Meet the Candidate

David Zokaites

Sioux Falls City Council: Northeast Candidate

Occupation: Author, political analyst, handyman, retired from information technology.

Education: Ongoing personal study of many political, social, and technical issues; BS Imaging and Photographic Science 1986, Rochester Institute of Technology, One Lomb Memorial Drive, Rochester, NY 14623-5603

Family: I have two adult daughters and a dear sweet lady friend.

Years in Sioux Falls: About 40

What is the most pressing challenge facing our community and how would you work to address it?: There are actually three primary pressing challenges: number one is corruption in city government leading to overpriced construction. A great example of overpriced construction is the parking garage downtown. In 2014, Sioux Falls estimated we could build a 692 space parking garage for $10 million. Instead, the city started a 525 stall ramp for $21 million plus $1.5 million for design changes. Two mayors plus city council share responsibility for this construction. Publicly funded elections would stop politicians from having to sell out for campaign funds and result in more honest government.

Number two is homelessness, particularly homeless alcoholics who ask for money all over town. The city should accept troubled homeless people as they are and not expect them to act like sober adults the moment they step into a shelter. Trauma underlies emotional illness, that underlies addiction, and addiction often underlies homelessness. We should build a shelter for these troubled people. Not only is this the most compassionate approach, it actually saves government money by reducing emergency support.

Number three is the lack of affordable housing. This can be resolved by changing zoning to incorporate ancient ideas of city design: smaller lots with smaller houses clustered together, reduced parking requirements, racial and economic integration, streets on a grid to promote walkability, and more trees and urban art that encourage social connections. A variety of design issues create a housing shortage. If we redesign our city with these goals, housing will become much more affordable.

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