The Republican spin machine wants to turn the Sioux Falls mayoral race into a partisan battle. I frankly don't care about the partisan angle; if city councilman Greg Jamison (who happens to be a Republican) beats Mayor Mike Huether (who happens to be a Democrat), it's no skin off my liberal nose.
Councilman Jamison's lone vote against Mayor Huether's favored 85th Street Walmart at last night's Sioux Falls City Council meeting. He was the only councilor to stand with citizens over big business:
Councilor Greg Jamison was the lone “no” vote on the rezoning request. He said the proposed plan isn’t a good one and doesn’t protect homeowners from heavy commercial development.
“I don’t believe this plan represents our best efforts to provide proper buffering or transitioning from single-family homes to the most intense use that could be provided. We can do better than this. They are making a piece of land work for them; we need to make it work for us,” Jamison told councilors. “We’re working at the wrong direction. We need to work from the single-family homes back to commercial development” [Beth Wischmeyer, "Council Endorses South-Side Walmart; Opposition to Continue Fight," that Sioux Falls paper, 2013.08.07].
The pro-Walmart councilors are saying that residents in the neighborhood of the proposed superstore "made a choice" to live where they might have to put up with the traffic and other externalities of a big commercial neighbor. That argument falls flat when the city changes the rules and rezones their neighborhood in favor a new commercial behemoth who drowns out their democratic desires with promises of big money.
Mayor Huether is boosting big business; Councilman Jamison is waging a lonely fight for citizens. Who's the Republican, and who's the Democrat in that fight? It's hard to fit the Sioux Falls mayoral tussle into the standard partisan paradigm... and that's just fine with me. For now, I say Jamison 2014!