Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Sioux Falls School Board really doesn’t want you at the meeting tomorrow night

On Friday when the School Board agenda is supposed to come out, it didn’t, missing at least the Friday night news cycle. So by state law the agenda must come out 24 hours in advance.

So I guess someone went down to the IPC Sunday morning and decided to put up the agenda. (notice it was posted today)

Besides the fact that they waited until the last possible minute, they put the bond election last on the agenda hoping no one would stick around.

They really don’t want anyone talking about this. They don’t even mention the true cost of the bonds which will hover at $300,000,000.00;

1. Declaration of Necessity. It is hereby found, determined and declared that it is necessary and expedient for this School District to borrow money by issuing its general obligation school bonds in an amount not exceeding $190,000,000 payable from 1 and not to exceed 30 years from date of issuance, bearing interest payable at such times and at such rate or rates as may be determined by the School Board, to fund a new high school, a new middle school, a new elementary school, additions and expansions to existing school facilities, land purchases, other school district improvements, furnishing and equipping same and financing costs of issuance, if so approved by the voters.

So I found this paragraph interesting when it comes to who will handle the election, how many precincts, etc.;

3. Polling places and Judges. Polling places and judges and clerks for said election shall be selected according to South Dakota Law.

Okay, so what does that mean?

I encourage anyone who stands for open and transparent government to go to the school board meeting Monday night at 5:30 PM at the IPC and sign up to speak about the clear lack of transparency on this issue. While I support new schools, I don’t support bullsh*tting the public about the true cost and how the election will be ran. Not only is it bad government it is a terrible civic lesson for our young minds.

Tragedy at Falls Park

As some may or may not know there is a wrongful death suit playing out against the city after the the recent tragedy at Falls Park. Some in the legal world are watching this closely. Why?

Well, see, a few years back a guy jumped in a South Dakota public lake and suffered a spinal cord injury. He sued. He won (around $11 million). Next legislative session state law was changed so if you do something like that in a public park in South Dakota you can’t sue the state.

Fast forward to 2018. It will be curious what angle will be taken in this new case. How will the victim’s attorney (I hear it is Brendan Johnson) prove the city was liable for not warning visitors about the dangers of foam at Falls Park? How will personable responsibility play out in this case?

Some have argued that no amount of safety measures can protect people from their own ignorance at Falls Park. Maybe they are right?

There have been some good suggestions like memorial ‘Why Die’ signs. Others have suggested the signs warning of the dangerous waters were larger. Some have said fencing and special platforms. I have been suggesting for several years we have signs warning of the extreme toxicity of the water. It’s one thing to warn people about water turbulence, it’s whole other thing to warn people that the water is actually poisonous. I guess the EPA and the state DENR suggested this also to the former mayor and he refused to put up the signs because he didn’t want to ‘scare’ tourists. Isn’t that the point?

This case will be one to watch.

The Public Assurance Alliance will be funding the legal defense, and if they lose will have to pay out the claim. I suspect this may go all the way to the SD Supreme Court.

Citi’s slow bleed

I warned that Citi would be having layoffs in September of 2017. They are claiming it is to prepare for their ‘expansion’. More like ‘reduction’. They seem to be doing it little by little.

So far they have had two ‘layoff’ incidents since September that add up to roughly 80 employees (these of course are ones we have heard about).

I wonder how many more ‘incidents’ we will hear about.

The Emerald Ash Bore Scammers have arrived

Remember just a couple of months ago, what we were told? You can treat an Ash tree for around $150-$200 a tree depending on the size. Well, I guess some people in the business decided that was not enough.

I have been hearing from foot soldiers that some people have been quoted between $500-$800 per treatment. Some have even been told that the treatment has to be done EVERY year.

I have a foot soldier working on getting the actual COST of the pesticides used to treat the tree for me. Obviously there is labor, equipment, licensing, etc. involved.

Remember;

• Use a local company with experience, proper licensing, etc.

• Get references.

• Have them categorize what they charging for the chemicals, the labor, equipment, etc.

• Get several estimates.

• Make sure the treatment will last for two years.

• Most importantly, find out what it will cost to remove the tree now instead spending money to treat it. Something that I will probably do instead of treating my sole Ash tree.

I warned you, the scammers are literally coming out of the woodwork.

Billion’s ‘Black Iron’ Development NOT concerned about train noise downtown

And you think the trains are loud downtown?

At the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting last Tuesday, David Billion said he wasn’t to concerned about the rail traffic noise and whistles downtown because they have had tenants near the tracks for over a decade with little complaints.

He also added that ALL prospective residential tenants will be submitted to listening to Billion Auto Ads for an 8 hour period. He figures this will prepare them for any train noise.

City of Sioux Falls Current Meeting Agenda

Stormland-TV News plans implosion in October

So Stormland-TV made this decision;

“We are extremely happy to add journalist Bob Mercer to our newsroom,” said Jay Huizenga Vice President and General Manager of the KELOLAND Media Group.  “Bob is a well-respected reporter and columnist and he will provide perspective and experience to our government and political reporting.”

I wonder how they are going to handle having an experienced political reporter on staff? My guess is that the place will implode. I can’t wait to hear the first conversation between Mercer and the News Director, “This is a nice story and all Bob, but there is NO mention of Sanford Hospital in here. We will need a re-write.”

Copper Lounge Collapse; A Tragic Mess

I guess we saw the writing on the wall (no pun intended). Hultgren Construction is filing for bankruptcy after insurance companies paid out millions in claims. The sad part about this is that the insurance companies should have paid the victims first, which has included a myriad of people and businesses.

Of course all of this hinges on whether or not the insurance companies and victims can also pin this on Legacy Development. In a perfect justice world, since the insurance companies decided to pay off damaged property instead of victims first, if more money can be garnered from Legacy, the lion’s share should go to the victims first.

Secondly, if Legacy is found liable, what will that mean for them? They have millions tied up in projects across the city and region, including a dubious Public/Private partnership with the city. Could this also bankrupt them?

At the end of the day, NO ONE is a winner. Someone is dead, others have suffered emotionally, physically and financially and even others have had their businesses uprooted.

As I said to a friend the other day, “It amazes me that some of the players in this tragedy still show their face in this town. It’s despicable and disgusting!”

Councilor Stehly on Lalley today

She will be on around 4ish, Information 1000 KSOO. Listen LIVE.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls School District intends to use ‘Super Precincts’ for bond election

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilor Theresa Stehly was on KSFY last night with concerns about this election;

The Sioux Falls School Board is set to vote on whether the special election will happen on Monday, July 23. The special election would take place Sept. 18. Stehly said as of right now, Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz said he has not been contacted by the board to assist with the vote.

“I’m hoping that the school district is going to partner up with our county auditor to allow that County Auditor’s office to handle all the absentee ballots and also to be the intaker of counting the ballots at the end of the night,” Stehly said.

There are also some other concerns. The original company that created the E-Poll books hardware and software was ‘HART InterCivic’. They no longer technically support the devices. This is why the SOS had so many issues with them in the primary election. ‘BPro’ convinced the state they could get the devices to work, but didn’t have the proper software to handle the data (this is the rumor circulating). So the question is, as I said originally, how is the school district going to have ‘super precincts’ when they don’t have a proper and safe way to operate the E-Poll books? And shouldn’t we have them machine tabulated, especially in a $300 million dollar bond issue? The SF school board needs to have a long discussion before Monday’s decision to have a September election.

According to a source, Doug Morrison told them they intend to use Super Precincts for the school bond election. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First off, the obvious. The Secretary of State said they will not support E-Poll books. I believe the School District owns their own books, but who will be maintaining the IT work on them if the SOS has said they will not accept them? Also, will the Minnehaha County Auditor be contracted to machine tabulate the votes or will they perform a hand count internal canvass?

Secondly, using super precincts that don’t extend to every district within the Sioux Falls school district could be a violation of Federal law because they would be disenfranchising certain sectors of the community. Precincts have to be a certain distance from voters. In the 2016 school board election they neglected to have super precincts in the entire northern part of the district. That won’t fly this time.

By having a stand alone, super precinct election they will have a very low voter turnout. In other words the final polling will NOT reflect what the survey did, a 60% support. The survey postcards were sent to almost every household in Sioux Falls (83,000 addresses). Obviously, many of the people who the postcards were sent to are NOT registered voters and are highly unlikely to show up to a stand alone school district election. My guess is if they break a 51% approval they will be lucky (they need a 60% approval). The Event Center advisory vote which was very popular and had a high voter turnout received around 55%.

There is also a rumor circulating that the Co-chairs of the Task Force, Vernon Brown and Nan Baker will be heading up a private promotional committee. This could be viewed as a conflict of interest.

The school board votes on Monday to set the date of the special election. There are many unanswered questions, such as what the final cost of the bonds will be (IMO it will be $300 million) and how do they intend to fund the staffing of the new schools (they have no plan at this point).

I support building new schools, but this process has been less than transparent and has a lot of unknowns surrounding it. It’s based on a lot of wishful thinking.