he can ask for a discount, or if it is an oil painting, there is probably still time to ‘tweak it’ you know, like the AG did with Benda’s death report.

Stehly Report, Winter Edition

This is the lastest Stehly Report appearing in the SF Shopping News this week.

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