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.
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.
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.
“Confidentiality agreements are often put in place by businesses to protect proprietary information. The Argus Leader believes the deal made between the city and contractors does not meet the proprietary standard,” Argus Leader Media President Kathy Jack-Romero said. “Put simply: the city is not serving the best interests of taxpayers of Sioux Falls, who will be paying for the Denny Sanford Premier Center for 19 years. It is our responsibility to determine whether the city followed the law. The closed-door nature of this case has not engendered trust in local government.”
Mayor Mike Huether says that one major facility in Sioux Falls is a perfect example of what voting can accomplish.
“We had over forty thousand people vote on the event center,” Mayor Huether said, “Over 40% voter turnout… and it ended up being the largest voter turn out in city of Sioux Fall’s history.”
It was part of a special election held in November of 2011 and, while there isn’t a special election being held this year, he’s hoping for a record turnout this time as well with the 45th President of the United States being determined.
“When you voted, whether you voted yes or whether you voted no, you’re vote had an impact on your city in such a dramatic way.”
Whether it’s a Presidential Election or a special election to determine the fate of the Premier Center, officials say it’s important to make your voice heard and exercise your right to vote.
Yes, only in Mike’s twisted logic, he would try to get people to vote by lying about election results. Oh Brother. Even after we pointed out this lie months ago. Typical salesman, who cares about the past when we can re-write it?
Ironically, he is not only lying about voter turnout, he fails to mention that over 11,000 of them never showed up to vote again AND it was only an advisory vote. The city council is the one that authorized the sale of the bonds, not the citizenry. In fact, the council could have voted against the EC bonds and the citizens would have had NO legal recourse. They would have had to have a petition drive and an actual LEGAL election to authorize the sale of the bonds to override the council’s decision, similar to the city admin petition drive. Then the voters would have truly had a say in the EC bond sale.
What amazes me even more is that the state’s highest ranking Democrat would hold a press conference about voting, and lie to the public. Makes you wonder what other things he has been lying about. Scary, I know. Spring of 2018 cannot come soon enough.
With the big announcement this week a smaller tourist organization in Sioux Falls, called the CED (Cynical Economic Development) decided to celebrate the event with a smaller event this weekend. Some of the booths and demonstrations at the event will be;
a) 102 recipes for killing the taste of pheasant with cream of mushroom soup
b) Who needs camo, orange hats and boots, let’s go ditch hunting from the window of your truck
c) 20 excuses to give to farmers when you get caught hunting on their land without permission
e) How to blow $1,000 at Scheels to hunt a bird you will never eat
f) How to fit 18 hunters into a Sioux Falls hotel room with beds for only 2
Should be fun. I guess there will also be a demonstration by the mayor on how to where a cowboy hat properly.
So I was all ready to do a blog post about some internal audits when I ran across the interesting graphic below (I highlighted and cropped it to fit my website). Remember what we were told?
The project also is on track to meet the project goal of 85 percent of the work performed by local contractors and suppliers.
Well if you add up the numbers of our own internal audit, it’s not quite 85%, in fact, it’s not even close. If you use just the actuals you will see we spent about $38.3 million on outside (of Sioux Falls and the state) contractors and supplies and about $59.6 million on local contractors.
But there is still some stuff missing. We have NO idea what amount of supplies and outside labor our local contractors used, I couldn’t even began to guess, but let’s lowball it at 25%, that would bring our local numbers to $44.7 million.
Then there is the little discrepancy with MJ Dalsin;
Wall panels/air barrier/roofing MJ Dalsin Roofing $3.1 million
According to them, they did perform much of this work, but deny ever installing the rippling siding. So who did? That contractor is conveniently left off the audit sheet, and so is the siding settlement.
Secrets, lies, and more secrets and lies. This audit isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.
But as our own auditor says about CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk);
The three biggest risks to the City in using the CMAR delivery method for construction projects are these:
• A poorly written contract favoring the CMAR is entered into by the City who may be inexperienced in the nuances of such contracts.
• Criticism of the process of selecting the CMAR. Since the selection is based upon the more subjective measure of best qualified rather than the objective cost criteria in a DBB project, there may be a perception of favoritism.
• A big problem in the field that the CMAR ignores or covers up. Such a big problem is the only way a CMAR is truly at risk.
A big problem in the field? You mean like poorly installed siding that is covered up in a secret settlement? Never happen 🙁
To remedy what Stoner called operational inefficiencies, SMG, the management company that operates the event center, and Spectra have been given the all clear by the city to use some of the $2.8 million left over from the construction budget to add up to 1,200 square feet of the storage space in various areas throughout the facility. The kitchen will also see about 1,900 square feet of additional space as a part of the planned upgrades.
Although he said there’s no estimated constructions costs that can be shared yet, Huber said it’s unlikely the work will eat up all of the $2.8 million “Day 2” funds, which include the $1 million settlement the city was reimbursed by event center contractors last year.
So, let’s review. We failed to build enough cooler space to begin with, so we are going to use money (that we already borrowed) that was given ‘back’ to us (on paper) in a siding settlement to build more cold storage space, at tax payer expense, (for a vendor that is rolling in the dough already in beer sales).
So why isn’t the city getting a cut of these beer sales to help offset the mortgage payment? Oh, that’s right, it’s a secret.
Argus Leader Media president Bill Albrecht wouldn’t rule out an appeal of Pekas’ decision, which he called disappointing while remaining steadfast that open record laws were violated when the city denied Argus Leader Media’s record request.
“We believe the public has the right to know what caused this million dollar transaction. It is a million dollars. Regardless if it is money spent by the city government, or money received by the city government, it is the public’s money and public needs – and has the right to know – the details,” Albrecht said. “The confidentially agreement was made outside of a lawsuit which does not garner it protection based on our interpretation of the statute.”
South Dakota Newspaper Association president Jeremy Waltner said regardless of the ruling, the city’s insistence that settlement details remain seals only keeps the door open to perceptions of impropriety among those involved in the event center construction, including the city government. Furthermore, Pekas ruling essentially says any government entity can contract through secrecy, he said.
“Whether it’s legal or not legal … all of that legal speak aside, the city should release the information. They should not hide behind this because all it’s doing is raising more questions,” Waltner said.
I think even if the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of the Argus, we could see a long challenge from the city. Not only that, there could be a significant white washing before the documents are handed over. Also, key players like city attorney Fiddle Faddle and Mayor Huether will be long gone.
I really think the Argus and the rest of the media in Sioux Falls missed the boat a long time ago when this was first brought to light (the siding issue) and when the consultant’s report hit the shredder. I think that report NOT being released was really the most damaging part of this whole deal. I think it was the key piece of evidence that the siding job was a pure sh*t show from the beginning.
Here is what we have speculated through this process from talking to contractors and engineers close to the project;
The original design was not used. If you look at early architectural drawings (above image), there were supposed to be large flat rectangular panels applied (about 8 x 16 Foot) giving the building an almost hexagonal look, and avoiding any unneeded bending of metal. It was dumped to save money. Several numbers have been thrown out there, anywhere from $1.5-3 million was saved. But saved for what? The rumor is to repair ‘other’ constingency problems in the building.
A couple of contractors who worked on the EC but did NOT apply the siding were pulled into the lawsuit. This is a real mystery to everyone, even the contractors. While there may have been some issues with the work they were doing in other parts of the building, they had nothing to do with the siding. Some may say it was punishment for agreeing to NOT do the work.
This isn’t cosmetic, something I think they are also covering up. It doesn’t take an engineer to tell you something has major holes in it. Just walk up to the building and see for yourself.
We think the consultant’s report was FULL of recommendations on how to fix the siding, but we also think once a price tag was put on the fix, they bailed.
The one million dollar settlement WAS NOT cash or transferred monies, it was a discount from Mortenson on the building. It would be like purchasing a $25 steak that was cooked wrong and the restaurant giving you a $26 coupon.
The irony is, even if all the speculation is correct, if the city was just honest from the beginning, I think most people would have forgiven and forgotten about the siding. But you know what they say about how many lies it takes to cover one lie.