Shoveling thru the workday

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UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Debt 2016

This is a graphic I updated from 2012. Total city debt actually went down about $25 million since 2012. I wouldn’t say the city has a ‘debt’ problem, we have a ‘spending’ problem.

Click to enlarge the graphic

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Why not turn city parks into partial food forests?

This is one of the coolest ideas I have heard of in a long, long time;

According to Project Food Forest’s website, “A food forest, also called a forest garden, is a diverse planting of edible plants that attempts to mimic the ecosystems and patterns found in nature. Food forests are three dimensional designs, with life extending in all directions – up, down, and out”. Furthermore, “Food forests are a new farming concept in our area, but they have been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world. They are complex, just like nature.

Food Forests are unique and different from the traditional community gardens in key ways. Food Forests are made up of trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and roots. All layers of the ecosystem are incorporated.

Food Forests are also meant to be free and open to the public. Community gardens typically have leased land, requiring several hours of volunteer work or tending by the owner. Food Forests are perennial gardens, which when well-designed, are increasingly productive and abundant with time. Minimal upkeep is necessary, apart from gleaning food from the forest’s production.

The irony is that the city’s parks and forestry department spends millions each year maintaining our parks which are mostly non vegetable trees and flowers, why not maintain something we can eat? In fact I have seen several immigrants harvesting different plants and berries along our bike trail. Let’s get the whole community involved!

What about the ‘morale’ of the Sioux Falls Police Department?

Some people say I am hard on our police force, I am, they should be held to a higher standard when it comes to ethics, I think most understand that. But when it comes to pay of public employees, I am a BIG advocate in paying our police force what they deserve;

The Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Sioux Falls have been holding several bargaining sessions trying to put together a labor agreement able to satisfy both sides.

After seven meetings between the two, the City put forward what they say is their final offer for a two year agreement that includes a one-point-five percent annual wage increase.

“I don’t know if that was the best offer the city could make but it’s the offer that the City said it was the last offer it was going to make. We believe that the City certainly has the financial ability to do better by its employees, particularly its police officers,” explained Wilka.

“It has become more and more difficult to preform the job of a policeman without everyone looking over your shoulder. It’s gotten more challenging not less challenging, so if anything the raises should be greater not less than what they’ve been historically,” stated Wilka.

I agree 100% with Wilka. With all the tension with police these days between the public and them, and the FACT that violent crime in Sioux Falls is on an extreme upward spiral, this is a piss poor time to offer them a piss poor raise.

That and the irony of wanting to build a new $25 million dollar admin building to increase the ‘morale’ of city administration workers. What about the ‘morale’ of our police force?

“The city has all kinds of money for this project or another project, the latest being the 25 million dollar administration building,” Wilka tells KELO Radio News. “and then to turn around and be told that you are only going to get a raise that is less than is what is commonly done in both public and private sectors in this region, that really produces a negative reaction on the part of people.”

I want to fill Mr. Wilka in on a little secret, the building that is being proposed ISN’T being built for the public or the employees, just sayin’.

Stop the Funding speaks out

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016 the group, Stop the Funding submitted petitions to the Sioux Falls City Clerk placing an ordinance before the public halting any bond sales to build a government office building at 231 N. Dakota Ave in downtown Sioux Falls, SD. Over 6,500 signatures were collected in less than 3 weeks by dozens of volunteers.

There have been no bond sales yet and none are allowed until after October 1, 2016, per an ordinance passed by the Sioux Falls City Council in May. Once these petitions are certified, state law clearly states none can be sold until after the election.

“We began the next step in the legal process of allowing the voters of Sioux Falls to have a voice in the sale of bonds to finance a city office building of questionable want.” Bruce Danielson, co-chair of Stop the Funding, said. “The three week collection process and then the submission of 6,419 signatures is not easy, but the eagerness of the voters to sign was gratifying.”

Stop the Funding was quickly organized in response to the public’s view of administration overreach in the funding of an overflow city employee office building without full disclosure to the City Council and public.

The Stop the Funding is a citizen group working for full disclosure. Stop the Funding will be auditing all City of Sioux Falls CityLink broadcasts dealing with this building and ballot issue.

“We will be demanding equal time when a Sioux Falls official makes any public statement using the public’s funds” said Danielson. “We learned during the 2014 city election how the public’s resources can be abused to sway the public’s vote. Illegal government sponsored Advocational Education will not be tolerated in this election.”

August 24, 2016

Bruce Danielson

B-n-B lays it on thick today

I almost had to chug a beer after listening to Greg’s show this morning to calm my nerves, so many half-truths I don’t know where to begin (we will get to that shortly).

I am often amazed when I hear local pundits talk ‘local’ politics and how little they know, or maybe they do know and just choose to tell a different story. For instance when they call city councilors, commissioners. They haven’t been commissioners for over a decade, get it straight already.

But today’s show was extra special, it’s like B-n-B (Bad Neighbor Belfrage) has become an extension of Channel 16 and the Reid Holsen school of advocational interviews.

You can listen for yourself some of the bull that was dispensed, here is the TRUTH;

  1. There has been NO city administration building built in 83 years (city hall). Actually there have been dozens, even if you don’t count the multiple parks garages that have been built (they include offices) there has been a rehab of a Raven building on 6th and Phillips for Parks offices, there is the light and power building, there is the rehab of Carnegie Hall for the city clerks and community development, there has been the public works garage and recycling center (all include offices) and the recent rental of the city attorney offices (because rumor has it they feared the FBI was listening in on their convos at city hall. Even if that isn’t true, it’s still a little funny).
  2. The mayor is a member of the city council. This is ‘partially’ true. By charter he is a member, but ONLY to break ties. If the mayor was a true member of the council he would vote on every item (he does not) he would attend all council meetings (informational, committees, work sessions, joint county meetings, etc) he does not. He is the executive branch of city government and the council is the legislative branch, he is only a ‘tie-breaking’ member of the council. It is a similar situation with the county, Bob Litz, the county auditor is asked to break ties with the county commission and to run meetings when ‘needed’. He is NOT a regular member of the commission in that sense.
  3. 6,400 signatures is ‘NOT A LOT’. This really is a matter of opinion, but by LAW only 5% is required to get a measure on a ballot. Stop the Funding has followed those rules, if you disagree with them, ask the legislature and city council to change them. Either way, I’m pretty sure that Danielson broke records in the time it took him to gather the signatures, this tells me that people are very concerned about the building and want a vote. By law, they deserve one, whether you agree or not. Actually, B-n-B had to admit today that he signed the petition also. I asked Bruce about it, he told me that at the time Greg signed it, he agreed with Bruce it was about the process, less than a couple of weeks later it seems Greg isn’t too concerned about the process, claiming he should not have signed it.
  4. B-n-B has questioned the funding of the petition drive and the filing of a ballot committee. Bruce actually attempted to file the paperwork earlier, but since the city put up the new website design, all the downloadable documents to do this disappeared, to which the city clerk was made aware. Bruce has filed the necessary paperwork. The financials are due later. Did Bruce raise money? He did, and the money comes from multiple sources and all income brackets and sectors of the community, this initiative has broad support.
  5. B-n-B had to admit today that the building (the bonds) will be $25 million. The mayor, yesterday, was telling people the building is $21.9 million, while true, he fails to mention the total after commissions and sale of the bonds the TOTAL cost is $25 million. The initiative is to stop the bond sale NOT to stop a building, Bruce has been VERY clear about this, that amount is $25 million, no lies have been told.
  6. The claim that the building has been ‘fully vetted’. This may be true internally with the administration and council leadership, but the rest of the council and the public was left in the dark until last April. It was sprung on us. The other argument is that if this building has been supposedly talked about since 2007, why not build it before an events center and indoor pool? Notice the mayor has refused to answer this question, even when asked on Greg’s show and at council meetings. The need is NOT great. If it they were concerned about morale of city employees, why are they not getting decent raises this year? As for the public showing up to voice their concerns, we have, several times, and each time the mayor has shut us down, breaking two ties and veto (which he laughed about). The council has listened and TRIED to stop this, but the mayor’s attitude to ‘win at any cost’ has taken over the debate. We could have had 100 people show up to these meetings and protest, wouldn’t matter, the mayor has had his mind made up on this before it was even presented to the whole council. Just like the EC and the Indoor Pool, full steam ahead.
  7. This has nothing to do with the 300 building. As I said above, Stop the Funding has been VERY CLEAR, this initiative has been about stopping the $25 million dollar bond sale. If the council decides at a later date to build a scaled back building, or remodel an existing building or continue to rent, that is another issue. The 300 building owners have been very gracious in letting us use office space. We thank them as they did this as an in-kind donation.
  8. It IS cheaper to rent. You don’t have to take my word on it, city finance director Tracy Turbak has already admitted in a public meeting it would be more cost effective to rent. There is no bond repayment, interest or use of capital outlay. It just makes more sense to rent financially. This one is a no-brainer that even the city finance director agrees with.

Some people and the mayor have said this petition drive has been fueled by animosity towards the mayor. I would have to partially agree. ANY elected official who will go on a media show and lie bald faced to the public most likely will have well deserved animosity towards them, you reap what you sew. Personally I could care less about him, I have gotten used to wearing 5-Buckle over-boots while following him around.

I’m sure tomorrow B-n-B will have a whole new set of lies and half-truths to tell the public. We will be waiting to dispel them. Now if Greg would go do something more productive with his time, like mow his lawn.

Fiddle tries to Faddle with the process. But will his ‘Cracker Jack’ law stand up?

I will give David an ‘A’ for effort on this one;

• Approximately 5,750 valid signatures (5 percent of registered voters) are required to send an issue to a vote.
• The City Clerk will conduct a random sampling process to validate the petition. Five percent of the signatures must be reviewed according to South Dakota Administrative Rule. This entire process can take up to two weeks or longer, depending on various factors. Even if a petition is validated, any interested person could then challenge the petition, alleging specific deficiencies in the petition. If so, the City Clerk would need to review each of the specific deficiencies and make a determination regarding the validity of each of the signatures in question.
• Assuming the petition contains sufficient valid signatures, the City Clerk would then deem the petition “filed” with his office. The City Clerk would then present the petition to the City Council for further action. The City Council can either place the item on the April 2018 ballot or order a special election by ordinance.
• An election ordinance requires two separate readings at least five days apart.
• State law requires any special election to be at least 30 days from the effective date of the order calling for a special election.
• Election results must also be canvassed before any proposed measure would become effective, if approved by the voters.

The City is authorized to sell bonds for the proposed City Administration building effective October 1, 2016. The existence of this possible initiative effort does not prevent the already authorized bond sale from taking place. SDCL 9-20-3 prohibits the use of the initiative process to nullify the purpose for which bonds have been sold.

We don’t care if it it takes a decade to verify the signatures, that’s neither here nor there (realistically it should only take a couple of hours, since they only have to make sure about 288 sigs are valid), the real clencher here is Fiddle’s interpretation of election and petition law.

The existence of this possible initiative effort does not prevent the already authorized bond sale from taking place.

Problem is, the bonds haven’t been sold yet.

Will Mike Huether run for governor as an Independent?

Well he isn’t a Democrat, that has been clear for awhile. During this morning’s show on Belfrage (where he lies about calling other people liars, and claims to know election law). B-n-B (Bad Neighbor Belfrage) and MMM get into a discussion about his political leanings. At first MMM says he is a libertarian then switches gears and says he’s more of an independent then anything, and may be switching to that soon. Well, he would be able to avoid a primary in the governor’s race. I wonder if he told his cohorts over at the SDDP office who depend on his founder’s donation each month to help make payroll?

As for his ramblings about (personal) animosity towards him over the administration building, that is not the case at all. This discussion has always been about spending too much money on a building we don’t need, that is why people sign the petition, Dems, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents. Mike, some things are not about you.

Another city official sees the light and leaves the circus

Never thought I would congratulate one of Mayor’s top minions, but it seems they figured out it was time to bail before the ship sails (or the arrest warrants are issued 🙂

After more than five years of service to the City of Sioux Falls, Chief Project Manager Kendra Siemonsma has announced her resignation effective September 6, 2016.

Siemonsma will become the Director of Project Management for Midco®. The process to hire a replacement will begin soon.

I have a feeling over the next year, you will see a lot of the top officials bailing on the lame duck mayor. So far we have seen Darrin Smith, Head Librarian and now Kendra.

Stop the Funding to submit petitions on Tuesday – PUBLIC IS INVITED!

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Stop the Funding is pleased to announce signatures of Sioux Falls voters will be presented to the City Clerk following a 10:30am, Tuesday, August 23, 2016 press conference at the historic Carnegie Townhall.

“We are excited this part of the process is finally coming to a close and the citizens of Sioux Falls will be able to begin restoring their right to be heard” Bruce Danielson, co-chair of Stop the Funding said. “The people want to be part of this decision and their signatures are the first step.”

Co-chair Kermit Staggers also added “The citizens are now looking forward to the ultimate right of American citizens, to vote.”

“The past three week collection of petitions was successful in both numbers and more importantly the number of citizens willing to walk door to door in their neighborhoods to help their neighbors sign.” Danielson added.

We still ask anyone who wishes to sign a petition or wishes to turn in petitions they are carrying, to turn them into the volunteers collecting signatures at the west entrance of the Minnehaha County Administration Building, 425 North Minnesota Ave. Also, the Stop the Funding office in the 300 Building, suite 106 located at 300 North Dakota Ave. between 3pm and 6pm when a Notary Public will be available.

Please turn in all petitions no matter how many signatures are on them today or call Bruce Danielson for final preparation needed for final submission.

August 22, 2016

For more information contact:

Bruce Danielson

(605) 376-8087

bruce@citizens4integrity.org