Munson's Crazy Veto

Despite the rhetoric you may occasionally hear from me, Sioux Falls is a pretty unique little city. While it’s probably not the Best Little City in America, as Pat Lalley likes to say in every single column he writes in the Argus, this town has an amazing ability to continue to prosper as the rest of the country may be floundering.
Our economy continues to grow, including the housing market. Supposedly, ten people per day move into our community, which obviously leads to more restaurants, retail stores, and other options for activities for our residents.
Due to the increased expansion, it’s inevitable that our city’s boundaries continue to expand. Take a drive around the city’s outer limits and you’ll see new housing and retail developments to the north, south, east, and west.
Along with the good, though, there’s some bad. Crime rates have to increase, and if our Mayor is to be believed we now even have a ghetto. (Look back to past rants to see my opinions on this topic.)
It seems obvious to me that the combination of increased space and crime leads to a need for more police officers. How can anybody even argue against that point? We even have a law that necessitates the need for more police as the city expands.
Councilor Kevin Kavanaugh clearly gets this simple idea, and last week introduced an amendment to the city’s budget that would clear the way for the hiring of six officers to satisfy the 1.5 cops to every thousand people requirement. To pay for these officers, Kavanaugh cut the city’s budget by 1/3 of one percent. This was an across the board cut, with every department sharing in this expense. One third of one percent – that’s such an insignificant number. If your budget is $100,000, this means that $333 was taken away.
If you really analyze the numbers, though, this wasn’t really a true cut. This is money deducted from next year’s budget, which I would bet is uniformly higher than last year’s budgeted dollars. For example, if your department received $90,000 last year and a budget increase brought you up to $100,000 for next year, you would now get $99,667. See how minor these changes really are?
The amendment passed by a 5–3 vote, but our silly little Mayor, who broke a tie-breaker to get that police ratio passed a few years ago, vetoed this amendment last week. This past Monday, the City Council’s attempt to override this veto was defeated by a 5-3 vote, with the deciding vote cast by Munson’s favorite crony, De Knudson.
Why would Munson do something so silly? After all, this was his law, and he’s the one who keeps promoting this idea that the area west of downtown is such a troubled area. And we’re also once again hearing propaganda that “gangs” have returned to town (which always cracks me up).
Munson made the media rounds last week to explain his decision, and as usual he looked like a fool. “I don't want to get to the point when I have to go to the departments and to say the only choice we have is to lay people off or to do a reduction in force. That's not responsible and that's not what I'm going to do”, he incredulously said at one point.
At another point he claimed to be looking at the financial future of the city - “We don't want to get the city in a financial pinch that we can't get out of." Oh the irony of this coming from the man who has never ever looked at the future costs of any of his cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs plans.
In fact, I think the real reason he vetoed this amendment is simple – none of his business buddies downtown could possibly make a cent off the hiring of more officers. He can’t arrange big paydays to his buddies downtown if the money is going to hiring more officers. No, in Munson’s world, you cut crime by letting your pals tear down cheap rental houses so they can build more casinos and office buildings. Who needs cops when you can just kick the lower class out of their homes?


SouthDaCola said…
Though I disgree with that moron 99.9% of the time. I don't think a veto was wise, and should have let the council's vote stand, BUT, I think we have enough police.

Kermit said it best during the council meeting when they voted on it, "Why do we see multiple (3-4) cop cars at scenes" he said it appears we are over staffed.

I think they should have hired 6 more this time around AND Munson should have budgeted for it (he conveniently forgot) But I do think the system needs to change on how we determine how many police we need. I have always believed in quality over quantity, but hey, that makes sense, and we don't have time for that in city government.
Anonymous said…
It was probaby all staged for the sake of damage control, regarding his reputation as a big spender.
A big deal over a non-issue. {complete with the dramatic veto}
A Jodi Schwann brainfart, perhaps?

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