Let’s consider the (possible) four issues now heading to the spring 2014 ballot, because it now brings up a real point. All four issues are citizen driven. The sheeple are being awakened. It should scare the elected in South Dakota and Sioux Falls. This group of ballot issues are the tip of a big iceberg ready to sink a lot of ships:
- There will not be an organized effort against snowgates, even our current mayor has accepted they will be coming and is now blaming the snowgate proponents for slowing down the implementation. Snowgates have an 80% approval.
- Local tennis promoters are very unhappy with the indoor pool proposal even though the mayor and wife are members of the group. In speaking with a tennis club member recently, they are silently voting against the Spellerberg pool. Spellerberg park is one of a select location in the USA to receive a large USTA grant for youth tennis courts. This is actually a big deal. It is part of a national USTA outreach program to encourage the growth of tennis participation. There are also a few people in the organization who expressed angst in allowing ‘neighborhood’ kids playing there (I will let this rest there). So add this to the thought of putting a big box in a small area not meeting the needs or wants of a majority of residents, ruining what they already have. When people understand what is going to happen to a simple city park, they usually are not happy but thought they could not stop it until the Spellerberg neighbors showed a way to do it.
- Shape Places petition is a reaction to a perceived out of control city government running roughshod over people. Public (private) meetings to hammer out what can be done. There are probably points of contention on most areas and not, who knows anymore. The process has become so convoluted during the last two mayoral administrations. The 85th and Minnesota zoning change woke a sleeping giant called middle class voters. Many of these middle class home owners are building their futures on the values of these homes.
- 85th and Minnesota zoning change vote galvanized a broad cross section of Sioux Falls. There are so many issues to solve in this town and most have to do with special deals being cut across the board. There are upset people of all income levels who want a piece of city hall to be tar and feathered. Many of the middle class homeowners affected are also small business people who could never get the city to approve zoning changes for their businesses but let a multinational billion dollar corporation drop a 4.5 acre building with 1,000 parking spots into their neighborhood, it’s okay. The city will bend over backwards to allow the billion dollar big box to abuse the town, take more money out of town, shift sales from businesses the very homeowners are now supposed to compete against. Sioux Falls will not earn another $ of tax revenue from the big box store.
So who is going to stop the momentum of educated, frustrated electorate? At some point the ‘politicals’ of Sioux Falls and South Dakota are going to be reminded the people actually own the government and not the special interests. So the special interests or elites of Sioux Falls must mount a mighty and expensive campaign to kill all four issues in order to maintain their special places in line in front of the mayor’s inner office.
DL: I have often felt the biggest failure of Shape Places was that the Planning Office did not break this ordinance up in sections when having it approved by the council. This simple move by them to approve a 279 pages document in one simple vote told me there were things in it the public would not be happy about. It was sneaky, and the council should have caught it, but hey, the rubber stamp sits in front of them, so why not use it? I asked Kermit the other day, “When you got elected to the council, did you have to pay for your rubberstamp, or did the city cover the expense?”