Entries Tagged 'Project TRIM' ↓
December 30th, 2016 — 1st Amendment, Briggs Warren, Code Enforcement, County Commission, Darrin Smith, Dean Karsky, Democrats, Denny Sanford Premier Center, Developers, Development, Downtown Sioux Falls, Elections, Electoral College, Event Center, Green Energy, Greg Neitzert, Homeless, Homosexuals, Jeff Barth, Jim Entenman, John Paulson, Kermit Staggers, Liberals, Mayor High Crimes, Mayor Hubris, Mayor Subprime Mike Huether, Mike Huether, Mike Myers, Minnehaha County, Neo-cons, obama, Open Government, Open Meetings, Pam Nelson, Paratransit, Patrick Starr, Pay Day loans, Planning Commission, Political Satire, Potholes, Project TRIM, Property Taxes, protesters, Public Utilities, racism, Redistricting Sioux Falls, religion, REMSA, Republicans, Rex Rolfing, Rick Kiley, Ritch Noble, Road Funding, Sanford Hospital, Satire, Separation of Church and State, SF City Council, SF School District, SFFD, SFPD, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Parks and Rec, Smoking Ban, snow removal, Snowgates, South DaCola Fest, South Dakotans, Staggers, State Funding, Stop the Funding, Theocracy, Theresa Stehly, Thune, Town Hall Meetings, Unemployment, Walfart, Washington Pavilion, Wind Energy
ArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016
2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.
READ ABOUT 2015 REVIEW HERE.
But locally there were three things that stood out;
• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.
• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!
• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.
Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;
• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.
• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.
• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.
• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.
• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”
• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .
• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.
• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.
• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.
• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?
• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.
• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.
• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .
• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.
• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.
• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?
• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?
• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.
• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.
• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.
• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.
• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.
• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.
• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.
• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.
• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.
December 3rd, 2016 — Project TRIM, Public Works, Sioux Falls
Makes you wonder if it is cheaper to use an independent contractor then to have city employees do the work? If that is the case, all the more reason to use contractors to implement a free of charge Project TRIM.
August 10th, 2016 — Cartoon, Greg Neitzert, Project TRIM, Sioux Falls, Theresa Stehly
December 7th, 2015 — Dean Karsky, Project TRIM, Rick Kiley, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
During the December edition of ‘Inside Town Hall’ four city councilors had a discussion about Project TRIM (Or as we call it Project Tree Tax). Councilor Staggers of course believes like many cities throughout the Midwest (Brandon, Brookings & Kansas City for example) that the city of Sioux Falls should trim the trees in the boulevard. As a Brandon city councilor brought up in a joint meeting with SF city councilors, “It’s just more efficient and accurate.” then policing homeowners to do it. Councilor Erickson believes the way the city goes about policing the policy is cumbersome and could use improvement.
But councilors Karsky and Kiley think it works just fine (mailing out vague letters about the trees that need to be trimmed, sending out city employees to tag those properties but not identify the actual branches). Kiley goes on to say that it would cost to much for the city to trim the trees. That statement in itself is ridiculous. As the Brandon city councilor pointed out, they discovered it was cheaper to contract out a licensed arborist to just go out and trim those trees then to go through the ridiculous process of paying city employees to drive around and tag properties then send out letters when the time could be better spent at just trimming the violating trees to begin with. Then there is the matter of the adjoining property owners not owning those trees anyway because they sit on city property.
No surprise to me that Kiley and Karsky would find the process A’ OK as is.
January 2nd, 2013 — Project TRIM, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
Here we go again, questioning Project T.R.I.M., or as I like to call it, forcing property owners to pay private contractors to trim city owned trees. I have touched on this TOPIC many times in the past, and my conclusion has always been to have the city work in cooperation with residents on the project;
Councilors have received calls and complaints from residents about how it’s difficult to know which tree in their yard or boulevard needs to be trimmed. Councilor Dean Karsky asked why crews don’t trim the trees during the inspection.
“It seems like a terrible waste of city time and equipment and people,” he said. “They just tell me I need to do it, when they were there, saw it, could have just done it themselves.”
This has often been my contention. In the time it takes them to inspect and generate letters they could just be trimming the branches themselves. This is where the cooperation could come in. If it is minor trimming the city could just do it during inspection, if anything major has to take place they could work with the property owner to get it done at a minimal cost to the property owner. This isn’t rocket science but of course MacErpenbach doesn’t think anything is broken;
Councilor Michelle Erpenbach said if the issue is communication between public works and parks and recreation, the City Council can’t fix it. She thinks Project T.R.I.M. works well and has made Sioux Falls look better.
“Right now, this is the way we’re doing it,” she said. “The cost involving (with Sioux Falls taking over) is an amazing amount of money … the system works. It’s not broken.”
She is right, the city’s point of view is that it is working just fine, because they are saving themselves $700,000 a year by pushing the cost off on the homeowner. But the city thinks a lot of things are working just fine, just ask the IT department about SIRE and web streaming of the council meetings, it seemed to work just fine to until I ripped them a new one for 45 minutes and suddenly it was ‘broken’. Sorry Michelle, but if we are paying forestry people to inspect trees, we might as well be paying them to trim the treems that are not in compliance. The system is broken, and has been for years. But of course all powerful and all knowing Lady MacErpenbach will reassure the public that we just are not educated enough on Project T.R.I.M. to understand it. Oh, we understand it Michelle. The city is screwing us.
November 10th, 2010 — Project TRIM, snow removal
SPEARFISH — Tuesday’s general election in Spearfish settled a debate over snow-removal practices, but city officials said Wednesday that residents had better prepare for changes to when the streets get plowed.
The new ordinance prohibits city plowing crews from pushing snow into private driveways while cleaning streets after a snowfall. Currently, plows can push snow from the street, which can block driveways along the route. Residents frequently become frustrated when they shovel a path from the garage to the street, only to find the city has plowed it shut later during the day.
Maybe we should put it on the ballot in Sioux Falls – then we can stop hearing excuses from the Public Works department. Put up or shut up.
And in Brandon;
The Brandon City Council has decided that the city will take care of trimming trees that are in the boulevard; that is, between the sidewalk and the street. The council is so committed to this that they are reimbursing everyone for the last two years who paid for this service themselves, whether the city did the work and billed the resident, or whether the resident hired a private company to do the work.
The council reasons that the boulevard is city property; therefore, the trees are city responsibility.
That last line is important, it has been my reasoning all along. Don’t trim the boulevard trees and don’t pay the fine, the city has no constitutional right to charge you to take care of their property.
August 10th, 2010 — Project TRIM, Sioux Falls
Duane, the Tree Trimming CZAR.
Watch Item #7 in the council meeting last night.
Due to three lawsuits against the city that the city lost, the city of Sioux Falls has no constitutional rights to force you to trim THEIR trees in the boulevard. The facts are simple;
• The city OWNS the trees
• The city CARRIES the liability insurance on the boulevard
• The city has NO CONSTITUTIONAL rights to force you to maintain their property
• The city has NO CONSTITUTIONAL rights to charge you for trimming
• The city has NO CONSTITUTIONAL rights to fine you for not trimming their trees
If you don’t trim the trees and the city does it (because it is their responsibility) and they send you a bill. Throw it away. Shred it. Burn it. They have no legal recourse. NONE.
Ironically, in many other cities like Kansas City and even Brookings, SD, it is ILLEGAL to trim city owned tress in the boulevard. It would be like the SFPD sending you a bill for responding to your police call or the city forcing you to mow the public parks. We pay taxes for a reason.
It is obvious that Project TRIM is a boondoggle by the tree trimming businesses in Sioux Falls. They needed the work.
End this stupidity. The city is responsible for their property, you are not.
UPDATE: I also encourage you to watch the snow removal testimony. $200 to remove 3 square feet of snow – NICE. The city acts like dictators, but they have no rights to be dictators. A word of advice; If you have to walk in the winter, wear the proper shoes. Duh.
UPDATE: Councilor Jamison offered fine amendments and it was a tie vote and the mayor had to break the tie, and he voted against the amendments, I’m sure it had to do with ‘being neighborly’ – What amazes me is that the city expects citizens to maintain their property in extreme weather conditions, but when it rains to much, they allow sewage to backup in people’s basements and blame the weather. Well guess what? This is a two-way street, if you can use the weather as an excuse, so can we.
August 14th, 2009 — Project TRIM
Project TRIM, something one of my friends coined ‘The Tree Tax’ is a failed experiment and should end. All of these people were fined and charged for not taking care of something the city owns and is on city owned property. Wanna talk about fascism? I encourage all the the citizens to not pay the fine. The city can’t sue you for not taking care of something they own and BY LAW are liable for. That’s right, the city is liable for the trees in the boulevard and carry insurance if one of the trees happens to damage snowplows, etc. They have no legal ground to stand on, and they know it. Don’t pay.
April 14th, 2009 — Project TRIM, SF City Council, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Parks and Rec
A friend of mine has been researching other cities when it comes to boulevard tree trimming, and the results are (not) surprising.
In Brookings they trim the city owned boulevard trees due to liability, and property owners are encouraged NOT to do it because of that liability.
Which got me thinking. If the city of Sioux Falls is responsible for the liability of the tree branches damaging vehicles (snowplows), why aren’t they responsible for trimming those trees? It’s like insuring your car, the insurance company insures the individual or individuals who drive and own the car and pay the insurance bill. So if the city is paying the liability insurance on the trees, and they own them, why aren’t they trimming them? Or fixing the sidewalks for that matter?
She also found out that Kansas City also trims boulevard trees and has basically the same policy of Brookings. Kansas city has approximately 500,000 people living in it’s core area, and 2.5 million in the metro area. If a city that is almost ten times the size of Sioux Falls has figured out how to budget for tree trimming, you would think we could. Oh that’s right, we need the money to build $170,000 crappers in McKennan Park instead.
April 7th, 2009 — Project TRIM, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
I finally trimmed the CITY OWNED tree ON THEIR PROPERTY this past Friday, but the fun isn’t over yet. It only took me 20 minutes to cut down the branches, but it took me almost 2 hours just to move the branches to my backyard where I have begun breaking them down for disposal, which I estimate will take me another 3-4 hours.
So I’m still puzzled why I have to do this for the city? What do I pay taxes for? Football fields? Swimming Pools? Windows on the Pavilion? or do I pay taxes so the city can maintain WHAT THEY OWN. Besides the expense of a chainsaw I also will a lot of my own time into doing the CITY’s WORK. Ms. Stehly has coined this as a TREE TAX because if you are not being taxed by wasting your own time on trimming these trees you will be forced into paying an arborist $75-$150 an hour. That’s right, the city is in the business of promotiong tree trimmers. So now NOT only are they NOT using my tax money to do THEIR work, they are using my tax dollars to force us into using a private contractor.
As I have always said, the City of Sioux Falls motto “Special interests first – Citizens Second”
WATCH THERESA RIP THEM A NEW ONE LAST NIGHT. (April 6 Council meeting) (Also listen to the second speaker after that, Allen Unruh talks about his pet pig)