Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce' ↓

Egyptian Ambassador Press Conference

Saturday, November 9th, 201910 AM

Rep. Michael Saba (Dist. 9) has asked me to assist in setting up a special Saturday Press Conference in Sioux Falls to announce first results of this week’s Egyptian delegation trip to South Dakota led by Ambassador Hamdi Saleh.

“The purpose for this trip has been to buy products” Saba states “Ambassador Saleh has stressed this trip is to ship South Dakota products including commodities such as soybeans, corn and agricultural technology directly to Egypt from us.”

Rep. Saba has been traveling with the delegation from Sioux Falls to Brookings, Watertown and Aberdeen to cement relationships including purchase agreements. This week’s weather issues have not cooled the delegation’s interest in South Dakota commodities, education opportunities and products. The Egyptian trade delegation is building strong ties in South Dakota this week not only for today but for years to come.

The press conference is in the planned for the delegation at:

Sioux Falls Development Foundation (use the North door entrance)

200 N. Phillips Ave

Suite 101

Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Saturday, November 9th, 2019 at 10:00am

Sioux Falls City Council votes against Chamber and approves city flag

NOT the official flag of Sioux Falls

The city council, all 8 of them approved the city flag tonight, but some worried (Rick Kiley) that they would be stepping on the toes of the Chamber and their rebranding efforts.

As I reported back in May, the city, and now it seems that Chamber have been leading an effort to brand the city. Kiley brought it up in the discussion tonight. While this isn’t a bad idea, I wondered when the Chamber was going to bring the public into this discussion, you know, the people who fund this government and live here. Once again, the business elite in town want to decide what is best for us, without including us in the discussion.

Personally, I am offended that these back room discussions have been going on. I guess Sioux Falls is only your city if your Chamber membership is up to date and paid for.

Did Pheasant Fest even have a very big economic impact?

I’m sure some of the restaurants and vendors at the event had a little bump. But it certainly didn’t affect our sales tax much, (City Council is getting briefed on March Financials, the report document is to the right in SIRE) and it certainly didn’t affect lodging. The hotel tax is down over 14% from last year, which equates to the occupancy rates being down.

I was hoping Pheasant Fest would have a major affect on the tax rolls in Sioux Falls, but it seems like it really didn’t make a difference at all. Which I am very surprised about.

I would really like to hear from the CVB as to why hotel stays are down so much from last year.

UPDATE: Chamber says Entenman a life-long resident of Sioux Falls

UPDATE: The Chamber made the error, not the Entenman Campaign.

As I have been telling people, it is often the ‘little’ things you have to pay attention to in campaigns. Details that candidates will try to slip by you.

I have noticed that Entenman’s campaign is built on a lot of spit balling and approximates. Like how he kind of just guessed that 2017 ended well financially for the city. Or that he has the intention to serve 8 years, even though he only did one term on the city council after his bucket list of the Event Center and BID tax was marked off the list. Seems he is learning from his buddy MMM who he would emulate as mayor, it’s NOT a lie if YOU believe it.

He claims in the Chamber interview he is a life long resident of Sioux Falls. Never mind the time he spent going to college in Aberdeen or the over 15 years he lived in Brandon. It’s kind of like a certain legislator from SD that lives in Texas most of the time.

Brandon isn’t a sub-division of Sioux Falls (they probably wish they were with all the water problems they are having) It’s actually a separate community with a different zip code.

Dell Rapids, Canton, Tea, Baltic  . . . Sioux Falls? Close enough.

Keep selling the wage collusion in town

I will at least give Mr. Nasser props for trying to encourage professional careers but the argument is lost with Kiley and the Chamber with the constant push for affordable housing instead of higher wages.

Debra Owen new Public Policy Director for Sioux Falls Chamber

SIOUX FALLS — The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce announces that Debra Owen, J.D. has been named Public Policy Director. She succeeds Mark Lee, Ed.D. who is leaving to become market president of Reliabank Dakota.

Owen will provide leadership in the area of public policy and advocacy on the local, state and federal levels. Her background includes more than 27 years of experience in both business and government leadership positions, including public policy, advocacy, strategy, planning and implementation.

Congrats to Debra, I’m sure she will do a great job!

Mark Lee to leave the Sioux Falls Chamber

Mr. Lee, Public Affairs & Communications Director for the SF Chamber is leaving to run a Sioux Falls branch of his family’s bank.

While I disagree with Mark about 99.9% of the time, I will say I am going to miss him. I’ve enjoyed his multiple jabs over the past couple of years in his Chamber articles directed at me and South DaCola. As you know, I much more prefer criticism over praise, it keeps me on my toes. I hope the Chamber can replace him with someone just as sharp and sometimes biting.

Great idea for a database I thought already existed

At first glance, I thought, WOW! What a fantastic idea and tool for our community;

A new database, OpenSiouxFalls, will become a central repository for data reflecting the metro area’s workforce, economy, social services, education and quality of life.

Like I said, great idea. But one wonders why the Chamber, the City or the Development Foundation weren’t already using such a database? Maybe they have been, but by the sounds of the development of this site, you wonder how comprehensive it is?

Beta testing for the first phase of the project is planned for this summer.

So has this information been used in the past by organizations? And if so, who was the gatekeeper? Like the affordable housing study by Thrive, one wonders if anyone has been compiling such essential information or just flying by the seat of their pants?

I applaud the efforts to make this public, let’s hope they pull it off smoothly and actually make something public that seems to have been either stored in a safe for a very long time or didn’t exist at all.

The Chamber gives their SLANTED view of city government

Nothing like the Chamber Advocate for a little light reading about how the city of Sioux Falls is running like a well oiled machine.

First they would like us to know OUR rights when it comes to Public Input and the 1st Amendment;

However, if a public body agrees to hold public input sessions, then some limited constitutional rights are extended to the speakers. Still, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that a public body has the right to put time, manner and place restrictions on speech as long as those restrictions are generally content neutral and serve a governmental purpose. Courts have also noted that the purpose of these meetings, City Council for example, is to conduct city business and not to take public input. That recognized purpose permits the Council to legally restrict public input.

We of course have had this debate here before, and I have come to the realization that the city council CAN restrict public input. I get it. That wasn’t my point. My point is, that IF the city is going to allow Public Input, which they do, then they shouldn’t restrict our 1st Amendment rights during that time period by chastising us for speaking. If you don’t want us to ‘redress our grievances’ than eliminate public input, which I think would be difficult. As pointed out above, these meetings are for the city council to conduct business, a lot of decisions are made, based on input from the public, or at least should be.

In other Advice from the Advocate, they would like us to believe an OPT-OUT by the school district is for our own ‘safety’;

In other words, increasing the opt-out puts a safety net in place and ensures the District is able to provide a high-quality education for all students for years to come.

Make no mistake, if a governmental entity has the power to increase your taxes, they will use that same power to spend that money. Their is no such thing as a ‘safety net’ or ‘savings account’ in government. They WILL spend every last penny that they suck out of us, and you can almost guarantee that $5 million dollar ‘possible’ increase is already spent. The Chamber of course advocates for property tax and regressive increases on food taxes to help fund education because they are protecting members from an income tax.

The Chamber also decides to weigh in on the ambulance service in town. They have determined that it is what we are willing to pay for that determines what kind of quality of care we are getting . . . imagine that, always about the bottom line with the Chamber;

We will close with this. It appears our emergency medical response system is working when the objective data is considered. Also, the REMSA Board, not an elected lay council, is the right way to manage the system. The Council, by Charter, is a policy setting and legislative body and is to avoid administrative and management issues. It also appears that six of our councilors generally agree the system is working and the structure in place is valuable while two spearheaded the critical questioning.

However, we also understand that if your 911 call is one where there is a delay, you will have a concern. The provision of public services is always a balance between resources and expectations. If we expect (as an exaggerated example) a two-minute ambulance response for every emergency call, we can probably achieve it – but you won’t want to pay for it. Quality assurance conversations are important and we encourage them using the right data and in the right context.

We wouldn’t need more than two mutual aid agreements if PP would just staff more ambulances, but they won’t, as the Chamber has pointed out, too expensive. Yet, ironically our first responders, the SFPD and SFFD seem to show up first, subsidized by the tax payers while PP rides to bank with the profit from the transfer and delivery of a patient. All the more reason showing us a PUBLIC ambulance service not only would save patients money, it would probably save tax payers money (because we would be reimbursed for those calls), but more importantly, it would probably be 10X faster and more reliable than a FOR PROFIT ambulance service.

The Chamber has members to protect, we get it.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls School Board’s Property Tax increase sneaky move

UPDATE: President Tholke asked for a two week deferral of the opt out and the motion failed. So they all voted for the OPT-OUT anyway.

UPDATE II: While watching the School Board meeting, and they are arguing about being transparent about the OPT-OUT discussion, in fact so transparent guess when they posted the OPT-OUT discussion video from April 10, 2017? April 11? April 12? Nope, they posted it TODAY! That’s transparency folks!

UPDATE III: A group is planning to circulate a referendum on the opt-out that passed tonight.

Only one week after a completely dismal school board election turnout, where they bragged about saving $16,000, and now they want to rob you out of $5 million.


They couldn’t wait until the new board member got sworn in, they had to slip it in now.

Sioux Falls homeowners could miss out on state property tax relief as school board members look to pad the district’s dwindling reserve funds.

Board members will vote Monday night on a recommendation to opt out of local property tax limits. The move would bring an extra $5 million into school coffers over the next 10 years.

And technically your taxes won’t INCREASE, they just basically wiped away the tax relief you WOULD have gotten from the state legislature;

Homeowners wouldn’t see taxes go up in 2018, but they would miss out on state property tax relief, a direct result of the new education funding formula passed last year.

The worst part about this besides their very sneaky method* of putting this on the agenda (surprised anyone from the media even caught it) is this isn’t even for a capital project, it is for a savings account because gosh darn it, they just can’t trust Trump or Pierre. Tax increases to pad savings accounts are NOT the way to go. I have often said government should spend what it has and keep an even keel. That is why I have often supported tapping into the education investment fund dividends and interest to actually FUND education instead of these constant tax increases.


As for the sneaky way they put this on the agenda. I had to read it three times before catching the clever language, Item #10 under Reports of the Superintendent, A. Finance Action Network Opt-Out Recommendation. Doesn’t sound like a property tax increase unless you read the attached documents.

And look at the esteemed members that want to increase your taxes;

The Finance Action Network (FAN) met on Thursday, May 25th. The meeting started at 11:30am. Those in attendance were:

-Sara Andrews (Beck & Hofer)

-Jason Ball (SF Area Chamber)

-Keith Severson (Eide Bailly)

-Bob Thimjon (Ramkota Companies)

-Becky Wittrock (Geo Tek)

-Doug Morrison (Citibank/SF School Board)

-Todd Vik (Sioux Falls School District)

-Brian Maher (Sioux Falls School District)

Once again, the Chamber looking out for the little guy . . . NOT!

And what is the irony in all this? The final statement on the report;

The additional $5 million Opt Out is recommended for 10 years. The district would only access the portion of increase as needed.

In other words if it is approved IT will be accessed, make no mistake.