The Chamber has a skewed view of ‘real’ public opinion

The Chamber is at it again, claiming that just a ‘few’ people are trying to change public perception in our community;

August 19, 2016 – Sioux Falls Chamber newsletter
The Will of the People
We consistently hear representations regarding the “will of the people” when it comes to issues before the City Council. We’re not sure it’s a very accurate depiction in many instances. The very few who regularly appear during public input are dissatisfied with aspects of our city – of that you can be sure – and often maintain they express the will of the people. We prefer more objective and measurable data, but where do we get that?
The National Community Survey seems to be one good place to look. The 2015 survey included many indicators where citizens were asked to weigh-in on the quality of our city. Were they all positive? No. Was the overall message a good result for our city? Resoundingly, yes. Further, the data in the survey is used by the administration and Council to guide decisions and budget allocations and that too can be documented. Thus, good data used by our City leaders. On August 9, the City received a national “Voices of the People” award for its community survey and recognition of the high-level satisfaction with our local economy and the opportunities it presents.
We think it is a stretch for any one person to invoke the “will of the people” without a valid measurement of that will. We prefer to listen to the people through more objective processes. We take that same approach as we study policy and legislative issues that come before the Chamber and we encourage the City to continue to do the same.
Ironically you have to have around 5,800 valid signatures to get an initiative on the ballot in the city of Sioux Falls. The city survey is sent to about 3,000 homes with about 900 respondents. That’s right, the Chamber is hinging their ‘will of the people’ argument on the opinion of about .88% of the the population, while petitioners have to have 5% in order to get something on the ballot.


#1 Eyes Wide Open on 08.20.16 at 3:37 pm

Great statistical analysis and comparison.
Or should I say great sales job on behalf of the city to market their positions?

#2 Reliable Voter on 08.20.16 at 4:26 pm

As a taxpayer, I do not favor the construction of tax exempt buildings downtown. I don’t understand why the city would construct a building that won’t generate property tax or sales tax on the busiest state highway (Minnesota Ave) in South Dakota.

The Chamber used to agree with me. They supported a commercial purpose for what is now part of the Orpheum Theatre complex downtown.

#3 The D@ily Spin on 08.20.16 at 5:00 pm

Sounds like Huether groupies to me. If the admin building is put to a vote, THEN people speak. Half of the city council is not ‘will of the people’. The chamber should stick to promoting business and leave civil rights and democracy up to citizens. Citizens who are not bias because they’re not insiders who get public contracts from corrupt city government. ‘Will of the people’ will be to replace corrupt Councilors and the mayor. If we could vote for chamber members, we’d use our vote to replace you too.

#4 The D@ily Spin on 08.20.16 at 5:28 pm

Real estate is land & improvements. Land for the admin building would come off county tax rolls. Commercial property tax is high. In this case, with new construction, about 400k/year. Money the county loses for the jail and welfare. Leave the land in private hands to keep tax revenue. The 300 building is nearly empty. There’s more space than the proposed admin building. Leasing is (market wise) cheaper and there’s no loss of property tax revenue.

#5 hornguy on 08.20.16 at 5:39 pm

Don’t confuse a survey done with a random sample with a bunch of people signing a petition. 3,000 homes selected at random will provide a vastly more accurate representation of viewpoints than 5,800 people, motivated on one issue, to show up and take one particular action.

By your logic, Donald Trump will have no problems mopping up in this election because he gets bigger crowds at his rallies.

#6 The Blogger Formerly Known as "Winston" on 08.20.16 at 6:21 pm

If the Chamber truly has its pulse on the citizens of Sioux Falls and their feelings, then why did so many of their candidates fail at the ballot box last April?

#7 Mark on 08.20.16 at 8:22 pm

I am so sick of the Chambers arrogant view of everything. So glad that after nearly 30 years I dropped my membership. They are no longer the voice of business. They are the voice of I want special things for me at the expense of the little guy

#8 Bruce on 08.20.16 at 11:06 pm

I wasn’t going to get in this conversation because I might be in the “any one person” group but I find to interesting not to comment.

Hornguy, as much as I like your viewpoints being expressed, there is one equalizing place in all of Sioux Falls, the Minnehaha County Administration Building.

Every economic and neighborhood group is going to the building this year. Why is this? License Plates. Think its a joke? This is our 5 year license plate schedule for changing plates. South Dakotans buy their plates in person. So what does this mean? 7 out of 8 registered voters we get responses from, want to vote on this building deal.

No demographic in this town wants to spend upwards of $35 million over the next 20 years on an office building instead of the streets.

Progress is not a fancy office building instead of safe, driveable streets. Go talk to 3000 or 6000 Sioux Falls citizens at the courthouse to get a sense of the voter. You try it, even with my 44 years behind me ding this, I’ve never seen anything like this petition for angst of the voter.

I will take my signer interaction like an election day exit poll worker puts the answers to the final analysis.

#9 Moses on 08.21.16 at 7:04 am

The chamber not a friend of the worker.We thought slick M Ike was on our side but we found out different.

#10 hornguy on 08.22.16 at 12:46 am

Bruce, I’m not saying whether I think the building is a good idea or not. Totally agnostic on that. Just pointing out that how many people sign what petition is a lousy way to determine how the public at large feels about anything, no matter how foolproof you think your sampling method is.

After all, we’ve also seen plenty of instances in recent years where people successfully petition things to the ballot and then get totally crushed at the ballot box. Remember how badly the anti-Walmart crowd got pummeled at the polls a few years ago?

Sounds like you’re in good shape in terms of bringing this to the public for a vote – a much better measure of public opinion. Here’s hoping for a good turnout.

#11 Warren_Phear on 08.22.16 at 7:05 am

Local chamber of commerce’s are a microcosm of their big brother, the U.S. Chamber of commerce. If there is an issue that may enhance the life of Joe Sixpack…our local chamber is against it. IM 17 from 2014, the right to choose your own doctor, was opposed by our local chamber. Joe Sixpack approved that measure 62 to 38%. Chamber=Fail.

Our local chamber also opposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50. Joe Sixpack approved that measure by 55 to 45%. Chamber = Fail. Just like there current stance on the admin bldg.

#12 Bruce on 08.22.16 at 7:16 am

Whattttt? Did someone get their undies in a bunch?

Was this a dig? Or is it a compliment saying we see things some never see?

Having experienced the worthless nature of the National Community Survey, I really believe it is $25,000+ better spent on traffic signs or other worthy things. The National Community Survey is done so “leaders” don’t have to talk to citizens to see what is really on their minds. Why do you think Kermit was so loved, he actually went out in the community and talked with everyone. Our petition drive was a chance to listen to over 6,000 Sioux Falls residents and hundreds of city visitors. We experience what is on their minds.

How many years has this waste of money and time been part of the City Council budget?

The National Community Survey is a waste of our money and our Chamber seems to think it is better than actually being out with thousands of people listening to them. The survey is actually a way for Sioux Falls to be put in front of P.R. executives and magazine editors who are all trying to sell advertising at our expense with few benefits. How do you think we get to find out we are in a previously unknown top 10 list?

Have you noticed polling is now being used in politics as a feel good measure versus how handshakes and hugs are dynamic and truthful.

I should frame the Chamber piece.

A proud member of the Troubled Five,

#13 Warren_Phear on 08.22.16 at 10:13 am

I have no idea how long the city has been involved in the national community survey. I do know this. I lived in the city for 22 years. Have a good number of friends have relatives who also have lived in the city for years. “Random” sampling tells me that just once, over those number of years and number of residents, we might have had the opportunity to fill out this survey. NEVER have. So, just hoe “random” is it?

#14 The D@ily Spin on 08.23.16 at 4:44 pm

Is this the ‘hyperbaric chamber’ when you come up to fast from deep water? Brain cells die or explode. Especially when there’s water on the brain.