David Z's Platform 

The platform statement you are reading is a combination of my previous campaign flyer merged with an outline of my upcoming book.  The main  title for my book is “What’s going on” and the subtitle is “Guide to practical local government.”  In addition to the ideas in this platform summary, I have additional plans for local government on my homepage under “City council presentations.” 


Official corruption, Drug abuse, Too many prisons


Reduced crime, Treatment for addicts, Realistic spending, Care for our Earth, Affordable housing, Better roads


A former TV news photographer did an awesome documentary about me because he thought I was a cool guy who actually cares and wants to make the world a better place. Here's the upcoming link: www.DavidZforMayor.org/quest The video can also be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9TYruI80Co Check it out!


I hope you watch my tongue-in-cheek zombie music video, “Take Back the Night” at www.DavidZforMayor.org/zombie 


     There are many valuable changes I want to make as mayor, but I won't promise more than I  can deliver. Most important will be a framework of government for WE THE PEOPLE instead of primarily for rich campaign donors. Working with City Council and city employees, we will revise local laws to promote THE COMMON GOOD of all Sioux Falls citizens. Government for the people will enable transparency instead of secrecy, open records instead of secret deals, respecting petitions instead of ignoring them, reasonable spending instead of massively overpriced construction, increased resources for better roads, encouraging people to vote, and reasonable penalties for small crimes. Instead of harshly treating prisoners, I want to mentor, teach, and employ them to promote healing and reintegration into society.
     Crime and drugs are closely related. There is a great deal of deliberate disinformation about both crime and drugs. Studies show that cannabis is safer than legal opioids and alcohol. Other studies show that alcohol and tobacco are the gateway drugs, not marijuana. Disinformation promotes fear and racism while protecting pharmaceutical, alcohol, and prison industries. Legalizing marijuana would reduce crime, increase farm income, reduce prison costs, and lower use of dangerous opiates. Additionally, replacing prison time with drug treatment will reduce crime and keep us all safer.
     A major crisis with fatal fentanyl overdoses is facing our nation. To get at the base of this problem, we need to allocate more resources for mental health, trauma counseling, and addiction recovery. Simultaneously to save lives, I want to create a free drug testing program for addicts. If we find any drugs laced with fentanyl, the city would handsomely reward users for identifying their dealer’s supplier so that law enforcement could stop laced drugs.  



      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.
     The fundamental problem with our culture is that the superrich own politicians through the scourge of expensive elections.  They also own news, entertainment, and social media. All of these institutions have been corrupted to increase the wealth and power of the select few. Additionally, we should expect internet search engines to be tuned so they protect the establishment by making disinformation easier to find and by hiding deeper truth.  



      There is a major lack of affordable housing in Sioux Falls and around the nation. We need to change zoning laws to encourage the construction of inexpensive little houses and to build affordable rental apartments at market rate. Simultaneously, zoning can be adjusted to improve bicycle infrastructure, economic integration of social classes, walkability, and to prevent the formation of food deserts. Replacing vast tracts of spread out monoculture zoning with more compact mixed-use development will help achieve all of these goals. Reducing requirements for parking will encourage more compact, less expensive, more walkable communities that are well served by mass transit. We need to replace unhealthy, depressing isolation with open outdoor spaces to draw people together in community. Windbreaks, public art, and a city-wide tree planting campaign increase the appeal of open public spaces.
     To encourage private home ownership, some cities have outlawed corporations from owning more than a few houses. But if a local corporation wants to buy property to expand their facility, they could partner with a developer to build one new affordable house for every affordable house they purchase.  Encouraging infill construction, duplexes, and small backyard homes (accessory dwelling units) would all help to ease the housing crunch.
     These changes are designed to maintain and even increase the overall profitability of the Sioux Falls housing and construction industries. These industries must be supported to encourage the construction of new housing. With a well-designed plan, government subsidies shouldn’t be necessary. Nonetheless, these changes will tremendously improve the appeal and the economy of the Sioux Falls metropolitan area. All of these changes are designed to increase the attractiveness of Sioux Falls. Appealing, attractive, progressive areas attract people and that encourages very profitable growth.
     These ideas are hallmarks of the new urbanism which is gradually spreading around the world. These changes mark a return to ancient ideas for city planning. Streets on a grid, compact city designs, amenities close enough to walk to, public squares and open markets, schools, parks, and groceries a pleasant walk away – all of these ideas are both ancient and modern. In the 1900's, we were sold on the unrealistic goal of everyone owning their own little isolated country estate, AKA large suburban house. Actually this plan was mostly for successful white people and excluded minorities who couldn't afford expensive houses and cars.This grand redesign of cities isn't working well for most of us.  It has resulted in unaffordable housing, emotional isolation, a lack of exercise, and cities built around cars. It's been a tremendous subsidy for the automobile industry but has created problems for the culture at large. Income inequality, constant inflation, and crony vulture capitalism have contributed to the housing shortage. These cultural problems have helped the super-rich at the price of making modern life more distressing for everyone else. They've made homeownership increasingly unlikely for many Americans. It's time for reform, and time for healthier cities and better governance. Let's return to ancient new urbanism that works for everyone and implement it via practical, caring, honest government that works for all of us!  



      We don't have a criminal justice system in this country –  we have a conviction system instead.  The conviction process got into overdrive during alcohol prohibition when there were suddenly more cases than courts could handle.  The criminal justice system was modified to speed convictions, especially for poor and minorities –  not so much for the rich and powerful who were frequently protected.  Now when corporations break the law, they might get a fine, but CEOs are not prosecuted.  Instead, they get a golden parachute.
     Because donor money rains down on politicians, and because money buys influence, plutocrats, politicians, police, prosecutors, judges, and news moguls all protect each other. That means they're not really there to protect us.  So when innocent travelers get sexually assaulted by the TSA, no one in government really cares about the victim. They can probably get a half-hearted investigation, but prosecutors will pretend no crime ever occurred. That was certainly my experience when I reported a TSA employee touching my genitals and buttocks.
     If you can show that politicians have accepted bribes, they will still be protected by the system. This includes news media, SD department of criminal investigation, states attorney, police chief, and sheriff who all ignore the problem. See DavidZforMayor.org/bribery for an example of this happening.
     If you're black, native, or not rich enough for a good lawyer, you do not even have the right to a trial. The government will charge you with a stack of crimes and say plead guilty to one of these or we will lock you up for ages. During forced plea bargaining, don't make the mistake of trusting the prosecutor, because he is free to lie to you the same way that police may legally lie to suspects. But if you lie to a cop, watch out, because off to jail you go.
     Politicians look the other way when rogue cops try to provoke you because that way they can claim unwavering support for law enforcement and their rich donor friends. Judges and prosecutors can hide evidence from the defense. And if you're not rich enough to afford a costly appeal, you can't do anything about that. In Minnehaha County, suspects that are too poor to make bail are presented to the judge in handcuffs, leg shackles, and a prison uniform while a cop holds their arm. Anybody who shows up to court like that has already lost.
     The whole system is a complete disaster for poor, minorities, and even the average person. But that's the whole point. The so-called criminal justice system is just another way to protect the status quo, a way to protect people in power, and another way to keep most of us down. And it will stay this way until we the people change who pays for elections. Because when political campaigns are expensive, politicians will work for the rich and create systems to keep everybody else in their place. 


      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.


      It really bothers me that politicians and news media ignore the biggest issues of our time. I'm on a mission to uncover these problems and find solutions. The underlying cause of most problems is that our government has been sold out and we're not even supposed to know. We're not supposed to notice government making policies to help rich campaign contributors – even here in Sioux Falls. We're not supposed to know the biggest builders have undue influence, receive TIF subsidies that reduce school funding, and demolish aging affordable housing. Publicly funding elections would help reclaim politicians' loyalty and promote efficient government. Plus affordable housing can be expanded with improved zoning and tiny housing movement principles.
     People simply don't realize the USA has the world's largest prison system. Prisons are full due to constant wars on crime, terror, and drugs. We want to believe drug prohibition promotes public health. Actually, treating addiction as a disease would radically reduce crime internationally, save great expense, and help people heal their lives. Part of the prison problem is due to disproportionate convictions among poor and minorities. And that is largely due to unaffordable defense, overlapping laws, selective enforcement, and overworked public defenders. Too many accused are forced to plea bargain thereby abandoning their right to trial. Our TV crime dramas encourage overzealous enforcement by portraying civil liberty violations as if they reduce crime and keep us safe. We should stop watching this mind numbing entertainment and instead enjoy outdoor family recreation. Reentry services and job placement would reduce recidivism and help ex-cons get back on their feet.
     While they're ignoring fundamental problems, many politicians make completely unrealistic promises to solve surface problems and we all get fooled repeatedly. Instead of discussing issues, candidates sponsor malicious attack ads. Other politicians spout emotional catchphrases, rarely say anything substantial, and still manage to get elected. Voters must recognize these trends and demand realistic actual policy from all candidates.
    These problems tear at my heart because they cause so much suffering and hide so much corruption. When we're all afraid of crime, terror, and drugs, we don't notice politicians cutting social programs to pay for corporate subsidies. Constantly readdressing abortion, voter fraud, and mask mandates adds to the confusion. When we're being traumatized by an opioid epidemic, we don't notice a massively overpriced local parking ramp being awarded to a disreputable builder.
     I seek the whole truth without exaggeration or pretense. My upcoming administration will be science-based, practical, and open. Together, we can conquer prevailing political discord with knowledge, humanity, and determination. I want to help people understand what's really happening and lead us to a better tomorrow with truth, integrity, and compassion!


      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. Protecting our 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. 


      I've lived in the Midwest since 1987 when I started a technical job at EROS. After an educational variety of career shifts, I now work in political analysis and civil rights. I live humbly so that I can afford to work for my passion – a better world for us all. My political aspirations are not funded by rich people who want to get richer. Instead, I have dedicated a wealth of my time and effort to researching, speaking, and publishing the truth. I'm working my way into office – loving every minute of the journey!
     My career shifts came with times of plenty and times of struggle. I loved a nice little country acreage then watched my wealth dissolve with the housing market collapse. Big banks got bailed out while I underwent foreclosure and bankruptcy. Interactions with police have also seen easy and hard times. An officer once helped fix the brake lights on my '67 pickup. Another time, overzealous police surrounded me and terrified me without even suspecting a crime. City leaders need to help police do their job while being respectful to other people and their rights.
     I love people, pets, and the natural world. Perhaps my finest accomplishment is co-raising two wonderful adult daughters who are still happy to hang with their dad. I enjoy working out, biking, meditation, martial art, and being in nature. There is beauty all around us if we can just open our eyes to the wonder of life. I celebrate the vitality of life with colorful shirts and expressive energetic dance. You're welcome to join me on the dance floor even if you can only wiggle – I'll help you move to the groove.
     Spirituality is important to my life, although I'm usually quiet about it. Spirituality connects with my passion for truth, justice, compassion, and our place in the universe. I see the world of humanity as more troubled than it should be. It is as though we have lost our way and need to find it again. My passion for people and a better world drives my confident sincere efforts to be a great mayor. Coupled with confidence is the humility to seek good ideas from everyone I talk with. I hope you will let me know what's on your mind and how we can improve our town. 


      It's great to understand what's happening, but it's more important to correct problems. We need to understand expensive elections and systemic corruption. We need to reclaim our government and vote for truth, justice, and healing. Plus we can reduce crime, create affordable housing, protect rights, and fix those bumpy roads! Until the people get involved and vote, we should expect more of the same old. Please tell your friends what's going on. I'm not rich, so please donate a little at DavidZforMayor.org and help our campaign. Thanks! And VOTE so we can create a better world together.  

Legal note: I (David Michael Zokaites) wrote and paid for this platform statement © Feb 2024.