What happened to ‘City Scene’

City Scene was a show that the city did every month. It was one of their better produced shows. For several years Jolene Loetscher hosted it then Michele Wellman took it over. I noticed last month (after I complained about the $10,000 a year contract with Wellman) that Wellman did not appear in the production. This month a new show hasn’t been uploaded at all. Wonder what happened? The council did approve the renewal of the contract. Makes you wonder if it was ever signed?

Speaking of ‘mysteries’. I contacted several councilors about our Public Works Director’s trip to Haiti asking if it was a junket (taxpayers paid for the trip) or if Cotter used his own money and vacation to attend the missionary trip with the Mayor (PTH said he paid his own way) but that Cotter came along to study infrastructure. I guess NO answer is an answer, we probably paid for it. Wondering when we will see a report?

Noem’s Favorite Film?

It would be fun to re-write this film poster as a toon. Any ideas?

Sioux Falls Housing Director now using city funded program to promote her run for TEA city council

Chellee appeared on Inside Town Hall in November when she was still working for SE Tech,

She posted this image of her on the show on her campaign FB page;

She is bragging about working with SIOUX FALLS city councilors to get some pork for SE Tech (a place that is funded through our property taxes and sales taxes to the state), which has nothing to do with Tea and now that she works for the City of Sioux Falls, she will have to work with councilors, which brings us to why this is a conflict.

I’m not sure if any campaign rules were broken with this post, but I still would like to see an ethics question posed by the administration as to whether it is ethical for her to run for Tea City Council. I guess they are too busy trying to defend closed door meetings.

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.

 

Gov Noem on Hemp; Dumber than a box of Rocks

We used to have this Chocolate Lab Mutt on the farm called Duke, but mostly we would refer to him as ‘Dumber than a box of rocks’ to our neighbors, besides wagging his big goofy tail and trying to kill our farm animals he wasn’t much good for anything.

I kind of wonder if Noem’s stance on industrial hemp isn’t the same? Just read her incredibly ignorant statement on the issue;

Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives,

I respectfully return to you House Bill 1191, with my VETO. House Bill 1191 is an Act to legalize the growth, production, and processing of industrial hemp and derivative products in the state.

South Dakota must stand as an example for the rest of the country, not simply go along with others. Our focus must be on leading for South Dakota’s next generation. Our state is not yet ready for industrial hemp.

You only ‘lead the way’ when you are the first one to try something new, not last. Forty-one states are already ‘Leading the Way’. Besides that, it is a crop that has been used thousands of years across the world. Apparently Noem wants South Dakota to be dead last on Hemp production, and why not, we are last in every other category except government corruption where we are first place.

Foremost among the many defects of this bill are the challenges it creates for law enforcement. HB 1191 complicates law enforcement searches and provides a ready-made defense for those breaking our drug laws. This poorly drafted bill changes the definition of marijuana with little regard for the implications elsewhere in our Code. It would create uncertainty for prosecution under our ingestion statute because the source of THC is placed in doubt when industrial hemp products that contain small amounts of THC, such as cannabidiol or CBD, are legalized. As Governor, I will not leave it to our courts to interpret how this bill impacts our prohibition on the active ingredient in marijuana, and I do not believe the Legislature intended to complicate enforcement of our ingestion statute in this way.

Actually leaving it up to the ‘courts’ would be the right way to go, because I believe there isn’t a judge in the state that would prosecute a hemp farmer for producing a plant that contains only a trace of THC. And since Hemp isn’t Marijuana (that’s why the definition was changed) why would law enforcement be involved with harvesting it? They wouldn’t be.

Although proponents claim hemp has a wide variety of uses, the legislative debate makes it clear that this bill is less about helping farmers and more about commercial interest in one product: CBD. No other type of hemp producer or processor retained paid lobbyists this Session. HB 1191 rejected critical parts of the amendment my Administration discussed with the bill’s sponsors. It would instead allow the immediate, widespread production and use of CBD, as well as other hemp derivatives, even though the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has yet to approve them as safe for therapeutic use or for interstate commerce. In fact, the FDA has not yet begun its regulatory process on hemp derivatives, including CBD. South Dakota should be guided by the FDA on these issues, not special interests.

Well, she is right about one thing, without hemp you can’t make CBD and you can’t make CBD without growing hemp. The makers of CBD will just buy from other states and continue to make the product whether hemp is legal in SD or not. Noem seems to be under the impression that if SD doesn’t grow hemp, CBD won’t be available here. WOW! Makes you wonder where the grocery stores are getting salmon and halibut?

As I first stated many weeks ago, HB 1191 is premature. There is no urgent problem requiring an immediate solution this session. Until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) issues its own rules, the regular growth and interstate transport of hemp cannot begin. No industrial hemp will cross into South Dakota without those rules, which USDA has announced it will not issue until late 2019. We have no way of knowing today what those rules will require. What limited structure HB 1191 does create to regulate industrial hemp in our state could very well be in conflict.

It is anything BUT premature. The law would not have gone into affect until July 1st, missing the 2019 growing period all together. Even if the legislature was able to pass this law, the first hemp crops wouldn’t be harvested until the fall of 2020. Plenty of time to review the rules and make adjustments.

Finally, I am concerned that this bill supports a national effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use. I do not doubt the motives of this bill’s legislative champions. However, an overwhelming number of contacts I have received in favor of this bill come from pro-marijuana activists. There is no question in my mind that normalizing hemp, like legalizing medical marijuana, is part of a larger strategy to undermine enforcement of the drug laws and make legalized marijuana inevitable.

Even if that BS statement is true (from her anonymous contacts), so what? Recreational marijuana is becoming more legal across the United States and eventually the Federal Government will give the green light to legalize it Nationally. It’s coming (I expect it to be legal nationwide by 2025) and a veto on industrial hemp isn’t going to stop that freight train.

This issue was never ripe for discussion during this legislative session, and our state government’s efforts and resources should be focused elsewhere until the federal government’s approach on this issue is clear.

For these reasons, I oppose this bill and ask that you sustain my veto.

Respectfully submitted,

Kristi Noem
Governor

It not only was a ‘ripe’ discussion, it was thoroughly vetted by farmers, constituents and farm agencies who see hemp as an incredible opportunity not only in farming but in manufacturing for our state. Like my dog Duke, Noem is ‘Dumber than a box of rocks’ when it comes to legalizing industrial hemp. It was truly a sad day in Pierre, especially in the Governor’s office. I guess not only hemp is illegal to grow in SD but so are brain cells.

Sioux Falls School Board approves ‘English’ mascot for Slaveowner High

As you can see, a citizen showed up to protest the naming, and explained quite nicely why using Cavalier is not a good idea. He gave the history of the term and it’s meaning to the English and King Charles the 1st. Not only were Cavaliers English and from a different time period of the revolutionary war, it goes in the face of what Thomas Jefferson and our founding fathers stood for. That’s why when I was researching the mascot I rejected using Cavalier and Renegade instead.

What makes this even more troubling and ironic is that school districts across the state said that they didn’t think graduating seniors should have to take a civics/citizenship test because civics were taught throughout K-12. Really? Didn’t anyone in administration or the teacher faculty have the common sense to tell the students that ‘Cavalier’ was probably inappropriate due to it’s ties to the British and they should come up with another mascot? If we are teaching civics, wouldn’t these students, teachers and administrators know enough not to use ‘cavalier’ as a mascot for a school named after a revolutionary man?

From the very first task force meeting, to the bond elections (counted by district finance employees) to the purchase of the land and hiring of architects, this entire process has been a sh*t show of the highest level, it shouldn’t surprise us that they continue to ignore reason. This is what happens when governmental decisions are made behind closed doors by a select group of ‘Know-It-Alls.’

This is why they had to hire a former shoe salesperson as an administrator to manage a whopping 24 students at the Avera Academy. The more ‘Know-It-Alls’ the better education our kids are getting, yeah right.

Major Fail – City of Sioux Falls Engineering and Public Works

From a SouthDaCola foot soldier;

I 229/26th Street/ Southeastern Drive Reconstruction Project

ABSENCE OF A NEEDED LIFT STATION

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.

THEY DID NOT, AND NOW PRIVATE CITIZENS ARE EXPERIENCING THE CONSEQUENCES OF THIS DECISION.

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.

Is the State Theater set to get a big donation?

Over the weekend there was plenty of chatter in the DTSF gossip circles that the State Theater may finally get one last infusion of of money to finish the project. Rough estimates would tell me that the State probably needs between 2.5 – 4 Million to finish the project, but I haven’t been following that close enough to know.

I have my guesses of who would be willing to put up that money. But the bigger question is the city involved in some way? The State has gotten small donations in the past from the city, but nothing close to a million.

My guess is it will be a private donation, if it happens at all. Not sure if the public has the appetite to give tax dollars of significant proportion to the private project.

While I would like to see the State open already, I also would like it to stay a private non-profit with little to no corporate or city funding. But desperation has a way of rearing it’s ugly head. The ‘State of Denny’ does have kind of a nice ring to it 🙂

Still baffled and Concerned. Why is the City of Sioux Falls allowing it’s new Housing Director to run for Tea City Council?

I do stand corrected on one level. I guess an employee of the Siouxland Libraries and an employee of the Siouxland Museums serve on city councils outside of Sioux Falls. But in some ways that is a little different. Both of those bodies are funded by the county and city(s).

But I have to wonder about the conflict of interest with a Tea resident as our housing director saying this about Tea and her run for council;

This is the most important quote from the article I posted yesterday.
“The advantages that suburbs have for adapting to disruptive innovation should not be a rationale for their complacency. Adaptation needs to be nurtured; it won’t happen automatically. Suburbs have an opportunity and, more importantly, an obligation to develop proofs of concept and to share those lessons with other governmental entities.”

If Tea is just a part of Sioux Falls, why do they have a city council? Why doesn’t Sioux Falls just annex Tea into our city limits? Seems we would solve a lot of problems for both communities. But the quote also makes you wonder who Chellee will be working for? The opportunities of a suburb of Sioux Falls, or her real paying gig with the City of Sioux Falls? How can you promote development and economic growth for Tea (while living there) and promote affordable housing in Sioux Falls at your day job? While I have had problems trying to find a specific rule or law that prohibits Unruh from doing both jobs, it’s still ethically questionable. Should the SF Ethics Commission be looking into this and ruling on it before the April election in Tea? I think so. I also find it a bit ironic that her family has chosen to live in Tea. Is it because housing is more affordable there?

I also find it curious she lists her employment with Sioux Falls as of February, yet no one saw her working at her new job until the beginning of March. So it seems she was well aware of her employment with the city when she announced she was running for Tea city council. Did her new employer know? If so, why isn’t Mayor TenHaken asking the Ethics Commission to look into this? Maybe they see Unruh as a double agent as an advantage to Sioux Falls?

Daylight savings time. Why?