Will a Sioux Falls Flag finally get approved by the City Council?

Now that the Former Mayor is gone running half marathons (or at least running them but not finishing?) will the new mayor and city council finally approve a city flag?

While the above design seems to be the favorite, I personally think the submission process should start over. First off, it should be open to ONLY Sioux Falls residents, artists and designers. Secondly the flag selection should be made by a committee made up of local artists, designers, architects and other scholarly folks who are experts in their fields.

While the past submissions had to follow strict criteria in flag design (color, etc.) the current proposed design was picked unscientifically by an online internet vote. This is NO way to select something that will be used for generations as our city’s flag.

I’m all for a city flag, but let’s start over.

My submission below represents the bright prairie South Dakota sun (but by using a darker blue it also could represent a full moon), our spacious skies and the falls of the Big Sioux.

We keep OSHA busy in Sioux Falls

Another close call

First off, I will say that when you don’t use UNION labor, mistakes are made. But I also wonder if construction companies are under enormous pressure to get things done to fast. While growth is good, more measured, slow growth is better. When we start ramrodding growth for growth’s sake, mistakes get made, and buildings collapse.

Hopefully we will get some answers from OSHA on what happened. But it seems to me we need to cool our jets a bit.

From a SouthDaCola foot solidier;

I sat across the street from this building as the rafters were placed. I did not think there was enough bracing in place. They were raising 2 rafters at a time at a rapid pace.

Should we tie Police Precincts in with Firestations and Public Ambulance?

While Jolene Loetsher got beat up in the mayoral campaign over police precincts, I didn’t think the idea itself was bad. They are used across the state and in the 2nd largest city in SD, Rapid City.

Where the idea went off the tracks was putting the precincts in community centers. While Jolene argued the buildings already exist and could save us money by retrofitting them, I felt it was the wrong place.

I think the precincts should be put in the fire stations which are already safe zones and built like fortresses throughout the city. The other benefit would be while retrofitting the locations for precincts, you could add public ambulances to the fire stations and have the first responders under one roof.

If we are going to spend the money to get the Fire Department ALS (Advanced Life Support) trained, we might as well go whole hog and set a new public safety network. At the end of the day, it will help to reduce crime as well and make us a safer and healthier community.

What a concept?

Bob Mercer: House Bill 1011 – The Purge voters faster act, passed in 2018 Legislature

This post written and prepared by Bruce Danielson

The incompetence of South Dakota Democratic Party always amazes.

Bob Mercer keeps an eye on South Dakota political dynamics like no one else from his perch in Pierre. He once again let all know the latest SD Secretary of State TotalVote party affiliation counts. These show the continuing demise of the Democratic Party.

With 2018 passage of and soon to be law, our esteemed legislators (including every Dem) gave permission with HB 1011 for Shantel Krebs to purge thousands of voters. Under the ”leadership” of Anne Tornberg, the Democratic Party has accepted its future of decline.

Instead of finding a way to get more people to vote, the “leadership” has decided it is better to allow fewer voters? Tornberg has never fought for the average voter to be involved and this is just another example.

Look at the list of counties Mercer highlighted: Lawrence, Brookings, Lincoln, Pennington and Union counties. All of them, once upon a time consistently purple or blue counties. Under the Democrats current failed “leadership”, the party has become the GOP-lite party of stale ideas of me-tooism. The situation is so bad, the few Democrats in the Legislature voted with the GOP to allow a questionably ethical SOS to purge even more voters from the rolls when they accepted HP 1011.

Look at another questionable decision by the head of the state Democratic Party, the interference in the 2018 Sioux Falls city election. It added to the problems the losing candidate already had to overcome.

Leadership is not just running an organization making decisions based on your own limited experiences. Just showing up does not make you a leader. How did the current management of the party get their jobs anyway?

The current “leadership” of the Democratic Party has decided it is better to fail under their control, than to work with others to build a party where more have a voice. The party of inclusiveness has in South Dakota now become the party of bankrupt ideas. Then again, are there any ideas? What’s the use of trying to have a multi-party state when “leadership” incompetence prevails. Rudderless ships don’t go very far before they sink.

Voter registration trend continues

May 23, 2018 by Bob Mercer.

Call them the “third column.” Heading into the June 5 statewide election, independent and no-party voters now rank second in 11 counties.

There are more “third-column” voters registered than Democrats in Butte, Lawrence, Pennington, Meade, Custer, Fall River, Brookings, Lincoln and Union counties.

There are more third-column than Republicans in heavily Democratic counties of Oglala Lakota and Todd.

Together they’re one-sixth of South Dakota’s 66 counties.

Statewide, registrations as of Wednesday were 156,405 Democrats; 249,932 Republicans; 121,478 independents and NPAs; 471 Constitutionalists; 1,722 Libertarians; and 791 others.

The spread 10 years ago for the November general election? 204,413 Democrats; 241,528 Republicans; and 83,147 independents and others.

As if we didn’t have enough things to follow in this past legislature, we have this act requiring the SOS Office to purge more voters from the rolls in a shorter time period? The interesting part of this, no one from either party thought it was a bad idea? Have any of you seen the ridiculous card the auditors send out? The previous requirement was eight years.

Lawmakers approve changes untouched for counties on voter confirmation process

BOB MERCER Journal correspondent – Jan 25, 2018

PIERRE | The state Senate gave final legislative approval Thursday to changes Secretary of State Shantel Krebs seeks for South Dakota’s voter-confirmation process.

The 32-0 vote sends HB 1011 to the governor’s desk for Dennis Daugaard’s decision whether it becomes law.

The proposal didn’t attract a nay its entire way through the legislative process, via two committees, the House and the Senate, where it passed on the consent calendar.

There weren’t any amendments either.

The process currently calls for county auditors to check every odd-numbered year for registered voters who haven’t been active in the previous four years. The auditors take a series of steps for those voters between Jan. 1 and Nov. 15.

That part of the process doesn’t change. HB 1011 formally establishes two requirements.

What they are

First, a county auditor would send a national change of address notice to each voter in the active file who has failed to vote in the previous four years.

This section covers voters who haven’t updated registration information, haven’t replied to a confirmation mailing at least once in the previous four years and haven’t had a change of address with the U.S. Post Office.

The second section covers what are known as confirmation mailing notices. The legislation says the notice is a double postcard explaining the voter’s registration may be canceled if the card isn’t signed and returned.

There will be other information on the postcard about changing the address and re-registering if the voter moved to another county or state.

Kea Warne, the deputy secretary of state for elections, presented the bill Wednesday to the Senate Local Government Committee.

The panel voted 6-0 to recommend passage on a motion made by Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel, and seconded by Sen. Kevin Killer, D-Pine Ridge.

Here are PDF Docs of the billsHB1011ENR, HB1011P

Editor’s note; What I have never understood is why purge voters at all? Or why even have people register to vote when they turn 18? I have often said that when someone turns 18, send a card to them that says they are registered to vote as NPA (No party affiliation) and if you want to change your party affiliation you can come down to the auditor’s office and change it, otherwise you would be automatically registered. You of course would be responsible for address changes, etc. But you would never be NON-registered and never taken from the voter list.

Roy Zimmerman Concert, Monday at All Souls

Join us on Monday, May 28th at 7pm as we welcome musician Roy Zimmerman to All Souls. ReZist is ninety minutes of Roy Zimmerman’s original songs, a funny and forceful affirmation of Peace and Social Justice. “Sometimes I think satire is the most hopeful and heartfelt form of expression,” says Roy, “because in calling out the world’s absurdities and laughing in their face, I’m affirming the real possibility for change.”

Roy’s songs have been heard on HBO and Showtime, and his videos have garnered tens of millions of views.  He has recorded for Warner/Reprise Records. He’s shared stages with Bill Maher, Ellen DeGeneres, Holly Near, Robin Williams, Arlo Guthrie, John Oliver, Kate Clinton and George Carlin, and tours the country constantly with his wife and co-writer Melanie Harby.

Cost of the concert is $20 or “pay what you can.”

Could Badlands Pawn be converted into a new Royal River Casino?

Before we get worked up about this happening, state law would have to change first to allow an Indian Casino off of reservation land. As I understand it, but correct me if I am wrong, those laws can change through the legislature and Governor’s signature OR by voters. Not sure if it would be modeled after how gambling came to Deadwood or not. I’m a little murky on those details. But if the law changes it could also help another community that has been proposing a casino to, Yankton.

So why do I bring this up?

First the obvious, the Badland’s Pawn location and building would be a perfect fit, it would also boost that area of town that has struggled for decades to become an entertainment district. It would also stop the money sucking from Grand Falls and provide millions in tax revenue towards the state and city.

Secondly, it is also about opportunity. Royal River tried to convince the city (mostly the former mayor) to go into talks about locating by the intersections of I-90 and I-29 before we built the Denty. They promised the city a yearly payment to use towards the Denty’s mortgage. I believe the amount was between $6-10 million a year, but I don’t recall. TenHaken’s current COS Erica Beck was in talks with Royal River when she was the former urban planner and tried to convince Former Mayor Wear a Cowboy Hat Backwards to talk to them. He refused saying he hated gambling. While I agree I am not a big fan of video lottery, I’m not to opposed to a full-service casino entertainment center, especially since a lot of that money now is being spent in Iowa, it would just get transferred to our economy.

It will be interesting to see if talks will be renewed under a TenHaken administration with Beck back in public service.

Sioux Falls City Council wants public input on public input (when most of us are working)

The Sioux Falls City Council will be taking input on public input at a working session on Tuesday at 3 PM at Carnegie. You know, when most people will be working. Would have been nice to move the meeting to at least 5 PM. But like most things the council would prefer NOT to have public input, so why would they want public input on public input?

The more I think about it, moving the public input to the back of the meeting could cause some serious unintended consequences. Now with input at the beginning, a lot of the commenters come, say their peace and go home. I could see a scenario where if they had to sit through the meeting a couple of things could happen.

First off, they would see how the sausage is made, which could be a positive or a negative thing depending on the agenda. They may start actually seeing how this council rubberstamps all tax and fee increases and hands out corporate welfare. This actually could make the meetings a lot longer because while waiting for actual public input, citizens could be coming up and commenting on all the agenda items, and it may not be nice, and could be time consuming.

Or, if public input is at the end, they could be upset about a vote the council made earlier in the meeting and let them have it. That could get very ugly.

It’s best just to leave it as is. Give the chair more latitude (per state law) to limit certain speakers and make it a day.

Marty Jackboots tough on crime, except when it comes to his own agents

This is the kind of rotten individual that is running for governor. Costing taxpayers over $1.5 million to cover up a sexual harassment allegation. Marty needs to be put into retirement come June 5th.

I also find it a bit hypocritical he is complaining about this so close to the primary. You know, kind of like putting out a press release about an investigation that isn’t finished yet in a mayoral race . . . Karma’s a bi*ch isn’t Marty?

The jury is in and it wasn’t good leaving no one a winner. Laura Zylstra Kaiser of Aberdeen held a press conference at the Sioux Falls Public Library on May 23, 2018 to help us understand the case against the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and its administrator Attorney General Marty Jackley. The Jury found in her favor the checks never seem to arrive until now.

It seems a Brown County Sheriff’s deputy was harassing DCI agent Kaiser in 2011. Kaiser reported it to his and her superiors with no support from them. As a result, she received a demotion and then because the supervisors said she didn’t play nice with the harasser, a move to Pierre.

In an attempt to help her set the record straight and save her eight year career she appealed to Marty Jackley the head of DCI. It didn’t go well. The grievance process in place failed her so she had to take legal action.

In December 2017, an Aberdeen Federal Jury found her story credible and awarded her $1.2 million:

– $400,000 for mental anguish, emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of reputation and other damages.

– $311,812 for lost wages

– $498,929 for lost benefits

The state screwed around causing her there were more expenses and losses to cover. The final bill for the state was $1.5 million after the Federal Judge threatened to put state employees responsible for handing over the checks in jail for contempt of court.

By the way, can you identify the trackers recording then quickly leaving the presser? Which campaigns does each belong to?


TenHaken’s COS Erica Beck promises more transparency w/RFPs

I’m guessing, and hoping that Beck realizes that when the RFP process is more open and transparent, the public is more likely to go along with it, or at least understand it. Transparency probably also saves the city a lot in legal fees and counseling.

Beck also wants to have a more consistent proposal, or RFP, process for developers, along with more transparency.

While I am glad to hear about more transparency, I’m still a little nervous about gearing up for more developer welfare;

“Our community is at a critical stage in terms of growth. We have to address that growth and understand how we’re going to encourage growth in the future and what kind of growth we need,” Beck said.

While I will agree we are a ‘critical stage’ I look at it as revitalizing the core and pulling the reigns back a bit on more urban sprawl. Growth for ‘growth’s sake’ isn’t always a great idea. I guess I have been of the opinion the city should focus on the core more and if developers want to continue to push our boundaries they can pay a premium price for the infrastructure.

Where is the Sioux Falls City Council’s REAL agenda?

I had someone call me today wondering where online they can find ALL the meetings Sioux Falls City Councilors attend, like the City, County & School meeting this morning at HyVee or the Tuesday night council Din-Din.

I tried to find it HERE, but no luck.

The Minnehaha County Commission lists ALL of their meetings where there may be a quorum.

While council staff could slap some piece of paper to the front door of Carnegie to avoid open meetings violations, I’m going to say that is a cop out. Our council staff combined salaries are well over a half million a year, there really is NO reason why this could not be posted online in a timely manner.

Maybe REAL change could happen if the City Council had an ACTUAL certified city clerk?