Hudson's Patriot Award

One of the most overused terms I hear these days is "patriot". It's maddening how quickly people will call themselves or others by this term. What should be the ultimate compliment has been reduced to self-importance that means nothing more than that the person in question has too high of an opinion of themselves or those that think as they do.

So I'm taking this word back. From time to time, I'm going to anoint a person as my favorite patriot. Today's choice is Thomas L. Stengrim for this wonderful letter to the Argus Leader:

The big question of the day is whether it is a good investment of almost $150 million to build a new events center in Sioux Falls.
In the movie "Wayne's World," Wayne Campbell was promised by a ghostly character, "If you build it, they will come." None of us has a crystal ball to predict if Sioux Falls could fill a 15,000-seat events center to justify this investment. So let's use the best teacher of all: history.
During the past 15 years, the average attendance for the three major sporting teams using the Sioux Falls Arena has been 4,000 fans (give or take a few hundred fans). The proponents of the events center say we need this expanded capacity to attract bigger events. OK. Recently, the NBA came to town (a big event since we are four hours from the closest NBA city), and despite discounted seats and a couple of weeks of heavy advertising, guess how many people were beating down the doors to get into the game? 5,102.
Until we can fill the Arena, building a bigger facility to be 66 percent empty instead of only 40 percent empty makes no sense. Having a Cher concert once every two years or a chance to host an NCAA basketball tournament do not justify gambling $150 million.
If Sioux Falls wants to spend some dollars effectively, it should repair our current roads and start building for future growth. As a specific example, the city should extend four lanes of Cliff Avenue from 57th Street to the city limits before it starts issuing building permits for housing developments and schools in that area.
The problem is road projects are not as sexy to politicians as an events center with their names on a brass plaque in the lobby. To quote the great philosopher Wayne Campbell on whether a new events center is a good idea: "Shaaaya, as if."


Anonymous said…
Most people in this region of South Dakota prefer to go home after work, eat supper, watch some TV, and go to bed. To build anything in the name of entertainment at this point would be a waste of money. The consumer support has never been there, and a "larger venue" viewpoint doesn't fly either. I think that every stupid ape that voted for Mike should be forced to pay a 'bad politician fine'.

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