‘ADVOCACY’ vs. ‘EDUCATION’

pool-bias

I did a little cuttin’ and pastin’ of the Power Point presentation of the city’s ‘ADVO-CATIONAL’ presentation of the OUTDOOR pool pool issue. This ‘supposed’ educational piece is chucked full of ‘persuasive language’ and misleading ‘facts’.

Where to begin?

1) There is NO indoor pool on the ballot, only a simple question. Do you want a new outdoor pool at Spellerberg. If you vote NO a number of things could happen. They could keep the existing pool, they could fill it in and have green space. There is NO guarantees that a NO vote would result in an indoor pool at that location.

2) The photo of bundled up folks walking to the pool in a romantic winter wonderland setting. What about pictures of kids riding their bikes to an outdoor pool in the summer?

3) True, there is a ‘proposal’ to replace Spellerberg with an Indoor pool. But that is all it is. The city council will have to approve the budget again this fall and approve the bonds to pay for it. Would the NEW council do that? There are NO guarantees.

4) They claim that the outdoor pools are obsolete, but continue to use them.

5) Need for indoor water. Huh? According to who? Past city surveys have shown that the public would support an indoor facility but only IF it is self-sufficient or subsidized (like the Ice Hockey facility). The support drops to almost 10% if we would have to subsidize the facility.

6) There are plenty of opportunities throughout the community for indoor swimming. Also, the VA has said nothing about a joint venture with the city and a therapy pool.

7) The skewed numbers. While it is true that it is more costly to operate an outdoor pool hourly, the real numbers are about $100K a year for an outdoor and $700K a year for an indoor.

8) The traffic/parking analysis is strange on many levels. They are pretty much admitting that we would be building and subsidizing a year round facility (360 days a year) for only 2-3 swim meets. So please, explain the NEED. As for the traffic increase for the outdoor facility, I am confused. Drive by Drake Springs sometime on a hot day, while the pool is packed, the roads are not, but you will see a multitude of bicycles and kids walking.

9) This is a lie, there is around $6.4 million set aside for Spellerberg, for either an indoor or outdoor facility. But like I said above, the council still has to approve the expenditure this Fall. A $13 million bond will also have to be approved that citizens can get revoked in a referendum if the council approves it.

So while the city claims they are ‘educating’ us, they are really ‘advocating’ their position, while misleading voters on an outdoor facility. Are they stretching state law or simply flat out breaking it? I think it is time the AG’s office do an investigation of the city’s ‘educational’ programming.

20 comments ↓

#1 commander on 03.02.14 at 12:45 pm

WHO CAME UP WITH FANTASY.

#2 pathloss on 03.02.14 at 2:00 pm

We don’t need a swimming pool. There will be plenty of places to swim when spring flooding happens. The city is never prepared for floods.

#3 85th stuckee on 03.02.14 at 7:51 pm

Just like mmm and twin wally marts you can lie like hell. Why don’t the city employees get the nerve to challenge the fibs.

#4 Titleist on 03.02.14 at 10:02 pm

Public schools.

PUBLIC indoor pools!

#5 LJL on 03.02.14 at 10:46 pm

So traffic will go up for an outdoor pool but not change for an indoor pool.

That right there tells you they are just making this shit up.

#6 Harry on 03.02.14 at 11:19 pm

If I answer NO what do I get for an outdoor pool? If I vote YES what do I get for an indoor pool? What will the rest of the park look like with both options? There were a lot of miss information given out by the Save Spellerberg group when they were collecting signatures. This all started because the Parks and Rec department and board wanted to replace Spellerberg with an indoor pool. If the city voters end up voting for an indoor pool there is still a lot of work to do to get it, but now we know what we could get. Both the outdoor and indoor drawings were needed. It was the Save Spellerberg group that caused the city to spend some of the money that was used for the drawings and the 10 year master plan study.
Not going to go back and review the pictures.
Pretty good chance they will approve it. The majority of the current council are for the indoor pool.
Right now it’s all we have of course we are going to use them, but only 10 to 12 weeks a year.
Not sure what surveys you are looking at, but I think the most recent surveys says people want an indoor pool. The city has to subsidize a lot of things.
Not everyone wants to join a fitness center plus you have very limited lap time. Not everyone can afford to join a fitness center. Sanford Wellness Center is around $70 a month for a couple versus $70 for 3 months for a public swim pass. The city isn’t going to do a joint venture with the VA – what is this about?
Quality of Life!!!
It’s not being built for swim meets. Being able to host swim meets is a bonus. You are right traffic will not be a problem, but an outdoor pool will have more traffic than an indoor pool.
If the citizens vote NO for an outdoor pool there’s a good chance they know about the cost and bond issue as its been brought up before.

They are educating us. If I vote NO what might I get? I I vote YES what might I get? The city has to get involved. You can’t just have the citizens debate, because they don’t have all the information.

#7 anonymous on 03.03.14 at 6:07 am

All information has been taken directly from the consultant’s report (see 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: Capital Cost of a Large Indoor Pool

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

Operating Costs:

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

#8 Harry on 03.03.14 at 7:28 am

Anonymos: We’ve seen your post many times – you don’t have to keep posting it. It’s a quality of life. The city spends a lot of money on the city so you can have a quality of life. The expense is worth it.

#9 Harry on 03.03.14 at 7:31 am

1. If I answer NO what do I get for an outdoor pool? If I vote YES what do I get for an indoor pool? What will the rest of the park look like with both options? There were a lot of miss information given out by the Save Spellerberg group when they were collecting signatures. This all started because the Parks and Rec department and board wanted to replace Spellerberg with an indoor pool. If the city voters end up voting for an indoor pool there is still a lot of work to do to get it, but now we know what we could get. Both the outdoor and indoor drawings were needed. It was the Save Spellerberg group that caused the city to spend some of the money that was used for the drawings and the 10 year master plan study.

2. Not going to go back and review the pictures.

3. Pretty good chance they will approve it. The majority of the current council are for the indoor pool.

4. Right now it’s all we have of course we are going to use them, but only 10 to 12 weeks a year.

5. Not sure what surveys you are looking at, but I think the most recent surveys says people want an indoor pool. The city has to subsidize a lot of things.

6. Not everyone wants to join a fitness center plus you have very limited lap time. Not everyone can afford to join a fitness center. Sanford Wellness Center is around $70 a month for a couple versus $70 for 3 months for a public swim pass. The city isn’t going to do a joint venture with the VA – what is this about?

7. Quality of Life!!!

8. It’s not being built for swim meets. Being able to host swim meets is a bonus. You are right traffic will not be a problem, but an outdoor pool will have more traffic than an indoor pool.

9. If the citizens vote NO for an outdoor pool there’s a good chance they know about the cost and bond issue as its been brought up before.

They are educating us. If I vote NO what might I get? I I vote YES what might I get? The city has to get involved. You can’t just have the citizens debate, because they don’t have all the information.

#10 Craig on 03.03.14 at 8:43 am

I’m all for the city educating the voters on what they are voting for, but when I see people manipulate the numbers to show the net cost to operate a pool per hour rather than a total cost of operation on an annual basis, it suggests advocacy.

If it was only about education, that same slide should have shown the revenue and expense numbers anon has provided.

Second, someone really has to explain those parking and traffic estimates, because that makes zero sense to me. Why would traffic increase daily at an outdoor pool but not at an indoor pool? We are told so many more people will be using the indoor pool, which would suggest those people need to actually get there – wouldn’t that tell us traffic would increase at the indoor option much more than the outdoor? Also, the wording makes it seem as if traffic at the outdoor option would increase every day of the year… which is doubtful when it is closed all winter.

Again, I’m all for the city educating the public and in fact I feel they have an obligation to do so. However, unless these slides were taken out of context and they had information to balance this out, it sure seems like they are crossing over to advocacy.

Either way I’m still disturbed that the VA owns the land and the city does not. I simply cannot understand why the city wants to spend $20MM on a facility that sits on land they don’t actually own.

#11 Nature Lover on 03.03.14 at 9:28 am

There are too many logical reasons that invalidate the placement site of an indoor aquatic facility at Spellerberg Park. This is another example of the city under Huether not listening to citizens and trying to foist their determined will upon the people.
And yes, this is advocacy. An indoor aquatic facility is not on the ballot and should not be part of the discussion. The city is violating state law.

#12 Detroit Lewis on 03.03.14 at 9:38 am

Craig, as I understand it, it is a quit claim deed, which means that if the VA wanted to expand in Spellerberg they have the option to buy the land. Don’t know much else about the deal, but I did tell Lalley to use his resources and follow up with a story about it.

#13 rufusx on 03.03.14 at 10:06 am

Are the “Save Spellerberg” folks holding public informational/educational meetings?

NO.

Who is it that’s playing “hide the weenie” again?

#14 Harry on 03.03.14 at 11:19 am

Nature Lover: You can say logical reasons, but that is just your personal opinion. What do you mean the city under Huether is not listening to citizens? They have been listening to citizens since this whole Spellerberg issue came up. They have been listening to both sides and the city under Huether is siding with the indoor pool at Spellerberg side. Just because they don’t agree with the outdoor pool at Spellerberg doesn’t mean they are not listening to citizens. The indoor pool has to be part of the discussion, because for the people who don’t want another Drake Springs they need to know what the other option is that the city is planning.

#15 Sullivan on 03.03.14 at 11:20 am

Craig – Thank you for calling attention to the apparent manipulation of traffic “statistics” or “official studies” vs the common sense that any urban dwelling adult driver should have. Let’s all hope voters use a morsel of objective/critical thinking as they consider the traffic study propaganda.

Indoor pool proponents claim that an indoor aquatic center won’t increase traffic to the Spellerberg neighborhood. How can a unique (to SF) new public attraction nearly double the size & double the ‘daily bather load capacity’ of the existing facility, open twice as many hours daily as the existing facility, open quadruple the number of days annually as the current facility. . . NOT bring more visitors in cars to the neighborhood??!! “Traffic” statistic manipulation notwithstanding, sometimes common sense conclusions need to prevail.

The public’s driving trip habits & priorities aren’t finite and distribute evenly throughout whatever adjustments one makes to a time period, ie a destination being open 90 days vs 360 days. That’s like saying a population’s drive habits spread out evenly like a drop of food coloring dissolves uniformly in a glass of water – the personal habits of humans are more fickle than basic physics of matter.

Let’s flip the script and reverse engineer the indoor proponents’ claim: if an indoor aquatic center WON’T increase the number of cars driving to this destination, WHY BUILD IT? There must not be a real need for a huge new indoor facility with the capacity to serve exponentially more users, huh?

#16 carhart605 on 03.03.14 at 12:48 pm

Great points Sullivan. Traffic study manipulation is nothing new in Sioux Falls. The proposed Walmart at 85th & Minnesota will have a grade of D on opening day per Walmart’s own traffic engineer, yet no one on the council cared to discuss that topic. That would be a D on a scale of A through F, with F being an absolute failure. Commone sense is a rare commodity these days in city government. We’ll see on April 8th how prevalent it is among the masses soon enough.

#17 Craig on 03.03.14 at 4:28 pm

I did watch part of the video that spoke of the traffic counts and it was still strangely presented. At one point (around 13:48 in the vid) they showed how the existing Spellerberg pool generates around 73 vehicles a day. That in itself seems WAY low based upon how many vehicles I see there daily in the summer, but whatever.

Next they say the replacement outdoor facility would generate 174 vehicles per day. So basically 100 more cars a day due to it being new and expanded (which begs the question what pool these 100 cars were going to previously).

Finally, they say the indoor facility would generate 74 vehicles per day – statistically NO increase from the existing outdoor pool. Now they try to claim that because the indoor pool would be open for more hours that the traffic would be spread out throughout the day but that still doesn’t make sense since their slide talks about vehicles per DAY. As Sullivan suggested, if there is no increase from the existing outdoor pool to the new indoor pool, it suggests it isn’t really needed right?

The bigger question here is why is so much of this presentation focused upon the indoor facility when the vote has nothing to do with the indoor option. This vote determines if we build a new outdoor pool at Spellerberg and nothing more – the city can still decide to go elsewhere with the indoor pool. Is this really about education, or is it about educating via advocacy. I’m trying to keep an open mind but it does seem a lot like a sales pitch rather than a tool to inform the voter.

Oh and carhart since you brought up the subject of traffic near 85th and Minn… wasn’t SON paying for an Engineer to review the latest traffic study and/or paying for a study of their own? Why did we never hear anything from it?

#18 carhart605 on 03.03.14 at 5:09 pm

Craig, good post above and good memory. Yes, SON hired a traffic consultant who also reiterated what the Walmart traffic engineer said concerning the expected traffic grade of D.

In a nutshell, he concluded that if the best traffic flow that could be achieved was only as good as a D, then this plan should not proceed. He was operating under the premise that traffic would only get busier as that part of town is built up. Copies of this report were shared with the council and a member of SON shared the highlights with the council as well.

The Walmart report referenced something like 27 infrastructure improvements (no mention of who would pay for these) that would need to be made at 85th & Minnesota before it would even come close to supporting the expected amount of traffic caused by this proposal. This is due in large part to the fact that there will only be one full access point off 85th St. and a right in and right out on Minnesota Ave. That fact alone will create a horrible congestion problem, the engineers on both sides just confirmed what everyone knew.

My recollection of the grading scale implemeted by traffic engineers in the 85th & Minnesota case has had me scratching my head because I haven’t seen it referenced in the pool conversation. Have I missed this all along? If so, what are the grades that have been assigned to these affected streets caused by future traffic? Was a traffic study even done?

#19 rufusx on 03.03.14 at 5:46 pm

I believe those “average daily trip” counts are over the course of the whole year. So, of course, when the outdoor pool is closed 280 days a year…….

73/day over 365 days = 26,645 trips.
Now – squeeze that into the 80 days the pool is open – and it’s 333 per useable day,

The indoor pool – actually being open all year is accurate – at 174 per useable day.

#20 Sy on 03.03.14 at 5:46 pm

When we’ve taken an old pool and rebuilt it into an outdoor aquatic center like Terrace, Drake or Laurel Oaks the usage increases exponentially. Why? It’s not like the population of the neighborhood grew the same way? What that tells me is people will make a choice to hop in the car and drive to the new pool, even if they have an older version closer to them. Little Johnny would rather float in the lazy river and go down the slide a few hundred times vs. jumping off the edge into 4 feet of water. So I think they are right when they talk about how traffic will be greater on the outdoor pool, as they’ve seen that pattern play out before.

Now when you add the wrinkle of building the indoor aquatic center as designed, we move into territory the City has never plowed before. So at this point everything is really an educated guess. However, it makes sense that people will still favor the outdoor pools closer to their neighborhood in the summer, many people might even drive to Drake if Spellerberg is closer. What happens when all the other pools are shut down is when the game changes, then you’ll have the crowd of people who want to continue swimming on days like today using the place. Traffic still won’t be a huge issue IMO as peak hours for the pool will be after school and weekends.

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