Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Mayoral Election

Jodi Schwan wrote an insightful column in Sunday's ARGUS LEADER about the economic development possibilities, or lack thereof,  in the Sports and Entertainment District surrounding the Denny Sanford Premier Center. 

This article goes to the heart of the mayoral election this Tuesday and the future of Sioux Falls. There is no doubt that Mayor Huether made good on his campaign promise to build an event center. The problem with this achievement is it's short sightedness for the economic development future. I wish I could tell you how many times various persons have told me that this mayor does not believe in long term planning. The building of an event center in a wasteland of economic development is proof of that lack of commitment to long term planning for this city. The expediency of getting his campaign promise checked off his mayoral bucket list has left us with an entertainment venue that has nothing around it. The city has to prop up a hotel at Elmwood Golf Course to make it look like something is actually going to happen out there on a new stretch of 6 lanes of roadway with no businesses to turn off on.

Rhetoric has been this mayor's strong suit these past four years. Goodness knows, we have had more news releases and news conferences than most of the last few mayoral terms. Not all of it has been bad, some of it has been newsworthy, some of it has been self serving white noise and braggadocio.

Here's what I remember about the incumbent's first term as mayor:
  • Taking credit for road construction that has been the heartbeat and soul of the five year Capital Improvement Plan for decades. 
  • Being dubbed the downtown revivalist when Downtown SF is probably in the worse shape it's been since former Mayors Hanson and Munson took on Downtown revitalization years ago.
  • Money in the piggy bank comments when money in the reserve fund has been the norm, not the exceptional happening in the last four years.
  • The bullish economic boom enjoyed in Sioux Falls that has been bullish the last twenty years, not just in the last four years.
  • Taking credit for cheap airfares and the introduction of Frontier Airlines that had been in the works before the first term of this mayor even began.
  • The destroying and firing of city directors employed or retained as career professionals and turned into a political patronage system with the loss of some outstanding city directors and not being transparent about why they were no longer employed in his administration. They resigned, good people, I didn't really fire them.
  • The campaign talk about the wonderful city employees on his team these last few months when they were not even on his horizon or speech the first 3 years of his term. Oh, he did talk about those rich benefits city employees enjoyed when he addressed the Downtown Rotary Club his first year in office.
  • Casting a dim light on ethics and an appearance of impropriety by investing in real estate that gets TIF funding from a department directly supervised by the mayor and approved by the city council.
  • Petition drives galore - snow gates, indoor/outdoor pools, railroad switching lines clogging neighborhoods and traffic patterns, a Walmart on four corners of the city, development plans, spending issues, sweeping zoning ordinance changes. A restless and unhappy citizenry.
  • A city charter revision commission that decided it didn't need to work transparently and publicly in front of the citizens because they were being criticized for their work.
  • Choosing to not reappoint some city board members under a cloud of heavy handedness and retribution for not doing his bidding.
I could probably come up with more items but whew, this is enough to help me make a decision next Tuesday. By the way, I don't give two hoots about whether someone is a Republican or Democrat. All I care about is that the person is someone I have confidence in leading this city the next four years. And yes, the likeability factor means something to me too. So does humility, character, and honesty. A genuine, not fake demeanor, a sincerity that comes across as genuine and a commitment and respect for long term planning and a recognition and respect for the importance of city employees that is not just a convenient platitude to get someone through the next election.

I support Greg Jamison for Mayor. I encourage you to vote Jamison for Mayor on April 8th.


  1. I hear from people at city hall this is the worst they've ever seen it. Suppressed concerns of unethical behavior, incompetent appointments, and no admissions of failure when something goes wrong.

    Case and point is the new financial software that a press conference was held about, touting how now the city was using "business practices". Apparently it's not working, finance has been hiring more employees to handle the workload of what the software was supposed to do, but no one will speak up that it takes twice as long to buy something, there are still ongoing payroll problems, and finance has taken budgeting and spending control from the departments so bad decisions are being made.

  2. Jennifer you are exactly right, I am so sick of listening to this ego maniac take credit for everything others have done. I am especially sick of listening to the airport issues. The planning for the expansion started in 2007, he took office in 2010. Construction on the project started in 2009, yet he continues to take credit for the whole project!!!! I am so sick of listening to his lies I cannot watch the campaign ads on tv. We deserve soooo much better! Unfortunately he has raised a lot of money from his buddies he has made promises to. I have been told many stories from people who are close to him. They will not expose him for the snake he is because they are afraid for their jobs. He is very vindictive!! I hope Jamison wins !!

  3. I have a negative reason for voting for Huether. HE put the event center in the wrong place. He now needs to have his feet kept to the fire to make damn sure that thing works! IF it doesn't bring in the revenue he promised, I want to be able to go to the mayors office and demand that he fix it. After all, HE PROMISED it would work. Greg Jamison is the better, more honest man. Greg Jamison would make a fine mayor. If he doesn't get it this year, I really hope he comes back in 4 yrs. to claim it then. I don't want Greg to be held responsible for any failings the event center has. I want Huether to work his butt off to make good on his promises, OR he'll be the one who will spend 4 yrs. with complainers breathing down his neck.

  4. Find all of your bulled points, on point, but the one that interests me most is your 5th one. I'd say SF has been bullish since 1980. That's the year janklow gutted the usury laws in this state. Great for mega banks,not so great for anyone else. Lo and behold, huether also had a hand in that too. He was, before becoming our ever humble mayor, marketing director for the largest fee harvesting operation known, first premier bank card. r