This Week's Rant - Runaway Twit and Sweetheart City Dealings

Before I start with the main section of this week’s bitchfest, I have a serious plea to all of the national news networks. Please, please, please quit already on the “Runaway Bride” story. It’s not worthy of any time other than a short human interest spot at the end of a day’s recap. Instead, the same 30 seconds of footage of this freak show being escorted through the airport has been broadcast on an endless loop on all three channels, accompanied by self-professed expert after expert babbling on and on about her mental state. How do you become an expert on women fleeing an unwanted wedding?
While we’re at it, let’s also quit calling her the “Runaway Bride”. Just the fact that this is the name of one of the worst Julia Roberts movies of all time (and that’s saying something) should disqualify any sane person from using this description. Let’s come up with something original. What about “Bug Eyed Bitch”? Or let’s turn the tables and call it the “Luckiest Man in America” story? All of this just confirms my beliefs that people should not get married. I tried it once and the only good that came out of that was my kid.
One good thing has come out of this story…or at least I hope so. When the story first surfaced last week, everybody was ready to hang this poor bastard. All men are evil was the underlying current of these reports, so this guy must have killed his bride-to-be. Hell, I would not have allowed a polygraph, either. These channels were hung by their own guilty-before-tried mentality, and if there is any self-analysis of their conduct they will have to change their ways. Yeah, right.
Ok, on to the main topic. There’s a certain business ownership group that run a number of successful restaurants in our fine city. They run wonderful eateries – a number of them make appearances on my Best of Sioux Falls section of my website (
A few years ago, these fine folks ventured to the west side of town for an old-fashioned sort of restaurant. While it was a great place, this establishment didn’t perform as well as expected (which is actually quite typical of this overrated, over-developed section of town). After a couple of years, they closed down. Don’t feel bad for them, however, as they reportedly re-sold the property for close to seven figures.
I have a feeling, however, that this situation ate away at these folks. Like Bob Dylan once sang, “there’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all”. A couple of months ago, they announced plans to bring this restaurant back to life, located on a prime spot of city-owned land.
At first, this situation didn’t bother me. I was happy to see it come back. But rumors started to fly about a sweetheart deal that allows them to pay nominal rent – some rumors placed the rent as low as a thousand bucks a month.
Now I’m no real estate agent, but thanks to my family business I have some idea as to typical rents for commercial real estate. The very minimum would have to be around five thousand, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar piece of property go for close to ten thousand.
Knowing this information, I figured these rumors had to be false. There’s no way that under the current climate of close scrutiny of city finances that our elected officials would cut such a sweetheart deal to a city insider. So I put the question up to a friendly face with an office in City Hall.
This person confirmed that a sweetheart deal was reached with these folks, although the figure of a thousand a month was a little low. Believe it or not, I have no problem with the restaurant owners agreeing to such a deal. Hell, I’d take it a minute myself…and that’s the problem. I’m not going to get such an offer, nor is anybody besides a select few city faves, and I’m sure they’ve all received quite a few similar deals that we’ll never hear about.
My contact added that the reasoning behind this low rent was based on the income that location was currently receiving from monthly parking rentals. At approximately fifty buck a month, the city was taking in just over a thousand bucks a month. If the city’s not losing any money, why not rent this land for the same amount?
Here’s what should be the official policy for these sorts of deals. The city should either open these spots for bids (with plenty of contractual covenants to ensure that some fly-by-night operations don’t result in an undesirable winner) or at the very least have a fair market value determined by a unbiased appraiser. When it comes to dealing with the government, there should never be even the slightest appearance of ill conduct.
On a related note, if there’s more than enough downtown parking that we can rid the busiest section of the area of 50 prime spots, why are we also building a new lot three blocks away at the former site of Acme? Isn’t there enough empty spots in the ramp built where the Pomp Room used to be? I just don’t see the need except for the handful of times per year where the entire downtown is closed for bikers, Germans, pseudo-Irish, and other ethnic parties? And judging by the amount of beer sold at these events, they should all be leaving their vehicles at home.


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