Entries Tagged 'Mayor Hubris' ↓
I almost had to chug a beer after listening to Greg’s show this morning to calm my nerves, so many half-truths I don’t know where to begin (we will get to that shortly).
I am often amazed when I hear local pundits talk ‘local’ politics and how little they know, or maybe they do know and just choose to tell a different story. For instance when they call city councilors, commissioners. They haven’t been commissioners for over a decade, get it straight already.
But today’s show was extra special, it’s like B-n-B (Bad Neighbor Belfrage) has become an extension of Channel 16 and the Reid Holsen school of advocational interviews.
You can listen for yourself some of the bull that was dispensed, here is the TRUTH;
- There has been NO city administration building built in 83 years (city hall). Actually there have been dozens, even if you don’t count the multiple parks garages that have been built (they include offices) there has been a rehab of a Raven building on 6th and Phillips for Parks offices, there is the light and power building, there is the rehab of Carnegie Hall for the city clerks and community development, there has been the public works garage and recycling center (all include offices) and the recent rental of the city attorney offices (because rumor has it they feared the FBI was listening in on their convos at city hall. Even if that isn’t true, it’s still a little funny).
- The mayor is a member of the city council. This is ‘partially’ true. By charter he is a member, but ONLY to break ties. If the mayor was a true member of the council he would vote on every item (he does not) he would attend all council meetings (informational, committees, work sessions, joint county meetings, etc) he does not. He is the executive branch of city government and the council is the legislative branch, he is only a ‘tie-breaking’ member of the council. It is a similar situation with the county, Bob Litz, the county auditor is asked to break ties with the county commission and to run meetings when ‘needed’. He is NOT a regular member of the commission in that sense.
- 6,400 signatures is ‘NOT A LOT’. This really is a matter of opinion, but by LAW only 5% is required to get a measure on a ballot. Stop the Funding has followed those rules, if you disagree with them, ask the legislature and city council to change them. Either way, I’m pretty sure that Danielson broke records in the time it took him to gather the signatures, this tells me that people are very concerned about the building and want a vote. By law, they deserve one, whether you agree or not. Actually, B-n-B had to admit today that he signed the petition also. I asked Bruce about it, he told me that at the time Greg signed it, he agreed with Bruce it was about the process, less than a couple of weeks later it seems Greg isn’t too concerned about the process, claiming he should not have signed it.
- B-n-B has questioned the funding of the petition drive and the filing of a ballot committee. Bruce actually attempted to file the paperwork earlier, but since the city put up the new website design, all the downloadable documents to do this disappeared, to which the city clerk was made aware. Bruce has filed the necessary paperwork. The financials are due later. Did Bruce raise money? He did, and the money comes from multiple sources and all income brackets and sectors of the community, this initiative has broad support.
- B-n-B had to admit today that the building (the bonds) will be $25 million. The mayor, yesterday, was telling people the building is $21.9 million, while true, he fails to mention the total after commissions and sale of the bonds the TOTAL cost is $25 million. The initiative is to stop the bond sale NOT to stop a building, Bruce has been VERY clear about this, that amount is $25 million, no lies have been told.
- The claim that the building has been ‘fully vetted’. This may be true internally with the administration and council leadership, but the rest of the council and the public was left in the dark until last April. It was sprung on us. The other argument is that if this building has been supposedly talked about since 2007, why not build it before an events center and indoor pool? Notice the mayor has refused to answer this question, even when asked on Greg’s show and at council meetings. The need is NOT great. If it they were concerned about morale of city employees, why are they not getting decent raises this year? As for the public showing up to voice their concerns, we have, several times, and each time the mayor has shut us down, breaking two ties and veto (which he laughed about). The council has listened and TRIED to stop this, but the mayor’s attitude to ‘win at any cost’ has taken over the debate. We could have had 100 people show up to these meetings and protest, wouldn’t matter, the mayor has had his mind made up on this before it was even presented to the whole council. Just like the EC and the Indoor Pool, full steam ahead.
- This has nothing to do with the 300 building. As I said above, Stop the Funding has been VERY CLEAR, this initiative has been about stopping the $25 million dollar bond sale. If the council decides at a later date to build a scaled back building, or remodel an existing building or continue to rent, that is another issue. The 300 building owners have been very gracious in letting us use office space. We thank them as they did this as an in-kind donation.
- It IS cheaper to rent. You don’t have to take my word on it, city finance director Tracy Turbak has already admitted in a public meeting it would be more cost effective to rent. There is no bond repayment, interest or use of capital outlay. It just makes more sense to rent financially. This one is a no-brainer that even the city finance director agrees with.
Some people and the mayor have said this petition drive has been fueled by animosity towards the mayor. I would have to partially agree. ANY elected official who will go on a media show and lie bald faced to the public most likely will have well deserved animosity towards them, you reap what you sew. Personally I could care less about him, I have gotten used to wearing 5-Buckle over-boots while following him around.
I’m sure tomorrow B-n-B will have a whole new set of lies and half-truths to tell the public. We will be waiting to dispel them. Now if Greg would go do something more productive with his time, like mow his lawn.
• Approximately 5,750 valid signatures (5 percent of registered voters) are required to send an issue to a vote.
• The City Clerk will conduct a random sampling process to validate the petition. Five percent of the signatures must be reviewed according to South Dakota Administrative Rule. This entire process can take up to two weeks or longer, depending on various factors. Even if a petition is validated, any interested person could then challenge the petition, alleging specific deficiencies in the petition. If so, the City Clerk would need to review each of the specific deficiencies and make a determination regarding the validity of each of the signatures in question.
• Assuming the petition contains sufficient valid signatures, the City Clerk would then deem the petition “filed” with his office. The City Clerk would then present the petition to the City Council for further action. The City Council can either place the item on the April 2018 ballot or order a special election by ordinance.
• An election ordinance requires two separate readings at least five days apart.
• State law requires any special election to be at least 30 days from the effective date of the order calling for a special election.
• Election results must also be canvassed before any proposed measure would become effective, if approved by the voters.
The City is authorized to sell bonds for the proposed City Administration building effective October 1, 2016. The existence of this possible initiative effort does not prevent the already authorized bond sale from taking place. SDCL 9-20-3 prohibits the use of the initiative process to nullify the purpose for which bonds have been sold.
We don’t care if it it takes a decade to verify the signatures, that’s neither here nor there (realistically it should only take a couple of hours, since they only have to make sure about 288 sigs are valid), the real clencher here is Fiddle’s interpretation of election and petition law.
The existence of this possible initiative effort does not prevent the already authorized bond sale from taking place.
Problem is, the bonds haven’t been sold yet.
Well he isn’t a Democrat, that has been clear for awhile. During this morning’s show on Belfrage (where he lies about calling other people liars, and claims to know election law). B-n-B (Bad Neighbor Belfrage) and MMM get into a discussion about his political leanings. At first MMM says he is a libertarian then switches gears and says he’s more of an independent then anything, and may be switching to that soon. Well, he would be able to avoid a primary in the governor’s race. I wonder if he told his cohorts over at the SDDP office who depend on his founder’s donation each month to help make payroll?
As for his ramblings about (personal) animosity towards him over the administration building, that is not the case at all. This discussion has always been about spending too much money on a building we don’t need, that is why people sign the petition, Dems, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents. Mike, some things are not about you.
Stop the Funding signatures will most likely be turned in this week. The final roundup and petition gathering will be occurring over the next couple of days (in other words, if you have sheets GET THEM TURNED IN ASAP!)
The collection process has been anything but uneventful. Co-Chair Bruce Danielson has told me along the way that approximately only 1 out of 8 or 10 refuse to sign. Most can’t wait to sign, and others usually don’t need much convincing. Bruce has always kept the argument simple, keeping politics and personal feelings for politicians out of it. He basically says that if we spend $25 million on a building we don’t need, that is $25 million over the next 20 years we won’t be spending on roads or other infrastructure. That usually convinces them to sign.
There has been road bumps along the way to the democratic process, ones you wouldn’t expect. For instance Bruce has been asked to stop taking signatures at the VFW and the VA (he was actually on the public sidewalk at the VA) he was threatened with arrest by the VA
rent-a-cops Federal Law Enforcement agents. But an interesting thing happened yesterday at the Backpack handout event. He was on the public sidewalk getting signatures (and registering people to vote) when he was accosted by a city contractor who hosts public affair shows on channel 16. Of all the people that should understand the democratic process, it should be her? Right? Well she didn’t. Bruce held his ground and said he had a 1st amendment right to be their on public property collecting signatures and wasn’t leaving. She sent out another person (we assumed a city employee) and after a picture of him was taken, he had a change of heart. He said something like, “That better not end up on the internet!” LOL. You never know.
The Argus wrote an editorial today supporting the petition drive and election (but it is not posted online yet) but it wasn’t to nice to councilor Erpenbach.
So what happens next?
Well first the petitions need to be verified using a sampling, this should only take a day or two (actually a couple of hours) there is NO reason these signatures shouldn’t be verified by Friday.
If and when the sigs are verified they need to be presented to the council. By law, they must set a special election date. Ideally, this should be before the bond sale. But the mayor can stop or delay the bond sale.
So now it is in the council’s hands. They need to call a special meeting and get it done. We will be watching and waiting.
You know my feelings on this. While the (business) community bands together to help a food bank charity, wouldn’t it just be better if these businesses paid their employees enough so they can buy their own food? I know we will never totally eliminate hunger. There will always be people who can’t afford food, such as those on disability or the elderly that can’t work anymore. But it is a sad when a working family can’t afford to buy their own food.
On top of that, the ignorance of our governor and state legislature raising taxes on food so we can pay ONE sector of public employees more (a program that is running into snags and not really working the way it intended).
It is time our lawmakers get serious about the minimum wage in our state and raising the wages of ALL workers in this state to compete with other states. Enough of selling us as a low wage state.
Of course some lawmakers still think it is all just a big joke. Our esteemed mayor took that opportunity when he jokingly said this during the above press conference about the administration building (about 6 minutes in);
“I like new and big buildings to . . . I do. Did I just say that? I think building new is better then remodeling.”
The poor and the hungry seem to be just a big joke to some people. Make sure the developers and contractors in this town stay well fed. And while we are planning to bond for a $22 million dollar administration building, we are proposing no wage increases for city employees in 2017. Better funnel some more money through the development foundation so they can give it to the food bank. Now that’s workforce development at it’s best!
I guess during a Friday meeting the mayor said something similar to this;
Mike wants citizens with grievances to give city employees a chance to fix their problems before bringing them to light at public input during the city council meetings. He also said his office and other departments respond to complaints within 24 hours.
Okay, I think I just got carpet burns I was laughing so hard. But seriously? What meetings has he been going to over the past 6 years? The Red Hat society?
The one thing I have noticed about public input (besides my pointed rants) is that most citizens complain during that time period as a last resort. Take the landlords that had their laundry room destroyed by the SWAT team, or recently the missing parking lot at the Vietnamese restaurant. Most citizens don’t want to come to public input, it is intimidating, and if you sit in the back row, you may just get hit in the head by a flailing elbow. Most use it, because they have tried all other avenues to solve a problem with the city.
Maybe the mayor is coming around. But I am not holding my breath.
Another leader that did whatever he wanted to. Gaius Caligula, son of Germanicus, nephew of Claudius, AD 37-41.
I think this quote from Steve Hildebrand says it the best when it comes to the mayor’s leadership style (also, vote in the poll);
“This is typical Mike being pigheaded and doing what he wants to do,” said downtown business owner and political consultant Steve Hildebrand, an outspoken critic of the bond ordinance. “It’s another deal where he wants his name on the building to say he got things done, but they haven’t looked closely at what city government expansion will look like.”
Before I lay out what I think of the situation, I encourage you to watch the full press conference first (CLICK HERE). I say this, because too often people start commenting here before they watch a press conference or educate themselves on an issue. I’m not saying you are ignorant, but please, before you argue for or against the project, watch and listen to the mayor’s own words.
Okay, now put the popcorn away. There are so many holes in his pro argument I don’t know where to begin, so if I seem like I am rambling, I may well be.
To answer the overwhelming question about whether or not there will be a petition drive and initiative to stop this. Not sure yet. We are weighing our options and what legal assistance we can get. So far, city attorney Fiddle-Faddle has told councilors that it is not an option, due to some rule or law he pulled from the netherlands. The mayor also has said in his interview with Stu Whitney that he got the three NO vote councilors (Kiley, Rolfing, Erpenbach) on board with him before he vetoed the repeal. Ironically playing games behind closed doors, the same thing he accused the five YES vote councilors of doing before the vote.
As for those three who voted NO to the repeal, I find it ironic that they are the same councilors who never return phone calls to constituents, yet somehow have a pulse on our community enough to go ahead with this project. It is hilarious to watch these clowns tripping over their rubber stamps while shutting off their phones.
But besides these fly by night councilors, who really owns this project? Mayor Huether does. If I were consulting him for higher office, I would have told him to not touch this VETO with a ten foot pole, instead he took it on and hung it around his neck like a yolk, and further more laughed about writing VETO on the ordinance in Fiddle-Faddle’s office. Like “Ha! Ha! City council and citizens, here’s my middle finger, suck it!” How can a guy go from almost choking up and crying about the sacrifice of city employees (they have’t sacrificed anything, just followed your orders) to laughing about screwing over his legislative branch and growing government to the detriment of citizens? Not sure if Huether is seeing a therapist, but if he is, I hope he is paying them enough to see a therapist after your sessions with him.
But enough of my editorializing. There were many missteps by the mayor, his administration, directors and precious employees (those are actually OUR employees, not his, we pay their wages, and his job is to ‘manage’ them, not force them into positions.)
The mayor’s stretches on this issue;
• We have a low debt load. Not really. But even if we could afford to borrow the money for the building, why would we? Besides what the mayor says, we don’t need a NEW building. We could buy existing buildings, we could refurbish existing city buildings, like we did with city hall. We have other options that the mayor claims we explored, we did not. Why not have city employees that don’t interact with the public work from home? Why not increase technology to lower our number of city employees we need?
• Leasing hurts us. Not really. When you look at a $1 million a year mortgage for an unfinished building (it will cost us more in the future) leasing is actually a great idea, that saves us money and is good for the economy. There is NOTHING in charter that says we need to have a certain amount of employees and certain amount of work space for them. NOTHING. High ceilings and air quality is poppycock made up by the mayor and his minions. People are trampling over each other to have a government job that pays decent, has great benefits and retirement, and you can shirk all of your work off on consultants. Councilor Neitzert pointed this out the best during the discussion. We don’t have a recruiting problem, that is a fantasy.
• Officials are elected to get things done. Partially true. We elect them to serve us. That could mean building admin buildings, pools and entertainment complexes, it also could mean we ask them to hold the brakes on such projects. Huether’s delusional notion of ‘getting things done’ doesn’t always mean building structures and increasing debt, it could also mean restraint which takes vision. Salesmen don’t have vision, they live for the day, don’t care about history or the future. Huether has proven this with his statements about how long this project has been discussed.
• We have been discussing space needs since Munson. Probably true. I’m sure every mayor has talked about it. But let’s present a real time line. The admin building discussion was collecting dust in the mayor’s drawer while he hammered home spending reserves and borrowed levee money on an indoor pool. The perfect capital to spend on an admin building, but he squandered it on a building that will never break even or run in the black. It would have been the perfect opportunity to bring up this ‘NEED’ but instead his selfishness and love of special interest club sports prevailed. So now he wants us to BOND for a need. Typical of a subprime credit card salesman (not a banker). He also claims this building was talked about more then the Events Center and Indoor Pool. That statement alone is so laughable that he should have been wearing a clown hat and squirting the crowd with seltzer water while saying it.
• The administration building will spur economic development. No building in government has done such a thing unless you are a courthouse in a county seat the size of the wart on my finger.
• The previous council supported the building. Flat out lie. Which has been pointed out several times by the media, but Mr. Pants on Fire can’t help himself from repeating it several times. It was a tie vote TWICE by the previous council to stop this train wreck and the mayor broke the tie.
• We have had professionals work on this project. You mean the professional who designed the bouncing balcony at the Pavilion and the bent up siding at the Events Center which resulted in a settlement? Why would we continue to hire someone that is detrimental to the taxpayers? Time to cut the apron strings.
Huether proved today just how out of touch he is with voters and his city council. He is living in la-la land, and if he thinks this kind of behavior will bode well in a statewide race*, he has a rude awakening coming. So laugh about signing vetoes in the city attorney’s office while eating carmel corn and peanuts, because at the end of 2018, you will be ‘truly’ crying something other then crocodile tears while sitting on the dock of your ‘lake’ home.
*I have already heard of two prominent Democrats that would run against him in a gubernatorial primary.