Sioux Falls Municipal Election Candidate(s) announcement this afternoon

As I understand it from my sources there is going to be some change ups in the mayoral race and city council race. Hope to have more details soon.

BREAKING: Tooth Fairy authorized Flat Siding installation on Events Center

Okay, it was a little hard getting a hold of the Tooth Fairy, with her busy schedule and all, but she was able to have a short interview with me about her roll in ‘Siding Gate’ and who actually authorized the flat panel installation.

ME: Sorry to interrupt your busy schedule  . . .

TF: No problem Detroit, I needed a break anyway. I’m in the middle of editing the Book of Mormon right now, and it’s a stickler.

ME: So tell me how you got involved with authorizing the flat siding on the EC.

TF: See, whenever Mayor Huether needs someone to sign off on something controversial he has a group of us in rotation to pick from, and it was my turn, unfortunately.

ME: A group of you?

TF: Yeah, it’s Me, Santa Clause, The Easter Bunny, Mickey Mouse and of course Mark Cotter.

ME: That explains why Mark signed off on the TIF Mayor Huether’s wife got for an apartment project she invested in.

TF: Exactly!

ME: Why did the Mayor consider the flat panels controversial?

TF: You are kidding me? Right?

ME: Uh, No.

TF: See, he had his panties in a bunch about getting the Premier Center done on time and under budget because SMG had this ‘grand’ idea to book acts before they even had the toilets installed, so to cut corners they decided to ditch pre-curved panels for flat ones, saving the city oodles of time and money. You know, it’s all about the present with Mike, that whole doing important things with the day God gave you.

ME: Didn’t he know this would bite him in the butt eventually?

TF: Of course he did, that’s why he had city attorney Fiddle-Faddle draw up a secret settlement and me sign off on the panels. All in a day’s work, I guess, until the SD Supreme Court had to meddle with it.

ME: Well, thanks for clearing that up. BTW, is there any other projects he had you sign off on we should know about?

TF: Not that I can think of. Santa handled the Administration Building and I think the Easter Bunny was involved with the DT Parking Ramp.

ME: What about the Quit Claim Deed on Spellerberg Park?

TF: Uh . . . gotta go . . . the Mormons are calling.

This is satire. The Tooth Fairy does not exist and is a fictional character. Unfortunately the flat panels do exist and look like crap.

Knobe on Lalley Show: Next mayor may change public input

Rick Knobe was the guest on The Good Ship Lalley Pop show today. During the first segment, Councilor Stehly messaged them on FB saying, “Public Input remains as is.” Knobe had pushed in the pass to have it changed.

Knobe responded that some of the mayoral candidates have considered changing the way we do public input if they win. He says it has become ‘disrespectful’. While I don’t disagree with that to a certain extent, the disrespect is not only coming from the public but from the dias, mainly the mayor. Either way, the 1st Amendment doesn’t stipulate ‘respect’. I also believe respect is earned. I don’t think I have to respect people who show me none.

Also, Public Input needs to remain at the beginning. The public isn’t getting paid to attend these meetings and there is no reason for them to sit through an entire meeting waiting to give their grievances. The mayor, city councilors and city staff are getting paid to attend, they can wait to do business until after public input.

I also think public input should extend to 1st readings and at the informational meetings.

If any mayoral candidate comes out publicly and says they will change public input to make it more difficult for citizens to participate in their government, they will certainly hear about it at the ballot box.

Greasy Palms (Guest Post)

A recent Argus Leader article shed light on the mayors race as it relates to political contributions. The council races are the same, some with lots of money, some not so much. The one’s with money usually win out in the end. It does not always have to be this way. The deep pocket candidates of the mayors race will spend a lot of money on newspaper ads, radio airtime, and television spots. Repeat the same name over and over again to a hurried, busy electorate, and the same special interests get their man/woman in. If you’ve followed the council meetings at all, and draw a parallel between important council votes, and political contributions, you know deep pockets get what they want.
What needs to be different? Print, radio air, and television need to give equal time to all candidates, and all issues some important to all the citizens in these races. This blog does a great job. The Argus has also been good. Same for Patrick Lalley. The others need to improve to give all candidates their due, especially in the runoff elections. Without some form of leveling the playing field, council members like Stehly, Starr, and Neitzert will not exist under the new rules the rubber stampers want in place. We desperately need council members like these three.
HERE is a quick link to see the candidates history of who gave how much to who. Very telling.
Remember, he who greases the palm is whose a$$ to kiss.

Even with a double-dipping attorney and a over a million in salaries, the city of Sioux Falls has to hire outside counsel

As you know, we have been asking for years how much the city spends on outside legal counsel. We have gotten the run-a-round in the past, saying that each department budgets separately for the work. You know, like there isn’t a spreadsheet somewhere on the total expenditures. Must be on the same hard drive as the no-mow list.

We have often wondered why the city uses expensive outside counsel when the city attorney’s office has $1.16 million in salaries (not including benefits) and a double-dipping retired city attorney, Diane Best working part-time for them at $48.57 per hour (collecting her pension while also receiving a part-time wage).

I don’t question the workload, I question the expertise of our city attorney’s office. Why even have several staff attorneys (7 full-time) when we just hire out the difficult stuff? Might as well just have one paralegal that hires the outside counsel.

Like the engineering department, we have speculated a couple of reasons why they use outside consultants.

  1. Accountability. When something needs to be justified or goes wrong, it’s easy to put it on the backs of independent consultants, for example raising water fees, applying flat siding on a building or recommending a bad location for an indoor pool.
  2. Tie up your competition. Ask anyone who has tried to sue the city and find out how difficult it is to find a local attorney to take the job. The city keeps dozens of law firms on retainer to make it more difficult for individuals to find an attorney to represent them.

This sucks for several reasons, obviously it costs the taxpayers a lot of money, and it works against our best interest in keeping taxes and fees low.

The next mayor needs to demand the outside counsel and consulting budgets of each department and put it under one umbrella. They also need to clean house in the city attorney’s office and hire competent and confident legal counsel.

Will Rock Garden Tour be pulled from SD Public TV?

Weeds? City Ordinances? What’s the difference?

Trust me, trying to dig up stuff about city council candidates isn’t something I spend a lot of time on, but someone pointed out to me that Tom Hurlbert, who is running for Sioux Falls city council central district, and who also is a co-host on Rock Garden tour may be violating Federal and State laws when it comes to campaigning.

Huh?

Well, there is nothing wrong with him doing the show, their is also nothing wrong with airing the show online, the problem is since he announced he is running for public office, technically, the Rock Garden Show he appears in cannot be aired on publicly funded media sources, as it could appear as SDPTV is endorsing him as a candidate. The running of the show on SDPTV should be suspended until after the election.

I know, seems silly to think that a show that talks about weeds and Wall Drug would have anything to do with a city council race, but hey kids, that’s the rules.

Events Center Siding Consultant confirmed it; Flat siding on curved building = BAD

There were two revealing moments yesterday during the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting when council was questioning the siding review consultant.

Councilor Neitzert started asking some pretty (basic) questions and got some very frank answers. What I noticed was when the consultant answered two of these questions, he wasn’t nervous, but VERY confident in his response.

So what were they?

Neitzert asked if the siding was applied to the building according to specifications?

Consultant, “The siding was not installed according to specifications.”

(We have to remember that while MJ Dalsin was the contractor on the siding, they used a subcontractor that Mortenson recommended for the curved portion of the building, and were NOT the direct contractor installing the siding. That contractor is responsible for the buckling siding on the Pinnacle in Lincoln and the botched dome job on the Corn Palace they had to redo).

Neitzert then asked about the photos of the siding being installed, and asked the consultant if he thought it was visible the buckling was occurring during installation.

The consultant confirmed that it was apparent the siding was buckling during installation.

So where does this leave us? Right at the beginning; WHO AUTHORIZED THE FLAT PANELS?!

While councilor Stehly wants to hire outside legal counsel for an opinion about the legality of looking at the draft reports I think the council needs to pressure the mayor publicly for the documentation that has the signoff for the installation.

Let’s be realistic here, it was either the mayor or someone directly below him that authorized the installation, the public isn’t stupid. So please Mike, stop being a chickensh*t and fess up already – you ordered the Code Red.

New candidate for Sioux Falls City Council should be running against Erickson instead

You may know Mr. Hurlbert from the Rock Garden Tour radio program, or as a local architect, but now he wants to be on the city council;

“As an architect, I listen to my clients and deliver solutions,” he said. “As a member of the city council, my clients would be the citizens of Sioux Falls.  I want to listen, build consensus, be transparent, and deliver solutions to make our city even better.”

Not sure why Tom would want to fiddle around in a crowded race that will only result in a runoff anyway when he could challenge Erickson instead, avoid a runoff and have a very good chance of eliminating Ms. Flip-Flopper from the city council.

Tom can be a little on the odd side, but I think that has more to do with his sense of humor, but he is super smart and well versed in politics and social issues, he will make a great city councilor if he succeeds.

Sioux Falls Chamber caves to Republican Pouting – Punishes Dems

* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *

Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce won’t allow Minnehaha County Democrats to sponsor annual legislative coffees

January 15, 2018

On Thursday, January tenth the Minnehaha County Democratic Party (MCDP) was notified they won’t be allowed to sponsor the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce (SFACC) Legislative Coffees as they have for years.

The Minnehaha County Republican Party (MCRP), the Minnehaha-Lincoln Republican Women, and Americans for Prosperity all pulled their sponsorship from the SFACC Legislative Coffees for 2018. Speculation is the conservative organizations didn’t like a recent article (Argus Leader, Sept. 20, 2017) in which SFACC President and CEO, Jason Ball expressed concern over events that are “antagonistic to immigrants and new demographic groups in Sioux Falls,” and “legislation and policies that negatively target specific populations …”

“We believe the Republicans are trying to punish the Chamber for a stance that they don’t agree with. Unfortunately, that resulted in the Chamber trying to smooth things over by removing us, the opposition party, from the event,” said Heather Halverson, Minnehaha County Democratic Party Chairwoman “We see this as an effort to appease the Republicans, while removing our voice. From our perspective, this is undemocratic.”

This year’s events will be held at the Holiday Inn City Centre from 10:00 am to 11:45 am on February 3rd, 10th, and 24th. The SFACC Legislative Coffees include legislators from area districts and allow the public to ask timely questions related to the 2018 legislative session. The Republican legislators that attend the coffees outnumber the Democrats twenty-six to four.

“We have been a longtime sponsor of the Legislative Coffees. As the minority party in the state, it is very important for us to have a table at the event, and allow local residents to stop by and ask us questions about our platform, legislative matters and our upcoming events,” said Halverson. “We aren’t the party that picked up our ball and went home because we didn’t like the way the game was going.”

Heather Halverson, Chair

Minnehaha County Democratic Party
SouthDaCola Notes; While I could care less what either party is up to in our state, I think this is pretty crappy to treat the MCDP this way because the Republicans are a bunch of whiny crybabies that want to continue to push their racist and homophobic views on the rest of us. The sad part is that the Chamber should NOT have to apologize for Jason’s comments, he is right, being a racist is bad for business.

It’s not up to Mayor Huether to determine who is a journalist or media

Even though both Bruce and I have been cleared by the Secret Service to cover presidential campaign events, that’s NOT good enough for Hizzoner;

Mayor Mike Huether doesn’t think a having a blog and a Youtube channel makes someone a legitimate journalist, but industry professionals say it’s not his place to decide.

There is NO licensing process or test to become a journalist. The rules are pretty simple;

While the mayor doesn’t take questions from Danielson at press conferences, South Dakota Newspaper Association Dave Bordewyk said Danielson and anyone seeking information from their government have just as much right to attend press conferences and make any inquiries as reporters from established media sources. And if a citizen plans to convey the information they gather to others, they’re a journalist.

“Thankfully we don’t live in a country where the journalists have to be licensed, you don’t have to apply to be a journalist in America still,” he said.

Bordewyk said public officials can pick and choose which media members and citizens they acknowledge, but, ideally, no member of a community would be shunned from participating.

“You would hope those in government would error on the side of casting a wide net in terms of allowing anyone to ask questions,” he said. “Press conferences are a pretty public event after all.”

I don’t think the mayor looks at it as a ‘public event’ he looks at it as ‘his event’ and a time to spread his ‘positive’ propaganda.