Strange Toilet (found on FB)

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.

Is Rep Johnson abusing his franking privileges?

I would say he is. I received the card below today, and it clearly states on the front part that he ‘franked’ the card (we paid for the postage). He has that right as a representative of congress to give constituents important public information, and on the front he does that with how to get a vaccine (even though, unless you have been living in a cave in the Badlands over the past year, it’s pretty easy to figure out how to get a vaccine in South Dakota. Plus I am just imagining old ladies trying to scratch off the q-code to see if they won a vaccination shot or dinner with Duster).

The back side of the card is where I have my concerns in which it turns very political attacking the POTUS. While I certainly have my issues with Biden and some of the things he is doing, especially with the outrageous stimulus package, I don’t use tax dollars to send out postcards about it.

I’m not sure about all the rules surrounding ‘franking’ but just because 50% of this card followed the rules doesn’t mean the other 50% can break those rules, which I call the Janklow rule; as long as you do good things with your left hand, it’s okay to do crappy things with your right. Duster, don’t be a Bill.

Sorry, Duster, you can only get the sh!t so shiny when you polish a turd and this postcard was a real dull turd.

Why would Biden want Rounds ugly Bronze?

So Marion, is this some kind of veiled threat? How appropriate right after a Capital riot.

Notice whenever there is a mass shooting the first thing Republican lawmakers do is tell everyone that the Dems are going to take your guns and gun and ammo sales go through the roof. I wonder if they realize they are only making matters worse? In several surveys over the past couple of years most responsible, law-abiding gun owners want reform, like having to insure your weapons and getting a license that proves you know how to safely use them. I guess lawmakers like Rounds are only interested in making the problem worse, and wasting money on bad art.

Private Sioux Falls Airport gets deferred & the city plans to blow Covid money on NEW infrastructure

Well if you blinked your eyes yesterday you may have missed the Minnehaha CC/Sioux Falls CC joint meeting. The whopping 12 minutes of it.

Like the Sioux Falls City Council Informational meeting at 4 PM, the meeting wasn’t playing correctly on SIRE. They still don’t have it fixed and it seems they don’t really care. I guess the city is ran by a lot of Hi-Tech losers, who talk a big game but cannot deliver. Kind of reminds you of what that guy tells you on Sundays about your path to paradise.

Besides the fact that you could not watch the meeting online, it started right at 5 PM right when people are getting off of work.

They deferred the airport item due to a delayed FAA study, then asked for general public input at the end and that was it. I arrived at Carnegie right after it was done. I wanted to address both bodies about the excessive panhandling that has been going on all year long, what they were planning on doing about it, and some of my ideas to fix the problem (like fining people who give from their car windows and signage about ordinances and laws). But when you don’t live stream a meeting and start it as everyone is getting off of work, it doesn’t give you much time to attend.  I’m not sure who the rocket scientist is that thinks scheduling a meeting at 5 PM on Tuesday is a good idea, but . . . oh that’s right, the same authoritarian fascists who have a war on transparency in our city.

Speaking of the Informational Meeting (that was cutting out) what I could catch of it, and from the propaganda piece they sent to SF Bizzo it seems they are trying to sugarcoat how they are spending the money;

Of that, $4 million would be added to the pool of funding for arterial street expansion.

One of the things that has frustrated me is that the city continues to spend millions on new parks, new roads, and expansion while ignoring our core infrastructure. I have always preferred the mantra, take care of what you have first & if you can’t feed em’ don’t breed em’. So while they are spending our tax dollars on subsidizing corporations that pay little to no taxes & crappy wages they are sticking it to us on the back side;

The assessed value of the Platinum Point 52-unit town home complex in south Sioux Falls jumped 35 percent last year — and the developer said it’s just one example of a troubling trend.

For 17 years of owning my home the biggest increases I saw were 2% but most years it was 0%. Last year they nailed me for a 22% increase, which got reduced a bit, and this year they hit me with a 14% increase. As I have been warning people, this is what happens when we have an out of control TIF and tax rebate program to the developers, also we have an affordable housing crisis in Sioux Falls with an inflated housing market and straddle that with criminal justice costs in the County increasing (drug crimes) and a School District on a $300 million dollar spending spree and what you get is a greedy tax collection system. I have argued for a long time this is unsustainable and it’s bound to get even worse.

You can’t keep raping the little guy for more in property taxes & fees while blowing the money on more NEW infrastructure while you can’t maintain the current crumbling infrastructure in our core.

Recently a local government official told me after having a conversation with someone who studies affordable housing and poverty in Sioux Falls they said the problem is hard to fix but easily explained (paraphrasing);

“The gap between the rich and poor in Sioux Falls has widened greatly over the past 10 years, and widening even faster now. There isn’t a middle to upper middle class in Sioux Falls anymore. You are either living in poverty or close to it, in debt up to your ears, or extremely rich.”

There is also the problem with transparency that is not only affecting the citizens and our tax increases but information is being withheld from the city council by the administration. According to charter, the council is the body that is supposed to be making decisions on policy, budget, taxation and fees, not the mayor’s office.

Of course, none of this will end unless people start speaking up. While we will blab at the podium for 2 hours about masks and kids crying about it, we say nothing while our government is literally taking us to the cleaners and telling us nothing about how they are doing it.

Greed is destroying our community and it is being done by ‘supposed’ Christian leaders.

Maybe they need to listen a little bit harder to that guy on Sunday.

Is the City of Sioux Falls blowing Covid stimulus money on unrelated things?

Hard for me to answer that question since this item on the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting has no attached documents;

• Sioux Falls for all initiative

Doesn’t that sound lovely?

If you do a little digging and talk to a few moles and rats at city hall you get another picture (these items are of course speculation from said rats and moles);

• The city has already spent some of the money on paying off debt, which seems odd since most of these bonds have a 2% interest rate. While I am strongly against cities borrowing money anyway, I think the wise move would have been spending that money on helping people impacted by the pandemic instead of bond investors.

• There is supposedly around $22 million that still needs to be spent

Here are the items that they ‘might’ spend it on;

• $4 million on a decorative roof for the Pavilion

• Ice rink at Falls Park

• Hayward Park improvements

• 2nd Police Precinct

• Other projects in the mayor’s wish list.

Honestly, I think it would be difficult determining on how we should spend the money, and I think a large chunk of covid stimulus money is a complete waste, but one city official said it best, ‘Maybe we should put it away for a rainy day?’

Sure.

And does the city council even have a say in the matter? Well according to city charter, funding is their duty, not the mayor so why is this coming from his office?

There is also the little secret that while the Triage Center building fund is okay, there is no real plan for funding the operating costs. Maybe this would be a good place to spend it?

I fully understand it is hard to know what to do with Federal funding, but if I was a thinking man, I wouldn’t spend pandemic money on roofs and ice. Just saying.

Minnehaha County Commission and Sioux Falls City Council set to approve/deny permit for private residential airport

It seems the march is on;

CONSIDER MOTION TO APPROVE, DENY OR AMEND CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT #21-17 TO ALLOW EXPANSION OF A PRIVATE AIRPORT APPROXIMATELY ONE MILE WEST OF SIOUX FALLS

It looks like on Tuesday at a joint 5 PM meeting the two bodies will consider the permit for the airport. I am still wondering if the FAA has weighed in;

The airport shall meet all FAA requirements.

I have to admit I am still on the fence about this. The Minnehaha County planning commission approved this 6-0 and the Sioux Falls planning commission denied this 5-2.

While I think that rich folks can spend their money however they choose, and build ludicrous things like airstrips, my main concern is how it will affect their neighbors and the city and county in general. Your property rights end when they inflict harm on your neighbors. This will be an interesting meeting to say the least.

Sioux Falls School District really needs to invest in a mailing list

So I got the below postcard. I have don’t have kids and don’t intend to, but for some reason I received this. Besides the fact that the district really needs to invest in a mailing list which would save them (us) thousands in postage and printing fees (believe it or not you can purchase these lists, and they really don’t cost much) they did not even bother to target the mailer to people with kids, as you can tell from the addressing ‘resident’ and it coded as a ‘walking’ list. This means every mail carrier basically receives a stack of these cards and drops them in every mailbox on their route. Think pizza coupons.

As a former graphic designer specializing in direct mail this card is a huge fail and not just for the lack of targeting the audience;

• You should never use a typeface smaller than 10 PT, this borders on 4-6 pt.

• You should always just give the information that is important and lead them to resources, it is called the KISS theory in marketing (Keep it simple stupid).

• The entire front of the postcard was not utilized.

This was a great exercise in using taxpayer money to fill the landfill. But hey when you bilk the taxpayers for $300 million in a dubious election, what’s another couple grand?

Spineless South Dakota Legislature will NEVER impeach AG Jason Ravnsborg

I made a risky bet with a friend a few weeks ago, loser has to take the other one out for a night of mayhem in Downtown Sioux Falls. He actually reduced the bet to ‘a couple of drinks’ but not because he thought he would lose.

A couple of days after Noem asked Jason Rumblestrips to resign and the legislature was moving forward with impeachment I bet a Republican friend (I have a few) that it would never happen (resignation or impeachment). I know, I haven’t quite won yet, but the odds are in my favor.

The legislature wants to wait until the trial is done (whatever) and Jason will never resign while this is making it through the court process. In fact it could be 4-12 months before this even sees the inside of a courtroom. His attorney has already said he needs 60 days of discovery and may extend it after that.  I get the itching feeling that Jason, his attorney and the state legislature are just going to run out the clock, or try to. Most people will probably even forget about it in a year, or at least they are hoping.

While I agree with Noem that he should resign, why would he? It’s just misdemeanors at this point and he still has to have his day in court. Why not just hide in your office, milk the clock, and suck on the taxpayer’s teat as long as possible. Besides, even if he finishes his term, which I think he will, he will never be re-elected or even elected to dog catcher ever again. His political career starts and ends with this term. Yeah, it’s pretty disgraceful to not resign, but expected from another gutless South Dakota Republican office holder in Pierre.

Lie, Deny, Deny, Deny. Kristi does it all day long, like her famous one that the family was destitute after her father died because of a $169K estate tax bill they had to pay failing to mention the millions the family received in insurance and farm subsidies (Federal taxpayer funded welfare).

We all know the real reason Kristi is salivating over a JR resignation is because she wants to appoint a Trumper to push her agenda of dismantling abortion and Mary Jane in the state, and probably a whole host of other crap. My advice, sadly to AG Rumblestrips is to ‘Stay Golden Pony Boy’.

As for the legislature, they are even more spineless than Kristi or Jason. They make a bunch of noise about how they are going to impeach him, then once they realize they are breaking the Reagan Rule of destroying your own they chickensh!t out.

I knew they would. BACH! BACH!

While their argument of waiting for his day in court may seem honorable, it’s just a lame excuse. He has already been charged, and the preoccupation alone disqualifies him from performing his job duties. Heck, he can’t even tell us what the state has spent on trying to kill Rec Jane. His own resignation or impeachment would prove he has integrity, even if he is found not guilty – of course the evidence says otherwise. Most common folk in this same scenario would have already admitted that they may have screwed up, but these same folks are also NOT elected officials such as the top law enforcement agent for the state. I sometimes wonder if he knows that. I would ask him to google it, but he would probably do it while driving.

In the real world, most of us probably would have been arrested that night and a blood drawn done. We also probably would have been charged with reckless driving. It is pretty obvious that Jason has gotten mountains of preferential treatment in this whole deal, even when he was too stupid to have a lawyer with him while answering investigator questions, heck I wouldn’t even agreed to a sit down interview, but this is the same guy who doesn’t even have a passcode on his smart phone (hand on head right now). This F’up alone should disqualify him to be AG or even having a law license.

Sadly, no matter how this turns out, a majority of South Dakota voters will continue to elect these same Republican clowns.

What did you think of the city’s response to the last snow storm?

Looks like Mayor Stoneless thinks we did a Heckuva job;

I will first defend Public Works and say that many things are out of their control. We often get early Spring heavy snowstorms, this is nothing new and they cause a ton of issues. Also, when it comes to snowgates, I think they tried to use them at first but with heavy snow they often break sheer pins and cause maintenance issues, so that argument is also moot.

What I find interesting is the response time. The two previous administrations tried to get the city plowed very quickly. I have heard behind the scenes that is not the goal of the current Plowing Czar and Mayor. In fact my street wasn’t plowed until after NOON on Tuesday, and it was pretty pointless because most of it had already melted by then.

I will still maintain that this administration is trying to get away with spending less money on snow removal each year. But $94 million dollar tax rebates to egg roll factories from Korea? Money well spent!