Let's Change Sioux Falls
We will make Sioux Falls greener by planting many trees (including fruit trees) along the river. Planting trees and incorporating solar heat in public buildings will help the city do its part to reduce global warming. Other green plans are extending our lovely bike path, promoting urban agriculture, encouraging food forests, and switching some areas to native wildflowers that don't need mowing. Additionally, we will partner with the state to clean up the Big Sioux River. Rain gardens and murals on bridge piers will help beautify our city.
Other changes I plan are to increase police training, reduce noise pollution, repair some busy roads at night instead of during the day, enforce laws fairly instead of bowing to favoritism, make it safer to report crimes, and adjust zoning to build affordable housing such as tenant-owned mobile home parks.
Facts, evidence, and science are far more beneficial than misleading rhetoric. Evidence promotes positive change while dogmatic rhetoric is often used to defend an entrenched elite. Fact-based policy, openness, and integrity are all essential to my life. They will likewise be inherent in my upcoming administration.
Many people are troubled today – but few of us understand why. Society's fundamental problem is excessive materialism and reckless greed. Instead of pursuing the greater good, too many of us are motivated by selfishness. Greedy tycoons spend huge sums to buy politicians via expensive elections. Sold out politicians reward their donors with subsidies, biased laws, and the pretense of fair regulations. This weakens our country, especially hurting the working poor and ethnic minorities. Immoral sold-out politicians is also a local problem: the city's ethics board admitted that our city leaders commonly receive gifts of paid travel. City officials have refused to investigate this bribery! Now that I understand how the system of expensive elections fails us, I plan to shine the beacon of hope and the light of truth while we heal and strengthen our community.
In Sioux Falls, elected officials swear a solemn oath to uphold the USA Constitution. At city council meetings, I described local laws and policies which are obviously unconstitutional. Unfortunately, city officials ignored these issues. If elected officials do not honor their solemn oath to uphold our Constitution, we should not trust them. How tragic. But with truth, there is hope. There is hope for a new breed of honest candidates who will protect constitutional rights and work for the common good of all city residents.
Our city's ethnic and cultural diversity is increasing. Promoting diversity encourages economic growth, cultural resilience, and is the proper moral choice. Any realistic discussion of diversity needs to acknowledge systemic racism on the part of the government. SD canvassers are discouraged from counting Native Americans because natives are disproportionately poor felons who incorrectly think they can't vote. SD felons can register to vote after completing their entire sentences. Minnehaha County blacks are 4.6 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana even though usage rates are similar. New York City had a decades-long stop and frisk policy which targeted poor dark-skinned people. The FBI's COINTELPRO attacked black civil rights leaders (among others). If this sounds crazy, please read the Wikipedia articles “COINTELPRO” and “Stop-and-frisk in New York City.” Government tactics of fear and racism divide and weaken the country while distracting us from pervasive corruption. It saddens me that religion and troubled translations have also been used to divide us.
We need to remember that we are all just people trying to do the best we can. Our surface differences (tall, short, light, dark, LGBTQIAPK, straight ...) really don't matter. What matters is how we relate to each other.
As mayor, I plan to promote diversity with social justice: Homeless alcohol addicts (frequently Native Americans) need a shelter that understands them. Legal cannabis will eliminate marijuana enforcement that unfairly targets poor minorities. More extensive police training will encourage acceptance of marginalized and troubled peoples. Respecting civil rights will reduce racial bias in arrests and prosecution. Helping people escape poverty and prostitution would be great for immigrants and victims of domestic trauma. I also plan friendly foot patrols and having officers live in the community they patrol. An anti-discrimination ordinance and some gender-neutral bathrooms would help the LGBT community. Bringing people together with compassion and respect will help strengthen our city and protect our freedoms. United we stand, divided we fall.
In 2014, Sioux Falls received a report from Walker Parking Consultants which estimated we could build a 692 space parking garage for $10 million. Instead, in 2017, the city started a 525 stall ramp for $21 million plus $1.5 million for design changes. Consequently, the cost for each parking space increased by three times! City Council and Mayors Mike Huether and Paul TenHaken share responsibility for this disaster. This garage appears to be a result of expensive elections and the need to reward rich campaign contributors. Because I haven't sold out, my upcoming administration is free to avoid similar problems and spend your taxes wisely.
Most politicians push "getting tough on crime" with longer prison sentences and reduced opportunity for convicts. Somehow politicians stay soft on crimes by politicians, judges, and CEOs. Being tough on crime created the world's largest prison system and distracts us from underlying causes of crime: poverty, racism, addiction, mass incarceration, mental illness, homelessness, reduced education, and fewer job opportunities. One of the best ways to create crime is to criminalize common activities such as drinking alcohol or smoking marijuana. Harry J. Anslinger, first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, justified marijuana prohibition with wild racist lies. John Ehrlichman, Nixon's policy chief, said his team heavily criminalized marijuana and heroin to imprison antiwar hippies and black civil rights leaders. Drug prohibition achieves the social disruption and racism it was designed for. Treating addiction as a disease works better than jail for reducing addiction. While prosecuting crime is important, so too are drug treatment programs and addressing the social woes that encourage crime.
As Americans, we value our civil rights and freedoms. Unfortunately, our rights are being whittled away. We are being encouraged to trade freedom for security – but then we will have neither freedom nor security. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as wars on crime, drugs, and terror all distract us from a government gone awry. Our government now promotes income inequality, regressive taxation, deficit spending, racism, fear, environmental destruction, and corruption. Even in Sioux Falls I have seen official perjury, assault, selective prosecution, withholding critical evidence, and false charges. We're supposed to forfeit our civil rights, our political rights, and our economic rights and freedoms will be a key component of my work as mayor. We the people need to reclaim our American democracy, vote for honest politicians, and restore justice to the USA!
We must safeguard the Earth, our material home. We must moderate our short-sighted materialism with respect for Nature or we will destroy our planet and our home. My administration will encourage walkable communities, plants on rooftops, low impact development, trees in medians, litter cleanup, rain gardens, removing dangerous submerged dams, and replacing the spillway with a whitewater park.