Entries Tagged 'Rapid City' ↓

Columnist should learn the basics of municipal government before writing about it

Yes, municipal governments work with the school districts in their respective territories and often school and municipal elections share a ballot like they will next Tuesday in Rapid City, BUT . . . (Stu Whitney column)

Building a new sports and entertainment complex. Working to improve race relations. Finding ways to ensure schools are properly funded. Forging relationships with businesses to spark growth.

This is what you get when you take a sports writer and turn him into a city columnist overnight. Lack of understanding.

Municipal governments have NO control over School District funding, and vice versa.

While it is nice for the mayoral candidates to weigh in on the school district opt-out in Rapid City or school start dates in Sioux Falls (as our mayor thought appropriate) they really have no control over it. That is NOT a leadership issue, it is a governing/jurisdiction issue.

Please, do us all a favor and do a little research on the basic tenants of local government. After all, it is where the big decisions are made, not in publicly supplemented indoor tennis courts.

RC Mayoral Candidate, Allender struggles with the Constitution

While I agree with Allender on the ban of certain kinds of ammo and firearms, he seems to be struggling a little with the US Constitution (From his FB page);

allender-constitution

Good thing Sam cleared it up for him;

The chief and I are in serious disagreement here. Defending the Constitution is everyone’s job, especially elected public officials. It may interest the chief to know that the first line of the Oath of Office for the mayor of Rapid City reads as follows:

“I solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States…”

Hey! Sam, you might want to pass that little tidbit of civic advice onto our police department, city attorney’s office, mayor’s office and the city council, some of them don’t seem to get that whole ‘oath’ thingy.

Why doesn’t Allender just apologize?

I have been watching the Rapid City mayoral race closely (or somewhat closely) and the first thing I say to my West River brothers is “Why in the Hell would you elect a former Police Chief as mayor?”

Then there is the Landfill issue . . .

Either way, I would think that the good people of Rapid City would be smart enough to NOT elect someone who might be a supposed racist, but what is more troublesome, can’t say “Sorry.”

Not that I would compare our mayor to Allender, but MMM often makes weird statements around minorities (including women), but not in a racist way but more out of ignorance. He told a kid clearly of either Pakistanian or Indian decent (8th grader) at a school in one of his ‘Shut Up and Listen’ sessions that “Just because you are a different color then me, doesn’t mean you can’t be mayor of Sioux Falls.” The kid looked at him like ‘what planet did this guy come from?’

Then he spoke at First Baptist and the crowd was mostly African immigrants, he said to them about code enforcement, “Not only do white people need to be good neighbors, but colored people need to also.”
I know South Dakota is mostly behind the times, but when are we going to get with the program with race relations or at least understanding other cultures? Heck, we had the first Black president of the United States visit our state yesterday (I watched the entire commencement LIVE) and he gave a moving and inspiring message, while our NON-education governor in the background stared at the arena lights.
Pretty amazing that a BLACK man can come to South Dakota and make such an inspiring speech . . . I guess colored folk know how to make speeches to, who knew? ;)

Rapid City Civic Center predictions

Not following this as close as I should, but I’m going to say it fails

45/55%

I think it is too expensive, too large and having five former mayors against the project isn’t good. I have a feeling though even if it fails, they will bring back a scaled down package within the year to vote on again.

Su Fu Stu Pu Pu’s the Rapid City Civic Center expansion

I can't even say how stupid I think NASA is...

When taxpayers mortgage ‘play things’

Today during the indoor aquatic center naming rights press conference our esteemed leader of Sioux Falls said that when the city uses private dollars on public facilities the taxpayers win.

Yeah, I laughed to.

He brought up all the grand things that T Denny has done for the EC. Actually, taxpayers win if we don’t spend the money on play things to begin with, and let Sanford build the entire indoor pool complex at the Sports Center, on their dime. And as for the Events Center, let’s look at who is ‘winning’. As I have mentioned recently, the taxpayers are having trouble getting tickets without being raped by ticket scalpers and we still are responsible for the mortgage and maintenance on the facility, even if it is profitable and runs in the black. As taxpayers we really are the losers when it comes to the EC.

Which brings us to Mr. Whitney’s story in the Argus today. Stu says it would be a very bad investment for Rapid City to build the current plan of the new civic center in Rapid City. But he goes a step further and says we did it right in Sioux Falls by only incurring a possible $173 million dollar debt. Trust me, it will be a lot more, once you figure in maintenance and unforeseen problems.

Let’s say for a moment I supported the Events Center, I think one of the things I would have been vocal about as a supporter before the vote is that we don’t build it on the cheap. Apparently we didn’t learn the lesson from the Washington Pavilion which was slated as a $20 million dollar remodel that has probably surpassed $50 million in just 14 years. If you think for a moment that there will be NO more additional costs to the Events Center over the next 20 years besides a mortgage, you are eating some good Colorado Brownies.

I will commend Rapid City on one element of their civic center plan, they are building it for the future, and they are not afraid to spend the money to get it right the first time. Or at least that is their argument.

I think five years from now we will all be scratching our heads as to why the EC wasn’t built bigger and why the place is in a constant state of repair. Heck the place just opened and the siding is inferior (which was brought to the city’s attention before it opened) and flooring on the second floor has so many cracks in it if you were a superstitious person your mother would have a broken back.

So while I will agree with Su Fu’s new superstar journalist that RC should nix the plan, I just wish Stu was this vocal about our ‘on the cheap’ EC plan instead of cheerleading like a 14 year old girl behind the mayor. But I guess we all don’t have wet dreams over HS basketball tournaments.

Rapid City council votes to build new Arena without a vote of the people

Well, I hope they don’t hire Mortenson to handle the project, besides we have them tied up fixing our siding, on site and probably in a court room.

It looks like it will still probably go to a public vote though;

Rapid City officials have approved spending $180 million to build a new civic center arena.

The city council voted 7-3 on Monday in favor of the project after more than three hours of testimony and debate. Local sales tax money would repay the $180 million the city would seek in bonds for the arena, which could seat up to 19,000 people.

A resident started distributing a petition for a binding public vote on the expansion just moments after the council’s vote. The campaign needs roughly 2,000 signatures to force a referendum on the council’s decision.

I know that the mayor of RC said yesterday he would like to see it go to a vote. I hope they are successful in their referendum in getting it on the ballot. If that happens it will be interesting to see how the vote comes down.

Sometimes municipal government can be messy, but necessary

I like Mayor Sam Kooiker, maybe that is why I really didn’t say much until now about his suggested appointment for police chief that failed RC city council;

The council last week rejected Lt. Elias Diaz for the chief’s job, citing a lack of experience, a flawed selection process and a lack of overall transparency on behalf of Mayor Sam Kooiker in choosing who he felt was the right candidate.

While I think some on the RC City Council are from LuLu Libertarian Tea bag land, they made the right decision to reject Sam’s appointment, for all of the reasons above. That is what the legislative body of municipal government is supposed to do. They are the checks and balances for the taxpayers. When the mayor is making a bad decision, or appointing people based on political reasons, the council needs to step up and do their job.

The SF city council could learn a lot from this incident in RC, like how they are supposed to question the administration and city directors when they make ignorant decisions. But first they would have to throw away their rubber stamps and stop taking campaign contributions from the same people/companies our mayor does.

Objective is not the word I would use to describe our city council, more like selective.

Is Mayor Huether the ‘Bizzaro’ of Mayor Kooiker of RC?

flyaway

Don’t be fooled by Bizzaro Huether

Imagine that, a mayor that wants investor transparency when a developer receives public funding and TIF’s. It’s just not our mayor;

I’m puzzled by President’s Plaza’s reaction to simple questions. They’re basically saying ‘give us the public funding and don’t ask questions.”

Asking questions on how the New Market Tax Credit process works is doing due diligence. Let’s remember that this is a public, public, public, private partnership,” Kooiker said,

“Asking questions on how the New Market Tax Credit process works is doing due diligence. Let’s remember that this is a public, public, public, private partnership,” Kooiker said,

The project was first proposed in 2006 and includes $2.8 million in city Vision funds, a downtown lot of city-owned land where the project would sit and a tax increment financing district that the council approved for the project.

“We’re talking millions of dollars in taxpayer funding involved in this project,” the mayor said Saturday. “I’ve been on the record many times as a council member and mayor in support of this project. I believe it’s my responsibility and it’s interesting that such simple questions created such a response. They weren’t even tough questions.”

Remember when the SF city council asked that investors be revealed when developers apply for TIF’s in SF and Q-Tip Smith poo-poo’d the idea. Of course he did, because our mayor or his wife are involved in many of these projects. And while in RC they have a mayor who actually believes in transparency when it comes to publicly funded development projects, our mayor defends his investments.

And in RC the developers play the tired old game of kill the messenger;

“There are a lot of issues with this mayor, and I think in due time, they will be brought to the surface,” (Shafai) he said.

Oldest trick in the book, hope it works out for you Shafai, so far in Sioux Falls, it’s been working for Huether.

Just when you thought the SF City Council was Cuckoo, Rapid City has to show us up

I have often known South Dakotans to be prejudice, but when you are elected to office, you should probably avoid the ‘macca’ moment as much as possible, especially when speaking to REPORTERS!

For months, a city attorney investigation into the conduct of a Rapid City council member has been shrouded in mystery — with details of who was investigated and why kept from public view.

But now, the Journal has learned that the target of the investigation was Ward 1 Council Member Bill Clayton, who faced two separate sets of allegations. One complaint alleges that Clayton made racist comments to an African-American television news reporter during an interview. The other complaint centers on disparaging remarks Clayton reportedly made about fellow Ward 1 Council Member Charity Doyle in August.

Geeesh, and I thought the dirt I had on Councilor Erpenbach was rich, this teabagging birther has her beat, hands down. The part that worries me more is the secrecy around the investigation. Like I said yesterday, that is one reason why I would never file an ethics complaint against Michelle or any other councilor, when the city handles stuff internally, it gets swept under the rug, all behind closed doors.

Hey, Bill, Go back to Bumfck, USA, or wherever you are from . . .

RC Mayor Sam Kooiker is South DaCola’s Patriot of the week

Sam got praise from me August 1, for lowering garbage rates. Sam is the recipient of my first ever Patriot of the week for putting his fist down on property tax increases;

Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker has vetoed the city council’s decision to raise city property taxes next year.

The city council voted 6-4 earlier in the week to increase property taxes by the rate of inflation, an adjustment done to offset rising costs.

Kooiker says the property tax is not needed. The mayor says city sales tax collections are rising more than had been expected and eight tax increment financing districts are expiring.

The inflationary increase in the property tax would bring in an extra $402,000 in revenue to the city.

Sam has it right. If a tax increase is not needed why do it? Every year I see the SF city council and recently the Minnehaha County Commission make this same stupid decision while the mayor sits and brags about the great economic shape we are in. Municipal government’s job is to provide services to citizens from the taxes they pay. Not entertainment or more prosecutions (spending money on crime prevention makes more sense, and saves tax payers $$$).

BRAVO SAM!