Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

What’s missing from this article about Cameraman Bruce?

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Well, if you haven’t figured it out after reading the article, I will tell you at the end of this post.

Over a month ago, Argus city reporter Joe Sneva-spiffiness asked to do a profile article about Bruce. I told Bruce not to do it. I gave him several reasons why I was suspicious of the request, and it had nothing to do with the interviewer, it had to do with his bosses and the other city issues we were working on.

I also told Bruce NOT to do the interview without filming it (in which he did) mostly for his record, but just for reference once the article came out. The Argus allowed it, but asked we don’t post it until after the article was released. We hope to have it up sometime tomorrow, and we hope it will give you insight on how an article is researched and what happens to it after the editors get their manipulative hands on it. Like I said, you be the judge. But there are some glaring points;

“Anytime anybody comes in front of the council every week, week after week, and generally points out our inabilities to do our job well,” Councilor Greg Jamison said, “it does become somewhat tiring.”

As well it should . . . you should be doing your job better. But I won’t get into that. The headline itself is misleading, there are plenty of differences between ‘Gadflies’ and ‘Citizen activists’. But what is funny is when you try to call activists derogatory names, that only emboldens them. I actually told Joe that when he interviewed me about Bruce (never made it in the article). Activists want POSITIVE change, and while it may seem like we are bitching and whining, we are actually keeping the pressure on. That is important as an activist. It is also not personal or about individual politicians, it is about the process, the truth, integrity and transparency. I could care less if the mayor gets a haircut every 5-1/2 days, that’s his gig, but when working as an elected official he must ‘serve’.

Under the comment section of the article online, former Minnehaha county commissioner Bob Kolbe sums it up;

As a person who has served as an elected official I can only comment about those citizens who come to public meetings.
People only care about government when they have an issue on the agenda.
My perspective is that elected people need to value those who are willing to invest their time observing and commenting on meeting issues. It is far to easy to “slide” something into a public meeting and then those elected and the buerocrats will claim “it was a public meeting”.
Elected people need to listen, whether they agree or not. If taken to task, that person has a reason and They just may be right. Listening is part of serving.
Buerocrats are buerocrats no matter how you spell it as their purpose is to (serve) make elected people feel good.
Elected people are to serve the electorate with a heavy emphasis on SERVE. When elected people start to believe Their own public relation press releases and/or slighly use the pubilc tax money for their agenda, or reelection it is to take them to task and give them a retirement party!

While Bob probably had a lot of enemies while he ‘served’ he certainly understands (now) the relationship that should be occurring between elected officials and constituents, but if only councilor Dean Karsky could;

Karsky has been an acquaintance of Danielson’s for nearly as long as the neighborhood drama has been going on. He said he became aware of the nasty back and forth between Danielson and his neighbors within days of being appointed to the council in 2011 but he chooses to stay out of the matter.

And doesn’t that last line by Dean say it all? He chooses not to serve.

But enough of the article about Bruce, let’s talk about the article itself (which I am completely baffled by how many people may have touched this copy before it hit print).

Ehrisman’s blog, SouthDaCola.com, where Danielson is sometimes known as “Cameraman Bruce,” is their outlet for expressing frustrations with city government.

“We both kind of take this as a hobby,” Ehrisman said.

I did say that, and I will give Joe credit for printing that quote correctly. But I do believe I informed him that we take our citizen activism seriously, and when I use the word ‘hobby’ I mean it is something I do on my own time because it is important to me and others. I don’t do it for pay, I don’t take it lightly and I certainly don’t do it to hurt people (elected officials) personally. I do it because I feel I should, and I believe Bruce does it for those reasons also. If we are productive, progressive and create some laughs in the process, so be it. Laughing at ourselves and the process alleviates hate, which is only counterproductive to change. Some people have a problem with cynicism and sarcasm, but once you embrace it, you won’t jump off buildings in distress or gun down kids in a school. We must learn that identifying something as bad, only creates solutions and makes us better.

So as I asked at the beginning, “What’s missing from this article about Cameraman Bruce?” There are only three people quoted in the article, and those quotes were framed around negativity towards Bruce (even mine). You would think after an hour and 45 minute interview with Bruce, there would be at least one quote from him. There wasn’t. Zilch.

That should tell us all we need to know about the integrity of the column.

Odds and Ends

Here’s some Gems I have found over the past couple of days from my first blog.




Guess we know where the Pomp Room sign went


Saw this image on the Argus site tonight, seems Badlands pawn is keeping the rusty structure safe. Sorry Paul.

Strange Bedfellows? Only if you are not a Packers fan.

Here we go again, another fun South DaCola conspiracy theory.

So a few weeks ago a foot soldier and I are having a convo about the sudden investigative reporting by Angie Stormland, and how peculiar it was.

Why all of a sudden she (they) were so concerned about government conspiracy when they have more important things to report, like a sprinkle and a rainbow in Yankton Trail Park?

Then we started thinking about how Stormland’s media owner totally ignored my complaints about the station’s GM going on a Green Bay Packer’s game trip with our mayor. They still have not responded.

So the question was thrown out there, “Is Stormland and Angie suddenly concerned about (Republican) corruption in the state (referring to Gear Up) because a certain mayor may or may not be running for governor who just happens to be a Democrat?”

Not sure, but for the record, he is just as if not more corrupt then any bottom feeder in Pierre.

All that aside, it gets even more interesting, especially with this question posed to me today from a foot soldier;

It would be great if Angela Kenneke would ask Kyle what year he audited the books for Mid Dakota. The poor guy would fill his pants (with crap)”.

So who is this Kyle dude, I will let Cory explain (partially);

Schoenfish and Company of Parkston (which employs Rep. Kyle Schoenfish, R-19/Scotland) audited Mid-Central’s FY2014 operations and found material weaknesses but no compliance issues. The report noted that “Errors and omissions were noted in the annual financial statements prepared by cooperative officials. This is the eighth consecutive audit in which similar deficiencies have occurred.”

See, Kyle is Mayor Huether’s favorite nephew, who he has donated to when he ran  as a Dem and a Republican. No Biggee. Make your own assumptions.

But isn’t it interesting that Angie isn’t running in her high heels down the main street of Parkston trying to get an interview with a key player in this investigation who just happens to be the favorite nephew of mayor Huether who may or may not be running for governor and is besty Packer Fan buddies with the GM of Stormland News?

My head hurts.


Jerome for President?

(NSFW and Offensive)

I found this gem from 2008. A couple of my friends were living right next to Whittier Park (when there was a lot of troubles going on there) and their drink happy neighbor wasn’t happy about it. We filmed this video of him one night and his frustrations.

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Killing two birds with one stone; Should we convert the Kirby Science Center into the city administration building


“Watch closely kids, I will use science to show you how money disappears.”

Let’s first look at what we know;

The city (probably) needs more administration space.

The city OWNS the Washington Pavilion and spends millions each year maintaining the building.

The city is close to $400,000,000.00 in debt and we certainly don’t need to be bonding for a possible $24 million dollar building.

The Kirby Science Center has long been a financial drain on the facility. Some of said that if the Pavilion eliminated the Science Center, the remaining entities (The VAC, The Cinedome, Leonardos, The Belbas Theatre and the Great Hall) could be profitable and eliminate a subsidy.

There are also some great benefits;

Like I said above, we already own the building and dump plenty of tax dollars in it already each year for maintenance.

We already have a parking ramp that could be used.

The building is only 2 blocks from city hall, 1 block from Carnegie and in the heart of downtown.

We could leave the gift shop, the cinedome and the restaurant open and still have access to three floors and thousands of feet of square footage.

Converting the space to city offices would be minimal cost at most. In fact, auctioning off the exhibits would probably pay for the conversion.

There would also be some detractors;

What kind of sponsorship contract was drawn up with the Kirby Family? And can that contract be broken? We could rename it the Kirby Municipal Services Building.

There will also be a huge pushback from the Pavilion’s Board of Directors who will argue that the education provided at the Science Center is tied in with the total mission of the WP. I don’t disagree with that, but there has to be a point where we use some common sense. People also fear failure, and are willing to throw (tax payer) money at something long enough to cover up the problem.

The way I look at it, it would be beneficial to the Pavilion to cut ties with the science center, they could use the extra revenue to bring in more shows to the Great Hall and VAC. Of course the backwards thinking in the building by some of it’s directors probably enjoy being in the hole every year to give them excuse to come crawling for more money each year. They apparently need to spend some time over at the ZOO and learn how to make a great institution while slowly weaning themselves off the tit.

Also, our mayor who argues for fiscal prudence all the time should be falling over himself to secure such a great idea.

Once again though, the common sense of a blogger is usually trumped by the spend happy bureaucrats that run this city. Let’s face it, this isn’t about getting the best deal on an administration building we may or may not need, this about another handout to some local contractors who are buds with the mayor and some of the city council.

Instead of fixing the crappy drainage, the city prefers to just bulldoze the neighborhood

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Curious if the Sioux Falls City Council is authorizing these home purchases or if once again, the city planning and public works office is ‘going rogue’. Heck, I even wonder if the city council knows about it at all?

After heavy rains in August flooded a central Sioux Falls neighborhood, city officials are looking for a permanent way to stem flooding.

Homes along the west side of South Covell Avenue between 28th and 33rd Streets could be torn down to create a green space.

Several homeowners in the neighborhood near Augustana University have been contacted by the City of Sioux Falls with possible offers to purchase their homes.

The city is talking with neighbors first, before releasing a finalized plan. Environmental and Storm Water Manager Andrew Berg said it is a voluntary buyout, and no one will be forced to sell to the city.

And that’s the Huether way, instead of fixing the infrastructure in the modest neighborhoods in Sioux Falls, we prefer to just bulldoze them. Now that’s progress and getting things done! I wonder if this will make MMM’s list of ‘Top 10 Wins of 2015’?

Apparently this guy hasn’t seen the movie ‘Nebraska’

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I love this part of the article;

When the victim attempted to pull the money from the bank, bank employees warned him that it was probably a scam. However, the victim sent the money anyways.

P.T. Barnum was right I guess.

Let’s gamble

So a friend threw this ‘game’ out to me a week ago, when it came to the price of the new administration building in Sioux Falls.

Play along.

Let’s guess what the square footage price is of the new building before the city managers release it.

The premise (for example);

The lot has 45,000 sq ft of building space per level.  If the building is 4 floors take the cost per ft by $150 X 4 levels X 45000 per level = $27,000,000.00

What is your guess?

I can’t give a big prize, but let’s just say it is worthwhile.

A View on Regressive Sales Taxes from Bread for the World

A statement showing up in the news lately is misleading, in that “Sales tax has not been raised since 1969” is only a small peek into our sales tax history since 1969.

Consider food. In 2003 we paid 5% on groceries. Now we pay 6%. This is equivalent to 3 weeks worth of food out of a year. The tax on food went up at the city level, but the customer feels the whole 6%. State tax law changes brought this on. (Thankfully, SNAP purchases, aka food stamps, are not taxed. However, most low-income households with SNAP receive only partial allotments. They must pay the sales tax to buy the rest of their food. Some, especially seniors, receive SNAP benefits as low as $16 a month.)

Another way to raise sales tax is to expand the tax base. Many more items, mostly services, have become subject to SD’s sales tax in years 1969, 1978, 1979, 1995, and 1996. For examples: newspaper subscriptions, haircuts, taxi fares, snow removal, tree trimming, pest control, cell phone bills, cable TV, internet access, funeral services, music lessons and sports coaching, auto repair parts and labor, services of lawyers, architects, personal trainers, and plumbers, . . .  The list goes on.

Sales tax is inherently regressive and is a large factor in SD’s ranking among the “Terrible Ten” states for regressive taxes.*  I think it’s a cryin’ shame and a failure of creativity that sales tax is being considered for funds for teacher pay. Higher sales tax would raise the tax on some basic necessities and make South Dakota’s taxes more regressive!

That being said, I sincerely hope anyone possibly supporting any form of a sales tax hike would insist that the proposal include taking tax off food and heating bills. There is no tax on food in any of South Dakota’s bordering states. Only 2 of our 6 neighbor states  (NE, WY) tax home heating bills.

Note that I recommend “food and heat,” not “food and clothing”. Here’s why: Low-income people tend to spend little on clothing. Between the poor and the wealthy, there is a much narrower range of spending on food or heat than there is on clothing. I believe taking tax off clothing is more a gift to the wealthy than a help to the poor. You cannot buy used food. You cannot buy used heat.

*Some argue that being regressive isn’t so important because overall taxes are lower in SD. However, for the lowest-income 20% of the non-elderly population, state and local taxes in SD average higher than the national average.

Thank you for reading this and considering it for the sake of people burdened by our tax structure, which is stacked in favor of the well-off and against the lower-incomes. Please share this information with people who may not be informed or may not be remembering all this, especially if you see or hear the sentence about sales tax not being raised.