The Best of Hudsonland

This time of year, everybody – and I mean everybody – runs lists of the best and worst of the year. Some of it is useful, such as the magazine lists highlighting music, movies, and books, but the majority of this stuff exists for no other reason than to fill time.
As I’m a follower and not a leader, I’m here today with my own list. But which category do I fall into? Am I just filling time or is there a real reason for the five minutes of everybody’s time that I’m stealing?
I’d say it’s a little of both. In some respects, I just don’t have the energy to come up with a victim for this week. Yet I probably spent more time coming researching the past twelve months of “Get Out of Town” than I do for any of my weekly rants.
If you haven’t figured it out, yet, I’m here today to present the Top 5 Get Out of Towns of 2005. If I had all the time and space in the world, I’d reprint (or re-read for those of you tuning into the radio) my original rants. Instead, I’ll just give the Reader’s Digest version of my charges against these victims.
5. The local media. I’m sure most of you think I just mean the fine folks at KELO, but in reality they’re all equal offenders. KELO is just the big fish of the very small pond. They all do neighborhood reaction stories; they all just wouldn’t let the Roosevelt bus incident die; and they all go overboard with their weather coverage (is a ten day forecast really an advantage?). KELO earns the majority of my bile, however, for their overuse of the term KELO-Land, particularly when they described a dead member of the military as a “KELO-Land soldier”.
But let’s not forget our daily paper. They also have a lot to answer for, from minor annoyances such as the Link, City Style, and the seemingly million other mini-publications they insert in their publication. (In fact, sometime in the near future I have a tale about how they attempted to illegally monopolize the distribution points currently used by independent publications.) Their worst effort of the year was their poorly conceived Best of Sioux Falls edition, which resulted in a paltry 200 ballots – the majority of them filled out by the employees of one local restaurant that somehow won almost every category.
4. De Knudson. People, please never make the mistake of electing your grandmother to a political post. She’s been nothing but an apologist for Mayor Munson, even turning a press conference set up to explain his actions on the Phillips to the Falls cost overruns into a party to celebrate her hero. I guess she’s the Harriet Myers of our city government.
Later in the year, she again embarrassed herself by helping create the pseudo-controversy concerning the Ultimate Fighting events that had been held in this city for close to a decade without any problems. What a sight it was to see her and Vernon Brown sitting in the front row at the Sidewinder Bar on North Cliff Avenue.
3. Sioux Falls School Board, including Superintendent Pam Homan. While it’s never been one of the most pleasant political posts since there’s no way for any school system to please everybody, this has been a horrible year for our current school board. First there was the Roosevelt bus incident, and the “gotcha” mentality of our local media in covering not only what actually happened but the consequences to both the students and the staff who was supposed to be supervising the late night trip from Rapid City.
Then we had another created controversy concerning the middle school sex education program. Religious fanatics who would never be happy unless there was NO sex education pounced on the unused portion of the materials and monopolized the process to get their way. The school board did nothing but bend over and take it in one of the ways described in one of the offending chapters.
Yet we’re still not done. When Pam Homan was hired as superintendent she promised to move into our city. It was part of her contract but as of yet she has failed to do this because of her horses. As if this wasn’t enough bad publicity, just days after the sex ed controversy, and weeks after the Roosevelt fiasco, she made headlines again for her plans to hold school board hearings under closed doors. Surely somebody should have told her to maybe stay out of the spotlight for a few days.
2. Mayor Munson and his cronies. I know, he’s a really nice guy. Maybe nice guys shouldn’t have high positions, especially when he lets his cronies run the show. I’m not going to go through everything this man has put our city through as it’s all been documented. But it’s clear that he’s in way over his head, particularly after his last Argus Leader interview where he stammered through 20 questions without really answering a single one. Dave, maybe you should forget about running for reelection. After all, your fundraiser two weeks ago that was supposed to attract over 200 people struggled to get 40. Shouldn’t that be a clue?
1. Dan Nelson. For a short time, it appeared that this infamous lemon dealer’s financial and legal problem may extend to our state’s golden boy Senator. Despite the best efforts of a handful of bloggers, Nelson’s “best friend” escaped relatively unscathed but I don’t think we’ll be seeing Nelson’s smiling face in any half hour infomercial in the near future…unless he’s borrowing some cash for “whatever”.
I’m sort of the most proud of this choice because in some regards I actually broke this story. Just a few months before he made headlines, I told the story of a young woman who had to endure weeks of broken promises, unpaid loans, and plenty of lies. Although I didn’t name the person in question, I recently was informed that Nelson and his cohorts figured out her identity and gave her some more undeserved grief.
There you have it – five people that should pack their bags and get the hell out of Dodge. Maybe Nelson could supply them…but then again, they’d probably only make it to Brandon.
Before I sign off, however, I must talk about this week’s poll. This week’s Hudsonland poll consists of these five people and a handful of others. I want to know who my readers think should hit the road. Polls close next Tuesday at 7 p.m., and I’ll announce the results the next morning.


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