More ‘strange’ campaign materials by Erpenbach. Even if she is suggesting the RR development area will be considered a ‘quiet’ development, she fails to mention that the area will still be surrounded by RR tracks, the landing path airspace for the airport, and when those two things are not rattling the dishes in the kitchen cabinet (I should know, I live about 5 blocks South of the area) there is the pleasant Avera chopper flying over. So once again, thanks for baffling us Michelle with your made up ‘issues’.
Someone asked me the other day what has been Michelle’s biggest weakness as councilor, and I said, “That’s easy, she rarely responds to constituents when they call on her.”
Hey, peeps, Michelle knows who butters her bread, and it ain’t the lowly whiners of the Central District (snark).
Michelle sent out her first direct mailer (which I am sure of many) Which looks like a coupon for laundry detergent or a free carwash (sorry Michelle, while green is my favorite color, it is a very bad political color). That and your type point is so small, I am wondering if you don’t want people who need reading glasses to vote for you (which is about 75% of the Central District)?
But let’s get to your points . . . that have me freaking baffled.
• Who would refuse Federal grants for police assistance? Seriously? How is this an accomplishment? The Feds send us a check, the city finance director endorses the back, we cash it, we get more police protection. It’s easier then licking a stamp or tying your shoe. Way to go Michelle! Where do I send the party favors?
• First off, never have hyphens on direct mailers. Talk to your graphic artist about this. Secondly, you do understand that the state is the only entity that can revoke licenses for non-compliance, the city council can only ‘scold’ oh, and we know you are good at this, because for 4 years, that is all you have accomplished with your fellow councilors, scolding them for not listening to Michelle.
Everyone knows the best way to curb teen drinking (and texting for that matter) is thru education, not litigation.
• Is loitering an issue in Sioux Falls? So, So, So weird.
Just watched the informational, apparently Karsky is the one to bring this back up, he wants it postponed until after the election for a work session, which makes sense, BUT here is the kicker, he is bringing two amendments forward tonight, 1) to postpone until after the election OR 2) to vote on it again tonight. So there is still a possibility this will get killed tonight. Hold tight.
Last Tuesday, the council voted 5-3 to postpone the change until April 1st (a week before the election). I have a feeling there was a discussion after the vote with the two swing voters (Dean & Sue) to try to get them to change their votes for this Tuesday.
It begs the question, “What is Michelle, Mike and Jim trying to hide?” This is all about transparency and ethical practices when it come to elected officials. It is no secret that Huether and his wife are investing in properties throughout our city. But why are Michelle and Jim so concerned about this?
Remember, Jim has property adjacent to the new Events Center and Michelle’s donor list reads like the ‘Who’s Who’ of SF developers. Either these three are trying to protect someone’s investment or their own.
Jamison raised concerns last fall after learning that the mayor’s wife, Cindy Huether, was one of the investors in a TIF project, the Bancroft Place apartments in the Whittier neighborhood.
Jamison is running against incumbent Mike Huether in the race for mayor this spring.
“This amendment is about one person,” Councilor Michelle Erpenbach said. “I don’t appreciate the way this conversation has been going.”
She said the investments held by an elected official’s spouse should not be open to scrutiny.
“You elected me; you did not elect my husband,” she said.
I found it baffling that Michelle felt she had to defend the mayor’s wife or the mayor, and tried to make this into a political football.* Michelle, this is about transparency and ethics, this isn’t about an election. Secondly, are you admitting that your husband has made investments with properties that have received TIF’s? I found that statement interesting. It got heated at times, Entenman was almost scolding and yelling at the rest of the council (gee, I wonder how many property investments he has made around town?) Then in one of Karsky’s misguided moments, he asked for the vote to be postponed. Not realizing the can of worms he had opened (They won’t vote on it until a week before the election) four councilors voted for the postponement, and of course Karsky realized he had to follow suit, since he proposed it. Michelle and Mike WERE NOT happy.
It got comical at times, especially when Erpenbach came to the defense of Huether, he looked like he was melting like an ice cream cone in his chair, and looked like he was going to start crying at any moment. It was theatrics at their best between Erpenbach and Huether, it was almost like it was rehearsed. See seems to be very concerned about hurt feelings, but doesn’t give a damn about ethics. *What this is really about is Huether’s re-election. It is crucial to Michelle’s political future that Huether is re-elected, especially if she is. Everyone knows Michelle’s plan in four years is to run for the empty seat of mayor and for Huether to run for governor. So if Michelle is re-elected (let’s hope not) she must have Huether re-elected to follow through with her plans.
The other part of the discussion that disturbed me was testimony by Darrin Smith claiming we have to give TIF’s to develop land for the public good, and brought up the COSTCO site that wasn’t developed for 25 years. First off, that property sitting empty hasn’t hurt or helped citizens in our community either way. There was very little public benefit to developing that land, and not developing has not been harmful either. Ironically, as Smith brought up the COSTCO TIF, he admitted that COSTCO has asked to not use the TIF that was granted. So basically admitting that a TIF was not needed to develop the land. But yet we need them? Huh?
CITIZENS FOR INTEGRITY PILE IT ON
Also worth checking out is public testimony from myself and Bruce about the city’s ‘ADVOCATIONAL’ videos and meetings, (FF: Public Input) and the possibility of breaking state law.
Let’s first talk about Michelle’s record over the past four years on the city council. I am amazed when I see the other crowded council races and Erpenbach not having a challenger.
There is a lot of factors involved. Maybe some voters don’t know who she is, or what district she represents (Central) maybe they don’t know she is up for re-election? Either way, let’s look at her record;
• She has approved countless TIF’s for things like luxury hotels, condos and big box retail, taking money not only out of the city coffers but public education and the county’s judicial system.
• *She has taken donations from not only people who don’t even live in her district, but are clearly the top tier of ‘Special Interests’ in Sioux Falls.
• As the city council representative on the affordable housing board, she approved a loan to developer Ken Dunlap, the Planning Commission Chair, a clear conflict of interest.
• City debt has jumped almost $125 million in the past 4 years (sits at about $400 million), the council has to approve all expenditures the mayor’s office proposes (to put it in perspective the total city debt when Hanson left office was $99 million, when Munson left office it was $277 million).
• Erpenbach ignored her fellow councilors and put a $60,000 film projector expense on the agenda without consensus of the rest of the council for a private non-profit that has already received over $100K from the city. She often made decisions as council chair without input from the rest of the council.
• Erpenbach CENSORED and limited public testimony on a snowgate joint election with the school district (which would ironically only cost HALF of what a film projector does.) and postponed the vote for another year (if snowgates would have passed in the proposed election, they would be in full use this winter).
• She was the driving force behind the termination of city clerk Debra Owen, which resulted in having her replaced with three full-time employees. Ironically the reason Owen was fired was because they felt she wasn’t performing her duties as a ‘manager’ ironically, the people she ‘managed’ are still employed by the city. This was a clear witch-hunt and should have been discussed in the public square, to which the Open Meetings commission reprimanded the city attorney and city council for their actions.
• Erpenbach pushed for the Sioux Falls texting ban ordinance even after the state highway patrol and city police chief advised against it. Why? While it is blatantly obvious that texting and driving should be banned, #1 The state laws already existed (if you get in an accident while texting, you are charged with distracted or reckless driving, even without a texting ban) #2 This is clearly a state law issue and something a municipality should stay out of due to uniformity in state police reports, etc.
It is clear that Michelle has little knowledge of how to be a city legislator, and works strictly from her ‘personal agenda’. Special Interests and ‘feel good’ ordinances that only sugar coat the real job of a city councilor; representing the public’s best interests and doing it while being prudent with their tax dollars.
If anyone wants to run against Michelle, you will have my FULL support and expertise (I have followed city government for about 12 years and blogged about it for almost 10 years, I don’t think I have missed a public meeting in those 10 years.)
This is from almost two years ago (March 2012). Ironically, Rath had to jump in several times and correct Erpenbach on many issues, remember, Rath is a citizen advocate, not an elected official, or city employee. At one point, Michelle gave her her own microphone and told her to ‘hold on to it.’ Also remember that this was two years into Michelle’s term, Michelle wasn’t NEW to city business, she assisted with Community Gardens and sat on the Parks Board prior to being city councilor. There hasn’t been a ‘Coffee’ since with Erpenbach.
Some highlights from the video;
They got into a discussion about the ‘consent agenda’ on the city council meeting’s agenda, Michelle claimed that “You will see EVERY contract for the Event Center construction on that list.”
Of course we know that, that was side stepped by hiring a construction manager who keeps all those ‘little things’ secret.
Admits that TIF’s are a “Sweet Deal” for developers, referring to the soil remediation of the Hilton/CNA, parking ramp demolition by Lloyd.
Says that she tends to “Ignore the Planning Commission.”
She admits that while she was on the Community Gardens board that they were in violation of city ordinance and were unaware of it.
Claims that the EC contractors will be responsible for any cost overruns when it comes to the rock borings for the footings and any miscalculations. Ironically, the EC’s expansion was scaled back to 14,000 seats instead of 15,000 like promised in the campaign, due to rock borings.
She says as a council they MUST approve the mayor’s agenda, contracts, etc.
Admits the council doesn’t bring forth much legislation. Huh?! Isn’t that the job of the council? To be the legislative body?
Erpenbach famously calls the river the ‘Big Poo’ in one breath (in reference to the sewer backup problems) then in another breath justifies using the Morrell’s EPA fine/penalty money for environmental cleanup of the river to use for brick and mortar for the river greenway instead of actual cleanup.
Michelle has been more then a seat warmer on the council (Rolfing & Karsky come to mind) she has been damaging to our community’s reputation as a fair, transparent and fiscally prudent government, she has worked against all of these things over the past 4 years, and has taken her marching orders from big development and special interests.
Bonita is the first candidate to submit her nominating petitions. All 101 signatures were valid.
Schwan and Erpenbach also don’t have any challengers, but if Michelle keeps up her recruitment (She recruited Rice, or as he said in the Sunday paper “My wife is friends with Michelle.”) Bonita may see someone.
As you watch the Public Services Committee meeting yesterday, you would think that councilor Erpenbach would want to do everything in the city’s power to stick it to small cab companies (well they are all small in SF, even the biggest one is small) Her suggestion of 24/7 operation did get voted down, As Karsky said to her, “Our public transit doesn’t run 24/7 so how can we require private businesses to do it?” She did however push for more regulations, permanent markings, inspections and higher license fees, of course in the interest of public safety, that is. Remember, these are private businesses being subjected to more regulations then most, these are also tax generators (one cab company owner figures he collects around $2,300 a month in sales taxes for the city.) While I do agree with SOME of the Committee’s proposals, I find it a bit odd that she really wants to hammer it to cab companies.
Let’s go back to the SF City council informational meeting a couple weeks back, during open discussion (towards end of meeting). Councilor Jamison suggested more transparency in the TIF application process and suggested it needed to be discussed during a work session or committee meeting. Erpenbach, didn’t feel like they needed to ‘dig’ into this matter anymore, and went into a gentle tirade about how her and her colleagues really didn’t need to revisit the topic. She got trumped of course, and Karsky scheduled it for a committee meeting.
What makes this interesting is Erpenbach’s hypocrisy on the issue. While she is okay with large private developers who are receiving public assistance keep their investors a secret, she feels we need to stick it to the small private business owner and regulate them to death, as they collect tax revenue for the city while we refund property taxes back to gigantic developers.
Of course, this hypocrisy stems from Michelle’s campaign donor list, that has about every big wheel developer in SF on it, but seems to have no names of cab company owners on it.
What I find even more interesting is the in common donors. And these are not just dead beat rich folk in town. Who says the mayor’s office doesn’t work with the city council. Besides Michelle & Huether double-teaming the termination of Owen, looks like they send their contribution letters to the same peeps;
Doug Hajek (handles a lot of legal work with bonds for the city, including the EC. Doug is married to state legislator, Anne Hajek.
Craig Lloyd (the owner of the largest development company in Sioux Falls and also the recipient of the most TIF’s in Sioux Falls)
Jeffrey Scherschligt (awarded a TIF and a taxpayer funded bulk head along the river greenway)
Dana Dykhouse (Head dude at First Premier Bank)
Michael Crane (developer and partner with Huether and his wife on projects)
Michael Bender (commercial realtor)
And the developers, attorneys & bankers don’t get what they want, yeah right.
I also viewed Rolfing & Aguliar’s financials, but did not post them. Neither raised any money in December. My guess that neither will seek re-election.
In an article in the Nov. 24 Argus Leader, Michelle Erpenbach said “… If I’m going to rent a crappy house, I have to take responsibility for that.” She also stated that part of that responsibility is alerting city officials to code violations.
Does Erpenbach think people deliberately choose crappy houses and apartments to live in? For many renters, there are very few choices, so you take what you can afford. And many renters in those “crappy houses” are reluctant to snitch on their landlords because they are afraid of losing their homes if the landlord finds out.
And Kermit Staggers’ statement, “I’m glad we don’t enforce every code in the city,” must have made landlords with code violations jump for joy.
Well, Michelle, we are all not as fortunate as you to have a part-time gig as a newsletter writer and a husband that will provide you with ‘non-crappy’ housing. As the letter writer points out, many people don’t have a choice because they are priced out of decent housing. My last apartment I had before I purchased my home was in Pettigrew Heights. This was about 10 years ago, right when the neighborhood was beginning to become shady. I had cheap rent, and my landlord didn’t always upgrade things, but the place was livable and fine for me. Just because there is a little paint missing or a chip of concrete on the front steps, doesn’t mean the place is falling to pieces. I believe that is what Staggers is getting at. It seems some people in city government have this attitude that you should desire to live in safe, clean, updated, new affordable housing. The problem is, not a lot of that kind of housing exists. And the places that do have so many restrictions, they are almost impossible to get into. This is why I have often said we need to switch the purpose of TIF’s to almost ALL affordable housing projects and to individual, small landlords who want to fix up small-plex apartment buildings. Sioux Falls, CAN provide ’non-crappy’ affordable housing, the problem is, we are giving the tax breaks to sports complexes and luxury hotels instead of small time landlords that want to help people with affordable housing and that in itself is kinda ‘crappy’.
Erpenbach, “I want to hear from the public, unless it is about snowgates.”
In this episode of Inside Town Hall you can watch councilor Erpenbach talk out of both sides of her mouth about snowgates and indoor swimming pools.
During the first half of the show Michelle reminds us why we need another 16 months to educate ourselves about snowgates before an April 2014 election, that she ‘guarantees’ will happen.
Then in the second half of the show she talks about how she is ‘just one person’ that cannot possibly make the decision of building an indoor pool at Spellerberg without input from the public.
What a hypocrite. Over 8,000 people told you on a petition they WANTED a snowgate election this Spring. Then when over 30 of the snowgate petition volunteers showed up to a public meeting to tell you why this election was important, you limited their testimony, and as ONE PERSON took it upon yourself to deny the wishes of the people.
Michelle, you don’t give a rip about what the public thinks, about anything.