Converting to Uber. And why can’t we have it in SD?

As I’m sitting in the airport café, enjoying a nice breakfast before I have to find my gate, I was pondering the ride I took to get here.

And wondering – why in the heck don’t we have Uber in South Dakota?

Now, it’s not perfect. That whole surge pricing/multiplier thing is confusing, so a ride I thought was going to cost me $11-15 ended up costing me thirty. 

It doesn’t explain ahead of time that the multiplier is added on top of the fare instead of being the fare. But, my ride was pleasant, arrived on my location within two minutes, and I didn’t have to leave a tip.

In a taxi, with the tip, the ride would have been $30 anyway, so it was a wash.

The ease and convenience of using Uber was tremendous. So, of course, in South Dakota it runs up against attitudes like this:

Assistant City Attorney Keith Allenstein said though the companies themselves would fall outside of Sioux Falls’ jurisdiction because they don’t operate local brick and mortar dispatch centers, existing city rules governing both independent contractors and taxi cab drivers would apply to ride-hailing drivers.

“If they keep a vehicle as a vehicle for hire, then these do apply,” Allenstein said. “I don’t think there’s a need to change anything in ordinance right now to regulate the drivers.”

Uber drivers are independent contractors and in Sioux Falls would need to apply for operators permits, have their vehicles inspected, obtain independent contractor licenses, provide proof of insurance and get commercial license plates. Sales tax remittance would also be required.


But others aren’t so sure the rules should be tinkered with. Councilor Rex Rolfing said although he’s always open to revisiting city ordinances, certain parts of what’s on the books are necessary for public safety and fairness. Waiving the sales tax requirement, for instance, would create an uneven playing field between Uber drivers and traditional taxi cabs, he said.

“Who would (pay) it if they didn’t do it?” Rolfing asked. “It’s like doing things in a cash-only situation. That’s not going to be good for everybody in the long run.”

Read it here.

With attitudes like that, we should not be shocked if it’s reported that politicians like Rolfing bemoan the use of an automobile over the horse and buggy.

With attitudes like that at the city level, it also becomes incumbent upon legislators at the state level to provide a framework for modern notions of the taxi service, since local officials are still wondering where all the dinosaurs went.

In our society, one certainty is progress. In all aspects, we simply don’t do things as we have for the past hundred years. In business, “It’s the way we’ve always done things” is a recipe for failure and extinction. 

If business finds better and more efficient way of doing things, such as a modern notion of the taxi, government should be there to facilitate. 

So, legislators….  If the city of Sioux Falls is too bound by inertia and a desire to be trapped in the past, ignore those still looking for dinosaurs and standing around. Take the lead. 

Augie AFP attendees catch some press on presidential nomination

from Newsmax, some of my fellow South Dakota AFP attendees were mentioned in a new story today on whether they like Trump:

A group of college students in a Republican club at Augustana College in South Dakota felt he was too much of a bully.

“He’s mocking it with his presence,” said Cara Beck, 20, as she stood with five male students between 19 and 21 years of age. Their picks were Bush, former Ohio Governor John Kasich, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Rubio.

Read it here.

Hanging out in the #dream15 Blogger’s Lounge

Giving up on the convention chairs for a moment, as my cell phone was needing the attention of a power source, I exited the breakout session I was hanging out in regarding LTE’s and Talk Radio, and wanted to go exploring,

I passed by the Microsoft XBOX ONE lounge, as I’m afraid I’d enjoy that too much, and it would be a huge time suck.. And I ended up wandering into the blogger’s lounge.

It’s equipped with a TV feed from the floor for the main session, and power outlets. Lots and lots of power outlets. And there’s a cadre of bloggers from national organizations, including the nice gal to my right from Reuters, whom I struck up a conversation with. She asked me to let whoever comes to reclaim the iPhone cord she’s using that she wasn’t trying to steal it – she just needed to plug in badly.

There’s chatter in the room about the candidates, mainly Trump, and how the candidates are going about countering him wrong. One of them quipped that the candidates should point out regarding the Proposed Trump wall for Mexico “Ronald Reagan challenged Gorbachev to tear down that wall, yet here you are declaring that you want to build one.”

And that was a good point.

It was quite lively in here for a while, but now finds itself surprisingly quiet, as people scan the net, or peck out articles.

It turns out the owner of the appropriated power cord did come back in, with it turning out to be an AFP staffer. And yes, she was cool with the gal from reuters using it.

Thune Delivers Weekly Republican Address

Thune Delivers Weekly Republican Address

“As the 114th Congress continues, we’re going to keep fighting for Americans’ priorities here in Washington and working to give the American people the efficient, effective, and accountable government they deserve.”

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, delivered this week’s Republican address to the nation. Thune taped the address in Sioux Falls, S.D., and highlighted the growing list of accomplishments the Senate Republican majority has been able to achieve on behalf of the American people.

Earlier this week, Thune penned an op-ed in which he outlined some of his recent Senate accomplishments that have benefited South Dakota, including multiple Commerce Committee bills that have cleared the committee and several that have passed the full Senate.

The audio of the address is available here, the video will be available here, and you may download the address here.

A full transcript of the address follows:

“Hi, I’m Senator John Thune from the great state of South Dakota.

“When Republicans were campaigning last fall, we made a promise to the American people: If we were elected to the majority, we would get Washington working again.

“That wasn’t a campaign slogan.

“That was a commitment.

“And we’ve been working hard to deliver on that promise ever since.

“The first eight months of 2015 have been some of the most productive in recent memory.

“In the Senate, we’ve built a track record of success, with bill after bill to deliver real results for the American people.

“One thing we were determined to do this year was pass a balanced budget.

“It’s hard to believe, but the last time the House and Senate passed a joint balanced budget resolution, Facebook hadn’t been created yet.

“That was something Republicans were determined to change.

“Every American family has to balance its budget, and Americans have a right to expect that the federal government will do the same.

“This spring, we passed the first House and Senate balanced budget resolution since 2001 – and we did it without raising taxes.

“In addition to a balanced budget, another Republican priority is expanding opportunities for American workers.

“The Obama administration has presided over the worst economic recovery in 70 years.

“As a result, too many hardworking families are stuck living paycheck to paycheck, with few chances for advancement and little access to better-paying jobs.

“That’s not the way it should be in America.

“In June, the House and Senate passed a trade bill that will support the creation of more good-paying jobs for American workers and help American farmers, ranchers, and small businesses sell their products and services around the globe.

“The transportation bill the Senate passed last month would also help American workers by providing funding for important construction projects that would support tens of thousands of jobs.

“The economy in my home state of South Dakota, where I am today, depends heavily on a strong, efficient transportation system, and the bill we passed would give states and local governments the resources they need to improve our nation’s highways, roads, and bridges.

“Another important bill the Senate took up in July was the Every Child Achieves Act, a major education reform bill that would help get Washington bureaucrats out of the way of our children’s education.

“This legislation would end burdensome federal mandates that have resulted in problems like ‘teaching to the test’ and restore control of education to those who know students best – like parents, teachers, and local school boards.

“Still another Republican priority is protecting Social Security and Medicare for our nation’s seniors, and in April we passed the first real entitlement reform in over a decade.

“The bill we passed extends Medicare’s solvency, protects seniors’ access to care, and provides significant savings to taxpayers over the long term.

“We also took action this year to provide increased mental health resources to our veterans, who have sacrificed so much for our country.

“Finally, Republicans remain committed to the safety and security of our nation.

“Earlier this year, the Republican-led Congress passed legislation to ensure that the American people, through their elected representatives, would have a voice in any nuclear agreement with Iran.

“The importance of this legislation became apparent last month when the Obama administration agreed to a deeply flawed deal with Iran that will bolster Iran’s ability to support terrorist activities, increase its access to conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, and advance its nuclear research and development.

“Without the legislation we passed earlier this year, there would be no chance for the American people to weigh in on one of the most important national security issues facing our country.

“Eight months into the Republican-led Congress, we’ve changed the way Washington operates.

“We’ve brought Democrats and Republicans together to solve the challenges facing American families, and we’ve been able to put forward real solutions as a result.

“In all, we‘ve passed more than 80 bills to grow our economy, protect our nation’s citizens, strengthen our security, and reform government.

“And we’re just getting started.

“We’ve accomplished a lot over the past eight months, but we know we have a lot more work to do, and we have a president who is fighting us every step of the way.

“As the 114th Congress continues, we’re going to keep fighting for Americans’ priorities in Washington and working to give the American people the efficient, effective, and accountable government they deserve.”


Great time at AFP #Dream15

Sorry if I haven’t been posting many things here – it’s been a busy couple of days. Great breakout sessions on a number of topics, as well as visits from Presidential hopefuls. 

Bush was good, Jindal electrified the crowd with his red meat conservatism, and it’s been a lot of fun. Sharing lots of fellowship with attendees such as Rep Steve Westra, Larry Rhoden, Rep Don Haggar, Dale Bartscher, Rep Les Heinemann, and many others in a South Dakota delegation of thirty plus.

I’m trying to remain current on Twitter, so make sure you get the latest on the happenings at @SoDakCampaigns

Hearing rumors….. Tieszen to house?

As I’ve been chatting the AFP attendees up, I’ve heard a rumor more than once regarding one of their legislative colleagues.

What I’m hearing is that State Senator Craig Tieszen, who is termed out of the Senate, may be considering running for a house seat in that District, currently held by Dan Dryden and Jeff Partridge.

There’s still a lot of time to pass, and it’s just rumor at this point. But, it’s one of the rumors I keep hearing.