Entries Tagged 'Michelle Erpenbach' ↓

Sioux Falls 2018 Mayoral Race

Anybody but this guy is fine with me

To be quite honest with you, I may stay out of endorsing or helping a candidate this time around. I had a discussion this weekend about the candidates possibly running;

Kenny Anderson, Greg Jamison, Jim Entenman, Darrin Smith, Rob Oliver and Michelle Erpenbach. I have also heard of about 2-3 ‘ghost’ candidates. Even disgraced former Deputy Secretary of State is getting into the speculation game;

But what I do keep hearing – and did so again tonight – is that former Republican Legislator Christine Erickson who had said “no” before might be softening her no into a “maybe.”  And it might be a strong maybe at that.

I’m glad Pitty Pudge could put down is double whopper for a moment and get with the times. I asked Christine about a mayoral run several months ago, and her response was that she was going to ‘keep her options open’.

It’s not that I don’t think any of these people are qualified for the job, I just don’t think any of them really stand out. And councilors have a horrible track record of winning the mayor’s seat.

I think the next mayor is going to have to be a true populist with economic savvy and an appetite for transparency and someone who is willing to invest in rebuilding our core while putting urban sprawl on hold. While the race is technically non-partisan, I don’t think a Republican or a Democrat can manage a city that way, it will take an open minded independent who is willing to listen to all sides of the table. They are going to have to also deal with the financial mess credit card Mike has left behind.

But to anybody who is willing to run, I wish them luck.

Some say simply ‘questioning’ Wiley’s business practices was out of line. Really?

What short memories people have. Only four years ago, the city council threatened to pull a license for the Vault and put them on warning with a deferral when similar things were going on (city council meeting) and (My post on it) at their establishment that have been going on at Wileys. In fact, after watching the meeting (the discussion went on for 35 minutes), besides the diddling on the cars, the things going on at the Vault pales in comparison to Wileys. It came down to basically not supplying adequate parking. How many private parking spots does Wileys have? I count ZERO. It is also important to note that the Vault had 154 police calls in a 12 month period. In 10 months of this year, Wileys is up to 182 calls. The deferral meeting is here (FF: 11:00). If you watch the meeting, you will see councilors had several meetings with the Vault and the Police department before the vote. Councilor Jamison went on to say that these kind of ‘reviews’ of the establishments was important to establish a public record of the concerns. The council voted 7-1 to renew the license, Rolfing was the dissenting vote. I believe the Vault went out of business in 2013.

Also during the meeting, they try to beat down an immigrant c-store owner in Pettigrew Heights for letting people drink 40’s beside his store. The mayor even said this to the c-store owner’s attorney during the meeting;

“. . . it is the duty of the city council to review all liquor licenses that are up for renewal. If they want to complete some additional due diligence on any of these, whether it be the Vault, whether it be the Mercato or any of the other establishments that serve alcohol in this town, they have the ability to do that. In this case they wanted to ask some questions or do some additional due diligence on the Mercato before they make a decision on that, so before you start to accuse a councilor, or someone else for doing something that is appropriate or not, I would encourage you to use caution. .  .  . I would encourage you to tone it down a bit, the council has a right to ask questions.”

What a short memory our mayor has.

They also beat down a tattoo shop owner for simply wanting a beer license so he can sell during art opening events. And how many complaints has the shop had in the past four years? Not sure. But I would assume if it was major, we would have heard about it by now. I have displayed art at the shop and have attended many other events there. It was no different then an art opening at the Pavilion (which sells alcohol at their art openings). The council voted 4-3 to approve the license with Karsky, Rolfing and Aguliar dissenting.

Seems a bit hypocritical of Michelle and Mike to say they were embarrassed about the very short discussion last night, in which in the end 7 councilors voted to let them keep their license. Let’s talk about embarrassment. It’s embarrassing our city officials have such short memories when regulating liquor licenses.

I also find it ironic that Wiley’s attorney, Drew Duncan is a well known Municipal and State government lobbyist. Seems this story is a lot deeper then we may ever know.

If it saves us money in law enforcement, it makes sense

Councilor Erpenbach must have had a cup of coffee and calculator at last week’s working session;

“The Bishop Dudley is open as an emergency shelter year round and the numbers of people that are using the facility are far and away what we thought they would be,” said Councilor Michelle Erpenbach, who along with Greg Neitzert wants to amend Mayor Mike Huether’s proposed budget to bolster the shelter’s funding to $120,000 next year.

Neitzert said increasing Bishop Dudley’s funding will allow the non-profit to serve even more than the 1,500 guests that used the facility last year, which he thinks will create organic costs savings in future years.

“They save us money by helping people who otherwise would be on the streets and left to all of our social services and police to deal with,” Neitzert said. “I believe they run a very wonderful and efficient service and they require accountability by making them work. … It’s not just a permanent hotel. They’re giving them a hand up, not a handout.”

I would agree with Greg, like the Safehome the county runs, taxpayers save money by housing the chronically homeless alcoholics because they no longer are draining emergency resources and filling up the jail. Of course, Mr. 500K to his private tennis club disagrees;

Huether, who did not attend the work session*, said he’s apprehensive about dedicating resources beyond traditional functions of municipal government.

“We really have to be cautious in spending dollars on programs that are outside of regular government operations or facilities, even though they may be doing good things,” he wrote. “It is so incredibly hard to have to say ‘no’ or ‘not yet’ to good folks and organizations, but it is also absolutely necessary if you are going to have good city government on solid financial ground.”

Trust me, I would much rather see my money spent on something else, but this facility is helping to keep people off the streets, so it is money well spent. Unlike $500K to Huether’s private tennis machine shed that has done ZERO to reduce crime and homelessness in Sioux Falls. What is going on out there anyway? We have never gotten a report.

*I wonder why the mayor didn’t go to the work session? According to B-n-B he is a council member, shouldn’t he be at these meetings?

Snowed by Council on Gates, Dec 18, 2012

Remember when Michelle Erpenbach was Council Chair? This is a snowgate blast from the past. December 18, 2012 the Sioux Falls City Council was required by state law to set an election date because petitions had been filed with and verified by the City Clerk.

The City Council Chair pulled an interesting set of rules out of a body orifice to limit discussion. Kermit Staggers challenged the unknown and never before experienced or even voted on rule the Chair presented. To no big surprise to attendees, the 20 minute public silencing “rule” was used. The vote also was pushed to 2014 to no big surprise.

After this show of arrogance, the voters of Sioux Falls in 2014, slammed the Council and administration lies down by voting 76% to force the city to attach snowgates to plows for clearing snow.

We learned through these displays of misplaced priorities what to expect from the City Council and why we have worked so hard to reset Council processes to be more citizen first in 2016.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Erpenbach just doesn’t get it

ostrich-head-in-sand

I couldn’t agree more with this letter writer;

Whether you agree or disagree with this project, Councilor Erpanbach’s words are a clear admission that her head is fully engulfed in sand and she has no intent to represent the people’s wishes or adhere to the right to petition within the First Amendment.

She pulled the same crap with the snowgate petitioners making citizens wait over a year before they could get them after approving them overwhelmingly, by delaying that election. (Item #31 of the December 18,2012 city council meeting);

31. A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, CALLING FOR A SPECIAL CITY ELECTION.
  Sponsor: City Council

 

A motion was made by Council Member Greg Jamison and seconded by Council Member Kenny Anderson Jr. to adopt said Resolution.

 

Vote to adopt: Roll Call: Yeses, Greg Jamison, Kermit L. Staggers, Kenny Anderson Jr., 3.  Noes,  Michelle Erpenbach, Dean Karsky, Rex Rolfing, Sue Aguilar, James Entenman, 5.
Motion Failed.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Erpenbach oblivious to the concept of a democracy

image001

Not only did Michelle throw away her populist hat, she spit on, stomped on it, then burned it;

Councilor Michelle Erpenbach, who along with colleagues Rex Rolfing and Rick Kiley has been steadfast in her support for the new administration building, said Monday she wouldn’t do anything to help Stop the Funding force a special election — whether it’s being the sixth councilor needed to endorse the special meetings or to override another potential veto of the mayor if the council votes to delay or repeal the project funding again.

I’m not changing my stance – I want the bonds sold in October,” she said. “Your lack of preparedness doesn’t create an emergency on my part. I’m not going to approve a special meeting.”

I guess we won’t have to worry about saying Mayor Erpenbach in 2018.

With thousands of signatures gathered in a matter of days, Danielson said there’s no denying a significant chunk of the city either doesn’t want the new building or at least wants a vote on it. To deny the public that opportunity would be a disservice to the democratic process that could have effects beyond the administration building project, he said.

“It’s going to be their problem if any of them want to run for office in Sioux Falls again because there is so much anger in the community right now about this whole process,” he said. “They’re totally ignoring our concerns. They’re absolutely tone deaf to the citizens.”

Well when you never answer your phone, you don’t have to worry about losing your hearing from yelling constituents. I think the rest of the council should suspend Michelle’s phone stipend, she doesn’t use it anyway.

Cell Phone Ban supporters missed the train, move on already

I have to admit I’m finding the ‘outrage’ about the cell phone ban getting killed in 1st reading quite hilarious, and a little late.

I guess Poo-Point University today had a full on bitch session about it.

Here’s the deal, if anyone from the public cared or was paying attention, I posted about this way back on May 15th. On May 24th, the Argus Leader ran a poll about the ban, and since then have done several stories about the ban.

It’s been in the news. A LOT!

In fact, if so many people were concerned about the ban, why was I the ONLY person from the public to testify in public input at the 1st reading?

The outrage about it now is an after thought, kind of like a fart that doesn’t make a sound or smells.

My feeling is that the people wanting this ban didn’t want public input (against it), that’s why the silence and education about it. They just wanted their fancy-smancy names to speak for themselves;

AARP South Dakota
Augustana College, Rob Oliver, Pres.
Bender Commercial Real Estate Services, Michael Bender, Pres.
DakotaCare, Kirk Zimmer, Pres.
Falls Area Bicyclists
7th District Medical Society
Raven Industries
River Ridge Oral & Maxillofacial Surgical Center
Sioux Falls Specialty Hospital
AAA South Dakota
Southeastern District Dental Society of SD
University of Sioux Falls, Mark Benedetto, Pres.
Vern Eide Motor Cars

Individuals

Dr. Loren & Mavis Amundson
Kathy Amundson
Robert Amundson (retired Justice of the SD Supreme Court)
Duane Anderson (former ass’t City Attorney)
Rich Aquilar
Sue Aguilar (former City Councilor)
Tam Baker (former City Councilor)
Dr. Jack & Linda Barker
Brenda Beninga
Gerald Beninga (Pres. & CEO Active Generations, former City Councilor, current Chair Minnehaha County Commission)
Bruce & Mary Boyd
Frank & Martha Brost,
Vernon Brown (former City Councilor)
Dean Buckneberg
Walter O. Carlson, MD
Gary Conradi
Steve Crim
Msgr. James Doyle
Jim Entenman, (CEO J&L Harley, former City Councilor).
Cy Farner
Dick Gregerson
Joel & Susan Hagen
Anne Hajek (former City Councilor, County Commissioner, member of the SD Legislature)
Doug Hajek
Robert W. Hartman
Ann & Joseph Henkin
Sandy Jerstad (former member of the SD Legislature)
Gene Paul Kean (former States Attorney and former Circuit Court Judge)
Bob Kiner
Dan Kirby
Joe & Jennifer Kirby
Helen Henkin Kluck
Jeff Kluck

Knobe (former Mayor)
Laurie Knutson
Rich & Shirley Lauer
John McIntyre (former member of the SD Legislature)
Steve Metli (former Planning & Services Director for the City of Sioux Falls)
David Munson (former Mayor)
Nathan & Brianna Nassif
David Nelson (former Minnehaha County States Attorney)
Mary Olinger
Loren Pankratz
Gary Pashby
Douglas Pay, MD
Sandra Pay
George Roberts
Daniel A. Rykhus
Ellie Sabers
Richard Sabers (retired Justice of the SD Supreme Court)
John Simko (retired US Magistrate Judge)
Tom Simmons
Terry & Cleo Sorensen (their son was killed by a driver texting on his cell phone at 26th & Minnesota in 2012)
William Srstka (retired Circuit Court Judge)
Jim Stavenger
Theresa Stehly (Drivers Ed teacher)
Bob & Trish Swanhorst
Jerry & Mary Pat Sweetman
Bob Thimjom
Pam Tiede
Stuart Tiede (retired Circuit Court Judge)
Carol Twedt (former County Commissioner)
Robert VanDemark Jr., MD
Dick & Marilyn Viehweg
Dave Volk
Ron Williamson
Dick & Jeanne Wold
Jim & Penny Woster

This is a list I have had since May also.

The bigger question is why is our current mayor absent from this list? And why the deafening silence from City Hall? The Police Chief?

Let’s face it, it is a public safety issue, put it on the ballot and let the voters decide, not a bunch of thumbsuckers that get their way every time they come crying to the city council. You are really starting to make an embarrassment out of our local government.

Sioux Falls City Council Kills the 2nd reading of the cell phone ban

For those of you not following along at home or may not understand 1st and 2nd readings at council meetings, what this means is that the cell phone ban ordinance will NOT got to a second reading for public input and council vote. Essentially the council KILLED the ordinance before they had to vote on it at all (5-3).

Pretty crazy, because just two hours ago I testified at the meeting in public testimony telling them to KILL it tonight, and force the group supporting this to do a petition drive. Michelle felt this WASN’T a ballot issue because it is public safety. Not sure what that means, I guess she doesn’t feel like people in this community should be able to vote on public safety issues (even though we voted on snowgates).

Well, they might just get their chance, that is if the Hoity-Toity businessmen and women that supported this get out their clipboards and pens.

What are the political motives of pushing the cell phone ban?

After watching councilor Erpenbach push the cell phone ban on to the council agenda yesterday during the public services meeting, some wondered what the sudden urgency was?

After hearing the comments yesterday during the meeting and taking the temperature of the council, it seems, as of right now 6 of the councilors will vote against the ban, and even if there were 4 on board, rumor has it that the mayor and city attorney are not in favor of the ban either.

One could argue many things, that this is a state legislator issue, or that the council or charter revision commission should put this on the spring ballot instead of just approving it at a council meeting.

But you have to question the political motivation of Erpenbach to push this ordinance change when she is well aware she doesn’t have support for it? Is she doing this to get her fellow councilors on the record voting against a safety issue? Or is she ramrodding this, so in case it fails, they have time to do a petition drive (something I would like to see). For once it would be nice to see the ‘specials’ in Sioux Falls standing with a clipboard in front of the courthouse instead crying to the council anytime they want their indoor pools and tennis centers and other things. If you truly think this will benefit the safety of the public, get the signatures and get it on the ballot. I would like to see the ‘specials’ work for something for once instead of just greasing palms.

 

The very curious city councilor Michelle Erpenbach

m_erpenbach_2010

To say I follow city government like an uber-nerd is not a stretch, but I must also remind my readers I consider it a fun hobby. I love talking to our local elected officials, and have many great engaging convos about policy. Some times they even run with my stupid ideas. I am flattered. Michelle on the other hand could be living on another planet as far as I am concerned. I did reach out to her once for a podcast, but Hudson was having equipment issues so the interview never happened, but she did agree to an email interview. Honestly, I think that is the last contact I had with her (3 or 4 years ago?)

One of the most interesting things about following our local elected officials is the ‘personal’ relationships they have and how those relationships overlap in the work they do in their elected positions.

While I could go on and on about most of the city elected officials and their personal relationships, most of them are pretty milk toast. Even our fine mayor.

But Michelle Erpenbach is an interesting study and one sharp cookie (fox).

At first glance you may say that it is fantastic that her tentacles reach far and wide, and I would agree 100%. She has built great business, political and charitable relationships, and I applaud her and any elected official for doing this, you have to. I also agree with Michelle on many social issues and challenges in our city. But what are the objectives behind these relationships and her positions?

Michelle is interesting when it comes to these political objectives. Take these things into account;

• She is considering, and has told close friends she is running for mayor in 2018

• Steve Hildebrand and his partner are God parents of Michelle’s children

• Michelle’s husband, Steve, is a former Daschle staffer and now runs the SDSU alumni foundation

• Michelle has taken many political donations in the past from major developers in Sioux Falls, and considers many of them as close friends

Okay, not a big deal. It’s a small town and state.

But let’s consider a few things Michelle has done over the past year and her tenure as a city councilor;

• Recently pushing for a total cell phone ban in Sioux Falls. The list of people supporting this ban are the who’s who of this town (I’ve seen the list). Doctors, Judges, Lawyers, etc, etc. Big time players in the city. If she leads this charge and pulls it off, the accolades for Michelle will be great.

• A big proponent of Shape Places. In the last city council meeting she voiced her concern about people calling it the bogey man. Shape Places is very PRO developer, but not a monster. The massive document was approved with one short vote by the city council with little review. Many councilors admitted to me that they didn’t read much of the document before approving it.

• She defended Billion Auto saying in the last city council meeting she was upset that people were treating them like ‘The Evil Empire’. What she failed to mention is that the fine citizens of this city GAVE Billion a street (property), at no charge. It is not a stretch to expect them to go above and beyond building a fair buffer. They got property for FREE that is probably worth close to a million dollars. They can at least be gracious in citizens requests for reasonable buffers. I personally don’t think Billion is Evil, but I do expect them to go above and beyond in receiving this great gift from the city and taxpayers.

• During the budget approval she poo-poo’d the way the proposed administration building was budgeted but voted for it anyway. She has done this countless times, saying she doesn’t like the way the administration handled something then voted for it anyway. She pulled this with the free bus passes, supporting the administration on being opposed to it, but once she figured out she would be the only one voting NO, she had a change of heart. Michelle frequently does this, she may act like she is no friend of Mike’s but often does exactly what he wants done. The termination of former city clerk Debra Owen comes to mind. Mayor wanted her gone, and Erpenbach helped lead the way to get her axed. Which leads me to Michelle never mentioning that she supports more openness and transparency in city government (the city was reprimanded by the open meetings commission for how Owen’s termination was handled). In fact, she sat on the Parks Board before becoming a city councilor, one of the most secretive city boards. In fact, of all the city councilors, Erpenbach’s name comes up the most when constituents tell me she doesn’t respond to calls or emails. Even more then Rolfing!

Michelle’s ‘I know better’ attitude overflows into the discussion at city council meetings. She is often heard telling them ‘Need I remind the council’ as if she is the ultimate historian of all things Sioux Falls city council. Many constituents have coined her as the city council’s ‘school marm’.

The perceived close relationships between Erpenbach, Hildebrand, developers and Huether are too close for comfort. She will be one to watch in the next mayoral race, don’t underestimate her, we did that Huether’s first time around (a campaign ran my Michelle’s close friend Steve Hildebrand). We could just have a mayor Erpenbach in 2018, and if you think she plays word games on the council, wait until she is running our city. I’m sure she will be constantly ‘reminding’ us of how lucky we are to have her as mayor.

Scary stuff, and it’s not even Halloween yet.