Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓
So who does the City of SF Planning Department work for? ALL property owners and developers of SF? Or the mayor?
Would you borrow your car to this guy?
Well, it took long enough to get this story out, but I am at least grateful it finally did;
Mayor Mike Huether’s investment in a private real estate development in southeastern Sioux Falls has raised concerns of a citizen group fighting against a similar proposal because of ties between organizers of both deals.
Huether confirmed this week he is one of 38 limited-partner investors in an existing apartment complex called The Villas at Canyon Creek on East 54th Street.
But it’s a separate apartment complex planned at 85th Street and Western Avenue — in which Huether does not have a financial interest — that brought the mayor’s investments into the public eye.
As you may or may not know, Mike is an investor in many projects around the city (or should we say, his wife is – LOL). The speculation is that she is an investor in many of these kinds projects around town. No biggee, except, maybe the mayor should have excused himself from this vote (or supervising the vote), which he did not.
The running joke around city hall was after the meeting he was asking people if what he did was proper. It is kinda like asking if peeing your pants is okay.
UPDATE: HE DID HOWEVER COME TO HIS SENSES BEFORE THE CITY SIGNED OFF ON THE TIF (This document shows Cotter signing off on the project FOR the mayor): TIF 11
Do you think it is proper for the mayor to be investing in development projects around town? Better yet, do you think it is proper for these developments to be asking for TIF’s?
It is also no secret, as I have been told by former city employees, that Huether has asked developers in developer/planning meetings at city hall about ‘getting in on investing’ in their proposed projects. Not outside in the back alley of city hall, IN CITY HALL, in front of city planning employees.
No surprise that Huether feels no guilt or shame;
Huether likened his role in Canyon Creek to buying shares in any other investment. And he said that elected officials, including city councilors, governors, county commissioners and mayors, should be able to invest their money.
“Come on, you’re telling me that Mayor (Dave) Munson, Mayor (Gary) Hanson, Mayor (Rick) Knobe — mayors before me — never invested in things?” he said.
If they did make investments, it wasn’t in real estate, say the three former mayors cited by Huether.
Sorry Mike, there is a difference between investing in stocks and other money market investments and development in the city you manage. Who does the city planning department report to? YOU! This is why it is a bad idea, any way you look at it. But none of this comes as a surprise for a man who sold subprime credit cards as a living.
I warned you Sioux Falls about Huether, never trust a salesman. I liken electing Huether as mayor to hiring a gambling addict to manage your investments or borrowing your car to a demolition derby driver. Hopefully Sioux Falls will wise up before the mayoral election this Spring.
Mayor Huether recused himself from the discussion and vote on the Indoor Tennis facility last night, to avoid a conflict of interest. He also will not be signing the contract.
The fact is that it doesn’t really matter. We will get to that in a moment.
. . . but Kermit Staggers cast the lone no vote on the tennis contract. He questioned whether there are enough tennis players in the area to support such a facility.
Even if the council would not have approved the contract last night, they have already approved the expenditure in the CIP budget earlier in the year. This was just a contract approval, not an ‘allocation’ approval.
And that is the gist of Huether’s conflict. Who prepares the CIP budget and presents it to the city council for approval? THE MAYOR! By budgeting the money for the tennis facility in the CIP budget, the mayor performed his conflict already. His ‘non’ performance last night was just smoke and mirrors.
I am still in a little bit of shock over this. During the SF City Council meeting, Councilor Staggers asked why we are replacing a roof after only 14 years (it is leaking, and apparently only had a 10 year lifespan) and why isn’t the city’s engineering department looking at this issue instead of a private engineering company, Director Huwe’s response, “No one in the city engineering department has roof expertise. (sic)”
I am no engineer, but, I would think if the city engineering department put their heads together, they could figure it out.
Besides the fact that we have spent over $40 million on the reconstruction and construction of the Pavilion over the past 14 years and a roof lasting only 10 years is inexcusable, what is even more disappointing was that council chair Entenman has known about this plan to replace the roof since early November, he was informed by Larry Toll in an email, and the council did not learn about it until Friday when the consent agenda was released.
You will not be missed on the council, Jim.
Also a little troubling is who was one of the lead designers of the Pavilion? Koch, Hazard. Besides a leaky roof after 14 years and a bouncing mezzanine, the Pavilion has experienced many other issues, including the removal of carpet on the main staircases because the design was causing people to misstep and fall. Guess who is involved with the design of the new Events Center. Yup, you guessed it, Koch, Hazard. Oh boy.
Person who helped implement SIRE wins city award
What’s the best way to pretend there isn’t a 700 pound gorilla in the room? Give people that are part of the problem (not the solution) an award. The city employee who was responsible for the implementation of SIRE in 2011 received a non-management employee award last night. Maybe she will get another award after she actually gets SIRE to work. I would like to present it
1) Agenda for the Public Services Committee, 2) Pavilion Engineering Expense, 3) Ice & Tennis contracts
1) Looks like the city council is back to square one on the taxi cab ordinance. They are now reverting back to a work session to discuss further changes. The first thing that needs to go is the 24-hr requirement and they need to actively explore a central dispatch program. I have trouble believing the state department of revenue is hampering this program.
2) The Cinedome’s roof is only about 14 years old, (consent agenda) and already needs replacement? After spending millions on the Pavilion and Cinedome we can’t even build a roof that will last more then 14 years? Maybe the Kirby Family and Wells Fargo can donate some more money to get it fixed?
3) The council will be voting on the Ice & Tennis contracts (items 9 & 10). But they are not being presented as resolutions or ordinances, just contracts. I wonder if public input will be allowed?
Councilor Staggers has recently been pulling items from the consent agenda. During yesterday’s informational, he asked to pull the minutes from the last meeting (for a correction) and the Phillips Avenue Holiday Lights expenditure. Well that did not sit well with councilor Rolfing. He went into a tirade about inconveniencing city employees who might have to come to a council meeting and answer a question.
First off, the consent agenda is at the beginning of the meeting, if a department head had to come to a meeting to answer a question, they would be there 20 minutes tops. Secondly, most department heads are at the meeting anyway for other agenda items, and lastly, THEY ARE GETTING PAID like the councilors to do the public’s work, which may include attending the council meeting. If there are certain department heads and city employees that feel like they are being inconvenienced, I haven’t heard that. In fact for the over ten years I have watched the city council meetings I have only seen one person complain about how long the meetings are, a councilor, De Knudson. Rolfing seems to be crying wolf about a problem that does not exist.
Fortunately, councilors Karsky, Anderson and even Erpenbach defended the practice of pulling items from the consent agenda and the city attorney agreed to help with a better process.
Personally, I have not been a fan of the consent agenda, I think every item should be pulled and voted on separately, but since that is not the case, as Karsky pointed out, it is well within the power of the council to pull items from the consent agenda.
What?! is the city participating in the war on Christmas? Holiday lighting?
Kind of confused about this (Item #1), because I was always under the impression that DTSF paid for the holiday decorations and lights downtown while public works assisted in hanging them. Hopefully there will be some kind of explanation about this expenditure come Tuesday night.
Neighbors of an apartment housing development planned in south Sioux Falls are challenging the city council’s decision to allow for more apartment units at 85th Street and Western Avenue.
Original plans were for a village-style development with retail shops on the main level and housing on the upper two levels. Owners RMB Associates instead want to build three-story apartments with a total 182 living units instead of 40 or 50.
The council approved the change with a 5-2 vote Nov. 5. Neighbors who say a large apartment complex does not fit the area are asking for another vote, having filed a challenge petition Friday, Nov. 29.
The city GIS department will verify the number of landowners within 250 feet of the property. Signatures from at least 40 percent are needed to prompt a second vote. In that vote, at least six of the eight councilors would need to agree to change the plans for the development.
As I talked about in the past, the council’s decision was not motivated by property rights, if it would have been, the neighbors would have won this decision, hands down. The land was already zoned properly for commercial use, which the neighbors approved of, but when the landowner realized they made a bad investment decision, they wanted to change the use of their land to all apartments.
Agree or disagree with me on that is really not the issue here. The issue is simple, the neighbors agreed to a particular retail setup of the area, they were on board, they were there first. The council had a simple decision to make, denial of the amendment. Denial would not put RMB out of business. They would simply have two options, develop it the way it was zoned originally or sell the property. But they made it sound like you are in dire straits, hardly the case, FREE enterprise only prospers when their is competition and government, especially local government, stays out of your business.
There is too many private developers looking to get bailed out from the city. So I ask the question, who does the city council represent? The private citizen? Commercial developers? or both? It is obvious in this case, the citizen’s concerns outweigh the developers, but once again, if falls on the deaf ears of the council.
IN OTHER city development news, I noticed that former city planner, Erica Beck, who worked on the Sanford Sports Complex TIF, is now working for Lloyd (Item #16). Interesting, but not surprising.
Yesterday during the Sioux Falls city council informational meeting (hopefully the video will be up sometime today) they had another Events Center update. After the presentation councilor Staggers asked Public Works director, Mark Cotter, if the EC is being built to be expandable to 15,000 seats?
After a nervous twitch Cotter says that the east side footings have been ‘beefed up’ in case they decide to expand to approximately ’14,000′ at the most.
First off, I thought the building was being constructed so that the seats could be just put in later, instead of knocking out a wall, and secondly, we were always told 15,000 seats NOT 14,000. Of course, councilor Entenman backs up Cotter’s explanation saying that the expansion was something that needed to change after engineering made their recommendations and those plans were not set in stone.
That isn’t quite how I remember things going down. We were told it was going to have 12,000 seats when completed with the option for a 3,000 seat expansion. No mention of ‘letting the engineers’ decide.
Can’t wait until they ask for the parking ramp to be built out there in a couple of years. I guess SF better be ready to ‘beef up’ their 5-buckle over boots, because it is going to get deep, real quick.