Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Citizen Advocate gets arrested after a landlord tells her she is best friends with Council Chair Erickson

What doesn’t appear on the video is Sierra being arrested on public property (sidewalk) for filming a property that has already had legal problems. (FULL VIDEO HERE) The massage parlor in the background had a person working their without a massage license and I believe she didn’t have a work visa either. The landlord calling Sierra ‘Crazy’ doesn’t seem to be to concerned that illegal activity is going on on her property. She then lies to the police that Sierra was trying to come into the place of business. While Sierra did walk around the parking lot, she filmed the rest of it from the public sidewalk. She was arrested for trespassing based on testimony from the landlord who claims she has ‘Erickson’ on her side. What is sad is that this lady decided to drag in a city councilor on this (the council has no authority over the police force, that is under the executive branch, mayor). If I was Council Chair Erickson I would NOT be to pleased that her name was being used this way.

Digital media is still popular . . .

Ms. Schwan wrote a great article about how digital media still works, if you do it right;

One headline proclaimed “BuzzFeed and the digital meltdown” and explored the challenges facing the once-darling of digital media. The next headline read “Decline in readers, ads leads hundreds of newspapers to fold.” It detailed a Montana community that lost its newspaper and now looks to a one-man operation for news, mostly through his Facebook posts.

Take those two examples, multiply them out across the nation, and you’ve got a glimpse at what media leaders are grappling with as they attempt to build sustainable business models.

In midst of the latest ‘reporter shield law’ signed by Governor Noem, I still find it a bit odd that they excluded journalists who are independent and work exclusively on the internet. Yes, there is a world of difference from what Jodi does and what I do, but we still work in the same platform, opposite of the failing one;

I used to half-joke when I was in the newspaper industry that, as a business editor, I had pretty good job security.

Someone would have to write the story about whenever the place went out of business, and it seemed logical the role would fall to whomever was left writing about business. By that point, it was really only me, anyway.

It became clear to me that my future wasn’t in that industry, though, during an earnings call in late 2016 when my company’s CEO was asked to “score” the opportunity for continued expense reduction. He compared it to being in the third inning of a baseball game. In other words, they saw plenty of room to further cut costs. I’m not sure where they would consider themselves at today, but I suspect they haven’t reached the seventh-inning stretch.

And it’s just not the dead tree version that is actually dying, the digital format our local newspaper applies is dying also. It’s almost like they are trying to kill off the traditional paper by putting stories online sometimes 2-5 days before they print in the paper. Only to direct people to a website that you have to pay to read (which I felt was a horrible idea). I always thought that they should have kept the online FREE and posted teasers to stories that you could read in the daily printed subscription getting people to read both. I was even surprised with all the stories about flooding emergencies in SF, they still were not offering FREE online readership (I think they had one story available for FREE?).

Jodi says it best, digital media works depending on your platform and opportunities. I often have people tell me across the state that they wouldn’t know what was going on in city government if they didn’t read my site;

I don’t know if this is the future business model for local media, but it’s working so far, and it definitely can grow more. I would argue it has to in order to deliver what the community needs and deserves.

The sad irony is that, in the case of Sioux Falls, there has never been more to talk about. We’ve never had this level of development and industry change. We’ve also never encountered the corresponding challenges that growth brings to a community in quite this way. Look even at this week, when unprecedented weather demanded we have credible information-gatherers spread throughout the state.

In short, there have never been more stories to tell in this city. And it’s sad to me that there is a decreasing number of journalists to tell them. It motivates me to figure out a better way. And two years into it, at least I can say I’m on my way. Thank you so much to all who help make it possible.

I would agree, there are so many stories out their to be covered and lack of experience, lack of creativity, lack of resources, lack of historical knowledge and just plain lack of people and lack of good leadership if there is any leadership at all. This all reared it’s head last week when KSFY reporter, Vanessa Gomez accused city councilors Starr and Stehly of ‘putting her in the middle’. Uh, it’s kind of your job to ferret out the truth (I will give you a hint, it wasn’t coming from TJ TypeOver and City Hall). Ironically shortly after their press conference there was an announcement from city hall to run 3 pothole shifts with a goal to get caught up by April.

Maybe other media digital platforms are failing, because essentially they have a losing team. Sorry Jodi, I wasn’t as polite about it.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • March 19, 2019

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, I guess it cost $1,500 to have an architect tell the city how to fill a hole, sorry, two holes. LOL.

Item #49, 2nd Reading, Making Elmwood a One-Way. This most likely will pass, but the pouting and carrying on from the five that voted for the full street vacation is going to be Academy Award material on Tuesday night. Wish I could witness, but I will be attending Boe Forum to hear about how REAL journalists uncover government corruption instead of complaining about being ‘stuck in the middle’.

Item #50, 1st Reading, More fiddling with city ordinance to allow Air BNB operators to skirt rules such as health inspections and lodging taxes other hotels and motels in Sioux Falls have to abide by. It is really curious our REPUBLICAN (connected) Chair of Council, Christine Erickson, makes quite the living from her and her husband’s Air BNB business . . . we wouldn’t want to burden them with undue taxes and regulations. I wonder if she will recuse herself from the vote? Either way, does it matter? The lobbying is always done behind closed doors. I have suggested to several city councilors it is time to tap into the Air BNB revenue and start at least a local lodging tax on them.

Item #57, 1st Reading, Supplemental appropriations for potholes. It will be fun to watch the 5 rubberstampers chastise Pat and Theresa for daring to question the Golden Boy, Cotter, about the money he needs to fix potholes, all the while citizens are losing tires and such to horrible road conditions, effectively created by underfunding our road repairs (stealing $10 million a year from the fund on the EC mortgage) and not building good roads to begin with. Most in the media say we need to trust the administration and Cotter, really? First off, Mayor TenHaken doesn’t have the experience yet to speak about road funding and repairs, and Cotter’s performance on the Water Reclamation plant and keeping it barely under the radar during Bowlcut’s administration doesn’t make the citizenry really confident in his opinion. It really is simple. Councilors Starr and Stehly want to help people. We have the money. Let’s use it to fill the potholes, and let’s do it now! Any sensible councilor wouldn’t argue about it, they would simply say YES.

Item #59, Resolution, Open up the Events Center Campus Book Club meetings to the public. Whether or not the Book Club decided to open up the meetings now is a moot point. It is NOT their decision to make. The council should pass this resolution and move on. Open Government should be the goal of any government body, whether that is in Bumphuck, SD or Sioux Falls. There is NEVER a good argument to keep the people’s business is closed. NEVER.

New Concept at former Fernson location

I think this will be an interesting joint. I do know the Book CO-OP downtown is doing very well, as I knew it would, because I think people want places like this, that stimulate intellectual thought, artistic creativity and good food and drink.

UPDATE: Potholes and Open Meetings

Here is the copy of the proposed pothole funding supplement ordinance; Pothole Supplemental TS

Funny how these things work;

Thanks to the absence of precipitation in the coming days, the Public Works Street Division is increasing the number of crews dedicated to this spring’s pothole repair efforts.

“It has been a rough winter for our city streets,” says Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works. “The current condition of our streets has prompted us to take a more aggressive approach to our annual spring pothole repair efforts.”

To increase its emphasis on patching potholes, Street crews will be working the following adjusted work schedule for the next three weeks:

Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of six crews addressing potholes.

Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and from midnight to 8 a.m.:Public Works will have a minimum of one crew addressing potholes in high-traffic volume areas.

Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of three crews addressing potholes.


While the media got their panties in a bind over being put between the mayor and the council (give me a break!) it seems Pat and Theresa’s pressure may have gotten the public works department to re-think the pothole situation moving forward. As I have been telling many people over the last couple of days, it is the Mayor’s job to run this city (direct Public Works), it is the council’s job to set policy and budgeting. No reason to get our shorts in a bunch.

I would also like to thank all the ‘grunts’ in our city’s workforce who have gone above and beyond to help people. You are appreciated, even if I am tough on the mayor and council, I do want you to be happy with your employment. I also would like to hear about any private contractors who decided to help the city out with flood management or cleanup. I haven’t seen anything in the media about that, but maybe they are just silently helping out?

Stay Away?

I found it interesting as I saw the stream of cars and people at Falls Park today that the city is telling people to stay away from the park, yet they had NO barricades to the traffic entrances to the park.

We will have plenty of time next week to talk about how well the city planned for this mini-natural disaster.

Steps into the River, Huge Fail

I understand we are having massive flooding, so this post isn’t really about the flooding, but about why this project was way over the top. You can READ HERE all my posts going back to the beginning of the project 9 years ago and how something modest turned into a monster overnight due to a greedy developer making legal threats over a contract signed in the middle of the night with Mayor Munson.

That all aside, I did fight to keep the project modest, speaking at city council meetings and talking to councilors (Kermit was the only one that agreed). One of the options discussed, which would have been very reasonable and would have prevented any long term damage like the current situation we have was redoing the trail extra wide (like they did) and landscaping the entire area with natural rock and natural flowers and plants lining the river. Not only would have it been beautiful, it would have been very low maintenance. Instead we wasted millions on high maintenance infrastructure, as you can see above. And now we want to put a $2 million dollar effigy to egos on top of it all.

When a city decides to do projects like this, they really need to look at the long term costs of building such structures. I don’t even want to know what it will cost to repair all the damage from this latest flood. If we would have went with plan B, as I suggested, cleanup would have been a couple of people with rakes and some re-seeding, but instead we have Bread & Circus.

What happened to ‘City Scene’

City Scene was a show that the city did every month. It was one of their better produced shows. For several years Jolene Loetscher hosted it then Michele Wellman took it over. I noticed last month (after I complained about the $10,000 a year contract with Wellman) that Wellman did not appear in the production. This month a new show hasn’t been uploaded at all. Wonder what happened? The council did approve the renewal of the contract. Makes you wonder if it was ever signed?

Speaking of ‘mysteries’. I contacted several councilors about our Public Works Director’s trip to Haiti asking if it was a junket (taxpayers paid for the trip) or if Cotter used his own money and vacation to attend the missionary trip with the Mayor (PTH said he paid his own way) but that Cotter came along to study infrastructure. I guess NO answer is an answer, we probably paid for it. Wondering when we will see a report?

Sioux Falls Housing Director now using city funded program to promote her run for TEA city council

Chellee appeared on Inside Town Hall in November when she was still working for SE Tech,

She posted this image of her on the show on her campaign FB page;

She is bragging about working with SIOUX FALLS city councilors to get some pork for SE Tech (a place that is funded through our property taxes and sales taxes to the state), which has nothing to do with Tea and now that she works for the City of Sioux Falls, she will have to work with councilors, which brings us to why this is a conflict.

I’m not sure if any campaign rules were broken with this post, but I still would like to see an ethics question posed by the administration as to whether it is ethical for her to run for Tea City Council. I guess they are too busy trying to defend closed door meetings.

Events Center Campus Book Club meetings NOW open to the public

Funny how these things work. Councilor Stehly and Starr put out a press release announcing a press conference today at 1:30 to discuss a resolution opening the meetings to the public and then a mysterious email never shared with the council magically appears; (Copy of proposed ord: Events Campus Meetings RES )

An email from the event center group’s co-chairs Dan Statema and Jeff Eckhoff to Mayor Paul TenHaken said that the group had voted at their first meeting on Feb. 27 to allow the public and media to attend the rest of the meetings.

“We see no harm in having interested parties gain the same education we are as we progress through this process,” the email read.

Do you really think the public is that naïve TJ? Really? The only harm would be leaving the meetings closed, which is still on the table;

The email said the group would like to retain the ability to meet privately if “nonpublic” information ever needed to be shared, but said he did not expect the need to arise.

When it comes to a grouping of public buildings there is no such thing as ‘nonpublic’ information. Bucktooth & Bowlcut tried that approach with the Denty’s siding debacle, it blew up in his face. The only information that can be withheld from the public in closed door executive session has to do with pending litigation and personnel. Since this volunteer group wouldn’t have access to that kind of information anyway that means ALL of the meetings need to remain open. I think this is just a sneaky way of heading off Starr and Stehly to convince them there is NO NEED to pass the resolution, but I still think they need to so they have some insurance in case they try some back door deals. A statement in a supposed email about a supposed vote in a closed door meeting doesn’t cut the mustard.

“Our stance all along was ‘we’re not going to force you guys to meet in public if you don’t want that,'” Nelson said.

“They’re not in a decision-making role,” Nelson said in January. “We want to make sure we have the most open and candid conversation possible.”

Hey, TypeOver, when it comes to OPEN, NON-PARTISAN government, that isn’t up to you or volunteers on a task force committee. The meetings MUST be open to protect the public’s best interest and to have the best OPEN and HONEST conversations, there never should have been a ‘choice’ in the matter.

I would advise councilors Starr and Stehly to push ahead with their resolution to ensure the meetings stay open. I think the administration, especially Deputy COS, TJ TypeOver looks especially foolish for proposing closed meetings to begin with. If someone on the task force was uncomfortable with open public meetings, you pick someone else, it’s really that simple. So now we have to go thru a bunch of steps about supposed votes and emails, resolutions by councilors and excuses from Mayor TenHaken’s staff when we could have just done the right thing to begin with. See folks, this is what happens when you try to keep secrets from the public.