|Challenger Allender (L.) & Incumbent Kooiker|
(photos from rapidcityjournal.com)
But neither candidate came up with specifics necessary to document that there is indeed a problem with "red tape." This is actually getting kind of frustrating, if not altogether monotonous, mainly because the age-old complaint about too much red tape at city hall has been an ongoing issue in every mayoral election I remember here, going back to the 1980s, and everyplace else I've ever lived, including L.A. and Chicago. For one thing, I believe "red tape" is endemic to the process of getting things developed and built in any city. Do developers think they exist in a vacuum and should be able to move forward with projects that directly affect hundreds, maybe thousands, of taxpayers without going through an exhaustive permitting process? Of course there has to be some significant amount of time spent clearing numerous hurdles in the approval process. For another, I doubt that they can find friendlier permitting confines elsewhere.
Allender keeps telling us that his first priority is to identify the problems, which is fine and dandy, but I think it's his job as a challenger to have already identified those problems and explain just exactly what he intends to do about them. He's the one attacking the status quo and he should be ready to present us with some specifics. I'm leery about voting for someone who tells me there's a problem but he won't identify it until after he's elected.
Kooiker has the same issue with non-specificity. I do appreciate that he's come up with a list of some things that have indeed changed during his administration, but his vague pronouncement that
Allender thinks we should identify cities that have a streamlined permitting process and copy them. Okay, but all due respect Mr. Allender, why haven't you identified those cities already? Seems like if you're so sure they exist that you'd name them and explain exactly how their systems can be copied here in Rapid City.
Kooiker meanwhile claims to have identified the "thorns" in the streamlining process, but I have yet to see a listing of those "thorns" and just exactly what his plans to do away with them are.
Most frustrating of all is that nobody seems to have identified the mystery developers who they claim are having trouble with all the red tape at city hall. If somebody could name some names for us and explain what the specific problems are this whole dialogue would have a lot more credibility. I've invited comment from those affected by permitting delays in doing business with the City of Rapid City, an invitation that remains open-ended, not stopping with the election. So far there haven't been any takers. Maybe the candidates could be more forthcoming?
Allender, Kooiker . . . you guys need to understand that you can't go around making political claims and charges without backing them up with facts and specifics. So let's hear it. Who's having trouble with red tape at city hall?