Relax, Enjoy Life, Have Fun

Update: Public Transit Advisory Board meets in person on Monday

Update: the meeting was cancelled because it was not properly posted.

I was forwarded the agenda by an official, but when you go to the city website, the agenda is NOT posted.

As of 3:40 PM, July 25, 2021

I’m not sure if they legally can have the meeting since the agenda is NOT posted on the city website (24 hours in advance). I’m sure they will argue like they did in the past that the agenda is available upon request, but I still think it should be on the city website. We will see if the meeting happens.

What are the Legal Struggles with the Bunker Ramp?

We have not heard much for awhile. In fact, even if the City Council has heard anything in executive session, they haven’t said much either.

We know that the developer, has put in a counter action asking to complete the project scaled down, but we know that would be a breach of contract.

City Hall moles and others in the media have told me there hasn’t been any lawsuits filed by the city. The reason? The rumor is the mayor has chosen NOT to sue Lamont based on being a nice guy.

Sadly, this isn’t the mayor’s decision. The breach of contract occurred against the taxpayers of Sioux Falls, not his administration, and the citizens should sue based solely on that.

Not only should Lamont NOT be allowed to finish the project half-ass, the taxpayers of this city deserve some kind of compensation for leaving us a hunk of crap. But of course this would mean several past and current councilors and two mayors admit the mistake and apologize for not pumping the brakes early on. Of course, corrupt, authoritarians don’t do things like that.

The real reason the city is NOT suing is because they don’t want this to look like a major F’up, which it is. I wonder if the developer will walk away with no fines and no deal? Don’t know, we may never know.

And I wonder what developer will be waiting in the wings . . . with a TIF to boot?

John Oliver points out why spending public money on stadiums is a sham

1,000 foot setback for Med Cannabis dispensaries is ludicrous

Most setbacks for facilities like this are 300 feet. But the IM 26 task force is suggesting 1,000 feet from parks, schools, churches AND residential. One cannabis advocate said to me, ‘That means NO dispensaries basically anywhere in Sioux Falls. Not on Minnesota Avenue or 41st street.’ They also pointed out to me that when they looked at a map and did a GIS approach to the setback they could only find a couple of spots in Sioux Falls.

The rumor going around is that Mayor TenHaken is the one who instructed the task force to make the setback so strict. I still don’t understand how we continue to allow Sioux Falls Mayors to stick their noses in policy issues. He is violating city charter.

As I have told the mayor and council publicly, your views on the morality of using legal cannabis is NOT your problem. You must uphold the laws on the books and not make it so difficult to distribute a product that the voters of South Dakota deemed legal.

I expect several lawsuits challenging the setback if passed. I also expect it to be passed, because that is what authoritarians do. I also think there could be a petition drive in Sioux Falls to change the setbacks in city ordinance.

And with the delay in the verdict on Amendment A, I don’t expect the SD Supreme Court ruled in favor of it. I think they will agree with the lower court. You also have to remember that the high court takes the summer off, so don’t expect a verdict until this Fall.

Sioux Falls City Council to get update on Skiter Control

After several residents complained about the city spraying people, pets and children in broad daylight, we are going to get the take from the city;

Vector Control Update by Denise Patton, Health Program Coordinator

It is going to be fun to listen how they are going to spin spraying residents in late afternoons. They have already used the ‘money’ excuse, but I don’t buy it from a city that has a $700 million dollar yearly budget. I have also suggested the city use cheaper more organic approaches to Vector Control. Not to mention it has been so dry this year, I don’t think I have seen more than 2 mosquitos in the city.

How is that $100K Covid Vaccination Education Program working out?

At the February 2, 2021 Sioux Falls City Council meeting, the council approved $100K to go towards a Covid Vaccination Education program.

Since then, there have been ZERO updates on how that program worked. Well if you look at the latest numbers for South Dakota, only 46.6% of people are FULLY vaccinated. Well below the 70-80% we need to be at.

I’m not sure what the numbers are in Sioux Falls, likely higher, but it would be nice to get an update. The one thing I have noticed about this administration is if something fails, they never talk about it again. I hate to say it, but if we don’t ramp up vaccinations in Sioux Falls immediately, we will be right back in the same boat we were last Fall. As the Covid variants get stronger, we will experiencing many more breakthrough infections.

Sioux Falls Parks Director brags about the Snowjob pulled on the City Council

(FF 12:10)

Don basically talks about how the city attorney’s office did an outstanding job getting the Sioux Steel easement pushed through. Pretty crazy to hear a city director brag about getting the city council to possibly violate open meeting laws by voting on an agenda item without giving the public the whole story. We still have NO idea how this suddenly became park land or what that process was.

Also note that if you watched the council meeting the assistant city attorney said the council could vote to release that information, but guess when they were told they could vote to release the information? Five minutes before the 2nd reading. Yeah, now that’s transparency.

Also note that the first phase of the project will be the residential portion and not the hotel and entertainment part. Go figure.

The City of Sioux Falls should move towards leasing office space

At Tuesday’s informational meeting there was a presentation on maintenance of the city buildings. While I understand there are some buildings we HAVE to own like fire stations I think we need to learn a lesson from COVID and when we were debating the City Center building (which is still entangled in a lawsuit over the failed HVAC system) the Finance Director at the time suggested that leasing is way more affordable than building and maintaining. And with COVID we have learned that many, if not all of the pencil pushers with the city can easily work from home.

Saving money by leasing office space makes sense on many levels. You have NO maintenance costs, no bonding costs and if you need more or less space you simply pack up the office and move.

Working from home could also save the city bundles of money in office space. Obviously many city workers can’t work from home, but I think most of the office staff could.

I also think the Mayor (he is the city manager per charter) should look into selling off city property we don’t need anymore after moving many people to work from home or to leased properties and we should use the revenue to pay down bonds on current properties like The Denty, the Bunker Ramp, the City Administration building and water treatment expansion.

I have often been baffled by not only this mayor but past mayors who want to expand FTE’s for the city (23 this year) because with advances in technology, etc, we should be finding ways to reduce the city workforce by making working conditions for city employees more efficient. I have also suggested that the city terminates most of their middle management. There really should only be team supervisors and directors. I have found following city politics over the past 15 years that middle management really does very little except talk a lot.

I believe if the city would take a 3 tier approach to our building infrastructure and workforce they could save the taxpayers millions of dollars a year. This of course would require the Mayor, any mayor, to follow the charter and do their job, which is managing the city, it’s properties and employees instead of getting in the weeds with legislative priorities which is the council’s job.

I have often taunted councilors to start violating their charter duties and start talking directly to city employees about complaints. Of course they are NOT allowed to do this by charter, so why does the mayor think it is OK to screw with the council?

I think this city could run way more efficiently if we had a mayor that actually concentrated on managing the city instead sitting in his garage coming up with cute program names. Just listen to his budget address, I couldn’t even keep track of all the acronyms he presented about employee improvement and mentoring. The only thing city employees should be trained on is CUSTOMER SERVICE to the citizens. That should always be their top priority. Holding hands and singing campfire songs doesn’t really matter when our streets are full of potholes and violent crime is on the rise. I am all for training city employees and keeping them up with the latest standards and procedures, but we need a city manager that understands that public employees serve those who pay their wages not the mayor. I have noticed since the Munson days that administrations have used city staff (mostly management) to serve their whims instead of the people.

Something needs to change with it comes to managing our city, because the current administration isn’t cutting the mustard.

Is anyone in leadership going to address the housing crisis in Sioux Falls?

The other day I heard Dusty Johnson talking about this issue, so I decided to email him the other day with my ideas;


I heard you talking the other day about the struggles with affordable housing in South Dakota.

We are in a crisis mode in Sioux Falls. I’m afraid the combination of developer and contractor handouts to build has caused this situation, plenty of businesses coming, not enough people to work those jobs. I’m afraid Amazon will have to build an RV Park/Campground to house the workers, because there will be no other place for them to live.

While we can’t go back in time, this all happened because we used taxpayer resources to incentivize the developers and contractors instead of the workers and housing buyers. We can do differently moving forward though. We need to end the welfare to big out of state businesses who pay below living wage salaries and start using Federal, State, County, and City programs to fix up our core neighborhoods where the affordable housing exists if the buyers are incentivized. We can do this through low interest or no interest loans, property tax rebates, fixing up infrastructure, etc. I call it starting from the bottom up. It also would prop up local contractors and businesses to fix up these homes. It also helps fight crime and neglect and it would be great for transferring slumlord neglected rental housing to first time homebuyers to fix up.

Trickle down has never worked, in fact it is proof that it has created this crisis. Instead we need to prop up residents to create more density in Sioux Falls and clean up these neighborhoods.

I know you are a Republican and may this agree with some of my suggestions, but the opposite just hasn’t worked, and never will. I told the planning commission and city council all these TIFS, tax rebates and breaks to big business and developers is just like pouring gasoline on a fire. We don’t have the workers, and even if they move here, we don’t have the housing. If we don’t do things completely opposite of what we have been doing, in five to ten years Sioux Falls is going to be a crime ridden dump.

Thanks for listening.

Scott L. Ehrisman

I figured since no one at city hall or in the state legislature is doing much about it except suggesting prisoners in Springfield work harder at building Governor houses, I would suggest to Dusty what is really going on here, is that we are failing, miserably, because of the bullcrap theory that if we give the rich developers and contractors at the top, somehow magically it would trickle down to us and solve our affordable housing issues. We also have to find a way to control rents in Sioux Falls and stop realtors from falsely inflating home prices in Sioux Falls. The value of my home changed very little over 17 years, usually 0-2% each year and then within two years it jumped up over 25%. Give me a break.