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Jamison Fights Huether’s Walmart Plans: Who’s the Real Democrat in SF Mayor’s Race?

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!


  1. Jerry 2013.08.07

    That fight over zoning and the sight of what a Walmart brings to a residential community has already been fought and lost in Rapid City. It is true that when you live someplace, someone can always change the way zoning is and that is the way it is. Get used to it as this is the way of the future with the powers to be having all the power. In all of these cases, the political party line disappears and the money line makes its presence known. Money talks and bull$#!+ walks. I promise you this, when Obamacare proves itself, our little Ms NOemer will say that she really was for it when she was against it.

  2. Wayne Pauli 2013.08.07

    Having traveled that area a number of times this spring and summer, and having to put up with the traffic and lack of traffic control I would think that the proper way to approach this is to "play nice" with Wal-Mart and get additional funds to better the infrastructure for all. Now is the time to ask for the infrastructure improvements. It will in turn make your commute move pleasurable and your ice cream will not melt on your way home in the evening. But like Cory says, no skin off my nose.

  3. interested party 2013.08.07

    A minimum wage of $10.50 in Sioux Falls would slow the march of corporate raiders like Sprawl-Mart.

  4. Deejay Beejr 2013.08.07

    This is a big reason why municipal ballots are non-partisan. At the local level, aligning with political parties is insane, but it seems Jamison and Pat Powers want to use the divisiveness of the current political structure to help win an election. At the local level, people MUST work together to solve problems. This Wal-mart issue exemplifies that to the nth degree. There are things in life much more important than political affiliation, and, obviously, things that need to be considered before putting on political glasses.

  5. Jim 2013.08.07

    I voted huether last time, but he lost me due to his thin skin, and way he handled the events center. I voted for him mostly because he wasnt staggers, whom I've always found I bit kooky. I really hope Jamison wins.

  6. Jana 2013.08.07

    IP, with Costco opening soon, the retail job market could change. Guess we'll see how that works out. They seem to be the cream of the crop in treating employees at the big box level.

    After watching some of the debate around the WalMart...I think the council was looking more at how the rules should be applied, no matter how wealthy or connected the people opposed were. Afterall, Lewis built their new store on Louise on the edge of a largely residential area. We have a friend who lives over there, and was active in the fight, who said it would be different if it were a Target.

    I also seem to remember the same group screaming about the Goodwill on 41st by the ballpark. Not so much uproar about the bar built right next door. Drunks...Okee Dokie. Thrift shoppers...not so much.

  7. Jana 2013.08.07

    Jim, I see Jamison as just another version of Munson and his old boy network. Don't agree with Heuther all of the time, I wanted the event center downtown, but he and the staff handled the ice storm incredibly well and he is not shy about talking to the public. Probably the most accessible and transparent mayor I've South Dakota that is a rare breed of politician.

  8. Jim 2013.08.07

    Mike did a nice job with ice storm. Much of his public interaction is about self promotion. Jamison knows a lot of people, but he's better than Munson.

  9. Roger Elgersma 2013.08.07

    This walmart will be in Jamison's district. He is also a developer. Pleasing the constituents is necessary to get reelected either to the counsel of mayor.
    If those people thought they were building a house in the corn field that would stay in a corn field, they were dreaming. But I think more just do not like walmarts bad treatment of employees.

  10. Jana 2013.08.07

    Hopefully they don't like Walmart's treatment of employees...but I still think there's an element of class distinction involved based on watching and listening.

    Looking in on Google Earth shows that there is already quite a bit of commercial development between 57th and 85th. Also looks like there is plenty of ag land to the south available for a CAFO, industrial hog feeder lot or cheese factory. Close to inexpensive labor and ample transportation...that might be an attractive location.

  11. MC 2013.08.08

    While I would like to see a Wal-mart go in there, councilman Greg Jamison is correct. we need to do a better job planning this out.

  12. interested party 2013.08.08

    Sioux Falls made NPR this morning.

  13. Troy Jones 2013.08.08

    Everything is being seen through a prism of ideology. LOL

  14. interested party 2013.08.08

    Does anyone know whether stormwater off Wal-mart parking lots go through the Sioux Falls sewer system or does it just run into the Big Sioux River?

  15. Jim 2013.08.08

    Pretty sure it runs into a creek (spring?) then to the sioux river. There are already significant problems with this little drainage basin. See Schindler sd.

  16. Winston 2013.08.08

    Huether and Jamison are both products of the establishment. There are those who want to turn this into a Democratic versus Republican candidate race, but it is truly not, accept for those within the GOP who are trying to stop Huether's political future.

    The distinction between Huether and Jamison is that Huether is pro-growth (although, Walmart as a sign of growth is not a real proud moment in my opinion) while Jamison is anti-Huether. Jamison is obsessed with Huether, I believe it was KELO, which reported back in 2010, that Jamison was the only City official (and most likely the only citizen) who attended all of the many mayoral debates and forums. Jamison was against the Events Center and now he is against Walmart at 85th street (heck, even Staggers was with the majority on this one....). He is only trying to make a distinction between himself and Huether for 2014.

    Jamison is no real friend of those who have a great distain for Walmart (which includes me), in fact, he claimed in his comments before the 7 to 1 vote, that this was not about Walmart rather it was about zoning and the precedents being set with this Walmart experience in terms of potential zoning changes. But the zoning argument is bogus. When you build on the outskirts of a growing city and you build on or near a sectional and or township road you know what it coming. These types of roads are the future "41st Streets" for a growing city like Sioux Falls.... the zoning argument is disingenuous, anyone with a faint understanding in the principles of eminent domain knows that zoning laws have a self-life consisting of "one day at a time"... In addition, democratic zoning (small "D") means that we all share in the burden of development and the residents of SE Sioux Falls do not (although, they apparently think they do) live in any self-proclaimed gated community of their liking.

    Now to Huether, as a Democrat his pass association with high interest/fee credit cards is disturbing, but he is still a historic Democrat from modest beginnings who has made something for himself who believes in progress rather than spending his political energy stopping his assumed political opposition.

    Now for those who still want to see the 2014 Sioux Falls Mayoral race as a partisan race between Huether and Jamison, they are merely promoting a phony argument which only serves the GOP establishment at the cost of a frank decision of the issues which truly impact the citizens of Sioux Falls and their future.

    And for those who want to see this merely in terms of Walmart and how much some of us have a distain for it are unfortunately barking up the wrong tree. You will not stop Walmart, they are too big, but you can make Walmart a better corporate citizen when it comes to workers rights and safety issues if we channel are political energy towards the issues we can win.

    In conclusion, if Jamison is the "Real Democrat" in the upcoming Sioux Falls Mayoral race and the residents of SE Sioux Falls are truly right about Walmart then how come collectively their pass voting behaviorism do not suggest this?

  17. Jim 2013.08.08

    Jamison wasnt "against" the events center. He supported locating it downtown.

  18. Winston 2013.08.08

    Jim - Jamison wanted to remodel the Arena. After the Events Center vote came in as a "Yes," he claimed he would have to "recalibrate" his thinking towards the new Events Center.... It was very Clintonesque of him (speaking of who's really the " 'New' Democrat' " here).....

  19. Justin Hansen 2013.08.09

    After seeing what I've seen, it would be hard to support any incumbent in this state although I'm sure there are a few good ones.

    We could start by actually writing some real codified law and providing actual due process.

    If the Azkaban that the Minnehaha County Jail has become is any indication of the leadership here in Sioux Falls, changes are probably needed across the board.

  20. Rorschach 2013.08.09

    "The distinction between Huether and Jamison is that Huether is pro-growth while Jamison is anti-Huether." Well said Winston. I still don't know what Jamison stands for, but you can count on him riding the fence until Huether takes a position and then opposing Huether's position. That's all you can count on Jamison for.

    Mike Huether is doing a great job as mayor of SF. He is making things happen. You can really tell that Mike Huether loves being mayor. He loves meeting citizens, and regularly meets with minority groups and individuals to find out what their needs and wants are. He loves going to service organizations and fielding questions about anything that's on anyone's mind. When someone asks a question he doesn't have to say, "I'll get back to you on that" because he knows in great detail what's going on. Huether runs the most transparent city administration in my memory because he actually wants citizens to know what's going on, and he works hard to get out in public and get the message out. What Republicans call self-promotion I call open and honest government.

    Huether works well with both Democrats and Republicans. In the last election the voting results were largely the reverse of what you might expect with Huether winning Republican areas and Staggers winning working class Democratic areas. Jamison will not have Staggers' appeal in the Democratic areas, and I don't think he can overcome Huether's appeal in the areas Jamison needs to rack up votes. I expect that Jamison's fellow council members will not support him either. He needs a more persuasive reason for running than that his daddy ran before him.

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