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Sioux Falls City Council Public Input, Dec 6, 2016

Copper Lounge Collapse, lots of questions little answers

Here are some leading questions after the collapse;

• Will Downtown businesses be reimbursed for lost business by the construction company’s insurance? Most of these businesses are family owned, they don’t have a lot of buffer like national franchises especially during one of the busiest shopping times of the year.

• Will the city be reimbursed for the enormous cost of the rescue and security efforts? While most would argue this is part of paying taxes, sometimes those costs go above and beyond.

• If the city was aware of construction issues with Hultgren, why wasn’t the Lewis project monitored more carefully, especially after complaints?

• What is the signifigance of the meeting on Monday between the city, OSHA, Hultgren and the families affected? Will they be talking about a private settlement?

• Since Legacy Development was one of the companies to bid on the future parking ramp, were they chosen? And if so, will the city pull the contract? Will the public ever be told? Do we have a right to know?

Who are the private investors in Legacy Development?

One of the biggest questions that has been boiling to the top all week – did any of the city councilors, county commissioners or even the Mayor have investments with Legacy, Hultgren or with the PAVE or Lewis project? And if so, isn’t this a conflict of interest, especially since the construction company has gotten quite a few ‘passes’ from the city’s planning/building services office? This speculation comes from the city’s decision to launch NO investigation of their own and a desire to not press charges unless OSHA finds serious fault. Think about it, Cameraman Bruce was arrested and taken to court over a stack of shingles and the possibility of a couple of mice, something the city called a health/public nuisance. Doesn’t it seem silly the city is worried about a couple of mice, but not that a man died in a construction accident? It just doesn’t add up.

I will tell you folks, this goes deeper, and I think some people with some serious connections are involved. Notice the rancor coming from the city lately about the media stirring the pot, they are trying to squelch the message and kill the messenger.

It will be interesting to see who is holding the bag when the smoke clears . . . it may just be one of the biggest scandals this city has ever seen, it will make the secret million dollar settlement on the EC look like vandalism under the 10th Street bridge.

UPDATE: Will our entertainment facilities implement their own smoking ban?

UPDATE: It seems that not only can the entertainment facilities propose and stipulate their own smoking ban, it seems our libraries already have a ban on their property;

The following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on Library property:

Smoking, chewing, and other tobacco use on Library property.

So the bigger question is what exactly would a city council total ban on smoking entail? The ban already existed in parks and on library property, it CAN be stipulated at the EC and Pavilion. So what does that leave? The sidewalk in front of Carnegie and City Hall? Seems a lot of time an effort was put into a ban that technically already exists.

No Smoking_2

First off, I would like to thank the 6 councilors that voted for the pared back smoking ban (Erpenbach and Kiley voted against it-they wanted a full ban).

Especially a big thank you to Councilor Erickson for spearheading this effort. Her concerns were quite simple. She didn’t want a fine or criminalization of using a legal product, she wanted to keep children safe in our parks and she wants to further look at this ban, but she wants council involvement and do it in a studied, incremental way, not a ram-rod approach our mayor and his administration takes on these issues.

But there was a bigger question lurking in the shadows. Why hasn’t our entertainment facilities that are privately managed already implemented these changes? The Events Center already has a ban on concealed weapons.

Ironically, managers from both SMG (Events Center/Orpheum) and the Pavilion were at the meeting last night asking for the policy changes. So if they want them, why not implement themselves?

There is nothing stopping either one of them from posting signage and having a management policy that restricts smoking, say, 25 FT from the entrances to their buildings. Since they are privately managed, they can make these policy changes without the assistance of executive order, council direction or health department direction.

Maybe they wanted the council to do all of their dirty work for them? Funny how two managers that make well over a 1/4 million a year combined are not capable of making this decision, that they clearly support, but depend on our part-time council to make a decision based on something that was handed to them on a turd sandwich.


Was the Planning Department going to Annex without proper notification?

If you were listening to Stehly on the B-N-B show, she mentioned a resolution on the city council agenda tonight for the city to annex private property (Item#40).

This isn’t an entire neighborhood, this is just one home. Stehly said the planning department told her that the man was sent a certified letter, but out of curiosity she called the person to see if he was testifying tonight. He had no idea they were going to annex his property tonight or that it was on the agenda.

Now that’s customer service!

Stehly to be guest on B-N-B’s show in the morning


Theresa will appear at around 8:05 AM, Tuesday on Belfrage’s show to talk about the Smoking Ban.

The Sioux Falls City Council needs to put their foot down with the mayor

For seven years I have watched the mayor push ‘HIS’ agenda, using his city directors to implement legislation. It is NOT his job, it is the job of the city’s legislative body, the city council. The new council so far has been ‘mildy’ successful tamping out some of his ideas, and implementing their own. Youth bus rides for example, and their recent attempt to either sell or gift the old ice plex to the Glory House.

Councilor Stehly says it best;

Councilor Theresa Stehly has been more rigid, maintaining throughout the ban’s debate she wouldn’t be supporting any added prohibitions on tobacco use.

“Smokers are taxpayers as well and I’m not going to support anything that is going to impose a fine on a tobacco user. I think our police have much more important matters to attend to than arresting a smoker,” she said. “And the public needs to be aware that this was initiated by bureaucrats in the health department – it did not come out of the City Council.

The Mayor’s job, as the executive branch, is to run the day to day operations of the city, you know like, making sure building permits are issued correctly . . .

I hope the council votes this down, or at least eliminates the fine portion.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Council Agenda

UPDATE: After the building collapse and the press conference today discussing the response and what is next, there seemed some strange statements being made. For instance, while OSHA and the insurance companies would be investigating the incident, NO one from the city would be. Even when asked if Building Services could come to a press conference to answer questions, the media was told ‘they are busy’. HUH? When a fire occurs, doesn’t the fire department do an inspection to determine how the fire got started? How is this any different?

Also, who is paying for all this police protection and stabilizing the site? Should taxpayers be on the hook for the entire rescue when their may be negligence? Shouldn’t the city be looking into that?

There is also the question of who won the RFP to build the parking ramp? Was it Legacy Development? The ones involved in the Lewis project?

Good question. There seems to be a lot of tight lips at city hall, and not a lot of answers here.

It seems the City Council’s consent agenda has a couple of interesting items;


I find it interesting, because the council pulled the DT parking ramp from the budget for 2017, but it seems the planning is still in process.

And while the city has always gave money towards Sculpture Walk, I think with budgetary cut backs towards public art, maybe it is time SW took on these expenditures themselves. If they can raise $1 million for Arc of Dreams, they can cover the cost of installation of SW.

Will the Parks Board meetings finally be recorded?

DaCola has been arguing for this move for several years now, to my surprise, it seems councilors are finally moving forward on a measure to require the meetings be recorded (Item #36);


This is important, because the board decides on millions of tax dollars being spent, including things like the Midco Aquatic Center. These meetings should be recorded.

I know there has been several arguments against this because the meetings rotate locations and it would cost extra money to record them at the locations.


First off, it would cost virtually NOTHING if they recorded the meetings at Carnegie, and do them right before council meetings at like 2 or 3 PM.

But even if they had to record the meetings at other locations, this isn’t some crazy expenditure. The mayor holds press conferences all over town several times a week, and a camera crew is always in tow.

If the city’s central services thinks this is too much of an expenditure, they are talking out of their asses. Especially if they have time to record a video like this;

Further proof a ‘Sunset’ clause on taxes and fees never ‘sets’

While there is a lot of issues going on at the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting on Tuesday, one of them is the Council’s legislative priorities. Like a summer in Alaska, the sun will never set on 911 surcharges.


Anytime politicians tell you there will be a ‘sunset’ on taxes or fees, I just laugh. It is nothing more then a LIE.

Sioux Falls City Councilors Starr, Neitzert & Stehly to be featured on Inside KELOLAND


They will be on this Sunday, Dec 4, at 10:30 PM. Ironically, just as soon as they finished filming on Friday, the building collapsed, so there will be no talk about the incident.