Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council Elects ‘Non-Leaders’ to Leadership

Besides Councilor Stehly saying, “Wham, Bam, Thank You Maam” there was a lot of elitist eye-rolling and laughter going on when councilors Brekke and Stehly were making nominating speeches for their choice for Vice-Chair, Pat Starr. Of course, Neitzert got it, in a pre-determined vote, which gave them plenty of time to laugh at the nominating speeches since the fix was in.

I was watching from the comfort of my office at home, but from talking to citizens watching in the chambers, it was purely disgusting and disrespectful. It amazes me the level of disrespect the RS5 (Rubber Stamp 5) have for Pat and Theresa, especially after the entire city got to see how incredibly idiotic, careless, reckless, fiscally irresponsible and just plain stupid their votes were for the downtown parking ramp, in which none of them have apologized for, just said ‘oh well’ and blew it off. I also hear now that Mayor Selfie is looking for a competitor to Stehly.

Please forget about the mistakes of the past and elect me to leadership. Not only are they extremely arrogant and dysfunctional, they are in complete denial of their mistakes and stupidity. This is the worst city council I have seen in 15 years. Complete Losers and Failures. The ironic part was when Erickson and Neitzert were working with the minority, they were getting things done, but once the rules got changed for Air BNB and Erickson started rolling in the dough, she flipped, almost overnight. It may be time to implement a lodging tax on Air BNB.

Oh, but it gets better. At the city council informational meeting, the IT department (growing in employees with many of the other mayoral departments) requested to raise the tax for Midco and Vast from 2.5% to 6%. It took bringing up Midco’s attorney (thank you Theresa) to admit that that tax will just be passed onto the consumer and the communications companies won’t pay anything.

So our innovation manager’s greatest feat so far is a plan to tax us more for internet and cable. This is what a HS diploma will get you.


Open Video System (OVS) proposal by City of Sioux Falls Innovation Department needs to be stopped

There isn’t a lot of research out there about OVS even though it has essentially been around since the mid-90’s. It essentially gives broadband and telecoms the right to stream videos online without a franchise license like major cable companies. There are some other details involved, but you get the gist.

A lot of us use these services, and hopefully if you are ‘subscribed’ to them you understand the terms. The companies most likely have a lot of data on you. Besides knowing some financial information, they know when you watch videos and what kind of videos you like. They use these ‘cookies’ to know what to advertise to you. It works similar when you purchase products from an online company. If they see you like buying crime novels, they most likely send you emails about books available.

For instance I’m subscribed to Expedia, it knows when I am searching for certain deals and alerts me.

While all of this is done in the private sector, and you willfully agree to it, then I guess you don’t mind that these private companies are collecting massive amounts of data on you to help make themselves more money.

When government does it, well, that’s just creepy.

The city is exploring using OVS. I don’t know any details on what they intend to do, but they will have a presentation on Tuesday at the informational and are looking to appropriate money for the system during the regular city council meeting.

This is what I do know. If the city buys into this kind of system, you will essentially have to ‘subscribe’ to the service to use it (even if it is FREE). This will allow the city to ‘data mine’ on you like the online retailers do. They will be able to know when you watch the videos, how often and when. They will be able to take your subscriber data and compare it to voter data and then be able to establish a profile.

So why does the city want to do this? Well there are several reasons, and none of them are good for the citizenry. The city is already collecting data on several fronts. If you downloaded the city app to report problems, watch videos on the city’s FB page while logged in, or use the data portal to search data from the city’s GIS site, you have to be logged in. They are collecting data on you NOW and this will be one more tool for them.

You must understand this the world Mayor Paul TenHaken comes from as well as his Innovation Director who ran a successful online retailer. They both ran successful businesses through helping themselves and their clients collect massive amounts of data on their clients. Paul has been busted a couple times before digging around in the dark resources of the internet. We all heard about his assistance of former Deputy Secretary of State, Powers and the doxing he did for the Rounds Campaign. This is PTH’s bag of tricks from the private sector and now he wants to take it to the next level and see if he can pull it off in government. Last I checked, the City of Sioux Falls wasn’t a fascist regime or communist state, but Paul is quickly likening himself to a Dictator.

Oh, we will hear all the excuses, “These apps and sites are there to make government more accessible for you.” Bullsh*t! They are there to allow government to have more access of YOU and what you are thinking, contemplating or even voting on.

Besides the fact the city should not be collecting this kind of data on it’s citizens, it is a waste of money. Citizens should be able to watch and respond to their government for FREE, they should also NOT be monitored when they are doing these things. They especially shouldn’t be required to ‘LOG IN’ to get information from the city. The city already monitors it’s citizens in several ways from property taxes to their water meters. Using technology to data mine on citizens unknowingly is just plain wrong and it needs to be stopped.

I am actively recruiting candidates for the City of Sioux Falls council election in 2020

Unlike the group of rat finks looking for competitors to Stehly in 2020, I will be honest with you; I am actively looking for challengers to NW District Councilor Neitzert and SW District Councilor Selberg and if Stehly decides NOT to seek a 2nd term, we will be looking for a candidate in that race also.

No worries, you have some time. The earliest you really need to announce is this Fall, even though there are some people already talking about running against Stehly.

I have spoken with several people interested in challenging the two. With the parking ramp debacle, the chatter has increased quite a bit, and with all the failures over the past three years due to their rubber stamp mentality, many citizens are ready to turn a majority of the council into a citizen advocacy body and a real challenge to city administrators and big bizzo in town.

As you know, Bruce and I have ran many successful local campaigns (ironically one of our best was Neitzert’s 🙁 and we have had a couple of failures, but I think the 2020 election cycle will be a big one for us. As you know, Bruce and I try to champion candidates that are for two things, ‘Good, Clean Government’. We also don’t care about your partisan stripes, we have helped indies, Republicans and Democrats.

We are willing to sit down with anyone interested to discuss a campaign. While the consultation will be totally free and confidential, I can not guarantee we would take you on, but we are willing to listen and advise.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, May 21, 2019

City Council Informational Meeting, 4 PM

DTSF presentation with other non-profit orgs.

Agreement with Midco and Vast broadband open video (there were no attached docs, so I’m not even sure what this is about. It is coming out of the Innovation Department). But it seems it has to do with providing city videos with subscribers. This is a total waste of money for many reasons. As I have stated before, you can watch city videos in YouTube for free without subscribing AND it’s FREE to the city to post there. To spend a buttload of money to create a subscriber video program NOT only goes against fiscal responsibility, it goes against open, transparent and FREE government. It also creates a BIG BROTHER system of monitoring the subscribers. In simple terms, It’s creepy, expensive and overstepping. It will be interesting to hear the arguments for this proposal. There is also several expenditures in the approval of contracts in the regular meeting.

City Council Regular Meeting, 7 PM

Item#6, Approval of Contracts/Agreements

Legal services for Open Video, $25K

Legal services for new IT department in the City Center, $15K. It amazes me that the city’s own legal counsel cannot figure this out. They are truly turning into a purchasing department and NOT a legal department.

Washington Pavilion asking for building improvements of $1.1 million. While some of the stuff is probably needed, I’m wondering about a almost $500K retaining wall. As I have mentioned in the past there are rumors that there have been issues with the structural soundness of the Northeast portion of the building, and one wonders if this has to do with an expensive retaining wall?

Item #42, Resolution, Orpheum contract with the Pavilion. I find this line in the contract questionable;

WHEREAS, this agreement also serves as a memorandum of understanding of a long-term relationship between the City and Management Company by standards appropriate of an accredited institution of the American Association of Museums; and

As I understand it the Pavilion has been putting off their recertification with the AAM. I wonder if the city has looked into this?

Item #44, Resolution, Sioux Empire Leadership Council participation. I’m still puzzled about this organization and why the private healthcare monster-plexs are involved? If this is about workforce development as part of the mission, how is having wage-colluding institutions like this involved going to help?

Item #46, Resolution, instituting the city’s official legal notice newspaper. I think with such low subscription numbers (15,300 weekday & 36,606 Sundays) how on earth does this even make sense? I know by state law they have to publish in a subscribed paper, in other words NO other publication would work like ETC., Motor Weekly or Shopping News. But if you are NOT reaching the public, what’s the point? I have suggested that ONLINE should be bare minimum and a printed published bound piece at all of the public libraries should be good enough for those without the internets. Enough of wasting money on 4 pt type and 1″ square maps in a paper no one reads. Wake up state legislature change the law.

Item#47, Resolution, Appointment to citizen boards

Most of the time, this is NOT controversial. The mayor gets to pick friends or friends of friends. But there is some curious appointments this time around, lets review;

Charter Revision Commission;

For reference, the CRC is responsible for allowing citizens to vote on revisions to the charter. These revisions are often brought by the city’s attorneys office, the administration, city councilors and citizens. Most of time they are very cautious about what they allow. Usually mundane legal language cleanup. In fact the last commission didn’t allow anything. Chief apologizer, Justin Smith (who is getting reappointed) felt that if something got on the ballot, citizens would tend to pass it. Oh My, the pitfalls of direct democracy! What an elitist brat!

It is NOT the concern of the CRC as to whether something will pass, there concern should be whether something is legal to be put on the ballot. Fascism is a form of government, but not Sioux Falls form of government. He should not be reappointed.

Anne Hajek, former city councilor, county commissioner and legislator will also be appointed. I spoke with Anne about this morning and she is excited about the appointment. I asked her if she would be willing to have stuff put on the ballot, and she said yes based on it’s merits.

But just when you thought it couldn’t get even worse, the past president of ultra-conservative x-tian college, Mr. Zylstra gets appointed to the commission. If the fascist lawyers won’t stop you, the right-wingnut pastors will. At least the meetings will be entertaining. I wonder if they will serve communion?

Let’s move on to the Planning Commission;

Erik Nyberg is attorney in Real Estate law with Cutler Law firm. The same firm’s whose owner, Kent Cutler has properties that have been being busted for illegal massage, illegal workers and illegal immigrants. Erik also serves on the Events Center Campus Book Club. There is no evidence that Erik is investing with his partner, but I find it a little curious that he works with a person that has a track record of allowing illegal immigrants to work in his rentals.

Items 48-50, Council Leadership Election. As I said last week at the council meeting, anyone who voted for the downtown parking ramp should not be allowed in leadership. This should be another dog and pony show. Wonder if the city will allow the rubber stampers to speak?


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City of Sioux Falls Publishes comment about private citizen in Citizen Survey

Last Tuesday during the City Council Informational they did a presentation about the survey results. A whopping 600 people responded! The results have pretty much been the same for over a decade. Fix our streets, parks are great, Sioux Falls is wonderful. But one of the more interesting parts of this waste of taxpayer money is the open comments section. The survey responders get to sound off. This set of comments were troubling (DOC: Open-end-Report-2019;

While it is perfectly okay to call out a general group of citizens or elected officials like Theresa and Paul, I think it is very inappropriate to be publishing a private citizen’s name. What if someone would have commented about Denny Sanford or Paul’s wife, do you think that would have made the final cut? Doubtful. It also seems that this was purposely put in to tie Stehly to Danielson. I almost wonder if this was ‘concocted’ later. I told Bruce to request that that comment be taken off of the document as it has NOTHING to do with the performance of city government or city council.

The City ‘CAN’ talk about the Parking Ramp

I find it interesting that his letter was sent out to the media (but posted nowhere on city website that I can find).

While Kooistra is correct in saying that public officials cannot talk about the ‘details’ of pending litigation, they CAN talk about what has already been publicly filed. They can also share their opinion, especially councilors, on the matter without going in to detail of the case.

I’m actually surprised and disappointed that the six councilors and past mayor who ramrodded this through don’t even have the courage to apologize for how this turned out. That would have NOTHING to do with a default of the developer. Instead they are trying to hide behind this shield of the city attorney claiming they can’t talk. That is a bunch of boloney coming from a hen house full of rubber stamp chickens.

Mayor TenHaken misses the point of open government

PTH was on Belfrage yesterday talking about a bunch of things. Belfrage brought up the ‘dysfunction’ of the city council. It of course came back to trying to blame ‘ONE’ person on the council. While Stehly’s name was never brought up, it was clear who he was talking about.

PTH thought it was a waste of time to discuss a $20 fee for the housing summit instead of spending more time talking about supplemental appropriations during a council meeting.

As for the supplemental appropriations, the council and the public, I believe were in agreement. What discussion did you need? (PTH even admitted to that). But to say having a ‘wasted’ discussion about the $20 fee just shows (as I have suspected) he knows little about open government and transparency. This wasn’t about the $20 this was about charging the public to come to a PUBLIC event. Ironically, the administration changed their tune and said they would waive the fee and film the event (I encourage people to watch the over 5 hours, it is fascinating, especially the tiny homes for vets discussion). So was the discussion really a waste? Open and transparent government SHOULD be priority over everything else.

I think we need to have a longer public discussion about how the citizens own this government and they shouldn’t be ‘charged’ to participate in it.

Is someone waiting in the wings to scoop up the parking ramp project?

Yeah, I know, Mr. Conspiracy theory here, and who can we believe? But this is an interesting change of events;

The group said it had proposed changes to the project to the city, but then it stopped receiving any notices or responses from the city, which the developer also alleges canceled meetings before alerting it that it was terminating the deal, which would have co-mingled public and private money to see two hotels, restaurants and retail space built around a parking garage at 110 S. Mall Avenue.

So the city council now is on ‘silent mode’. The city refused to negotiate the deal and late last night, TJ TypeOver sends out a press release saying they are looking for someone to complete the project.

When the performance bond payment didn’t come in, do you think the city got a little nervous and did some ‘shopping around’?

It will be interesting to see how fast another developer swoops in, and who it is. Information lockdown usually means things are going on in the backroom. At this point I can’t even speculate who would want to take it over, but we have our guesses 🙂 Heck, I wouldn’t even be surprised if one of healthcare monsters builds a hospital on top of the parking ramp.

It will be fun to watch as the administration and the rubber stampers talk about how they ‘saved’ the doomed project while the rest of us roll our eyes.

UPDATE: TenHaken could have killed Village on the River before it got this far

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the bonds were sold before PTH came into office. So if he would have killed the project, it likely would have cost us in fines. I think I predicted about $2 million at the time. But in hindsight it would have saved us in the long run, because now we have a structure without a private partner.

Over on the WussCollege chief talking mouth, Pitty, is trying to defend the mayor’s position on the parking ramp. But early on PTH could have killed the project, and did not. As one commenter said;

When Mayor TenHaken took office, he announced his administration was vetting the project and development agreement and subsequently endorsed the project during a press conference in July 2018

I also find it a bit ironic that while Pitty likes to throw Stehly under the bus, she is the only one (with Starr) who has tried to stop this project while Pitty’s buddies Neitzert and Erickson steamed forward.

VIDEO BELOW is last night’s CC meeting;

So why didn’t PTH stop the project before it got this far? As someone put it to me last night, he didn’t have a legal team in place at that time that knew their heads from a hole in the ground. While I commended PTH last night for killing the project, he really could have stopped it much sooner. While real leaders do get things done, they also get things done right and know how to say NO when necessary. It seems the only two leaders we have right now in city government is Stehly and Starr who had the vision and foresight to know this was doomed from the very beginning.

UPDATE: Downtown Parking Ramp a bad deal. Yah think?!

We have all heard the story tonight, and Detroit Lewis saw this coming. I predicted early on “There will never be a hotel built at that site.” Trust me, I hate being the ‘I told you so’ guy, but this was obvious from the beginning. I will leave you with my public scolding tonight at the city council meeting.

UPDATE: The city just sent this out;

CLARIFICATION: The City of Sioux Falls has not ruled out private development at this site in the future. At this time, we are focused on the completion of the parking ramp portion of the project.

Today, the City of Sioux Falls provided the Village River Group (VRG) with a notice of termination of their development agreement and ground lease for the Village on the River project.

On December 29, 2017, the City entered into a development agreement for construction of a mixed-use development including a public parking ramp and private hotel with leasable retail space.

The City has invested significant time and resources working with VRG in furtherance of performance of the development agreement.

On April 1, 2019, the City notified VRG that it was in default on the Village on the River project. In accordance with the development agreement, VRG had 30 calendar days to cure multiple defaults. VRG has failed to cure these defaults within the development agreement’s cure period or at any time thereafter.

The project can and will proceed as a stand-alone parking ramp which will alleviate parking challenges within downtown Sioux Falls.

Consistent with protecting taxpayer interests, the City has reserved any and all of its legal remedies available to it under the terms of the development agreement.

In other news, at the Informational meeting, councilor Brekke read her letter to the editor that Cory Myers, News Director of the Argus Leader refused to publish;

May 6, 2019

Letter to the Editor

From: City Councilmember Janet Brekke

I am writing in response to the recent letter to the Editor by Former Councilmember Rex Rolfing and the May 5th Argus Leader Editorial. In my opinion both articles missed the point.

In today’s environment of good versus evil, winners versus losers, or us versus them, frameworks it is plain to see that the Sioux Falls City Council is suffering from the same ultra-polarization that is immobilizing our Federal Government.

The problem that arose with the City Council’s hiring of an Internal Audit Manager has very little to do with the candidate that was ultimately selected. Ultimately the failed discussions and subsequent actions are symptoms of a larger problem.  The larger problem is the City Council’s inability to discuss any divisive problem in a deliberative open minded manner.

Since I joined the City Council last year I have tried to promote and adhere to good government procedures and practice: Decorum, Ethics, Roberts Rules of Order, Open Meetings and Open Records laws. So why does process matter? I believe good process matters because solving complex problems calls for creativity and collaboration, in ways that us versus them, winners versus losers, and good versus evil, do not. In a political context the idea that the good need to simply destroy the evil as we were taught in the movies of our childhood simply does not apply. Affixing blame and demonizing individual councilmembers is counterproductive.

We all have a role to play in our dysfunction. Ron Brownstien, CNN Sr. Political Analyst spoke at the National League of Cities about Congressional polarization on the health care issue. He said both sides claimed they could not talk about the issue because they were too far apart.   Brownstein’s suggestion, “Being far apart on an issue is not a reason to refuse to discuss an issue. Rather being far apart on an issue is the very reason you begin discussions.”  The City Council needs to engage in a deliberative process where we interact and listen to each other. I believe each of us has a valuable perspective to bring to the discussion. We need to work on our ability to collaborate and compromise. If we cannot take the time and effort to work to achieve consensus on hiring an Internal Audit Manager how can we expect to solve the complex problems facing the City. This us versus them mentality serves no one well, least of all the residents of Sioux Falls.

What amazes me is that our soul daily in town had to come after the only councilor (besides Starr) to oppose the parking ramp. The chickens are coming home to roost.