Let’s start out by saying I missed Jim’s presentation, but was there for the Q & A. I have read enough about Jim’s work, that I’m sure I wouldn’t have heard anything new. BTW, the pallet garden is super cool.

I missed it because it was advertised online that Jim would not start until 9:45, so I slept in. The Mayor went on one of his mini-rants about how there should be more people there. One attendee pointed out that he would not have came if it weren’t for one of his friends telling him about it, and he encouraged the city advertise on social media more. He pointed out he doesn’t watch cable, listen to local radio or read the Argus, probably like 60% of our community.

Another attendee actually scolded city staff about the miscommunication about Jim starting his presentation at 9:45 because when he asked about it a day earlier he got the run around from them. He also pointed out the prejudice towards Native Americans and how that needs to change in our community and state in reference to Van Eps park.


Jim made some good points during his presentation;

• He remarked that a community should not only focus on infrastructure but building a better ‘democracy’. I loved that comment. He pretty much was talking about how a whole community should get involved with the democratic process of running a city, not just paying your taxes and hoping government will take care of everything.

• He talked about the difference between “taxpayers” and “citizens”. In other words actually contributing to your community in activism not just taxes.

• He is opposed to TIF’s. Which I found ironic, because the sponsor who brought him in to speak was the Lloyd Companies, the welfare queens of TIF’s. (I will expand on this more later).

Now to our mayor

• Huether mentioned that he was going to be hiring a ‘Diversity Director’ for our city. Mike just had to bring this up, because during the Q & A he was consistently stealing the microphone from the rabble rousers and giving it to the immigrants. He actually gave a response to them that kind of disgusted me. He talked about how some of these immigrants come to his office and ask for things, and he mentioned they asked him for a community center (The African immigrants) and he talked about how he wasn’t going to give them the money for it and they needed to organize to raise their own funds for it. While I partially agree with Mike on this one, he was being incredibly hypocritical. This is a guy whose wife got $500K to build a tennis center (Named after him) from the city, a blatant handout to the ‘Haves’. And if that money wasn’t enough, she tried to get marketing funds from the Hotel Tax fund. If you want to help ‘fix’ the diversity issues in this community, building a community center like that would go a lot farther then an indoor tennis center.

One of the more interesting parts to the presentation was when Jim brought up the “Grim & Determined” the mayor was quick to throw people like me into that category and praise our local sheeple media. Jim says they are people with big mouths that have ‘little’ community support. That is fair, but it gets more interesting. He said these people need to ‘organize’ better. You know, like having a successful petition drive to get snowgates and passing with over 70% of the vote. A prime example of how the “Grim and Determined” got community support for something the city council or mayor could not have or would have achieved on their own. But towards the end of the session, Jim kinda contradicts himself and admits that he was once “Grim and Determined” and admitted that he became a community activist because the government wasn’t listening to his concerns and needs. So which is it Jim? Do we need to be ‘big mouths’ to get things done in this town? Or do we need to just shut up? As a friend said to me when Jim was talking about this, “We have people afraid to get involved with city issues because of city retributions.” Which brings me to the questions I asked Jim.

Katrina Lehr-McKinney (Head of the All Saints Neighborhood group) suggested we do more for the smaller landlords in this town and how we should ‘celebrate’ them, because there are many good ones. I agree. I have suggested for years that TIF’s should be given to central and proper homeowners and small apartment complexes that are helping to provide affordable housing and fixing up the core of our city, and stop giving them to the ‘big guys’. I asked Jim’s thoughts on that, Jim’s first response, “I am opposed to TIF’s.” Well as am I, but if we are going to use them, let’s get the best use from them. I mentioned that the ‘little guys’ provide the most affordable housing in the city.

I had a second part to the question about code enforcement and how anonymity has set up a system of using the city to harass your neighbor. He said he liked the anonymity because you could have a drug dealer living next to you. Jim missed my whole point, I tried to interrupt him to say it was about minor infractions such as mowing your lawn, not criminal, he didn’t let me expand and the microphone quickly got moved to some elderly lady that talked about how we have a wonderful mayor. We already have a crime stopper hotline in SF that you can give anonymous tips to. If your neighbor has a meth lab, I suggest you talk to crime stoppers instead of code enforcement. I was kind of disappointed we could not have had a more in depth discussion about it.

During the Q & A you could tell that Huether was constantly trying to prove to Jim that he was a good city manager. As I have said before, Mike has done some good things for this community, and if I had to grade him, I would give him a B-. But this constant sales job and grandstanding is getting old. You brought in a world famous community activist, let him speak. Maybe the reason attendance was low Mike, is because people are tired of listening to you blab. Somebody commented on DaCola the other day that you should have a disclaimer. I would agree.

And if you didn’t get enough of a city official blabbing, you can attend this tonight;

“Join Sioux Falls Sierra Club this Saturday, November 8th at St. Lambert’s following the 8:30AM Mass. Our guest speaker will be City Councilman Dean Karsky who will talk about his Catholic faith and the role it plays in his civic responsibilities and actions.”

And people wonder why I don’t attend church services anymore . . .

7 Thoughts on “Jim Diers at the SF Neighborhood Summit

  1. Jim also talked about ‘bumping’ centers. Places in neighborhoods people ‘run’ into each other. One of the reasons I have lived DT most of my residency in SF, because of that. He mentioned small markets, pubs, etc. Mine is probably Slumshine, even though I do have a cool Barcade in my hood now, and have met great people there. Besides DT, Sioux Falls lacks this. Big time. But let’s build another WM supercenter.

  2. Another weird part about the session today was the police presence, they kept coming in (uniformed). I think at one point I counted eight. While I think they should be educated, I would prefer they do this on their own time. It was very intimidating.

  3. rufusx on November 8, 2014 at 2:46 pm said:

    And what about if the complaint you may have about your drug dealer biker neighbor not mowing his lawn??? Ooops – I forgot – drug dealers ALWAYS mow their lawns and take EXCELLENT care of their properties -just like all other criminals.

  4. rufusx on November 8, 2014 at 3:19 pm said:

    I bump into neighbors and people I know at places like Menards all the time. Hipster hangouts are not the only places this happens.

  5. teatime on November 9, 2014 at 9:01 pm said:

    Who was the elderly relative, I mean lady? lol

  6. Sounds like this was a great get-together. I love the idea of “bumping places” – not just at Menards (i.e., a bumping place for the whole city), but bumping places for actual neighborhoods. If you just look at a map of Sioux Falls, you’ll notice that there really aren’t many of these neighborhood business centers around, and even fewer of them are actually walkable.

    As long as strip malls and big-box stores dominate the commercial development in Sioux Falls, it will be hard to change that.

  7. P.S. Check out this article from The American Conservative – it’s all about how cities with “bumping places” are also more economically resilient than auto-oriented ones.

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