Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Note on the Blog

Hello Readers,

The blogs Common Civic Good and The Angry River Rat have been silent for a while because of some personal issues and some time constraints. With these issues, I feel that the blogs mission need to carry on even if I cannot spend the time on them as I once did. My goal is to keep them alive.

Changes will be made to make this happen.

  1. Blogs will not be cited like academic sources. (It was what I found most fun about writing articles was the research.)
  2. Twitter will be used more to link other articles, and to provide mobile commentary.
  3. Blog posts will range from 500 words or less. (No more Epic 5 page posts.
  4. I reserve the right to edit posts after publication for grammar and spelling mistakes.
  5. Common Civic Good and The Angry River Rat will sometimes run the same post. (Time constraints are the reason behind this move.)
Even with these changes I hope my blogs will provide meaningful comments in the political realm.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rapid City City Council Votes Unanimously to Increase TIF for Presidential Plaza

Last night the Rapid City City Council voted 10-0 increase the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) from 5 million  dollars capped in 2009  to 23.4 million dollars (the amount approved in 2007) for the Presidential Plaza. The expansion of the TIF will help make the financing of the,41 million dollar to 48 million dollar, project possible.

The project will change the look, feel, and future planning of downtown. The building will have a 600 spot parking garage,seventeen story hotel condominium tower, and  80,000 square feet of retail space. A picture of the building posted with a Rapid City Journal article shows a similar style to the remodeled  building done by Main Street Square. The building would change the landscape of Downtown Rapid City. Compared to the tall buildings such as; Turnac Tower, the BHP building, the Radisson Hotel and the Historic Alex Johnson Hotel (which has been there since 1928). The proposed tower will dwarf them all. 

The project once finished should  bring  the city 800,000 dollars in tax revenue. Ward 4 city council member John Roberts quoted in the Rapid City Journal said, "We're taking a piece of property that hasn't had anything on it for 35 years, and we're going to put it back on the tax rolls."  Currently there is a city parking lot in the suggested location, and the revenue brought by the building through property taxes will dwarf revenue from the parking meters and parking fines that the city currently receives on the property.

If the building is completed, it would be a great addition to Downtown Rapid City, but there are possible problems if it is completed. One it will change the building style of downtown. Currently, many of the buildings are three stories or less. A higher building may seem out of place or destroy the "look" of downtown. Granted, changes of downtown could revitalize it, but the building would probably look out of place. 

Another problem is, will it be completed? This is the second time that this project has been attempted. The failure of the first time caused the TIF to be lowered to 5 million dollars. The city through the TIF is nearly putting up 50 percent of the building cost. Granted there are safeguards through the TIF process that will protect the tax payers, but it is a huge risk especially in a down economy.

Traffic will be another issue that the building will affect. The argument for this similar to the Main Street Square is that these buildings will do better with a slower traffic flow. Example of this would be Phillips Ave in Sioux Falls, SD.  Sioux Falls has made a nice downtown atmosphere. This is done by making the street pedestrian friendly. The problem with this is the roads downtown are major thoroughfares through the city. Without those roads,  might cause traffic more congestion in the city.  Granted it is a far out idea, but it could happen.

Overall, the building would be a great addition to downtown. It will probably help revive downtown by bringing  new businesses. Granted there are many questions that will need to be answered before full support should be given to the project. I am though optimistic that this project will revitalize downtown and help cut down the sprawl. Time will tell, and more post probably to come...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Representative Noem's E-Newsletter

Just sent was was a E-Newsletter from Representative Noem's Office. Here is the text of the E-Newsletter. The three topics that she brings up are her fight against President Obama's loan program, her fight against dust regulations that do not technically exist, and hiring Spring Interns. All except for the hiring of Interns the other stories, are  Don Quixote windmills (imagined beasts),  that show the lack of progress or the "Jobs Jobs Jobs" slogan that the Republican Party used back in last November. It is funny that Rep. Noem has more power than the President on the legislative side to create jobs and is not putting up a plan of her own. If complaining about student loan debt and saying that the President needs to do more to solve the problem. My question to her is what are you doing? Right now it shows you have not Sponsored or Co-Sponsored any bills pertaining to job creation. Most have been to repeal worker rights than to spur the economy. Remember it is not the business owners that drive the economy it is the consumer, and the consumer(most times) is the worker. Happy Reading!

Catching Up With KristiNovember 2011 e-newsletterJobs Are Best Student Loan Repayment ProgramI recently wrote about President Obama’s student loan reforms in my weekly column:  “President Obama is right to be concerned about how recent and future graduates will be able to pay off their education, but his plan fails to make the grade.  The best loan repayment plan we can provide college graduates is ensuring they have the ability to find a decent job.  Nibbling around the edges of loan programs is simply missing the forest for the trees.  We need a strong, vibrant private sector that isn’t worried about the threat of some new tax or regulation lurking around the corner.”  Read the full column here. Dust Bill UpdateIn an effort to limit overbearing government regulations, I have sponsored H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011. This bill would prevent the EPA from regulating “nuisance dust,” which is the particulate matter generated during agricultural activity. Thanks in part to the pressure my bill has created, the EPA recently announced it will not revise its regulation on dust matter at this time.  This is welcome news but it does not give farmers and ranchers the certainty they need moving forward. I will continue pushing for full consideration of my bipartisan dust bill because farmers and ranchers deal with enough uncertainty as it is. We don’t need the EPA adding new regulatory uncertainties by further regulating dust and fining our ag producers.Noem Hiring InternsI am now accepting applications for college students interested in interning for the Spring 2012 semester. We have openings in my Washington, DC office, as well as in my state offices. The last day to submit a cover letter, resume and references to Dennis D'Aquila is November 18, 2011. You can reach Dennis by email,, or by phone at            (202) 225-2801      .

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Could Rounds Defeat Noem in a Republican Primary in 2012?

Now I know that this is a long shot that M. Rounds would primary Representative Noem for the Republican nomination House of Representatives in 2012, but lets play the idea out.

Noem is having a hard time convincing the conservative base of South Dakota Republicans that she is doing the  things that she promised them. Her voting record mirrors more of the mainstream Republican Party than her promises, which could make her weak against a well funded Democratic candidate. With the Argus Leader  showing skepticism to her dust regulation, Noem looks like to be in a weaken state policy wise.  This would be a time to put a more party friendly candidate in instead of Noem.

If M. Rounds would primary Noem, we would see and epic battle that would be interesting. This battle would be against the established Republican  against the one term newcomer( I know Kristi has been in the State House, but this is a reference is to statewide office.) who has not kept her promises.

For Rounds this would be a great time for him to enter because of his disdain towards the Corps of Engineers. For example if he would beat Noem, he would have an easier time facing a Varliek or Barth. Unlike Noem who will probably have a close race. If Rounds would win and the Republicans kept their majority, he could then be placed on a committee that did over site of the Corps. He could have more power regulate the Corps. With him doing something in 2012 would make the possible 2014 Republican  primary for Senate easier. Rumors in Republican circles see this coming, so why not test Noem in 2012 with petition of candidacy?

Friday, September 30, 2011

Warming up the Keyboard

Well, it has been a couple of months since post has been typed on this blog, and with fall approaching it is time to start working hard on the blog. I missed some fun stories; Kristi's lack of summer town halls (the free type), the receding of the Missouri River, redistricting of the political districts of the state to look more of the same, and TransCanada oil pipeline.

As a journalist/scholar I have been really lazy. We will see if we can change that. Game on!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

News Flash Federal Judge in Sioux Falls, SD Grants Injunction

Today before the July 1st deadline for South Dakota new Abortion laws to go into affect a judge in Sioux Falls has granted an injunction. The judge made her ruling at 5 p.m. CST today. The brief is about 60 pages long. For more information go to the or More to come on this story.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Conservatives Blame that the Corps Intentionally Caused the Problem

It had been recently posted from the blog American Thinker that the Corps was warned about the high water levels and did nothing about it. The funny thing is the information was not sent ,to Corps, but to the American Water Works Association (AWWA) a non governmental organisation with no connection with the Corps. Brad Lawrence South Dakota WARN chair quoted in the Capital Journal,  said,

 "although he did not send that information to the Corps, he finds it "hard to believe that it wouldn’t have gotten passed on to the Corps." 

Meaning he did not send the information to the Corps.The Corps did not receive his information or concerns Which means it did not get sent to the District Office in Omaha for Corps planners follow up Lawrence's concerns. Did the Corps probably know that it was going to flood yes, but people have to remember that the Corps have to take care of the entire basin. This is why they did not have a Spring Pulse. A Spring Pulse is done to mimic Spring flooding to help jump start the wildlife to go through their Spring routine. The Corps did not have that this year due to the excess of water downstream and the threat of flooding. 

The key question of the argument is was the flooding in Dakota Dunes, Ft. Pierre, and Pierre preventable.  Yes, the flood was entirely preventable in South Dakota. The catch is that it would have taken out Eppley Field in Omaha, part of the Industrial district in Kansas City, parts of St. Louis, and would have flooded the already damaged city of New Orleans. Which would have had a greater impact on the national economy. What was done a cost benefit analysis. 

If you look at what the Conservative blogs cite as their source for their argument, comes from e-mails sent to the AWWA on February 3rd 2011. If my memory serves me correctly there was ice still on the main stem reservoirs. So the release of water then would have created ice jams, ice jams are dams created by ice when water pushes ice into a dam like structure example would be Vermillion 1881 flood. This would have caused flooding in South Dakota

Another point they forget is the Missouri flows into the Mississippi. Tributaries on the Mississippi usually flood before the snow pack on the Missouri River tributaries can melt. So in March lets say, when maybe ice was gone not to cause damage with the release of water we could have lowered the reservoirs. The problem with that is that they would have had to contend with the run off from the Ohio River and Tennessee River and it would have overloaded the system then. 

The dams did their jobs they held off the water so people could evacuate and build levees. There were no deaths due to the flooding, and farmers did not loose massive amounts of livestock. The Missouri River is not a easily controllable river and the Corps are doing the best they can. If any of you readers have ideas please please post them and let's discuss them.

P.S. Dr. Schneiders is blogging about this topic also. You and find his postings on If your in the Sioux City area on Sunday the 26th of June Dr. Schneiders will be giving a lecture hosted by the Betty Strong Encounter Center, the presentation is titled, “The Last Great Deluge: Siouxland, the Missouri River and the Epic Flood of 1952.