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City election had no big surprises, but loud message

by Greg Belfrage

The results are in the Sioux Falls election and there were no big surprises.

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether won another term. Despite Greg Jamison's effort to brand the mayor as disconnected and out of touch, residents decided Huether deserved another four years.

Jamison won a respectable 44 percent of the vote. I was very impressed with him during our mayoral forum. He was clearly knowledgeable and passionate. He was also articulating some good ideas on some very specific problems.

But Jamison's frequent criticism of Huether over the past several years never resonated with me. I've remarked often that Jamison needed to do a better job picking his battles rather than criticizing Huether's every decision. That sort of ongoing criticism wears thin fairly quickly.

I knew Jamison was in big trouble when I saw the Nielsen poll of a few weeks ago. Only 3 percent of respondents had "no opinion" on the job Huether was doing. Love him or hate him, everyone has an opinion on Mayor Mike.

By contrast, 20 percent had "no opinion" of the job Jamison was doing on the City Council. He was largely invisible to one of every 5 likely voters. It would have been a far different campaign if Greg had spent his time on the City Council pushing his ideas as aggressively as he did as a candidate for mayor these past few months.

I also believe most people are looking to vote for someone who inspires them...someone who has a clear vision for the future and is aggressive enough to get there. It's usually not enough to criticize the other guy, especially when there's a strong perception that the other guy is getting good things done.

Voters spoke loudly on the issue of snow gates, approving them by a 75 percent margin. The only surprise there is that the margin of victory wasn't even larger.

The proposed southside Walmart and Shape Places were also approved by a healthy 65 percent of voters. The vote on both issues was nearly identical, leading me to believe that folks voted for both of them or neither of them. The two issues were clearly connected in the minds of voters.

The only ballot issue to go down was the outdoor pool at Spellerberg. It wasn't even close, as 70 percent of voters decided against replacing the outdoor pool at Spellerberg. Yesterday's vote clears the way for discussions of an indoor pool at that location.

I suspect there was some "voter's remorse" evident in the Spellerberg vote. I heard from several who wished they had voted for an indoor pool and Rec Center at Drake Springs. They were intent not to let the opportunity pass by again.

I have previously mentioned the backlash that I perceived was growing against the neighborhood groups. There's certainly evidence of backlash in yesterday's vote.

Sioux Falls is a growing community. People realize that facilities and large commercial developments need to go someplace. They can't all be relegated to the rural outskirts of town.

There seems to be an understanding that sometimes things may not be best for us individually, but they're best for the community.

Greg Belfrage ( @belfrageshow ) is heard 6am-9am on KELO 1320 AM and 107.9 FM. Greg can be contacted at greg.belfrage@mwcradio.com.