Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Will the Events Center siding be replaced?

At the SF city council informational meeting on Tuesday, the topic of ‘siding’ will most likely come up during the EC update portion of the meeting. In fact I am about 100% sure it will, because that is when the administration promised to release a consultant’s report about it.

The bigger question is what did the consultant recommend? I got word today from a foot soldier that a decision has been made and will be announced on Tuesday. What was that decision? Well not quite sure, but the probability of replacement before the facility is open is high. Very high.

IF this is true, it opens up a whole other can of worms, that involve courtrooms and attorneys. Don’t get me wrong, the siding HAS to be replaced, I think that is pretty obvious. And it needs to be done before the place opens, not a couple of months down the road.

So what does this mean? Well there is liability involved when something isn’t done properly, and a lot of times some finger pointing, which usually ends up in court.

Who is going to pay for the replacement? That will probably be up to a judge, but let’s just hope that judge is in the public’s corner.

Innocent property owners denied damage claim with city’s liability insurance

During the SF City Council informational meeting open discussion the topic of the landlords that had their property destroyed while police where capturing a fugitive came up. Councilor Staggers argued that they should be paid because they were innocent. City attorney David Fiddle-Faddle said that the city did file a claim with their liability insurance and were denied. Chief Barthel also said that since one of the tenants living in the building knew the fugitive (the fugitive was trying to find them) that doesn’t totally leave the landlord off the hook.


I’m sure we ALL either know or are related to convicted felons or criminals, so does that make us guilty by association? Seems like a strange justification. Chief Barthel also says that if we just give them the money, even if the claim was denied, we would be setting a precedence.

In other words, when the SFPD breaks up innocent people’s property, no matter the circumstance, they won’t pay – EVER.

There is a solution. The city council can write a resolution and put it on the council agenda to award the landlords the money. This is fair for a couple of reasons, first off it shows their is no precedence and these things can be handled on a case by case basis, secondly, there would be public discussion by our legislative body whether it is appropriate to reimburse them.

Of course that would require common sense, prudence and compassion by our city council, something a few of them don’t have.

SF City Council Public Input 7/8/2014

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Sioux Falls City Council DRAFT Provisional Legislative Priorities

A quick guide and review of this year’s city council ‘priorities’

1) That the Sioux Falls City Council, in conjunction with the South Dakota Municipal League, opposes any legislation which would inhibit municipalities from providing services requested by citizens in whatever form the citizens approve and opposes any legislation that restricts local control over taxation and spending.

Ah, nice wording Fiddle-Faddle. This is a ‘sticky’ one. What does it mean? Well since the days of councilor Quen Be De the city(s) have been trying to get permission from the state to raise our own sales taxes so they can build ‘things’. Of course, they always bring up that the voters will have to approve it and the tax will only be temporary (so when is the entertainment tax going away now that we have paid off the Pavilion?). I think it is wise that the state regulates this, it protects citizens in any community from municipalities to become ‘tax happy’. The city already ‘fees (taxes)’ the crap out of us. They continually raise property taxes, and every year, like clockwork, the city increases revenue. We don’t need any ‘special taxes’ what we need is a corporate income tax to pay for special projects. Corporations are always crying there needs to be more quality of life projects to attract ‘professional’ workers. Well then, pony up.

2) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation allowing municipalities alternative publication options.

This was a battle councilor Bob Litz begun, he thinks the Argus charges too much (and they do) and that public notices, etc. should be published in ‘other papers’ like the Shopping News. Even though the SN is only a weekly paper, it is FREE and is distributed to more homes then the Argus. Maybe it is time.

3) The Sioux Falls City Council opposes any legislation that would reduce, remove, repeal or reallocate the municipal sales tax, liquor tax reversion or any other municipal revenues to any other unit of government or that would expand the power to impose a sale or use tax to any other unit of government.

This is a blatant pissing match with the County Commission. When commissioner Jeff Barth suggested the county needed more of this tax income, I kinda balked. But now when I look at it, it makes sense. Barth’s proposal is simple; Alcohol related crimes are about 90%+ of related crimes in our county, why not use that tax to combat those crimes in our court system? Who funds the court system? The county. It’s one thing to quietly not support the county getting more of this tax base, it’s a whole other ball of wax calling on the legislature to oppose giving them more money. But doesn’t surprise me. Not that I’m not a local government nerdy enough, I started watching the County Commission meetings a few months back. They conduct business so much more professionally then the city council, and while they don’t always agree with each other and the public, they have sincere conversations about the people they govern. The best was when they were questioning the purchase of new vehicles when the old ones ran just fine. I thought I was looking at room full of Staggers. It was refreshing. The city could learn a lot from how these folks govern. ALOT!

4) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation extending owner occupied status to income based rental housing for property tax purposes.

5) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation to raise the threshold for requiring a performance bond to $50,000.

While I am a little murky on these two, I kind of understand them and support them. But maybe I am missing something? Help me out soldiers.

6) The Sioux Falls City Council strongly encourages the legislature to direct that any available water development funds be used to support completion of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System in South Dakota.

7) The Sioux Falls City Council supports legislation appropriating funds from the general fund for the purpose of providing advance federal funds on a zero interest reimbursable basis for construction for Lewis & Clark Rural Water System facilities in South Dakota.

I have never been a fan of Lewis & Clark, and while the $80 million we have spent is already a done deal, I am suspect as to why SF should care when or if this project gets done? We already got snookered by these folks, why encourage more snookering? While it is true other communities NEED this project, Sioux Falls only uses our required amount (around 11% a day) and as told by Public Works director Mark Cotter that it is an ‘emergency backup’. I kind of wonder if the $80 million would have came from the feds instead–if more smaller communities would be hooked up instead of SF, which doesn’t really need it, especially in light of the great conservation numbers we have been having lately.

In conclusion, we had to hire a full-time council staffer to come up with these awesome seven priorities. I wonder how many consultants we had to hire to come up with the wooden dog fence at the council podium and the self-locking security doors at Carnegie?

Water, uh, I mean, money under the bridge.

Bruce forgot his flash drive, really he did . . .

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Can’t wait to see this on CNN

Actually I look forward to seeing Fareed Zakaria’s take on Sioux Falls and it’s government. It will be interesting to see what kind of spin our Mayor puts on it;

The city hosted a producer and photojournalist from CNN in December. During their visit, CNN interviewed Mayor Mike Huether and others, toured the city, and were interested in how government was getting results.

I can answer that question, Home Rule Charter and Dictatorship like government that rewards the rich with subsidies and tax breaks. While our top earners in Sioux Falls are doing very well, the rest are suffering the consequences. Food banks running dry, Free and reduced lunches are up in our schools, and we have to build bigger complexes for the homeless and needy. The council is virtually powerless and un-informed. City Hall controls all the information and only spoon feeds the council information. It’s easy to claim you have a successful city government when you are the only one in charge, that’s not a democracy, that is a dictatorship. I hope the reporter interviewing Huether saw through his bullshit, but my guess is like a majority of voters in Sioux Falls, they ate it up and loved it.

Video from the SF City Council working session

The Council had their last working session on Wednesday 25. Here are the recordings (4 separate videos) meetings. I apologize for the bad audio, the ventilation/circulation system is constantly running in this room, so it was hard to get good audio.

The council discussed several things, such as legislative priorities. The council wants the city to have control over taxation within the city. It is a contentious and confusing priority because of the way the city and state choose to fund government, thru regressive sales taxes. The gist was the council wants to be able to raise the penny sales tax when they want a special project built, like an Events Center (of course with the consent of the citizens through a vote, LOL).

The council also discussed the Citizen’s Survey questions. I emailed councilor Erickson about some of my concerns with the survey, specifically if any surveys are sent to city employees who live in Sioux Falls (city employees should not be giving themselves high marks that only skew the survey results). I also said the question about feeling safe Downtown creates a perception that DT is unsafe.

Why is the city paying for something the state should cover?

I got a surprise yesterday while attending the City Council working session. As some of you may or may not know, while the state shares revenue with alcohol sales, they don’t reimburse the city police department for conducting alcohol sale stings. I think a solution would be the city PD to stop doing the stings and require the Highway Patrol (which gets state funding) to do the stings.

Kenny Anderson says the problem is that people who fail the stings are not the owners or managers in most cases, it’s the clerks. While this is true, it is also the responsibility of the company to properly train their employees AND hire responsible people.

I have often said the solution is simple. Require anyone who is purchasing alcohol or tobacco to put their ID in a scanner. If they don’t or if the ID is incorrect, the cash register would refuse the sale. Of course, this would piss off a lot of older people who clearly look old enough to purchase. This would also probably get blow back from the malt beverage industry. I know a few years ago I read a study that said over 30% of beer that is consumed in this country is drunk by underage people. That’s a lot of lost revenue if roadblocks are put for these people to purchase.

Texting Ban – Still pointless & Unneeded

When the city decided to pass a texting ban, I agreed with councilor Staggers and some members of the Highway Patrol and SFPD, that it was unneeded because there are already laws in place like distracted driving and reckless driving that cover texting and driving. If you cause an accident while texting or talking on your phone, or  eating a hamburger or scratching your butt while driving, you will get one of these tickets. Don’t get me wrong, I think texting while driving is idiotic, but since the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday about getting a warrant to search someone’s phone, it is going to be a lot harder to prove someone was texting and driving. That pesky US Constitution and 4th Amendment prevailed once again. Just wondering when our state legislature and city council are going to bother reading it and stop passing pointless laws and ordinances?

Sometimes municipal government can be messy, but necessary

I like Mayor Sam Kooiker, maybe that is why I really didn’t say much until now about his suggested appointment for police chief that failed RC city council;

The council last week rejected Lt. Elias Diaz for the chief’s job, citing a lack of experience, a flawed selection process and a lack of overall transparency on behalf of Mayor Sam Kooiker in choosing who he felt was the right candidate.

While I think some on the RC City Council are from LuLu Libertarian Tea bag land, they made the right decision to reject Sam’s appointment, for all of the reasons above. That is what the legislative body of municipal government is supposed to do. They are the checks and balances for the taxpayers. When the mayor is making a bad decision, or appointing people based on political reasons, the council needs to step up and do their job.

The SF city council could learn a lot from this incident in RC, like how they are supposed to question the administration and city directors when they make ignorant decisions. But first they would have to throw away their rubber stamps and stop taking campaign contributions from the same people/companies our mayor does.

Objective is not the word I would use to describe our city council, more like selective.

Who says local government doesn’t do some things right?


Well, I guess, mostly me. HA! Well not today, Minnehaha County and the City of SF are considering changing the zoning usage of solar panels. The County Commission has already approved this on their end, but they have to have a joint agreement with the city. Can’t wait to see if there will be any detractors to this. I wouldn’t think so, but who knows, especially after reading about those anti-winders in the Canton and Beresford area. Renewable energy is hazardous to our health, didn’t you know?