Who is Councilor Erpenbach trying to protect?

It was a very strange debate between most of the council and councilors Entenman & Erpenbach (Item #64 FF:) about the TIF application disclosures, Michelle comes to the defense of the mayor’s wife then partially admits to her husband’s investments? Huh?

Jamison raised concerns last fall after learning that the mayor’s wife, Cindy Huether, was one of the investors in a TIF project, the Bancroft Place apartments in the Whittier neighborhood.

Jamison is running against incumbent Mike Huether in the race for mayor this spring.

“This amendment is about one person,” Councilor Michelle Erpenbach said. “I don’t appreciate the way this conversation has been going.”

She said the investments held by an elected official’s spouse should not be open to scrutiny.

“You elected me; you did not elect my husband,” she said.

I found it baffling that Michelle felt she had to defend the mayor’s wife or the mayor, and tried to make this into a political football.* Michelle, this is about transparency and ethics, this isn’t about an election. Secondly, are you admitting that your husband has made investments with properties that have received TIF’s? I found that statement interesting. It got heated at times, Entenman was almost scolding and yelling at the rest of the council (gee, I wonder how many property investments he has made around town?) Then in one of Karsky’s misguided moments, he asked for the vote to be postponed. Not realizing the can of worms he had opened (They won’t vote on it until a week before the election) four councilors voted for the postponement, and of course Karsky realized he had to follow suit, since he proposed it. Michelle and Mike WERE NOT happy.

It got comical at times, especially when Erpenbach came to the defense of Huether, he looked like he was melting like an ice cream cone in his chair, and looked like he was going to start crying at any moment. It was theatrics at their best between Erpenbach and Huether, it was almost like it was rehearsed. See seems to be very concerned about hurt feelings, but doesn’t give a damn about ethics. *What this is really about is Huether’s re-election. It is crucial to Michelle’s political future that Huether is re-elected, especially if she is. Everyone knows Michelle’s plan in four years is to run for the empty seat of mayor and for Huether to run for governor. So if Michelle is re-elected (let’s hope not) she must have Huether re-elected to follow through with her plans.

The other part of the discussion that disturbed me was testimony by Darrin Smith claiming we have to give TIF’s to develop land for the public good, and brought up the COSTCO site that wasn’t developed for 25 years. First off, that property sitting empty hasn’t hurt or helped citizens in our community either way. There was very little public benefit to developing that land, and not developing has not been harmful either. Ironically, as Smith brought up the COSTCO TIF, he admitted that COSTCO has asked to not use the TIF that was granted. So basically admitting that a TIF was not needed to develop the land. But yet we need them? Huh?


Also worth checking out is public testimony from myself and Bruce about the city’s ‘ADVOCATIONAL’ videos and meetings, (FF: Public Input) and the possibility of breaking state law.


#1 pathloss on 03.05.14 at 2:10 pm

Assets during a marriage are community property. If Mike’s wife invests, he also has an interest. You can’t tell me they didn’t share conversations regarding investments whether or not one, the other, or both are investors. I knew his wife. All she knows is tennis. I seriously doubt she even knows what he’s put her name on.

#2 scott on 03.05.14 at 3:00 pm

Does Mrs MMM have a real job? If not, who do you supposed gives her the money to invest?

#3 Poly43 on 03.05.14 at 3:55 pm

Did it ever occur to anyone that the council might just be voting the way their constituents would want them to?

That is a quote from another thread, different topic, but it certainly applies here with regards to erp. She was put on the council to serve the interests of her central district constituents. Very obvious she does not. Also very obvious she serves those who contribute to her campaign war-chest, nearly ALL of which comes from outside the central district in the form of those lining up at the TIF big business welfare trough.

#4 M2CW38 on 03.05.14 at 4:28 pm

It’s a pretty common practice to put investments in a spouse’s name. Why didn’t the mayor put the investment in his name? Maybe because city ordinances only address elected officials and employees. His action indicates a skirting of the law for personal gain and it appears Councilors Erpenbach and Entenneman think skirting the law is appropriate behavior for public officials as well. This whole issue is sad commentary on public trust in the current administration.

#5 southern exposure on 03.06.14 at 9:37 am

I appreciate your efforts at exposing the shady elements of the TIF process. Disclosure, at a minimum. Also, liberties have been taken in the intended spirit of the use. These abuses need to be curtailed. A real stench of cronyism has begun and it’s not good for the underlying business practices of our community. To hide behind the fine print of promotion and solicitation is nothing less than legalese for crony CYA.

#6 anonymous2 on 03.06.14 at 9:57 am

What is all the fuss about disclosure? if there isn’t anything negative about the project, why not disclose the investors? I don’t get it. I must be missing something.

#7 Bruce on 03.06.14 at 1:32 pm

It was interesting to listen to the SEC concerns expressed by the attorney from Woods.

Consider this DJim, Erp and SubPrime, if you want to invest in these projects without anyone knowing, all you have to do is leave office and make the investments. Oh yea, DJim is leaving office… Maybe the voters will help the other two.

So they had to dig deep to find a federal SEC rule to hide behind.

Here is the way to solve your problem and our concerns. When you are gone, we will be able to implement full disclosure and put limits on the TIF spigot.

#8 pathloss on 03.06.14 at 5:08 pm

A TIF seems a sure thing if you know or are related to the mayor. I’m tired of losing lottery tickets. I’m thinking an ancestor search. I could indirectly be related more than 1/32. I’m not angry about this but I’d like to walk up to the mayor and use both hands to mess up his hair.

#9 l3wis on 03.06.14 at 9:02 pm

Bruce, as I said to someone tonight, all this money in SF Falls politics just disgusts me, it actually makes me physically ill, sometimes I don’t even want to post about it.

The part that amazes me is that I don’t have a problem with people who are wealthy that invest their money, even if they are politicians, but use your brain, there are a million other things you can invest in without having the assumption of conflicts within the community, and your return is much better.

It’s almost like they enjoy the thrill of getting away with it, and blaming others for getting caught. Makes you wonder.

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