My Final Post • July 7, 2020

Trust me, it is NOT with heavy heart that I will stop posting here. The blog will remain as is but the comments will be shut off and there will be no more posts moving forward.

Over the past couple of months I have had many POSITIVE things happen to me, and the Blog is no longer a part of that and it time to cut the strings. While I enjoyed it, I did speculate shutting it down for at least 2 years, it just took me awhile. It’s just not fun anymore and really not part of my life anymore. I got stuff to do and it doesn’t involve city politics.

It also has nothing to do with Stehly leaving the council. I think we will see her come back into the political spotlight after a short break and I expect her to be an even stronger citizen advocate – one of the reasons I did not want her to run for re-election, she gets more done when her hands are NOT tied down by haters.

I guess the real reason I am quitting is because I don’t think I am making a dent in stopping or even slowing city government corruption. The elected officials over the past 6 years have become more corrupt, more unethical, hypocritical and quite honestly a lot dumber, unprepared, sophomoric and naïve. Just look at the response to Covid. It has virtually been ignore the problem and it may go away. Or 5G which has virtually done NOTHING to improve the lives of the citizenry. Dumb people lie and cheat because they have no problem solving skills, and they don’t want to solve social ills, they want to line their pockets. We need to stop electing these idiots. They represent one class of people, and it isn’t you and me.

There is also another glaring problem in our little town, a Fourth Estate that is non-existent. We have a daily paper where we can count the number of employees on one hand ran by a person who is more concerned about Fernson’s latest beer than what is going on in our community politically. And our local TV stations seem to be more concerned about food trucks, car dealerships and golf tournaments put on by the hospital industrial complex. The sad part is, the best news source in town comes from a two person operation that gets paid for content. How ironic is that? What makes it even more funny is this person was the target of one of my first posts on this blog. How the times have changed. Keep rocking it Jodi!

Trust me though, just because I won’t be commenting on city politics anymore does NOT mean I won’t be paying attention, I just encourage others to get more involved. The voters have chosen these fools, and now they can live with the results. It is just unfortunate that I also have to. But there is very little tying me down to this town. I could pack up my crap in a couple of days and be gone. The main reason I stay is because it is quiet, when I want it to be quiet.

No matter what I say or do it won’t make much of difference. The hatred and disgust towards towards openness, transparency and simple honesty is the cancer that is eating away at our local government. And it’s not just the council and mayor, it’s city directors, public employees (mostly management), school board members, county commissions (both of them) and yes the citizens who support these people. You are your own worst enemies. Stop making everything a partisan issue. Good government is good for all of us!

It’s just best I don’t say anything, anymore. It’s better for my mental health. I just want to sit in front of a canvas and listen to old time roots country and watch BBC art docs.

There will be something I will miss about it, all the colorful comments and hundreds of friends I have made over the 13 years. Some of these friendships have been life changing. One of my fondest memories is how I changed my relationship with Greg Jamison, who I once revered as an enemy but became a local government confidant, heck even his father warmed up to me a bit. Or my relationship with Dr. Kermit Staggers, a person who always put integrity above everything else and swatted away the detractors like gnats. Or the bond I formed with former city clerk Debra Owen who has always been forthright with me about her positions and has stood by those positions while listening to my side. Her kindness, depth of knowledge and understanding has often gotten me through some rough patches on the blog. Heck, I even got Sioux Falls School Board President Cynthia Mickelson to listen to some of my suggestions over the past few months after she reached out to me with an open hand and open mind. There are a few good people in local government, but there needs to be more of them.

I want to give one last thank you to two people. One I will name, one I will not. Cameraman Bruce has been vital to this fight. My links to his YouTube page transformed how I covered local politics and his fight has always been my fight. While he never had access to my blog, ownership or editorial control, his contributions have been insurmountable. While I have had several guest posts over the years, I have always been the soul writer and editor of the blog. There is also someone else, a person I would never mention by name, but they stood behind me the whole way and sacrificed a lot over the past 13 years (actually over 20). They know who they are, and I will be eternally grateful, because without them, there would have never been SouthDaCola. I will never be able to repay you for the countless hours you have put in consulting me along the way, you are good friend, remember that. Now go saw some logs!

Detroit Lewis – Signing off!

City of Sioux Falls to give $350K interest free loan to developer

On the Sioux Falls city council agenda Tuesday night you will see a little tidbit in item #7, approval of contracts, sub-item #4;

Don’t be fooled by the title, this interest free loan is a pass through from the Feds for affordable housing to Lloyd Companies. I wonder if someone will ask exactly what the rents will be for this supposed affordable housing. Once again, developer welfare for a developer that doesn’t need it.

Just imagine if we gave interest free loans to people in the core of our city to help clean up their property? How far would this money go? Maybe we could clean up 50-100 properties with sidewalk repair, roof and siding repair, windows, landscaping? Let’s go even a step farther and give mini-TIFs to property owners in these affected neighborhoods in the form of property tax relief.

I truly believe the death of Tracy Saboe could have been avoided if we would have started cleaning up these neighborhoods over 12 years ago when first proposed by Mayor Munson. NOTHING has been done. So now crime increases while wealthy developers continue to cash in on projects that do nothing to prevent crime. But hey we have a $115 million dollar dented up events center (that sits empty while we pay a $10 million dollar a year mortgage on it). A $26 million dollar bunker ramp (that has yet to open) and a $20+ million dollar TIF to a project that is in flux while we go ahead with a $11 million dollar bond to build a greenway project around it (even with speculation if the project will ever happen). Why do we keep blowing the money on welfare for wealthy developers instead of helping hardworking Sioux Falls residents to clean up their properties and ultimately their neighborhoods? Because of the greedy fools we continue to elect.

So instead of using the money to clean up these existing neighborhoods we are using it to tear down a nature area and create more density where it is NOT needed.

You are going to see a lot of this over the next two years especially with a banker on the council and only two councilors left to ask the tough questions and a mayor who is more concerned about cashing in on his 5G investments(?) (That’s the rumor going around that our local media refuses to look into because the mayor has a tight grip you know where).

Dusty Johnson ONLY dignitary to wear mask at Rushmore event

All I can say is ‘BRAVO’ to Dusty to have the courage to wear a mask and not be worried about being shamed. Of course he was in the back row and not sitting with Rounds and Thune on the president’s stage. I guess Rounds was wearing a mask to but took it off before the Great Pumpkin showed up.

A lot of people took notice also that the governor must have been hitting the weights, the tanning booth and popping the water pills in preparation for the big night. It’s funny how she had time to get her appearance perfect but couldn’t memorize a couple of minute speech. Oh, that’s right, it’s only about appearance with these folks, substance is for another day.

When will the Sioux Falls Board of Ethics reconvene

Remember a few weeks ago when the BOE met? They still have not reconvened to make a final decision (they must vote in public). In fact, they didn’t even make a decision on when to reconvene, which should have been done in public before escaping out the bathroom windows.

I still have no idea what the complaint is and who it is against. Oh yes, I have my guesses, but since everything was behind closed doors and ‘confidential’ the public has no idea what is going on. This is extremely egregious.

It will be interesting to see if and when they reconvene. My guess is that they will wait until after July 14. Why is that date important? That is when the newly installed council gets sworn in and that new body picks it’s leaders (chair and vice chair). Like I said, not sure if these two issues have anything to do with each other, but trust me, I’m not naive either.

Happy Independence Day!

This is a great story about what it means to be American, remember our country was born on protests;

On July 9, 1776, a rowdy group of American colonists banded together at a political rally in New York City and did something that today would be called “badass.”They had just been treated to a public reading of the Declaration of Independence, which Congress had officially adopted less than a week earlier.

After hearing calls to “dissolve the political bands” of tyranny, they marched to a public park that featured a statue of King George III, Britain’s ruler, and knocked the 4,000-pound statue off its 15-foot pedestal.The head of the statue was then decapitated and perched on top of a spike, and much of the rest was melted down to make 42,000 musket balls for American soldiers.

The historian Erika Doss thought of that scene recently while watching protesters toppling statues of Confederate heroes. Doss, who recounts the 1776 episode in her book, “Memorial Mania,” sees a parallel between the colonists who fought against Great Britain and protesters who rail against Confederate monuments today.

Of course our All-Knowing SD AG has a different take on history (as he reads off of piece of paper – I mean really Jason, you can’t remember 4 minutes worth of commentary? Doubt he wrote the talking points).

I watched most of the event last night and also got a good chuckle out of Noem reading the teleprompter in the podium (why didn’t she use the president’s? Or better yet, have the speech memorized?) Often when have done public input, I either just do it from thoughts I have or 5-10 words I wrote down on a piece of paper. It often amazes me how our supposed leaders who are supposed to be so passionate about their role can’t make a 5 minute speech without reading it. It is because they are not ‘passionate’ about anything except enriching themselves. I hope in November this country has a reckoning where the Senate and White House is turned over to the opposing party so we can go back to progressive ideals in this country like equality, higher education and healthcare for EVERY American. And while our founding fathers where mostly white Christian men they still believed this country was founded for everyone. Let the protests continue this is the only way we will topple this destructive regime that is persistent on burning it to the ground.

Count-cilor Jensen BOUGHT his seat

The newest member of the RS6 spent more than any council candidate in the history of the city. In fact, it is 5 years worth of salary for a city councilor. Also remember, we have not seen the final financial report, that will be at year end. It will be interesting to see what the final amount is. Astounding for a seat that pays around $19K a year and has little power. So far he approximately spent $8 per vote.

The bigger question is will Alex recuse himself on votes for the city’s bank, which he works for. And what kind of rezones will he vote on that his employer is financing? This wasn’t just about getting rid of a pesky city councilor, this was about the players in town having their own councilor on the dais.

He was bought and paid for. I hope it was worth it. Likely not.

Let’s Run Mayor TenHaken’s Career Numbers

So Mayor Multi-Task was bragging about this story about Sioux Falls being a great place to start a career. Let’s assume you are single, let’s break down the numbers;

$35,942 Yearly Salary

Minus Taxes (30%)

$25,159

Minus Rent ($811 per month, $9,732)

$15,427

Minus Monthly Expenses

Groc – $200 (only food prepared and ate at home)

Health – $250 (premium)

Utilities – $200 (includes phone)

Car/Transporation – $600 (includes gas/ins/car payment)

-$1,250 per month

Left over per month $35.

Now I will admit that if you own your car, that could save you around $400 a month, but you also have to have maintenance and repairs, gas and insurance.

Basically you would have $35 per month left over for investments, savings, hospitality/entertainment, student loans, health insurance deductible and out of pocket expenses, etc. Sorry, but $35 dollars doesn’t even come close to covering these other expenses. This is why many young single people (and families) have multiple jobs, because they just can’t make it off of $35K a year and pay rent.

I have often felt that rent increases in Sioux Falls have far exceeded wage increases and the city council seriously needs to look at rent controls. But we also need to get wages up in this town. I wonder if Paul would like to live off of $35K a year? Maybe he is hinting we need to change the Mayor’s salary?

Count-cilor Jensen’s Campaign Treasurer(?) tells us why Alex won

Funny how the treasurer who told me all along he wasn’t Alex’s campaign manager knows so much about the strategy that was used. Matt was Alex’s campaign manager and everyone knew it. It was one of the lousiest lies I have ever heard in a campaign. But telling the truth doesn’t win elections.

While I will agree with some of his points, let’s simply this;

• Raised a buttload of money (from the banksters and develpers) and spent around 10X more than his opponent.

• Campaigned 3X longer than his opponent.

• Used the extra time from a delayed election to campaign more to primary voters that don’t normally vote in city elections.

• Used the list of Mayor TenHaken’s supporters from 2018 to turn the tide in the SE districts. I figured they were going to do this early on. I got tipped off by a mole that was the list they were working from months ago.

There was no grand mystery here, it was really simple math that made Jensen the 6th member of the RS5. MONEY! And lots of it.

Final Stehly Report

Stehly lost due to uninformed voters

There has been a story circulating in our local rag that Stehly lost the race because her supporters did not show up and she was mean to Neitzert.

Hogwash!

First off, Stehly and Jensen both probably got more votes than any city councilor in the history of our city. Just because Theresa lost by 97 votes doesn’t mean her support wasn’t there.

As for Neitzert, she did the right thing by fighting him on all of his misguided votes on the administration building, the internal auditor and the Bunker Ramp and many more issues. If anything, her battles with him helped her.

I have said if the election was held on April 14th it would have been a landslide for her. Why? Because the normal percentage of voters who pay attention to city politics would have shown up and cast the appropriate informed vote. Covid threw a wrench in it. Not to mention the lackluster training of the poll workers, something virtually not brought up in the hit piece and the enormous amount of money from the banksters and developers spent on her opposing candidate.

This did not clearly happen. A bunch of uninformed, partisan, primary voters showed up to elect a ‘real’ establishment Republican to the city council, not having a clue that this was a non-partisan race. They may have been confused why there wasn’t an R or D behind their names. It was a perfect storm to get the partisan hack clems to show up to vote that think city government is about party politics. It is not, but this current administration and his lackeys have turned it into us against them.

Local government is about all of us. Republican, Democratic, Independent, minority, gay, straight, religious or non-religious and those of us who just don’t give a damn. Theresa lost because 98 more ignorant fools voted for the other guy. The math is really that simple.