UPDATE II: These are the kind of things Grand Juries investigate

UPDATE II: Daren is sooooo awesome and cool.

The AL reported last night that Ketchum was in negotiations with Legacy since April. Should this be any surprise? Let’s look at previous employees that pulled this;

Erica Beck left the planning office of the city after being forced to write the Sanford Sports Complex Mega-Tif that had nothing to do with blight, setting a precedent moving forward with TIFs. Beck was at least smart enough to bounce around at a couple of little known non-profit agencies before landing at Lloyd Companies. She did a full circle and returned to the city.

Kendra Siemonsma who was the project manager for the Events Center and the Midco Aquatic Center suddenly quit the city and went to work for Midco right after inking the sponsorship deal with them (which included two very ugly signs in Spellerberg Park advertising a Cable Company that has a virtual monopoly in Sioux Falls). Ironically, she is no longer with Midco, and works for Sanford now.

Kevin Smith (who I believe was forced to resign from the city after taking a demotion) took a job with AE2S who does consulting for the city.

While there isn’t much the city can do legally to stop the parking ramp from being built (the bonds have already been sold). They can refuse to do anymore PPPs with Legacy over the next two years as long as Ketchum is VP.  We’ll be watching.

Well, we have known it for a long time, Developers run our city and it’s planning office and it couldn’t get more blatantly obvious;

Daren Ketcham, the former Sioux Falls city official who was paramount in picking Legacy Developments to lead a $50 million parking ramp project in downtown Sioux Falls, began his role as vice president with that same company Monday.

UPDATE: This couldn’t get any richer;

Ketcham won’t be working on one of Legacy’s largest projects, however. The company is involved in the Village on the River mixed-use development under construction along 10th Street east of Phillips Avenue.

The city’s conflict-of-interest ordinance prohibits Ketcham from representing Legacy before the city or any public body for two years involving any project he worked on while employed there.

“It shouldn’t be an issue,” said Drake

LMAO. I’m sure he won’t be asked ANY questions behind closed corporate board room doors about the project. Hey Norm, I’m pretty sure the ‘conflict of interest’ refers to employment as well.

Besides the obvious conflict of interest of going to work immediately for Legacy after just handing them a $20 million dollar parking ramp with taxpayer money, some are questioning what Mayor TenHaken was told, when he was told it, and what he told us. The story goes that when Ketchum handed in his resignation he said who he was going to work for, or at least said it was a major developer in town. After that, he was NOT allowed access to any city computers/data, etc. Big whoop. Who knows what he took on thumb drives before his announcement. But according to the mayor’s office, Ketchum said he wouldn’t go to work for his new employer until late summer/early fall, after finishing up some Guard duties. So was Ketchum completely honest with Paul and his intentions and Paul wasn’t giving it to us straight? I don’t know. My guess is that both of them stretched the truth a bit.

The Erica Beck deal after just working for Lloyd Companies is just as shady. Supposedly she signed some kind of ‘financial disclosure’ yet I have not seen the document, and if it exists, it needs to be for public display on the city website. It should also include at least a 24 month waiting period before she can go back to work for any developer doing business with taxpayers after she quits the city (such as TIF’s or public/private partnerships).

I think it is time a Grand Jury get involved with investigating the DT parking ramp with Legacy. I also think that if TenHaken had at least one ounce of integrity, he would use his power to put the project on HOLD until the rats can be ferreted out.

This wreaks of corruption!

Kentucky Fried Policies

Falls Park, June 21, 2018

TenHaken continues to allow city employees to be hamstrung

We are already seeing the affects of the Home Rule Charter going straight to the head of the new mayor;

Mayor Paul TenHaken won’t repeal a Huether-era executive order that threatens punishment for city employees who share confidential information with the public, despite previously saying he would.

I can about imagine the line of BS he was fed from the HR department about keeping this order;

“Rather than continue the practice of having employees sign confidentiality statements, we felt it would be more efficient to place this provision in policy,” O’Toole wrote in an email then.

But confidentiality in different departments means different things, and that is why a ‘blanket’ policy makes NO sense.

Brekke, though, still believes some of the language in the confidentiality executive order is too vague, especially phrases that say city employees shall not share “sensitive information” and only when it’s related to the “business necessity” of the city.

Because those phrases, Brekke said, aren’t strictly defined, it could be causing “a chilling effect” when it comes to city staff’s willingness to share the government’s business with the public and the media.

“I still think it should be rewritten because I still don’t think it’s appropriate for government,” she said. “That might be appropriate if you work for Apple computers, and you can’t let anything leak out of your system. But when you’re working in government, that kind of policy is overly broad.”

If a full repeal is off the table, Brekke said she hopes to have more conversations with both the mayor and O’Toole about softening the executive order or better defining what is and isn’t confidential.

TenHaken said that’s not out of the question.

“There’s really been no issue with it as it’s currently set up. It’s more optics, and I think that’s what Janet wants to address,” he said. “It’s a new day and maybe we could soften it to make sure city employees are comfortable sharing information.”

If I was Brekke, I would take action with council legislation. During the campaign, the public spoke loud and clear, we need MORE transparency in government, not more of the same. But with this issue, Legacy hiring Ketchum and the fiasco with Public Input, it seems that TenHaken is just giving ‘transparency’ lip service and little else.

A charter revision dictated by a petition drive and voters may be on the horizon, sooner, rather than later.

Jackboots parting gift to South Dakotans

Besides the fact that Marty isn’t too concerned about millions of tax dollars missing in the EB-5 and Gear-Up scandals, he seems to be concerned that Joe Six-Pack in South Dakota isn’t paying his fair share of taxes on a coffee table from Wayfair.

He also used our tax dollars to fight this case, ultimately raising regressive retail taxes NOT only on South Dakotans but millions of other Americans across the country. I really believe this is an issue that Congress should have addressed with a flat rate across the board. This will setup a complicated tax rate system and in the end will only drive up prices of online products that the consumer will have to pay also. Once again instead putting in a fair system of taxation, like income taxes, we will be subject to an octopus of tax rates. Sorry, but this is a huge loss to consumers that will probably not help main street businesses anyway (because online purchases will still probably be cheaper due to volume). In the end, we all lose. Big time.

How does an open floor space building cost $25 Million?

Still puzzled how 4-walls in a rectangular shape can cost $25 million, the EXACT same price tag as the Indoor Aquatic Center. I have seen other similar office buildings in Sioux Falls like this for private commercial contractors run between $9-$12 Million. When taxpayers are footing the bill, shouldn’t we be MORE fiscally prudent? I still think we didn’t need the facility. It’s much cheaper to lease space, use more technology and set up work from home programs. Another unnecessary mortgage our Former Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut created.

Sioux Falls Board of Historic Preservation, June 13, 2018

Cameraman Bruce has attended many meetings of multiple Sioux Falls boards and commissions I have noticed these issues. At this point he’s not singling the Board of Historic Preservation because things are noticed in most of the meetings making you scratch your head and wonder why.

Cameraman Bruce had been asked when the Board of Historic Preservation was and where because there was no required notice of future meetings on the website (potential SDCL 1-25?). A trip was made at 2:00pm on the 13th to City Hall to check if the west entrance door was the posted with notice. No time or date stamp to notes when the meeting was displayed for the public. These notices should have a posting time stamp and a remove date (there were some really old notices still hanging on the doors).

Here were some of the things noticed in this meeting:
1. The meeting was being held in a room with a closed door, not a problem if the meeting is identified.
2. There was no notice of meeting on the door welcoming public in the room.
3. There was no website posting to conform to state open meetings law SDCL 1-25-1.1.
4. The meeting started before the 4:00pm posted meeting time, when the camera was turned on, the first hearing was well underway. The cellphone is used to timestamp the meeting start. To sync multiple cameras in confusing situations, this allows the 4 – 5 camera setups to make sense to the viewers. It just helps to know what times we have to work from. Just for Open Meetings information, this could be a SDCL 1-25 issue.
5. There was no overhead projection to show the images on a common viewing platform so the audience could see what was happening.
6. There was no ability for the members to see the images being discussed causing great confusion, watch the members struggle to understand the issues being discussed.
7. There were no handouts for the audience, another potential SDCL issue.

BTW, this was the last meeting with Tom Keller as the Chairman. He did a good job with the potentially contentious meeting the month before.

In light of the Big Yellow House issues, thinking about this and past meetings attended, how many other potential bad decisions are made because the members and audience were left confused.

Many have been asking why the new derelict looking Copper Lounge building looks so out of place downtown. Look at the brick and see how many different shades are visible. This building’s city owned facade shown in all the drawings and discussions was to be similar to the building destroyed through stupidity. We’re told the builders showed a small sample of the brick to the Board and it was accepted. Having experienced this meeting and others, one or two brick samples doesn’t begin to cover it. The process should be started to have the facade easement returned to the program. This is another situation where the process seems to be lost.

This is not to pick on anyone, especially Diane. This is just a friendly reminder to all the staff running all city meetings:
1. post the meetings timely where they are to be posted
2. post the yearly calendar of meeting dates so the public can plan
3. wait until the legally posted time to start the meeting
4. have the exhibits available for all to view
5. use microphones and sound systems so the audience can hear
6. have AV equipment available to use so all people in the room can understand what issue

How many more Big Yellow Houses are in the waiting? We’ve just finished up with an abusive, secretive mayor who controlled and hid much plus on the 13th the move to the Romantix Annex office building was started. Let’s try to start with an open attitude.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke on Ethics & Open Meetings

Janet Brekke set a new standard for Sioux Falls City Council thought provoking discussion on June 19, 2018. During the discussion of the fake Public Input control ordinance Brekke had to remind the proponents and everyone else what goes into proper process. We must remember, there is nothing lost if everything is in the open following proper process.

The Selberg / Kiley fake Public Input ordinance controversy never had to happen. It was a brain dead proposal to shut off voices they did not want to hear, interfering in proposals they appeared to want hidden from us, the owners and customers of our city government.

To help everyone understand, the city of Sioux Falls is technically a public corporation run through by-laws (A.K.A. Home Rule Charter). The Home Rule Charter gives the administrators certain responsibilities and are answerable to us, the stockholders. We citizens are the stockholders of the corporation, not the special interests who pay money to have more influence or pay platting fees.

The last few years we have been teaching the public how and when they should redress their issues and concerns. This fake issue was shot down by the people, those who showed up and those who couldn’t. It appeared for the time being, the elected board of directors heard the message.

On July 3rd we will need everyone to show up again to make sure the message was received and the Council does the right thing by getting rid of the fake problem. There is other work to be done.

POWER to the PEOPLE

 

Who is ‘Dakota Posts’?

Not that I really care. Like most conservative editorial cartoonists, he really isn’t that funny. Just how many cartoons can you do about Stace Nelson anyway? I don’t know what their obsession with him is anyway? I have felt Stace has been irrelevant for a very long time.

So ‘HW’ who are you? Or are you afraid Stace is going to bop you over the head?

Public Input Compromise passes 1st reading, but not w/o some clever procedural moves

Most would think that the big news of the night was the compromise passing. Than there was the very compassionate ASS chewing by councilor Brekke about Ethics (Bruce, we need to cut that into it’s own video).

But I have to hand it to Councilor Stehly for the the motion and Councilor Starr for seconding the procedural trick of moving item #105 after item #106. See, the 5 councilors that were trying to hoodwink or threaten the other 3 were trying to defer the ordinance that would put public input to the end, but by putting that after the compromise they had no choice but to kill it. They fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

I will say this about public input, those who show up and express their opinions publicly get the first seat at the table. Mysterious Tuthill ghosts who send supposed emails or have supposed conversations at the ‘grocery store’ are at the back of the line. Things ‘happen’ for those who show up.

As for the argument about ‘rich developers’ investing in our community, all I have ever seen is low wage jobs, FREE infrastructure and tax breaks. When they want to truly ‘invest’ in our community, they also get to come to the front of the line.

WALMART at 85th ALL OVER AGAIN

As councilor Neitzert pointed out tonight, we have another planning situation where we are allowing a questionable use of land. I hope by second reading this will get truly vetted.

MIDCO POOL NEIGHBORHOOD PARKING ISSUES

As we pointed out during the indoor pool debate, the VA was expanding and parking would be an issue. It came full frontal tonight when the VA canceled their lease with LifeScape and they were looking to expand parking in an already crowded neighborhood. Props to Councilor Soehl for being the ONLY councilor to vote against this. But as we warned, build the Midco Aquatic Center in this location and the parking problems will begin. They should have built the pool at the Sanford Sports Complex where there is room for parking and expansion. But what do I know, I’m just a blogger who talks to much at public input.