Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

Open Video System (OVS) proposal by City of Sioux Falls Innovation Department needs to be stopped

There isn’t a lot of research out there about OVS even though it has essentially been around since the mid-90’s. It essentially gives broadband and telecoms the right to stream videos online without a franchise license like major cable companies. There are some other details involved, but you get the gist.

A lot of us use these services, and hopefully if you are ‘subscribed’ to them you understand the terms. The companies most likely have a lot of data on you. Besides knowing some financial information, they know when you watch videos and what kind of videos you like. They use these ‘cookies’ to know what to advertise to you. It works similar when you purchase products from an online company. If they see you like buying crime novels, they most likely send you emails about books available.

For instance I’m subscribed to Expedia, it knows when I am searching for certain deals and alerts me.

While all of this is done in the private sector, and you willfully agree to it, then I guess you don’t mind that these private companies are collecting massive amounts of data on you to help make themselves more money.

When government does it, well, that’s just creepy.

The city is exploring using OVS. I don’t know any details on what they intend to do, but they will have a presentation on Tuesday at the informational and are looking to appropriate money for the system during the regular city council meeting.

This is what I do know. If the city buys into this kind of system, you will essentially have to ‘subscribe’ to the service to use it (even if it is FREE). This will allow the city to ‘data mine’ on you like the online retailers do. They will be able to know when you watch the videos, how often and when. They will be able to take your subscriber data and compare it to voter data and then be able to establish a profile.

So why does the city want to do this? Well there are several reasons, and none of them are good for the citizenry. The city is already collecting data on several fronts. If you downloaded the city app to report problems, watch videos on the city’s FB page while logged in, or use the data portal to search data from the city’s GIS site, you have to be logged in. They are collecting data on you NOW and this will be one more tool for them.

You must understand this the world Mayor Paul TenHaken comes from as well as his Innovation Director who ran a successful online retailer. They both ran successful businesses through helping themselves and their clients collect massive amounts of data on their clients. Paul has been busted a couple times before digging around in the dark resources of the internet. We all heard about his assistance of former Deputy Secretary of State, Powers and the doxing he did for the Rounds Campaign. This is PTH’s bag of tricks from the private sector and now he wants to take it to the next level and see if he can pull it off in government. Last I checked, the City of Sioux Falls wasn’t a fascist regime or communist state, but Paul is quickly likening himself to a Dictator.

Oh, we will hear all the excuses, “These apps and sites are there to make government more accessible for you.” Bullsh*t! They are there to allow government to have more access of YOU and what you are thinking, contemplating or even voting on.

Besides the fact the city should not be collecting this kind of data on it’s citizens, it is a waste of money. Citizens should be able to watch and respond to their government for FREE, they should also NOT be monitored when they are doing these things. They especially shouldn’t be required to ‘LOG IN’ to get information from the city. The city already monitors it’s citizens in several ways from property taxes to their water meters. Using technology to data mine on citizens unknowingly is just plain wrong and it needs to be stopped.

Mayor TenHaken misses the point of open government

PTH was on Belfrage yesterday talking about a bunch of things. Belfrage brought up the ‘dysfunction’ of the city council. It of course came back to trying to blame ‘ONE’ person on the council. While Stehly’s name was never brought up, it was clear who he was talking about.

PTH thought it was a waste of time to discuss a $20 fee for the housing summit instead of spending more time talking about supplemental appropriations during a council meeting.

As for the supplemental appropriations, the council and the public, I believe were in agreement. What discussion did you need? (PTH even admitted to that). But to say having a ‘wasted’ discussion about the $20 fee just shows (as I have suspected) he knows little about open government and transparency. This wasn’t about the $20 this was about charging the public to come to a PUBLIC event. Ironically, the administration changed their tune and said they would waive the fee and film the event (I encourage people to watch the over 5 hours, it is fascinating, especially the tiny homes for vets discussion). So was the discussion really a waste? Open and transparent government SHOULD be priority over everything else.

I think we need to have a longer public discussion about how the citizens own this government and they shouldn’t be ‘charged’ to participate in it.

UPDATE: TenHaken could have killed Village on the River before it got this far

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the bonds were sold before PTH came into office. So if he would have killed the project, it likely would have cost us in fines. I think I predicted about $2 million at the time. But in hindsight it would have saved us in the long run, because now we have a structure without a private partner.

Over on the WussCollege chief talking mouth, Pitty, is trying to defend the mayor’s position on the parking ramp. But early on PTH could have killed the project, and did not. As one commenter said;

When Mayor TenHaken took office, he announced his administration was vetting the project and development agreement and subsequently endorsed the project during a press conference in July 2018

I also find it a bit ironic that while Pitty likes to throw Stehly under the bus, she is the only one (with Starr) who has tried to stop this project while Pitty’s buddies Neitzert and Erickson steamed forward.

VIDEO BELOW is last night’s CC meeting;

So why didn’t PTH stop the project before it got this far? As someone put it to me last night, he didn’t have a legal team in place at that time that knew their heads from a hole in the ground. While I commended PTH last night for killing the project, he really could have stopped it much sooner. While real leaders do get things done, they also get things done right and know how to say NO when necessary. It seems the only two leaders we have right now in city government is Stehly and Starr who had the vision and foresight to know this was doomed from the very beginning.

Was Mayor TenHaken handed a turd sandwich?

While there are many things the PTH administration needs to work on within their own philosophies of leadership, I think Paul was handed a lot of problems caused by the last mayor and rubber stamp city council. Unfortunately he seems to be eating the sandwich and liking it. Here is a list of things Paul is battling on those fronts;

ROADS. Let’s face it, while the weather hasn’t been the best for our pothole situation, some question what progress was done over the past 9 years? When Munson left office, our roads rated 7 out of 10, when the last guy left, the rating was identical. There was NO progress made (I’ve even argued that neighborhood streets in central SF have gotten much worse). I have contended that it’s not just a matter of money, it’s a matter of engineering the streets better.

THE BIRDCAGE. This facility has been losing money for well over a decade, and it really is just a money pit. It’s time we bulldoze the facility and find a better use for the property. I think another hotel with retail center surrounding it would be the best use. As for a new baseball stadium, I think the big wheels in town can fund that on their own or they can play at Harmadon Park.

THE EVENTS CENTER MONEY VACUUM/CAMPUS CASASM. As I mentioned above with SF stadium, we have issues with the area, it simply was built in the wrong location. It’s easy for visitors to pop off the interstate, go straight to the show, and leave right afterwards. The approximately $55 million in sales at the facility last year go straight out the door to promoters, artists and other vendors without recirculating in our community. This needs to be addressed.

DOWNTOWN PARKING RAMP. This project is the mother load of sh*t sandwiches. Paul had the chance to halt the project before ground was even broken, but moved forward anyway. Now we are faced with the unknown of a possible lawsuit, a new developer and RFP and Gawd knows what else. The administration should really be OPEN and TRANSPARENT about the process. I know they are acting like they don’t want to scare off the developer, but last I checked that may not be such a bad idea. If someone doesn’t have the money, that means they don’t have the money. It would be like feeling guilty for NOT giving a lazy panhandler money.

BUILDING COLLAPSE. The city really should have done their own investigation of this disaster. Furthermore, PTH doesn’t seem to concerned about it either. Not only should there have been an independent investigation by the State’s Attorney’s office, but there should have been a full audit of the building services department for ignoring repeated complaints about what was going on there. The illegal asbestos removable should have been the first red flag.

TRANSPARENCY. Speaking of the DT Parking Ramp fiasco, the last administration ran city hall like a cold war dictatorship. While Paul has been trying different things with getting more information out to the public, it’s very select, and the important things are still done behind closed doors, something we like to call ‘smoke and mirrors’. Sorry, Paul, we learned all the tricks from Bowlcut, they are NOT going to work this time around.

RAILROAD REDEVELOPMENT. This of course was the worst negotiated deal in the history of the city. Just the other day, after giving BNSF millions for land that Federal taxpayers essentially owned anyway in easements and reversion rights, the State has to take them to court over a $50K piece of land. Paul needs to cut the city’s losses on this banana shaped plot and sell it to the highest bidder ASAP.

ADMINISTRATION BUILDING. What did we say all along? We didn’t need the extra space. In fact, after building the new City Center we are finding out we have so much space that we are putting the IT department there and clearing out an entire city building for the Triage Center. Don’t get me wrong, the Triage Center is a worthy cause, but the taxpayers are really being taken to the cleaners on the city center and we still haven’t heard whether or not we are footing the bill for the defunct HVAC system.

MIDCO AQUATIC CENTER. Still not really at capacity, and worse yet, customer service reports from the facility are less then favorable. This will be another money pit for years to come. If I was PTH I would try to sell the facility to a private organization and wash our hands of it. Maybe the VA would be interested, they already own the land . . .

MASSIVE FLOODING. We know how the last guy thought about massive growth and development. If it was up to him he would have paved the entire city including all the public parks. Paul needs to slow this down, it is resulting in a lot of pavement and very little runoff and drainage. The action they are taking in the Rose/Lotta neighborhood is a good move, but more needs to be done by dedicating more of the 2nd Penny to drainage upgrades.

Like I said, Paul was really handed a plate of poo, but besides trying to re-polish it, he really isn’t tamping out the fires of closed government and corruption, but if you looked at his campaign donor list, you would know why. Follow the money folks.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken ‘slipped in’ the State Theatre in his SOC address

He didn’t mention any numbers, but he made it clear he wanted it to open within the year. I’m sure it will buried in his proposed budget and the city council will have no choice but to pull it and amend it if they don’t want it. I call it ‘sneaky budgeting’.

He did have some other important things in his presentation. Not sure what a ‘Dream’ website is all about? Just more web marketing mumble jumble.

I’m not sure how this it was any different then having it at Carnegie. The crowd actually looked a little light. Bowlcut used to have PP presentations also and managed just fine. I guess I would also start doing the SOC at 6 or 7 PM so working people can tune in.

UPDATE: PTH also said he wants to rebrand the city’s logo so that all the different organizations associated with the city like the Chamber, Forward SF, Development foundation, etc, have a similar ‘Sioux Falls’ moniker. I think this is a great idea and a long time coming. I often said there is confusion just with the different city departments. But I disagree with the process. First I would ask graphic designers/artists to submit a design and have the citizens vote on it online (like the flag competition). Then whoever wins give them some kind of prize package with gift cards of local businesses etc. Then I would hire a media company to refine it and match it up with the participating orgs. I also don’t think the taxpayers should be paying for this. I think the other organizations involved have plenty of money to foot the bill, or better yet a local media company can donate their time.

Mayor TenHaken proposes new budgeting process

At first glance I like the direction of this new process, especially the first tier;

It’s a two-page summary of the request that is then scored by committees of city staff from all 11 departments based on five criteria:

  • Does it meet the goals of the city?
  • Is it innovative?
  • Is it sustainable?
  • Does it foster partnerships with other organizations and agencies?
  • Is it measurable?

After scoring about 50 of those “RFRs,” which Pritchett declined to share details about, the ones with the highest score are prioritized. That’s when the public engagement aspect of TenHaken’s budgeting process comes in.

This is really how department heads SHOULD be submitting their budgets through a scoring process. I also like the 5 questions, but where it gets wobbly is the 2nd tier where they say the ‘public’ would be involved;

“We want to engage people that may not have been engaged in the process in the past,” said Pritchett, who this month will bring the highest-scored proposals to a citizen group of Leadership Sioux Falls members to get even more feedback.

While having the public leadership group involved is also a great idea, I would apply it a little differently. As I have mentioned in the past, the City Council, the legislative body of the city should really be putting the budget together after the 1st tier is implemented and the leadership group weighs in. After that I think the COUNCIL not the MAYOR should introduce a preliminary budget that is presented to citizens in at least 2-3 public meetings/open houses where citizens can tell councilors what they like and don’t like. And during the process there should be an online participatory budgeting website that people can leave comments (an idea council candidate Weiland suggested). After that process is finished the council can present there final budget to the mayor and public.

Why shouldn’t the mayor be involved? First off, under charter, the council controls the purse strings, and secondly the mayor’s office is really just another department that can put in it’s requests like the other departments.

The city needs to get back to having our citizen representatives draw up a budget that reflects citizens instead of corporate welfare and play palaces.

UPDATE: California city has 4 public hearings on 5G before telling city council ‘Hold for now’

UPDATE: Notice Sioux Falls isn’t on this list? Hmm?

Hey, Paul, TJ and Erica, this is what transparent government looks like when the Feds have a cattle prod up your rear;

Amid concerns that federal mandates usurp local authority, the fight for control over the hardware that transmits wireless Internet has reached an impasse in Fairfax.

After the fourth public hearing before the Town Council this week — this one lasting more than three hours — council members said they need more time before adopting new regulations for the installation of wireless antennas used for the high-speed network called 5G.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Mayor Barbara Coler said after the Tuesday special meeting. “After we released our draft ordinance last week, we received a lot of public comment [Tuesday] that we needed to consider and review.”

How many public hearings did we have (that were NOT official readings in official meetings) before we let 5G roam free in Sioux Falls? ZERO.

I will say it again, you can only have open and transparent government by actually practicing open and transparent government.

If you have to tell us how you are being transparent, you likely are missing the a mark

I have often argued if you want to be transparent in government, OPEN up everything except what is not allowable by law like personnel issues and pending litigation and let the public tell you if they are getting too much information – which is highly unlikely.

While Mayor PTH has made some strides in transparency, most of it happened because of pressure from the public or the city council, but let’s review;

A few weeks into my tenure, I directed that all available audio from the Parks and Recreation Board meetings be posted on the city’s website. This had been opposed in the past. Beginning in 2019, we also began recording video of these meetings.

I commend the mayor on this decision, but this ball was already rolling when councilor Stehly pushed for this in the last administration.

I initiated changes to the Council’s consent agenda — the list of contracts for goods and services the city enters into that require Council notification and approval.

This was also something the council (and public) requested. And I will agree, it is much better.

I am also easy to reach by the public. I hold regular office hours for the public and meet with community stakeholders and citizens on a daily basis.

While this may be the case, having a security officer at city hall because someone stole a can of Coke out of the mayor’s reefer isn’t exactly a show of transparency. If the mayor is concerned about his security, he should talk to the State Legislature about banning firearms in public government buildings. I also think having ONE main phone number for the city with a switchboard will be helpful, something the mayor says he is working on. This is WAY overdue.

And why do the bureaucrats always have to split community stakeholders and citizens? As in “I hold regular office hours for the public and meet with community stakeholders and citizens on a daily basis.” Aren’t we are all citizens or at least all stakeholders?

This week my administration launched a Community Dashboard to provide the public and media with key performance indicators that are easy to access and simple to understand.

The data or Community Dashboard is worthless if you do not know the cryptic file naming scheme, in other words, it needs work. I have never understood why Sioux Falls doesn’t have a simple website like the City of Omaha. Notice the department tabs on the left hand side of the home page. When you click on them they give you more contact information and a search engine that assists you in what you are looking for. It seems the city’s IT department is making things more complicated by creating a portal that doesn’t really work. Break it up into departments and let people search from those tabs.

While PTH has made some strides in transparency, it has been from the pressure of the council and public, for example the Event Center Campus Book Club meetings. Those meetings would have never been open unless there was pressure from councilors Starr and Stehly.

I challenge Paul to open everything up and then deal with the criticism from too much transparency, I can pretty much guarantee he will hear NO complaints from the public, the REAL stakeholders in this government.

Is Mayor TenHaken secretly training to become a Liberal?

Before everyone chews me out for the title of the post, I was being sarcastic. But one has to wonder. I have been researching Bloomberg Philanthropies just out of curiosity since PTH has been taking night courses with the organization.

Besides being advocates of Innovation, they also support;

Abortion Rights


Gun Control

Federalizing Education

Socialized Healthcare

Public Art

Reducing Ethnic Disparities

Bloomberg has also been accused of using his charitable work to influence his political aspirations;

Critics of Bloomberg argue that he has long used his personal wealth to buy political support. For instance, the Financial Times wrote that Bloomberg’s political contributions had freed him to pursue his chosen reforms in the city using it as a laboratory for testing ideas inspired by or subsequently influencing his philanthropy. Items included in this list were tough antismoking rules and a ban on trans-fats in food.

The liberal in me is glad to see PTH taking courses that may make him become more progressive, but I wonder if the public is aware of what kind of organization he is tying the city to? Sometimes I wonder if he is aware?

I hope he wears underwear