Entries Tagged 'Potholes' ↓

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, 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.

READ ABOUT 2015 REVIEW HERE.

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 state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• 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.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• 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.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• 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.

Councilor Jamison filling potholes!?

Boy, the city really must be broke if they are sending city councilors out to fill potholes 🙂

potheadgreg

Maybe there is an ‘important’ reason why the city won’t fill the hole in front of my house? A new discovery?

Yup, so they showed up on Friday to cut a hole out. ON A FRIDAY! So it could fill with rain for 2-1/2 days before they fill it. That’s planning at it’s finest.

The cost of attending an Argue Endorser public forum; $25

Not sure if anyone watched the public forum at the University Center that the AL put on the other day, but it’s a hoot. Especially when Public Works director Galen Huber says he doesn’t want to make any conclusions about snowgates until they collect all the data from the season, but then shit talks them the entire time, claiming they narrow streets (even though every street in SF gets narrower during the winter, especially in the older neighborhoods where a lot of people park on both sides). What I have often wondered is why these forums are not very well attended (besides the fact that the AL is putting them on) it may have to do with the parking situation as this South DaCola foot soldier explained to me in an email;

I’m e-mailing you my “public forum/parking ticket experience”.

I attended the Argus Leader’s public forum on roads last Thursday at University Center.  When I arrived the visitor’s lot was full, so I parked out in one of the far lots.

Much to my dismay, I rec’d a $25 parking ticket!

I stopped in at the Argus office the next day, thinking that they would be willing to give the University Center a call to explain that I had been there attending the public forum.  First the receptionist called MariCarol (Editor) her response was that she had also gotten a ticket. I told the receptionist that I wanted to talk to her, but when she called her back she was suddenly unavailable. Randall Beck (Publisher) and Yvonne Hawkins (Queen of Community convos) were also at the forum, so I asked to speak to Randall – he would not talk to me either.  I don’t know if he also got a ticket, but I was right behind him when he walked out and he was parked in a faculty spot. So, I asked to speak to Yvonne, she came out, I explained the situation and told her that I did not expect the Argus to pay the ticket, but that I would like them to give the University Center a call.  She told me,

“We don’t do that kind of thing, this is your personal issue, you’re going to have to take care of it on your own.”

I was PO’d  I drove out to the Center and once I explained the situation they voided the ticket and apologized.

So much for public forums!

This comes as no surprise to me. They ask the public to attend, but do they really want them there since they ask most of the questions? I only heard questions from two attendees. One guy wondered if he could get permission to fill potholes on his street, since the city isn’t getting around to it. And another lady cornered Huber about the time allotted to clean the streets (48 Hours) but it has only been taking them 36 hours, in other words, what’s all the hub bub about snowgates taking longer?

Why is the city selling a 4 year old pothole patcher?

From my email box;

So I guess Sioux Falls doesn’t have any potholes to fill, so they are selling the machine that fixes them.
Seriously – this is a machine that was new in 2006… are we really only getting four years of use out of our equipment these days?  That doesn’t exactly seem efficient.  I have underwear older than that.


It also appears to be in good working order since the auctioneer has an assurance on it. The city plays these games all the time, they can’t have anything that is too old – who cares, not their money, spend, spend, spend. Pat Costello joked once during a council meeting that whenever he would drive by a work site with private contractors and public works vehicles at it, he noticed the private contractor work trucks were like 15 years old and the public works drove brand new vehicles. It amazes me that we would cut tree removal budgets, yet not even blink twice about selling a vehicle at a third of what is was probably worth brand new.

One more reason why the Home Rule charter handcuffs our council

I just magically appeared after a little rain and ice.

This should come as no surprise that our mayor, or any mayor of Sioux Falls for that matter (cough . . . Munson . . . cough), just does things without consulting the council, well, because he can. The Home Rule charter pretty much gives absolute power to the mayor. But as we have been finding out more and more of this power has been found unconstitutional. So does our new council have the guts to dismantle the charter or will it be in the hands of the people? Comments from at least one of the council members is encouraging, but I am not going to hold my breath;

There wasn’t a mayoral candidate in all of Sioux Falls who didn’t have a thing or two to say about potholes.

And after securing victory, one of the first steps Mayor Mike Huether took was to redirect $2.6 million to the war on crumbling streets. That money piggybacked on former Mayor Dave Munson’s redoubling of efforts on street repair in March.

But the additional money didn’t materialize out of thin air, and it will come at a cost to other projects. About $1.4 million of the additional money will come from the city’s arterial street expansion program, meaning that some projects, including work at major intersections, will be put off.

Huether made the decision unilaterally, without consulting the council. He has the authority to do it, but City Council Chairman Greg Jamison said it would have been nice to get a heads up, especially for councilors who had projects in their districts delayed because of the switch in funding.

“I just felt like, out of courtesy, he could have brought us in,” Jamison said.

While I agree our potholes should be fixed pronto, I think the council should have been a part of the decision. Like I said above, these kind of decisions will continue unless we tear down the Home Rule Charter. Case in point;

Huether and four new councilors were not around when the council fought a bruising battle over arterial streets. Faced with an $85 million backlog, a split council in 2008 voted to increase the city’s second-penny sales tax and development fees for more work on arterial streets.

And who made the final passing vote on this debacle that has FORCED taxpayers to pay their fair share but not the developers? Mayor Munson. But even more troubling, some developers still are blaming the weather;

Chuck Point, a vice president at Ronning Cos., was among the developers who pushed for more money for arterial streets. He said he’s not worried about diverting some money from arterial streets to make repairs – for now.

“I can’t fault him for it,” Point said of Huether’s decision to divert funding from arterial roads. “If you drive around Sioux Falls, you saw it. What I get frustrated about is people blaming the wrong thing. It was the weather.

Bullshit!

While the weather did make the potholes literally explode, I find it hard to believe that this happened overnight. These potholes have been festering for years. Like I have said in the past, I have ridden my bike on the streets of this town for years, they were in bad shape to begin with, and if you just ignore them, they will only get worse, which happened. The city, the past mayor and council ignored keeping up with infrastructure during good economic times. We had record sales tax revenue and we squandered it, now we are scrambling to fix something we have no money for. We missed the boat to literally put money away for a RAINY DAY, now we have to pay the piper, and that means delaying new projects.

This new mayor and council better come to a quick realization that prioritizing should be their number one concern.

Pothole City, USA

Of course the city denied the claims, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Don’t you know, the citizens of Sioux Falls are innocent until proven guilty;

Seven drivers asked the city of Sioux Falls to pay for vehicle repairs they said were caused by hitting potholes on city streets.

The formal claims to the city involved popped tires and damaged rims. The bill totaled $2,700 from the five drivers who listed the cost of their repairs.

The city’s risk management director, Regan Smith, said the city investigated the claims and decided it was not liable.

The city received four claims of pothole damage last year. Drivers whose claims are denied by the city can take their case to court.

Yeah, and spend $40,000 fighting the city in court for $2,700 in damages. There is only one reason these claims were denied; they would have set precedent.