The Argus Is Against Progress?

I’ve never bought into the theory that our daily paper has a political bias. Hardcore Democrats like to complain that the Argus is a conservative newspaper, while Republicans jam the talk show phone lines with “proof” of a liberal bias.
Most of these conspiracies are the result of near-sighted people who go out of their way to look for clues. They consider it proof if something semi-positive is said about the other side, or they believe anecdotal facts about supposed relationships decades earlier.
There’s certainly much to complain about when it comes to the Argus, but my rant today has nothing to do with the political affiliations of their reporters and columnists. The problem I’ve had for years and years has been their sheer arrogance. When they express an editorial opinion, in their mind that is the official opinion of this city and anybody who goes against them is just a hater who is against progress.
The decade-long fight for a new Arena is a perfect example. From day one, they’ve lectured their readers on how it needs to be built today, and it can’t be anywhere but downtown. Forget about problems with finances, infrastructure, and traffic…and definitely ignore the fact that 40 years of the existing Arena has not produced the economic impact in the surrounding area that they claim a new facility would produce. (And definitely don’t challenge the lack of facts to support their claims we’ve missed out on countless shows because the Arena’s too small.)
This past Sunday, I made my usual morning run to Black Sheep Coffee to gradually shake off a hangover before the day’s football games. As always, a paper was sitting on an unused table, so I grabbed it to read while Teagan the Ipod shuffled my latest purchases. (Damn, that new Radiohead album is fantastic!)
The day’s editorial headline was their official stance on any plan for a midtown east-west corridor. While I was not surprised that they’re against such a plan, I was shocked that the majority of their reasons were the exact same problems we’re supposed to ignore about a downtown events center.
For example, cost is not a concern for this bound to be under-utilized building, yet suddenly the Argus is worried about the costs of extending 26th or 22nd Street to Marion Road? Incredible.
They also are suddenly concerned about the increased traffic around Sanford Hospital and the University of Sioux Falls. Well, of course they’re worried about their biggest advertiser. It’s amazing to me that they’re so worried about bumper-to-bumper traffic in that part of town, but we’re supposed to be patient when trying to get in and out of a 16,000 seat facility situated between two-lane downtown streets.
To these clowns, the interstate is good enough for those that live on the west side of town. Yeah, it really makes sense to make people loop around the outskirts of the city to get anywhere in the central part of the city.
Maybe it is good enough…for now. But the city continues to expand in that part of the city, and plans must be made now to accommodate those people. Actually, it should have been done twenty or thirty years ago.
In fact, it was back then that the city should have made the right move and not only extend 26th Street but widen both that street and Western Avenue. Like it or not, these are both major streets and they need to be treated as such. Since it wasn’t done then, it should be a priority now.
The reluctance to make such a dramatic move reflects the major problem I see with not only the newspaper but our city’s leaders. They want the best of both worlds. They think we can and should be considered a real city and compete with Omaha and Minneapolis, yet they also act like we’re a small, folksy Mayberry-ish town. We don’t fit in either category, although there are definitely plenty of people around here that remind me of Gomer, Goober, and Barney.


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