Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Parks and Rec' ↓

How will we pay for the Levitt?

As with most city parks projects, the Devil is in the details. Another multi-million dollar parks project with little details of how it is all going to happen;

Levitt at the Falls will offer thousands of residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy approximately 50 free, professional concerts annually. Artists from all across the region and others throughout the country, representing multiple genres, will draw people of all ages. All concerts will be family-friendly.

The national Levitt Foundation will grant Friends of Levitt $500,000 toward construction costs and significant operational support going forward. In addition to providing design and site development at Falls Park West, the City of Sioux Falls will retain ownership of the venue and land as well as provide maintenance for the grounds.

The estimated $4.6 million project will be funded by a combination of City contributions and funding from the national Levitt Foundation and the Friends of Levitt Shell Sioux Falls. Levitt at the Falls kicked off a $1.06 million Chamber Community Appeals-approved campaign on November 1, 2016, and the campaign will end March 31, 2017. The plan will come to fruition when the first performance takes place in 2019.

As I have said before, I am still unsure how we are going to get close to the 50 concerts a year. Since most concerts will have to be during nicer weather, that is a ‘professional’ (not local acts) concert every 3-4 days.

But I also take issue with the money. It seems we will footing the lion’s share of this project and ongoing expenses. Granted, we can’t use the land for anything else due to 6 inches under the ground is pretty much on fire and melting battery acid, but I am wondering if just building a modest band shell that anyone can use would be a much more prudent way to go instead of tying us in with Levitt and the expenses that go along with it.

While we are denying the FOP decent wages we are dreaming of FREE concerts in the park.

UPDATE: Parks Board Meeting, Nov 5, 2016

UPDATE: If you forward to 51:00 in the meeting you will hear a bash session until almost the end of the meeting of Argus Leader, the media, and Joe Sneve. They also finish up bashing recording the meetings. This is apparently why they DON’T want these meetings recorded, because they do talk ‘freely’. Notice that it is mostly staff, Kearney, the Parks Director, doing the bashing. This proves why transparent and open government is important because of this kind of nastiness behind the scenes.

All hail the secrecy of Sioux Falls City Government! Over the last few months we have been pushing for more board and commission openness by doing videos or at least audio recordings.

The mayor’s veto of the video or audio recording of Park and Recreation Board meetings gave us a morsel of information. The board already recorded the meetings and they were available for the asking. So here is the November 15, 2016 meeting audio. We’ve added some photos of Sioux Falls park features for you to watch as you listen to the meeting.

Take not near the beginning of the meeting when the board members make comments about the lack of Public Inputers. For those of us who attend these meetings, there is a collegiality amongst the members and staff. We feel the wink, wink, nod, nod as we public outsiders watch the actions. It is very interesting to see and it does not come across the same when we video, but it is there.

Sioux Falls Parks Board Meeting Agenda

As you can see for yourself, the Board discusses several important topics concerning our parks, and gives advice to our city council.

Click to Enlarge

Upholding Mayor’s VETO on transparency, Feb 6, 2017

VETO! VETO! VETO! Let’s yell it again! VETO! VETO! VETO!

Let’s hear it for secrecy!

Damn the torpedoes and full steam ahead toward one man rule!

Sioux Falls repent and follow our gilded leader. The one who knows all, will lead us to nirvana!

Our fearful leader of Sioux Falls did the big veto in the name of secrecy and closed government during his big presser on January 24. So the Sioux Falls City Council vote taken to override the veto was held on February 6, 2017 to see if the Patsy III stayed together with their leader. They did in all their piety and our pity for them to be following him.

Secrecy used to be reserved for top secret matters like military maneuvers or statecraft (remember those dreams)? Our government leader has decided we should never learn of his tricks and thingies. Why should we citizens know anything about change orders? Zoning messes? Park Boards? Cement ponds. indoor or outdoor? Building siding able to blow off celebrating a warm and windy Christmas? Geez, so many things to keep secret.

What makes the most transparent mayor in the history of Sioux Falls and his world feel the need to veto something so simple as making a recording already made public? Are we going to find where Rosemary Woods put the 18 1/2 minutes in 1973 (I know, who?)?

Just because we all must know what happens in these secret open meetings, everyone must request a CD / DVD copy of their favorite board or commission so we can publish them. Just remember Cameraman Bruce can’t record every meeting for you, but we will post everything we get.

Cameraman Bruce; Ask your city government for transparency

Let’s load up the Parks office with requests for DVD’s of the meetings;

The mayor’s veto rationale has an interesting twist; he admitted the meetings are recorded and currently available if the public asks for them. So, I recommend all citizens of Sioux Falls request DVD recordings of all city boards and commissions meetings not currently posted. The mayor says they are available, so let’s all ask for them, as Argus Leader reporter Joe Sneve has done. Confirm they are furnished free of charge, just as they were furnished to Sneve.

Transparency in government would be significantly enhanced by a new ordinance providing for video recordings of city department board meetings archived online. The absence of such a policy serves only to reinforce a perception of a veil of secrecy over the Sioux Falls administration thwarting the citizen’s right to know what their government is doing.

Transparency is NOT a slippery slope, in fact it should be an easy hike in the country side.

Is the Argus planning to Livestream/record city board meetings?

The answer is ‘YES’ according to an Argus Leader employee. They plan to Livestream and Record the Parks Board and REMSA meetings from now on. This of course is to pressure the Mayor to change his mind about recording the meetings for the sake of transparency.

There is state law from 1974 that says anyone can record government meetings in South Dakota (as long as it is NOT an executive session).

Remember, this is about transparency for the citizenry, not for the protection of board members. King Huether just doesn’t get it.

Recording Parks Board Meetings is for the PUBLIC’s best interest not the board members

A letter writer says it best, when Parks director Kearney tries to pull excuses from his butt;

I affirm the Sioux Falls Council’s decision to require the video programming of the Parks Department Advisory Committee meetings for the benefit of the public. Director Don Kearney’s rationale to prohibit the recordings of the meetings stems from the government bureaucracies’ weak mindset that they can control what is in the best interest of the citizens.

And further more, we don’t want weak or ignorant people serving on these boards;

Most public servants have the courage, faith and the confidence that the process is needed and that all citizens should have the opportunity to participate and be informed of actions of all government activities.

I have suggested the meetings be recorded at Carnegie instead hopscotching all over town;

In this instance, the Parks Advisory Committee meetings could easily be changed to an alternate time and day to allow more access and public participation opportunity.

As I told a city official this weekend, ‘We ARE singling out the Parks Board because they are important, just like the Planning Commission. They should be honored we care what they are doing in these meetings and proud of the decisions they make instead of hiding in a break room at the zoo.’

Video or not here we go (Jan 17, 2016)

Open government or not, here we go. This Sioux Falls City Council decision starts the official process requiring boards and commissions to post their meetings on line.

The public discussion part of this item on January 17, 2017 was started by Park Department Director Don Kearney when he jumped to the front of the line and gave the mayor’s well rehearsed talking points. When Liz, Scott and Bruce finished the mayor once again had interject with pre-discussion commentary toward David Zokaties. Once David finished we had another Ferris moment when the mayor decided to call out Tim Stanga. What is it about the mayor? Why can’t people just attend City Council and not be harassed by him?

Based on experience with this administration, they will either:
1. spend another $60,000 on equipment and a staffer to operate it or
2. they will go to the Kmart clearance sale to buy a recorder to prove it won’t work.

In this discussion opponents stress:
* The burden of operating a video camera (even though they have been shown how easy it is to setup and record).
*The mental pressure on members being recording (if public scrutiny is too much, go home and someone else will take their place).
* The ability of media or malicious people to snip clips and use them out of context (as if this can’t happen now).
* Don’t just do the Park Board, do all 44 citizen boards (all we can say is YES!!!! but do them all once the routine is perfected).

Cameraman Bruce is looking forward to being at a few of these meetings just to record them. If the bloated Parks Department budget can’t find a few dollars to buy a decent camcorder and instead uses a crappy tape recorder to try and prove their point, we will be comparing the results of both. We know this mayor always plans to fail when he needs to prove a point and plans to win at all costs when he needs too.

As a side note, when you watch or attend most city board meetings you will find the comfortable nature of the participants shows many of the decisions were probably made long before the public displays.

Mayor is pouting again over council decisions

Open government makes me so emotional

The mayor has still not signed the approved parks board meeting recording ordinance or the Glory House resolution from Tuesday Night’s meeting (he has signed all other passed items). He has until next Wednesday to sign the items, or veto them. If he does neither they will be published without his signature.

I’m sure we will have another one of his pouting session press conferences next week about why he didn’t sign the items. I just hope the city can afford to tape both the audio and visual of the press conference.

Parks Board Meeting (Jan 17, 2016)


The world is coming to an end or is it just the wink wink nod nod way of holding Sioux Falls meetings. On January 17, 2017 the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Board held its monthly meeting at the Oyate Center. We know, WHERE? Go look for it, the search is always on in the noisy places filled with kids as they are leaving school. Not places where you feel like you can hear the proceedings because you legally cannot fully close the doors. Oh and speaking of closed doors, one of the board members could not hear so he closed the door. Should we file an Open Meetings violation with the States Attorney? It is going to be added to our list of violations to be dealt with.

The city of Sioux Falls is going to start seeing or at least being able to hear these exciting meetings. The lack of public scrutiny of the meetings has made many of these boards very cozy and comfortable for the members to work with their departments. Our efforts to record these meetings is aimed at this comfy behavior.

So be bored with this meeting and more of them. By letting us see how little is discussed in the open lets us know the real decisions are made before the meetings actually are called into order. We appreciate the citizens who sit on these boards and want them to be able to make the decisions they are charged with.