Legislative Java Talk, Feb 11, 2017

STOP I tell you, stop! If you don’t stop clapping and shouting we’ll take away your coffee! Wonder how old the coffee was anyway, but that’s another story.

IM-22 and the 36% rate cap were to be expected but we did get to hear about the crazy legislation being pushed through.

Did you ever go to a gathering where the air leaves the room for a moment? The Saturday, February 11, 2017 Sioux Falls SD Legislative Coffee and Crackerbarrel at the Ramada Inn was filled with people not happy with what they were hearing. Several times during the event the moderator had to admonish the crowd to not clap, shout, laugh or join in. What a killjoy. The people want to be heard.

One thing of note, after last week’s performances the legislators answered more of the questions without researching the questions on their computers.

We were often reminded, our part was to sit quietly so the legislators on the dais could make some pretty dumb statements. They did not disappoint. Fred Flintstone would not have been happy with a few of the comments made.

Sioux Falls City Council Public Input, Feb 6, 2017

Jeff DeYoung is upset, can you imagine spending thousands of dollars to improve your property. Then you get ready to go, you find out the requirements laid out by Building & Zoning employees are all wrong? What would you do if you did what you were told?

How about our friend Tim Stanga? He showed up to a Planning Commission meeting the week before to speak on an issue in his neighborhood. He showed up and because he and others didn’t know the secret handshake, Jeff Schmidt moved the commission right past their issues.

How about being retired or disabled? How about being Jim Mitchell and want the snowgates working in your neighborhood? Why weren’t snowgates being used in his neighborhood? Because it wasn’t St. Charles Place? How many ice dams do the council members drive over or through to get in or out of their driveways? Are certain neighborhoods not worthy of snowgates?

These were the first three items brought up during the February 6, 2017 Sioux Falls City Council Public Input. Three good things to bring to our elected representatives on a full night, how about more?

Annette Mahone, with the South Dakota African American History Museum, invited the City Council and public to attend the L.B. “Bud” Williams Humanitarian Award banquet to see Emma Armstrong honored.

Tommy Schmitz a SFPD officer and FOP member provided additional information regarding the Collective Bargaining process. The city administration has not been bargaining in good faith and it was nice to see the employees calling them out publicly.

To wrap things up, RJ Burchatz spoke about pedestrian safety issues pedestrians are experiences in the growing East Bank downtown.

Development Expert makes some interesting points about DTSF

I don’t agree with all of his recommendations, but;

“Your parking meters may need to be in effect until 7 or 8:00 at night, rather than 5:00. They should probably be in effect on Saturday. This is the only city I’ve ever seen where you have free parking on Saturday,” Gibbs said.

I don’t agree with that. I have often suggested that we should only charge for the on-street parking and the ramps should be free and charge more for the meters. I think the times are fine. There is nothing that pisses me off more then parking in a larger city like Minneapolis and having to pay for parking 24/7. It doesn’t encourage tourism.

Gibbs also thinks the streets should be narrower, and the traffic should go slower.

“I was almost hit by cars two times,” Gibbs said.

He believes the city should eliminate the one-way streets in the downtown area.

I agree 100%. The one-way’s Downtown are a pain in the ass and actually make finding parking time consuming and difficult. I also agree with the safety factor for peds.

Gibbs says the downtown area could be three or four times the size it currently is.

He is right. Ft. Collins downtown is much larger and they have the same population as Sioux Falls. They also have more entertainment/hospitality and less dress and cupcake stores.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Kiley may get the boot due to his relationship with the executive branch

Trust me, the councilors have been discussing this for awhile, and Kiley may get a May surprise;

In Kiley’s case, it’s his relationship with City Hall that shows signs of hurting his ascent on a council that’s increasingly asserting its independence from the mayor.

“Are you working for us or the mayor?” Councilor Greg Neitzert asked Monday during a discussion on whether to overturn the mayor’s veto of a Council measure to require the Parks Board to post recordings of its meetings on the city website. “This vote, in my mind, is going to answer that question.”

Neitzert in an interview hinted that the Council could deviate from the traditional power transfer order when deciding who next to hand the gavel to in May.

“I want somebody who is going to represent the Council and our best interest. My vote will be predicated on that thought,” Neitzert said. “Are they going to stand up for the Council? Are they going to be open with us? Are you a little too cozy with the mayor’s office at the expense of the council?”

I’ve told councilors to change it up a bit and pick two new leaders (Chair and Vice-Chair). Ideally, I would like to see Erickson as Chair and Selberg as Vice-Chair, but any arrangement that doesn’t involve Kiley would be preferable. Of course, he is painting a different picture;

“If I cast a vote based on what I think could be political fallout … even if it may impact my opportunity to one day serve as chairman of the City Council, the only person I would be serving would be myself,” he said. “The day I base a decision or vote on an election is the day I should resign. That day will never come.”

That’s unfortunate.

Fred Flintstone would have starved

In one of the funnier moments of the Legislative Coffee today, Representative Jensen, in defense of teaching creationism in science class, said that science changes all the time, he said for instance, scientists have determined that Brontosaurus’ didn’t really exist.

Just like their kooky idea to teach religious ideas in public schools they are wrong about the Bront;

The Brontosaurus really did exist, scientists have decided, ending a debate which has rumbled on for more than 100 years,

The huge dinosaur was discovered in the 1870s, but by 1903 palaeontologists ruled the fossil remains were actually from an Apatosaurus.

However a new statistical analysis of the fossils by Oxford University has seen the dinosaur resurrected. Scientists have ruled that it is unique and should have its own genus.

“The differences we found between Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus were at least as numerous as the ones between other closely related genera, and much more than what you normally find between species,” said Dr Roger Benson, a co-author from the University of Oxford.

Yabba, Dabba, Doo.

Are public notices in newspapers a waste of money? Sometimes.

As you know, I am big on open government, and public notices are important;

A bill that would allow South Dakota’s 17 largest cities to publish their public notices such as meeting minutes online instead of in the local newspaper was defeated in committee on Thursday.

HB1167 would have allowed cities with populations of more than 5,000 to publish their public notices on their websites, freeing them from the current requirement that notices be published in the local newspaper.

Rep. Greg Jamison, R-Sioux Falls, the bill’s sponsor, said the state’s larger cities are already posting their notices online, as well as broadcasting the meetings.

HB1167 “makes it so it doesn’t have to be in the newspaper,” Jamison said. “That’s the big difference here.”

While I agree alternative methods should be ‘explored’ I do agree with the SD newspaper industry – to an extent;

Justin Smith, an SDNA lobbyist, said that having a third party print the notices ensures that the government “cannot come back later and change them.”

In his work as a lawyer, Smith said, he has at times needed to check on notices published as far back as the 1950s.

“There is forever a record of that information,” Smith said. “1167 would destroy this permanent archive.”

While their arguments are fine and dandy, the issue I have with the way it is now, is that it has to be in a ‘paid subscription paper’ and the problem with our local paper is that they print it on a weekday (not as many subscribers) and in 4-point type. It should really be in the Sunday Paper in at least 6-8 pt type so people don’t have to get out a magnifying glass. I also don’t see a problem with it being in a weekly shopper that doesn’t have subscribers, it may get MORE readership. Right now, the government entities are subject to when the newspapers decide to print the notices, and that isn’t right either. Just Sayin’.

The SD GOP’s new Comedian is ready to serve

Hey South Dakota, this Jew’s for you!

Am I the only one to find it a bit ironic that the right-winger Christians in the SD GOP hire a Jewish Iowa businessman who lobbies for Muslim Arabs to lead the party?

And you wonder why the party has been destroying our state for the past 40 years. Because it’s leadership is so out of touch they don’t give a rat’s ass about the average hardworking South Dakotan.

Help a Brother Out!

Pat has been a fixture in our community for years. I got the pleasure of meeting Pat when we were involved with helping to create ‘Rose Caring Week‘ almost 20 years ago. If you want to help, here ya go!

This would be truly sad

As a kid who was a 4-H member for many years and attended the County & State Fairs, I would hate to see this happen;

A 54-year-old fundraising partnership benefiting 4-H in South Dakota has deteriorated into a lawsuit by state government against a private charity.

The South Dakota Board of Regents, the South Dakota State University Foundation and the state of South Dakota are suing the organization formerly known as the South Dakota 4-H Foundation.

The suit was filed Dec. 21 in state court in Hughes County. The state is asking the court to dissolve the 4-H Foundation (which changed its name last year to South Dakota Youth Heritage Inc.) and transfer the foundation’s money to the SDSU Foundation, among other requests.

While it is sad, it is also bizarre. Why would the state stop helping with funding to 4-H when the state’s biggest industry is Agriculture, but the bigger question is why SDSU, a agri-business, state university would be trying to take money from the program?

The state’s suit says the fight between the state and the 4-H Foundation began after Barry Dunn had become the SDSU dean of agriculture in 2010. Dunn, who has since been promoted to president of the Brookings-based university, did not immediately respond to a phone message Friday from the Journal.

I have thought the leadership of SDSU has been F’d ever since the former president whored himself to the Monsanto board. Seems the pillaging continues with the new president.

Cameraman Bruce; Ask your city government for transparency

Let’s load up the Parks office with requests for DVD’s of the meetings;

The mayor’s veto rationale has an interesting twist; he admitted the meetings are recorded and currently available if the public asks for them. So, I recommend all citizens of Sioux Falls request DVD recordings of all city boards and commissions meetings not currently posted. The mayor says they are available, so let’s all ask for them, as Argus Leader reporter Joe Sneve has done. Confirm they are furnished free of charge, just as they were furnished to Sneve.

Transparency in government would be significantly enhanced by a new ordinance providing for video recordings of city department board meetings archived online. The absence of such a policy serves only to reinforce a perception of a veil of secrecy over the Sioux Falls administration thwarting the citizen’s right to know what their government is doing.

Transparency is NOT a slippery slope, in fact it should be an easy hike in the country side.