For the record I haven’t taken a deep dive into the original plan or the new white washed one but there is one thing that is for certain;
SoDak 350 was one of those organizations that penned the letter. They were joined by Dakota Rural Action, the League of Women Voters of Sioux Falls, Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Sioux Falls, The Mindfill SD, and Common Grounds Indivisible. SoDak 350 Administrative Coordinator Arlene Brandt-Jenson said much of the language was also changed to remove phrases like “climate change” and “greenhouse gas.”
“The plan went from having several hard goals and goals that were implementable in our city, to more ‘exploring the feasibility’ and ‘assessing’. The time for assessing is over.” Brandt-Jenson said.
Actually the time for assessing climate change should have ended over 50 years ago and a plan should have been acted on. Then there was hostages and that Reagan guy. Back to square one.
The (in)action by the administration should be no surprise;
Brandt-Jenson points to a 2021 community survey for the need for action and hard goals. In that survey, at least 80 percent of those that responded said that they were concerned or very concerned about sustainability and environmental issues. Over 90 percent said that it is important or very important that Sioux Falls address sustainability and environmental issues.
Brandt-Jenson also said that the changes to the draft plan throw away much of the work by the committee through 2021 and 2022, which was made up of a diverse group of members.
“And it really negated months of work by that full sustainability committee. A committee that had stakeholders from all across the community. Educators, business people, the gas and utilities, electric utilities,” Brandt-Jenson said. “Why did we need this broad community that spent hours and hours, days and days working on this plan when all of that was negated in one stroke pen basically?”
Is this starting to look familar?
The Sioux Falls Arts Council in coordination with the Visual Arts Commission secured funding for a mural, set up a selection and jury process, employed 3 finalists and over a several month process picked a winner. And with one broad brush stroke, our supposed culturally conscience mayor said too much exposed brown skin and we need to stop this.
Most Republican business owners don’t believe in climate change, at least it isn’t convenient for them to believe, because sustainability takes effort and capital. It is also expensive to install solar panels or geo-thermal heating, but the dividends are provable.
This isn’t about the city gutting a plan or transparency, this is about politics. Somebody told the dictator in the corner office of 9th and Main that all this climate change crap is going to cost businesses. So instead of relying on a committee or experts city hall is relying on the tried and true method of ‘I know best.’
I know I have complained in the past about this administration re-inventing the wheel and using buzz words to name different departments, but climate change research has literally been around for decades, heck even before the mayor was born.
We already know what needs to be done. Just do it and stop playing political games.
*NOTE: I also find it interesting that after 15 years the Mayor’s executive assistant is retiring. I believe Julie was originally hired by Mayor Munson. I am starting to wonder who will be left at city hall when the new mayor is sworn in in 2024? City Hall is starting to look a lot like that building at 10th and Minnesota.