Entries Tagged 'Corona Virus' ↓

Maybe local restaurants can survive Covid by providing good service?

The Condiment Vending Machine. Patent Pending.

Trust me, I noticed before Covid that eating out in Sioux Falls was a crap shoot. Sometimes you get good service, poor food or poor service and good food or poor service and poor food or great service and great food. It’s always a mystery. As a person who worked in restaurants for over 20 years it is frustrating, but I also understand we all have bad days. I have often told people I was top of my game maybe 75% of the time, and when I was like that, you were lucky to have me as a server. The other 25% of the time, I feel sorry for you, because when I sucked, I really sucked (I was also mean to blue hairs, Hoots and people who prayed before they ate, commonly known as the people WHO DON’T TIP).

I have only ate indoors a handful of times since Covid hit and it wasn’t until after I recovered from my own bout with it that I decided to eat indoors. It has always been by myself and I try to sit away from folks. Trust me, I get it that it is probably not fun wearing a mask during a whole shift to wait on people, but it is your job. I have also noticed that service has gotten even worse since Covid. I think it has a little to do with less experienced younger servers who are not afraid of getting Covid working mostly during the pandemic, while the older experienced ones have decided to sit it out. There is also a whole different level of rudeness and flat out lying from servers that I have never really seen before. You know, you don’t have to lie to me, just grab your manager, which also lie to you to. Yah can’t win.

Last night I was baffled by the policies of a certain DTSF restaurant that is a small Midwest franchise. It is a popular place and the food is good for a franchise. I have ate there several times and have never had a bad plate. The service last year before Covid was always really good and the food has never been bad, until the service I received last night.

I sat at the bar to just simply have a quick burger and beer before going somewhere. While the service was ‘acceptable’ you would think I wouldn’t have to ASK every time I needed something. There were literally 4 of us sitting at the bar and 2 were together.

Service aside what was annoying is they have that stupid line on the ticket that asks for you to donate to a charity that they will give to in THEIR name. They have also added a line that asks if you will ’round up’ for the charity (another annoying trick retail is pulling during this pandemic). I always write ‘DUMB’ on that line and write to give their own money since this takes tips away from the servers. But what really surprised me was the $.50 charge for a side of mayo that I asked for, you know, a common condiment that should be included with a cheeseburger anyway. It’s not like I was asking for garlic truffle oil aoli or guacamole, just a side of Miracle Whip.

I will say that $.50 charge probably lost you a customer.

It’s the little things!

What’s next a bubblegum machine with condiments in it that you have to pay for to dispense? Maybe a dishwashing charge if you don’t opt for wax paper and plastic forks?

While we have certainly heard the bitching and complaining about the loss of business in the local hospitality industry during Covid, maybe it’s NOT Covid, maybe it’s your p!ss poor customer service where you beg your customers to give to a charity that you take credit for while charging me for a swab of liquified egg whites. Heck, even Wendy’s and BK don’t charge for mayo on a burger!

While some say they miss eating out due to the pandemic, let me fill you in, you ain’t missing much.

So the next time you hear about a restaurant that has gone under, maybe it wasn’t Covid, maybe it had to do with a mayo famine.

Sioux Falls Planning Commission has serious attendance issues

As a South DaCola foot soldier pointed out to me yesterday, how can 4 votes out of a 9 member commission pass a $94 million dollar TIF recommendation to the city council?

Good question. After spinning my wheels yesterday I discovered according to the Commission’s own rules and Robert’s Rules they can conduct business with 5 members present even if the chair is a non-voting member (they only break ties).

So this got me even more curious about the attendance of the Planning Commission, even pre-covid and discovered over the past year, even though they can attend meetings via phone, a good chunk of them don’t even bother to show up. In fact, over the past 14 months, they have never conducted business with a full body (9 members);

Feb 2021 – 5

Jan 2021 – 6

Dec 2020- 6

Nov – 5

Oct – 6

Sep – 7

Aug – 7

July – 7

June – 2 meetings, 6 at both

May – 6

April – 5

March – 6

Feb – 7

Jan – 5

While I totally understand that these members are volunteers, I question what they signed up for? While they do have to read a lot of materials to prepare, they only really need to attend ONE meeting per month for about 1-2 hours. That’s it!

But my blame for this attendance isn’t on this all volunteer board, it really lies in the lap of Planning Director Eckhoff and his boss Mayor Stoneless. Has there ever been an attendance discussion? My guess is probably not considering it is easier for the mayor and his developer friends to push an agenda when no one shows up to vote on that agenda (or very few).

I think it is absolutely disgusting that a board that is supposed to recommend to the council can pass a ludicrous $94 million dollar TIF on 4 out of 9 possible votes, with next to no discussion.

This administration gets sloppier by the day when it comes to process.

Mask Mandates are NOT a 1st Amendment issue, they are a 4th Amendment issue

I often scratch my head by how little our state legislature and governor know about the US Constitution;

Governments in South Dakota, across the country and the world used mask mandates and business restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some lawmakers, though, say those mitigation efforts don’t jive with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. And now a bill making its way through the legislature would narrow the scope of when cities, counties and townships can make people wear masks or force businesses to close in the name of public health.

It is NOT a 1st Amendment issue, it has to do with trespassing and property rights which is covered under the 4th Amendment;

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The 5th and 14th could also apply. But I have often said that mask mandates in general are moot because the US Constitution already protects business owners from trespassers. If you have a sign on the front door of your business that says you must wear a mask and you refuse, that business can call the police and you can be prosecuted for trespassing. Those laws already exist.

I would argue that any municipal government can implement a mask mandate as long as that mandate is about private business and private property and within their 4th Amendment rights (in other words private businesses and even churches could ignore the mandate).

The 1st Amendment argument holds no water because as we saw with Trump’s Twitter ban, private business CAN limit your speech on their premises, platforms or property.

Where I would side on the 1st Amendment argument is that it would be unconstitutional for government to mandate mask wearing on their (your taxpayer funded) property.

Once again the statehouse is filling their short session with foolishness.

Will the City of Sioux Falls & Minnehaha County provide a public vaccination site?

I know I have touched on this recently, but what I have been hearing from people who have been vaccinated (because they are in the correct category) is that people who are not patients of the two major health systems in Sioux Falls are NOT being contacted for their vaccination appointment. Some have even reached out to Falls Community Health and have been told they can’t get one there. On January 17th in a FB video, Mayor TenHaken said the city will be relying on the two systems to do the vaccinations and get a hold of patients to schedule them. He said they are ‘the professionals’ which is true, but also added ‘you don’t want government doing this.’

This is not right for many reasons;

• In the past mass vaccinations were handled by the Federal government in partnership with private volunteers, hospitals, local governments and pharmacies.

• As Federal taxpayers we paid for these vaccines and their Federal distribution there is NO reason why there shouldn’t be a public option for those who don’t use our two major health systems.

• We have the money to do a public site as proven with the almost half-million the city has already spent in ‘education’ programs.

• Privacy issues. Many people who don’t use the private systems don’t want them to have that information which they may use for patient recruitment.

I won’t make this argument about how much money the health systems will make from this, I really don’t care at this point, and it is moot. This is about citizens being able to have every option possible to receive a vaccination, whether they get it at the two hospitals, a private pharmacy, Falls Community Health or a drive-thru site ran by Feds. I also think that as a community we are better than this, we have the money and the resources to provide this, and ethically we should.

Once again I am disappointed that Mayor TenHaken, the county leadership and others in state government just pass the buck on covid prevention and leadership to the private sector. While I appreciate all the great work they have done, it really needs to be a true partnership not a passing of the buck.

I’m hoping the Biden administration and the Feds get involved and force the city and county to provide a public option, even if they have to throw more money at this epidemic. Let’s face it folks, our economy and lives will never get back to normal until we can provide immunity to almost everyone, and sitting on our hands while the private sector handles this is just not acceptable, but unfortunately with most local government issues, predictable.

Sioux Falls City Council Public input about Public Input

At the meeting Tuesday night I spoke about two subjects; Covid Tourism (FF 20:00) and Prior Restraint (FF 30:50)

Will Sioux Falls ever get a PUBLIC drive thru vaccination site?

At the Mayor’s Covid press conference on Monday, a doctor from one of the hospitals in town was asked if Sioux Falls would ever get a drive thru vaccination site. He carefully answered the question that it could be a possibility, but said since we are getting such low supplies that it probably wouldn’t happen.

While he is correct that the supply chain is kind of a joke, if that improves, could we do this? Sure, but this isn’t about giving the vaccination this is about WHO is giving the vaccination. The unofficial rumor is the two hospitals get $15 for every dose they administer. While the public probably won’t have to pay for that dosage out of pocket, we are essentially paying for it through our taxes.

This all came up because I guess many people have been asking the City of Sioux Falls if they could set up a public drive-thru vaccination site using nursing students, other volunteers and Falls Community Health employees instead of using our private health systems. I guess the rumor is the city is saying that they must have trained professionals to do this from the health systems.

Kind of sounds like this is about the Benjamins and not supply.

It also brings up the question if people don’t use one of the hospitals as their provider can they go somewhere else to get a vaccination in Sioux Falls like Falls Community Health or a pharmacy especially if they don’t want to share their private information with a provider that is NOT theirs?

It will be interesting to see if people will be given a public option to receive the vaccination in Sioux Falls.

More transparency for Sioux Falls in 2021

Hopefully we will have Covid under control or at least manageable early summer. I have a feeling once the vaccine is available to the general public we will turn the corner very quickly. I also look forward to hopefully having a full season of The Levitt concert series. Heck even a half-season would be fine with me.

But my biggest concern in the city is the continuing decline of transparency in government. This is what happens when you put partisan hack authoritarian fascists in charge of local NON-PARTISAN government. Power goes straight to their heads and the way to control that power is thru secrecy. I also think these very un-democratic measures by our local government and state government may quell a bit when the orange menace in Washington is finally shown the door. The next 30 days is going to be the scariest and most embarrassing Trump circus we have ever seen.

I could certainly go on a very long rant about Mayor TenHaken’s lack of leadership and absence of intelligent decisions but where I really get worked up is his deep hatred for transparency. I really think his hatred comes from his years of being a partisan hack in the political advertising world. Keeping strategies from your opponent is essential to beating them. Unfortunately, Paul has carried that philosophy over to actually serving in office. He is also very keen on trying to punish his political enemies and it shows in his extreme paranoia he uses to justify his secrecy. I know he won’t make these changes on his own, so we may need to force his hand on a couple of these things in 2021;

• Hold weekly mayoral press conferences. This could be something as simple as 15 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes of questions from the press, at NOON on Tuesdays, live stream on YouTube and FB and replay in YouTube. This could be an essential step towards transparency. It would also require the mayor to educate himself with what is really going on in the city.

• Settle the Bunker Ramp lawsuit. This fiasco has been going on for far too long, this needs to be mopped up so we can try to promote a new development on the site. The bunker ramp is a prime example of the ultimate failure of local government on so many levels. City employees, dubious developers, two mayors and around 10 city councilors royally screwed us on this deal. I would really like to see a formal apology sometime in 2021 from those involved in this fraud against taxpayers. But like most authoritarians who love secrets, no one will ever come clean on this. The denial so pathetic I have often said everyone involved should either resign or be fired.

• Revoke Sioux Steel’s TIF. We still have no idea where this project is going, and since it has already been delayed for a year, it is time to revoke the original TIF. If they still do the project, it is obvious it will change from the original intentions, which means they must apply for a new, down scaled TIF, or better yet, NO TIF at all. This is another example of the highly secretive planning department that works quietly behind the scenes with developers to ‘recommend approval’ (ironically, something else that needs to be revoked in 2021 also).

• Overhaul the TIF program. As I have suggested for over a decade, the TIF program should be moved into the community development office and short term property tax rebates should be given to individual home owners and small rental properties for cleaning up properties in Central and Proper Sioux Falls. I actually believe cleaning up the core of our city (private properties, sidewalks, streets, curb and gutter, street lights, etc.) would have an enormous impact on the local economy. In fact studies done across the nation have shown that cleaning up cities from the inside out and creating strong density in the core boosts the local economy. Instead of dumping millions into new infrastructure in cornfields in Lincoln county we need to concentrate on cleaning up our core.

• Eliminate SIRE for good. This POS City Council online agenda reference service has been broken for as long as I can remember. If the software was an employee it would have been fired 15 years ago. The city continues to dump money into this joke of a system, and with all the technological advances you would think the city would have replaced it by now. But see, the city likes it this way, it gives them an excuse for hiding agenda items from us. The city’s legal department has also been titling agenda items with no direct references to what the agenda item is about. This is also an attack on open government and needs to end.

• City Council Ethics rules overhaul. There are no clear ethics rules. Every time the council gets tried for a possible violation, they slither out of it by claiming it is too vague or broad. And even if there is proof a councilor or mayor violated ethics, as did Neitzert and TenHaken, the majority of the council dismisses the charges. The ethics board isn’t much better, often claiming ‘law’ permits councilors to violate ethics, though they have nothing to do with each other. I also have the right to say ‘F’ck’ a thousand times a day in public, but ethically know that is probably not such a good idea.

• Public input needs to be moved to the beginning of the meetings again. Of course we will probably have to wait until the next municipal election in 2 years to overturn this moronic and authoritarian move, but in the meantime we plan to have a little fun with the move and some possible 1st Amendment ‘challenges’.

• A major overhaul of the Home Rule Charter. This was attempted with ‘Triple Check the Charter’ but the Rat Finks prevailed. Next time around we will take on a new approach and when the smoke clears, they will wish the last attempt passed because the 2nd attempt isn’t going to be pretty and if it passes, there won’t be a lot of people standing.

We need to return transparency to City Hall in 2021 and not only get it back, but make it more open than it has ever been and put the changes permanently in place. Open government not only saves taxpayers money but makes government more efficient. Also, a well informed public functions better and gets more involved with important decisions in our community.

Here’s hoping for a better 2021, one with more information and less viruses and orange people.

My Covid Experience

Before I tell you about what I went thru (which isn’t that great of a story) I want to make it clear that I still support mask mandates (when shopping in public) and social distancing if eating out. I also think that the bars should limit patrons, because right now, it seems like they are a free for all. I also support vaccinations as soon as we can all get them. While my case wasn’t serious enough to hospitalize me and cause any long term effects (that I know of) it is very serious for people with underlying health conditions and other issues such as lack of health coverage, food security or employment.

While my illness probably wasn’t as dire as it is for other people, I can tell you one thing IT IS NOT THE SEASONAL FLU. All symptoms are much worse, and it lasts much longer. I was sick for around two weeks. Bad dry cough and headaches were my main symptoms. I also lost my smell and taste, and still only have partial back at this point. It is also hard to sleep when you have Covid due to chills or sweats, weird dreams and coughing/breathing. Like I said, I was fortunate to not have any serious breathing or lung issues, but I will say the worst part of the illness is the horrible headaches that last for days. I also did not receive any prescriptions. I basically battled through the symptoms with nasal spray, cough drops, lots of hydration, rest and Ibuprofen.

I was fortunate to have insurance and an employer who covered test costs and wages while I was sick.

The one thing I learned is that Covid could have been manageable not just nationally, or statewide but locally. We probably would not have had to close down a lot of things if we would have implemented a long term plan back in March so that businesses could stay open. I don’t know where I got the illness, but likely at work, but I do go out shopping so who really knows. The infection rate is so high right now I could have gotten it anywhere. I firmly believe that if Smithfield’s would not have had that large outbreak, we would have contained it pretty easily in Sioux Falls.

The most frustrating part about the pandemic is how we got to this place. If the Trump administration would have followed the pandemic plans left by the Obama administration and not disbanded the office we may have been in better shape than we are today. It also doesn’t help our country and state are led by lying idiots.

A part of me is relieved I got it once to experience and at least have short term immunity, hopefully long enough until I can get a vaccination. But I am also not naïve, I do realize I still am vulnerable and will practice all the same precautions I did before I got it. The way I look at it, I have been working in the office since it’s inception and it took this long to contract the virus, so the precautions I was taking at home, shopping or at work seemed to have mitigated it quite well and are a testament to mitigation efforts working if you apply them early and often as I did at work and while out in the community.

There is one important lesson I have learned from Covid, you have to take matters in your own hands if you want to keep yourself safe. No one else is going to save you. Leaders across the nation and locally have this enormous unwillingness to do anything, they call if ‘freedom’ I call it ‘incompetence’. This incompetence doesn’t have much affect on someone like me who has managed to stay safe, stay working and a roof over my head, but it does affect the vulnerable in the community. Leadership is not something I need either, I can easily make my way out of a wet paper bag. But government is not only for those who can fend for themselves, it is for those who need that extra help, that is what makes our Republic so remarkable, we help those in need and less fortunate. During this pandemic, we have failed these folks. While I count my blessings everyday since this started, even when I was in the middle of the floor coughing my brains out, I still felt awful for those who were not going to get thru this. Our supposed leaders failed us on this pandemic, and we all should be truly ashamed.

Have you ever heard of a Dutch Cowboy?

Yes, an actual Dutch Cowboy

I’m sure most of you have seen the infamous CBS story about South Dakota’s Covid cases spiking, in which a nurse serving in a Covid unit in Sioux Falls was about to walk into Tommy Jacks bar downtown Sioux Falls without a mask until the reporter talked her out of it.

But one of the strangest moments in the interview was when Mayor TenHaken said the reason people in South Dakota don’t want to wear masks is because of the ‘cowboy mentality’. Besides the fact a Dutch Evangelical from Worthington, Minnesota would know very little about ‘cowboy mentality’ I question how many cowboys we really have in South Dakota anymore, besides a handful in the Western part of the state.

Making a moronic (and kind of romantic) statement seems par for the course from Paul since this pandemic started. You know, like, ‘I didn’t sign up for this.’ And ‘I’m tired of it.’ So when he wanted to blame cattle ranchers for why people don’t wear masks, it didn’t surprise me. Next he will tell us the reason employers pay low wages here is because South Dakotans like to work for nothing (I’m starting to think they do).

So why do I think people don’t want to wear masks? The number one reason is because Noem, Trump and Right Wing Nutty radio told them they don’t have to. I also think most South Dakotans are ignorant of science. So ignorant, it seems they almost have a disdain for it. It’s easy to fear the unknown, and South Dakotans have ironically made a ‘science’ of it. I also think there is a lot of passive aggressive selfishness. The economy and low pay doesn’t help much either since most people live paycheck to paycheck, they don’t have a choice but to show up to work, with a mask or not. I have even witnessed people who got over Covid and didn’t have symptoms anymore return to work within a day of climbing out of bed. Yeah, a real genius move. I guess we are trying to create a herd immunity workforce. Funny, cowboys like herds.

And let’s clear up all the horse manure being spread by the supposed Constitutional scholars that have been showing up to council meetings and farting their Trumpy fartness on Facebook. Your civil rights are not being infringed upon by a private business asking you to wear a mask on their private property. It’s no different than your Grammy asking you to wipe your feet before coming into her house. Put that in your pipe and smoke it John George Jefferson Franklin.

As usual, it seems TenHaken is trying to point fingers at some mysterious phenomenon, this time called ‘cowboy mentality’ when in reality, as a leader, he should just ‘pony up’ and help inform people that not only is Rush, Trump and Noem wrong, that it is time we all ‘wear a dang mask’ whether you are shopping or wrangling cattle.

Covid seems to be sucking a lot of brain cells out of our state, that is, what’s left.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson must be taking mask wearing advice from FORMER Sanford CEO

Yeah, you didn’t hear it here, but someone got the boot after writing strange Covid poetry to his employees, but we may never know;

Kelby Krabbenhoft and Sanford Health have agreed to part ways, Sanford announced in a news release at about 5:45 p.m. today.

This is no surprise, I have been hearing for months from Sanford employees that Kelby actually partially retired last Fall but was staying on basically for consulting for the transition to Intermountain Health. Not sure how much of that is true, but you will remember last Fall was when a lot of executives were leaving and an investigation into Denny Sanford was being done. No charges have been filed.

But as I was watching the Sioux Falls City Council Informational meeting tonight, I found it ironic that one of the city councilors who voted against a mask mandate and has admitted to having covid couldn’t even figure out how to wear a mask (you need to cover you mouth AND nose.)

Masks! We don’t need no stinking masks!

While she did pull it up a few times she kept pulling it down while talking. Scientists have said that masks actually do work, BUT you need to wear them properly and you have to have 100% compliance. Maybe Christine felt like Kelby that now that she has some kind of magical immunity she didn’t have to wear the mask?

Argus reporter Ellis said it best when talking about Sioux Falls City Government, “Amateur Hour.”