If you think a Meatpacking Plant is a great place to work, watch this

I have argued a long time it is time to get rid of our craphole owned by Chinese Communist investors, and retrain the workers in ecologically safe manufacturing jobs.

UPDATE: South Dakota Attorney General Ravnsborg should resign

The state releases Jason’s investigation interview videos. I have to admit when I wrote the original post on Sunday Afternoon, I never thought Sh!t would hit the fan come Sunday Night. Not sure if they will garner the 2/3 vote to boot him out. I have a feeling this really isn’t about Jason, but more about Noem wanting to replace him with a minion that will do her bidding.

Since this seemed to be the biggest news story of all time on Thursday I figured I would take a couple of days to process my thoughts.

It’s pretty simple when you look at the facts of the case and the 5 month investigation, Ravnsborg likely broke the law (he is charged with 3 counts) and as our top law enforcement official in the state he should resign. He should also have his law license at least suspended for 2-3 years.

I know Noem has been chomping at the bit to replace him with an appointment she could lead around like a show pony but that speculation shouldn’t factor into the fact that Jason drove off the road illegally and killed someone.

I keep coming back to one word ‘integrity’ and as an elected official the only way to have this is by doing the ethical thing and resign, and that is really in his hands. The legislature will likely not take action, mostly because they are fascist cowards that don’t have the courage of a prairie dog. The SD Bar Association will likely not take action because in situations like this they usually circle the wagons.

A few years ago one of the Assistant City Attorneys for Sioux Falls who represents the SFPD was charged with a DUI and plead guilty to the charge, not only did he keep his job and received no punishment from the city, he has kept his post as the SFPD advisor and the SD Bar Association took no action.

It’s called the good old boy network.

While I agree SD laws are lax and it has probably been hard for the prosecution to charge him with much more, I do have concerns about how we came to this, and think the family of the victim have an incredibly strong civil case.

• Prosecutors gave us few details about questioning Jason and what his answers were about that night. Why is this?

• While they argue he didn’t receive special treatment in the prosecution, he certainly did with no investigation or toxicology test given the night of the accident. Heck, they didn’t even look for a body and the sheriff borrowed him his car. I also take issue with a 5 month investigation. If you ever go and read these accident reports from other cases in our state the results are usually given within 24-48 hours. There is no doubt in my mind that this long, extra thorough investigation was because he was receiving special treatment. It takes 5 months to determine someone drove into the shoulder of the road?! Give me a break.

• While the timeline is murky, about a month or so ago Jason told the media he was ‘innocent’ and didn’t commit any crimes. He knows this was untrue. I hope this comes up in his initial hearing for 3 counts.

I think Jason is going to fight the charges which I find baffling, because he really should be doing only two things, resigning and pleading guilty.

Sioux Falls Media ignores the negative effects of TIF 23

As I have said in the past, I have NO doubt that this TIF will pass on March 2 when it comes before the city council. Sure a couple of them will put an amendment in there about ‘getting reports’ on how the $30 million dollar slush fund is being spent, but this is hardly the transparency that should be given. TIF 23 is what it is, corporate socialism funded by the taxpayers in higher taxes, crime and less affordable housing.

While the local media has done a handful of stories about the TIF, they basically just copy the press releases from the Development Foundation and call it good.

What they have not discussed is the very negative effects this TIF will have on our community. They also have NOT told us about the over $50 million the state, city and county taxpayers have already put into this park that really wasn’t needed, and even if you could prove it was, it could easily be propped up by private investment, you know that silly notion that we live in a FREE enterprise capitalist society.

Here are some issues the media could look into;

No studies. There is yet to be a comprehensive independent study on the economic impact of TIFs in Sioux Falls and South Dakota. In other parts of the country where these studies have been done, usually by university economic departments, they have shown little to NO impact on the overall economy. I think the developers in Sioux Falls have run their own numbers privately and probably came up with the same conclusion, this is why you will never get a honest evaluation from them.

Your taxes will go up significantly. This is also a dirty little secret. When the valuation of Flopdation Park’s properties go up, their property taxes go up, but they get those payments back in the form of a TIF (rebate) to pay for upgrades to infrastructure that benefits these private businesses. That valuation in taxes has to be made up with higher taxes on the rest of us. As for the school district, the state coffers (sales tax revenue) will have to make up that shortfall. In other words much higher taxes for us that actually decrease our infrastructure services. It’s corporate welfare on the highest level.

Crime will increase, affordable housing will decrease. Sioux Falls has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Where will the thousands of workers needed to work at these new facilities come from? Well they will have to be brought in. This is nothing more than growth for growth’s sake that will increase crime, public education costs and decrease our inventory of housing. The only people benefitting will be the banksters and developers while the rest of us will have to pay to clean up the mess.

Profits will not impact our local economy. A lot these businesses are international and national companies that will send their profits out of the community while paying NO state income taxes, no property taxes (TIF) and very little to NO Federal income taxes.

Low wage jobs. There have been numerous studies that show that large industries like this actually drive wages down in communities. This is the scariest part because as I have said above, it will increase our costs for crime prevention and public education.

They don’t need the incentive. The most egregious part of this TIF is that it really isn’t needed. As I pointed out on Tuesday night, this is most baffling part. We are growing business in Sioux Falls at a breakneck speed, if anything, we need to cool our jets a bit. With record breaking building permit numbers and our lack of affordable housing, I just see incentivizing low wage businesses to come here as counter productive and compounding our problems. We are already years behind on infrastructure upgrades to the core of our city (this is where we should be investing the money). On planning preview a couple of days ago a planning employee said a developer told them there is already a 5 week waiting period in getting into a new apartment in Sioux Falls and they have already broke building permit records from the year before in January. We don’t need to incentivize businesses that already want to come here. We also need to help local business thrive, another benefit to cleaning up our core.

I’m hoping our local media wakes up and actually tells the public about TIF 23 and the massive negative repercussions this TIF will have on Sioux Falls and the region because 5 years from now when your taxes have doubled, the core is crumbling and crime is through the roof, all roads will lead to TIF 23.

City of Sioux Falls 2021 Salaries

I just started digging into this, but here are my first impressions.

DOC LINK

LINK TO PAST SALARIES

Once again the highest paid city employee, the head doc over at Falls Community Health (where you currently can’t receive a Covid vaccination) received a $10,000.00 a year raise. She now makes around $256K. I guess I shouldn’t complain, she got more last year with a $18,000.00 raise.

But what is more interesting is how a 3 year employee has garnered a $13,624.00 raise over two years. Shawn Pritchett the finance director was making $166,316.00 when hired, the following year (2020) he was making $171,940.00 and now is getting paid $179,940.00.

Don’t get me wrong, it is an important position, but first off what did he do to deserve this kind of raise, and secondly, while he is the chief accountant for the city he has 29 minions working for him. He isn’t an accountant, he’s a manager and he should get manager pay.

One of my conservative friends said it best to me awhile back and again today when we were discussing this topic, “No one should make more than the mayor.” Mayor TenHaken’s current pay as chief administrator and manager of the city and employees is $130K a year. Think about that.

There was also this little change up. TenHaken eliminated the GIS department and now is calling them the Civic Analytics department;

The manager got a $5k raise and one of her minions got a $4K raise. But why the name change? And what are they doing?

What amazes me the most is that in the middle of an economic downturn in which the city lost tax revenue last year we would be giving these enormous raises while the average city employee got a whopping 1% raise.

South Dakota State Legislature Update

Hello, Advocates, Cathy Brechtelsbauer for the Advocacy Project

   I hope you are all being careful to be/stay well.

   Legislators have begun a 3-day weekend. They’ll be back on Monday.

Weekend advocacy. You can help make contacts on these, or ask about them in emails or at a crackerbarrel. Try to use your own words, or better yet, make up a different question.:

SB 77, SB 86, HJR 5003,  all interfere with citizens’ rights to initiatives.

Question: Isn’t it difficult enough for citizen to exercise our right to initiative and referendum already? Why are legislators trying to add more complications and difficulties?

HB 1126  Says the secretary of state may not mail an application for an absentee ballot unless the voter has requested it. (probably Senate State Affairs)

Question: Shouldn’t the legislature be promoting voting, rather than putting limits on the Secretary of State to use his judgment in assisting voters?

SB24  provides for voter registration online. The current version allows updates, etc, but not actual registration. (probably House State Affairs)

Question: How about putting online voter registration back into the bill that was introduced to allow online voter registration?

HB 1125 takes away discretion of county auditors in conducting vote counting. If so many ballots mean a 2-day count is needed, county auditors should have discretion to call rests if needed. (Senate Local Government)

Question: If your mother were helping out as a ballot counter, should she have to stay up all night?

SB 146 allows eligibility for parole after age 50 for lifers whose crime was committed age 25 or before. (House Judiciary)

Question: Wouldn’t it make sense to allow lifers to at least request parole after age 50, if their crimes were committee over 25 years before?

HB1013  funds the tax refund program for elderly persons and persons with a disability. (in Senate Taxation committee)

Question: Will you support this small tax relief program for these certain extremely poor South Dakotans?

SB 171 needs-based scholarship funds.  (Appropriations)

Question: Do you support putting some more funds into needs-based scholarships?

HB 1194  authorize the review of certain executive orders issued by the President of the United States. (in House State Affairs)

Question: Should states get to ignore Presidential executive orders?

(FYI- These topics are mentioned in the bill: pandemic or other public health emergency, natural resources, agriculture, land use, the financial sector, guns)

Updates:

HB 1136, a proposal to rein counties and municipalities in so they don’t do more to protect public health than the state Department of Health. Happy to report, it failed in committee today   5-7-1, so it’s done.

We can thank these seven No votes:  Deutsch, Miskimins, Perry, St. John, Davis, Rehfeldt,and Keintz

SB 52, Sorry to say, it passed the House floor now, and it’s off to the governor.  Now polluters will get 10-year permits. No reviews at 5-year intervals.   

We can thank these for their opposition: Bordeaux, Cwach, Duba, Fitzgerald, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Mills, Odenbach, Ernie Otten, Pourier, Jamie Smith, St. John,  Stevens

HJR 5003, to ask voters to approve a supermajority requirement for our own initiatives that involve over $10 million. It’s another way they are trying to the thumb on our ability to do initiatives.

Sorry to say, it passed on the House floor. But we can thank these rep’s for their opposition: Bordeaux, Cwach, Derby, Duba, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Olson, Pourier, Reed, Jamie Smith,  Tidemann

Note: This one is not done!  Not scheduled yet, but we can be asking Senate State Affairs committee to Oppose.

2-19-21  AP,  Useful info

Advocates,

Here’s info you can use:

1. Crackerbarrels. The only info I have.

2. Reasoning on HJR 5003. Why ballot votes are different from legislators’ votes

3. Info on Medicaid expansion. A handy reference

4. ACA Insurance sign-up. How you can help. 

Here we go.

1. Crackerbarrels. The only info I have is this, but surely there are more elsewhere.

   SIOUX FALLS

#2: Sat. Feb.20,10:00-11:45am (Districts 10, 12 and 14)

#3: Sat.Feb.27,10:00-11:45am (Districts 11, 15 and 25)

Where: the Hub at Southeast Technical College (2001 N Career Ave). You can watch on Facebook Live through Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page or the Argus Leader’s Facebook page, or through www.argusleader.com . Submit questions to siouxfallslwv@gmail.com  

   DEADWOOD & all LAWRENCE CO : Sat.Feb.20, 10am. Deadwood Mountain Grand, a large space to accommodate social distancing.  For more information, Melissa at the Spearfish Chamber 605-642-2626 or Ingrid at the Deadwood Chamber 605-578-1876.

2.  HJR 5003 attempts to require a supermajority (60%) for ballot initiatives. (Last weekend, I made a mess of trying to explain this. Maybe this helps.)

a. HJR 5003 is a thinly disguised plan to stop many citizen ballot initiatives.

b. Sponsor Rep.Hansen says it fits with SD’s fiscal conservatism. We agree SD is fiscally conservative, and we’re fiscally conservative enough already. In fact, it would be hard to balance the budget these days without certain past statewide ballot votes, such as the state lottery and video lottery, both of which passed with less than 60%.

c. Supporters point to legislators’ 2/3 requirement on certain fiscal matters and say the ballot votes should require a supermajority too. So why not?  [My thanks to Cory Heidelberger for help explaining this.]

   There’s a big difference. In the legislature, deliberation on bills is limited. With only 40 days (or 37 this year), bills can be rushed, even hoghoused near the end. Public scrutiny can be avoided is multiple ways. The 2/3 threshold may prevent ill-advised bills from rushing through.

    But citizen ballot measures have a long process. It starts long before the vote, even 2 years. People are out with petitions for over a year before the vote. Opponents have over a year to campaign against the initiative. Already there are a number of hurdles to overcome – large numbers of signatures, legal scrutiny before and after the election, besides winning a statewide vote. These hurdles are much harder to overcome than a 2/3 vote in the legislature.

    The citizen initiative system has enough guardrails already. We do not need more.

3.  Medicaid expansion. Of course, we should keep asking for it. This legislature could adopt it and it would start this year — much simpler and quicker than a ballot initiative.

Questions for crackerbarrels: When can we get Medicaid expansion? How hard is it to see that SD needs Medicaid expansion now? If we can’t get Medicaid expansion during a pandemic, when can we get it?

Info about Medicaid expansion is one of the sections on BFW-SD’s website: www.BreadSD.org

4. ACA Insurance Sign-Up

The Biden administration has opened up an extra sign-up period, because so many people may have missed the opportunity to get this highly subsidized health coverage. If you can help spread the word, some currently uninsured people might get covered now – this year. (The info is the same for people in most other states.) The income needed to qualify is what’s expected for 2021, so it obviously may take guesswork. My understanding is that reasonable estimates are accepted.

   There’s a section on this at www.BreadSD.org with info and a half-page handout to share. Might your local food pantry share the handout? Can you post it on a public bulletin board? Can you get it to agencies in your town? Thanks for your help.

Thanks for keeping up. The legislature will move very fast now.

City of Sioux Falls hires wanted criminal

Trust me, after reading about all the BS going on in our state yesterday it would be easy to miss this;

Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office has issued a news release concerning the arrest of 35-year-old Josheua King for a warrant issued by Sand Bernadino County, California:

On 02/17/2021, the Sioux Falls Area Fugitive Task Force arrested Josheua Alan King, 35 years old, on an arrest warrant issued by San Bernardino County, California in 2018 for the following offenses:
4 counts of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor
1 count of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Child of 14 or 15yrs of age

Josheua King was arrested at the Midco Aquatic Center in Sioux Falls where he was a part time employee. Prior to his arrest, Mr. King was also employed at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls.

Ok, a couple of things to unpack here. Does the city do a criminal background check before hiring people to work around our youth? Heck, even a simple criminal background check would have told us he had a warrant out for his arrest, for around 2 years. If you search the city salaries, Mr. King is listed in the 2021 wages report as making $14 an hour as Midco Maintenance, in the 2020 wages report he is NOT listed, so that tells us he was hired last year something long AFTER the warrant was issued.

Thank goodness the SFPD apparently got a tip hopefully before he committed any crimes at the MIDCO.

I can’t speak for the hospital he was employed at, they are a private entity, but I am concerned they didn’t check his background either.

What is also disheartening wasn’t like he had a previous record that he was already convicted on and time served, he had an ACTIVE WARRANT!

I will be honest with you that I have never had a lot of confidence in our HR department, they have 4 people in the office that make over six-figures yet they don’t do simple background checks!? There needs to be a full outside investigation on how something like this happens. The council, while normally doesn’t get involved in the Mayor’s business, when the mayor and his administration does NOT do their jobs they need to intervene. If I was them I would pass a resolution to audit the HR department.

If I were a parent of young children that took my kids to the MIDCO I would be outraged. We need to get to the bottom of this before something like this happens again.

Folks, these are the things that happen when we don’t have open and transparent government! Apparently it is so bad they are even hiding things internally. WOW!

Our Fascist Governor supports Corporate Socialism

Last night at the Sioux Falls City Council Meeting when the Development Foundation was pushing the biggest boondoggle ever pulled on the taxpayers of Sioux Falls in the history of our city, State GOED director Steve Westra came to testify that the Governor was in support of the $94 million dollar TIF for Foundation Park.

I didn’t think of it until after I testified (FF: 49:00), but I found it ironic that Noem would complain about Communism and Socialism in Georgia yet support blatant corporate socialism for possible foreign communist investors.

The hypocrisy never ends with these folks.

I also made funny about the Municipal Band reach around (FF: 11:40).

Maybe local restaurants can survive Covid by providing good service?

The Condiment Vending Machine. Patent Pending.

Trust me, I noticed before Covid that eating out in Sioux Falls was a crap shoot. Sometimes you get good service, poor food or poor service and good food or poor service and poor food or great service and great food. It’s always a mystery. As a person who worked in restaurants for over 20 years it is frustrating, but I also understand we all have bad days. I have often told people I was top of my game maybe 75% of the time, and when I was like that, you were lucky to have me as a server. The other 25% of the time, I feel sorry for you, because when I sucked, I really sucked (I was also mean to blue hairs, Hoots and people who prayed before they ate, commonly known as the people WHO DON’T TIP).

I have only ate indoors a handful of times since Covid hit and it wasn’t until after I recovered from my own bout with it that I decided to eat indoors. It has always been by myself and I try to sit away from folks. Trust me, I get it that it is probably not fun wearing a mask during a whole shift to wait on people, but it is your job. I have also noticed that service has gotten even worse since Covid. I think it has a little to do with less experienced younger servers who are not afraid of getting Covid working mostly during the pandemic, while the older experienced ones have decided to sit it out. There is also a whole different level of rudeness and flat out lying from servers that I have never really seen before. You know, you don’t have to lie to me, just grab your manager, which also lie to you to. Yah can’t win.

Last night I was baffled by the policies of a certain DTSF restaurant that is a small Midwest franchise. It is a popular place and the food is good for a franchise. I have ate there several times and have never had a bad plate. The service last year before Covid was always really good and the food has never been bad, until the service I received last night.

I sat at the bar to just simply have a quick burger and beer before going somewhere. While the service was ‘acceptable’ you would think I wouldn’t have to ASK every time I needed something. There were literally 4 of us sitting at the bar and 2 were together.

Service aside what was annoying is they have that stupid line on the ticket that asks for you to donate to a charity that they will give to in THEIR name. They have also added a line that asks if you will ’round up’ for the charity (another annoying trick retail is pulling during this pandemic). I always write ‘DUMB’ on that line and write to give their own money since this takes tips away from the servers. But what really surprised me was the $.50 charge for a side of mayo that I asked for, you know, a common condiment that should be included with a cheeseburger anyway. It’s not like I was asking for garlic truffle oil aoli or guacamole, just a side of Miracle Whip.

I will say that $.50 charge probably lost you a customer.

It’s the little things!

What’s next a bubblegum machine with condiments in it that you have to pay for to dispense? Maybe a dishwashing charge if you don’t opt for wax paper and plastic forks?

While we have certainly heard the bitching and complaining about the loss of business in the local hospitality industry during Covid, maybe it’s NOT Covid, maybe it’s your p!ss poor customer service where you beg your customers to give to a charity that you take credit for while charging me for a swab of liquified egg whites. Heck, even Wendy’s and BK don’t charge for mayo on a burger!

While some say they miss eating out due to the pandemic, let me fill you in, you ain’t missing much.

So the next time you hear about a restaurant that has gone under, maybe it wasn’t Covid, maybe it had to do with a mayo famine.

Here we go again with the state airplane

Is Herseth Sandlin headed for Washington?

When Stephanie was appointed as Augie’s President the first words out of my mouth were, “This is temporary.” And my prediction may be correct.

I don’t think Stephanie is headed for a job as a Fed in the state or as a judge, I think she is moving to Washington to work at the DOJ. What that appointment may be is still up in the air, but I don’t expect her to stay here.

I guess we will know more over the next couple of days or weeks, but as George Bailey famously said, “I’m shakin’ the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I’m gonna see the world.”

Sioux Falls and South Dakota is way too small for Steffy.