Entries Tagged 'Mayor High Crimes' ↓

A perfect time for Mayor Huether to prove Sioux Falls city government isn’t ‘sinister’

“God doesn’t seek for golden vessels, and does not ask for silver ones, but He must have clean ones.” – Dwight L Moody.

Yesterday during the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting, councilor Rex Rolfing couldn’t help himself, he had to put in a dig at Part-Time Mayor (councilor) Theresa Stehly.

In Stehly’s quest for transparency she continually asks for open RFPs. This hasn’t been sitting well with Rolfing, he continues to hammer home the LIE that state law requires RFPs to NOT be public. This of course is untrue. Municipalities in South Dakota have the CHOICE to make none, some or all of RFPs open and transparent. Sioux Falls chooses to make them NOT open. I reminded Rolfing of this at the council meeting after he accused Stehly of making Sioux Falls city government seem secretive and ‘sinister’ by continually asking for open and transparent government. I went on to say, “I don’t think there has ever been a city in South Dakota get in trouble for being too open.”

I get it, he is opposed to transparency and thinks government works best if it keeps important contracts from citizens. As we have been learning over the past couple of months, secrecy is getting us into a lot of trouble and eroding the public trust. It’s blatantly obvious.

Of course councilors Rolfing, Erickson, and Erpenbach (and others) seem to think that the city council is pretty clean. And they probably are, except not recusing themselves on items that benefit people who fill their campaign coffers.

Are they investing in city projects? Don’t know. Several of them, at least Erickson, Neitzert and Erpenbach say they are not. I’m willing to listen, but when it comes to the mayor coming clean during public meetings, he changes the subject. Which puzzles me.

Wouldn’t this be a perfect opportunity for mayor Huether to have a press conference confirming he is NOT investing in city development projects OR projects that the city has fast tracked and approved? Personally I think such an action would wreak of hypocrisy. The mayor has admitted in the past that he does invest with city development, and developers have admitted he or his wife have invested money in local development, his wife invested in a project that got a city TIF and his private tennis center that bears his name at the Sanford Sports Complex has received $500k from the city with little to no benefit to citizens.

So if Rolfing and others on the council want to claim the city is clean when it comes to investing in development projects, shouldn’t they encourage the leader and chief executive of the city to tell us where he stands instead continuing to spread lies and innuendo?

Nope. It’s just easier to keep things secret because we know the latter would be disastrous to Mike’s delicate ego and reputation. We wouldn’t want to be known as the city with a ‘sinister’ mayor.


Huether to make an announcement ‘soon’ on his political future

During his latest Shut Up and Listen session on Wednesday addressing a group of Chamber leadership peeps, MMM says he will be making an announcement soon on his political future. He says he has been considering many options which include running for senate or for governor or for mayor again in 4 years. He said he has considered all of them.

My bet is still on that he will run for governor as an independent. I just don’t think he will sit around for another 2-4 years. As a person who is constantly trying to re-invent the wheel, he isn’t going to just sit around and do nothing for that period of time.

During the session he also bragged about the city’s growth during his tenure. What he failed to mention is that most of the growth has come from people in our city making babies. The explosive growth in our school system is proof of this.

One of his sessions of course can’t go by without telling a few lies. He went on a rant about how NONE of the mayoral candidates or council candidates in the latest municipal race have taken a stance on the Parking Ramp before the vote. While I’m not sure if most them have or have not taken a stance, I do know that Jolene did. When asked by Lalley last week on his show Jolene said she did support the project. The only concern she had was the lack of transparency. But she was very firm on the fact she supports downtown development.

He also said he thought some of the candidates for mayor may push our city backwards. While I may not agree with some of the candidates philosophies, I don’t think ANY of them would go backwards. I think they are all pretty forward thinking, especially when it comes to open government and civil rights. It’s pretty sad he would say this, like he was some kind of great progressive. Spending mommy and daddy’s credit card on play things and producing enormous debt under a veil of secrecy is NOT progressive, it’s actually fiscally regressive.

He also blamed the city council for NOT fixing public transit, saying they can’t make the hard decisions. Funny, coming from the guy who doesn’t let them do things on their own. The Glory House land transfer was a great example of this. Councilor Starr had it handled with the help of the council and Mike had to get his fingers in their and make them pay for some of the land. The council also tried to stop the unnessary spending on the administration building and he vetoed them. He also stopped the districting of the parks board and has bragged that he only needs 2-4 votes to get things done with the council. The mayor has never worked with the council on anything, he only bullied them. No wonder they haven’t done anything with public transit, because any ideas they have would just get stomped down.

He will not be missed, and if he does decide to run for governor, I will do everything in my power to make sure that he does not win.

Mayor Ramrod doesn’t want public input

Guest Post by Bruce Danielson

During the December 5, 2017, Public Input I noticed several Council members not paying attention to us. During my turn at the podium, I politely called out members of the dais for ignoring us while we talked. I won’t name names but as I stood there talking, I mentioned what each of them were doing. The cellphones went down, pens were dropped, papers put away and eyes were brought up to meet mine. I have a photo (and video) of the mayor being handed a cellphone from the Council leadership side during this time. Very inconsiderate to say the least.

As we talk during any public testimony, we see the contempt several of the members show while we are there. Several do not want to see us, much less hear us, as their minds are closed to whatever we say because it is already a done deal. One member said in the past, the mind is made up over the weekend prior to second reading when the exhibits with agenda are available.

Some of the members have been privy to a lot of the information, some have not been privy to any of the backroom information. Some members and the public have not been privy to any of the real information.

This is now a project $22 million project we have to pay for. It is not the 3 year old, $9 million project we first were told about. This is a $22 million project we heard about 3 weeks ago without any open discussion with the public. We have been only shown pretty pictures and a fancy video to go with a 117 page contract.

This has been a secret project many times postponed to make the public bonding pieces fit with a developer who continues to skirt every rule of law.

A few months back I found out and then announced to the City Council during a Public Input, how Community Development had screwed up details and they had to postpone the project.

The mayor shouted me down during a November Public Input because he did not want any reference to Legacy Development brought up when in fact I was not talking about Legacy only using a word “legacy” in a reference.

He is a bit touchy. It makes me think of Shakespeare when the question is asked “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” What part of the issue is so uncomfortable he has to put up his guard?

Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr did the right thing

Sure, we can discuss the minute details about how Pat handled this (did he walk out at the right time? Was it professional? etc., etc.) but when you look at the BIG PICTURE something I reminded the council to do when looking at the parking ramp project to begin with, I think Pat walking out was the right thing to do, especially since he had no other options. The Mayor and Kiley already said there would be no more input, could Pat really have gotten the rest of the council to overturn it? Probably not.

As Tim Stanga brought up during the meeting (and Belfrage discussed it on his show today) the council’s minds were already made up before the meeting even started.

What was disappointing the most about the input about the ramp itself was the fact that we heard NO testimony from the developers, we also had NO testimony from the city’s legal counsel about the liability of Hultgren and Drake.

It was obvious that the mayor wanted to bury the hatchet as quick as possible, it was obvious when he was acting like a restless child when Stehly brought forward amendments.

But what is more troubling is that Kiley and Huether reaction to Starr’s statement that he is the one being ‘unprofessional’. The entire council and mayor BESIDES Starr acted like complete children throughout the meeting, as I have pointed out earlier. I don’t blame Starr for not wanting to be a part of it. I also applaud him that his name will not appear on any of the documents or votes on the project (that I think will never happen due to lawsuits, lack of investors, bankruptcy OR all of the above – remember, the developers have already said they have no investors yet, or a hotel franchise).

Huether and Kiley were acting like jackasses when it comes to public input, as they normally do, and they finally got called out on it. If anyone should be embarrassed it should be them. Honestly Starr looks like a Star in this manner.

Huether learns nothing from secret siding settlement. Shocker!

As I warned the council weeks ago, if they didn’t censure the mayor or ask him to resign for blatantly lying to the public about the secret siding settlement, no lesson would be learned and precedent would be set.

Well it was set.

Today on the B-N-B show the mayor said this, (paraphrasing) “We (the administration) should hammer out deals behind the scenes to get crap done.” Basically saying proposals should be negotiated in secret with the council before presenting it to the media and public.

Since the council chickensht’d out (all of them) the Chief Liar continues to peddle his secretive government even bragging how he only needs four votes from the council to get things done.

Councilors Stehly and Starr will be on the Belfrage show at 8 AM, Wednesday to debate the B.S. Lying Mike spread this morning in Greg’s studio, and to specifically talk about the Parking Ramp boondoggle (please bring up Mr. Building Collapse, Aaron Hultgren is signing a contract with the city) and they will talk about “Getting Crap Done” behind a veil of secrecy as the mayor says is done in the ‘Corporate World’. He still hasn’t figured out he works for the public and not T. Denny.

UPDATE: Disgraceful

Tonight before the city council meeting councilor Stehly talked to a boy scout troop about city government, neighborhood watch and than asked the troop to pay close attention to public input as it was an important part of city government.

Shortly after a usually long public input that the mayor tried to ignore, he ran after the Boy Scout troop to see them on their way in the outer room.

Joe Sneve from the Argus tweeted this about the encounter;

So while Stehly seems to see the importance of the 1st Amendment and citizens petitioning their government during public input, the Mayor turns around and tells a Boy Scout troop that it is a ‘circus’. You wonder just how confused they must have been. Leave it to the mayor to call a constitutional right a circus. What a putz.

UPDATE: Joe corrected me today, the mayor didn’t use the word ‘circus’ but something along that sentiment when apologizing to the Boy Scouts.

Reducing Rail Traffic was part of Munson’s 2005 RR redevelopment plan

There seems to be some detractors when it comes to what I have been saying about reducing the rail traffic downtown after we took possession of the RR redevelopment land. I will apologize on one level where I was wrong. First off, I was unaware that two tracks would remain under Munson’s plan and secondly that this was mostly about the redevelopment. Those two items did not change under Huether’s plan. But Munson did want the rail traffic to reduce, substantially under his 2005 plan;

Sioux Falls Mayor David Munson says, “For any development we want to do moving those tracks is very important.”

Plus, the mayor says moving the tracks is an issue of safety. Traffic wouldn’t be backed up nearly as much anymore. And if a train were to derail while carrying hazardous material, it wouldn’t happen in the center of a growing city.

Munson says, “We’ve seen recently trains that have leaked, they’ve had to evacuate areas so we’re trying to stay ahead of that here.”

Ironically, these hazardous train cars are still parked several days a week next to Nelson Park only hundreds of feet from the Sioux River on the South and a kid’s skate park and swimming pool to the North.

In fact the RR has stated that rail traffic would NOT be reduced under Huether’s plan. They have stated that the trains will become shorter BUT more frequent. They were not kidding. As I have noted they have become a lot more frequent over Cliff Avenue next to Avera Hospital during noon and rush hour times. One of the factors that I can see is instead of using the old switch yard that is gone now, they are re-hooking and switching train cars in the area just North of Avera’s employee/overflow parking lot. They are also parking a lot more train cars in that area.

Also, under Munson’s 2005 plan, Mark Cotter felt that rail traffic and switching would reduce so much they could eventually tear down the 10th street viaduct;

But getting the switching yard moved could dramatically reduce the size of the 10th Street viaduct in years to come. “Twenty-five years down the road, when the viaduct needs to be reconstructed, we can bring in dirt,” Cotter says, because the viaduct no longer would have to span an entire switching yard. “Roads are cheaper to repair than bridges,” Cotter says.

I wonder if that is still the plan to tear down the viaducts in 2030?

As you can see, the original vision did include the redevelopment of the banana land and leaving two RR tracks, BUT it also envisioned reducing rail traffic significantly throughout downtown which apparently was left out of Huether’s plan.


UPDATE: Mayor Grump Toad presides over the city council meeting

After several homeless advocates and homeless people showed up for public input tonight, it seemed MMM was not in the mood for Bruce and I. After cutting off one of the homeless fellars he introduced Bruce (seen above) in a cocky manner and later cut him off before the time was up. When a couple of us in the crowd protested councilor Kiley motioned to the security.

They never did anything, but I have a feeling they have been talked to.

The mayor wants to destroy public input before leaving office.

The battle lines were drawn tonight.

UPDATE: KELO AM even noticed the drama last night;

The vitriol did end there. Scott Ehrisman ended his input by saying, “a lot of us come up here and talk every week, we don’t come up here to entertain you, we come up here to inform you.” That comment was a reference to another comment made by Huether during a previous public input session, when in between speakers the Mayor asked “would anyone else like to entertain the Council?”

Mayor justifies $25 million dollar admin building by overcharging us on water rates

Boy, the man can spin.

Recently the city re-financed the Lewis & Clark bonds with a supposed $25 million in interest savings. But how this was accomplished was under the guise we were paying higher water/sewer rates for infrastructure upgrades.

We have been told over the past 7-10 years that we had to increase these rates and turn them into their own fund (enterprise) so we could upgrade our aging water & sewer infrastructure.

Sounds reasonable . . . if the city was telling the truth.

They actually have been putting the money in a savings account, $25 million to be exact. In order to save the $25 million in interest for the L & C bonds we had to make a $25 million principal payment. That money came from the ‘savings’ account.

During the Listening and Learning session the mayor justifies the $25 million dollar admin building because we saved $25 million on the L & C bonds. What a stretch.

Okay, let’s break down his illogical argument;

• We never needed the $80 million dollar hookup to L & C. In fact we only get about 10% of our water from the pipe (contract requirement) while we continue to buy land for more wells. I believe all along that we bailed out L & C and if they would not have gotten the $80 million from us they would have struggled to stay afloat. How was that the responsibility of Sioux Falls taxpayers? Our genius DC reps should have stepped up, I guess they were busy trying to get $27 million for Warren Buffet.

• We were lied to about increasing water rates. We were told this was for fixing infrastructure. It was never mentioned to us at ANY TIME over past 7 years that this money was going into a savings account, let alone a savings account to pay for an administration building.

• We didn’t need an administration building. In fact it would be more fiscally responsible to continue to lease property instead of adding more capital that we have to pay off and maintain. We essentially traded a $100K a year lease payment for $1 million dollar a year mortgage payment. There is nothing in the charter that says the city needs to own it’s own office space for employees. Even our finance director said over 2 years ago it made more sense to lease. The city should also concentrate on using more technology to reduce the number of city employees. They should also work on home work spaces.

Like paying for the indoor pool with a Federal levee bond repayment the mayor has justified an unneeded city building by overcharging us on water rates.

Always on the spin cycle.