Sioux Falls Thrive paints a grim picture of a ‘Low Wage’ community

Well it is something we have known for quite awhile, but I guess the business community now is screaming for labor. Well guess what, you need to pay better. This is what happens when you invite people to a supposed ‘Boomtown’ that pays the wages of a town going ‘Bust’.

Candy Hanson(sp?) does a presentation for the Minnehaha County Commission (starts at 19:00-54:00)

Here is the full report. It is very comprehensive; (DOC: Affordable_Housing_Needs_Assessment_2016) I plan to start reading the report and see what I can dig up in terms of solutions for our community.

Sioux Falls city council acts like lost sheep

Wasn’t quite sure what I was witnessing last night, but there was the smell of burnt chislic in the air.

When the only two councilors to vote against the $90K Legacy money grab are the most conservative and the most liberal, one has to scratch your head a bit.

Councilor Starr questioned just how much parking we would get, and if this is just subsidizing the developer’s property and not really a benefit to ‘public’ parking.

Stehly had even more questions;

Stehly is concerned since Legacy Development owned the the Copper Lounge Building, which collapsed back in December. She wants to wait until the OSHA investigation is done.

She’s also concerned with not knowing who the investors are in the project, and using the 2nd penny sales tax as collateral.

While both Starr and Stehly make great points (and why they voted against the project). There are also many questions about the location and timing?

But even ‘IF’ we had all of the answers above, what baffles me even more is why isn’t Legacy paying these expenses? If they want the city to invest with them, then shouldn’t they be the ones to pony up?

And lastly, in reference to the lost sheep of the council, I actually expected a 4-to-4 OR 5-t-4 vote on this with the mayor fiddling around with a VETO or tie-breaker vote. Maybe that is why the council just gave in, they are getting tired of dealing with the VETO controversy. Which is disappointing, since it seems it only took 2 vetoes to whip the council back in shape.

Then there is the history of projects like this, like a lost sheep, they seem to have a short memory on how the administration has been able to ram-rod this kind of crap through. Always putting the cart in front of the horse and financing all the planning before a bond is even taken out. I told Neitzert if your family was planning on building a new home, you would go to the bank first and see what they would be willing to loan you and what you could afford before you ever met with a realtor or architect, unless of course you are independently wealthy and don’t care. Which is kind of the mayor’s mentality when it comes to taxpayer money.

The council certainly looked like lost sheep last night following the wolves into the forest. With so many unanswered questions and history behind this project, I can’t imagine any other reason they would approve something that was so obviously wrong.

Watch the full discussion. Second to last item on the agenda.

South Dakota Democrats! WAKE UP!!

If opportunity was ever knocking on the Dems doors, it is 2018.

Let’s face the facts, Trump and his limp congress and senate will be burning bridges like no tomorrow come January 2018. But even if Trump is still popular, this is the first time in a long time that there will be so many open seats in a multitude of races.

Sioux Falls school board (empty seat, have until March 28, 2017 to get petitions) so far only one candidate has formerly announced, Cynthia Mickelson, wife of ‘Dark Money’ crusader Mark Mickelson. Democrats should be all over this easy race. They expect the voter turnout to be so low they are going to hand count the election. You could literally win this race by a couple of votes.

Sioux Falls city council, Four seats (two open seats, At-Large & Central. Two incumbents, At-Large, South East). Another shoe-in for Democrats, especially when it is a non-partisan race (Your party designation doesn’t appear on the ballot). The next city council is going to need some progressives to address many economic issues facing our city.

Sioux Falls mayor (open seat) I swear by the notion that the next Mayor is going to have to be the opposite of Huether. He was anything but a Democrat, and he knew it, that is why he left the party. It will take someone who will represent not only open government but ALL citizens no matter their economic status.

Attorney General of SD (open seat) with Jackboots running for governor, this will open this wide open. Besides US Congress, this may be a job Brendan Johnson could consider running for.

Secretary of State of SD (open seat) with the shoe salesperson boot scooting her way out of the SOS office (in which she had to hire temps to help clean up after the last goon farting all over it and wiped his butt with the state flag) this would be another great seat  for Dems to pick up (they should have last time).

Governor of SD (open seat) this will quickly become a hot mess all around. I have suggested the Dems put up Joe Lowe as their candidate and have NO primary. I know Billy Sutton’s name comes up quite often too, but I don’t think Billy knows what party he is in, since he continually votes for Republican tax plans (teacher pay).

US Congress (open seat) I’m still sticking to my guns and say Huether will run for this seat as an indy. This leaves him and Dusty to battle it out leaving a popular Democrat to sweep in at the end. I say Dusty because I don’t think Shantel ‘Glass Slipper’ Krebs can beat Dusty. He is just a far more personable campaigner, and if you have had any interaction with Shoeless Krebs you will realize she holds an elitist attitude towards the minions. She is vehemently against the initiated measure process. As for my MMM prediction, it is something I have felt for awhile, but after him and his BFF, Rob Oliver slipped SHS in at Augie, I felt it was a mild ploy to eliminate her as competition.

With all these open seats, the Democrats need to pounce NOW! The Republicans are already showing multiple candidates for Governor, Congress and AG. And what have the Democrats shown? NOT Squat.

As I have told several within the party, the chair, Ann Tornberg needs to be calling the leading candidates RIGHT NOW and asking the question, Yes? NO? Or Maybe? Especially with some of the obvious ones, like Brendan Johnson. This screwing around worrying about IM 22 and whether or no gays can adopt need to be handled by special interests. The party needs to concentrate on rebuilding the party, that means finding at least 2 candidates to run for each of these seats and several of the legislative races. If the Democratic party can’t start making announcements by at least the end of May (2017) they might as well just shut the lights off and pack up, because you are toast.

Update: State Auditor, Commissioner of School & Public Lands and PUC will also be up for grabs.

 

 

City Administration tries to hide almost $90K of Legacy parking ramp in consent agenda

While I’m sure one of the councilors will have it pulled for discussion (Item #1), I am getting increasingly worried we are ramrodding a parking ramp thru that;

  1. We may not need
  2. Built in wrong location
  3. Will it benefit parking DT or the private developer’s business
  4. Using a development company that is still under investigation from OSHA
  5. Hasn’t received final bond funding from the council (actually nixed from the 2017 budget)

This train needs to be stopped, until at least the OSHA report is made public. We shouldn’t be spending tax dollars on a project that may not have a future. Not sure if there is enough votes (5 or 6) to stop the funding tonight, but hopefully there will be a good discussion.

A 3-Legged Stool campaign platform for the 2018 City Election

If you are running for mayor or city council for the 2018 Municipal election, you should have your work cut out for you.

There will be 3 main campaign issues that I think will dominate;

• Crime: While crime in Sioux Falls hasn’t gotten out of control and is manageable, the increasing violent crime rate over the past 5 years should concern us. The candidate(s) that come up with a leading solution(s) while making the public still feel safe will garner attention. I have suggested concentrated patrolling, more neighborhood watch programs and educating the public about what to look for when it comes to suspicious activity (drug dealing, domestic violence, etc.) Also an increased social media presence.

• Affordable Housing: It is probably the NUMBER ONE issue affecting Sioux Falls right now, but it is closely tied into with crime. When people don’t have a decent place to live or a decent job to pay for it, it breeds crime. I suggest the next mayor and city council take away focus from big development and TIFS (urban sprawl) and concentrate on the core and proper of Sioux Falls. First off, big development will survive, they have plenty support from private investors and banks. Plus urban sprawl only hurts our infrastructure budget (building more NEW infrastructure means more to take care of). We need to concentrate more on community development loans to private homeowners and landlords of small apartment complexes. Not only can they be helped with NO or LOW interest development loans, there are plenty of Federal grants they can apply for. This of course will take bigger staff to go door to door in these neighborhoods and promote this kind of revitalization. It will also have to come from the real estate and mortgage banking industry willing to invest in first time home buyers and young families to rebuild these older neighborhoods. Another measure tied into this would be passing a city ordinance minimum wage within SF city limit of at least $10 an hour.

• Transparency: This is just a given. We have had one of the most secretive administrations to date. Trust me, Munson and Hanson were not much better, but Huether has taken his dictatorship (home rule charter) to heart. Heck, our local paper had to sue in Supreme Court to get a contract (and they may lose the case). The next council and mayor need to open the books and communication, and it shouldn’t even be a fight, it should just be done. A healthy democracy depends on it.

 

 

UPDATE: City of Sioux Falls Audit Committee to test open government

UPDATE: What’s that saying about messing up a . . . oh nevermind, Fiddle Faddle was at it again putting the Kabosh on the open records audit, basically saying there just isn’t enough staff to look over 1.5 million hits on the website, while Erpenbach partook in the poo-poo session, she even mentioned that there is software that can handle that stuff. Fiddle made it sound like FOI requests don’t happen very often, so the audit wasn’t necessary. Erpenbach suggested they audit parking instead. If I was there, I would have suggested an audit of the Building Services department for not investigating construction companies doing work without permits.

The Audit Committee has set the agenda for 2017, and it is a big one. The above one should be interesting. See the whole agenda; (DOC: audit-2017 )

Blue State Ball 2017

It was refreshing to hear the speakers talk about something I have been thinking since November; Brush off Trump and get back to work.

In other words enough of the whining and pissing and moaning, go back to doing what progressives are good at, being a thorn and a true opposition to the corporate conservatism that has taken over DC.

The speakers were fantastic, especially Norm who really got the crowd fired up. DaCola was promised the video and hope to have it within the week to post.

Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson thanked Bruce and I for helping her out with some tips about her case with Sanford Health in Minnesota.

Norman Goldman crushed it for speakers, a progressive attorney radio talk show host. Always entertaining.

Thom Hartmann, progressives last hope in talk radio and TV, ended the event with his common sense about government and progressives, and how Trump suckered the Democrats.

Another great event, I look forward to the battle next year. We also got in contact with an immigrant running for St. Paul mayor, and hope to lend him our talents.

Cameraman Bruce’s thoughts on Annexation

What a bunch of crap, C-R-A-P. Our esteemed soon to be retired Sioux Falls City Council Chair has said in the Argus Leader article “Do we want a lot of areas that look like Old Orchard?” Oh my gawd, how ignorant can people be?

There are several neighborhoods in Sioux Falls without curb, gutter and sidewalks including my neighborhood. Some specifically move to them because they have NO curb, gutter, storm sewer and sidewalks. There is a function and charm to neighborhoods without out our outdated curb style designed so badly it breaks snowplows if the drivers are not trained properly. To the people who think all houses must be painted brown based colors like our City Council Chair prefers with the greenest golf course grass and big brick mailboxes, too bad, we have freedom of choice.

Not all houses and yards have to look like your golf course duplex maintained by a landscaping company for their efficiency. Old Orchard, Split Rock Heights, Hall’s Addition and more are neighborhoods with a flavor the owner residents want to retain. Hall’s addition and Old Orchard are long established formerly rural neighborhoods with permanent agreements with the city of Sioux Falls to never be forced to have curbs, sidewalks or storm sewers. Those of us who live in the areas know there is never a need and in the late 1980’s attorney A.J. Swanson fought for the right to keep them out forever. An additional negotiated pieces for Hall’s Addition is 20 mph streets and their own water wells – FOREVER. Did you know Old Orchard has the right to keep horses?

There are many things to be negotiated in the annexation fight. The city staff and a few members of the Council are full of themselves in these issues.

Bruce Danielson

Is Pitty expecting a US Congressional run out of Huether?

If that is the case, Pitty and I agree on something. It seems he is coming in early and hard on MMM before he even announces what he is running for;

What has Huether’s tenure been characterized by? Empire building, ego, and pontification.

Since early on, Huether ram-rodded through building projects, which often had the community sharply divided; The Denny Sanford Arena, a new indoor pool, and most recently, a new city administration building.  But alongside that, we’ve been constantly reminded of Huether’s massive and unabated egomania through such things as his top ten lists, as well as his infamous municipal ad campaign and billboards featuring.. himself.

It’s no secret Pitty is in Dusty’s corner and helping him out with the campaign. What I find kind of humorous is that if Mike’s thin skinned over a blog that is locally written about city government, wait until he has Pitty’s statewide blog dumping on him, day after day, he may quickly forget who Cameraman Bruce and Detroit Lewis are. I may be a little mean, but Pitty can get pretty vicious (he is a Republican after all).

Bruce says it best when it comes to MMM;

Pat, thank you for this. In the years we have worked to strengthen accountability in Sioux Falls we have run into roadblocks everywhere we turn. The city of Sioux Falls under Mike Huether has organized policies to limit more and more of our access to real or correct information. We fight for open government in Sioux Falls because the effort toward open government has to start somewhere. Mike Huether proved recently how little disregard he has for transparency when he vetoed public access to already recorded audio of the Park & Recreation Board meetings.
We started asking for real certified audits of construction programs because we found problems in methods and materials used on the construction of the event center. Mike Huether has told many versions of stories to justify what he and his administration has done, most not based on any version of acceptable facts.
Mike Huether and his Finance Director Tracy Turbak consistently tell us positive event center impact stories. They tell us the EC is pumping money into the community when in fact it has likely caused a negative impact exceeding $50,000,000 or more. The city will not allow us to see real numbers only their pasteurized and homogenized versions.
The crime rate issues we have here are the result of Huether’s boom town mentality where his special people have been isolated from the problems. The mayor recently realized we might have an issue then complained about crime issues when his neighbor’s garage was broken into. All of a sudden there is crime.
We have years of videos and stories freely available to the public to see what we have had to put up with. We freely share the stories to help you and your readers find out how a Huether government works. We do not trust him to even be standing next to us. I carry cameras when I am in his presence and then post the video on YouTube at www.siouxfall.org.
Several of us have believed the real crime issues started after the 2010 vote. This is why we speak and organize. This is why there are many in city hall who fear us. Just think about it, if you have been arrested, physically assaulted, verbally threatened by this administration and are still standing, what is there to fear by speaking the truth to power?

Did you Hear? The Levitt will bring in 50 free concerts a year!

Well, if you were at the Levitt presentation last night for YPN (Young Professionals Network – Chamber) you would have had to be deaf not to know about the 50 concerts.

It was mentioned about a dozen times in the intro video, and afterwards the speakers kept bringing it up.

Trust me, I think this is fantastic, if it was realistic. Remember, that is 3-4 concerts per week, and unless those concerts are going to be on weeknights, they will conflict with a ton of other live music and other events outdoors downtown in the summer. Five to seven years ago, I would have said no way, but if you look at the calendar of events this summer for DT, you would be hard pressed not to find something going on both Friday and Saturday.

One person in attendance asked the question and the response was, “We promised we wouldn’t interfere with JazzFest and the Pavilion.” Uh, okay. What about all the other DT events and private promoters in the city? I take real issue with using my tax dollars to compete with private business.

Besides the 50 (professional) concerts a year dream/scheme, I just don’t buy we are going to be getting all of this for FREE. The city will have to kick in a butt-load of money. So why not just build the amphitheater and use if for the city without the ties to Levitt? Not only could we save money, we might even break even on the grounds with rental fees?

There is also the fact they are peddling we will be able to bring our own coolers (with beer in them). I’ll believe it when I see it. Like many things in life folks, nothing is for free.

Let’s face it, as I mentioned last night at the event, we don’t have many choices with the brownfield. Funny part is when I asked the presenters (very nicely) to explain what a brownfield was and why we are using it for an amphitheater the speaker said this, “Uh, that’s more of city question, they know more about it, I know there is 6″ of clay, uh, but we get 50 free concerts . . .” he never really explained it to the crowd. I wasn’t trying to get anyone into trouble, I just wanted the crowd to understand why this location was being used. But I guess you are not supposed to bring those things up at a fundraiser.