Never trust a clown


What is really going on with the Riverline District?

GeoTek surveying the Riverline District Property • 2/7/23 (H/T to a South DaCola Foot Soldier for providing me the links)

That is an excellent question with few answers and a whole lot of speculation.

If you do a little research on the Minnehaha County GIS you will see where the current SD Social Services building is sitting. That property is NOT owned by the state but an LLC called ‘State Partners LLC’. The listed business address for the LLC is 101 South Reid Street, Suite 201 which is the exact same office address of Lloyd Companies in Downtown Sioux Falls.

While the information I provided above is factual, the rest of the story is purely speculative.

So why would a developer who already owns a huge chunk of this property (there are other individual owners for the smaller parcels) want to sell it to the city which passes it back to the development foundation and potentially SECOG then turns around and pitches it to the very developers who sold it to the city to begin with?

I know, baffling, but you know there has got to be a catch.

Now for the speculation; It could be that the developer is going to make money on both ends – current LLC sells high to the City; new LLC controlled by developer buys cheap from SF Development Foundation, after one or both suck TIF money for the project (and various other grants and tax rebates they can conjure up).

The other reason for city involvement could be in order to facilitate a land trade – offer city park and greenway property in exchange for land on which a stadium and parking would be placed (sound familiar)?

I really have no idea what path this project is taking, but we have to keep a close eye on the players and the conflicts of interest if taxpayer capital is involved. Just like the Bunker Bridge the council will probably only have a couple of hours to decide on this project.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Monday Feb 6, 2023

UPDATE: NO city councilor brought forth a reconsideration vote during the meeting tonight. I know, shocker. Guess who had a change of heart;

But Cole did not make the motion to reconsider. She said in an interview following Monday’s meeting that she has since met with a developer and others affected by the project.

“Development in that area depends on that bridge being completed,” she said. “While the timing is frustrating, the development needs to move forward.”

There was also a practical reality.

“The votes weren’t there,” she said.

As I have said, it would probably be cheaper and better to wait a year, but the developer always wins at City Hall and Carnegie because they own it.

The meetings are on Monday this week due to it being municipal day on Tuesday in Pierre. I guess the council needs to kiss the ring.


Informational Meeting • 4 PM

• Compensation & Benefits Study by Bill O’Toole, Director of Human Resources; and, Mike Verdoorn, Principal Consultant from Gallagher (there were NO attached documents. It will be interesting if the study includes director and management pay, something that has been excluded for a long time. You don’t need a study to figure out what to pay the underlings. You offer better benefits and union employment the private sector does not, and you bump it up a notch. Not rocket science.)

Regular Meeting • 6 PM

What you won’t see is the reconsideration on the 6th street Bunker Bridge because that would be under the last item ‘New Business’. As of yesterday I was told that Councilor Dr. Sarah Cole still intends to bring a reconsideration motion. If she does and it is seconded by ANY city councilor, the discussion should be intriguing.

I still think they don’t have the votes to overturn the bridge quote, but you never know.

“The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.” – Thomas Jefferson

My faves of Sioux Falls!

I don’t really get into New Years Sh!t, but each year I like to look back on my best experiences in Sioux Falls;

• Favorite place to be; Sioux Falls Bike Trail. I rode over 2,000 miles last year on the bike trail and surrounding streets. It is my special place, exploring nature, cranking music and deep in thought. Sunsets and Sunrises, turtles, turkeys, geese, ducks and snakes and of course Ralphie the Rhino that always makes me smile when I pass him or her.

• Best meal; this one is so easy; Shrimp Tacos at Jacky’s Burrito Express, with a side of refried beans. The slaw and corn tortilla’s are heaven.

• Best Beer; Look’s Meat Market. This personal title has been officially stolen from Woodgrain, which are still fantastic! But head brewer Chad’s beers at Look’s are full flavored, complex, unique, and of quality. This guy is the Renaissance (beer) Man of Sioux Falls beer. HE MADE A MALT LIQUOR THAT IS DRINKABLE!

• Best place to hear FREE outdoor music; Levitt. While I bitch about finances and beer sales, we have an incredible musical gift with this place and I hope a treasure for years to come.

• Best place to get your 2-wheeled ride worked on; Sioux Falls Bicycle Company. Fast turnaround, great location, incredible customer service!

• Best place to see live music; Icon Lounge/Dada Gastropub. I just struggle to find a better place to see incredible underground music. The atmosphere, sound and staff make this really Sioux Falls best place to see a club show!

• Favorite dive bar; of course the Top Hat, but new entries this year for me is the Log Cabin and Ken’s Korner.

• Best place to service and buy a car; Vern Eide. I am on my 3rd Honda from them and they go above and beyond.

• Best retiring law maker, former Minnehaha County Commissioner, Jeff Barth. Not only is Jeff smart, calculated and compassionate, he is funny as Hell! I look forward to more of our ‘off the record’ conversations!

• Best Cocktail Foo-Foo; Hello Hi. These guys step it up a notch, and they have one of the best pizza places in town.

• Best place to drink beer; Monks. Duh. While I loved the old Monks, the new one is even better with amazing rotating taps, wonderful, knowledgeable staff and great pizza. They also take the title of best salad in town with their Greek salad. I also like the sort of dive bar atmosphere and comfortable setting. Now if they just ban dogs and strollers I might just go there everyday.

• Best Sioux Falls City Councilor; Pat Starr. While he gets beat up a lot, he is the remaining voice of reason on the city council. I told him the other day he should run for mayor. He just laughed. Whatever Starr decides to do after his term is up next year, he will be supported.

Sioux Falls neighbors not happy about planned homeless shelter

In case you missed this a few days ago, I did to;

Meanwhile, in downtown Sioux Falls, the Bishop Dudley House had been looking at the possibility of different temporary family housing locations.

The two partners found each other in large part because ICAP had received federal money that could be used for the former Children’s Inn building and a type of homeless non-congregate temporary housing.

While I would agree converting the former Children’s Inn site into a family transitional homeless facility is probably a good fit, the planning was not. The neighborhood is up in arms over not being brought along in the process or even told about the plans. The rumor is they are planning a petition drive to stop this somehow.

This of course is how we do governmental business now in Sioux Falls. Ramrod it through, don’t tell anyone, and after we get approval apologize for screwing up, and always remember to say, ‘This will never happen again.’

The best way to reassure crap like this never happens again is to vote these sophomoric clowns out of office in the next election, or better yet, recall them NOW!

Precedent after precedent, after precedent. When are we going to learn?

6th Street Bunker Bridge Debacle proves the Sioux Falls City Council is bought and paid for, again

While the Sioux Falls City Council still has an opportunity to redeem themselves next Monday with a reconsideration on the vote, I don’t have much hope they will get the 5 votes needed to overturn it.

Most people would jump at a do-over, especially after finding out as NO fault of their own they were mislead into believing it was an EMERGENCY. We all know now that was a bunch of phooey.

The main reason this redemption may not happen is that the 6 councilors who originally voted for this have all received campaign funding and endorsements from Mayor TenHaken. I can almost guarantee without his campaign assistance, PAC money and endorsements the last 4 elected would have all lost or had been close races.

Paul knows what he did, they know what he did, we all know how that cookie crumbles.

Ask Janet Brekke and Theresa Stehly what happens to you when you challenge our very own King of Scotland. The castle tower you live in becomes very cold and dark very suddenly.

City of Sioux Falls to receive $320K for failed geothermal system on the administration building

I originally requested this settlement in the middle of July and it wasn’t finalized until the end of that month. I received the settlement yesterday after I re-requested it from the city attorney’s office; ENTIRE DOCUMENT

As you can see below the city will receive a settlement even though all parties involved have agreed to ‘no fault’.

Geothermal systems work when they are installed properly and can save the users a lot of money in energy costs. What is NOT in this settlement is the cost to install a whole new traditional chiller system, the massive amount of water that was lost when it malfunctioned and the energy costs the city will now have to incur due to the more traditional HVAC system and our legal fees (which probably equals half of the settlement).

They got off easy. Too easy.

What is even more troubling is that an assistant city clerk and the chief of staff signed off the settlement. More sloppy legal documents. Tom and Paul must have been too busy enjoying Father’s Day in a remote location to sign off on the agreement. Was it gay pride weekend?

It would be nice to know the true price tag this screwup cost taxpayers. We may never know. It is also interesting to see that KHA is once again involved with a settlement for bad consulting (Events Center siding debacle).

Young Americans for Liberty sends out goofy email

While I detest that most of our legislators in the state are Republican, I do get a good laugh when they start fighting over who is the most conservative. I don’t think any of them are, just Cuckoo. Read this email sent out defending State Legislator Julie Frye-Lactation;

Dear Mary Jane,

There’s something strange in the water out in Pierre.

President Pro Tempore, Senator Lee Schoenbeck thinks he’s the King of South Dakota.

Senator Schoenbeck thinks he can unilaterally decide who represents the people of South Dakota.

Schoenbeck, a notorious RINO, is acting like the King of South Dakota and illegally and unconstitutionally suspended a sitting state senator without due process.

His outrageous power trip is disenfranchising and silencing the elected representative of tens of thousands of South Dakotans.

You see, Schoenbeck unilaterally decided to punish South Dakota citizens by suspending Senator Julie Frye-Mueller before an investigation had even been organized, over a private conversation between Mueller and a legislative services staffer regarding childhood vaccinations and other motherhood issues.

Should a politician like Schoenbeck have the power to silence another Senator over a personal conversation?

Schoenbeck, working with Democrats and Establishment Republicans, forced through Mueller’s unconstitutional suspension, overriding the ruling of the chair and dismissing out-of-hand any constitutional concerns.

Schoenbeck needs to be reminded that he IS NOT the king maker of South Dakota

State Senators work for the people who elected them!

If this makes your blood boil as much as it does mine, I hope you’ll help me turn up the heat on “Little King Lee” Schoenbeck.

Click here to send a message to Schoenbeck. Remind him that the President Pro Tempore of the South Dakota Senate does not have the authority to remove a Senator simply based on his opinions of a legislator’s private conversation.

Demand he respects the Constitution and the right of ALL South Dakotans to representation in the State Senate.

I hope you’ll click here and tell “Little King Lee” Schoenback that he has overreached his authority and effectively robbed South Dakotans of their duly elected State Senator.

Unless South Dakotans like you fight back, Schoenbeck and his liberal cronies in Pierre are going to KEEP ignoring the Constitution.

If this challenge to our Republic goes unanswered, Schoenbeck will continue to block conservative bills and control the State Senate like a petty tyrant.

I hope you’ll join me in saying “Enough is enough,” to Little King Lee.

Click here to send a message to Schoenbeck.

Remind him that the President Pro Tempore of the South Dakota Senate does not have the authority to remove a Senator simply based on his opinions of a legislator’s private conversation.

For Liberty,

Bethany Young
Grassroots Director
Young Americans for Liberty

P.S. President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck is acting like he’s the King of South Dakota. He thinks he has the POWER to remove duly elected Senators based solely on his opinion.

Schoenbeck, a notorious RINO, has illegally and unconstitutionally suspended a sitting state senator without due process. His outrageous power trip is disenfranchising and silencing the elected representative of tens of thousands of South Dakotans.

I hope you’ll click here and tell “Little King Lee” Schoenbeck he has overreached his authority and effectively robbed South Dakotans of their duly elected State Senator. Demand he respects the Constitution and the right of ALL South Dakotans to representation in the State Senate.

Yeah there is something strange in the water alright, it is most likely vodka. While I do agree Ms. Frye-Lactation should be punished for having an inappropriate conversation it certainly doesn’t rise to suspension. As reporter Austin Goss recently pointed out on Matters of the State (2:50);

You have people in that chamber, as recently as last year, who have DUIs . . . you have others in that chamber who call each other pond scum and monkeys. So I guess if the reason to throw her off the floor is decorum, I am just kind of confused . . .

I am not confused, while the above email is chocked full of smoke and mirrors there is one clear thing going on here, Julie pissed off the wrong governor and it was time to eliminate her.

The Riverline District needs to be housing, and that’s it.

I will agree this will be a prime piece of land for development but not without many challenges.

The one thing it doesn’t need to be is another play palace or baseball stadium. This city has plenty of recreation opportunities. Heck, right across the street (Fairfax) there is a swimming pool and a future skatepark. I would even suggest we build a playground in the Northwest corner of Nelson Park.

As for ‘amenities’ does this area really need more restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities? Not at all, it is surrounded by dozens of restaurants and only a short distance from a grocery store and Lewis Drug.

I would suggest filling the area with affordable and workforce housing constructing hundreds of units that are studios, 1-bedrooms and 2-bedroom flats for younger folks just getting started in the workforce.

But it will need to be propped up;

TenHaken said it is “very likely” the city will ultimately purchase the land, though, and will then decide on negotiating sales or leases to private developers.

That is not his decision to make alone. While he certainly can negotiate (we saw how well that went with the 6th street Bunker bridge) the ultimate decision comes to the council. I know I will regret saying this, but this would be a great place to have a TIF instead of just a buyout from the city. The city could come in and use the TIF to build up all the infrastructure needed to put in such a large housing project, or take an even more daring approach and skip the TIF all together and just budget for the infrastructure taking out the tax rebate equation all together. If Riverline gets the investors and proves they are secure the city can hold up their end of the bargain by preparing the property with sewer, water, roads and other utilities without expensive TIFs and land purchases it would simply be a line item in the budget.

When we pay our 2nd penny in Sioux Falls it should be going towards infrastructure. There is absolutely NO reason the city needs to get into the real estate or tax rebate business on this one. It could be a lot easier then concocting deals. We provide the infrastructure the private investors provide the housing.

Often when there is development in Sioux Falls, anywhere, I ask ‘What is the benefit to the average citizen?’ We are often told that new development helps build up the tax base, but every year we continue to raise the property taxes on 3 levels (county, city and school). If all this development is increasing our tax base, why do we continue to raise taxes? Because of all the play palaces we are subsidizing.

There is ONE benefit to taxpayers, especially those who live in the area (I live 4 blocks away) if any kind of housing is to be put in this area it will border one of the most active and LOUDEST train tracks in the city. The trains are going nowhere. We would need to build a quiet zone in this area in order to make the housing work. I should know, I hear the train whistles all hours of the night since this is the most active thoroughfare.

While Riverline has challenges the city could make this very easy and painless by simply getting out of the way after building up the infrastructure. Of course that isn’t as sexy as having press conferences and talking about complicated land swaps and baseball stadiums that we DON’T need. Sometimes the best thing government can do with projects like this is get the f’ck out of the way and let the private sector offer a solution.

As I have said in the past, most smaller developers and contractors in this city take NO city subsidies. How is it that the little guy has figured out how to make a buck but the big guys are always begging at the trough?

If the city moves forward with a land purchase deal I would suggest the voters of Sioux Falls refer it to a public vote and break this cycle of waste and bureaucracy.

Is the South Dakota State Legislature looking at limiting Municipal Referendums?

It has been brought to my attention that a small southeastern town city administrator is pushing to get a bill submitted (hasn’t been yet) taking municipal referendum and initiative signature requirements to 20 percent of registered voters from 5 percent. This will eliminate yet another safety net to keep city councils in line. That would change the required signatures in Sioux Falls to jump from around 6k to over 24K. Ironically it would take more signatures in Sioux Falls to get an initiative or referendum on the ballot then the amount of people who typically vote in a municipal election.

I often remind people that 1) we need to make the referendum process easier not harder and 2) and signing a petition doesn’t mean you approve of the initiative just your right to vote on it. For example, I signed the slaughterhouse petition even though I already knew I would vote against it. Direct Democracy is a beautiful thing and any opportunity we have to use it and promote it is good for the public.