Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Mayor TenHaken (Paul) reminds us the importance of the 4th Estate

During PTH’s Sunday Night FB rant his authoritarian stripes started to show;

He reminded folks if you are having landlord issues you should NOT call the media you should call the city. This of course is true, but when tenants are getting no resolution from the city on cockroach issues and other problems this is when citizens SHOULD call the media. The 4th estate’s job is to uncover problems when government is ineffective.

He also voiced his opposition to allowing motorized foot scooters, one wheels, skateboards and E2’s on the recreational (bike) trail. He seems to have a misunderstanding of this technology. Most E bikes I see on the trail are E2s. It makes absolutely NO sense to buy an E1 bike that you cannot ride off the trail over 15 MPH and has NO throttle for effective street navigation. I have also argued that E2’s are actually safer than non e-bikes because you can control (limit) the speed, they have a better braking system, better tire traction, better shock absorption and are usually more durable. Depending on the setting you can actually force the bike to go a certain speed. I have offered many solutions to the council including just enforcing a 15 MPH speed limit and painting a stripe down the middle of the trail. These vehicles are NOT dangerous and in most cases when an accident occurs it is due to operator error or a pedestrian or unleashed dog stepping in front of the bike.

I also look at this as holding back our local bike dealerships. Right now it is virtually impossible to buy any E products in Sioux Falls unless they meet the E1 criteria. Most of these units I see on the trail are purchased online. The E2 and other electric transportation is the biggest growing industry in the nation and we are missing out because our lackluster city council doesn’t want to proceed on realistic regulations.

He also makes the inference that E transportation is not ‘recreational’ saying that the trail is for walking, jogging and regular biking. I would argue that especially with E2 bikes you can get a better workout depending on your setting and it assists people who may have physical limitations. Who do I see riding E-bikes the most on the trail? Retired and elderly folks and very few are overweight.

Speaking of bikes, PTH also reminds us that roads for cars are more important because we can only ride bikes 6 months out of the year and only ‘hardcore’ people ride all year long. Maybe the reason is because the city doesn’t provide enough options for bicyclists to commute all year long?

He also says the Bunker Ramp is self-sustaining through rentals and leases. While it is true the ramp’s bond must be paid for through parking funds I highly doubt the bond payments are being covered directly from the Bunker Ramp which is mostly empty and has a top floor that is closed. The entire parking enterprise fund is likely propping up the bunker ramp.

UPDATE: Will OSHA investigate the Crane Collapse in Sioux Falls?

UPDATE: A reliable source told me this afternoon that OSHA is investigating the crane collapse.

I first want to say I am grateful no one was injured or killed today at the Sioux Steel project crane collapse.

But if you do a little digging, you will see this happens across the United States.

I found this statement concerning, in light of what happened at the Copper Lounge;

No one was injured in the incident and Lloyd Cos. said it is continuing to investigate the incident alongside local authorities.

I rode my bike by tonight and the crane was in the same position it was this morning. This of course could mean that OSHA will be on site to investigate. I hope so. This is NOT the duty of the local FD or PD, this is a work safety issue that needs to be thoroughly investigated by the FEDS.

As a person who worked construction as a teen and have had many interactions with OSHA we cannot depend on city officials to make a judgement of what happened. There could be a thousand different reasons, but most likely the crane was NOT set up properly or put on ground that was NOT stable. There also could have been mechanical failures. At this point speculation is useless until it is fully investigated.

Sioux Falls Video Lottery 4-Plex Casino deferred

A few years ago the council took the idiotic step of allowing two separate casinos in the same building with a door separating them. State law says you can only have a maximum of 10 machines per casino space/address. So they pull this little trick of separating the casinos by suite number and they can max out machines.

I knew if they approved this with all their fancy conditional uses like separate bathrooms, entrances, chain link fences, separate coolers, etc, that the sh!t would run down hill. I think there have been several applications put in for other locations.

Tonight, councilor Starr had had enough and 5 out of the 7 councilors present decided to defer the use until they can hear from the applicant who was not present tonight. (Jensen and Soehl voted it down)

As you can see below, the applicant wants to put 4 casinos next to each other in the same strip mall with different suite addresses so they can max out at 40 machines.

I have long known the council to be nuttless when it comes to challenging the state when it comes to telephone booth casinos, but isn’t it time they put a middle finger up and finally say we have had enough of these sh!tholes. Let the state sue us! I welcome the lawsuit! Maybe we can finally allow the city council to legally tell VL casino applicants to go away and stop any new casinos from opening in this city ever again.

The council can deny the applicant based on suitable location, we will see how this dog and pony show goes.

Armed Guard Church Service at Levitt

I have noticed that the Levitt has been renting(?) to several churches over the past year. There is usually some kind of church service or religious event held on Sundays at the Levitt.

I guess if they are paying rent to use the public facility, I don’t see an issue with it.

Where I got alarmed was when riding my bike around the event today I saw several armed private security officers(5). Most of them were openly carrying a handgun in a public space at a church service!

If you think you need to attend church services with armed guards, maybe you are attending the wrong church?

Sioux Falls School District introduces school uniforms for challenged students

I guess I don’t know a lot about the effectiveness of requiring school uniforms, but several studies out there including this one, don’t show they help much;

In general, students in schools that required school uniforms did not demonstrate better social skills, internalizing and externalizing behavior, or school attendance as compared with students in schools without school uniforms. These associations were true across both public and private schools. 

I’m sure there are hundreds of studies showing both sides of the coin, but the bigger issue is how the SFSD left the parents in the dark when making this decision;

Peters said she doesn’t agree with the way administration doled out information about the major changes coming to Axtell this school year in meetings held at the school Aug. 2 and Aug. 9.

“Removing the programs built to support our students, restructuring the school and intentionally hiding from the parents and students in my opinion is shameful,” she said. “We are supposed to be a team. This is not how a team works. Ultimately, our children suffer when there are breakdowns of this proportion.”

It kind of seems like this is an authoritarian move instead of something that would actually be beneficial to the students;

“We believe all students deserve the best opportunities,” Konrad said in a statement. “Regular attendance, positive behavior and self-image, and a strong focus on academic success are critical factors for the students who participate in the behavior programs at Axtell Park, now and in the future.”

So shouldn’t this policy be implemented district wide? Why single out lower income or challenged students? I have long heard from teachers across the district (from elementary school to high school, to lower income to middle income schools) that there are major discrepancies on programming and funding depending on what school it is. Maybe uniforms are NOT the issue? Maybe it is staffing, programming and funding?

O’GORMAN SETS A POLICY OF DISCRIMINATION TOWARDS TRANSGENDER STUDENTS

While private schools are a ‘choice’ I wonder how many parents that send their kids to Catholic Schools will be keen on this policy;

The policy states that students cannot “advocate, celebrate, or express” either same-sex attraction or “transgenderism” in a way that would “cause confusion or distraction in the context of Catholic school classes, activities, or events.” It also says that teachers or staff cannot refer to a student by a pronoun that corresponds with the opposite sex.

While the SFSD did say they made their decision on uniforms based on committee recommendations, kind of sounds like SFCS decision was based on what the Bishop thinks. You get what you pay for.

While I don’t have a dog in the fight since I have no kids, I do fund the public schools, and it seems over the past couple of years there has been a push to turn our schools into a fascist state. There are many reasons why students fall behind, and it has little to do with identity, it usually has to do with income status. I have argued for a long time that ALL students, regardless of income status should get a FREE lunch, if they want it, no questions asked. There should also be equal funding and programming at ALL schools in Sioux Falls, regardless of the neighborhood they are in. But there needs to be a community wide effort to raise wages for the working class parents, offer more affordable family housing and public funding for Pre-K education, which has proven to help with better student outcomes and saves families childcare dollars.

Of course none of this works very well without having an open and transparent conversation with the community instead of implementing polices in the dark of night.

FAB writes an open letter to our city leaders

To: Mayor TenHaken, Sioux Falls City Council Members, Sioux Falls Public Works and Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation

From: Falls Area Bicyclists Members and Active Transportation Advocates as signed belowRE: The proposed Capital Improvement Plan does not reflect the public’s desire for safe, comfortable, and connected active transportation routes

Dear Mayor TenHaken, Council Members, Director of Public Works, and Director of Parks & Recreation,

We, the executive board and members of Falls Area Bicyclists along with fellow active transportation advocates, write to you today in regards to the proposed Capital Improvement Plan(CIP).

First of all, we are grateful for the past and future investment in our greenway trail system. Sioux Falls is truly blessed with a trail system that rivals any municipality. However, we are not writing to you today about trail funding. We are concerned about the lack of dedicated funding for safe and connected on-street routes for bicycling, walking, and other active transportation modes.

Our analysis of the $67 million budgeted to streets and highways in the 2023 CIP indicated a mere $300k is allocated to pedestrian and bicycling improvements.

The need for safe on-street routes to ride a bike, skateboard, walk, or use a scooter has never been greater. The increased popularity of electronic bikes, scooters and other e-devices are creating dangerous conflicts on our sidewalks. However the use of bicycles and other active modes in the street feels dangerous to all but the most confident. High vehicle speeds and distracted drivers only highlight the need for a network of safe easy to use routes.

The CIP invests millions on adding lanes, new arterial streets, and expanding intersections. This in turn generates more vehicle congestion and a built environment that is increasingly hostile to anyone outside a car. The CIP is also a testament to how expensive it is to maintain all the streets we’ve already built. And yet even as costs continue to rise, the solution to our transportation issues is to simply add more motor vehicle capacity by expanding our existing network.

Active transportation projects cost a mere fraction of traditional infrastructure and have the potential to reduce trips by automobile, encourage a happy and healthy population, and provide a more financially sustainable transportation network.

We ask you to meet the expectation of our Complete Streets policy and fund active transportation projects. We are not alone in calling for making active transportation a priority in our future transportation funding.

  • Go Sioux Falls 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan(MPO) calls for transportation that considers all users.
  • The Sioux Falls Health Department’s Community Health Improvement Plan states that active transportation options are essential to reduce chronic disease. 
  • The Sioux Falls Sustainability Program calls for improvement in multi-modal transportation to protect our environment and combat climate change.
  • Downtown Sioux Falls advocates for bikeable and walkable streets because it boosts profits and economic growth.  
  • Neighborhood associations, the American Heart Association, SD AARP, and many more organizations call for walkable and bikeable communities to support their missions. 

An important example, the 15th Street Bicycle Boulevard project has been designated as a high-priority bicycle route by the Sioux Falls Bicycle Committee since 2017. The boulevard would create a safe and comfortable route to ride a bicycle from the zoo to downtown. This two mile cross-town connector would have a transformative effect providing an east-west option designed first for bicycles but still allowing motor vehicles. A family could safely ride from their home by the zoo to The Levitt in just 15 minutes.

Over the past five years there has been some small funding allocated to the 15th Street Boulevard and the first phase was completed last fall. Unfortunately it is impossible to determine from the CIP when and if the next phases of the boulevard will be completed. The boulevard project and any other active transportation projects are not listed in the CIP, making it impossible for citizens to track any investment in active transportation projects.

We are asking today that the 2023 CIP reflects the priority that our MPO, health department, citizens, and other organizations have placed on active transportation. Make on-street active transportation projects their own line item in the CIP, and separate them from the sidewalk additions to arterial roads (currently lumped together in Project #11075 in the CIP). Fund on-street active transportation to a level that in five years we can look back and say yes, we did make our transportation system better, safer, healthier, and more sustainable for everyone!

We sincerely hope that everyone reading this letter has had the chance to experience Sioux Falls on a bicycle beyond the bike trail. Our city is amazing by bicycle. Yes, even in the winter. Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you to make Sioux Falls the best little city in the midwest!

Sincerely,

Jeffery Mersch,
President, Falls Area Bicyclists

Art Holden,
Ride Director, Falls Area Bicyclists

Attached: Co-signers and comments

My names Mayor, hear me roar!

Last night at the city council meeting the mayor looked directly at me after I left the podium and laughed when no one answered my question. I was asking why the attached documents for two separate items were identical online. He thought it was funny and when I questioned him about it on the other agenda item I said, “Was it funny Paul?” He responded, “My names Mayor.” (FF: 27:00)

Also notice how he tried to cut me off, because he has NO FREAKING CLUE WHAT PRIOR RESTRAINT IS.

If this was a one off, I would understand, but lately I have noticed that not only are directors, attorneys and clerks making mistakes on the agenda (dates incorrect, grammar errors, financial errors, fee errors, attached documents, etc) but they are being resubmitted to the council for corrective action. Last night there were several items from the planning office that had to be corrected for incorrect fees being charged.

Apparently this is a laughing matter to the one running the administration.

“The buck stops here” is a phrase that was popularized by U.S. President Harry S. Truman, who kept a sign with that phrase on his desk in the Oval Office. The phrase refers to the notion that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions.

I have said many times that the city is on cruise control because we have an ineffective leader at city hall. I get it, people make mistakes, we are all human, but isn’t it ironic that an administration who wants to shorten the meetings by starting them early and limiting general public input to the end of the meetings is actually making the meetings longer because they are consistently correcting mistakes.

While they certainly know how to run winning campaigns, they have NO clue what to do when they win.

Sioux Falls Homeless Task Force takes public input

Here are some takeaways from last night’s meeting (it only took 12 hours this time to get the video up, still don’t know why they don’t live stream);

• Several complaints about the mismanagement of Dudley House, the way they are treating clients, not taking care of situations, working with clients, interviewing them, etc.

• The public (city, county) is not properly funding the management of homelessness and there needs to be more police foot patrols.

• Panhandlers have taken over the neighborhood (Before the signs went up about not giving to panhandlers, my SIGN idea was to make it clear that GIVING to panhandlers out of the window of your vehicle while in traffic is ILLEGAL. There is NO purpose in giving violations or shaming panhandlers, it won’t stop them from asking, not to mention they have a 1st Amendment right to ask for money. The solution is making it clear to motorists that you can be fined for obstructing traffic. The only way we can get panhandling under control is shutting off the tap, that means cracking down on the contributors).

• The Dudley house is in a bad location. I suggested when they picked this location that there is plenty of space just north of the jail. Not only would it be close to law enforcement it would be within a few blocks of Falls Community Health and The Link. The Dudley house needs to close its current location and move.

• The 9th Street Alley that runs along the south side of the Dudley needs to be closed and fenced off.

• The clients need to participate in their recovery.

While nobody brought this up during the meeting, I know that there is a lack of transitional housing in Sioux Falls. The legislative/policy body of the city, the council, could write ordinances that require developers to provide so many efficiency, felon friendly, transitional units for every regular unit they build. They could also require rent control in these units that only have their rent increased with inflation.

Lipstick on a pig

The new and improved city government failure;

Debt in the Sioux Falls Region

The below information was sent to me by Mike Zitterich (he notated where he got it)

Depending on what county and school district you live (within city limits) your debt could be anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. My debt is $2,100 (Minnehaha, SFSD, City)