SNOWGATES: Is mayor Huether Stuck up?

This statement by Mayor Huether during the snowgates press conference says all we need to know about his membership in the ‘Land & Aristocracy Class’ he presides over in Sioux Falls (AL recording);

“We have a responsibility to do this right,” Huether said, adding that he wants to make sure implementing snowgates is a prudent use of taxpayer dollars. “Just because somebody wants something doesn’t mean we’re just going to automatically do it without doing the proper due diligence.”

While I agree we must be prudent with tax dollars, I question his ‘prudence’ with projects like the Events Center and the River Greenway project. It seems that when his buddy Ol’ pals ask for indoor tennis and pickleball courts that is not a want, it is a ‘prudent’ need. But when we ask the city to stop blocking us into our homes after we pay them to clean our streets, that is a ‘want’.

I could say that Mike is arrogant, ignorant or even hypocritical. But that is just fleeting descriptive rants.

I would love it if the mayor would explain to us how wants like free landscaping for developers funded by taxpayers is ‘prudent’ but proper snow removal is something that needs to be ‘studied’ further.


#1 Big Guy on 11.01.12 at 11:45 pm

Wow, what an asshole Huether is… Snowgate is what we need. Huether’s event center is overrated. Why not toss a few millions into renovating current arena and add a couple thousand more seats? If we can add 2 floors on the courthouse, they sure can do same for old arena.

Tennis court is just for himself and his wife. Also who the hell ever heard of pickleball? Why is he cock-blocking us from getting much needed snowgates?

#2 Big Guy on 11.01.12 at 11:46 pm

Sorry, had to vent… Had it bottled in me for a while.

#3 Testor15 on 11.02.12 at 7:44 am

Good use of the Vent bg

#4 scott on 11.02.12 at 8:43 am

Back when they announced the mayors cup I posted a question on the argus website asking if any city money was in involved. I actually got the following private message from the mayor on my Facebook account.
“No problem Scott. If you ever need a clarification on anything involving our great town, just let me or the team know. We are here to serve. Make it a great day! Mike”
So just shoot Mike a message in Facebook and I’m sure him or one of his teammates will get right back to you LOL!

#5 GregN on 11.02.12 at 9:44 am

You took the words right out of my mouth. I would like to know how all of the things you mentioned (and more) qualify as ‘prudent’ uses of taxpayer money and if they were given the same level of due diligence snowgates are being given. Perfect example – a few weeks back the council voted to bond 12 million to do phase 2 of the south Sioux River interceptor project – in plain english the project to replace and expand the capacity of the main sewer line going through our city in response to the collapse a few years back. Realize we knew this was coming – it was in the CIP and we’ve known it had to be replaced. Instead of paying for it now with cash flow from the capital fund, the Mayor and council chose to use our CIP funds for event center bond payments, tennis courts, hockey facilities, escalators at the Pavillion, etc. I would say an analogy would be if you knew your roof was leaking and had to be replaced. You’ve got the cash to fix it, but instead of doing that, you go buy a new car. Then you get a loan to fix the roof because you blew your money on a toy. And you rationalize it with excuses about low interest rates. Add all of those up, throw a bit more in from say the reserve fund or cutting back/delaying on a few other things and you could have paid for this VITAL project. But instead, yet again we bond it and put it off into the future – robbing the future for our wants now. Make no mistake, event center payments and other things are forcing us to bond or delay major projects. I guess if they want to keep testing fine, but they should realize the horse has left the barn and this is no longer going to be in their control. They’ll have to make room for it in the budget. I’m usually a little leery of letting voters, many of whom really don’t know the budget, make these decisions but its painfully obvious to me there is no way the current council will ever EVER approve snowgates, so there really is no choice here but to force it through referendum. It’s too bad the council is this tone deaf to the majority of ordinary citizens, but it is what it is. Last point – I keep hearing them talk about it will take more time and money. Well, duh, better service often does. It would be like if I had quotes from two lawn service companies. One tells me they will mow, but not do any weed eating/trimming, cleanup, etc. The other will mow, weed eat/trim, edge, and cleanup when they are done. The second one charges more, but the service is SUPERIOR and the job done better. I can thus choose if I am willing to pay more for better service. It’s not that hard. Rant over.

#6 Analog Kid on 11.02.12 at 11:18 am

This is one of the best posts- I totally agree. Great comments too. It’s sad the citizens let this fraud called Huether get away with the lies of the “Events Center” (Said with his lisp).. While all it does is create more inflation through fractional reserve lending and land-locks the convention center.
How stupid can you be when the convention center already has shitty parking (an Omaha visitor commented on what a disaster it was for vendors) having no place for vendors to unload and quickly park their vehicles to return to their booths.
The costs of the convention space has increased and will increase more when the floor space is figured in for the arena. At least other towns used a basement for larger low cost convention center space under the arena.
The killer is they took away meeting rooms!! The only way to preserve the convention center now is to use the old arena for low cost space.
Factor that into the fact that the increased costs for using the arena will prevent ANY shows and the ticket price and hot dog charges will be beyond what one would pay in a larger city – it’s toast..
But Snowgates – “Uumm, we better look at these closely, I don’t see them being a quality of life issue for you slaves.”

#7 Pathloss on 11.02.12 at 5:11 pm

Huether is not citizen friendly. He doesn’t realize that this will be the issue that keeps him from being reelected. Snowgate signatures are votes for a new mayor. One who doesn’t take kickbacks and will return The city to democracy of, by, & for the people.

#8 Joan on 11.02.12 at 6:17 pm

I have always thought the mayor was a snob. There is way too much emphasis put on things that only the well to do can enjoy. I won’t go on, because I know a lot of people don’t agree with me. However, the people that I know personally can’t afford to attend events any place in town.

#9 rufusx on 11.02.12 at 7:08 pm

Okay – so hjow manybyears of study were done on the entire River greenway project (I don’t mean just a half-block segnment of it – the whole thing) before it was started. And BTW – the whole thing/idea (river greeway) has been on-going for over 25 years. Just want to add a little perspective on the “timing” issue that seems to be the crux of your complaint.

#10 Testor15 on 11.02.12 at 10:18 pm

The greenway has been a discussion issue as part of the overall upgrade of the area. The greenway is a beautification project. The greenway became an edifice project because of the loudmouth developers who spoke loader than those who would have questioned the expenditures.

This is much like the loud mouths who did not have a bottom up swell of support to force us into the repayment of bonds for an event center. We sheeple are only to get the crumbs the elites force us to take and pay for, much to their enjoyments.

#11 l3wis on 11.02.12 at 11:40 pm

Joan – That time Tim Stenga and Huether got into it in the Carnegie parking lot, I think Tim called Mike a ‘Rich Snob.’ to his face. Would have loved to see this on camera. I warned people before he was elected, his resume with CC card companies says it all and everything he has done so far has been very predictable.

Tree trimming is next, so hold onto your hats. I heard one resident say that their street was widened recently. Before it was widened the trees on their property were not hanging in the street, but now they are. So what is the first thing the city does after building this nice new street? Bing everyone on it to trim their trees. There seems to be this attitude at city hall which reminds of an old Eddie Murphy skit where he says, “There’s ghosts in the house – Get out.”

#12 Testor15 on 11.03.12 at 8:07 am

I had a friend tell me the two trees in his yard are both required to be trimmed. Neither are in the boulevard and no sidewalks. It just so happens the house sits between two streets so his backyard is also considered a ‘front’ yard.

The city required him to trim both trees because his house has two ‘front’ yards, one in front the other in the other front. So now anyone driving past his ‘back’ front yard now are able to annoy, so no personal use of yard.

Swo front yards? I thought your front yard is the side where you put your house number…

#13 GregN on 11.03.12 at 2:15 pm

Testor15 I will clarify on the front yard issue since I know zoning quite well. I’ll try not to get too wonky here but I probably will. Per the zoning ordinance, there are two types of “front yards” – the ‘front yard’ and ‘required front yard(s)’. Everyone has at least one front yard. Some have more than one ‘required front yard’. The ‘front yard’ (note no required here) is the property side that the average lay person would call your front yard – the side where the front of your house and your house number is. In a residential setting, a typical interior lot (with houses on either side of it and behind it) has one front yard (the yard in front of the house). They have two side yards and one rear yard (the yard abutting the house behind it). Now to ‘required front yard(s)’. Any side of your property that abuts a right of way is a ‘required front yard’. A interior lot has one ‘required front yard’ because it abuts a right of way only on one side (the ‘front yard’). So if you are a corner lot, you have one ‘front yard’ (the yard in front of your house) but you have two ‘required front yards’ (one on the front, one on the side that abuts the other street) of your house. There is one other type of residential property that has two front yards, and that is a ‘double frontage lot’. That is a lot that has a street in front of it and behind it. It sounds like this is what your friend’s house is. That house has a ‘front yard’ (his front yard) and two ‘required front yards’ (front and back). What you and he call the ‘rear’ or ‘back hard’ in lay terms is a ‘required front yard’ for zoning purposes. In this case, the property doesn’t have a rear yard. Typically the ‘required front yard’ comes into play when it comes to fence setbacks and building setbacks. Required front yards have stricter rules about how close your structures and fences can be to the street. As an aside, when you have two required front yards (like a corner lot) you are allowed to reduce the setback in one of those required front yards by 5 feet so you have a bit more space. So for example in RS-2 residential where you have a required 25 foot setback for the front yard, one setback must be 25 feet for the building, but the other can be as little as 20. That’s why corner lots pose challenges to those who want to put up a fence or want to expand their garage. They have less buildable area (in other words more setbacks that have to stay green space). So anyway, if it abuts a right of way its a ‘required front yard’ for zoning purposes, and thus what you call a rear yard is a front yard in zoning land and thus has many of the same rules you have to follow as in front of your house. It can be very confusing, but if one just remembers if it abuts a right of way its a ‘required front yard’ you get the picture.

#14 GregN on 11.03.12 at 2:24 pm

Oops, I said ‘back hard’ and of course I meant ‘back yard’. By the way, it sounds like in the second required front yard (the back yard in lay terms) there is no sidewalk. I would suspect his property line if you found the pins is a way back and there is reserved right of way there for sidewalk and street widening in the future. But I could see how if there isn’t even a sidewalk how it could be a bit annoying to get dinged on those trees.

I should mention I just moved out of the area where a lot of people got the letters (over by Marion road) and just before I moved I got one of those letters. Keep in mind I take care of my property meticulously. I had two boulevard trees and I trimmed them this summer, as I do know the rules. What I noted after reading the letter was the following absurdities:
1. The city came out once to measure
2. Then they went back to the office and spent time writing up letters and mailing them
3. The letter states they would come back about a month later for a SECOND time to measure again.
4. The letter does not tell you what tries are out of compliance or how many trees are. Neither of my two trees were obvious offenders, so you simply had to guess and chop off a bunch more than probably necessary to be safe.
4. If you still hadn’t complied they’d put a note on your door and give you 10 days more or so.
5. Then they’d come out a THIRD time to measure again and then if you still hadn’t done it, they would get it done for you.
6. I presume they’d go back to the office and then subcontract the job out.
I couldn’t help but note that we’re talking 3 trips to and from the west side of town, plus time to generate and send letters, administrative time, etc wasted when you could have simply trimmed any trees that were an issue right then and there. Tim Stanga has been crusading on this, and the more I think about it, the more I think he’s on to something in terms of sheer efficiency (not to mention customer service).

I am now at a new house on the edge of town. I have no boulevard trees. There is zero chance I will ever add them. Why go through the hassle?

#15 Testor15 on 11.03.12 at 7:38 pm

Greg, thanks for the additional data.

My friend had one of the trees in the second backyard. This tree area has no sidewalk and it was inside his yard. It never made sense to require it to be trimmed.

The main front yard tree was not in the boulevard but in his front yard and should have been far enough away from any sidewalk, should one need to be put in.

A neighbor was trying to add a driveway extension and was fight Brad H. and BH seemed to be able to find more things to fight while he was out and about.

#16 GregN on 11.03.12 at 10:47 pm

That is a little mystifying why the tree in question would be required to be trimmed. My understanding of the code is that it has to do with clearance over the street or the sidewalk. If its not blocking/impeding either, who cares?

#17 l3wis on 11.03.12 at 11:42 pm

I am truly exhausted reading your comments.

#18 Detroit Lewis on 11.05.12 at 4:02 pm

The back and forth and measuring is ridiculous, when they could save the time and energy and just do it. But see, the tree trimming companies would have no business. This is about the city changing laws to force citizens to supplement private industry. This irks me beyond belief, because 1) The city owns these trees, they should trim them 2) We pay taxes for these services, but most importantly 3) we live in a capitalistic society, sink or swim, if these tree trimming businesses cannot garner enough work without the city supplementing them, maybe they should not be in business. Heck, I don’t even have a problem with the city hiring these companies to trim the trees using our tax dollars.

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