ArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016
2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.
But locally there were three things that stood out;
• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.
• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!
• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.
Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;
• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.
• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.
• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.
• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.
• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”
• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .
• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.
• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.
• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.
• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?
• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.
• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.
• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .
• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.
• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.
• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?
• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.
• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.
• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.
• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.
• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.
• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.
• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.
Most may tell you that they don’t take loans out from pay day lenders for gambling but for rent. Which is probably true, because what usually happens is they spend their paycheck on gambling then don’t have money over for rent.
It will be interesting to see if Video Lottery revenue goes down due to the fact people won’t be able to get quick cash. I suspect in the first year it will probably be around 15% percent, but I think within the 2nd year, you are going to see revenue way down due to the closure of pay day lenders.
Maybe it is time to eliminate VL once and for all?
My cameraman asked Steve if we could come this morning and film and interview some of the people harassing him, and he didn’t want us to, then he calls a press conference and invites the ‘real’ media;
Hildebrand says for the last two weeks, his business has been visited by large groups of people who’ve disrupted staff and other customers. Hildebrand believes the missionaries behind movement are connected to the payday loan industry.
Floyd Pickett is the organizer and says he’s here to do homeless outreach. He says the people he’s bringing in are paying customers who aren’t doing anything wrong. He has plans to bring in even more people. On Wednesday, he says he’ll bring in a bus of 150 people.
Hildebrand says he believes Pickett works for the man who owns North American Title Company.
It seems more than a bit elitist and snobbish to complain that these paying customers are being hauled in by his political opponents who are buying them food there.
So Patt, how many bumper stickers your campaign store business sold to Planned Parenthood and The Freethinkers? You know the business you were ‘unethically’ running while working for the SOS on the taxpayer’s dime. That’s right, you are Republican, you’ll take money from a dead guy as long as the check clears, doesn’t matter if you earned it or not.
This is truly hardball politics that have nothing to do with helping the homeless or missionaries. There is a part of me that feels sorry for Steve, but I also believe in KARMA. Steve’s political sins of the past may finally be catching up with him (you know, like getting Huether elected). BTW, why don’t you give your old meal ticket a call and see if you will help you out, or better yet your pal Barry in the White House.
I also find this ironic on another level, it doesn’t hurt to have a homeless shelter a few blocks away from his establishment for easy access to them, I have always felt that was a bad location for the shelter, and I bet Steve is thinking the same thing now.
At the end of the day, I will admit, this is fun to watch, gutter politics at it’s best.
If you are sick of living in an area crammed with payday lenders on every corner, maybe Arkansas is the right place for you.
On August 11, 2009, the final payday lending storefront shuttered its doors in Little Rock, Arkansas. Though the Arkansas Constitution limits interest on loans to 17%, a decade-old law enabled payday lenders to dodge the issue and charge triple-digit interest on loans.
Needless to say, the law had many vocal opponents. And, in an example of the judicial system at its best, the Arkansas Supreme Court found the law unconstitutional in 2008.
If Senator Tim Johnson ascends to the chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee, the biggest winners will be Wall Street, pay-day lenders and credit card companies. The biggest losers: widows and orphans.
In late 2006, the South Dakotan spoke out against an effort by his fellow Democrats to cap the interest rates that members of the military pay for short-term loans. “This time it’s military. Who’s to say it isn’t going to be widows and orphans or other sympathetic groups in the future?” he griped in an interview with the American Banker.
That’s the man who’s next in line to lead the Banking Committee if the current chair, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), as expected, vacates the position to take the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chair left empty by the death of Ted Kennedy.
Meanwhile, Democrats are hoping to push through the most sweeping financial regulations in a generation, including the creation of a government panel that would regulate financial products with an eye toward consumer protection. All of that will have to go through the Banking Committee.
Consumer advocates and backers of a regulation overhaul are deeply concerned that handing the committee to Johnson would be a death sentence for reform.
“He’s got a long track record of supporting small predatory loan companies, pay-day loan companies,” said one longtime consumer advocate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he would have to work with Johnson as banking chair.
In 2003 and again in 2005, Johnson intervened with federal regulators on behalf of pay-day lenders, sending a letter to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation,
A newer player representing Internet payday lenders — a growing segment of the market — also ramped up its lobbying and political giving efforts. The Online Lenders Alliance, formed in 2005, nearly quintupled, to $480,000, its lobbying expenditures from 2007 and 2008. It contributed $108,400 to candidates in advance of the 2008 elections compared to about $2,000 in the 2006 contests. Gutierrez was among the top House recipients, getting $4,600, and the top Senate recipient was Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., a Banking Committee member who got $6,900.
Of course, this is no surprise, but extremely disappointing considering the economy and the devasting affect these places have on lower income families, especially in South Dakota. Johnson should have known better.
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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin takes a question in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, where he discussed President Donald Trump tax proposals. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
National Economic Director Gary Cohn, left, accompanied by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, speaks in the briefing room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, April 26, 2017, where they discussed President Donald Trump tax proposals. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)