Copper Lounge Collapse, lots of questions little answers

Here are some leading questions after the collapse;

• Will Downtown businesses be reimbursed for lost business by the construction company’s insurance? Most of these businesses are family owned, they don’t have a lot of buffer like national franchises especially during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

• Will the city be reimbursed for the enormous cost of the rescue and security efforts? While most would argue this is part of paying taxes, sometimes those costs go above and beyond.

• If the city was aware of construction issues with Hultgren, why wasn’t the Lewis project monitored more carefully, especially after complaints?

• What is the signifigance of the meeting on Monday between the city, OSHA, Hultgren and the families affected? Will they be talking about a private settlement?

• Since Legacy Development was one of the companies to bid on the future parking ramp, were they chosen? And if so, will the city pull the contract? Will the public ever be told? Do we have a right to know?

Who are the private investors in Legacy Development?

One of the biggest questions that has been boiling to the top all week – did any of the city councilors, county commissioners or even the Mayor have investments with Legacy, Hultgren or with the PAVE or Lewis project? And if so, isn’t this a conflict of interest, especially since the construction company has gotten quite a few ‘passes’ from the city’s planning/building services office? This speculation comes from the city’s decision to launch NO investigation of their own and a desire to not press charges unless OSHA finds serious fault. Think about it, Cameraman Bruce was arrested and taken to court over a stack of shingles and the possibility of a couple of mice, something the city called a health/public nuisance. Doesn’t it seem silly the city is worried about a couple of mice, but not that a man died in a construction accident? It just doesn’t add up.

I will tell you folks, this goes deeper, and I think some people with some serious connections are involved. Notice the rancor coming from the city lately about the media stirring the pot, they are trying to squelch the message and kill the messenger.

It will be interesting to see who is holding the bag when the smoke clears . . . it may just be one of the biggest scandals this city has ever seen, it will make the secret million dollar settlement on the EC look like vandalism under the 10th Street bridge.

UPDATE: Will our entertainment facilities implement their own smoking ban?

UPDATE: It seems that not only can the entertainment facilities propose and stipulate their own smoking ban, it seems our libraries already have a ban on their property;

The following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on Library property:

Smoking, chewing, and other tobacco use on Library property.

So the bigger question is what exactly would a city council total ban on smoking entail? The ban already existed in parks and on library property, it CAN be stipulated at the EC and Pavilion. So what does that leave? The sidewalk in front of Carnegie and City Hall? Seems a lot of time an effort was put into a ban that technically already exists.

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First off, I would like to thank the 6 councilors that voted for the pared back smoking ban (Erpenbach and Kiley voted against it-they wanted a full ban).

Especially a big thank you to Councilor Erickson for spearheading this effort. Her concerns were quite simple. She didn’t want a fine or criminalization of using a legal product, she wanted to keep children safe in our parks and she wants to further look at this ban, but she wants council involvement and do it in a studied, incremental way, not a ram-rod approach our mayor and his administration takes on these issues.

But there was a bigger question lurking in the shadows. Why hasn’t our entertainment facilities that are privately managed already implemented these changes? The Events Center already has a ban on concealed weapons.

Ironically, managers from both SMG (Events Center/Orpheum) and the Pavilion were at the meeting last night asking for the policy changes. So if they want them, why not implement themselves?

There is nothing stopping either one of them from posting signage and having a management policy that restricts smoking, say, 25 FT from the entrances to their buildings. Since they are privately managed, they can make these policy changes without the assistance of executive order, council direction or health department direction.

Maybe they wanted the council to do all of their dirty work for them? Funny how two managers that make well over a 1/4 million a year combined are not capable of making this decision, that they clearly support, but depend on our part-time council to make a decision based on something that was handed to them on a turd sandwich.

 

Sioux Falls is out of the running for the F-35 Lemon Noise Machine

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Well, for once, I am happy to say ‘Thanks for Nothing’ to Thune, Rounds and Noem;

Jacksonville will have to beat out at least three of the other bases in consideration since two of the five will ultimately receive F-35 squadrons.

The other locations in contention are Montgomery, Ala.; Boise, Idaho; Selfridge, Mich., and Dane County, Wis.

Was Legacy picked to build the proposed DT city parking ramp?

Well isn’t that the burning question?

Earlier this year the city issued a request for qualifications from interested investors and received three submittals. A selection review team spent the summer grading the proposal and in July made a recommendation to Community Development, but no selection has been made, O’Neil said.

Among the groups vying for the project was Legacy Development, the company that owns the former Copper Lounge building that collapsed last Friday, killing a construction worker.

While we may never know how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie PoP, we do know, Legacy has a record, and it is getting dimmer every day.

There really isn’t an immediate need for a city administration building

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Don’t take my word on it, just look at the presentation (DOC: city-admin)

They are basically moving departments from buildings that already exist to ultimately move the attorney’s office from a leased building ($100K a year lease – to a $1 Million a year mortgage).

On top of that, they have no plans for the emptied buildings still owned by the city (Parks & Utilities). I think the comment made was ‘conference areas’. They want to keep them.

When I think of fiscal prudence, this isn’t really what I would consider a very good fiscal decision, in fact, it borders on idiocy.

Mayor Huether thinks the Events Center makes us money

Oh, Mike, how you twist thee . . .

As he was gloating over the ‘Ask the Mayor’ show Holsen produces and his great service of informing the public (because the local media does not) he mentioned that the Midco Aquatic Center will never operate in the black ‘Like the Events Center does.’

Give it up Mike. While the sponsorships and rental fees at the EC make SMG a profit and probably cover operating fees, the over $10 million in mortgage payments and normal maintenance is NOT covered by the profits of the Events Center, that comes out of our road funds. If anyone ran their business like we run the EC, they would be bankrupt in 6 months.

Sloppy Shrinkage

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I liked it when he said IM 22 was ‘sloppy’. Does he mean ‘Sloppy’ like when snow melts on the streets in Spring or ‘sloppy’ like the corruption of EB-5 and Gear Up? I couldn’t believe the nerve of a guy to chastise the writers of IM 22 and have such a short memory about the amount of people who have died in the wake of his ‘sloppiness’.

Was the Planning Department going to Annex without proper notification?

If you were listening to Stehly on the B-N-B show, she mentioned a resolution on the city council agenda tonight for the city to annex private property (Item#40).

This isn’t an entire neighborhood, this is just one home. Stehly said the planning department told her that the man was sent a certified letter, but out of curiosity she called the person to see if he was testifying tonight. He had no idea they were going to annex his property tonight or that it was on the agenda.

Now that’s customer service!

Stehly to be guest on B-N-B’s show in the morning

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Theresa will appear at around 8:05 AM, Tuesday on Belfrage’s show to talk about the Smoking Ban.

Once again the Governor thumbs his nose at voters and calls them ignorant

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South Dakotans are idiots, and I’m their fearless leader

Funny, the same people have elected him twice and his one-party rule with a majority of legislators;

Daugaard said voters were sold on the idea that the law would prevent corruption in government, but didn’t realize the extent of the proposed reform. He said he didn’t believe that voters truly supported IM 22.

“I do not believe they do. I just refuse to believe it. Not South Dakota,” he said.

Daugaard said he wished he’d been more vocal in campaigning against the measure earlier this year. He said he’d focused his attention on a proposed constitutional amendment aimed at creating a non-partisan primary.

“Shame on me,” Daugaard said. “I just didn’t think it could pass. I didn’t think voters would support public funds for campaigns.”

Legislative leaders have said they plan to evaluate the law during the 2017 legislative session barring earlier court intervention.

So we are a bunch of dummies when we want relief from corruption, corruption under the Governor’s watch (EB-5, Gear Up, Dilges termination) but good South Dakotans when we elect these clowns. What a moron.