Is a local developer remodeling downtown apartment building without permits?

I’m still getting more details, but I found out last night that this historic building downtown had tenants complaining because of the mess, they also noticed NO permits for demolition and remodeling. The City’s Building Services department may also be investigating.

The worst part about it is this developer has a track record of this kind of funny business. Some people never learn.

It will be interesting to hear what is really going on.

Open Video System (OVS) proposal by City of Sioux Falls Innovation Department needs to be stopped

There isn’t a lot of research out there about OVS even though it has essentially been around since the mid-90’s. It essentially gives broadband and telecoms the right to stream videos online without a franchise license like major cable companies. There are some other details involved, but you get the gist.

A lot of us use these services, and hopefully if you are ‘subscribed’ to them you understand the terms. The companies most likely have a lot of data on you. Besides knowing some financial information, they know when you watch videos and what kind of videos you like. They use these ‘cookies’ to know what to advertise to you. It works similar when you purchase products from an online company. If they see you like buying crime novels, they most likely send you emails about books available.

For instance I’m subscribed to Expedia, it knows when I am searching for certain deals and alerts me.

While all of this is done in the private sector, and you willfully agree to it, then I guess you don’t mind that these private companies are collecting massive amounts of data on you to help make themselves more money.

When government does it, well, that’s just creepy.

The city is exploring using OVS. I don’t know any details on what they intend to do, but they will have a presentation on Tuesday at the informational and are looking to appropriate money for the system during the regular city council meeting.

This is what I do know. If the city buys into this kind of system, you will essentially have to ‘subscribe’ to the service to use it (even if it is FREE). This will allow the city to ‘data mine’ on you like the online retailers do. They will be able to know when you watch the videos, how often and when. They will be able to take your subscriber data and compare it to voter data and then be able to establish a profile.

So why does the city want to do this? Well there are several reasons, and none of them are good for the citizenry. The city is already collecting data on several fronts. If you downloaded the city app to report problems, watch videos on the city’s FB page while logged in, or use the data portal to search data from the city’s GIS site, you have to be logged in. They are collecting data on you NOW and this will be one more tool for them.

You must understand this the world Mayor Paul TenHaken comes from as well as his Innovation Director who ran a successful online retailer. They both ran successful businesses through helping themselves and their clients collect massive amounts of data on their clients. Paul has been busted a couple times before digging around in the dark resources of the internet. We all heard about his assistance of former Deputy Secretary of State, Powers and the doxing he did for the Rounds Campaign. This is PTH’s bag of tricks from the private sector and now he wants to take it to the next level and see if he can pull it off in government. Last I checked, the City of Sioux Falls wasn’t a fascist regime or communist state, but Paul is quickly likening himself to a Dictator.

Oh, we will hear all the excuses, “These apps and sites are there to make government more accessible for you.” Bullsh*t! They are there to allow government to have more access of YOU and what you are thinking, contemplating or even voting on.

Besides the fact the city should not be collecting this kind of data on it’s citizens, it is a waste of money. Citizens should be able to watch and respond to their government for FREE, they should also NOT be monitored when they are doing these things. They especially shouldn’t be required to ‘LOG IN’ to get information from the city. The city already monitors it’s citizens in several ways from property taxes to their water meters. Using technology to data mine on citizens unknowingly is just plain wrong and it needs to be stopped.

I am actively recruiting candidates for the City of Sioux Falls council election in 2020

Unlike the group of rat finks looking for competitors to Stehly in 2020, I will be honest with you; I am actively looking for challengers to NW District Councilor Neitzert and SW District Councilor Selberg and if Stehly decides NOT to seek a 2nd term, we will be looking for a candidate in that race also.

No worries, you have some time. The earliest you really need to announce is this Fall, even though there are some people already talking about running against Stehly.

I have spoken with several people interested in challenging the two. With the parking ramp debacle, the chatter has increased quite a bit, and with all the failures over the past three years due to their rubber stamp mentality, many citizens are ready to turn a majority of the council into a citizen advocacy body and a real challenge to city administrators and big bizzo in town.

As you know, Bruce and I have ran many successful local campaigns (ironically one of our best was Neitzert’s 🙁 and we have had a couple of failures, but I think the 2020 election cycle will be a big one for us. As you know, Bruce and I try to champion candidates that are for two things, ‘Good, Clean Government’. We also don’t care about your partisan stripes, we have helped indies, Republicans and Democrats.

We are willing to sit down with anyone interested to discuss a campaign. While the consultation will be totally free and confidential, I can not guarantee we would take you on, but we are willing to listen and advise.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, May 21, 2019

City Council Informational Meeting, 4 PM

DTSF presentation with other non-profit orgs.

Agreement with Midco and Vast broadband open video (there were no attached docs, so I’m not even sure what this is about. It is coming out of the Innovation Department). But it seems it has to do with providing city videos with subscribers. This is a total waste of money for many reasons. As I have stated before, you can watch city videos in YouTube for free without subscribing AND it’s FREE to the city to post there. To spend a buttload of money to create a subscriber video program NOT only goes against fiscal responsibility, it goes against open, transparent and FREE government. It also creates a BIG BROTHER system of monitoring the subscribers. In simple terms, It’s creepy, expensive and overstepping. It will be interesting to hear the arguments for this proposal. There is also several expenditures in the approval of contracts in the regular meeting.

City Council Regular Meeting, 7 PM

Item#6, Approval of Contracts/Agreements

Legal services for Open Video, $25K

Legal services for new IT department in the City Center, $15K. It amazes me that the city’s own legal counsel cannot figure this out. They are truly turning into a purchasing department and NOT a legal department.

Washington Pavilion asking for building improvements of $1.1 million. While some of the stuff is probably needed, I’m wondering about a almost $500K retaining wall. As I have mentioned in the past there are rumors that there have been issues with the structural soundness of the Northeast portion of the building, and one wonders if this has to do with an expensive retaining wall?

Item #42, Resolution, Orpheum contract with the Pavilion. I find this line in the contract questionable;

WHEREAS, this agreement also serves as a memorandum of understanding of a long-term relationship between the City and Management Company by standards appropriate of an accredited institution of the American Association of Museums; and

As I understand it the Pavilion has been putting off their recertification with the AAM. I wonder if the city has looked into this?

Item #44, Resolution, Sioux Empire Leadership Council participation. I’m still puzzled about this organization and why the private healthcare monster-plexs are involved? If this is about workforce development as part of the mission, how is having wage-colluding institutions like this involved going to help?

Item #46, Resolution, instituting the city’s official legal notice newspaper. I think with such low subscription numbers (15,300 weekday & 36,606 Sundays) how on earth does this even make sense? I know by state law they have to publish in a subscribed paper, in other words NO other publication would work like ETC., Motor Weekly or Shopping News. But if you are NOT reaching the public, what’s the point? I have suggested that ONLINE should be bare minimum and a printed published bound piece at all of the public libraries should be good enough for those without the internets. Enough of wasting money on 4 pt type and 1″ square maps in a paper no one reads. Wake up state legislature change the law.

Item#47, Resolution, Appointment to citizen boards

Most of the time, this is NOT controversial. The mayor gets to pick friends or friends of friends. But there is some curious appointments this time around, lets review;

Charter Revision Commission;

For reference, the CRC is responsible for allowing citizens to vote on revisions to the charter. These revisions are often brought by the city’s attorneys office, the administration, city councilors and citizens. Most of time they are very cautious about what they allow. Usually mundane legal language cleanup. In fact the last commission didn’t allow anything. Chief apologizer, Justin Smith (who is getting reappointed) felt that if something got on the ballot, citizens would tend to pass it. Oh My, the pitfalls of direct democracy! What an elitist brat!

It is NOT the concern of the CRC as to whether something will pass, there concern should be whether something is legal to be put on the ballot. Fascism is a form of government, but not Sioux Falls form of government. He should not be reappointed.

Anne Hajek, former city councilor, county commissioner and legislator will also be appointed. I spoke with Anne about this morning and she is excited about the appointment. I asked her if she would be willing to have stuff put on the ballot, and she said yes based on it’s merits.

But just when you thought it couldn’t get even worse, the past president of ultra-conservative x-tian college, Mr. Zylstra gets appointed to the commission. If the fascist lawyers won’t stop you, the right-wingnut pastors will. At least the meetings will be entertaining. I wonder if they will serve communion?

Let’s move on to the Planning Commission;

Erik Nyberg is attorney in Real Estate law with Cutler Law firm. The same firm’s whose owner, Kent Cutler has properties that have been being busted for illegal massage, illegal workers and illegal immigrants. Erik also serves on the Events Center Campus Book Club. There is no evidence that Erik is investing with his partner, but I find it a little curious that he works with a person that has a track record of allowing illegal immigrants to work in his rentals.

Items 48-50, Council Leadership Election. As I said last week at the council meeting, anyone who voted for the downtown parking ramp should not be allowed in leadership. This should be another dog and pony show. Wonder if the city will allow the rubber stampers to speak?


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Let’s ‘BANK’ on it! (Reader Submission)

The partners in The Banks project rejected by the city of Sioux Falls:

Robert “Bob” Thimjon – Regency Management (Ramkota)

Bill Baker – 1st National Bank of Sioux Falls

Michael Bender – Bender Company

City of Sioux Falls Publishes comment about private citizen in Citizen Survey

Last Tuesday during the City Council Informational they did a presentation about the survey results. A whopping 600 people responded! The results have pretty much been the same for over a decade. Fix our streets, parks are great, Sioux Falls is wonderful. But one of the more interesting parts of this waste of taxpayer money is the open comments section. The survey responders get to sound off. This set of comments were troubling (DOC: Open-end-Report-2019;

While it is perfectly okay to call out a general group of citizens or elected officials like Theresa and Paul, I think it is very inappropriate to be publishing a private citizen’s name. What if someone would have commented about Denny Sanford or Paul’s wife, do you think that would have made the final cut? Doubtful. It also seems that this was purposely put in to tie Stehly to Danielson. I almost wonder if this was ‘concocted’ later. I told Bruce to request that that comment be taken off of the document as it has NOTHING to do with the performance of city government or city council.

Events Center Campus Book Club Meets Wednesday

Wednesday, May 22, 8:30 AM

Convention Center, 1201 Northwest Avenue, Mtg. Rooms 8-10

Arc of Dreams has arrived

I went over and snapped some pictures. It was interesting to watch them piece it together. While this will be a ‘neat’ sculpture, I still think that the $2.6 million spent on this project could have have been put to better use doing HUNDREDS of art and beautification projects all over Sioux Falls, hiring local contractors, landscapers, artists, artisans and craftsman. Instead we spent it on a fabrication shop in Colorado. At least the artist was from South Dakota. As I have stated in the past, this is just a monument to egos.

Why is Smith’s name included in return address

So a friend shows me this the other day. It was a fundraising letter from the Pavilion. We were both curious as to why Smith felt the need to include his name on the return address. If it is some kind of marketing strategy, we are both confused by it’s purpose.

What’s going on with ash tree removal?

Next Monday (Memorial Day) ends the time period in which Ash trees can be removed from the city this Spring. I have a tree that has been marked since last Fall and have seen no tree removal trucks in my neighborhood.

Now I understand that they can still remove them this Fall (after Labor Day). I also get it that the weather has NOT been ideal (saturated ground) but why hasn’t the city released a statement basically telling homeowners that have trees marked that they will have to just wait until Fall? I have already received 3 mail notices of the removal and have spoken with the private contractor back in February.

Maybe the city attorney is telling the administration not to talk about it in case someone wants to sue 🙂