Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

The Bunker Ramp is going to bite us in the rear

The Audit Committee of Sioux Falls meets tomorrow, and they have some precarious recommendations about the Parking Enterprise Funds.

As you can see our debt service is extremely high (mostly due to an ill-advised Bunker Ramp). There is even suggestions that parking employees work in other departments.

This is what happens when supposed leaders make very bad decisions. Will we ever learn?

Panhandling in Sioux Falls is almost at a Crisis Stage

While our Mayor is frosting cakes with his daughter on FB and making bets on college basketball, panhandling in Sioux Falls has become out of control.

As I often mention on this site, the city charter is pretty clear, the city council handles policy and the mayor runs the city, that means he is in charge of the police department and the city council doesn’t have the authority to tell them how to handle crime in our city. However, they can create policy and ordinances that the police would have to enforce.

Over the past couple of years panhandling has been getting worse. This year was the first year in Sioux Falls I saw them ALL YEAR LONG. I have even seen them on days when it was below zero. Their two favorite spots are East 10th and 14th Street on Cliff Avenue. But I have seen them downtown for the first time in over 20 years. It is at a crisis stage and it seems our mayor, our city council, our county commission and the police department are playing a game of whack a mole instead of a permanent fix to the problem.

While it is well within panhandlers 1st Amendment rights to ask for money on a street corner, there are limitations. They cannot walk into traffic or impede traffic. But it also goes for vehicle operators. You shouldn’t be handing money out of the window of your car while idling in traffic.

I think there are some simple solutions we can start with that would have an impact right away;

• Stop giving violations to the panhandlers and triage them. I know we are waiting for the Triage Center to open, but we can still help these people now, in fact it would have been a great way to spend some of the Covid stimulus money but our cruise control government had different ideas.

• The homeless shelters need to help them. We partially fund these facilities with tax dollars, if they are NOT helping them to rehabilitate it is time to cut the funding. I’m not concerned if Bill the panhandler accepts JC as his savior, I want him to get sober, get help and stop running in traffic.

• Hourly police patrols breaking them up in troubled areas.

And this is where the city council and county commission would have to do some heavy lifting;

• Instead of fining panhandlers for walking in traffic, we need to have an ordinance that fines vehicle operators for handing money out of the window. The fine should be somewhere between $100-200 and only applies if you are sitting in traffic in a running vehicle and handing the money out of the window. If you pull over and park in a safe place and get out of the vehicle and give money, that would not apply.

• Anytime one of these troubled areas pops up, there should be very visible traffic signage put up that says ‘MONETARY CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MOTOR VEHICLE PROHIBITED. $100 FINE, CITY ORD 000’

The way to fix this problem is not by punishing the panhandlers it is about shutting off the faucet. If you want to help them financially the best thing to do is donate your time or money to one of the shelters in town, the Banquet or even the Triage Center. You are not helping these individuals by handing them beer money from your car, you are creating a very dangerous situation on so many levels.

Mayor TenHaken made a pledge when he was running for mayor, he said he hopes to shut down all the shelters in town because he was going to wipeout homelessness in our community. How is the campaign promise coming along? The city cannot even stream a live video of a public meeting, how can we expect them to fix this problem?

It takes little bites and baby steps, but that isn’t even happening.

Panhandling has gotten so bad over the past couple of years in my neighborhood I have considered putting together a neighborhood security group that will go as a group and break these panhandlers up when the police won’t. It is well within my 1st Amendment rights to ask these people to move along and I have done it several times over the past couple of years without physical threats. I simply explain to them that it is the neighborhood I live in, and don’t want that kind of activity going on there, and when they moan and groan I just take out my phone and tell them that the police will be there shortly. That usually gets them moving. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a simple conversation.

Trust me, I feel for these folks, but by allowing them to continue to beg for beer money doesn’t help us and doesn’t help them, it is f’ing futile!!!!!

I pay taxes and vote for a reason. It’s time our supposed city and county leaders to put on their big kid pants and act.

City of Sioux Falls decides to cover Downtown Bunker Ramp wall with large banner that says ‘LAWSUIT PENDING’

Okay, just kidding, but one wonders what is going on.

If you nose around on the local dockets you will see there has not been any set court dates to handle the pending lawsuit with the city and the proposed developer. In other words it seems the city is no further along then they were when this whole fiasco was exposed.

Also, parking revenues are down, so it will be interesting to see how the bonds will be paid for an overbuilt parking ramp that no one has used. I have often suggested they build several floors of studio apartments on the site.

Also, why weren’t there any proposals on decorating the Chernobyl like building?

But lastly, I’m still waiting to hear a formal apology from current and past mayors and councilors who put this fraudulent disaster into motion even after they were warned multiple times that this would turn out to be a pile of poo poo.

If there is one thing city government in Sioux Falls is getting better at it is spending large amounts of our tax dollars on failures. As for necessary infrastructure maintenance, we call on church volunteers.

$500,000 wood signs

Recently the city (taxpayers) had to pay out a half-million for a settlement in a drowning incident at Falls Park. Part of the settlement was putting signs at Falls Park. The solution was two wood signs, NOT by the Falls themselves but in the parking lots. I will admit I did not go down closer to the Falls to see if there was more permanent metal signage, but if there isn’t this is where it should be.

I have often been on the fence about this, because I think people need to watch their kids, and if you injure yourself or die in a public park it’s kind of on you, several laws back this up. But I also think safety measures can be put in place, but no amount of signage will encourage common sense.

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.

What’s going on with the Sioux Steel TIF in Downtown Sioux Falls?

Speaking of ‘Tifilicious’ while our city council is drooling over another ridiculous $94 million dollar tax rebate slush fund to dangle carrots at Asian investors, while we have gotten the shaft on the Midco Aquatic Center windows (still waiting to hear the final on that) and the failed HVAC at the City Center (haven’t heard a peep about that either) or the $26 million dollar bunker ramp to nowhere with a foundation that could hold an aircraft carrier (still no clue how that lawsuit is going either) we have another ‘Tifilicious’ project kind of just flopping in the wind; Sioux Steel project.

As we learned last year due to Covid, the project was delayed and had to be revamped. Understandable. My suspicion is if this project ever does get going again, it will be mostly apartments since Covid has kind of made office space and hotels not a very good investment. But I am wondering 1) why the original TIF hasn’t been rescinded (especially with the South Korean Egg Roll factory TIF on the horizon) and what’s going on with it?

Usually if construction projects are going to break ground in late spring or early summer, the deal is done by February, but we have not heard a peep. I think if the city council doesn’t hear the revamped plans by Feb 1st they need to rescind the original TIF immediately. I have a feeling we won’t see any groundbreaking in 2021 for this project. Maybe they should look into building a Canadian frozen burrito factory on the land, that’s a sure fire way to get a TIF!

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a beautiful day in Downtown Sioux Falls! Can’t believe I am still taking long walks this late into the season.

Sioux Falls City Councilors Jensen, Erickson and Neitzert vote against asking a bar manager questions about police calls and license renewal

Sometimes you see some pretty bizarre things at council meetings, actually just about every one over the past 5 years, but hearing a councilor (Erickson) argue against hearing from a bar manager that has had complaints filed against them about police calls is ridiculous.

Basically, during the 2021 license renewals at tonight’s council meeting, PAVE Bar was up for renewal and councilor Starr asked for them to be pulled from the consent agenda because he had questions about their police calls but asked for it to be deferred until December 1st because he learned the applicant could not attend, and Jamie Palmer, the city’s licensing agent asked if he could come later, and he said he could, she also informed the person complaining to come at a later date.

Makes sense? Right? Wait until the applicant can attend to answer questions about police calls.

Not so fast.

Erickson wasn’t happy about it, and felt that since the applicant wasn’t there to answer questions, they shouldn’t have to answer those questions.

HUH? Where the Frick is the logic in that? That would be like telling someone who was supposed to be in court to defend themselves against a violation and the judge and jury telling them if they don’t show up for their hearing they will be presumed innocent.

WOW. Christine and her lap dogs Greg and Alex have been going off the rails for a while now, and I honestly don’t understand where it is coming from? I really don’t. I could only speculate that her and her pups are friends with the people who own PAVE. Kind of reminds you of how a $26 million dollar disaster got approved. The only explanation would be something my grandma VI used to say, “Maybe she is taking 500 mg ugly pills before the meeting?”

I have not seen the police call evidence about PAVE, and I have NO idea what it is costing taxpayers, but should we at least see the evidence and have a hearing before we renew their license? I think it is only fair. Apparently Christine, Alex and Greg don’t give a rat’s ass about any of those things.

Fortunately five of the councilors felt it was important. They left their ugly pills at home tonight.

Historic 8th Street Bridge almost complete

On a Sunday afternoon walk I saw that the deck on the bridge is complete and they started installing the parapet that are solid concrete.

Sioux Falls City Council Informational meeting on Tuesday has some curious items

It used to be when you saw the agenda on Friday afternoon before the Tuesday informational meeting you could click on agenda items and have linked documents so you could see what was being discussed. Mayor Bucktooth and Bowlcut moved away from this, and our current jellyfish, transparency hater Mayor Stoneless won’t even give us a hint until a couple of minutes before the meeting starts.

Either way, these two items have me curious;

• Update on Downtown Development, AND

• Land Use Ordinance Updates

My guess is we will hear some watered down B.S. about the Sioux Steel project, but I’m not sure what the land use ordinances are about, but I am guessing they are going to make it easier for developers to side skirt neighbors concerns, or give less rights to neighbors, or both. I honestly don’t know. But I think presenting these two items on the day of the most important election in our lifetime has me a bit concerned they don’t want a huge audience. The steamrolling is coming folks, and it is not going to be pretty, and will mostly be done in the dark.