Entries Tagged 'Rapid City' ↓

UPDATE: Who will win the Rapid City Mayoral Race today?

UPDATE: I was off a bit, Salamun wins Rapid City mayor.

I will admit I knew about the election, but not until about 5 minutes ago I decided to research the candidates. I know nothing about any of them except for what I read today.

Just based on donations, I would give the victory to Estes, but since this is a plurality election, I think the three other men running would steal votes from Estes giving the victory to Armstrong (who is the only woman running).

I guess we will see.

Either way, these two will likely be in spots 1 and 2. Estes seems like a moderate businessman while Armstrong tends to be moderate to progressive.

I think it would be quite an upset tonight if Armstrong squeaks by.

Sioux Falls Developer trying to get TIFilicious in Rapid City

It shouldn’t be a surprise that this developer is asking for a TIF for a project that doesn’t supply ANY affordable housing;

The apartments will start at around $995 for studios, $1,295 for one bedrooms and $1,895 for two bedrooms.
Luke Jessen, senior director of development at Lloyd, said the company will ask the city for an $8.75 million TIF, although a hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

$995 for a hole in the wall apartment in Rapid City, seems reasonable? Notice how many groups it must go through before approval;

The project will soon appear on the Tax Increment Finance District Review Committee, Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission agendas.

We may be served well if we had such a committee;

The committee is comprised of two Rapid City Council members, two Pennington County Commissioner members, one Rapid City Planning Commissioner, one Rapid City Area School District representative, and one Economic Development Partnership representative.

If we had a committee like this, there might be transparency in the process, they actually meet in council chambers and members of the public can attend to see how the TIF is negotiated. What a concept! In Sioux Falls they are negotiated in the basement of the planning office then rubber stamped by the Planning Commission and City Council.

Rapid City offers FREE transit rides ALL-YEAR long to youth

While Sioux Falls only offers this service during the summer so kids can get to their friends house across town to play video games, Rapid City offers all year so kids can get to school;

As parents and students scamper to buy school clothes, sneakers and supplies, one of the key boxes on the school checklist that impacts many families is reliable transportation to and from school.
The City and Rapid Transit System (RTS) is again offering the ‘Youth Ride Free’ program for the 2021-22 school year.

What a concept! I have felt for a long time it should be all year and anyone 17 and under should be able to swim for FREE at the outdoor pools. Instead the city has cut their transit routes and are looking to cut back on our bus system more and more each year. The reason ridership numbers are dwindling in Sioux Falls is because we have terrible service. Maybe we should just terminate SAM, sell all the assets and buy anyone without a car or driver’s license an E-Bike?

This is how you properly put flat panels on a rounded Events Center (Rapid City)

See, it’s not that hard if you follow the direction of the architect and engineers and not try to pinch pennies. Ironically, the original drawings of The Denty suggested panels like this, but a credit card peddler thought he knew better.

Complaints against Rapid City Councilor violates her 1st Amendment Rights

Once again, Attorney Tornow is diddling where he shouldn’t be diddling;

Complaints were submitted to the Rapid City city attorney regarding common council president Laura Armstrong’s involvement in the Facebook page, Caring Businesses of Rapid City, saying her actions violate city code.

“Code of conduct two says Rapid City officials, like council members, are to refrain at all times from discrimination or the dispensation of special privileges,” said Tornow. “I don’t know how you can have any more clear violation.”

First off, if this is a violation of city code (I don’t think it is) the complainers don’t have much of a legal leg to stand on. As an elected official your 1st Amendment rights are NOT stripped from you once you become elected. Sure, some would question ethics in this matter (though I would argue she is acting ethically by supporting a mask mandate that actually helps local businesses stay open) acting unethically is NOT illegal and as we saw in Sioux Falls, you can hardly be removed from office for it.

But more importantly she has a right granted from the highest law in the country to freedom of speech and if I was her I would counter sue these clowns for making a fuss over it.

It seems though the Rapid City, City Attorney did the right thing;

After the group submitted their complaints, a media outlet requested copies. Joel Landeen, the city’s attorney, says those were provided, much like complaints released in the past.

“If we choose not to disclose, or say we cannot comment on that because it’s confidential, then it makes it look like we’re trying to hide something or are not being transparent,” said Landeen. “Their argument is that the complaints should have remained confidential. I would point out that the last two complaints against aldermen Lisa Modrick and Jerry Right. The media became aware of both of those complaints almost simultaneously with them being filed.”

Tornow says the release of the complaints violates city process and the complaints included private information such as age and address. But Landeen says no one was required to share that information as part of the complaint process.

“I don’t think that the city did anything wrong in releasing the complaints,” said Landeen. “You have to put your name on a letter to the editor, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to have to put your name on a complaint. As far as some of the other information, I can understand why people are concerned but I would point out that the form that contained all this information, those were not on city forms.”

Notice the last part of the last sentence, if you file a complaint to a government body on a piece of toilet paper, guess what, that just might appear in the media. When you are so stupid to complain about an elected official who is practicing their 1st Amendment rights to keep a community safe and economically secure, and file that complaint on unofficial forms, guess what, you spill gravy on your tie.

I have often argued that code enforcement complaints in Sioux Falls filed by residents (non-city employees) should be made public to the person the complaint is being filed against. I guarantee more transparency in code enforcement would make the problem disappear quite quickly. If you have a problem with your neighbor, bake them a pie and go have a chat. If you have a problem with your city councilor, buy them a cup of coffee and go have a chat.

I applaud the Rapid City, City Attorney on how he is handling the complaints. It’s going to be fun to watch this explode in the anti-maskers faces. They wouldn’t know the constitution or civil liberty rights if it hit them over the head with a baseball bat.

But a word of advice to the city councilor involved in this Trumpist-Noem fiasco, STAY OFF OF FACEBOOK!

Rep. Goodwin calls out voter suppression in upcoming Rapid City School Bond Election

Some of this stuff sounds familiar;

For those who do decide to fight the elements and go vote, they could be disappointed upon arriving at the school to find that their voting location has been moved. There is a good possibility under this scenario for them to say, “Heck with it,” and go home, thus not casting their vote.

You mean like only having super precincts in only the Southern part of the District?

Now, you’ve noticed that I haven’t taken a stand on whether or not we should vote for the $180 million, (actually $280 million).

Another thing that sounds familiar, hiding the ‘interest’ from voters.

Well, that’s not my point. What I’m attempting to do is hit home that in the year 2020, on said date, Feb. 25, the Rapid City schools are making a cold (no pun intended), calculated strike to stop as many voters as possible from showing up at the polls to vote, thus passing the $280 million dollar bond issue. There, I said it!

And you better be prepared for Soviet level returns. Some will be wondering if a school bond passed or if Putin just got elected as president of Rapid City.

I have heard several rumors that certain school officials from the SFSD have quietly ‘consulted’ the RCSD on how to conduct their election. I of course have no proof of this, because as we have seen, both districts operate in complete secrecy. But it would NOT surprise me, even if officials from the RCSD did not sit down with SFSD officials, that it is pretty easy to take a page from Sioux Falls by watching how it played out here.

While I still believe the SFSD bond would have passed anyway, I think some of the tricks they played along the way skewed the poll numbers (we still haven’t been able to access the ballots to count them ourselves, if they even still exist). I highly suggest RC voters demand a fair election, in all precincts, on a NICE day. If they don’t and it gets to a Soviet level, I also suggest you ask to recount the votes yourself.

Rapid City tries to push for voter suppression, foiled for now

As we all know, in Sioux Falls, this has already occurred due to a quiet decision by the school board a few years ago. They tried to do it in RC and got caught;

In February 2019, Rapid City police chief Karl Jegeris and School Superintendent Dr. Lori Simon met privately with Pennington County’s new Auditor, Cindy Mohler, and directed her to find new polling places for the ten voting precincts that currently use public schools. The elected School Board members were never informed or consulted as to this change of policy, learning about it eight months later when it—along with all elements of this story—was revealed in greater detail by the Rapid City Journalin its November 3 and November 19 editions.

As you know in Sioux Falls, not only have they eliminated polling places at most schools, they went to super precincts where they pretty much eliminated the entire Northern part of the city for the $300 school bond issue. So here is a little tidbit of interest;

No school shootings or violent incidents in connection with a polling place anywhere in America have been documented.

Yet we are often told this is about the ‘safety’ of the ‘children’. Hogwash! This has been about voter suppression. When you don’t have a precinct in the entire Northern part of your voting district, that speaks volumes of the intent, but they fall back on the excuse ‘What about the kids?’

Most Rapid City voters drive to the polls, and roughly one-third vote early at the Auditor’s office. Some low-income people lack transportation, and walk to the polls or depend on a ride to get there. If a large percentage of voters are suddenly re-directed to a new, less accessible polling place, there is the fear that a lower turnout will result.

And that is what has happened. The SFSD has devised a way to get the people who can afford a property tax increase to the polls and eliminating those who may be opposed. It’s a brilliant scheme. It also gives them the excuse to hand count ballots as a cost savings measure and instead of using mostly volunteers they used employees who work in the finance office. But RC said, no way!

At two Rapid City School Board meetings in November, citizens from across the political spectrum, myself among them, pleaded with the board to allow voting to continue at the schools. Rep. Tina Mullally (R-Rapid City), described the proposed change as voter suppression. Her colleague, Rep. Tony Randolph (R-Rapid City), commented on the negative “optics” of removing voting from the schools at the same time that a $189 million bond issue (the largest per capita school bond issue in South Dakota history) is coming before local voters. Several speakers pointed out that, at a time when schools are teaching less “civics” and students are graduating without a strong understanding of government and democracy, watching adults come to their schools to exercise their franchise can be a positive experience. Ramona Herrington, a local Native American activist, commented that she could not believe that she was on the same side of the issue as the ultraconservative Citizens for Liberty.

This outpouring of support led board members to adopt a resolution sponsored by Curt Pochardt in support of leaving polling places in the schools.

I have often said it is a sad time in our democracy when we have to constantly sneak around to figure out what our elected officials are up to behind closed doors. Voting rights are the highest level of an open and transparent government. Rapid City dodged a bullet – for now. It looks like they are going to try to do a reach around with the County Commission. I feel that the ones pushing for a school bond in RC saw the immense opportunity to only get those they wanted voting for the bond to the polls. They saw the soviet like election results in Sioux Falls and how they pulled it off. I guess the other school districts in South Dakota do learn things from us 🙁

West River math VS. East River math

So this is an interesting story;

RCSD – $250m – $20/month increase in property taxes on every $100,000 of value  =  $240 yr
Morrison/Vik/Maher MATH:
SFSD – $190m – $2/month increase in property taxes on $100,000  =  $24 yr
So which finance director is telling the truth?
I do know that the SFSD rearranged their capital outlay levees, but the disparity is strange. I also wonder if they plan to pay off the bonds a lot faster in RC?

Cleveland Abbott presentation at Journey Museum, Rapid City, 2/8/19

We should have negotiated RR quiet zones Downtown

Rapid City is showing they have a lot more vision than Sioux Falls by proposing quiet zones Downtown;

The city’s railroad quiet zone task force will meet next week to discuss funding for the project. A final report is expected within the next two months.

City officials will need to file a notice of intent with the Federal Railroad Administration and railroad companies once a quiet zone option is approved.

Harrington said Rapid City would be the first town or city in the state to implement a railroad quiet zone policy should it move forward.

As I have stated numerous times, the RR Redevelopment Project in DTSF was one of the worst negotiated projects in the history of the city. Besides the fact that we probably bought land from the RR that we probably already owned (Federal easements) we did nothing to limit train traffic DT or at least limit the noise. Of the millions we handed over to the RR for basically $62 a square foot dirty land, we didn’t have the vision to set aside some money to create quiet zones downtown. This SHOULD have been a part of the deal.


I was surprised to see the problems are still around;

Neitzert said he may wait to see if the ICON has any issues throughout the summer and in the meantime, slow the tempo on composing a new ordinance, but still thinks downtown maybe eventually need to change its key.

“It does seem like downtown needs something different, because the noise ordinance is written really well for other areas that aren’t mixed use, neighborhoods that are all residential,” Neitzert said. “But again the question is, what is the something?”

Ironically its airplanes, trains and first responders that cause the most noise, the decibel level does need to change downtown, funny how this stuff gets killed without little explanation. Kind of like moving public input without an informal public meeting about it. I had the opportunity to go inside one of the bigger condos in the building. While this one did not have a west side patio, it did have several west side windows. I was there for about an hour and the only sound I could hear from outside was a faint police car siren that was driving past the coliseum, but it was so faint you would not even notice it. I’m thinking having the patios on the west side are what may be causing some of the noise issues. My suggestion? Close you patio door.