Entries Tagged 'Amazon' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council Re-Cap, Sept 16, 2020

The big story of the night actually occurred two minutes before the regular council meeting even started. The Argus broke the story of Amazon coming to Sioux Falls with the governor confirming it by saying;

Her office, she said, has been “heavily involved” in talks with Amazon for months.

Which is funny because she basically punked the mayor’s opportunity to announce the project. While I don’t tend to believe many SD Republicans (or any Republicans for that matter) I do believe she probably had more to do with cutting the deal than our hardworking mayor (snark) who is usually busy reading childrens books in his garage on FB Live or Selfie Biking with his manly friends.

But this comment from Noem shows her true colors;

“It’s about time. We’ve been waiting for them,” the governor joked during an interview with the Argus Leader. “It’s good news. It’s more jobs — higher paying jobs than some other areas of our economy — and it’s a good opportunity.”

Notice the line ‘than some other areas of our economy’. LOL. Yeah, it pays better than McDonalds or Taco Bell . . . Woot! Woot!

Maybe Noem punking Mayor Stoneless is the reason he put his himming and hawing into high gear Tuesday night. It is becoming more and more annoying and tiring listening to the mayor grunt, sigh, huff and puff and generally snort into his live microphone during the meetings. Not only is it very audible, it is incredibly disrespectful of those who disagree with him. He acts like a little kid who is getting scolded. Please Paul, knock it off, or just turn your gavel over to the ethically challenged Council Chair, which is ironic considering his biggest grunts came when Mr. John Cunningham’s sister, former South Dakota NAMI director, Phyllis Arends, spoke during public input about her disappointment in the way the Board of Ethics and the City Council treated her brother. Surprised she didn’t ask if some of them suffer from mental illness (she would know). I have heard from friends across the country who used to live here and still follow the council proceedings that when they watched the hearing last Thursday, they were baffled by some of the actions the majority of the council took and the mayor and the obvious bias and arrogance of them. In fact, I have talked to very few people who watched the episode that didn’t think it was a show trial. I have joked they should rename the council, Sioux Falls City Council Theatre Company. Though their actions were despicable and disgusting (Kiley) at least they were entertaining in a FREE performance in the park sort of way.

This year’s budget passed 7-1. Councilor Starr was the only one to vote against the budget, which got another sigh not only out of Paul but also out of Councilor Erractickson (who was in her normal rampage mode). Starr told me before the meeting that he intended to vote against the budget for several reasons, but the main reason is that the council is approving a budget without having a signed contract with the city’s 3rd union, AFSCME. As I understand it from peeps in the union, they voted down the contract offered from the city of a 0% raise for 2021 in a 98-3 vote. Ouch!

The council did restore municipal band funding, but for only one year, and formed a task force to ‘study’ it. That only took 100 years. Towards the end of the meeting during final business, Brekke brought up the fact that they skipped over public input for that amendment in the meeting. It seems Chair TenHaken and his unreliable City Clerk Greco are getting sloppier and sloppier while conducting meetings. That was evident during Nutzert’s hearing. In fact, it was pointed out to me that there was probably a public input and open meeting violation during that hearing because the resolution they presented that night for dismissal did not get a 24 advance notice to the public and there was no public input once presented. They should start holding these meetings in a clown car so we can start taking them more seriously.

Along with the budget approval, they approved the property tax increase, I think, at a 7-1 vote, Starr voting against it. Besides the fact that they shouldn’t be approving tax increases during a down economy, what made it an even bigger slap in the face was the arrogance of the council approving an open ended TIF for Flopdation Park, a multi-level TIF that will suck money out of the property tax fund and the individual property owners will have to prop up for international companies coming here because of cheap labor. What makes it even more arrogant is that the Planning Department ‘recommends approval’. I still ethically challenge that appointed city employees can ‘recommend approval’ of a massive tax increase on citizens while giving massive tax cuts to corporate welfare recipients. I think elected officials are the only ones that should be making recommendations. The only thing planning department employees should be able to say is if the TIF applicant filled out their application correctly. Of course the administration and the council use this as justification to pass this blatant handout to the super rich.

In the consent agenda the city council approved the additional funding to the CVB to promote the city this Fall and Winter. Hey, come to Sioux Falls and have yerselves a Covid Holiday! When Starr asked Finance Director Pritchett what metrics will be used to see if there is any results from the funding he was speechless. The rumor is that the CVB uses Mayor TenHaken’s former(?) company ClickRain for promotion. Would like to look at that contract. I think with people suffering in Sioux Falls from unemployment, under employment, food and rent instability, the last thing the city needs to be doing is promoting Covid holidays in Sioux Falls.

The West Mall Theater beer and wine license got deferred to October 6th. The License Specialist for the city said they needed more time to put their security plan in place. Of course Councilor Erractickson had to point out that is why they didn’t get it the first time around, even though they DID present basically the same security plan the State Theater did. It’s about who you know folks.

The Bump Back ordinance got approval on the first reading, which was no surprise. There of course were many tears shed over 6-Figure a year Directors not being able to find gainful employment if they could not bump back after essentially FAILING as a director. I would have to disagree, I think the former planning director found a part-time job at a garden shop and the former fire chief I guess mows lawns at a golf course. So much talent wasted! The shame! The shame!

There was also an incident, once again, where homeowners were fighting a storage unit in their backyards and how the developer didn’t bother to give them any notice. Shocker. Starr was able to defer the matter longer. Christine and CountCilor Jensen voted against the deferral.

But towards the end of the meeting I started wondering if Councilor Ricky Lee Kiley is determined to become the most narcissistic councilor ever to exist in the history of the city. While Councilor Starr was happy to announce the adoption of his daughter, and councilor Brekke was pointing out the failures of how the meeting was conducted, Ricky Lee cut Janet off and had to announce his daughter’s birthday? Really? What a jerk.

What are the Benefits of Amazon coming to Sioux Falls?

As we have known for several years, Amazon was looking to put a distribution site in our area, it was only a matter of time. We also know, like most businesses that move here, they want handouts, and if there is one thing we love in Sioux Falls and South Dakota is giving out massive amounts of corporate welfare. Flopdation Park has already received around $50 million for infrastructure from the taxpayers. Amazon has received a Federal Grant and now the SF Development Foundation pretty much wants an open ended TIF to attract more businesses. Their argument is always the same, growth for growth’s sake (which I have never understood, because growth only drives up the prices of affordable housing due to infrastructure and public education costs) and JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

So let’s look at the kind of jobs Amazon supplies. Most workers will be pickers that make around $15 to start. So where will Amazon get these workers? I have argued that they will suck from other businesses in town that pay less (and there is quite a few of them) and once that bleeding is done, people will start moving here. I also believe many workers at Smithfield will try to move over to Amazon. So in essence, Amazon will not be depending solely on our current workforce, they will have to do a lot of transfers.

Another reason I think it will be hard for Amazon to fulfill their worker needs is because of a very difficult qualification process, like background checks, drug tests and physical fitness. It will also be interesting to hear what Amazon’s policy on marijuana use (outside of the work place) will be if it becomes legal in our state.

But all of those things aside I think there are a few benefits to bringing Amazon here. First off, they will support many other businesses in town, maybe even create some new ones. I also believe once they start stealing workers from local businesses, it may force some of them to raise their wages to keep people.

Amazon coming to town will have some benefits, but I often am confused by Sioux Falls’ mantra ‘Growth for Growth’s Sake’. Which just ends up costing taxpayers more in infrastructure and public safety and public education while the fat cats get their TIF’s, tax breaks and government grants. Let’s face it, Sioux Falls has just turned into a welfare state for the rich, which is no surprise when it is so cheap for them to buy the city council and mayor’s office.