Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓
March 11th, 2014 — Developers, Development, Jim Entenman, Michelle Erpenbach, Mike Huether, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
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.
It seems Jim, Michelle and Mike really want to get the TIF disclosure amendment in the application process dropped, and before the election. Someone (I am assuming one of them) got it put back on the agenda for Tuesday night. They not only want the spousal disclosure removed, they want to bury this TIF change before the election.
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.
There is a deeper story here.
March 5th, 2014 — 1st Amendment, Developers, Development, Michelle Erpenbach, SF City Council
It was a very strange debate between most of the council and councilors Entenman & Erpenbach (Item #64 FF:) about the TIF application disclosures, Michelle comes to the defense of the mayor’s wife then partially admits to her husband’s investments? Huh?
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.
February 26th, 2014 — SF City Council, Sioux Falls
February 25th, 2014 — Developers, Development, Elections, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
A new ballot question committee, Save Your Neighborhood, registered with the City Clerk today. The Save Our Neighborhood group submitted the registration under a slightly different name, Save Your Neighborhood, to reflect the fact that the issues it faces and have addressed, affect neighborhoods throughout the City.
Save Your Neighborhood’s aim is to educate the public on the FACTS surrounding the rezoning of the land at 85th Street and Minnesota Avenue.
While Save Your Neighborhood lacks the financial resources of Walmart, it encourages the citizens of Sioux Falls to look past the vast funds that Walmart is expending to influence the voters’ decisions. The group encourages citizens to discover the FACTS regarding the rezoning of this area, including the impact that rezoning of this area will have on the residential area next to it and the impact that the City’s decision will have on neighborhoods around the City. If the City allows Walmart to buy zoning to allow it to build a commercial development next to this residential area, it makes every neighborhood in the City susceptible to the whim of developers.
Save Your Neighborhood is not opposed to the City’s growth, but maintains that such growth must be logical and consistent. Further, the group welcomes commercial development and a Walmart to the south side of the City, but maintains that a large commercial development is inappropriate at this particular location. There are far more appropriate building sites in southern Sioux Falls for this store. Those locations would replicate the same proper buffering and improved access that our fellow citizens will soon enjoy at the new Walmart at 60th & Marion.
Save Your Neighborhood urges the citizens of Sioux Falls to send the City a message: that our neighborhoods are not for sale to the highest bidder and zoning in this City cannot be bought. Vote “NO” on Referred Law 4.
While I think there is many good things about Shape Places, I am also encouraging a “No” vote. Why? I believe if Shape Places fails, it doesn’t mean we have to shelve it and start from scratch, it just means we can tweak it. First thing I would like to see is it split up into sections, and have the council amend it (require CUP), study it and discuss and debate it in these sections. And instead of voting on all the sections at one meeting, Break the sections up into several meetings, so the council has time to focus on the different areas of Shape Places. Presenting an over 300 page document at two meetings then expecting the council to vote on the entire thing in one quick swipe was short sighted. Most of them confessed they didn’t read most of it because of it’s size. Of course, I believe that the Planning Department did this on purpose so the council wouldn’t bother with amendments or actually studying the document, I guess they were depending on good old apathy from the council, as usual, and the bigger rubber stamp, except, they didn’t count on SON referring it. I hope they learn a lesson from this and presenting legislation in such a half-ass way.
February 23rd, 2014 — Developers, Development, SF City Council, Sioux Falls, Sioux Falls Parks and Rec
Funny how Dunham can build a 276-unit apartment complex with underground parking AND an INDOOR pool for $22 Million. But it will cost the city $19 million to build a stand alone indoor pool.
Why is it when private enterprise does something it is about 4x cheaper then when the city does it?
February 20th, 2014 — Elections, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
I got word today that three possible council candidates picked up nominating petitions.
Rick Kiley for the SE District (Challenging Bonita Schwan)
I would assume he is a Huether recruit after reading his resume:
He currently sits on the Falls Community Health Board and is currently the director of the South Dakota Motor-cycle Rider Education Program, with numerous years of experience in driver education and safety. Mr. Kiley also brings a distinct perspective to the board gathered from his roles with the South Dakota Roadway Safety Committee and the South Dakota Impaired Driving Task Force. Traffic safety has played a major role in his life and career, and Mr. Kiley wishes to continue to serve the community through his role on the CAC.
He also sits on the Citizens Advisory Committee.
Curtis Rust for the Central District (Challenging Michelle Erpenbach)
Curtis is a former city councilor (2004?) And has a ‘reputation‘ in Siouxer City.
Rebecca Dunn for the Central District (Challenging Michelle Erpenbach)
This candidate excites me the most. Rebecca is the former minority leader of the Democratic Party in the State Legislature. Read all about her, a great challenger to ‘Special Interests’ Erpenbach.
February 19th, 2014 — Art, SF City Council, Sioux Falls, Washington Pavilion
Not only was Kermit’s suggestion snarky (FF: 11:00), you could tell he was pretty much fed up with the money bleeding going on at the Pavilion. Anderson and Staggers both voted against the Pavilion’s new gift shop.
The plan is for the Pavilion to build a Northside gift shop to sell more art related items, not a bad idea in itself, except, the Pavilion already has a gift shop (that they have made smaller) on the Southside. It sells stuff like plastic dinosaurs and magnetic rocks. They also have a nice gift shop area in the reception of the Visual Arts Center. I guess I would be all for an expanded gift shop at the VAC, if the VAC stopped charging admission to get in there dirty galleries and miss hung giclee print exhibits, and if the Pavilion actually focused on making money instead having inter-office shananigans.
Larry Toll (1/2 CEO of the Pavilion) said that the problem is people can’t find the VAC because the escalators were never put in. Well jinkies, Larry, after 14 years, you would think you would get around to it instead putting bandaids on the problem (I think the city budgeted for the escalator installation in 2015).
Personally, I think it is time to end the contract with the WP’s management company and find a new contractor. And just so we can hold someone accountable for the several financial mis-steps that have been happening over the past 14 years, I suggest a FULL forensic and financial audit of the place before we hand them their pinkslips. Remember the finance and operations director have been there since day one . . . Hmm.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
February 18th, 2014 — Elections, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
Chairperson of this group spoke during public input tonight;
My name is Bruce Danielson, a resident of Sioux Falls.
On Thursday February 6, our new group, Citizens for Integrity, started a petition drive in the city of Sioux Falls. There seems to be a bit of official confusion as to why, we citizens of Sioux Falls are beginning this petition.
In response to the submission, an Argus Leader article quoted a city official’s “Jeffersonian” response to it. In light of the response, another Jefferson quote, from the year 1787, comes to mind: “I hold it . . . at a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical”.
This political season in Sioux Falls, we have 4 ballot issues to discuss among the voting citizens. We the people, do not need referees or appointed city educators, to frame the discussion and tell us what to think. We the people are registered adult voters, with the ability to discern the truth.
The Constitution of the State of South Dakota requires the city to step back from any advocacy positions for or against, or any electoral participation, except for the unbiased process necessary to accept petitions, print ballots and announce results. Once the issue is before the voter, no additional government participation is allowed.
We have already seen what city officials have done to limit the snowgate process. Also, we have city officials clearing schedules to advocate for a pool option NOT on the spring 2014 ballot.
And, there are rumblings of biased education for Shape Places and the Zoning issues.
It seems the city has stepped over the grey line of ‘education’ into ‘advocacy’ and the Supreme Court has clearly ruled ‘advocacy’ with the use of tax dollars is unconstitutional.
Once again, we voters should not be educated by biased city officials using their official city offices and budgets to campaign or educate against the very citizens who pay their salaries.
South Dakota has a long tradition of citizen participation in the Initiative and Referendum movement. As a person, who has participated several times in the collection of signatures, people sign petitions because they feel it is time to help elected officials move issues forward to resolution.
At the 1885 statehood constitutional convention held in Sioux Falls, attorney W.H. Lyon, formally suggested to fellow delegates “the referendum” to address “all appropriation bills for new permanent improvements to existing institutions . . . and all laws of general interest to the people.” We can conclude W.H. Lyon saw the need for the people’s direct oversight of government.
Also, from the our Secretary of State’s website:
“South Dakota has the distinction of being the first state in the Union to provide for popular initiative and referendum for enacting and rejecting legislation. This was accomplished by a constitutional amendment approved in 1898.
“These two forms of direct legislation, first used in 1908, rest on the theory . . . . since the legislature may not always adequately represent them, the people should be able to pass laws they desire and nullify laws they oppose.”
It is for these reasons, we citizens of Sioux Falls are preparing to present another ballot measure, with the goal of closing loopholes in the current local city code which are apparently not in compliance with South Dakota State Law.
The sentiments of our group ‐ Citizens for Integrity ‐ were effectively summarized, in just two strong words published recently in Jonathon Ellis’ Argus Leader coverage: where election issue advocacy by government is concerned, South Dakota law
declares, city officials should “Butt Out”. Thank you.
February 15th, 2014 — SF City Council, Sioux Falls, Washington Pavilion
I think these items need to be pulled in Tuesday’s meeting and discussed. (Item #1) Not saying they are controversial, but I am curious about a NORTH gift shop at the Pavilion (they already have a South one) and why it is costing taxpayers half-million to renovate one floor of City Hall. Of course this is the same building that had to spend around $60K for a ‘backup’ air-conditioner for the IT room.
February 12th, 2014 — Developers, Development, SF City Council, Sioux Falls
Before the first reading of the amended TIF application process was even presented, city councilors were already buckling (video) including mayoral candidate and city councilor, Greg Jamison (article);
Councilor Greg Jamison presented an amendment to the TIF ordinance but is planning a few changes before the next reading.
Instead of requiring each investor to list his or her name on the application for TIF financing, he’s asking that those with a stake of 10 percent or more disclose that they’re invested in the project.
Basically, if it is a $3 million dollar project and you invest $299,999.99 to the project, your name will be left off of the investor list. What’s the point of doing it at all? While I don’t think the legislation had much of a chance of passing the entire council anyway, this watered down version, even if it passes, will accomplish little of the original goal; TRANSPARENCY to THE PUBLIC of who is asking for government assistance through a tax rebate program. This isn’t about the developers, it’s about the public knowing who is benefitting from the programs. Jamison mentions in the meeting that the developers have told him that their investors are their ‘intellectual property’ and they don’t want to give that up. Well guess what? You don’t have to in a private development, but once you ask to borrow or take away from the citizens ‘intellectual property (our tax dollars)’ then it is no longer a ‘private deal’.
Obviously it is no secret that Huether and his wife have made property investments in this community. It is also no secret that Erpenbach is personal friends with some of these developers (Mike Crane comes to mind) and has received buckets of money in campaign donations from them (even though she doesn’t have a challenger). Some have asked me what kind of property investments her or her husband may have, heck people have asked me about the other councilors. Maybe this isn’t about protecting the ‘intellectual property’ at all but about protecting the council’s private investments in property?
Also, I am getting tiresome of the lip service the council keeps giving us on amending city ordinance. It reminds me of the ACA and the stripping of the most important part of the legislation, Single-Payer option.
Why does this council continue to propose amendments then bail or water down those amendments at the second reading? Lip service. It makes them appear they are ‘making changes’ when all they really are doing is shuffling papers.
Besides the investors being listed, the bigger, better change would be limiting TIF’s for their intended purpose, affordable housing and cleaning up blithed areas. That intention has been thrown by the wayside a long time ago.
Not to mention the money taken away from the tax rolls for specifically the county;
The growing number of criminal cases in Minnehaha County is putting a strain on the county budget and could lead to higher taxes.
It’s one of the biggest issues Minnehaha County Commissioners face right now with a county jail that’s bursting at the seams and a state’s attorney’s office that is overloaded with cases.
The county will likely have to build a new multimillion dollar jail in the next few years but the growth in property taxes isn’t keeping up with the rise in crime on the county level.
At the same time, city resources are increasing as sales tax revenues rise. This means more spending on police officers who are arresting criminals and putting them in the crowded county jail.
So while we are giving property tax rebates to the already sickly rich developers and their investors, while proposing property tax increases on the rest of us. Enough of the Insanity!