Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How do you Define the Word "Promise"



The Argus Leader today reports on the actions taken at the City Council meeting last night regarding the Event Center. There seems to be a dispute between the Mayor and Councilor Brown regarding the word "promise."

The Argus Leader reports that Huether said the only time he used the word "promise" during his campaign was when he told voters that they would agree with him on the issues. "For Councilor Brown to state it the way that he did tonight was extremely disappointing, but a pattern has been there. And it drives me crazy. Promise is a word that I don't take lightly," Huether said.

Call it a promise, call it something else. Words that come out of your mouth stating what you are going to do is a commitment to do something. It's a declaration of something you are going to do. The dictionary defines the word promise as to claim the performance of a specified act; a reason to expect something; ground for expectation of success, improvement or excellence.

When the mayor was running for office he campaigned on "promises" regarding the event center. Did he say the word "promise." No, but a declaration of what you are going to do is a promise, pure and simple. The mayor talks a lot and he declares over and over again what he is going to do regarding fulfilling his vision for an event center. It is a promise as defined in the dictionary.

Every politician makes declarations on what they are going to do when elected to a public office. Call it what you want - but it is a promise. Just because the mayor didn't use the actual word "promise" doesn't change the fact that he made declarations of what he was going to do and he has made those declarations over and over again. Those declarations are "promises." To diffuse the issues raised by Councilor Brown by playing with the word "promise" is subterfuge. By the way that word means to conceal, evade or escape. Words out of one's mouth means something. This whole thing reminds me of the Clinton era when there was a discussion on what the word "is" means.

PROMISE MADE: Keep costs to $100 million - Source: Huether campaign ad; Argus Leader April 2010 and City Council presentation Oct. 10, 2010
PROMISE BROKEN: Cost is now $115 million

PROMISE MADE: He won't spend millions on added conference space and other frills - Source: Huether campaign ad: Argus Leader April 2010.
PROMISE BROKEN: Justification for the Arena/Convention Center location was increased flat floor space to encourage bigger, more diverse conventions.

PROMISE MADE: Primary funding: private investment, entertainment taxes and fees for users, parking and suite rental. Source: Huether campaign ad: Argus Leader April 2010.
PROMISE BROKEN: Primary funding is now to bond the entire construction cost of the project with the 2nd penny sales tax. Entertainment taxes won't be used for construction, but will now be used as a back up source of revenue for operating costs and future capital needs.

PROMISE MADE: Financing package would include a down payment of $15 million from cash reserves. Source: City Council presentation Oct. 10, 2010
PROMISE BROKEN:  No down payment

PROMISE MADE:  Construction of events center would be paid partially by the private sector in the amount of $15-24.5 million. Source: City Council presentation Oct. 10, 2010.
PROMISE BROKEN:  The entire cost of the events center - $115 million - will be borrowed and re-paid by the taxpayers.

PROMISE MADE:  Bond request would be $60-$69.5 million. Source: City Council presentation Oct. 10, 2010.
PROMISE BROKEN:  Now bond request is for $115 million

The Mayor's campaign ad and his presentations to the City Council and his comments to the press are declarations of what he will do regarding this project. Call it what you will. But the fact is that his words are just that - promises to do something.


  1. BOOM! Great post Jen.

  2. Thanks Jennifer on reminding me of al the promises made and broken.

  3. Speaking of broken promises, Rolfing told the Build it Downtown group they could make their presentation at the "right time and place" when he illegitmately pulled them from Land Use committee meeting a couple months back, how are you coming on that, Rex?

  4. Jen~ I really look forward to reading these everytime i see them posted on the FB wall. You relay your thoughts so well into words its remarkable!

  5. Most people who read your blog or DaCola's are already well aware of the huether code on EC's. Still...great to have it put together in one posting. Thanks and job well done.

    Polly A

  6. Say what you want, in the worst economy in most of our lifetimes, Huether has brought this thing to a dead draw. Two months ago I would have thought impossible. I believe a good number of people now think this thing is a Go.

    I can't think of another politician that could have done this.

  7. Mayor Huether is the textbook example of a politician talking out of both sides of their mouth. I really hope he reads these posts & comments.

  8. One promise never made: To put the plan with the highest possible Return on Investment in front of the voters.

    Most of these places don't pay for themselves by ticket sales alone, the secondary economic impact is the key and the Mayor's plan simply shortchanges the City in that regard.

  9. As someone who has followed city politicians and government since they closed the loop, I can say I totally knew what to expect from Mike. He is a salesman. That was his job in the private world. He sold a POS credit card to anyone who would take it, and he was very, very, very good at his job. He suckered a majority of voters to vote for him, and I hate to say it, but at the end of the day, he will probably pull off the EC, if not in Nov of 11 it will happen in 2012. He is cunning and smart, and as anon 1:54 points out, he has gotten further then any other politician in this city when it comes to the EC. Is his plan perfect? Hell no. In fact it has so many holes we should call it the Swiss Cheese Events Center. But he has managed to find a way to fund this without raising regressive sales taxes, sure we will paying for this until the end of time, but like the CC he sold, it is about instant satisfaction, that is what he is selling us. I am opposed to an EC, not because of all the rants and raves on this site or the ones on BID's site, but because, simply, we don't need it, right now. I think in the future it is something this city will need, but the current economic makeup and and uncertain future certainly doesn't warrant us building one right now. In other words, let's cut thru the BS. The argument is simple. Show us the need, and I will support it 100%.

  10. I was listening to knobes radio show yesterday. Quite by accident I assure you. The guy and his so-called VPU defines for me what is wrong with this country. Anyway, I crossed his wave length when Michelle Erpenbach was on. Caught how her and the others have a huge job EDUCATING the masses before the November 8th election. I could not help but shake my head.

    By definition.

    EDUCATE : to provide with information.

    INDOCTRINATE : to imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle.

    Please Michelle, at least use the right word.

    And like DaCola says, the guy marketed the worst credit card in the nation. You will not see the total cost of this boondoggle anywhere but on blogs like this one and DaColas. It will cost us 10 million to purchase the bonds. Add that to the $115,000,000. The pricipal and interest just on the 115 million is $192 million over 22 years. Will we be EDUCATED on that phase of the honest mike credit card purchase? Not likely.

    Polly Amalo

  11. Yet another Huether promise at one of the early Events Center informational meetings:

    "We will let the experts tell us which site is the best one"

    In reality, the RFP for the AECOM study specifically precluded them from making a site recommedation. Why would the City do that if they weren't hell bent on backing the analysis in to fit the Mayor's plan?

    Which reminds me of another Huetherism from that early meeting: "I have no plan, only a vision"

    Looking at his campaign lit he says he indeed has a plan and he's had one for some time.

  12. I live in the Central District. My representative on the City Council is Michelle Erpenbach.

    The mayor and the eight city council members were elected to represent ALL Sioux Falls citizens.

    Currently, the EC debate is a hot topic in our community. I have become increasingly troubled by the lack of representation by the mayor and the council for the "NO" voters in this discussion. The citizens who intend to vote no on this issue are a significant percentage of our city's population.

    Perhaps the mayor and the council have forgotten that they do in fact represent ALL citizens in our community??!!