Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Where is the Sioux Falls City Council’s REAL agenda?

I had someone call me today wondering where online they can find ALL the meetings Sioux Falls City Councilors attend, like the City, County & School meeting this morning at HyVee or the Tuesday night council Din-Din.

I tried to find it HERE, but no luck.

The Minnehaha County Commission lists ALL of their meetings where there may be a quorum.

While council staff could slap some piece of paper to the front door of Carnegie to avoid open meetings violations, I’m going to say that is a cop out. Our council staff combined salaries are well over a half million a year, there really is NO reason why this could not be posted online in a timely manner.

Maybe REAL change could happen if the City Council had an ACTUAL certified city clerk?

What should Mayor TenHaken work on that was neglected by his predecessor?

Obviously, Paul has a pretty big agenda of his own that he needs to work on. But besides what he wants to accomplish (which we will include in the following list) what else should he focus on?

Transparency. This is a given that Paul promises to work on. It WAS the #1 issue in the last campaign. As I have mentioned besides more communication with the council and public, he must also focus on opening more contracts up to the public for review. This includes anyone applying for TIFs or other government grants and partnerships.

Crime/Meth epidemic. Paul will get a little help in this department from the counties with the triage center. But he will also have to look at how our police department is handling arrests. With an overcrowded jail and a new one a couple of years away, the SFPD needs to focus on handling situations in the field, like I said, the triage center will help with this. Paul also MUST have a better relationship with the police union.

Reducing Homelessness/Hunger. I was impressed with what TenHaken said in a Million Cups debate, he said in 8 years he wants to put the Banquet and Bishop Dudley house out of business. While he may not attain that goal, he should really focus on getting more people off of assistance and on their own feet, this starts with . . .

Workforce development. This is a sticky issue for city government. They can’t really force local businesses to pay living wages, BUT moving forward when attracting new business to Sioux Falls they can ask, very forcefully to provide good wages. The council can even go as far as to shape policy around it.

Public Ambulance Service. While Paul hasn’t really taken a stand on it, that may be a good thing. I think the council could move forward with exploring the possibility and the costs involved. I think it would pay off in the end and would make our community much safer.

Improving Public Transit. This was virtually ignored by the last administration. Not only do we need to make regular service better and more frequent, we need to get costs under control and look at privatizing Paratransit while keeping it affordable.

Revitalizing core neighborhoods. This can be done through revamping community development. One of those hurdles took care of itself yesterday when the director quit. Not only will this help to clean up our core neighborhoods it will help with the affordable housing issues we have.

Updating the city website. This could include a whole host of changes including being able to download city documents, improving transparency and having all the city board meetings available for review with at least audio recordings.

Public Art Funding. I really think the city is missing out on a huge opportunity by not tapping into the entertainment tax fund to use towards public art. Public art promotes tourism and really defines a city’s quality of life. It also promotes local business by using local artists, artisans and contractors to work on the projects. And if nothing else, it makes our city more beautiful and cultural.

Build a Skatepark with a public/private partnership!

Sioux Falls City council wants to set the guidelines when it comes to Public Input

I’m going to be cautiously optimistic, but it seems the council has a desire to keep the control of public input under their power, which they should.

Watch the Info meeting HERE.

That of course wouldn’t stop the chair (Mayor TenHaken) from controlling people during public input, which he should. But the guidelines will be clearly set by the council, or at least that was their desire. State law is murky, but I would interpret it as public bodies can set guidelines as long as the chair can monitor the working meeting as they see fit within that scope.

There will be a working session next Tuesday at a time TBD at Carnegie for the public to give their input on public input. Be there or be square.

My advice; keep it simple; leave it as is.

What I find Ironic

While our local talking heads will go on and on about people who talk to long or cuss out the mayor, there seems to be NO concern about ACTUAL violence at our public meetings.

Our state legislature, in all their hillbilly wisdom, says it is just fine to bring a loaded firearm into public meetings or buildings. Did you know that? In other words, while some people may be ‘hurt’ or ‘offended’ by t-shirt images or words, no one brings up the fact that real damage could occur at these meetings NOT from words, but from bullets. And while they have tried to compare us public commentators to ‘gun nuts’ they couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t own a gun and NEVER WILL. Most of us deplore violence. I believe in peaceful assembly. If the city council really wanted to make their mark, they would challenge state law and ban all firearms in public buildings in Sioux Falls. You can’t really support the 2nd if you don’t support the 1st.

Frank Zappa does it best, there just words.

Sioux Falls City Council has their special public Din-Din

I couldn’t make it. Sorry, I was busy gnawing dead skin off my feet. Priorities. But I applaud Cameraman Bruce for enduring the reveling conversation. Sorry no videos folks. May I suggest reruns of ‘All in the Family’ as an alternative?

Sioux Falls Councilor Neitzert, “Seems we got ourselves in a pickle.”

Strangely, some people like a pickle in the beer, just not at the movies. Seems they are going to have to do some splaining

The new move comes with some questions about the council’s most recent decision with West Mall 7 Theaters.

“That was a seven to zero decision to deny the alcohol license at the Western Mall. The concern for me and others really centered on having alcohol in the movie theater when you have children,” Sioux Falls City Councilman, Greg Neitzert said.

Uh, I think it is against the law to serve to minors, and I recall the West Mall 7 owners saying they would monitor the situation. While I am all for the council approving the Prairie Berry licenses, as I think they will, it would be fun if the WM7 owner showed up and asked them to explain the double standard. Probably one of the stupidest decisions I have ever seen the council make, wait . . .

Is it okay for city employees to talk on cell phones while driving city vehicles?

We’ve all seen it. A city employee driving a city vehicle and talking on their cell phone (I have even seen them running a snowplow and smoking while talking on a cell phone – now that’s talent!)

While I haven’t given it much thought, because I talk on my phone while driving, even though I try not to, I wondered what the city policy on this is. I would think that it would be OK if they were conducting city business, I guess it is NOT permitted unless it is an emergency situation.

According to city policy;

    1. Mobile phones or any other electronic device, City-owned and personal, shall not be used (including calls, text messages, email, social media, and any Internet usage) while operating vehicles or equipment while on City business, except for communications by Police and Fire personnel when it is not practical to stop the vehicle due to performance of their duties and Public Works/other City employees involved in snow removal operations.

And;

The use of tobacco products by City employees and customers, contractors, or others doing City business is prohibited in all City-owned and City-shared buildings, facilities, vehicles, parking lots, equipment, worksites, and walkways leading into City facilities.

I want the city council to think about this the next time they want to put more regulations on us.

Is TenHaken proposing moving Public Input to the back of the meeting?

I guess Paul has been telling some people that he would like to move public input to the back of the meeting. You know, so it will make it easier for all the corporate welfare recipients to do their business at the council meetings before they would have to listen to the peasants grievances.

First off, as I have said before, this is not up to Paul. It would take the vote of 5 city councilors to move public input, and trust me, they wouldn’t look real good doing it.

Besides a very ugly public fight to do this, if it were to pass, I can guarantee the embarrassment that some of us can spread over several months from making such a decision will NOT be worth the effort. As I have noted, leave it as is, and take care of problem commenters on an individual basis. You know who they are, address them already instead of just putting a bandaid on the problem.

Our city is owned by the public as a whole, not just the casino owners, banksters and developers. They can wait or better yet participate with the rest of us during public input at the beginning of the meeting.

Trust me Paul, you don’t want this fight this early in your administration. You are going to look very petty trying to infringe on the public’s free speech rights this early in your administration.

Stehly suggests petition drive instead of legislating change from the dais

There has been an effort for awhile to change our strong mayor form of government. I have often said that it works, if it is worked right. Under Former Mayor Naming Tennis Centers after himself, he decided that he was the executive and legislative branch and pushed everything through that way. That is NOT how it was supposed to work.

I can understand the frustration Stehly has had over the past two years, with a dictator in that office consistently ignoring her or threatening ethics violations, and a leadership team that worked in lock step with his every desire.

I have often felt that this form of government can work, but it requires our city council to start collaborating and flexing their muscles and actually writing legislation and policies instead of the mayor’s office. They should also be a part of the budgeting process. I think moving forward they can do this and need to be firm with the new administration about it.

Instead telling citizens they have to do a petition drive to fix their government, maybe our government should fix it from within and start setting policies to make it better. I think this is the perfect opportunity for our council to implement those changes without us constantly having to do petition drives to fix policies because what we are really doing is correcting the MISTAKES our poorly chosen elected officials make. We elect you to make our government work better. Do your job.

My proposed city council transparency/communications ordinance

I sent this ‘rough’ draft to a couple of city councilors this past week.

I think this the right time to propose this kind of legislation. First off, the voters made transparency their #1 issue in the last election. All or most candidates agreed, including Mayor TenHaken that more communication is needed between the mayor and council and public.

I also think doing this ASAP will provide smoother roads ahead with the new council and mayor and future administrations. Essentially starting out on the right foot right away so their is no confusion or issues in the future.

Remember always, the public OWNS this city government, we fund it, we deserve to have information shared with us.

This is only MY suggestions, this is the council’s legislation, they should shape it accordingly. This is my ‘wish list’ on some basic stuff.

Like I said, this is pretty broad but I think you need to start with the most and make amendments as necessary;

A proposed ordinance encouraging transparent communication between the mayor’s office and city council;

• When referencing City Council this also includes city council staff (clerks, operations, audit etc.)

• When referencing Mayor’s office this includes his staff (Chief of Staff, Receptionist, communications officer and directors)

Communications that the City Council will share with the Mayor’s office;

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or without a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any contract negotiations. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or with a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any pending or existing contract/RFP negotiations. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All and any task force/committee meeting results. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All minutes from any city board meeting. We should also record ALL of these meetings and make them available on the city website in a useable file (video or audio or both). This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• ANY confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation should be shared in executive session but NOT with the public per legal status of confidentiality.

Communications that the Mayor’s office will share with the City Council;

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or without a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any contract negotiations. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All emails and memos discussing city business, budgets, proposed ordinances, zoning/planning and licensing. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All meeting minutes that are not held in public or with a quorum. This information will be shared with the public upon request, but not a requirement to be posted to city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• Any pending or existing contract/RFP negotiations. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All and any task force/committee meeting results. This information will be shared with the public on the city website. This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• All minutes from any city board meeting. We should also record ALL of these meetings and make them available on the city website in a useable file (video or audio or both). This does NOT apply to confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation.

• ANY confidential information that refers to personnel or pending litigation should be shared in executive session but NOT with the public per legal status of confidentiality.

————-

Here is an example of what the city of Chicago shares;

https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/progs/transparency.html

Atlanta has a ‘Transparency Officer’ to enforce open records;

https://www.myajc.com/news/local/atlanta-mayor-proposes-transparency-officer-city-hall/kxjAAdi4L3jzrx0r4Wa2tO/

Bloomington, IL

http://www.cityblm.org/government/transparency

Sioux Falls City Council considering having their annual ‘public’ dinner Tuesday night

As some may know or not know, the city council can’t meet as an entire body in public unless there is a 24 hour public notice. In other words they can’t get together as a group (4 or more) whether that is for a task force meeting or a BBQ at a local park. It is a violation of open meeting laws. But if they public notice and meet in a public space it’s fine.

Once a year they try to get together as a group for dinner, they are considering doing this on Tuesday night, Downtown after the 4 PM informational meeting.

Like last year’s event, where Rolfing openly protested Cameraman Bruce’s recording, this year they don’t want the cameras again. So is it a public meeting if there was no one there to document it? Does a bear sh*t in the woods?