Absentee voting begins today for the Events Center

I encourage every eligible voter in Sioux Falls to vote on this issue, but please, inform yourself. I myself will be voting ‘NO’ because I think we don’t really need one RIGHT NOW. But I am not endorsing this project one way or another. I’m just grateful that the public finally gets to decide.

Personally I like voting absentee. Just go down to the Minnehaha courthouse, show your ID, and vote away. It’s convenient, and you have no excuse for not having time to vote. You have 30 days. Go do it.

Here is a link to the sample ballot.

Some of the language is debatable. This paragraph concerns me;

There will be no new taxes, no increase in property taxes, and no increase in sales tax rates authorized by the current City Council to pay for the Project.

Notice the word current. There is nothing stopping future council’s for voting to increase your taxes and rates to help pay for this project.

This election will advise the City Council as to whether the public supports proceeding with the Project. The City Council has selected the Sioux Falls Convention Center site as the site to build the Project. The Council has also adopted a resolution stating that it will not proceed with the Project if the proposal is not approved by a majority of those voting in this election.

This is an advisory vote. In other words the city council can do whatever. What will be considered a majority for instance? What if it is a close vote? 49.9% to 50.1%? What if it is a blowout either way? We all know that only two councilors are against building the EC, and they are not even that strongly against it. Six votes would be very easy to get. Very easy. Consider this when voting.

Debt service reserves and other reserves are also not included in the Project costs. Project costs also do not include additional capital improvements that may be incurred in future years.

This should also include operating costs. I’m sorry, I just struggle with the fact this facility will make money and not need subsidies. The city has a track record of not having public facilities being self-sufficient.

Like I have said, I encourage absentee voting, but I also encourage you inform yourself before voting. You can look at the city’s presentation here.



19 comments ↓

#1 hmr59 on 09.27.11 at 6:58 am

I’m voting no as well. I think it’s bad enough to place the EC in the economic graveyard that is the Arena site, but this finance plan is just too scary. All you have to do is look at the Pavilion boondoggle (cost overruns, delays, operating in the red) to see that the projected cost is, politely, a tad optimistic. Plus, with the current state of the economy, there are many more places the city should be spending it’s money – infrastructure, 911 services…heck, it would be nice for the bike trail refit to finally be completed! It’s not that I won’t go there if it’s built (although RibFest and the circus are the only things I’ve been there for in 2 years), but I just can’t endorse this plan as written.

#2 Analog Tape on 09.27.11 at 8:30 am

I’m really shocked the city is still discussing this. I figured by default it was a no brainer that an event center should be only planned during times of economic stability, not when we are looking at a possible depression worse than 1929. Look at the price of gold and the continuation of the downgrade of the dollar.
Soon we may be more concerned that the trucks are making it to the grocery stores.
I’d say put this money in the sewer system where it’s needed. It’s working at over capacity. Or how about a hydroelectric plant on the spillway which would actually save the city some $ and perhaps power the entire downtown?
Sorry, thumbs down to the events center – I suggest you but a Gibson guitar and learn to entertain yourself!

#3 Tom H. on 09.27.11 at 8:33 am

As I’ve said before, if we are just willing to write a $115M check to do SOMETHING to improve the City, there are a hundred better ways to do it than building an Events Center (especially by the Arena).

Urban streetcars (which run with traffic in the street) usually cost around $25M / mile. That means a streetcar from downtown to the Mall along Minnesota / 41st would cost about the same as the EC. Read about what the new streetcar lines have done in places like Portland, OR and tell me that this wouldn’t generate at least as much private development as an Events Center. I bet other people could think of comparable projects that could spur development and re-development in SF, and provide more of a public service than an EC could.

#4 Jenny D on 09.27.11 at 8:49 am

The EC screams RED FLAG in so many way, and as a mom trying to make ends meet in this economy, there is no way I support this as being a beneficial plan to spend our city’s dollars. I agree that our infrastructure is a huge concern, and I like the ideas the other commenters suggested. I’d like to get some of these people with good ideas and common sense on the city council!

#5 Dukembe on 09.27.11 at 10:41 am

I’m already planning to be disappointed with voter turnout. One of the few things higher on my pet peave list than self-serving politicians is apathetic voters. I even respect the wing-nuts to some extent — as long as they get off their a## and vote.

#6 cr on 09.27.11 at 11:16 am

I was at the presentation last nite.

I heard one of the City Directors comment on the low turnout.

I don’t know whether it is a sign of apathy, or that citizens have been hearing about this topic for years and they already have their minds made up!!

I have never bought into the whining that goes on about low voter turnout (usually done by the side that has just lost!!)….

Every registered voter has more than ample opportunities to vote between absentee voting and the day of the election.

Those that invest the time to SHOW UP, get to make the decision.

#7 Tom H. on 09.27.11 at 11:37 am

I don’t know if anybody read the op-ed in the Washington Post yesterday about a third-party stump speech, but in it, the author suggests a way to increase voter turnout. Basically, he says that everyone who votes (presumably in a national election) gets their names entered into a lottery, with a $10M prize and ten $1M second prizes. That’s only $20M, a pittance for the national government, and could improve voter turnout quite a bit. You could even offer ten times as much money and still not impact the federal budget hardly at all. It’s an outside-the-box sort of idea, and probably wouldn’t work at a municipal level, but maybe we need to start thinking crazier when it comes to this sort of thing.

#8 l3wis on 09.27.11 at 12:37 pm

Tom – That is a good idea. The only thing that scares me about it though is that dumbasses go and vote so they can win the prize and are uninformed about the choices they make.

I think absentee voting this early is a great idea. Absentee voting is what helped clinch Huether’s win. It will definately help with turnout.

#9 cr on 09.27.11 at 1:01 pm

Tom H.

I used to think the same way that you do….that the higher the number of citizens that turn out to vote the better……..

But, I’ve changed my thinking on this…..if a citizen has invested time in understanding what they will be voting on and then takes the time to show up at the polls…I think this is much more important to outcomes than having uninformed voters show up and take a guess at what they are making decisions on…….

As we were running the petition drive for a public vote on the fate of the Drake Springs pool, I could not believe the apathy about being a registered voter that we encountered. It was interesting that so often it was the younger people who didn’t care whether they were registered or not!

Rather than having something monetary (like a lottery) tied to voting, I think it is so much more important for parents and the schools to role-model voting. I think that the schools esp. are doing a much better job of this.

There is POWER in the VOTE!!!

#10 Detroit Lewis on 09.27.11 at 1:10 pm

CR is right, an informed voter is much more important. I guess if the EC gets voted in or down and voter turnout is low, at least we know that people who really wanted this either way voted.

#11 Tom H. on 09.27.11 at 1:59 pm

CR, interesting points. I am a younger voter myself, and it is often very frustrating to see the apathy that some of my peers show when it comes to political matters. Another suggestion in that same article was to lower the voting age to 15. Who knows if that could reverse some of the disenfranchisement that many young people feel with the current system?

#12 Analog Tape on 09.27.11 at 2:29 pm

Hey Tom.. And then came Ron Paul!! Down in Austin, TX and even Minneapolis you will see many more youths involved in politics. It definitely depends on their perspective down the road.
Anyway – I just returned from the courthouse and voted my big whoppin NO! And the nice lady in there with the UV tan thanked me for pushing in my chair. Seems there are several scumbags who don’t bother to clean up after themselves.

#13 Sham on 09.27.11 at 2:31 pm

I too will be voting NO on the event center. I like how the mayor tells the citizens of Sioux Falls that it will be paid for with bonds. In other words…buy now and TAX later. I’m sick and tired of the politicians lying to us about their pet projects….we are in a depression and the last thing we need is another taxpayer subsidized building in Sioux Falls. The Washington Pavilion cost tax payers 1.3 million in subsides and that’s on a good year. One year we were on the hook for 3 million. This has got to stop. Huether only wants the event center to further his political career. He’s obviously NOT a fiscal conservative. And what’s up with the “build it down town” campaign….that was nothing more than a distraction/play put on by Mayor Huether and his campaign manager Steve Hildabrandt. Hildabrandt was pushing the down town effort while Huether was pushing the Arena location….they wanted to change the subject of WHERE TO BUILD IT instead of the same old argument of whether or not to build it. Nice try, but we know your tactics and it’s not working.

#14 Sham on 09.27.11 at 2:36 pm

Join the club on facebook….
Vote “NO” on a debt-funded Event Center for Sioux Falls

#15 Detroit Lewis on 09.27.11 at 2:59 pm

I just voted to and gave my 2-cents to KDLT afterwards. Hopefully they will play it tonight on the news.

#16 Pathloss on 09.27.11 at 5:04 pm

Something tells me the vote will be more than 60% against but 5 on the council have been bought and the EC will happen anyhow. Owen is not around for fairness & Sioux Falls is not democracy.

#17 Candle-maker's Petition on 09.27.11 at 5:22 pm

Glad to see that there are other like-minded folks who are able to see past the Chamber of Cronies & B-I-N funded hype and recognize this project for the tax-payer boondoggle that it is sure to become.

Keep spreading the word !

#18 My_Mistake_Mike on 09.27.11 at 5:58 pm

The Mayor’s plan is aimed at the uninformed and easily manipulated. Lots of fear-based propaganda and a convenient & intentional lack of solid (ie real world) financial projections.

Much of it is just like his last campaign and this vote, if victorious, will be the centerpiece of his next one.

#19 Mayor-Mick-Cheese on 09.28.11 at 10:59 am

With the debt payments totaling almost 200 million I’m wondering how will the city keeps its head above water with the wonderful parks we already enjoy, bike trail improvements, etc?

I recall a year ago someone here mentioned we could build a amusement park for a fraction of that cost. The difference is, I would spend more of my money at an amusement park in the period of a day than someone stuffing their face with wieners and pop at some hip-hop concert.

Seriously the city would see more income just by expanding the current convention center to attract various conventions and trade shows. It’s those events which bring in money from the outside. Where as a concert hall only competes with local business absorbing money they would have spent on other goods.