Quote of the day (H/T – Helga)

Don Kearney, Parks and Rec manager said this on Tuesday;

 “I think it’s important for everybody to realize how those facilities will be located within the park, whether it will be an indoor or outdoor facility,” Kearney said. “If you’re like me, pictures are worth a thousand words, and it really allows you to visualize what those facilities would consist of.”

(Helga) “A picture is worth a thousand words, actually his pictures are worth $47,000, because that is what they are going to pay for those pictures. $47,000 of taxpayer money.  Money that could be better spent elsewhere.”

I went to the working session today, this came up again. What a Mexican Hat Dance Kearney, the City Attorney and Councilor Entenman and Rolfing did today. Councilors Kermit, Karsky, Aguliar, and Jamison all said the same thing, ‘What’s the rush to get out the plans?’ Michelle just grinned and winked. Weird.

Perception. They want to defeat the outdoor pool at Spellerberg by dangling the Indoor pool carrot.

I am going to go the simple route on this. If people really want a public indoor pool, funded by taxpayers, and the need is there, why all the enticement? Wouldn’t this be a slam dunk? Why do we have to dangle pretty pictures in front of voters?

Knock off the indoor pool talk until after the election. And if the voters say they don’t want an outdoor pool at Spellerberg, full steam ahead on an indoor pool. But seriously, why don’t we wait until after the vote? What’s that saying about winners and cheaters?

34 comments ↓

#1 Testor15 on 07.18.13 at 7:22 am

Once again we are going to see the city spending public funds to operate 3 anti-citizen campaigns. No to public interference on snowgates, parks / pools and public oversight of planning / zoning.

Those experts in city hall must be in charge. The citizens must not be allowed to interfere. The citizens be damned! Oh, see the pretty pictures over there and over there and over there and ….

#2 cr on 07.18.13 at 7:50 am

I also attended the council work session.

Councilors Aguilar, Jamison, Karsky and Staggers,

Thank you for expressing concern about the TSP contract and the upcoming Spellerberg vote.

I agree with you, this is an initiated measure, the most prudent thing to do is to let this process be allowed to play out.

We as a community have been discussing this issue for years, the sense of urgency being expressed by many is really misplaced.

We paid the expert, Counsilman-Hunsaker, $55,000 to advise us. As Don* himself stated, their recommendation is to build an indoor facility within the next 2 to 3 years. (page 44, City-Wide Aquatics Facilities Master Plan) I do not understand why we are spending an additional $46,350.

Also, there have been multiple opportunities for citizens to weigh in on what they would like to see in an indoor facility. There has been NO public input regarding an outdoor pool. So how will TSP resolve that question, they have no idea what citizens want for an outdoor pool at Spellerberg.

This is about public perception, and this decision is only going to serve to muddy the waters!

*Director of Parks and Rec

#3 cr on 07.18.13 at 8:34 am

Comment on yesterday’s Argus Leader Poll:

Obviously, there is nothing scientific about this poll, but offering as an option a combination indoor-outdoor pool was inaccurate and misleading.

No where in the consultant’s 10 year aquatics master plan do they recommend a combination indoor-outdoor pool. They do suggest that an outdoor spray pad could be included as part of an indoor pool facility. For anyone who has seen Pioneer Park’s spray pad, you know this does NOT even remotely resemble an outdoor POOL!

Also, I do not believe the option of an outdoor spray pad has been included in the 19.4 million dollar price tag for an indoor pool.

Which would you prefer at Spellerberg park?

Indoor pool
21%
Outdoor pool
36%
Combination indoor-outdoor pool
29%
No pool
12%

Number of Respondents: 664

#4 Karma on 07.18.13 at 11:27 am

That is an easy comment to make if you didn’t have the AARP age petitioners spreading their agenda to anyone that will listen. You can’t ask one side to shut their yaps all while the other side gets to spread whatever information they want freely.

And I will believe an AL poll when I see a cow fly over the moon. Their readership is retirees at best.

#5 l3wis on 07.18.13 at 11:39 am

Karma, Have you read the ballot language of the outdoor pool measure? It’s not an either/or question (Indoor or Outdoor). It simply asks voters if they want an outdoor pool built at Spellerberg. And if you would have attended the work session yesterday, you would have also known, even if the outdoor pool fails at Spellerberg, the city has 2-3 years to put drawings and plans together for an indoor pool?

#6 cr on 07.18.13 at 12:28 pm

Karma,

The decision made Tuesday by the Council to approve the TSP contract for $46,350 and their subsequent work session where they discussed this has nothing to do with SF citizens discussing the merits of swimming pools.

The TSP contract has everything to do with city employees who are paid with tax dollars involving themselves in the very “gray area” of an initiated ballot issue. It may not violate city and state statutes, but as Councilor Jamison said, “When this involves a measure initiated by citizens and an impending vote, the City’s involvement is disingenuous.”*

*disingenuous: giving a false appearance of simple frankness

#7 Detroit Lewis on 07.18.13 at 1:34 pm

It also seems our council has a memory lapse. Instead pulling this item from the consent agenda and approving or denying it by itself, they let it stay in the consent agenda and ultimately approved it.

http://docs.siouxfalls.org/sirepub/cache/2/znai3tfhufu3bna2iqawkmln/3423410718201301072218.PDF

I found it very odd when I was thinking about the work session yesterday that 4 of the councilors were complaining about the drawings AFTER THE FACT they approved the funding on Tuesday night.

Huh?

If you were opposed to these drawings being done, why did you approve the expenditure Tuesday night? A lot of political posturing IMO. It’s kinda like ordering fish in restaurant, knowing you don’t like fish. Then complaining after you ate it that it was terrible.

#8 Craig on 07.18.13 at 1:39 pm

When someone opts to blow $47,000 on some drawings that don’t say “Pablo Picasso” at the bottom… you know they are spending other people’s money.

Insanity.

#9 Detroit Lewis on 07.18.13 at 1:50 pm

And what is even more insane is complaining about the expenditure after you mailed the check. Stupid.

#10 cr on 07.18.13 at 1:51 pm

I thought the same thing….

It was like they were doing their “critical thinking” !!!!??
out loud at the work session……when this is what should have been done the previous evening BEFORE the vote!

I also thought it was very cowardly of Councilor Erpenbach to NOT utter a word during this discussion. She has been a VERY VOCAL PROPONENT of an indoor pool (at any cost) at Spellerberg going way back to when she was on the Park Board. She’s obviously already in the campaign mode for a second term representing the Central District!

#11 Karma on 07.18.13 at 3:04 pm

Unlike some people on this blog that seem to have every waking minute to attend every work/council/whatever session – I have to work so I cannot always attend. I gather what I read and then what people are trying to feed me and my neighbors in this area of town and form my own opinions and thoughts.

I support this pool at this location but I don’t know if that will be enough for me to vote for Michelle again.

#12 Nature Lover on 07.18.13 at 5:04 pm

There is an obvious agenda stamped onto the foreheads of the rubber stamp sheep, I mean the majority of the city council members. Forget about fiscal responsibility. Forget about honoring the democratic process. Forget about respecting the law in the spirit of truth. Forget about listening to all citizens, not just special interest groups.

There is a drive and determination coming out of city council that smells like big government in Washington DC. Like it because we are going to shove it down your throats! AND we are going to spend your money to convince you!

We paid Counsilman-Hunsaker, $55,000 to advise us or convince us that the ONE and ONLY most desirable and workable site is Spellerberg. No other site in our BOOM TOWN exists. How absolutely pathetic for those poor citizens of Boom Town. And remember that Spellerberg land is land without clear title. Isn’t it a great idea to put a $19.5 M investment on land we only sort of own?

And why are we spending an additional $46,350 to draw up plans for two options when only one option will be needed at Spellerberg Park pending the outcome of the election? Isn’t that flatly in the face of the citizens of BoomTown? Isn’t that fiscally irresponsible expenditure of our tax money to try to convince the lowly citizen who couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag and is in such desperate need of indoctrination, I mean education from the perspective of those elite councilors who favor a certain outcome. Again, I smell Washington DC and it sickens me!

Please see the laws below:

SDCL § 12-27-20
The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question. This section may not be construed to limit the freedom of speech of any officer or employee of the state or such political subdivisions in his or her personal capacity. This section does not prohibit the state, its agencies, or the governing body of any political subdivision of the state from presenting factual information solely for the purpose of educating the voters on a ballot question.

City Ordinance § 38.021
The city, an agency of the city and the governing body of the city may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question. This section may not be construed to limit the freedom of speech of any officer or employee of the city in his or her personal capacity. This section does not prohibit the city, its agencies or the governing body of the city from presenting factual information solely for the purpose of educating the voters on a ballot question.

#13 cr on 07.18.13 at 5:10 pm

Karma,

If citizens are unable to attend city meetings in person, there are two other options available.

Citylink Channel 16

siouxfalls.org the city’s website

#14 Testor15 on 07.19.13 at 7:13 am

DL, throw the fish in the pool

#15 Detroit Lewis on 07.19.13 at 9:34 am

“I also thought it was very cowardly of Councilor Erpenbach to NOT utter a word during this discussion.”

Maybe Michelle didn’t say anything because she supported the expenditure, ironically, the only one that was being genuine on Wednesday.

#16 Karma on 07.19.13 at 9:39 am

I would love to say that people such as myself that are raising families and working FT have an immense amount of time to watch Citylink or creep the SF website for info, but we don’t. My suggestion to anyone running for office would be to hire someone extremely competent in social media. People in their 20′s, 30′s, and 40′s rely on quick information such as Twitter, Snap Chat, etc. Besides, every time I turn on Citylink – there sits MMM promoting his own personal BS – (ie who do you think puts all of the city tennis promos together – excluding the new facility? That’s right – city staff with our dollars) – which I physically cannot stomach anymore. Too bad every other sport or activity does not receive the same courtesies of the Mayor’s chosen sport. One more unethical practice to add to the list.

#17 anonymous on 07.19.13 at 10:31 am

Karma on 07.19.13 at 9:39

who do you think puts all of the city tennis promos together – city staff with our dollars Too bad every other sport or activity does not receive the same courtesies of the Mayor’s chosen sport. One more unethical practice to add to the list.

The real conflict of interest is that Mrs. MMM is head of the Sioux Falls Tennis Association and has publicly advocated to city boards and the Council for tax dollars for tennis.

#18 Detroit Lewis on 07.19.13 at 1:10 pm

Huge conflict of interest. I am surprised that not one single councilor has asked about this when authorizing the half million expenditure.

#19 Alice15 on 07.20.13 at 8:21 am

I am fine with tennis raising $$$ for the new facility, but the fact that the Mayor is raising those $$$ right out of the office we pay for and doing promos with city staff and tax payer dollars really chaps my can. And the sad part is noone seems to give two shits. The media knows and they sit on their hump, once again.

#20 rufusx on 07.20.13 at 5:05 pm

testor – I appreciate the way you are honest enough to characterize citizen after-the-fact INTERFERENCE as such; and not as participation/involvement from the get-go – which is what should be happening.

#21 Testor15 on 07.20.13 at 9:00 pm

It’s interesting how some amongst us feel any citizen involvement is interference in the orderly function of government. When the citizen does what those in office or power wish be done, we are doing our participation/involvement duty. Be damned if the citizen questions anything or anyone in office these days. Thanks ruf for helping us understand how messy the American form of democracy is. I kinda like it messy…

#22 Detroit Lewis on 07.21.13 at 2:03 pm

I prefer the word sloppy.

#23 Tesor15 on 07.21.13 at 2:20 pm

There probably is enough messy slop to go around…

#24 Sy on 07.22.13 at 11:45 am

“No other site in our BOOM TOWN exists.”

Sure they do, but nothing that won’t blow the price of the project out of the water. If you want to go shopping you’ll likely have to deal with one of those unsavory, evil developer types as well..might even lead to another TIF which may cause some heads to spontaneously combust including our gracious host’s.

Again, the consultants are 100% correct when they recommend centrally located where your radius you draw from the site encircles the most people giving all of them the shortest average drive to and from. Plus the fact that the other modes of transportation are all easily available at the site again makes it stand out.

If you understand site selection & the old “location x3″ concept, it’s pretty clear Spellerberg makes the most sense. If you’re a NIMBY and/or a “indoor over my dead body” type, then you make ambiguous and illogical statements like “It’s just not the right spot” or “we don’t see how it will fit there”.

#25 anonymous on 07.22.13 at 3:40 pm

Sy on 07.22.13 at 11:45 am

If you’re a NIMBY and/or a “indoor over my dead body” type, then you make ambiguous and illogical statements like “It’s just not the right spot” or “we don’t see how it will fit there”.

or just maybe

Sioux Falls taxpayers do NOT believe that spending almost 20 million dollars for a swimming pool with $700,000 a year operating expenses is a priority.

Which, BTW, has nothing to do with being progressive or not.

We will have our answer in April 2014.

#26 rufusx on 07.22.13 at 4:25 pm

Operating expense =/=operating cost. You need to deduct revenues. But, I suppose that would probably inject a little too much honesty into the rhetorical stream and mess it all up. Can’t detract from the exaggerated views now, can we?

#27 anonymous on 07.22.13 at 4:43 pm

operating expense: known

revenue: unknown

#28 Detroit Lewis on 07.22.13 at 5:21 pm

And I will add that the consultant even said that indoor public pools are not historically revenue neutral.

Besides the revenue for an indoor pool not being known, you must also take into account that no one has done an economic impact study of the pool. We have already spent millions as a city on drawings and designs at several locations throughout the city, yet not one single penny has been spent on what the place would make. Even if you got a 100 people a day to visit the place, you are only looking at about $400,000 in revenue.

#29 Detroit Lewis on 07.22.13 at 5:24 pm

I also see the Argue Endorser’s ED board thinks it is perfectly fine for the city to possibly breaking state law to draw up plans for an indoor pool;

http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130721/VOICES01/307210012/Editorial-Show-us-pool-design-options

“The city will always have to walk a fine line when it comes to issues that are referred to a vote. But they never have been banned from educational and informational discussions. They certainly can’t use public money to advocate for one side or the other, nor can the council vote on any plan for the park at this point.”

Fine line? It’s called the ‘LAW’

#30 Detroit Lewis on 07.22.13 at 5:27 pm

Sy – There is a reason why voters have repeatedly turned down an indoor pool, and it has nothing to do with location. If you look at the city survey from a few years ago, an indoor pool had wide support, IF it was revenue neutral or profitable, once you asked about subsidies that support dropped to under 10%. Why? I have often gone by the logic that if something ‘public’ is really ‘needed’ in our community, it will make money, or at least break even. The zoo is another example of that, they are in such dire straits to generate revenue they charge volunteers $40 for a t-shirt. Talk about pathetic.

#31 cr on 07.22.13 at 9:09 pm

rufusx on 07.22.13 at 4:25 pm

Operating expense =/=operating cost. You need to deduct revenues. But, I suppose that would probably inject a little too much honesty into the rhetorical stream and mess it all up. Can’t detract from the exaggerated views now, can we?

rufusx, you might want to spend some time reviewing the city’s new ten year aquatics master plan at siouxfalls.org

Page 28: This is the scenario the consultant has recommended:

Option 5: Large Indoor 50 meter by 25 yard competition pool with springboard diving and a separate 3,750 sq. ft. indoor leisure pool with current channel, and waterslide.

Page 38:

Large Indoor
Project Cost $18,519,000 (this has increased to 19.4m per Director of Parks and Rec, Don Kearney-Council Work Session, July 17, 2013)

Attendance
80,104

2013: Revenue 355,823 Expense 1,048,552

Operating Cashflow -$692,729

2014: Revenue 364,598 Expense 1,074,766

Operating Cashflow -$710,168

2015: Revenue 373,483 Expense 1,101,635

Operating Cashflow -$728,152

2016: Revenue 382,477 Expense 1,129,176

Operating Cashflow -$746,699

2017: Revenue 391,582 Expense 1,157,405

Operating Cashflow -$765,824

The story is in the numbers!

#32 rufusx on 07.23.13 at 4:47 pm

anon is right though = revenues are “unknown”. And since when did the NIMBY crowd (cr) start believing in any city-paid consultant’s numbers? I thought they were all just lying shills.

#33 cr on 07.23.13 at 9:12 pm

We paid $55,000 for those numbers, Rufusx.

I guess that makes them believable, right?!!

In addition, we are spending another $47,000 for some drawings of indoor and outdoor pools. We ought to be really “educated” on this ballot issue by the time we vote in April!!

#34 rufusx on 07.24.13 at 12:03 pm

cr – would you prefer that no one have any information (Or only YOUR ONE SIDE of the issue) prior to the vote?

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