|Allender Claiming He's Real|
But Hey, That "D" Isn't A Real "D"
(photo from www.blackhillsfox.com)
To test Allender's diagnosis of anemia for the Rapid City economy I went to the South Dakota Department of Revenue's website. On its taxable sales tables I and found year-to-year comparisons for Rapid City's gross taxable receipts for the period 2011-2014 and found that they went up by an average of 6.3% per year, with a high annual gain of 9.8% and low one of 4.4%. Considering that the U.S inflation rate during the same period has averaged 1.7%, I'd say there has been significant real growth in the Rapid City economy, at least as far as overall sales are concerned. There certainly are other indicators that come to play in this type of analysis, but I believe that year-to-year changes in taxable sales provide a reasonably reliable thumbnail as a measure of economic performance.
Sam Kooiker, on the other hand, seems unduly proud of that management style of his, which I find ridiculous. Kooiker's ham-handedly cavalier strategem of hiring a police chief last year
|Kooiker's 2nd Choice For Police Chief, Karl Jegeris|
You Can't Always Get What You Want.
(photo from blog.keloland.com)
There was some sparring over race relations, perhaps the most important aspect of leadership in Rapid City. The common theme from both candidates was that outreach is a continuing goal, which is fine, though I didn't get a sense from either man that "inreach"--trying to bring more representatives from Rapid City's Indian community into the day-to-day operations of the city--is much of a priority. I look forward to hearing more about this sensitive and compelling issue as the campaign progresses.
As to calling a winner after last night, I'd give the edge to Kooiker. Allender can't sell himself on stylistic differences alone, and Kooiker's connection to a pretty decent economy during his tenure leaves him with a status quo that is an asset to his campaign and a problem for Steve Allender's.
Addendum (added 5/11 @0623): As Don Frankenfeld correctly notes in the comment section below, establishing public policy by a confrontational and/or adversarial group of officials is hardly "nutty" in principle. A "team of rivals" approach has had its successes as Frankenfeld notes, so I retract the word as applied to the concept itself but stand by it as implemented by Kooiker for the reasons I noted above.