Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

The Sun may shine a lot in Sioux Falls, but dark clouds loom over our government offices

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It’s Sunshine Week, or at least that’s what our local newspaper is telling us. They have been having fun setting up ‘scenarios’ when it comes to closed government in our state and city, but scenarios are not necessary, our closed government is all around us and not something to pretend about;

City of Sioux Falls

– The city council and public still have not received a contractor list of who built the Events Center. The council has been asking directors and the mayor for this list for almost two years.

– The Event Center siding consultant report has still not been released to the public or the council. In fact we have been told very little with the year deadline for a resolution looming in August. Officials with SMG and the city building department have said that the building is ‘water tight’ and the bent up siding makes the building look ‘interesting’. What will be ‘interesting’ is to see who will pay to fix the mess.

– Nobody is quite sure how many developers have been denied TIF applications (by the mayor’s office) over the past 27 months. Speaking of TIF’s one wonders if the mayor is picking winners and losers based on his personal investments with developers? Good luck finding out, the mayor doesn’t have to disclose his development investments with the public.

-The city council was asked to vote on the ambulance contract without seeing the scoring procedures or criteria and essentially created a monopoly in the city limits with little transparency in the process.

-We have NO idea what is going on with the RR relocation project, a project that will potentially cost Federal taxpayers $30 million dollars.

-While a proposed indoor aquatic center gets smaller and gets more expensive there has been no word as to why and where all the amentities promised before the election disappeared to AND we still don’t have and MOU on the Quit Claim deed from the VA, but the city attorney says he is ‘working on it’.

Minnehaha County Commission

-Besides the fact the appointment process for John Pekas’ replacement was behind closed doors, the appointee comes into question, Jean Bender, wife of major Sioux Falls developer, Michael Bender, and conflicts of interest. Especially after the joint city council and commission recently denied a CUP for a solar development farm that Mr. Bender and his group were appealing. Jean was not in attendance to the meeting, but one wonders about future zoning issues concerning her husband’s business? This isn’t like a county sheriff’s wife is running a city owned café, there is a heckuva a lot more at stake here then ice cream cones and turkey wraps.

Sioux Falls School Board

-Now that they have the future Superintendent list down to six finalists, the public still is not able to vet the finalists in a public forum. This coming from a school board that only listens to the public when a referendum is threatening them or if they are getting death threats. And even with the looming election they are skating on thin ice with state election law by promoting opposition to the late start date using teachers and administrative staff during business and school hours which is against state campaign laws.

As you can see from these ‘few’ examples, there is no reason to setup scenarios of the lack of transparency. It’s very dark in Sioux Falls, and the sun isn’t coming out anytime soon and neither is the truth.

New appointments (rubber stampers) to the Charter Revision & Ethics Commission

Refer to Item #50 of the Sioux Falls city council agenda. I actually think most of the appointments are good. But one scratches their head when you appoint the wife of a former city councilor who was infamous for a self-beneficial agenda and a lackluster attendance record. Besides that, what qualifies her to be on this board? Her BIO reads;

Jill Entenman—Jill earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Augustana College. She is the business owner of J&L Harley-Davidson, Inc. Jill currently serves on the board of directors for the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and previously served on the board of directors for Make-A-Wish South Dakota.

Okay, so Jill has a Poli-Sci degree. How long has it been since she used that? Yes, because selling motorcycles is comparable to revising government charters. Just like the Parks Board, it’s who you know, not what you know.

And boy, is Jack Marsh going to have an eye opening experience on the Ethics Commission.

Wanda Harris Board of Ethics Appointed for a term from March 2015 through February 2017 (to fill the unexpired term of Ronald Sisk).
John “Jack” Marsh Board of Ethics Appointed for a term from March 2015 through March 2019 (to replace Robert Swanhorst).
Susan Aguilar Charter Revision Commission Appointed for a term from March 2015 through March 2019 (to replace Dennis Aanenson).
Jill Entenman Charter Revision Commission Appointed for a term from March 2015 through March 2019 (to replace De Knudson).
Pauline Poletes Charter Revision Commission Reappointed for a term from March 2015 through March 2020.
Justin Smith Charter Revision Commission Appointed for a term from March 2015 through March 2019 (to replace Richard Gregerson).
Robert Thimjon Charter Revision Commission Reappointed for a term from March 2015 through March 2020.

Brandon & Sioux Falls joint informal city council meeting

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The audio isn’t that great on this (mostly because of the ventilation system) but there are some audible parts. My camera man, Bruce, gets invited to sit at the royal’s table though;

Thank you for the gracious invitation allowing me to join your Brandon – Sioux Falls Joint Meeting dinner and conversation. The invitation was not expected.

It was very good to witness the open discussion of joint problems and issues during the meeting. For some of the issues discussed, it appears the Sioux Falls region in time could consider a more formal regional council similar to the Twin Cities Met Council to help operate regional services and joint planning.  The meetings you have started with the area communities is a great first step.

I had hoped to inform the joint meeting members of the work of the Minnehaha County Election Review Committee in a “public input” type setting. The informal nature of the meeting allowed me to explain our work. The time given me to explain and then answer your many questions was very enjoyable.

Events Center to replace existing lounge with ‘Club Cambria’?

I heard rumblings of this a few weeks back, and it is going before city council for approval (Item #11). While I am all for selling sponsorships, I don’t understand demolishing an existing lounge that tax payers already paid for something that really doesn’t look much different.

Remember, Cambria products are just like any other fabricated (fake) granite countertops, they all use the same manufacturing processes to make them, they just vary in color and design. It is the equivalent of changing the color of your house from polar white to eggshell white.

I also find the irony of replacing an existing lounge because of a sponsorship, but NOT replacing the siding because of the ‘politics’ of contracts.

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UPDATE: Sioux Falls & Brandon City Council holds first ‘informal’ meeting

UPDATE: Not sure if you noticed, but this meeting was only announced about 24 hours before it happened on the agenda page. That’s it, no press releases on the main page, no special announcements or even a camera man to film the event. And guess what else, while most of the SF & Brandon city council, including the Brandon Mayor were able to attend, our Mayor did not. In fact due to the lack of publicity, only one citizen showed up, and not only did he film it for me, he got invited to join the group for discussion. Let’s just say it is probably a good thing Mike didn’t show, several Brandon officials didn’t have many glowing things to say about him.

I’m told the meeting is NOT at Carnegie or being recorded because this is an ‘informal get to know each other’ meeting.

I’ll bring the snacks and handycam, who is bringing the beer?

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Video tape Parks Board Meetings

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Kermit is asking for open government in Sioux Falls again and guess who doesn’t like it, again? Yup the old schoolmarm. She just doesn’t stop hating everything to do with open government. It’s as if we the people are too stupid or dense to understand the basics so she has to keep reminding us of her special place.

Kermit asks a very simple question about holding the super duper top secret Sioux Falls Park Board in the open in the Carnegie Town Hall so they could be broadcast for the Citylink viewers ability to watch.

Here we have a city department sucking and spending a major part of our city revenue with no oversight. We ask a question and they close down the meetings. The schoolmarm was once on the Park Board and still protects it from the Council. She still is so protective she doesn’t want Kermit to bring it up.

We also ask all to consider the questionably legal maneuver she has performed recently getting named to the Spellerberg Aquatics citizen committee. She got herself named to the committee to make decisions for her special interest then she turns around and votes as a councilperson on those very same proposals.

A few conflict of interest type issues to work out her and she does not want anyone to see it. Open government anyone? Next thing you know the schoolmarm will bring out her ruler to smack fingers for raising questions.

Public Input 3/3/2015

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City worried about Mobile food vendors, still waiting to hear about restaurants recycling

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While the city worries about where these trucks park and sell taco in a bag, they still haven’t addressed my issue with restaurants recycling glass, aluminum and plastic. They claim there has been ‘complaints’ about noise and litter. How many? And did they know that current ordinances already cover litter and noise? This is a non-issue looking for a solution.

Kill these proposals!

Rumblings about joint County/Council meeting

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There has been some discussion about whether the denial of the solar farm CUP permit last week during the Minnehaha County & Sioux Falls city council joint meeting was even legal? Why? Some motions were not voted on.

Not sure what will be done, but will be interesting to watch.

Where was City Councilor Huether last night?

I’m not the only one asking the question. Several public officials asked me if I had any insight :) Besides Mike, Commissioner Bender was the only one that was not present with the two boards. Jean had a conflict of interest because her husband’s company has an appeal pending with the solar farm land, or something like that, ironically something I warned the Commission about when they were considering her for the commission, but hey, what do I know, I’m just a cranky blogger.

The mayor often calls himself a city councilor, and he should be available for tie-break votes. So why was he a no-show? Did he have a conflict of interest also? Bender fessed up with her conflict, will the mayor?