art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.


But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive‘ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.

Leave it to the bright eyed and bushy tailed to tell us what we have been saying all along;

“We need to invite the citizens into the City Council and make sure that their voice is actually listened to. If you go to a meeting right now, you’ll see that they’re completely disinterested in what we have to say,” Warren said. “That needs to change and that’s something that I will change.”

YES IT DOES. But it takes more then a campaign slogan, it takes petition drives, following officials with cameras and infiltrating yourself into city government proceedings as some of your competitors have.

As I have told others and council candidate Jacob Johnson tonight, we have a very good crop of candidates this time around. Though I have my favorites, I do think there are several that would do a great job if elected, even Mr. Briggs. But it not only takes courage but it takes experience and knowledge, and I want my next crop of city councilors to avoid a learning curve.


Hi, I’m Briggs Warren, don’t confuse me for my older opponent Greg Neitzert. Even at the ripe age of 18, I’m my own man, heck, and I have been registered to vote longer then our city clerk, who just retired from the military.

Like a lot of SD Democrats (or at least the younger ones) in order to get elected under the ‘D’ symbol, they take ideas from their conservative opponents and somehow twist them into their own values. Huether pulled that crap on Staggers, taking some of Kermit’s best ideas and values and making them into his ‘issues’. (Snowgates, better infrastructure, building an EC without raising taxes). It seems Briggs is pulling the same tricks, not just by duplicating Greg’s website format, but most of his ‘issues’.

Warren’s Website

Neitzert’s Website (which has been up for several months)

Warren on Transparency; An Informed citizenry is crucial to a democracy and without transparency, we can not have either. That is why one of my top priorities will be to ensure nothing is hidden away behind legal documents unable to be viewed by the very people they concern.

Neitzert on Transparency; Transparency will be a top priority for me. Trust is only gained and preserved with transparency. Secrecy is antithetical to a good government. We cannot ask citizens to pay for city government and tell them they have no right to know what we are doing with their money. We need to strive to avoid arrangements that allow for confidential agreements and settlements whenever possible. We need the council and citizens to be informed as fully and as early as possible.

Warren on Fiscal Policy; At the end of the day, the money used to run this city is your money.  With the tax money collected, we need to make sure that it’s used responsibly and that we don’t spend more than we have. It’s important to the city’s future that we don’t burden ourselves with unnecessary debt.

Neitzert on Fiscal Policy; I take a conservative approach to fiscal policy. I believe the money you work so hard for is your money. Raising taxes and user fees should be a last resort. As a city, we need to provide vital services and a quality of life that citizens have come to expect. However, we must balance that with being fiscally responsible. When government is entrusted with your money, it must be as careful with it as possible. We must also be very conservative with debt. We need to pay off city debt when we can. We need to be very cautious about taking on new debt. We should always strive to find ways to pay as we go. The first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging. We need to avoid new debt whenever possible.

Warren on Zoning; Sioux Falls is growing, and that’s great! What’s not great is megastores being built across the street from residential homes. We need to make sure we protect residential homeowners from having their neighborhoods destroyed by commercial development. I believe we can do this while still allowing Sioux Falls to grow and it will be one of my top priorities in office.

Neitzert on Zoning; Zoning is a top priority for me because it is critical – it protects and preserves neighborhoods and the investment citizens have made into their homes and private property. Sioux Falls is a vibrant, growing city. We must encourage growth and redevelopment. However, we must also protect existing uses, neighborhoods, and homes. Protection of existing single family uses must be paramount. That will be my guiding philosophy. Encroachment of commercial development into existing residential neighborhoods is a major concern. Zoning is one of the most important and most common items the City Council addresses.

Warren on Infrastructure; The backbone of any city is its infrastructure. While it may not be exciting to talk about it is the most important part of our city and should be treated as such. The fact is South Dakota weather is tough on our road system; we need to look into ways of extending the usable life of the roads we have and invest in the best materials possible. Other cities have been able to extend their roads during harsh winters and its time for Sioux Falls to follow suit.

Neitzert on Infrastructure; Infrastructure is the most critical and basic of services our city provides. Roads, water, and sewer are core functions of our city. As our city grows, we must continue to expand our road system. In this region, road repair and reconstruction is a constant reality. We need to aggressively fund road maintenance and reconstruction to stay ahead of it. We need to repair roads not only in our main corridors, but in neighborhoods where they have aged and deteriorated.

I think it is great that Warren admires Greg’s conservative approach to city government as a registered Democrat, but instead of running against Greg, maybe he should be volunteering for his campaign?