Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

UPDATE: Kermit Staggers decides NOT to run for a 2nd term

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Kermit told me this afternoon that he will not be seeking a second term. His health and well being is taking precedent. I wish him the best in his (brief?) retirement from SD politics, he will truly be missed.

Lloyd Companies Broker newest Sioux Falls city council candidate, Southwest District


Instead of digging through financial reports to see who the biggest developer in Sioux Falls is donating money to, it’s all right up front with Marshall, it is pretty obvious who butters his bread;

Broker Associate

Lloyd Companies/Keller Williams Realty Sioux Falls

While I don’t take issue with realtors running for council (Councilor Erickson assists with her husband’s realty and property management business) I wonder how many recusals Marshall would have to take on votes working for the largest developer in Sioux Falls? It seems these days, the words ‘Conflict of Interest’ mean nothing to potential candidates and current councilors.

Of course, this district race is turning out to be a real drag, with the only other candidate to announce is Manny Steele who says he is running to improve education in Sioux Falls ;(

Maybe Briggs Warren can move out of his parents and get an apartment in the Southwest district and run against these two? I would even help him move. I’m sure we can get your 6 pair of jeans, yo-yo’s and box of comic books to fit in my hatchback.

Sioux Falls City Council Public Input, Feb 9, 2016

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Duplication is the best form of flattery? New council candidate in Northwest District


Hi, I’m Briggs Warren, don’t confuse me for my older opponent Greg Neitzert. Even at the ripe age of 18, I’m my own man, heck, and I have been registered to vote longer then our city clerk, who just retired from the military.

Like a lot of SD Democrats (or at least the younger ones) in order to get elected under the ‘D’ symbol, they take ideas from their conservative opponents and somehow twist them into their own values. Huether pulled that crap on Staggers, taking some of Kermit’s best ideas and values and making them into his ‘issues’. (Snowgates, better infrastructure, building an EC without raising taxes). It seems Briggs is pulling the same tricks, not just by duplicating Greg’s website format, but most of his ‘issues’.

Warren’s Website

Neitzert’s Website (which has been up for several months)

Warren on Transparency; An Informed citizenry is crucial to a democracy and without transparency, we can not have either. That is why one of my top priorities will be to ensure nothing is hidden away behind legal documents unable to be viewed by the very people they concern.

Neitzert on Transparency; Transparency will be a top priority for me. Trust is only gained and preserved with transparency. Secrecy is antithetical to a good government. We cannot ask citizens to pay for city government and tell them they have no right to know what we are doing with their money. We need to strive to avoid arrangements that allow for confidential agreements and settlements whenever possible. We need the council and citizens to be informed as fully and as early as possible.

Warren on Fiscal Policy; At the end of the day, the money used to run this city is your money.  With the tax money collected, we need to make sure that it’s used responsibly and that we don’t spend more than we have. It’s important to the city’s future that we don’t burden ourselves with unnecessary debt.

Neitzert on Fiscal Policy; I take a conservative approach to fiscal policy. I believe the money you work so hard for is your money. Raising taxes and user fees should be a last resort. As a city, we need to provide vital services and a quality of life that citizens have come to expect. However, we must balance that with being fiscally responsible. When government is entrusted with your money, it must be as careful with it as possible. We must also be very conservative with debt. We need to pay off city debt when we can. We need to be very cautious about taking on new debt. We should always strive to find ways to pay as we go. The first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging. We need to avoid new debt whenever possible.

Warren on Zoning; Sioux Falls is growing, and that’s great! What’s not great is megastores being built across the street from residential homes. We need to make sure we protect residential homeowners from having their neighborhoods destroyed by commercial development. I believe we can do this while still allowing Sioux Falls to grow and it will be one of my top priorities in office.

Neitzert on Zoning; Zoning is a top priority for me because it is critical – it protects and preserves neighborhoods and the investment citizens have made into their homes and private property. Sioux Falls is a vibrant, growing city. We must encourage growth and redevelopment. However, we must also protect existing uses, neighborhoods, and homes. Protection of existing single family uses must be paramount. That will be my guiding philosophy. Encroachment of commercial development into existing residential neighborhoods is a major concern. Zoning is one of the most important and most common items the City Council addresses.

Warren on Infrastructure; The backbone of any city is its infrastructure. While it may not be exciting to talk about it is the most important part of our city and should be treated as such. The fact is South Dakota weather is tough on our road system; we need to look into ways of extending the usable life of the roads we have and invest in the best materials possible. Other cities have been able to extend their roads during harsh winters and its time for Sioux Falls to follow suit.

Neitzert on Infrastructure; Infrastructure is the most critical and basic of services our city provides. Roads, water, and sewer are core functions of our city. As our city grows, we must continue to expand our road system. In this region, road repair and reconstruction is a constant reality. We need to aggressively fund road maintenance and reconstruction to stay ahead of it. We need to repair roads not only in our main corridors, but in neighborhoods where they have aged and deteriorated.

I think it is great that Warren admires Greg’s conservative approach to city government as a registered Democrat, but instead of running against Greg, maybe he should be volunteering for his campaign?

Did Sioux Falls City Councilor Dean Karsky violate state election & city executive orders?

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I’m not sure how many times we have to remind these people about spending tax dollars on campaigning is clearly against the law. Apparently, councilor Karsky not only doesn’t understand this, he has the host of Inside Townhall script his announcement for running for County Commission.

Didn’t anyone at CityLink scratch their heads a little about this . . . oh wait.

Universal Citation: SD Codified L § 12-27-20 (through 2012)

12-27-20. Expenditure of public funds to influence election outcome prohibited. The state, an agency of the state, and the governing body of a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the state may not expend or permit the expenditure of public funds for the purpose of influencing the nomination or election of any candidate, or for the petitioning of a ballot question on the ballot or the adoption or defeat of any ballot question. This section may not be construed to limit the freedom of speech of any officer or employee of the state or such political subdivisions in his or her personal capacity. This section does not prohibit the state, its agencies, or the governing body of any political subdivision of the state from presenting factual information solely for the purpose of educating the voters on a ballot question.

Source: SL 2007, ch 80, § 20.


Our ever eager to please anyone but citizens councilman Dean “Karksy” Karsky used the publicly owned and controlled studios of city of Sioux Falls CityLink to make his announcement he is running for a seat on Minnehaha County Commission.

Doesn’t he understand anything about state and federal laws governing the use of taxpayer resources to further his political future? Can you imagine him on the County Commission being able to find loopholes in to further self interests?

In 2014, didn’t Bruce Danielson of Citizens for Integrity file ethics violations against Mayor Huether for violating city of Sioux falls rules concerning his use of city resources and meeting to further his reelection as mayor? We are shaking our collective heads and deciding what’s good for the mayor Huether is good enough to violate as council members?

As a side note, no candidate for office can appear on city media until after the election per Mayor Munson’s Executive order still in effect.

Early impressions of Sioux Falls City Council Candidates

For disclosure, I personally know Greg Neitzert, Patrick Starr and Kermit Staggers. I have had a few email conversations with Ritch Nobles but have had NO email or phone conversations with John Paulson, Erin Srstka or Tamera Fenner.

Tamera appeared on Jon Michael’s FORUM this morning. I think she did a good job, and doesn’t seem to be afraid to talk about the issues. Jon promises to have on other candidates, and I look forward to hearing from them (maybe Jon will let me come on before the election so I can make my endorsements :)

As for other candidates, I have been hearing good things about Ritch and Erin, ironically for different reasons. Ritch is a very family oriented and people oriented business person, at least that is what I hear from friends and colleagues. Erin has been described as very bright and a hard worker.

The issue that comes up about Erin, isn’t her resume or community service, it is conflict of interest. Many are asking the question, “Can Erin legally be an employee of the county and the city at the same time? Isn’t this a conflict of interest?” I’m not sure. I think that there needs to be some legal advice from the SOS, the AG and the city and county attorney’s on this question. Mostly so that Erin can run OR not run in the clear without facing these questions down the road.

KELOLAND-TV parent corporation is in the process of selling out to Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.

(It is amazing it is such a sell out in so many ways, wonder if they will still be able to keep their box seats at the Packer’s game?):

From WIKIPEDIA: On January 27, 2016, Media General announced that it had entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Nexstar in a deal valued at $17.14 per-share, valuing the company at $4.6 billion plus the assumption of $2.3 billion debt. The combined company will be known as Nexstar Media Group, and own 171 stations, serving an estimated 39% of U.S. households. The company will pay Meredith Corporation (whom Media General had previously proposed a merger with) a termination fee of $60 million, and give Meredith right of first refusal to acquire any broadcast or digital properties that may be divested during the purchase. The deal also includes contingent value rights for Media General shareholders if it sells spectrum from its stations during the FCC’s spectrum incentive auction.[24][25]

 Sale to Nexstar

On January 27, 2016, Nexstar Broadcasting Group announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Media General, including KELO. This deal will bring KELO-TV under common ownership with ABC affiliate KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa.[8]

With the affiliation with KCAU we will get the regional bowling competitions live on air again? You have to be old to remember these exciting broadcasts with Gene Sherman (KCAU) and Dave Dedrick (KELO) cohosting “The Big Bowl” from Sioux City, Iowa.

Gene Sherman was an excitable guy who was the sports guy for years and gave school kids the guided tours. He showed the behind the scenes cool stuff.

Did the Sioux Falls Fire Department attain accreditation due to (former) fire division chief Patrick Warren?


Fire Division Chief, Patrick Warren accepts the Accreditation with the Center for Public Safety Excellence representatives.

As you may well know, Fire Division Chief, Patrick Warren was terminated almost two years ago for misconduct while suffering from mental illness. But after two years, his accomplishments still keep popping up. In fact, the mayor went as far as claiming a couple of the Top Wins for 2015 were due to such great leadership at the SFFD;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue was presented with ISO Class 1 designation and accreditation with the Center for Public Safety Excellence.

Patrick Warren was the accreditation manager on the department for 8 years and successfully got the department reaccredited twice – including this last time they’re counting as a win. When Pat went to the conference in Henderson, NV to accept the award, Sideras supposedly ASKED to him “Do I really need to be there?” Pat told him no, technically he wasn’t required to be there but he was the only fire chief that chose not to be there out of the dozen or so departments that were being accredited or reaccredited. So the Commissioners set up a conference call and made Sideras sit on the phone during the reaccreditation board hearing.

One of Pat’s other duties was ISO compliance. On the City’s last review, the SFFD missed getting an upgraded rating by just a couple of points. Pat knew that opening a new station would be enough to improve our rating. When Mayor Huether finally allowed construction, Pat arranged for the land purchase, made it through station design, and the week after the ground breaking Patrick was terminated. But the ball was rolling, and we were going to improve our ISO rating once the station opened.

One of the items accreditation is based on is response times and improving those response times. In 2013 and 2014, the fire department responded to 90% of its emergency calls (travel time) in 5 minutes 0 seconds and 5 minutes 3 seconds respectively. With the addition of a new station and and another crew, they should be able to at least hold steady on that number if not improve it slightly.

But in a strange twist, Chief Sideras set a goal of 5 minutes 12 seconds. In the accreditation manual it states that is the slowest time you can meet and still be accredited. But what he seems to not understand is the self-improvement process of accreditation. If the department is meeting 5m3s, and he sets a goal of 5m12s, the department will be deemed “not credible” and be required to change that goal to realistic goal. Accreditation is about setting new goals when you reach the existing ones, not setting ones you’ve already met so you can easily meet them and boast about your easy victory.

The chief did the same thing with the ISO measurement of fire loss. In 2013 there was $2.5 million in property damage/loss and in 2014 $3.1 million in property damage/loss. So what did Sideras set as a goal for 2015 and 2016?  Less than $4.4 million. That’s a pretty big increase. Once again another easy goal for another easy win.

If they’re going by ISO and accreditation, I feel like a couple of people mentioned above owe the former fire division chief a big THANK YOU on some very BIG WINS!

Other people besides Warren worked on accreditation also (Battalion Chiefs and the Data Analyst). One of the Battalion Chiefs also happened to be the only other one who knew anything about ISO and helped Warren with it, Mark Bukovich. He’s also the only one who would have known to call ISO and have them come back for the re-scoring the department after the station opened. But I guess when you’re the CHIEF/MAYOR you get to take all the credit.

Former Fire Division Chief Patrick Warren contributed to this article.

Another Candidate for Sioux Falls City Council, Northwest District


Erin Srstka is the JDAI Coordinator for Minnehaha County.

The Event Center Change Order Gobbly Gook


Another fine city of Sioux Falls government document

As the Argus Leader reports today, they have attained 27 pages of change orders from the city on the Events Center (you can go over there and try to decipher the fun stuff). There are some things missing though.

No beginning costs on the change orders (for instance, the siding is only listed as warranty)

What was the original estimate on the siding? What was the final ‘changed’ price.

While Mortenson made 2.25% commission on building the place (over $2 million) There are no records of what subcontractors who were in direct business made/shared with Mortenson. In other words some of the subcontractors may have shared profits with Mortenson since they may have been in a business partnership together. Finance office, Tracy Turbak with the city mumbled about this on the SuFuStu show saying something to the effect of, “We don’t know what those numbers are.”

While it is all fine and dandy we got these documents, they are just the tip of the iceberg.