Entries Tagged 'Uncategorized' ↓

What are we doing to help the working class of Sioux Falls?

Not a day goes by in Sioux Falls that we don’t hear about how some charity is giving out FREE things to people. Mostly food, but we have giveaways for all types of things, like backpacks, cars, and bikes. I commend the charities for helping these people. Somebody has to. There will always be a sector of our society that needs that help.

But I often ask, what are we doing for the working class? The people that get up every morning and do their best to make their lives better and this city better? Often times, when you help this segment of society (which I would estimate is probably about 80% of our population) you will see great returns. Sometimes just a little incentive is enough to have a big impact.

I am also not saying we give a direct hand-out, but a hand-up. Most people who are hardworking can take small incentives from the government and turn them into gold.

An issue I have had for a long time in our community is that we are always screwing around with the fringes of our society while ignoring the folks who actually drive our economy and city. Whether that is the super poor with blatant handouts or the super rich with tax rebates and incentives.

I have outlined on this blog over the years that if our city government ever got their poop in a group, they could put together some simple programs for the working class that would have big paybacks;

• A better, more efficient and affordable public transportation system.

• Tax rebates and incentives for cleaning up core, working class neighborhoods.

• A city mandated minimum wage higher then the state’s minimum wage.

• More regulation on employment ads, such as listing the wage scale.

• A city wide group health insurance program for small business employees and the self-employed.

• City taking care of their property such as fixing their sidewalks and trimming their trees in the boulevard at NO cost to the abutting property owner.

There are many, many, many more things we could add to the list. And while there will always be a need to help the extremely poor, I really don’t think the trickle down method of incentivizing the super rich developers or business owner is working that well, except for them. We need to help the ‘bread and butter’ of our community who work hard already everyday and reward them for the fruits of their labor.

‘Caller of the Day’ wants government to stop doing things for us!

I would have to agree with this gentleman, let’s STOP having government do things for us (like keeping our streets safe for travel and cleaning up after natural disasters). I would expect to get a refund for all the taxes I pay for these services then. I mean why should I pay for all these ‘services’ and get nothing in return for it? Makes sense? Right? Just look at the money we would save if we didn’t have to pay for snow removal, fire department and educating our youth! Heck, let’s get rid of the military to! That would save us trillions in taxes each year.

I don’t get people who think when government provides us a service for something we can’t do individually they think it is a ‘handout’. We pay taxes for a reason. Clean the damn streets when they are covered with snow and ice, or stop taxing me for it! Make up your mind already.

Whether you want to believe it or not, we are already a socialist democracy, this isn’t something Bernie Sanders is making up, we are already there!

South Dakota’s First Man gives hunting safety tips from a drunk

So glad Cameraman Bruce converted this video to YouTube. When I first watched it, I thought it was funny (in a hypocritical way). Our Governor wanted to investigate the Minnehaha County State’s attorney for getting his drink on just a few weeks ago, then puts out this. A hunting guide who apparently drinks and drives, drinks while hunting, likes to get naked, calls Bryon ‘BYRON’ and hits on the Governor’s daughter. There also is probably some copyright infringement going on also with the Rocky theme song. The worst part about the video is seeing the the First Man’s hairy belly (still trying to get that image out of my head).

BTW, I guess Aaron McGowan will have a Democratic primary challenger next year for his position. And it’s juicy, and they will win (if they are running).

Minnehaha County State’s Attorney McGowan will be taking more time off for medical leave

McGowan informed the County Commission he will be taking more time off in an email on Tuesday;

I just want to give you a head’s up that I’m having a complete knee replacement this Friday morning.  I hope to be back part time the following Monday.  I need to drive to Pierre on Tuesday, the 22nd, for a Controlled Substance State Task Force meeting.  I plan to be back full-time on Wednesday the 23rd.  I have shared this with my office and I’m ok with it being shared with the public if any questions are asked.

Best,

Aaron F. McGowan, Minnehaha County State’s Attorney

So he decided to tell the Commission and the public he will be gone for knee surgery for about two days but can’t tell them why he was gone for almost two months? WOW!

Food for thought, 32 years into the past, not much has changed

Sad Rhino

I have seen this Rhino locked up in the back cage several times over the summer, today I shot a picture of it (I think it is a young female) along the bike trail. What worries me about its time outs is that is that you can tell it is emotionally distressed, it paces back and forth and scrapes it’s horn against the wall. I’m obviously not an expert on rhinos and maybe there is a reason they do this (it’s not there every time I have rode past). I also understand that I think this is an endangered species and sometimes a zoo is the only place they can be. Just curious why sad rhino get’s time outs so much. Does anyone know why they may separate it from the rest of the herd?

Is Edward Snowden an American Hero?

I will have to admit, I struggle with this question, because most of my American Heros are artists who challenged the 1st Amendment, in one way or another.

My favorite American artist is Andy Warhol because he challenged what art really is.

My favorite American songwriters are Hank Williams Senior and Tom Waits because they challenged the establishment.

My favorite founding father is Ben Franklin because he challenged public information.

Snowden has challenged our security and privacy, and I truly believe he will have his day in court. I have watched countless documentaries about this person, and the one thing I have gathered is he believes a Republic Democracy can work if we work those principles. Did he break rules and laws? Oh yeah, but I think he did it with a clear conscience.

If I could sit down in a Moscow pub and have 60 minutes with this guy, I would do it in a heartbeat. I sometimes feel doing the ‘right thing’ is not always popular, in fact it can destroy you.

While I don’t pray often to the higher power, I do pray for Snowden, because his darkest days are yet to come and I hope he gets a fair trial. It is imperative to our democracy that he gets a fair trial.

City of Sioux Falls ‘IS’ assisting residents w/cleanup

I’m still puzzled why the Mayor’s office said the city and hired contractors would NOT pickup private property rubbish, but have been doing it all week. Which is good.

These pictures were sent to me by city councilor Stehly today (her and Brekke were volunteering). Stehly told me that Team Rubicon came this person’s house and assisted with some chainsaw work. The branches were drug out to the curb and the city picked them up and hauled them away.

It’ going to be interesting to watch how the administration explains the change in policy.

If I were PTH, I would just come out and say that the situation was reassessed and they decided to just pick up everything. I would also apologize for the confusion.

Argus uses my ‘Reefer Madness’ reference in Editorial

I would have to agree, Noem has gone Bat Sh*t Crazy over Hemp.

Sioux Falls Earth Citizens, Speak up to help preserve and improve Sioux Falls’ fixed-route bus system.

By Cathy Brechtelsbauer, earth citizen • 8/1/19

A “Core Team” of city employees has been discussing re-vamping the bus system. They presented to city council on July 16 (4pm meeting) their proposal to pilot an “on demand” system, rather than improve the fixed-route service. The proposal would expand service area and hours but admits to focusing generally on current riders. A computer system would determine routing for 9 buses (down from the current 26) picking up and dropping off people at locations within 3 blocks of their start and destination.

Public transportation plays an important role in confronting environmental challenges. Public transportation can:

• Improve air quality

• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions

• Facilitate compact development, conserving land and decreasing travel demand

• Save energy

• Other benefits (such as affordable mobility, congestion relief, economic development.) [Federal Transit Administration website]

Our concerns:

1. Sioux Falls has not expanded bus service to match the growth of the city. Nor has Sioux Falls tried a major bus ridership campaign.

2. A new plan must be able to start from day one serving at least current riders. We sure don’t want to lose riders.

3. Transportation is now the #1 source of greenhouse gas emissions. Any plan must help SiouxFalls do its part to turn the tide on climate change. It must have strong potential for increased ridership, even if part of the service is devoted to hard-to-reach places and times. Fixed-route systems have more potential for environmental benefit than on demand systems. The proposal, as presented, includes no goal about increasing ridership or about reducing our carbon footprint.

4. On demand transit is being piloted in a number of cities, with results so far that question efficiency and financial stability. Compare typical 10-40 passenger trips/hour for our fixed routes (Only one route in Sioux Falls averages less.) to on-demand pilots, which yield up to 3 passenger trips per service hour.

5. A fixed-route system is needed for those who can manage fixed route buses but cannot handle changeable routings. For example, people with cognitive impairments can learn where and when to catch the bus to get to appointments and also to get home, as can people without phones. Their independence is diminished if fixed routes are lost. With fixed-routes, riders can know arrival times needed in order to plan their rides.

“The number of people who use transit is directly linked to transit’s ability to provide environmental benefits.” [Federal Transit Administration website]

A 3-City Bus Ride Snapshot: Arlington, Missoula, Sioux Falls Arlington TX and Missoula MT were the only other cities mentioned at the July 16 City Council informational meeting, where an update on the Core Team’s progress was presented and seemed decided to pilot an on-demand system for Sioux Falls.

Arlington TX did not have public transit until starting its on demand “Via” system in late 2017. (A 4-route Trolley system serves only hotel guests.) Arlington uses 13 Via vans and also contract vehicles during peak times. They also have Paratransit. Population: 396,394 Average rides on Via, April-June 2019: approx. 16,000/month

Missoula MT “Mountain Line” uses a fixed route system that has been Zero-fare since 2014. Local businesses and organizations are “partners” by donating funds to cover the fares. They also have Paratransit. Population: 73,340 Average fixed-route rides in 2018: approx. 131,000/month

Sioux Falls’ Sioux Area Metro (SAM) has both fixed-route and Paratransit. Population: 176,888 Average fixed-route rides in 2018: approx. 65,000/month

This snapshot gives us pause about the on demand proposal and the confidence to suggest that the Sioux Falls planning team consider a ramped up, even a zero-fare fixed-route system.

The Core Team has given time and energy so far, and we hope there is willingness to keep considering more ideas. In addition, the City Council should insist that our bus system both meet needs of vulnerable citizens and expand service and ridership enough to reduce our carbon footprint.

How to contact City Council: www.siouxfalls.org/council/members has names, phone and email contact info. Emails: jbrekke@siouxfalls.org, cerickson@siouxfalls.org, gneitzert@siouxfalls.org, mselberg@siouxfalls.org, csoehl@siouxfalls.org, pstarr@siouxfalls.org, tstehly@siouxfalls.org, rkiley@siouxfalls.org, PTenHaken@siouxfalls.org

Public input at Council meetings the first 3 Tuesdays each month, 7pm. One letter can be sent for all the council: City Council, 235 W 10th St, Sioux Falls SD 57104