Saturday, April 16, 2011

Event Center Campaign Kicking into High Gear?

Reliable sources say the mayor and his economic czar have reached out to have Mike Knuth of Public Affairs Company (click on the link to learn more about the company)  to run the events center campaign. In addition, sources say the two have also gone to Sanford and Avera to put in $5k-$10k each to pay for it.  Mike Knuth ran the anti-tobacco campaigns in 2006 and 2010.

Background on Mike Knuth:

Senior Vice President for External Affairs, Mike Knuth is a dynamic strategist whose capabilities make a dramatic difference for PAC clients. Mike combines his organizational and analytical prowess with his talent for building strategic relationships to create strong, enduring associations.

The head of PAC's Sioux Falls office, Mike's successes on issue campaigns have garnered national attention. In 2006, he managed a nationally recognized statewide ballot initiative campaign that raised the tax on tobacco in South Dakota. In 2007, he united sporting groups in support of a Wyoming land use campaign that culminated in the introduction of protective federal legislation on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Prior to joining PAC, Mike worked for GlaxoSmithKline as Senior Executive Pharmaceutical Consultant. While at GSK, he directed and implemented a comprehensive range of business development functions, earning several awards and industry recognition. Mike also served as Unit Director of Children's Home Society in Sioux Falls, where he managed staff, as well as budgets and family programs during his six-year tenure. Mike holds a B.S. in Psychology from Temple University.

It is interesting there is an effort to hire a consultant to run the event center campaign when there is no identifiable source of funding yet presented to the public. The final consultant reports have not even been presented to the City Council yet.

Has this action item been discussed at an event center update to the City Council? I don't recall that it has been discussed in a public forum.  Is general fund dollars or CIP dollars going to be used to fund this campaign beyond the $20,000 received from Avera and Sanford? This is a high powered company so I think it is safe to assume it is going to cost more than $20,000.  What role is the mayor's Special Projects Coordinator playing in this fundraising effort? For that matter, what is this person doing, period?

The lobbying campaign is kicking into high gear and the total Event Center funding, beyond the $500,000 for 2011 and $500,000 for 2012, isn't even listed in the 2011-2015 Capital Improvement Program adopted on September 13, 2010. I am not saying this is a good or bad idea, but has this been discussed with the City Council? If yes, why hasn't it been discussed at an Event Center Public Update?

Get your running shoes on - things are starting to get interesting.


  1. If the city has to hire a place like PAC to indoctrinate the masses, then the city knows what I've suspected for a long time. The EC is dead in the water if the working poor on stagnant wages and elderly on fixed incomes are in any way involved in the funding process.

    Polly Amalo

  2. I like how the Mayor concluded his last Events Center presentation by talking about he was inspired by the Butler Bulldogs and how they prepared for the Final Four by not talking or thinking about it. Does he not realize that in the big game they lost 53 to 41? Might be about the same % that his plan will go down in flames this November.

  3. Does it HAVE to go to a public vote? I hope it does so I can vote it down but is it a requirement, or can the mayor find a way around that?

  4. Why should our taxpayer dollars pay someone to run the EC capmaign? It that fair to the people who do not want it?? What a waste of money!!! Give it to the Banquet!!!