The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jim Shaw correction

In Jim Shaw's three-part Rapid City Journal column, (here) he's got some stuff wrong in parts two and three.

The first part of the column is a discussion of the Iraq war. I have no truck with this portion of the column.

Shaw follows that with his now tiresome idea that I-190 should be aligned with Rapid City's Eighth Street (Mount Rushmore Road). He is startled to learn that nobody on the council has even discussed his idea.

I'm not so startled. Let's take a look at what that might look like.  (Clearly, I'm not highway engineer. And this was done in Photoshop, not CAD. Thanks to Google Maps for the screen caps.)

The picture above shows I-190 as it is now.
The picture above shows what a re-route to Mt. Rushmore Road (8th Street) might look like if it were to connect with 8th at Omaha. The picture below shows what it might look like if I-190 were to connect with 8th just south of the Civic Center.
I can't imagine what the Mayor and council might have on their mind that would be more important than rerouting I-190...considering that any such effort would have to include approvals by the Federal Department of Transportation, the South Dakota Department of Transportation and probably a dozen other agencies – all to route traffic two blocks.

I'm trying to see the benefit vs. cost, because the cost would be substantial.

Shaw says "Has a startling insight been revealed into (non?) strategic community thinking by the City Council?"

Well Jim, you were the mayor for a long time. Why didn't you do this when the city apparently had money to burn?

The idea would create more problems than it would solve. During his tenure as mayor, Jim Shaw had a lot of good ideas. This one's a boner.

Finally, Shaw discusses the city's apparent lack of business acumen with regard to the restaurant at Meadowbrook Golf Course. He says socialism doesn't work. I agree. The city had no business taking over that restaurant.

Where Shaw erred in his analysis was when he stated: "Private operators couldn't make the operation work, so city government stepped in and, yep, lost money."

Only half right. The previous operators were doing fine with a bank of loyal customers who came year-round, until the powers that be at the city's Parks and Recreation Department decided they wanted to run the restaurant and did everything they could to drive the lease-holders out, including not allowing delivery vehicles to park in the spot designed for deliveries and demanding free food for themselves and at prices below the cost of the food for golf course staff. They breached their contract by going to outside vendors for tournament catering and did everything in their considerable power to make life miserable enough for the lease holders that they eventually asked the city to buy out the lease.

Jim is right that the city shouldn't be in private business. There are particular problems at the golf course, not the least of which is that it bleeds red ink. It is time for an independent audit of the city's golf program. When I was on mayor Munson's Golf Task Force, we asked for exactly that, and didn't get it. We asked that the city create a Golf Department, and that the department be headed by a PGA professional, trained in running golf courses. That did not happen. Today we have a pro shop vendor who is not sanctioned by the PGA. Back then, we could not get a straight answer as to how many rounds of golf were played at the course annually. Nobody had an answer.

The golf courses are part of an Enterprise Fund, meaning they're supposed to make money. They don't.


larry kurtz said...

Shaw forgot to acknowledge that the Gap is broken!

Your graphics don't include that eventuality, Mike, where it is being talked about inside SDDoT.

Michael Sanborn said...

I don't believe it is being talked about because I believe SDDoT has more important and pressing things on their plates.

larry kurtz said...

As I was saying: