Coincidence?

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Hotel Sign from the new Sanford Hospital Hotel.

As I was watching the press conference for the announcement of a RFP for a new downtown mixed use parking ramp, Darrin Smith presented several projects that have been done DT and around town. He also brought up the proposed hotel at Elmwood golf course, you know the one that for some reason taxpayers have to help build (still don’t know why the city needs to be in the lodging business, I guess probably for the same reason we are involved in indoor tennis, indoor pools and indoor hockey.)

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The proposed Elmwood Hotel

What I found curious is that the same ‘brand’ is going to be at Elmwood as at Sanford. Is this just mere coincidence, or does Sanford have their hands in the hotel deal at Elmwood, and maybe that is why the city is going to be an investor?

See, Sanford runs the hotels at the Sanford Sports Complex and at the Hospital. Will they have a partnership at the golf course to offer some kind of golfing perk to visitors at their ‘other’ hotels?

Not sure?

I also find it a bit odd that the city has to invest in this project. I think a better approach (especially for the taxpayer’s wallets) would to have the hotel built and ran privately and they can lease the land from the city. Why do we need to be involved with building and investing in a hotel?

Am I missing something here?

Happy Holidays from Ferguson

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Commissioner Barth’s questions to Auditor Litz

These are the questions Jeff planned to ask Auditor Litz in the last County Commission meeting until the discussion got diverted;

Please consider giving specific and complete answers to these questions during the “election review” agenda item on November 18. My hope is that we can proceed in a calm, deliberative manner.

In the run up to the General Election two incorrect absentee ballots were discovered mailed to a relative and a friend of a Legislator. Rather than creating a potential political dustup I took those ballots to you quietly, asked you to fix them and to audit your ballot inventory to assure me that correct ballots were going to the correct voter.

When I asked you about incorrect absentee ballots during the Canvass on November 7 you responded that there “were only two of them” and that you “took care of them”. When pressed you ignored the issue.

Then on November 12 you told KELO TV that there were twenty incorrect absentee ballots.

1) Were there two or twenty incorrect absentee ballots?
2) Did you know election night that these wrong absentee ballots were coming in?
3) Is twenty the exact number or a general approximation?
4) If the issue was voters putting the ballot in a wrong ballot box how could that happen with absentee ballots?
5) The counting machines have a printer attachment that notes when it reads an error on a ballot. What do the machines say?

In the 2014 City Election wrong ballots were mailed out on absentee requests. When candidate Rebecca Dunn brought two of the erroneous ballots to your attention you threatened legal action against her. You then blamed the Secretary of State for corrupting your data base.

1) How many incorrect absentee ballots were counted in the City Election?
2) In a related matter, how many wrong ballots were handed out at the “Voting Centers”?

In the June “General Election Primary” wrong ballots were again mailed out. You accepted responsibility for printing wrong ballots and again pointed at data base issues. Going forward from there you tasked your staff with correcting the database before the November election.

1) How many incorrect absentee ballots were cast in the Primary?
2) Were you able to recall all the “printing error” ballots that were sent out?

These absentee ballot issues are 100% human error. Elections are a sacred responsibility given to our county. We must do better.

Thanks, Jeff Barth

 

There was some other confusion. Precinct 3-12 cast votes in Legislative District 9 and 11. It is not listed as a precinct in District 11 but if you go to the SDSOS website the results show Tom Cool won that precinct 6-5. Another reason folks are confused.

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Why should we be concerned about Municipal Bond borrowing

Salon has written a great story about the in’s and out’s of municipal borrowing.

When I listen to Tracy Turbak I get this very uncomfortable feeling. There is always something missing in his monthly reports, things are just too pat. Take for instance the fee structures of Dougherty and others bond companies. Remember when Bob Litz stepped into it with the bond consultant in Minneapolis? How about the Augustana deal recently, who was the seller of the bonds? The more open the process, the more we see interesting details making you go Hmmmm . . .

Take the EC bonds for instance. We borrowed $115 million, the pay off amount is around $180 million. That is $65 million in interest payments we will never see again or be able to use on other infrastructure projects. We also are not taking into account the millions that we will spend over the 30 year loan period on maintenance. Do you think SMG, Ovations or the hundreds of promoters who will be profiting from will chip in on those expenses – taking a cut in profits? LOL!

Do officials tend to know that these deals are structured in such a disadvantageous way? Do they think that for whatever reason they’ll make it work or outsmart the banks? Or do they often not know what they’re getting into?

One of the big problems is that often the banks really downplay the risks or misrepresent the likelihood of the risks occurring. Often, government officials are really not aware that the risks could actually materialize. One of the things that’s featured prominently in the report is interest rate swaps. With interest rate swaps, in particular, one of the big problems was that there’s all sorts of risks that were embedded in the deals, and in the paperwork there’s all these disclosures that say these risks exist, but when the banks actually pitched the deals the pitch said not to worry about those risks. Or they would make projections of all the money the city could save but those projections were all based on none of those risks materializing.

I encourage you to read the entire article.

We have to realize as a community, we are over $400 million in debt. I believe almost half of that comes from entertainment palaces, this in a community that has almost half of it’s school children on FREE and reduced lunches and homeless people dying in parking ramps across the street from city hall. We as a city need to reign in our debt.

NEW PAINTING

“Eye of the Beholden”
22 x 28″, Mixed media and Acrylics on Masonite, custom painted frame.

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Pitty Patt Powwers still ‘Butt Hurt’

It seems the man who manages the Dakota Wuss College is still butt hurt I caught him running a business that was in direct conflict with his job in the SOS’s office. Call a whaabulance, maybe they can pull threw Burger King’s drive thru on the way to the crybaby hospital so he can pick up a fish sandwich for America’s #1 Catholic.

Pat’s diatribe about me was actually hilarious (he seems to be confused about the separation of government and religious organizations, and can’t seem to figure out why I ‘hate’ his brand of the Republican party). Because you are whackadoodle. And many other Republicans agree with me that your side of the party is noxious.

The under-super-sized Argus did a story about me today, and quickly Patty had to attack (ironically, I stand by most of those quotes, because they are true.)

First to the story in the 100-Eyed Monster rag;

Barth applauds Ehrisman for announcing his desire to be appointed during the public comment portion of a commission meeting.

Pat seems to think that Barth is going to vote for me. He is NOT. I had a private meeting with Jeff after the meeting, and specifically told me he would be voting for a Democrat for the appointment, and didn’t offer me much hope that the Republican caucus on the commission would be voting for an independent.

As I have said, this is more about the process to me then getting appointed. I will put my all into it, and use it as a learning experience. Trust me, if the county commissioners think my recital on Tuesday was over the top, they haven’t seen anything yet.

Now to Pat’s comedy piece;

Brown says bloggers like Ehrisman cross the line and get personal, like when a campaign picture of Brown with his daughter was the target of negative remarks on the blog.

“In one instance, a blogger called me a part-time husband and part-time father.  It’s really hurtful to family,” Brown said.

“I know what he’s talking about when it comes to his daughter. That was a political mailing he put out.  He used his daughter as a political prop.  He started it,” Ehrisman said.

Vernon hasn’t liked me since I did a toon of him having a sunburnt bald head in Drake Springs Pool. He couldn’t wait to drag me into the discussion. I don’t much care for politicians who wear their religion on their sleeves or use their children as political props. Okay, so you can read the Bible and you figured out reproduction, how does that qualify you to govern? Just look at Pat, he has figured out how to reproduce (several times) but the one chance he had to serve the public, he blew it because his greed to sell bumper stickers and shirt pins got the best of him.

Pat thinks this statement I made about religion should disqualify me to work in public office. Pat, I am applying to be a public servant not the janitor of our local mosque.

Why do the Jews embrace the Old Testament? Because it justifies killing people. Why do Muslims embrace the Koran? Because it justifies killing people. Christians supposedly embrace the New Testament (which justifies peace) but most of them choose to ignore those teachings. People ask why I don’t believe in religion.

And what is untrue about that statement? Nothing, and that is why it scares the crap out of supposed ‘followers’.

But this one had me rolling;

“The best knickname for Catholics I have ever heard was ‘Minnow Munchers’ because they eat fish on Fridays during Lent. Jesus fried in the sun all day, and the catholics eat Mickey D’s $.99 Filet O’ Fish, the sacrifice seems comparable.”

This has been a long running funny in my family, which are a mix of Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists. I often chuckle at the notion of eating fish on Friday is a comparable sacrifice to a cruixifiction. Did you know during Ramadan (Their version of Lent), Muslims fast the entire day (sun up to sun down). Can you imagine Pat fasting an entire day? BAHAHAHAHA!

If Jeff Barth, the man who wants to be Dem Chair, is truly seeking congeniality and independence to assume the vacant position on the Minnehaha County Commission, a word of advice. He’d better keep looking.

As I said above, he is.

 

Ask the Mayor; Greatest Applause Ever!

Besides talking about how having the flu is awful (Yah think?!) And not being able to solve the problems of bad drivers in Sioux Falls, even if he is one of the (greatest) mayors of Sioux Falls ever.

He brings up that Sioux Falls is one of the best places in America to retire. He seems to be dumbfounded by that. Well, let me explain it to you Mr. Banker(?) Business acumen. We have no state income taxes. I wonder what percentage of those retired folks who have a SD mailbox actually live here all year long?

I waited on a retired couple this last year that was celebrating their new ‘residency’ in SD. They were from Oregon. They admitted to me that all of the paperwork was finished, and they couldn’t wait to get in their RV and leave. They also told me they would only vote in National elections since they didn’t have a clue about local or state politics.

The Mayor also touched on building permits and said, “We are having another good year and the Southside Walmart isn’t even in those numbers.”

Lots of Laughs. I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one Mike.

Lastly, Mike discusses the consultant LMI who is doing a review of our city government and procedures. He said when he brought this up to a retirement home at a Shut Up and Listening session, he got the greatest applause ever. He brings up again that he wants to run the city more like a business. You know, virtually NO transparency, top heavy salaries to do nothing upper management, a massive legal and consulting budget, etc. etc. It would be interesting to get my hands on the first report from them. I have a feeling it’s not all going to be glowing, kind of like that mysterious Events Center siding report that is probably in the same place as the Spellerberg Park VA quit claim deed.

Melanie Bliss receives recognition, then tells it like it is.

Melanie Bliss has earned our admiration for her many years being involved in everything she has touched. Melanie does not just join an organization, she becomes the driving force.

Thank you Melanie!

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Breaking; Jeff Barth to run for SD Democratic party chair

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Jeff Barth told me this morning that he plans to run for the party chairmanship. The party elects new officers in Chamberlain on December 11-12.

 

Did the Sioux Falls city council break quorum rules last Tuesday night?

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As you can see there was only four councilors at the meeting, and the mayor. There are a couple of ways to look at it. Technically the mayor is considered a ‘council member’ so he could have been counted as the ’5th’ councilor. Also, since NO ordinances (city laws) were voted on, they also would not need a quorum.

Discuss (City Charter Below);

Section 2.02  Composition, eligibility, election, and terms. Composition.  There shall be a city council composed of the mayor and eight (8) members.

Section 2.03  Mayor. The mayor shall serve as a member of the city council. (note: Non-voting except in tie)

Section 2.06  Vacancies; forfeiture of office; filling of vacancies.     (5)   Fails to attend 50% of the regular monthly meetings of the council during a fiscal year, or three consecutive regular monthly meetings of the council, without being excused by the council.

Section 2.11  Procedure.    (c)   Voting.  Voting, except on procedural motions, shall be by roll call and the ayes and nays shall be recorded in the journal. Five (5) members of the council shall constitute a quorum , but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time and may compel the attendance of absent members in the manner and subject to the penalties prescribed by the rules of the council.

§ 30.011  QUORUM.    Five members of the council shall constitute a quorum and be necessary for the transaction of business. If a quorum is not present, those in attendance shall be named and shall adjourn to a later time. (1992 Code, § 2-12)  (Ord. 50-95, passed 3-20-1995)

Note: Section 2.03  Mayor. Non-voting member except for tie

Note: normally § 30.011 Quorum of 5 would usually be stated as voting members of council. I wonder how it was changed in 1995?

Did Tex Golfing, Rickalicious Kiley, Erpenchickenbachbach and Dean KarKSY all head to Mexico?