Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

Sioux Falls Police ‘Report to Work’ stations will be called P.R.E.C.I.N.C.T.S but they are NOT Precincts

The city of Sioux Falls has come up with a clever name for these stations, P.R.E.C.I.N.C.T.S, short for Police REquired Check IN Community Time Stamps. But the Police Chief and Mayor want us to know they are NOT precincts;

Mayor Paul TenHaken is quick to emphasize that these report-to-work stations are not police precincts, which he opposed in the mayoral race earlier this year.  Instead, officers would report to an office at a busy area of the city and receive their daily briefing before heading off on their beat.

Remember, the city doesn’t want you to confuse P.R.E.C.I.N.C.T.S with Precincts. They are different.

How is Mayor Paul TenHaken doing?

I get this question at least a couple times a day, usually in person or on the phone.

Since he hasn’t been on the job very long, it’s hard to make a definite assessment so far, but there have been some defining moments;

• Changing the name of the 4th of July parade. I’m not sure how big Paul’s ego is, he does like to take selfies. But he did say the parade is about all of us celebrating independence day. Well duh. Good move.

• Paul likes family and personal time. I’m good with that, I think our elected officials gain a little sanity by doing ‘normal’ things. Is the job of the mayor a 24/7 job? YES! But in the age of technology, there is NO reason why Paul cannot have personal time and not still be connected.

• There seems to be some speculation about why he would not read a proclamation at the Pride festival. He did have a good excuse (family time on Father’s day weekend) but you also wonder what he really thinks about gay rights? I guess we will have to wait and see how this plays out with future council legislation.

• He supports the Sioux Falls flag. I think Paul thinks like many city councilors, let’s move on already. It was selected through a solid process, it meets standards, let’s go with it.

• No major press conferences or CityLink shows. I am not sure if he will do this in the future, but it has been refreshing. His staff has been diligent about sending out press releases, and that is all we ask of them. Grandstanding not required. He will however have his Budget Address on July 31st at the Orpheum Theatre. Hmm?

• Bruce and I are considered ‘media’ by the TenHaken administration. Last week we were added to the media list and receive ALL press releases from City Hall, Departments and City Council. Amen.

• While councilors Selberg and Kiley’s attempt to kill public input has been killed, I think Paul saw the writing on the wall, it would not be a good way to start his administration. He worked with council (and the public) to shape the legislation, and he has been incredibly respectful to the public at council meetings.

• While I am skeptical of his choices for Deputy COS and COS, I do know they are capable folks. All I can say at this point is that they will have to be watched closely. I do know that Beck has a passion for public service, and that will serve us well, we will just have to wait and see who else it serves.

• Director replacement hasn’t happened in the way I would have liked to see, but you never know, we may get some surprises along the way.

• Daren Ketchum’s obvious conflict of interest really needs to be addressed. And maybe Paul is handling it behind the scenes, but the whole thing is sketchy, to say the least.

• We will have to see if the drug task unit will work. I have argued many times that we need to seek National/Federal assistance. The Barney Fife approach just doesn’t cut it anymore.

• TenHaken wants to focus on roads. This has been a talking point for mayors for decades. I think our streets are pretty good considering our weather conditions, but I also think our core needs major upgrades.

So far Paul is doing pretty good considering he is still learning the ropes. To tell you the truth, he has been pretty boring, but that is NOT a bad thing. Running a city isn’t rocket science and it isn’t an episode of the ‘Apprentice’. It just takes openness and common sense. I’m hoping in 12 months I feel the same way . . .

Water Rates going up? That’s news to me.

Apparently Councilor Rick Kiley has a crystal ball, because he is predicting our water and sewer rates are going up;

“They foresee a possible increase of about $2 per month for a family of five,” city councilor Rick Kiley said.

Kiley says the city knew this day was coming.

“You never want to raise rates, but in a situation like this where we are at 82% capacity today, we have a community that’s growing by 5,000 people every year and we are bringing on regional customers in addition to that it’s the prudent thing to do now is to expand our existing facilities,” Kiley said.

The city council will be voting on the funding this project when it passes the city budget in October.

While I agree we need to fix up a 1980’s water treatment plant, if we didn’t switch the rates over to enterprise funds we could easily pay the bonds with 2nd penny CIP revenue without raising fees. But see, former mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut wanted to free up the 2nd penny from paying for silly old water pipes, and use it for paying down bonds for monument building.

So now our taxes are going up for a new jail, and Minnehaha county admitted at their Tuesday meeting (Commissioner Barth) that there will likely be another opt out, put that on top of a 25 year around $300 million dollar new school bond and our already existing $300 million city debt, and things are going to get a lot more expensive in Sioux Falls, including taking a dump.

Is TenHaken Administration proposing departmental changes?

Maybe I put up my fox cartoon too soon.

Rumors coming from my city hall moles today is that Paul will be revealing some major departmental changes soon. I’m not sure what they all are or who they entail, so I won’t speculate at this point. But my vague guess is that some changes Former Mayor Bucktooth & Bowlcut made when he rolled into office (creating new departments and directors) will be on the chopping block or combined with other departments.

I say bravo at this point. I think there is a lot of ‘obvious’ fat that could be cut from city hall and I look forward to hearing Paul’s plans to cut some of it. Government is NOT business. Government’s job is to provide top notch services to taxpayers at a fiscally responsible rate. I think a member of the ‘Dutch Mafia’ is starting to get that.

Hopefully we will know more early next week.

Should the chair of the city council meeting be doing the opening invocation?

I’m just asking the question. I have never seen the chair (mayor) do the opening prayer before until last night. In Paul’s defense, the pastor that was supposed to do it didn’t show or call (that was weird) and maybe Paul doesn’t know procedure, but a foot soldier said this to me in an email this morning;

I found it very insulting and crossing the line when the new young mayor crossed the secular line by giving the invocation at the meeting. The leader of the event must NEVER cause the subtle inference of mixing religion and government. It is just not done. NEVER.

Well, I wasn’t that offended, but I did think it was strange. In the past city councilors have done the invocation, but never the chair. Maybe Paul should have asked one of them to do it? Either way, I could care less if they do it or not. The deist, Ben Franklin, who created the invocation did it to calm the nerves of the lawmakers before a meeting, it had nothing to do with religion. These days, I don’t think it is working that well anyway. Maybe a 10 second time of silence and deep breaths would go further.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, June 12, 2018

City Council informational meeting – 4 PM

The city council will get presentations from the County about justice and civil rights, an update about the Emerald Ash Borer, a presentation from Zach DeBoer about the proposed city flag and an update on the state law change about public input.

City Council Regular Meeting – 7 PM

Item #1, Approval of Contracts. Looks like they are moving forward with fixing up Canaries Stadium.

Item #2, Change Orders. Looks like they need another $56K for the Denty’s beer coolers. Good thing we got that $1 Million dollar siding settlement . . . wait.

Item #3, Surplus Property. The Pavilion is throwing away thousands of dollars worth of exhibits in the garbage. Good thing Sanford is bailing them out.

Item #9, First Reading. Moving public input to the end of the meeting. This one is still up in the air. I guess Erickson will be absent from the meeting, so the Mayor will not have to break a tie. It will probably come down to a 4-3 vote either way. I encourage people to come and speak at regular Public Input about this item since at a 1st reading we CANNOT address the council. We need to kill this on 1st reading and move on.

Item #10, Resolution. The council will be approving $1.5 million in road funding for the USD Discovery Center. While I support this, and I think it will pass the council, some people are questioning why the bank required this money from the city before approving further loans for the facility. I reminds me of when Lloyd Companies told the city they needed a TIF for the Phillips to the Falls projects or the bank wouldn’t secure a loan. I think it was a bluff. With Lloyd Companies Property having $186 million in valuation, I don’t think a couple million in TIF funding would make a difference to a loan officer. Just Saying.

Item #11, Appointment of Board Members. Councilor Stehly will get appointed to the Multi-Cultural Center Intergovernmental Board, Councilor Brekke and Steve Westra are getting appointed to the CVB BID Tax Board. Westra was a pretty big dissenter of Huether. I expect more changes like this by Mayor TenHaken.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Selberg moving forward with ‘Huether/Rolfing’ memorial ordinance

That’s what I am calling the proposed ordinance Tuesday Night (Item#9 – 1st Reading) to change the order of the meeting agenda so public input is at the end of the meeting. The irony of it is that Public Input became a ruckus because of the lack of respect and decorum Huether and Rolfing showed to the commenters. Often laughing at, heckling, or making cry baby speeches at the people who would come up and speak truth to power. They were incredibly disrespectful and arrogant, than they wondered why someone would call them an SOB? Go figure.

They are trying to change the rules because of ONE person’s actions. But in reality, that is just an excuse they are using. The city has been embarrassed time and time again because of the input from citizens at the council meetings;

• Walmart on 85th

• Copper Lounge Collapse

• Oak View neighborhood

• Events Center Siding

• Administration building

• Downtown noise ordinance

• Poorly negotiated RR redevelopment deal

. . . and the list goes on.

This isn’t about one person’s potty mouth or a disenfranchised veteran, this is about stopping public commenters from pointing out important issues in our city. Some of the best solutions to problems and awareness comes from the people who come and bring public input. That is why the former mayor and certain councilors hated it so much.

I asked Councilor Neitzert in a text today how he would vote on the first reading (he seems to be the deciding vote) he gave me a line about coming up with a ‘pros and cons’ list. I told him it would be hypocritical of him to support this, especially since he used public input many times as a citizen and ran on transparency in government. Pushing citizens to the back of the line is certainly NOT a PRO to open and transparent government. I’m just hoping Greg sees the light by the time Tuesday rolls around. Besides, transparency was the #1 issue in this last election. Moving public input to the end of the meeting wreaks of closed government.

Either way, I will remind the ENTIRE council once again why this would be a very BAD idea to change.

• It has worked well for 16 years. I remember when Munson was mayor there were several nights when public input got a little heated. Dave wasn’t shy, he dropped the gavel and told you to sit down. That is what a GOOD leader/chair does, they take control of the meeting and situation. You don’t change the rules for the majority because a tiny minority has a potty mouth. TenHaken needs to be a leader and instead of supporting this (I hear he does) he needs to take control of the meetings. Maybe before Tuesday he can get some tips from Munson on that.

• The family friendly argument is a joke. I didn’t know a government meeting was like an episode of the Brady Bunch. Besides, let’s talk family friendly. Was it family friendly to approve going into partnership with a developer who’s contractor caused the death of a worker? Is that what you mean by family friendly? I am way more offended by that than if a person says SOB at a meeting.

• What the heck has Councilor Marshall Selberg done in 2 years? Besides voting on developments that benefit his employer without recusing himself (conflict of interest) he has contributed NO legislation. So his first order of business is to push through anti-dissent legislation? Wow! He really has NO CLUE about public service.

• As I mentioned above, half the problem with public input solved itself when Mike and Rex left.

• I have also argued that this will actually make the meetings longer, because people will show up for public input and start to comment on all the agenda items. If you have 4-5 people from the public speaking for 4-5 minutes on every agenda item, the meetings could get very long. And once you get to public input, they could let you have it again about the decisions that were made that night. Do you really want to end your meetings that way?

Finally I will say what I have said to the council a thousand times already – the citizens own this government, not the banksters and developers and mega-plex hospitals. The public should have the first opportunity to speak at meetings and the rest of them, who are essentially benefitting from the city either financially or otherwise can wait. Besides, like standing in a long line at the courthouse to get your license plates, waiting until the end of the meeting for public input is another form of taxation. Everyone else in the room (councilors, mayor, directors, city employees, bar owners, developers, etc) are getting paid to be there, we are not, but we are funding the operation that’s why we get to go first.

Public input is NOT broken, it just needs to be handled better by the chair, someone who is willing to gavel and put people in their place when they use potty mouth or ramble about what happened to them in 1973.

Leave it as is!

CONTACT the council and mayor’s office and tell them how you feel.

I know that Selberg, Kiley and TenHaken support this. I think that Erickson and Soehl MAY support this. Brekke, Starr and Stehly DO NOT. So far Neitzert is undecided.

Mayor TenHaken proposes a Narcotics Crime Unit

I’m going to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to Paul’s plan. Not because I have been light on him lately, but I’m not sure what it all entails. I will say though I have little confidence in Chief Burns and I would have replaced him, also I hope this doesn’t turn into putting away small time users (who really need treatment more than anything.)

Good Luck.

Kudos #3 for the TenHaken Administration today!

And the hits keep coming. Three DaCola ‘wins’ in one day for the TenHaken administration. His Deputy COS announced today that all the audio files for the Parks Board since 2016 are online with a promise to eventually go full audio/video.

See, transparency isn’t that hard, you just have to talk to the right programmers.

Falls Park Safety isn’t Rocket Science

It has often amazed me when Former Mayor Coors Light & Olives would talk about all of his ‘WINS’ and wouldn’t address ‘REAL’ issues in our community, like Public Transit and the Meth epidemic. But he also wouldn’t address the little things that just needed a ‘tweak’.

There was a lot of excuses about Falls Park Safety, but no action. It seems TenHaken gets it, it needs to be fixed, so let’s get on it;

“We are moving fast and furious on a proposal,” Nelson said. “Our approach is to enhance not only the safety but also the visitor experience in the park with improved accessibility.”

And that is the job of good government. When you see a need for something to be better, you dig in and do it instead of making excuses about mystery reports and having multiple press conferences about nothing.

Next big tweak Paul? Transparency. Let’s move fast and furious on that to.