Think 29

Normally I don’t promote Dale Carnegie-ness, but I love that my old buddy is still having great ideas.

Mr. Hanten got me into local politics, and I will be forever grateful.

The city attorney references ‘Wikipedia’ in defense of Mayor Huether’s state of the city address

I guess David couldn’t find any case law that applied.

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I am writing this from memory since I did not take many notes about the ethics hearing today (video to come soon). The ethics hearing was held today in the old council chambers at city hall at 2:30 and lasted for two hours.

Bruce Danielson filed three ethics violations, one dealing with the conflict of interest with the chair of the commission, and two referring to the mayor’s violation of city ordinance in doing the state of the city address before the election as a campaign event.

It started with the chair (retired CPA Greg LaFollette) having a conflict in the previous ruling (he didn’t recuse himself from the last ethics proceedings) because Bruce’s family business had an accounting contract with the chair and it ended with Greg making a bad decision (according to the IRS) and costing the company around $100,000. They terminated his contract because of it, and Greg refused to help them resolve the issue or even talk to them about the mistake.

The chair ‘claimed’ that he did not recall Bruce or his family’s business, to which Bruce responded by saying it was disheartening that the chair had memory loss and because of these memory issues, he probably shouldn’t be chairing the commission (it was one of Greg’s biggest clients at the time, early 1980′s) and the mistake was detrimental to the company and cost them a lot of money, to which the chair didn’t remember any of it, at the beginning of the hearing anyway, but then suddenly had memory relapse.

Bruce said,

“If the Chairman of the Ethics board has that kind of a memory problem than we really have a real problem with the whole ethics system within this city.”

Knudtson: “Clearly you have bad feelings”

Not bad feelings toward LaFollette personally, but Distress? Yes there may be a feeling of distress because the system is constantly stacked against the average person from trying to work in system.

Greg responded by saying the accusations were lies and slanderous, which I found to be an odd indictment since just minutes before, he said he couldn’t remember Bruce being a client but all of sudden recalled the incident enough to accuse Bruce of lying. I guess the IRS would be the only one to know the real answer. Even if the chair was not at fault or disagreed with the IRS’s evaluation of the incident, wouldn’t a CPA remember this? Even if it was 30 years ago? Seems pretty significant, costing a client $100K in taxes and getting your contract pulled.

I also wondered why the chair chose to ‘wave confidentiality’ and have this hearing in public (instead of executive session) before the hearing started knowing that his character and previous business dealings with Bruce? It’s one thing to accuse Bruce of ‘character assassination’ during the proceedings, but the chair had the option of having it behind closed doors. It’s as he was looking for the pity vote because Bruce (well really the IRS) were picking on him.

But it’s gets better, besides the Ronald Reagan moment by the chair, not recalling, then recalling when his butt was on the line, the commission felt that he did nothing wrong, and then the chair not only did not recuse himself from the remaining proceedings, he still felt he had no conflicts.

Even if he felt he did nothing wrong, he still should have recused himself based on the two doing business together. Even if the experience was positive, there is still a conflict.

And in a very strange twist, but expected, the city attorney recuses himself from advising the commission and decides he is the mayor’s defense attorney (the mayor did not appear, apparently he is too busy for these proceedings, according to the city attorney, yet Mike has time to visit every radio station in town to do interviews and does a press conference every time he passes gas.)

So instead of the city attorney defending the charter and giving legal advice to the commission members (his real job at these proceedings), he defends the mayor, and goes as far as accusing Bruce of harassing a public official with frivolous complaints.

This did not sit well with me.

As I have stated before, elected officials have to listen to grievance whether they like it or not, part of job of being elected and compensated to represent the public. When I look at a harassment charge being thrown against a citizen in reference to an elected official, my first assumption would be a physical or verbal threat against the official, which is intolerable IMO, but questioning an official’s ethical practices in reference to city ordinance? Hardly harassment, more like due diligence and healthy for a democracy.

The commission didn’t feel the state of the city address was in violation of election ordinances, at one point the city attorney even quoted ‘Wikipedia’ by saying state addresses are supposed to be exuberant. Whatever that means.

I testified that it wasn’t just the meeting itself (which I contested as a graphic designer for 20 years was loaded with language that was meant to ‘sell’) I said that the timing of the address proves it was a campaign stump speech, since Huether in his previous 3 years NEVER did his state address that early and suddenly decided to move this address up before the election.

The commission countered that it may have been done because of scheduling issues. (that’s a good argument, if he would have scheduled it later instead of earlier then previous years) I responded by saying that it would be nice if the mayor was in attendance to verify that, but he wasn’t, so we would never know, I even went as far as saying that it was so blatantly obvious it was done to make it into a campaign event that I want to beat my head against the wall when I see the commission having no issue with the ethics of the meeting move.

Throughout the hearing, commission members consistently were interrupting and making excuses for the mayor (they are appointed by him). This is a point of order, because they should not be arguing their case until a motion has been made to vote on the violation. It was clear they were countering us and had made up their minds that the mayor was innocent and their decision was made in advance before listening to testimony. They were not listening to the facts laid out before them, that the meeting and the city finance yearly report being bumped up was clear motive to having this address before the election to use it as a quasi-campaign event.

As for the city attorney’s statement about ‘harassing’ elected officials, I reminded the city attorney during my testimony that it is citizen’s constitutional right to share grievances with elected officials, and it just didn’t seem right that he was accusing citizens of harassing an elected official when all they were doing is practicing their 1st amendment rights, and he should know better. But apparently the defense of mayor Huether includes ignoring citizens constitutional rights.

Former Central District candidate, State Senator and daughter of SD Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rebecca Dunn also echoed my concerns, she was a little more upset about it, she went as far as even asking what recourse do citizens have if they are being accused of frivolousness and harassment by the very city attorney who represents the ethics commission? She further said as I did, that it was our right to question the ethics of elected officials. If anything, I would say the mayor’s unethical treatment of the city charter was a form of harassment of law abiding citizens of this town, but apparently we no longer have recourse to address these violations.

Of course, as expected, the commission threw out the complaints saying they were bias and frivolous. I guess in this town, it is perfectly acceptable to use tax dollars to campaign with as long as you can get away with lying about your true intentions. Something the city attorney and ethics commission did very well today.

This is NOT over.

SF Board of Ethics meets again tomorrow at 2:30 PM

Should be a fun one; (PDF DOC: 4-23-Agenda-boe)

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Will ‘Shape Places’ be tweaked?

Before the election I warned that passing Shape Places would not force the city council to tweak the bad parts of the ordinance.

There has already been questions shot at the Planning Department as to when these tweaks would take place, no plans as of yet.

I do know that SOME councilors have asked for another review of Shape Places to shore up some of the issues with the ordinance. Hopefully today at the 4 PM informational it will be brought up in open discussion.

I was told last night that former city planner, Steve Metli was against the ordinance change and had a post about it on Facebook. He said something about beaucrats in the city planning office having to much control of planning. In other words, many of the checks and balances that have existed before have been taken out.

I wish Mr. Metli would have been more publicly vocal about Shape Places before the election, if his FB post is indeed true.

If someone is friends with him on FB, would love to see his take in the comments section.

Another governor endorsing a state program during an election cycle?

Here’s a question for the State of South Dakota, the SD Governor’s office, Attorney General’s Office and the SD social services departments, “WTH?” On what planet are you?

The state of South Dakota is spending major money using the Governor’s wife as a cutesy spokesperson with her grandchildren(?) encouraging the foster children business.  Her husband is an announced candidate for governor of South Dakota. Is this state sponsored advertising for Denny’s reelection campaign? Is this a feel good commercial to enhance the Governor’s image after the children’s mess he is actually in? Remember Aberdeen. Remember Mette. Remember Schwab and Taliaferro. Also, remember the $50,000,000 the Daugaard Children’s Home Society gets to foster out children into so many abusing families. How the Mette case brought up the ugly mess of the South Dakota’s Indian Child Welfare Act violations.

http://articles.aberdeennews.com/2012-03-26/news/31242621_1_richard-p-mette-guilty-pleas-fran-sippel

http://articles.aberdeennews.com/2012-02-07/news/31036275_1_richard-p-mette-hard-drives-and-thumb-guilty-pleas

http://articles.aberdeennews.com/2012-05-01/news/31524743_1_face-felony-face-charges-taliaferro-and-schwab

So in the disaster aftermath of Mette, is South Dakota state government using the First Lady in TV commercials and a fancy website to clean up their image? In normal campaign seasons South Dakota state law would prohibit the use of the Governor’s family or images once the candidacy is announced. Just recently NJ Gov. Chris Christie got in big time trouble using his family in a PR campaign.

Where are Denny’s political opponents? Do they not understand child stealing, selling, renting and other abuses are just not right?

Just thought I’d mention it and see how long it takes for the commercials to be removed from broadcast.

http://www.fosteronesd.org/MeetTheFirstLady/

Was local media purposely dismissive of another indoor pool location before the election?

NOW, our local media tells us about another location for an indoor pool, only a few weeks after the election;

Brown also has reached out to neighboring property owners, the Sioux Falls School District and the city. She had visions of an indoor swimming pool on her land, similar to how the schools, park, community center and library are co-located nearby.

“The city has not showed any interest in that even though they’re looking for an indoor facility and the people who live around me would not be unhappy,” Brown said.

Maybe our local paper got this story after the election? Not sure. I never heard a peep about the Lacey family proposal before the election, not even a rumor, and I know several politicos who know Brown. I would have thought I would have at least heard an inkling of this proposal.

It’s no secret, my idea for an indoor pool would be either to build it where it can be expanded with a private/public partnership or in conjunction with the school district. The crazy part about the proposal was it was sitting in front of our faces all this time. I’m curious as to who Brown is talking about when she says ‘the city showed no interest’. Who with the city or either the school district told her they were not interested? I have never seen this presented to the city council or school board. So was it the planning office? Parks and recreation or the mayor’s office that said NO? It is also very curious that this proposal wasn’t mentioned until after the election. While I find Schwan’s article intriguing I am wondering how this got buried.

If a man shoots himself in the stomach using a branch in the woods, and nobody is there to witness it, is Denny and Marion still guilty of ignorance?

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More EB-5 fun times;

Of the documents released by USCIS, the most surprising relate to the TransCanada project. Bollen made the initial application in May 2011 to include TransCanada as a qualifying EB-5 project.

By that time, Gov. Dennis Daugaard had been in office five months. Benda, who had not been retained by Daugaard as a Cabinet secretary, had gone to work for Bollen and SDRC.

Tony Venhuizen, Daugaard’s director of policy and communications, said state officials didn’t learn until more than two years later — last summer — that Bollen had applied with the USCIS to supply EB-5 financing to Trans-Canada. By then, state and federal officials were investigating the state’s program.

“He told them he wanted to get into the pipeline business,” Venhuizen said, saying the TransCanada information was a surprise.

But one thing the state officials said they didn’t learn until questioned last week by the Argus Leader was that Bollen also was trying to expand SDRC’s service area into Montana and Nebraska.

“That was not a detail that he mentioned,” Venhuizen said.

I love how the current administration and the Rounds administration act like Benda and Bollen were just working alone, because, you know, like the governor doesn’t have time to monitor millions of dollars in economic development money. I could just hear Denny and Marion having the conversation as Marion was leaving office, “Yeah, Dennis, really not sure what Benda and the boys are doing up in the ED office, but you can trust them, they are really good at managing themselves, heck, they never ask for my assistance ever, sometimes it will be months before I even talk to them.” Dennis responds, “Cool, it is kind of how I handled fostering native children out to white foster families. Once they left Children’s Home Society, and you cut us a check, I was pretty much hands off, guess you can’t say that about Mr. Mette . . .”

My Easter greeting from Dr. Bosworth

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As I was riding my bicycle yesterday afternoon past the Center for Life church DT Sioux Falls, Dr. Bosworth was leaving in her truck, and she waved at me. Uh, okay. Well at least she wasn’t pointing her heat at me. BTW, I have never had blogger relations with that man (Cory H.)

SOS (Save our Summer) petitioner to be on Knobe

end-of-summer-bash-250

Wendy McDonnel, petition circulator, will be on Viewpoint University today (Good Friday) Around 5:30(?).

The Sioux Falls School Board has voted on the school calendar for the next three years. Some folks are not happy with the results and are circulating petitions on the subject. Wendy McDonnel will tell us why they don’t like the calendar and what they want to put in its place.

Viewpoint University from 4-7 today on this website and 1140 KSOO.

Big changes coming to DaCola, with your help!

help_wanted_sign

Sometimes my bravado and humility like to fight each other. The results? See below;

I am looking for help in updating DaCola, from my readers. This is what I am looking for;

• AD Sales. I will pay a very healthy commission on any ad sales on my site. I will also share this revenue with my contributors;

• Guest editorial cartoons

• Arts, food and entertainment writers

• Parody writers and videographers

• Podcasts and Sioux Falls news videos. I haven’t worked out all the deets, but want to get a discussion going. Email me: fb.art@sio.midco.net