Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Digital media is still popular . . .

Ms. Schwan wrote a great article about how digital media still works, if you do it right;

One headline proclaimed “BuzzFeed and the digital meltdown” and explored the challenges facing the once-darling of digital media. The next headline read “Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold.” It detailed a Montana community that lost its newspaper and now looks to a one-man operation for news, mostly through his Facebook posts.

Take those two examples, multiply them out across the nation, and you’ve got a glimpse at what media leaders are grappling with as they attempt to build sustainable business models.

In midst of the latest ‘reporter shield law’ signed by Governor Noem, I still find it a bit odd that they excluded journalists who are independent and work exclusively on the internet. Yes, there is a world of difference from what Jodi does and what I do, but we still work in the same platform, opposite of the failing one;

I used to half-joke when I was in the newspaper industry that, as a business editor, I had pretty good job security.

Someone would have to write the story about whenever the place went out of business, and it seemed logical the role would fall to whomever was left writing about business. By that point, it was really only me, anyway.

It became clear to me that my future wasn’t in that industry, though, during an earnings call in late 2016 when my company’s CEO was asked to “score” the opportunity for continued expense reduction. He compared it to being in the third inning of a baseball game. In other words, they saw plenty of room to further cut costs. I’m not sure where they would consider themselves at today, but I suspect they haven’t reached the seventh-inning stretch.

And it’s just not the dead tree version that is actually dying, the digital format our local newspaper applies is dying also. It’s almost like they are trying to kill off the traditional paper by putting stories online sometimes 2-5 days before they print in the paper. Only to direct people to a website that you have to pay to read (which I felt was a horrible idea). I always thought that they should have kept the online FREE and posted teasers to stories that you could read in the daily printed subscription getting people to read both. I was even surprised with all the stories about flooding emergencies in SF, they still were not offering FREE online readership (I think they had one story available for FREE?).

Jodi says it best, digital media works depending on your platform and opportunities. I often have people tell me across the state that they wouldn’t know what was going on in city government if they didn’t read my site;

I don’t know if this is the future business model for local media, but it’s working so far, and it definitely can grow more. I would argue it has to in order to deliver what the community needs and deserves.

The sad irony is that, in the case of Sioux Falls, there has never been more to talk about. We’ve never had this level of development and industry change. We’ve also never encountered the corresponding challenges that growth brings to a community in quite this way. Look even at this week, when unprecedented weather demanded we have credible information-gatherers spread throughout the state.

In short, there have never been more stories to tell in this city. And it’s sad to me that there is a decreasing number of journalists to tell them. It motivates me to figure out a better way. And two years into it, at least I can say I’m on my way. Thank you so much to all who help make it possible.

I would agree, there are so many stories out their to be covered and lack of experience, lack of creativity, lack of resources, lack of historical knowledge and just plain lack of people and lack of good leadership if there is any leadership at all. This all reared it’s head last week when KSFY reporter, Vanessa Gomez accused city councilors Starr and Stehly of ‘putting her in the middle’. Uh, it’s kind of your job to ferret out the truth (I will give you a hint, it wasn’t coming from TJ TypeOver and City Hall). Ironically shortly after their press conference there was an announcement from city hall to run 3 pothole shifts with a goal to get caught up by April.

Maybe other media digital platforms are failing, because essentially they have a losing team. Sorry Jodi, I wasn’t as polite about it.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • March 19, 2019

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, I guess it cost $1,500 to have an architect tell the city how to fill a hole, sorry, two holes. LOL.

Item #49, 2nd Reading, Making Elmwood a One-Way. This most likely will pass, but the pouting and carrying on from the five that voted for the full street vacation is going to be Academy Award material on Tuesday night. Wish I could witness, but I will be attending Boe Forum to hear about how REAL journalists uncover government corruption instead of complaining about being ‘stuck in the middle’.

Item #50, 1st Reading, More fiddling with city ordinance to allow Air BNB operators to skirt rules such as health inspections and lodging taxes other hotels and motels in Sioux Falls have to abide by. It is really curious our REPUBLICAN (connected) Chair of Council, Christine Erickson, makes quite the living from her and her husband’s Air BNB business . . . we wouldn’t want to burden them with undue taxes and regulations. I wonder if she will recuse herself from the vote? Either way, does it matter? The lobbying is always done behind closed doors. I have suggested to several city councilors it is time to tap into the Air BNB revenue and start at least a local lodging tax on them.

Item #57, 1st Reading, Supplemental appropriations for potholes. It will be fun to watch the 5 rubberstampers chastise Pat and Theresa for daring to question the Golden Boy, Cotter, about the money he needs to fix potholes, all the while citizens are losing tires and such to horrible road conditions, effectively created by underfunding our road repairs (stealing $10 million a year from the fund on the EC mortgage) and not building good roads to begin with. Most in the media say we need to trust the administration and Cotter, really? First off, Mayor TenHaken doesn’t have the experience yet to speak about road funding and repairs, and Cotter’s performance on the Water Reclamation plant and keeping it barely under the radar during Bowlcut’s administration doesn’t make the citizenry really confident in his opinion. It really is simple. Councilors Starr and Stehly want to help people. We have the money. Let’s use it to fill the potholes, and let’s do it now! Any sensible councilor wouldn’t argue about it, they would simply say YES.

Item #59, Resolution, Open up the Events Center Campus Book Club meetings to the public. Whether or not the Book Club decided to open up the meetings now is a moot point. It is NOT their decision to make. The council should pass this resolution and move on. Open Government should be the goal of any government body, whether that is in Bumphuck, SD or Sioux Falls. There is NEVER a good argument to keep the people’s business is closed. NEVER.

UPDATE: Potholes and Open Meetings

Here is the copy of the proposed pothole funding supplement ordinance; Pothole Supplemental TS

Funny how these things work;

Thanks to the absence of precipitation in the coming days, the Public Works Street Division is increasing the number of crews dedicated to this spring’s pothole repair efforts.

“It has been a rough winter for our city streets,” says Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works. “The current condition of our streets has prompted us to take a more aggressive approach to our annual spring pothole repair efforts.”

To increase its emphasis on patching potholes, Street crews will be working the following adjusted work schedule for the next three weeks:

Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of six crews addressing potholes.

Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and from midnight to 8 a.m.:Public Works will have a minimum of one crew addressing potholes in high-traffic volume areas.

Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of three crews addressing potholes.


While the media got their panties in a bind over being put between the mayor and the council (give me a break!) it seems Pat and Theresa’s pressure may have gotten the public works department to re-think the pothole situation moving forward. As I have been telling many people over the last couple of days, it is the Mayor’s job to run this city (direct Public Works), it is the council’s job to set policy and budgeting. No reason to get our shorts in a bunch.

I would also like to thank all the ‘grunts’ in our city’s workforce who have gone above and beyond to help people. You are appreciated, even if I am tough on the mayor and council, I do want you to be happy with your employment. I also would like to hear about any private contractors who decided to help the city out with flood management or cleanup. I haven’t seen anything in the media about that, but maybe they are just silently helping out?

Events Center Campus Book Club meetings NOW open to the public

Funny how these things work. Councilor Stehly and Starr put out a press release announcing a press conference today at 1:30 to discuss a resolution opening the meetings to the public and then a mysterious email never shared with the council magically appears; (Copy of proposed ord: Events Campus Meetings RES )

An email from the event center group’s co-chairs Dan Statema and Jeff Eckhoff to Mayor Paul TenHaken said that the group had voted at their first meeting on Feb. 27 to allow the public and media to attend the rest of the meetings.

“We see no harm in having interested parties gain the same education we are as we progress through this process,” the email read.

Do you really think the public is that naïve TJ? Really? The only harm would be leaving the meetings closed, which is still on the table;

The email said the group would like to retain the ability to meet privately if “nonpublic” information ever needed to be shared, but said he did not expect the need to arise.

When it comes to a grouping of public buildings there is no such thing as ‘nonpublic’ information. Bucktooth & Bowlcut tried that approach with the Denty’s siding debacle, it blew up in his face. The only information that can be withheld from the public in closed door executive session has to do with pending litigation and personnel. Since this volunteer group wouldn’t have access to that kind of information anyway that means ALL of the meetings need to remain open. I think this is just a sneaky way of heading off Starr and Stehly to convince them there is NO NEED to pass the resolution, but I still think they need to so they have some insurance in case they try some back door deals. A statement in a supposed email about a supposed vote in a closed door meeting doesn’t cut the mustard.

“Our stance all along was ‘we’re not going to force you guys to meet in public if you don’t want that,'” Nelson said.

“They’re not in a decision-making role,” Nelson said in January. “We want to make sure we have the most open and candid conversation possible.”

Hey, TypeOver, when it comes to OPEN, NON-PARTISAN government, that isn’t up to you or volunteers on a task force committee. The meetings MUST be open to protect the public’s best interest and to have the best OPEN and HONEST conversations, there never should have been a ‘choice’ in the matter.

I would advise councilors Starr and Stehly to push ahead with their resolution to ensure the meetings stay open. I think the administration, especially Deputy COS, TJ TypeOver looks especially foolish for proposing closed meetings to begin with. If someone on the task force was uncomfortable with open public meetings, you pick someone else, it’s really that simple. So now we have to go thru a bunch of steps about supposed votes and emails, resolutions by councilors and excuses from Mayor TenHaken’s staff when we could have just done the right thing to begin with. See folks, this is what happens when you try to keep secrets from the public.


Major Fail – City of Sioux Falls Engineering and Public Works

From a SouthDaCola foot soldier;

I 229/26th Street/ Southeastern Drive Reconstruction Project


In order to begin this massive road and bridge project, Rotary-Norlin Park needed to be relocated from the east side of the river to the west side.

The majority of this work took place in 2018.

In conjunction with the Rotary Park Project the City needed to do underground work on the utilities (storm sewer, sewer, and water).  The residents who live in the Riverdale subdivision (which is just across I 229 from Rotary Park)  saw that utility work was being done last summer/fall in Riverdale Park.  This is where the new utility lines were being connected to the existing lines.

At approximately the same time the work was being done in Riverdale Park, residents in Riverdale subdivision began to experience both low water pressure and sewer backups in their homes.  In some homes, sewer backups have happened multiple times since last summer/fall.

Today, we finally may have an answer as to why this is happening.

The City probably should have invested in a lift station when the work was done last year.


After reviewing the documents related to the I 229/26th Street/Southeastern Drive Project on siouxfalls.org, it appears the elevation needed to construct the overpass for the BNSF railroad will also be a factor in this major blunder of not building a lift station.

Phase I of this Project is set to begin in a few days. Should the project be allowed to go forward before resolving the issue of the lift station? Good question.

This is what a compromise looks like for Elmwood Avenue

Here is an overview of where we started on the street vacation and where we ended up.

This is what it looked like before the houses were removed;

This was what Lifescape wanted to do;

This is a proposal by a resident in the neighborhood who used to work as an urban planner. This was proposed last Fall when the first attempt at the street vacation was proposed. Notice the only difference between his proposal and the city’s new compromise is he proposed keeping a two way street instead of one-way.

City’s compromise proposal;


Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, March 12, 2019 (Meth epidemic & Pavilion contract)

In the agenda review, we will be covering the explosive growth in Meth and Heroin seizures last year and that the Pavilion apparently negotiating a contract with the city to run (I assume) the Orpheum.

Also, there was a behind the scenes announcement at city hall that Matt Tobias was named as the Assistant Director of the Planning Department. Matt was the head of code enforcement before his promotion.

Council Informational Meeting, 4 PM

The presentation on crime stats show that there has been an enormous growth in Meth and Heroin seizures from 2017-18. We can point a lot of fingers, but let me make it very clear, the number one problem is criminals, gangs and drug traffickers. As you can see, Meth labs are no longer an issue in Sioux Falls that is because it is cheaper to buy the drugs then to make them locally. As I said, it’s hard to point fingers, but our law enforcement needs to get serious, not on addicts but on DEALERS! Our last mayor was in complete denial of the meth problem, so was the former police chief. It’s time the city takes this seriously.

There are also presentations on equalization in Lincoln County (which has been on a steamroller trend to raise property taxes). And another presentation on recycling education.

Council Land Use Committee Meeting, 4:30 PM (Following informational)

Future Land Use and Growth Tier Map Updates

Regular Council Meeting, 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, Pavilion legal counsel for agreements;

City Hall says they are exploring a contract with the Pavilion to run the Orpheum, even though SMG has already said their contract ends in July and the Events Center Campus study Book Club said they were looking at it, yet the council is being asked to approve an outside counsel contract negotiator. So which is it Paul? Head City Attorney, Kooistra said Tuesday at the city council meeting that the attorney’s office is short staffed and that they were looking to hire a contract attorney. I wonder why they let their civil rights/ADA attorney go if they were so short staffed? I also wonder if the city should be allowing the Pavilion to run another public facility when they are participating in CENSORSHIP – More to come on that one.

Item #18, 2nd Reading, naming rights for hospitality deck at Levitt. So while the public owns the land and the Levitt, the Levitt will be taking in sponsorship money for a private hospitality deck. While this is probably needed to raise money for the organization, last Tuesday at the council meeting, there was no real good excuse to NOT allow BYOB. Their first argument is that the Levitt is part of Falls Park. Not quite. While there is a sidewalk connecting Levitt to Falls Park, it is NOT Falls Park. Was the Pitts salvage yard part of Falls Park when it sat there? No. They say they cannot allow people to bring their own beer because it is a part of Falls Park which doesn’t allow alcohol. Yet, if they have a special one-day license (which the Levitt will do) they can allow them to sell the alcohol. While they were making the argument, you could tell they knew is was BS. Mayor TenHaken tried to shut down the conversation.

Items #20-30, 1st Readings, International Building Code updates.

Item #32, Resolution. The council finally gets to vote on the Falls Overlook Cafe contract, now that it is pre-packaged for them with a nice bow on top. Read the contract, it’s one heck of a deal for the contractor, the city, not so much. But hey, we will have ice cream at Falls Park!

Item #33, Resolution, demolition approval of the Raven building on 6th and Phillips. Yeah! More parking lots 🙁

Item #34, Resolution to Appoint Citizen Board members. For the 3rd mayor in a row I have been denied to serve on the Visual Arts Commission. This doesn’t surprise me. Radical change and ideas scare the hell out of people. I will commend current board members for arguing my case, who will remain nameless. Thank you.


Who are the Score Keepers? (Guest Post, Bruce Danielson)

Of course they don’t want to acknowledge they keep score.

“As public servants, we don’t keep score. It’s about doing what’s right. We do what is best for the public and the community as a whole to move our great city forward and care for its citizenry,” TenHaken said Thursday after seeing Starr’s Facebook post.

It is always interesting how shallow the 5 and mayor are. There is no ability to see past their winner takes all attitude. This is not a football game. This is government where the people elect representatives to work together to craft solutions good for as many as possible without trampling the rights of the less powerful. Why is it when the public wins, sore heads like the six work so hard to make it seem like the public didn’t win anything.

The classic line from Vince Lombardi “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” just isn’t supposed to apply to government.  

“TenHaken’s deputy chief of staff T.J. Nelson said none of the three councilors who opposed the street vacation were involved in crafting the compromise proposal.”

Those of us who have worked for years to open the doors to Sioux Falls city government find humor in the following statement.

“Kiley said Starr’s role in finding compromise was minimal at best and his response to it isn’t productive for Lifescape or the community.

Of course they were not involved, the doors of power have been locked to keep the three councilors out. If the doors had been open to any of the three to contribute, it would have validated their concerns. The way this has been handled including not informing the whole council before the media shows this administration does not understand the importance of or care to give respect to the Council.  This process shows the way the simple moronic authoritarian ways of city hall are perpetuated post-Huether.

The compromise was hatched by citizens during the September street vacation public input. The compromise proposal was cultivated by neighbors. The ill-conceived second vacation vote did not address the neighbor’s concerns or the mismatched and ill-fitting proposal being forced on the Council during the last vote. The legal process was followed and the voting showed the vacation was legally rejected by the Council.

“I wish the effort and energy it requires to take credit for things he has little if any invovlement would be placed in a more positive and constructive fashion for citizens, especially those who struggle with disabilities,” he said.

Mr. Kiley in speaking for the losing majority seems to forget his hours of lectures he and a few others on the Council have forced us to listen to as they have crafted their demands for the three to be subservient to the majority’s wishes. The March 5, 2019 Council meeting incident where Mr. Kiley cried out to the mayor about an audience member laughing at his pompous buffoonery just shows how weak he really is when faced with opposition.

Just think how much more could be accomplished if the leader of the administration and his followers on the Council tried to compromise?

Start link:  https://youtu.be/Dopk4WwAW7Q?t=6192

Sioux Falls City Council Digging in their Heels

If you watched last night’s city council meeting or several before that, you will notice a trend of some Sioux Falls city councilors digging in their heels on really bad policy decisions. As a person who has watched this for several years, I’m baffled by it. The public sees it too, and they are equally baffled. What accounts for this? Is there a deep state of local power broker puppeteers pulling the strings? Has the influence of private and/or business money in politics become so second nature, that even our city council and mayor don’t notice it – or just don’t bother to hide it? Example: look at the plurality vote. Everyone knows it was a bad idea to change it to majority, but the majority council voters didn’t blink an eye. Why?

Consider the re-zoning for the Avera nun apartments. This takes taxpaying residential affordable housing off the table for the benefit of non-profit housing. What’s in it for the taxpayers? Why the corresponding destruction of a core neighborhood next to Avera, and those adjacent to Sanford, Lifescape Children’s Hospital & School, and even Billion Buick/GMC? Why the closed door meetings when transparency has been promised? Why the dissent and apparent indifference toward Public Input at official municipal meetings?

Maybe we just chock it up to politics as usual, but given how much these decisions seem related to commercial development, it sure smacks of a bunch of quid pro quo. Are these obstinate councilors really that cheap of a date?

Councilor Pat Starr on Inside Town Hall, March 2019