Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sioux Falls Resentment

It has been interesting to follow the South Dakota High School Activities Association board this past week or so. It should not come as a surprise that the sentiment was to say no to a proposal to move all future state tournaments to Sioux Falls in future years.

The article in the ARGUS LEADER today was an interesting read. The heading said, "Sioux Falls' image problem."  Our mayor is well tuned to "image" and exhibits the concept of "image" every day through his speeches, press releases, press conferences, his demeanor at council meetings and his listening and learning sessions. His lack of understanding the statewide dynamic concerning the perception of Sioux Falls is troubling.

I am no stranger to "Sioux Falls' image problem." After working close to 26 years for the City of Sioux Falls, this concept was no surprise to anyone working for city government. People in surrounding communities and statewide come to Sioux Falls for the shopping, eating, and entertainment experience and they love to come here. The image problem is not about the visitors experience. The image problem, in my opinion, centers around how city and civic leaders interact with the rest of the state.

The SD Legislature has not been known as a friend to Sioux Falls. Heck, sometimes the very Senate and House representatives elected in Sioux Falls district races are not advocates for their own city. Working with state government officials over the years was a lesson in frustration at times as well. When Pierre presented the position that they knew better than city officials regarding roads, transportation, traffic engineering needs in Sioux Falls, it taught city officials and leaders lessons in humility and how to effectively work with others.

Mayor Huether was not at the SDHSAA meeting this past week.  Ok, he was out of town. Why not send city officials with economic responsibilities to represent him at this meeting? This glaring absence of a Sioux Falls city government presence sends a power message to this group and to the people who felt so passionate about the proposal that they attended the meeting to voice their positions and defend and promote their cities.

Is it that we are so big and have so much going for us, we don't have to?  

I submit to you that is the height of arrogance and is disingenuous to others outside our city. The mayor, who was not at the hearing, said that his city has no problem dealing with others, so says the ARGUS LEADER article. If he was at that meeting, he would have experienced the problem first hand.

The executive director of the Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau said, "The whole affair became an exercise in Sioux Falls bashing." Although there were two staff people present at the meeting from the SFCVB, they were told not to address the group because they would only be coming across as defensive saying, "At what point could they have stood up without making the situation worse?" Really? Sending some staffer to sit and listen and not participate or represent the city promotes the very concept of "entitlement".

The mayor referred to the new event center as the South Dakota events center in his telephone interview with the ARGUS LEADER. The SFCVB executive director said,"have some vision, take the state to a new level."  The Events Center was never promoted as the "South Dakota Events Center".  Both statements indicate a lack of understanding for outstate feelings and issues.

Everyone knows Sioux Falls is an economic engine for South Dakota. There was a statement in the article that caused me to cringe: People in Sioux Falls are so accustomed to it (referring to economic growth and development) that they barely give it a second thought. It's the mentality "we are, so we can" that permeates outside our city limits and it is that mentality and image that needs to get tapped down by city officials and economic leaders in Sioux Falls.

And that means showing up and yes, actually speaking, when Sioux Falls is being discussed in this state. Working effectively with the others is even more important when you are big and growing and seem to have everything going for you. This idea that Sioux Falls doesn't care about other cities in the state is simply not true.

We have to stop sitting on the sidelines thinking "we are so great" we don't have to do anything. 


  1. 90% of today's stories in the paper were about the phenomenal growth and development in all parts of our community, in other words, positive stuff. 10% was focused on this more negative issue, which has been around since the inception of statehood in 1889, nothing new here. And what does Jennifer choose to devote her single posting to???? You guessed it, the 10% negative and how she can use it bash this Mayor, like this 100 year old issue is somehow the fault of this less-than-2 years-on-the-job Mayor.

    Jennifer, I've never met you, don't know you, but your blog postings strike me as coming from an angry, lonely, very negative focused retired person. I actually find myself feeling sorry for you the more I read your blog.

  2. @12:21. You are pretty funny. Keep it up Jennifer. Love your blog.

  3. Why didn't the Mayor send his errand boy , Darrin Smith, to this meeting. Isn't Smith the economic development guru for the this administration?

    1. Darrin Smith has no clue. That's why Human Resources posted this.


  4. Minnesota holds all their tournaments in the Cities. Iowa does the same in Des Moines. But in SD we have 500 classes and spread our tournaments from one end of the state to another. Dumb!!

    1. Jennifer I don't know you and you don't know me, but I find your comments and insight to the 'workings' of Sioux Falls spot on. Please keep the faith and your blogging skills going.

  5. Gezzz Jennifer you have awoken some nasty dragon. The tone is familiar. You do a good job amd you are right. Has the mayor been in town lately, or in Omaha for a concert?

  6. been on both sides of the table on this one..both are uncomfortable..

    it is hard to watch communities stagnant. the communities which are growing carry an extra burden when that happens...i wish woonsocket was growing at 3% per year...along with ever other town....that is not reality. we want to keep people in our state. that has been the goal of every governor in the past fifty years.....sioux falls is helping to make that happen. i believe leadership here take that responsibility seriously. understand the jealousy, anger, and hurt..coming from various places. not easy to hear, and probably not easy to say. understand the thought of sharing the wealth...tournaments, meetings, etc........sioux falls will continue to move forward, no matter who is in elected or volunteer leadership.....and other parts of the state will continue to grow or itself, sioux falls has no control over that........

    sioux falls has been lucky and blessed.....also much hard work has happened in the past 100 years to bring the city where it is today....the metro economy is not as reliant on farm production as other parts of the state. we have medical, retail and educational opportunities others would love to have.......some elected, appointed, and volunteer leaders have been arrogant over the years....most of them have been well aware of the blessings of our city and have not rubbed it in other's noses........on the other side there are folks who are jealous of our success, and while they like to shop, go to the medical facilities, sporting and cultural events offered, they don't like "us." i liken this to the phenomenom of wanting people to be successful, but when they are, we begin not to like them, because they have gotten too big for their britches....

    remember, sioux falls did NOT bring up the idea of single city tournaments, the exec of the activities association did.........i don't think sioux falls should have represented itself unless it was invited to do so. i find no fault with the CVB people or the mayor on this was a no win situation....if they had spoken up, it would have been lambasted and since they have chosen not to speak up that is wrong also.....

    so can we get back to work now? we all have jobs to do.....making this state, our region, and chosen home town, a better place to live....

    rick knobe

  7. The only image the Mayor is concerned with is his own. The only person he cares about is himself I have never met a more arrogant or narcissistic politician in my life. Oh by the way did you read todays argus there any doubts that the event center is going to be built on the backs of the city employees....looks like you retired just in time.

  8. The Mayor didn't attend the SDHSAA hearing in Pierre on March 19 because he was in San Diego picking up an award from the US Tennis Association. Enjoy:

  9. there any doubts that the event center is going to be built on the backs of the city employees....looks like you retired just in time.
    ~Anon, 1:28 PM

    To some degree, the revamping of city pension plans are a direct result of knobes bumbling as mayor back in '76. Care to explain "spiked pensions" mr knobe? Didn't think so.

    Polly Amalo

  10. It's been said that city employees have a big influence in mayoral elections. I guess we will find out next election cycle.