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.”

Minnehaha County has budget hearings with the cameras off

Minnehaha County is always asking for more money for criminal justice and a new jail. I get it. It takes tax dollars to fund these things. What I don’t get is the lack of transparency.

Besides the fact that the Tuesday regular meeting still hasn’t reached the internets 3 days later, the county didn’t bother recording the budget hearings that take place on a weekday in the AM. The county upgraded their video equipment at a cost of $40K, but they don’t seem to know how to turn it on.

It is continually frustrating that the county, the city and the school district ask for more money from us, but do it in the dark. If you want my money, you need to ask for it in the open. This lack of Sunshine by our local government is becoming frustrating.

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.

The train traffic and noise DTSF needs to go

After the presentation of the new development downtown I addressed the council at the informational meeting (at end of meeting). I basically told them as long as the train noise and increased traffic exists it will be detrimental to further development downtown. I also said it was time for our Washington delegation to get off their duffs and have a conversation with BNSF about moving the switching and storage of cars out of DTSF.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council has another ‘hypocritical’ alcohol license vote

Amazing, in a 7-1 vote, (Stehly opposed) the city council approved axe throwing at a bar. I will agree, that would be okay, but I will get to that in a moment.

The hypocrisy of this is that they denied a beer license to a mom & pop affordable movie theater because they were concerned about the safety of the minors, but apparently drinking beers and throwing axes doesn’t concern them.

Why? I will tell you why. Because ‘mom and pop’ who own West Mall 7 don’t own one of the largest home realty agencies in Sioux Falls. The owners of Escape 605 do. They have connections.

But the irony of this is you could have had your cake and ate it too. While they can’t put a condition on the license itself, they can put conditions on the safety plan. In other words the council could have deferred this and asked them to change their safety plan to ONLY allow drinking AFTER their axe throwing session was finished, than came back with a NEW license request.

UPDATE: One of the arguments from the owner of the bar to allow axe throwing around alcohol was that dart leagues use steel tip darts. I thought that was odd, so I asked some people who throw in Sioux Falls dart bar leagues. They told me they were unaware of a steel tip league in Sioux Falls since all the leagues use electronic boards who only accept plastic tip darts.

Not only was the vote tonight childish, hypocritical and wreaked of elitism, it was completely ignorant. You could have allowed them to have the axe range and alcohol, and done it safely, but instead they just ramrodded it through because there seems to be some immediate need to open an axe throwing bar in a building that has sat empty for several years.

I hear individual councilors say individual stupid things at meetings, but I have never seen a group of them act so idiotic before. WOW.

SouthDaCola Podcast 19: President of DTSF, Joe Batcheller

Listen HERE. We discuss what is going on Downtown and future development.

SD Delegation sends Trump 2nd letter; this time with an Applebees giftcard

Well you know what they say, you catch more bees with honey. Senator Thune said this about the 2nd attempt to address the trade war, “We know that the president likes to eat crappy food, so we thought this would be a great follow-up letter.”

I asked Thune since he was 3rd in line for GOP leadership in Washington couldn’t he just pick up the phone and call Trump?

Thune seemed confused and said, “Interview over.”

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