Entries Tagged 'Code Enforcement' ↓

Mike ‘The rules don’t apply to me’ Huether

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One can only laugh at the irony of Huether busting everyone else’s chops about ‘code enforcement‘ yet doesn’t follow the rules himself.

City Ordinance Section 97.001 Posting on public property. No person shall nail, paste, paint or otherwise affix in any manner any sign, advertisement, picture or design whatever upon any bridge, viaduct, sidewalk, parking, parkway, boulevard, crosswalk, curb or street or upon the railing or approaches of any bridge, viaduct or sidewalk or upon any telephone, electric light or fire alarm pole or post.

These signs (3) in the boulevard were seen outside his campaign office this past week and were still there today. Maybe the city’s code enforcement shrink needs to have a discussion with Mike about his obsession with signage. He seems to be ‘hoarding’ the boulevard with his signs. Maybe this obsession is a sub conscience mental disorder?

2013 Code Enforcement breakdown, Reward the Rich – Punish the Poor

You can look at the entire document here: code-numbers

By the numbers

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The map is interesting. Look where most of the investigations/violations are? In the ‘older’ and ‘poorer’ neighborhoods in Sioux Falls. While the city is consistently promoting more annexation and new development, they continue to ignore the core and older neighborhoods. Sure, some of these properties are run down, but just look at the streets and curb and gutter in these neighborhoods. The city can harass the personal property owners all they want about cleaning up their properties, BUT what’s the point of fixing up a property that sits on a street that looks like it was hit by a mortar round? The properties in these neighborhoods are a reflection of the PUBLIC property in these neighborhoods. Don’t believe me? Just take a drive around the areas in these maps, and tell me the roads are not crumbling. If the city wants the residents of these neighborhoods to clean up there act, instead of sending out code enforcement goons, they should send out public works employees to work on the infrastructure.

This administration’s attitude towards zoning and code enforcement seems to be Reward the Rich, Punish the Poor.

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Dan Daily sends out letter to suspected code enforcement violators

Not sure if you know it, but the city has a webpage that lists all the peeps and bizzos that have received code enforcement violations (apparently this is more pertinent PUBLIC information then knowing TIF investors :(

Mr. Daily decided that he needed to educate these ‘supposed’ violators and sent them a letter explaining their rights. Not sure what the response has been, but it is intriguing, none the less.

THE ENTIRE DOCUMENTCode-Violations

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This guy needs to read the US Constitution (or least have it explained to him)

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Sorry Bro, you are not contributing to the beauty of our community.

When I started reading this letter, I was waiting for the punch line at the end, and it never came;

Homeowners and businesses that do not comply with city ordinances in regards to upkeep of their property also should have fines doubled and required to pay within 30 days or doubled.

First off, the city’s code enforcement department already sends out multiple fines for one violation, which is not only questionable legally, it is probably unconstitutional. Besides the multiple fines, they really have no way of collecting them, because that process is also been found to be unconstitutional.

But the best part of Mr. Marshall Law’s letter is yet to come;

This will cause tax revenue to increase, compliance to laws/ordinances to increase as well as a safer and more beautiful city to live in.

So besides being a grumpy old ‘stay off my lawn’ man, he feels these stringent penalties should be implemented to make our city prettier. So a word of warning to all you long haired bearded folk of the community, get a shave and a haircut or you will be fined, double.

Scoop it your frickin’ self

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I have a feeling after people read this ‘My Voice’ letter yesterday in the Argus Leader, this lady’s driveway is pretty clean by now.

Her letter was about the how the ‘Scoop It’ program wasn’t working for her. A few things I will say before we throw the HelpLine under the bus. First off, I heard they do not let the prisoners out when it is too cold because they don’t dress them very warmly (the rumor is if they give them ‘too’ warm of clothes they will be tempted to escape. Not sure if I believe that, but I am sure liability issues arise if a prisoner volunteering for this program gets frostbite or injured due to the cold.

I am a 70-year-old lady with significant disabilities that require me to use a walker to get around. I’ve owned my own home for 21 years and was able to keep up with all of my yard work until just a few years ago, despite my own physical problems. I have a limited income that barely covers my expenses, but I pride myself in that I always have been able to manage with the assistance of a friend who has since moved.

My biggest problem is getting my driveway and sidewalks shoveled so that I can at least get out of my house and to the doctor and for groceries, etc.

Secondly, not to sound too harsh, but if you cannot manage your property and you are on a fixed income, maybe it is time to move to an apartment or an assisted living center.

But I do agree with her on one level, if you are going to promote a program to help the elderly who are choosing to stay in their homes, approve them for the program through an application process and threaten them with fines if they don’t scoop, you need to follow through with the program. I have heard several city councilors and the mayor tout the program for people who cannot take care of their property. But it kind of sounds like the program doesn’t work very well. I find it a little hard to believe that this is the only person who has experienced problems. It is evidenced in her letter, first they tell her it is too cold to scoop, then the mayor’s secretary tells her ‘tough luck’ then they continue to lie to her about when they are showing up. An isolated incident? Doubtful.

I take pride in scooping my sidewalk and driveway. I learned very quickly one year, if you skip a couple of times, you are playing catch up until spring (removing ice, etc.) and I’m sure many of these elderly people feel the same. But I have also believed that people shouldn’t be fined for not cleaning the (residential) sidewalk they are assessed for. Technically if it our responsibility to clean this sidewalk, and repair this sidewalk, we take ownership of it. And if we don’t have time to clean it, or have other physical impairments, the city shouldn’t be able to force us to do it. Why?

Well first, the city rarely takes care of all of their own property (but the skate board park parking lot is always sparkling clean :) Secondly, I understand that people in wheelchairs, the blind and just regular Joe’s without cars are trying to get to work. But most of the routes these people take are emergency snow routes and main arterials, and yes, those sidewalks should be clean. But residential? That’s debatable. I also see a lot of businesses/apartment complexes getting off pretty easy with following the rules. About 4 years ago I used to go for a walk in the winter on my break at a place I worked at by the Western Mall, this corner lot that featured a business (that actually sold snowblowers & salt, ironically) never scooped the sidewalks, EVER! By the end of the winter there was literally about 8 inches of compacted snow and ice on the sidewalk surrounding the business. I won’t say who it is, but if you are going to hire someone to scoop your sidewalk make sure they ARE NOT wearing a RED shirt.

I find the city likes to pick and choose who they enforce ordinances on. It’s easy to beat up on a 70 year old disabled woman for code enforcement violations it’s a lot harder to pound at a retail chain or large apartment complex owner.

The irony in all this is that the city has the money (through a Federal Grant) to hire a shrink for the code enforcement office, but they just can’t get the resources together to help people with snow removal and tree trimming. Somebody needs their heads checked, that I agree with, but it’s not the residents of this community.

 

So now ‘collectors’ are considered ‘mentally ill’ by the city

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Okay, I totally get it, collecting ‘garbage’ behind your house is not a good idea, and it is certainly against the law. People who urinate on other people’s property, also against the law. Are some of these people mentally ill. Maybe, maybe not, but it is not the job of the city’s code enforcement department to determine who is mentally ill;

The team includes law enforcement officials, zoning personnel and a newly hired mental health professional.

Sometimes a property owner is struggling with mental health concerns or physical limitations that prohibit him or her from completing cleanup and maintenance tasks.

A fellowship grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is paying for a health professional to be part of the enforcement team. It’s a two-year program.

Am I the only one to find it a bit ironic that a department that has been found to be unconstitutional, several times, in applying city ordinance is now questioning the mental health of it’s citizens? Isn’t ‘denial’ a mental ailment?

Is there a difference between ‘collectors’ and ‘hoarders’ – in some cases, yes. But if someone owns their property and they want to store a Beanie Bear collection on that property, that is their prerogative, whether they are mentally ill or not. See, in this country, it is not against the law to be ‘crazy’.

If someone is committing a crime, and they are mentally ill, leave it up to law enforcement and trained medical professionals to deal with those situations. If someone isn’t mowing their lawn, maybe they need to see a lawn mower repairman, not a shrink.

Councilor Erpenbach thinks renters ‘choose’ crappy housing

I recall Michelle saying this, and kind of just chuckled at the time, but this letter writer puts a whole new perspective on it;

In an article in the Nov. 24 Argus Leader, Michelle Erpenbach said “… If I’m going to rent a crappy house, I have to take responsibility for that.” She also stated that part of that responsibility is alerting city officials to code violations.

Does Erpenbach think people deliberately choose crappy houses and apartments to live in? For many renters, there are very few choices, so you take what you can afford. And many renters in those “crappy houses” are reluctant to snitch on their landlords because they are afraid of losing their homes if the landlord finds out.

And Kermit Staggers’ statement, “I’m glad we don’t enforce every code in the city,” must have made landlords with code violations jump for joy.

Well, Michelle, we are all not as fortunate as you to have a part-time gig as a newsletter writer and a husband that will provide you with ‘non-crappy’ housing. As the letter writer points out, many people don’t have a choice because they are priced out of decent housing. My last apartment I had before I purchased my home was in Pettigrew Heights. This was about 10 years ago, right when the neighborhood was beginning to become shady. I had cheap rent, and my landlord didn’t always upgrade things, but the place was livable and fine for me. Just because there is a little paint missing or a chip of concrete on the front steps, doesn’t mean the place is falling to pieces. I believe that is what Staggers is getting at. It seems some people in city government have this attitude that you should desire to live in safe, clean, updated, new affordable housing. The problem is, not a lot of that kind of housing exists. And the places that do have so many restrictions, they are almost impossible to get into. This is why I have often said we need to switch the purpose of TIF’s to almost ALL affordable housing projects and to individual, small landlords who want to fix up small-plex apartment buildings. Sioux Falls, CAN provide  ’non-crappy’ affordable housing, the problem is, we are giving the tax breaks to sports complexes and luxury hotels instead of small time landlords that want to help people with affordable housing and that in itself is kinda ‘crappy’.

So is it a finable offense to light up in a SF Public Park?

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Recently Councilor Staggers has aired his discontent with the tobacco free policy in SF parks, not because he doesn’t think it is a good idea but because 1) The city council should have passed the ordinance, not the Parks department & 2) Is it a finable offense? Good question. Staggers asked;

Dear Don,  Many months ago we were told that there was no punishment for smoking in the parks.  Now there is punishment, or is there?  You mention the punishment for violation of city ordinances where no punishment is stipulated, however, the prohibition on smoking comes from a directive from the head of the Parks Department, and not from an ordinance.  We should not have a situation where an individual can say that something is wrong and then have a person  fined and/or imprisoned.  Only the City Council should be passing ordinances fining and/or imprisoning people

UPDATED: (I removed Kearney’s email context ) The ordinance as stated;

§ 95.032 AUTHORITY OF DIRECTOR TO PROHIBIT CERTAIN CONDUCT; NOTICE.

The director may prohibit conduct in those areas of the parks when and where the director deems conduct dangerous or unduly interfering with another’s use of the parks such as, but not limited to, picnicking areas. A notice prohibiting activity within a specific area shall be conspicuously displayed setting forth which activity, conduct, or games are restricted.

It seems director Kearney seems to think it is okay to not only MAKE the rules, but enforce them and if needed fine people. (All City Ordinances, unless otherwise provided, are punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment in the county jail of up to 30 days.)

Remember, city directors are appointed by the mayor, not elected officials.

Let’s leave ordinance approval up to the (elected) city council so Kearney can get back to doing more important things, like scraping goose manure off of the bike trails.

Does anyone get the feeling the city is being run like a subprime credit card company?

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So now the city is considering charging $25 to appeal a parking ticket, they already charge $50 to appeal a code enforcement violation and now, if you don’t scoop (their) sidewalk, they will not only charge you to have a contractor remove the snow they are also going to tack on an additional $100 fine (this has never been done in the past).
This goes back to something I have seen over the last couple of years at city hall; A move to increase user fees, fines and enterprise fees in order to have more money in the CIP for ‘other projects’ Like paying off a EC bond.
If I were running a for-profit business, this would be a nice little way to make extra money for my business, in the name of ‘service fees’. But should any of this surprise you? What was the name of that Credit Card that would have a $250 credit limit with $200 in fees on it when you received it . . . hmmm.

Huether’s (Sump Pump) Youth

I guess the city is sending engineers (again) door to door to see who’s sump pump goes into the sewer line. By law, you don’t have to let them in unless of course you want them snooping around your property.

In all fairness, if they do stop by, I would ask them these questions;

1) Do you have a search warrant?

2) What is the ‘real’ purpose of this visit?

3) Did you vote for Mike Huether for mayor?

Of course I could add to this list, but I think I will let my commenters take a shot at it.