Notice that he thanks only FOUR councilors for support of the Events Center, I am assuming he is talking about the FOUR that voted for the Arena location.
UPDATED: Click on the below image to enlarge and read the bottom caption.
Editorial Cartoonist from South Dakota
Notice that he thanks only FOUR councilors for support of the Events Center, I am assuming he is talking about the FOUR that voted for the Arena location.
UPDATED: Click on the below image to enlarge and read the bottom caption.
The new fire station ribbon cutting today in Sioux Falls. Good thing SF Chamber Board Member (and part-time city councilor, Dean Karksy could make the event for the mayor)
After getting a good clubbing at last night’s council meeting, the mayor headed off bright and early this morning to Yankton.
He did the full scale tour.
I had to chuckle at the irony of my friend Ben Hanten in Yankton inviting the mayor to speak at Yankton’s 1 Million cups. If it wasn’t for Mr. Hanten, I would have never gotten into politics or blogging. Thanks Ben.
Last Sunday, Mike went to First Baptist Church in Sioux Falls for another exciting edition of his ‘Shut Up and Listen’ session. He gave advice on how to dress for an interview (if they even call you for one) and put his foot in his mouth so many times that I am guessing his breath smells like sweaty toes and shoe leather to this day!
On Friday, I noticed in the SF City Council’s informational meeting agenda, that Huether was scheduled to do a presentation entitled ‘Communications’ it has since been removed.
Not only can’t he communicate with the council, he can’t even communicate about the lack of communication. But hey, we have another billboard with his face on it, what more do we need?
Joe Sneve, the new city reporter for the Argus Leader wrote and article about the under hand moves of the Mayor and his Sidekick, Darin Smith;
The city already had spent more than $35,000 building the website and buying advertising to promote it before City Council members or the public learned about the project.
“You talk about transparency in government. You talk about saving money. You talk about building trust in government. What (Huether) has done violates a lot of the principles that I think most of us live by,” Councilor Greg Jamison said. “I’ll be proposing to change the language so we can prevent things like this from happening again.”
And it seems as of 7AM this morning, people are ready for a new mayor or is it an indoor pool? Elections and polls are so confusing these days. I think we should act quickly like we did with the indoor pool and hold the next mayoral election next week. And who are these 13% anyway?
The city attorney was asked recently at Democratic Forum what was going on with the Spellerberg pool MOU with the VA. His response, “We are in communications and working on it.”
At last week’s Spellerberg pool presentation the Parks director was asked about the MOU. His response, “We are in communications and working on it.”
This week they plan on starting site work for the pool and at yesterday’s press conference at Spellerberg Park the Mayor was asked about the MOU, His response, “Next question.” And when pressured to answer the question, he still did not respond and recommended that we “move along.”
After the press conference, Bruce and I were talking with a reporter from KSFY and explaining the MOU situation to him, and how we have been asking for a resolution for almost 3 years. As we were standing in the parking lot, the mayor slowly drove up in his truck with his window down and spouted out his window (in a most mature manner) “Thank You KSFY for coming today.” And drove off grinning sarcastically in his rearview mirror.
Mr. Mayor, you have been given plenty of opportunities to address the MOU, but instead you and city staff continue to blow it off and feed us the same line over and over, “We are working on it.”
Here’s the deal, I don’t give a rip if you get the MOU, if you think it is prudent to spend $24 million in tax dollars on a piece of property controlled by the Federal Government, so be it. But if you have no intention of attaining that document, instead of acting like a little kid yelling from your pickup window, why don’t you just tell us the truth, “I have no intention of attaining an MOU.” Instead all this smoke and mirrors and public pouting.
The resolution is simple. Tell the truth.
Just another private-public partnership that makes our city so freaking great!
Yeah, I know, reading an interview with our mayor in Free Enterprise magazine is kind of like reading an interview with Gordon Howie in High Times magazine, but let’s get started with his words of wisdom;
What’s the structure of the Sioux Falls government?
We have a “strong mayor” form of government. I am basically the C.E.O. or the president of a large company, and that company is the City of Sioux Falls. We have roughly 1,200 city employees and 12 department heads, and a substantial budget. We’re responsible of running the day-to-day activities of a city with 170,000 people, and a metropolitan area with about 250,000.
He fails to mention the legislative body of city government, the city council, which shouldn’t surprise any of us. His disdain for them is evident in every city council meeting, where he shorts them on information, then cuts them off when they ask leading questions.
Economic development is probably one of the biggest challenges that I wanted to tackle when I was first elected. In corporate America, I was a growth and development guy,
You were a ‘seek and destroy’ marketing manager for the worst credit card company in the nation. Twist that how ever you want, but your practices in ‘corporate America’ were to prey on the fiscally ignorant, and stick it to them. That’s not economic development, that’s highway robbery.
Why has the city’s healthcare sector seen such impressive growth over the past decade?
Well, there are a number of reasons. For example, we’ve got a gentleman, Denny Sanford, who invested significantly in Sanford Health. So, he’s helped infuse millions of dollars into finding a cure for juvenile diabetes or breast cancer at that health center, and he wants to build one of the best and most respected research institutions in the Midwest. Then, at the same time, we have another organization in town called Avera McKennan, which is also investing millions into their research, infrastructure and vision.
This all ties into what happened during the recession: Though financial services, construction, and manufacturing were slowing down, other industries like agriculture, research, and healthcare were just kicking tail. These sectors really provided that balance that we needed to keep our head above water during the recession, and they also enabled us to get out of that water faster than anybody once the recession came to an end. We have recently been called “America’s Next Boomtown.”
Did you know that Sanford and Avera are some the lowest wage paying healthcare networks in the nation? And that is just the beginning of their issues, I could go into patient care and services. As for staying above the recession, that couldn’t be farther from the truth, we have remained stagnant in wages in SF since the recession, even with the low unemployment rate. More kids are eating free lunches in the schools, food banks are expanding, and the common worker just can’t keep up. I know the hilltop that Mike lives on may be doing well, but the rest of Sioux Falls is struggling to keep their heads above water.
And the ending couldn’t be any better;
What’s your secret to success?
There wasn’t much confidence in this area back in late 2009, early 2010. Now, we have a confidence level that is off the charts. When you go in confident, there are amazing things you can accomplish.
Really?! Quite honestly, I accomplished more in Sioux Falls before 2009, then after. In fact, the road has been a bit rough since 2009, and I ask myself everyday if I will ever have extra money for emergencies.
We also tackled some quality of life obstacles that had been eluding us for generations. We built a $117 million event center we had been talking about forever that opened last fall. We just recently passed a $24 million indoor aquatics center we’ve been debating since 1951!
Who passed the aquatics center? It wasn’t on the ballot. In fact the last two times it was actually on the ballot, it failed.
Additionally, through a public-private partnership, we just opened an indoor ice complex, and in March is the ribbon cutting of an indoor tennis facility.
Without mentioning he had the audacity to plop his name on a facility taxpayers gave $500,000 to.
Once again, Hubris.
This failed for a reason, and it wasn’t the political power machine that killed it, it was many people with common sense behind the scenes lobbying against higher regressive taxes that just burden the working poor. It is counterproductive to fund projects on the backs of people paying higher taxes on food and utilities. If we really want to tap a hidden tax source it would be an income tax on corporations and high wage earners. Other then that, it astonishes me that the mayor of SF would support this, a person who is often telling us we are swimming in money. A little history lesson for Mr. Whitney (who apparently has no clue what has been going on in city politics for the past 10 years) We recently switched our water/sewer over to ‘enterprise funds’ this was a way to direct our fees into fixing infrastructure, which makes sense, though I think it was done to justify higher rates and to free up CIP money for ‘play things’. We don’t need higher sales taxes in Sioux Falls, especially under an administration that gets giddy every time they open the city checkbook. The next time the city needs extra money for NEEDED infrastructure, I suggest they cut elitist indoor tennis centers named after our esteemed emperor instead of looking for more ways to screw the poor.
Of course, let’s look at Whitney’s version as to why this went down (am I the only one who doesn’t laugh at his satire pieces but think his serious columns are hilarious?)
Consider the plight of Senate Bill 135, a sales tax measure that appeared reasonable enough when first submitted by Republican state Sen. Corey Brown back in January.
Yes proposed by Mr. South Dakota ALEC himself. An organization that likes to have taxes paid by the working class, while corporations run free from taxation. I can almost guarantee Brown saw this as a way to protect his corporate interests.
Bolstered by the South Dakota Municipal League, the bill would have granted cities and towns the ability to impose up to a third penny of general sales tax — if approved by voters — to pay for capital expenditures such as land acquisition, street or bridge repair and other infrastructure projects.
And that is the major flaw with the legislation, it’s wording, infrastructure projects can mean anything from a bridge, a sewer pipe or an indoor pool.
“Voters had to approve it, it was specifically for infrastructure, there was a hard sunset on it and it could not be extended or renewed,” says Yvonne Taylor, executive director of the South Dakota Municipal League
The ‘Sunset Clause’ song and dance. We know how that rolls. Remember the 2nd penny implementation for roads? Well we don’t entirely spend it on roads anymore, just a portion of it. Or the ‘entertainment tax’ that was used to pay off the Washington Pavilion bonds. Well that was paid off, but we are still paying the tax. The sunset clause is a ruse, because as soon as the project is paid for, government will find another project to spend it on. History has shown this. Do you study history Yvonne?
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, for all his talk about local control, wasn’t thrilled with the idea of cities being able to address their own revenue issues, especially with his push for highway and bridge funding taking top priority in Pierre. If someone was going to raise taxes, it was going to be him.
Well, I’m not one to defend our tight wad governor, but it seems he was using common sense by pointing out raising taxes and fees for road repairs on a state level then allowing municipalities to also implement a tax increase at the same time wouldn’t sit well with taxpayers. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.
Deputy state revenue director David Wiest opposed SB135 in Senate committee, saying consumers already pay four cents on the dollar in state sales tax and that collecting more locally would push the burden too high.
“That’s not going to work for citizens in the state,” he told legislators. “They won’t permit it.”
And he is right. I haven’t talked to one single person who thought this was good legislation. The other flaw pointed out to me by my conservative friends was that it should take a 60% majority to approve a tax increase, this was NOT in the bill, and I believe that is why a lot of legislators didn’t like it.
Throwing out a scary number (especially one that could not possibly come to fruition and that Taylor of the Municipal League called “mind-boggling”) was gimmicky politics at best, but the tactic was repeated in op-ed pieces and voter outreach spearheaded by the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
It may have been ‘gimmicky’ but not to far from the truth. In fact if we raised the taxes by a penny just in Sioux Falls, it would be around a $50 million dollar tax increase. That’s not a gimmick, that is the truth.
“It’s no secret that Sioux Falls would have reaped the rewards of this legislation, but cities and towns all across the state were clamoring for its passage as well,” Huether said this week. “It was a full-court press for local control.”
Local control?! Let’s talk ‘gimmicks’. Besides the public approving such a regressive tax increase, that is where our ‘control’ would end. We have a city administration that is famous for handing out money to special interests with little public input. In fact, our mayor is so brazen about it, after cutting a $500,000 check to the Indoor Tennis Palace, he slaps his name on the building. Now that’s local control!
Those projects total an estimated $100 million in a city that has about $30 million a year to take care of all of its maintenance, reconstruction and extension efforts, city public works director Mark Cotter told state legislators. To use public bonds, the city would spend more than “$52 million in interest alone” over 20 years to pay for the work, he added.
$30 Million? What did I say earlier about the 2nd penny? The fact is we have been robbing it (CIP) for play things and bond payments on those play things. If we truly spend ALL of the 2nd penny on it’s true intent, we would be driving on streets of gold, and they would be paid for. Instead we consistently rob the cookie jar for entertaining ourselves. The money exists for these projects, make no mistake, but it takes an administration willing to make prudent decisions about infrastructure instead of worrying about what color the bathrooms will be at the Events Center (something I heard he was very involved in).
After the efforts made in Sioux Falls and the personal involvement of Huether to articulate the importance of the bill to the state’s largest city, those votes did not go unnoticed.
“Sioux Falls brought out the big guns to promote the passage of this critical bill,” Huether said. “Then to find out it was some of our very own legislative team that didn’t even let us enter the corral for the gunfight was very disheartening.”
Oh Yes Mike, it’s always about you, isn’t it? This bill was defeated because it just wasn’t fiscally responsible. Besides, what gun fight did you get into? Did you testify in Pierre on it’s behalf? I don’t recall hearing about that?
Darrin Smith, the city’s community development director, said that the bill’s defeat is a setback for Sioux Falls growth.
“I don’t think there’s any question that this will put significant economic development opportunities we have at risk,” Smith said. “This would have allowed us to invest even more in infrastructure to create more jobs and diversify our economy, but you can’t be successful if you’re afraid to lead, so we’ll do the best we can now.”
Wow! Darrin, did you just read what you said? If we were so afraid of risking economic development in Sioux Falls, why did we borrow $117 million for an Events Center? Or rob Federal levee paybacks to build an indoor pool? Or have $37 million in surplus accounts? I don’t think we are risking anything, except over extending ourselves on play things.
“I cheer for our governor more often than not, but this is one topic where I respectfully disagree,” Huether said. “I am not fighting against my governor, but rather fighting hard for South Dakotans, east of the Missouri and west. I know he is too.”
Mike, you cheer (and cry) for one person, and we know exactly who that is.
“Hey, thanks for those tickets to the Greenbay game, now for some (softball) questions.”
So last week I was shown some photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party doing photo-ops with employees. Maybe he was the keynote speaker or the entertainment for the night. Thank Snowplows my work just sets up banquet tables in the warehouse and feeds us fried chicken for about 45 minutes for our Christmas party.
I was also shown photos of the mayor attending a Greenbay game at Lambeau with the general manager of KELO-TV, Jay Huizenga. I guess it didn’t shock me too much (the Christmas party I find stranger then the game trip).
So I sent this email off to Jay;
Jay, I recently was given a couple of photos of Mayor Huether attending the KELO-TV employee Christmas party and you and him attending an NFL football game in Greenbay. No big deal. What concerns me is that the General Manager of a local news organization is crossing the line of journalistic integrity. I don’t think I have to remind you of the 4th estate, and their duties. Sometimes that means you can’t be friends with certain people. Before I post anything on my blog, I would like to hear an explanation from you.
Thank You, Scott L. Ehrisman
Thank you for the email. I have no comment on my personal life.
No Jay, thank you for not answering any of my questions. I did think about sending the mayor an email, but I’m sure his ‘personal’ friend Jay probably already made him aware there are photos of Santa Cheesehead Mayor floating around on the Facebooks. C’mon Mike, didn’t you learn anything from the Lamb Chislic incident?
Though I responded to Jay that ‘I understood’ I really didn’t know what to think, but the more I thought about them, the more it frustrated me that our local news media would be this cozy with an elected official.
Like I said at first, didn’t surprise me. But then I started thinking about all the very (soft) stories this organization has done about the city, especially when it comes to this mayor or the Events Center (remember, KELO is a sponsor), and it started adding up, that the relationship is way too cozy.
First off, I don’t think there is anything wrong with people in the news industry being friends with local elected officials. Hey, if you want to go for a jog together, meet up for drinks, or even have dinner at each other’s homes, I think it is perfectly within reason. I think the more cordial journalists are to elected officials and vice versa, the easier it may be to get a story. I know my cordial relationships with public officials have yielded me many leads and information. But I certainly don’t take them to NFL games, and I am certainly not a full-time, for profit, news organization. I think more importantly I share a common interest in transparency, and integrity in government with these officials. I don’t need to scratch their backs, and they don’t need to scratch mine to get truthful information out there.
What makes this situation different is, who invited who? And who paid for the tickets and travel expenses to the game? This is where it gets complicated, and NO longer ‘personal.’ Someone indicated to me that KELO may have supplied the tickets since that particular game was broadcast on CBS, and the mayor or others in the party paid for travel expenses to make it appear more 50/50. Either way, it’s one thing for an elected official to buy you lunch or even a beer, but a trip to an NFL game? I also find it ironic that a Mayor and an Events Center sponsor would have to travel a couple of states away to ‘entertain’ themselves when they told us we needed to build the Events Center so we can see world class entertainment here instead of traveling. So which is it? Isn’t Stampede Hockey entertaining enough for you guys?
I want to know what you think. Do you agree with Mr. Huizenga that this has to do with his ‘personal life’ only? While (political) business may or may not have been discussed on the trip, it seems this kind of cozy relationship may affect the kind of news we hear about this political figure. AND I think it has. But you know what they say at these media organizations, the sales department never dictates to the news department what to broadcast. So I guess the General Manager never talks to the news department either, you know, similar to the relationship Huether has with the city council.
Though Jay did say the football game trip was personal, he failed to say anything about the Christmas party, which leads me to believe Huether was invited.
Like I mentioned above, I have often felt that this news organization has done light hearted and non-controversial stories about the city, mayor and others (I’m convinced that Thune has a staffer with a desk in their studios), and after seeing and hearing the latest about the relationship they share, I have ZERO confidence in this organization ever doing anything investigative or controversial about Huether, or even giving us the full story.
So much for Doug Lund’s post about how much better KELO is at NEWS then the Argus Leader.
I get angry when people I know in the broadcast news business, who work every bit as hard at their craft and are as dedicated to journalistic excellence as anyone at the Argus.
More like working on craft beers at an NFL game with the mayor. Speaking of the ‘100 Eyed Spaghetti Monster’ I told them about the situation and encouraged them to do a real story about it, instead of just my farting around stuff on my blog. I don’t have much confidence in that happening after reading Whitney’s column on Sunday about the mayor smiling a lot and beating up on Kermit over a wishing well. Stu, was that supposed to be a parody column? You know, parodies are supposed to make people laugh, right? At least you didn’t mention Dan Scott, and well, Janklow is dead anyway.
So much for the 4th Estate in Sioux Falls being the watchdog of local government, more like the lapdog.
I guess it is good to be King, and it only cost a couple of football tickets. I suspect to see another story about evil bloggers after this post gets published. Hey Jay, wanna join me for a Storm game? I’ll even drive, of course we would have to see it in our lousy stadium, be careful not to trip on any of the cracks in the floor and watch out for flying siding.