Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Glory to the IcePlex (Jan 17, 2017)

Is the move on or is the mayor’s hissy fit on? Why did the mayor of Sioux Falls put on a full court press against the Glory House on January 17, 2017? The Sioux Falls City Council decided to explore the options of legally gifting the old IcePlex land to the Glory House and the mayor sent his big guns in to shoot it down.

This Council vote was to set up the discussion process, it does not give the building and land to the Glory House. It is the first of 4 votes necessary to accomplish the gifting. If at any point the process falls apart, the property does not transfer. So why is the mayor so afraid of the first step?

As we write and post this video, the mayor still has not signed the formal paperwork. One of those things that makes you go HMMMMMM?

SE Podcast Part I

The podcast was two parts. This is the first part. Recorded Jan 21, 2017.

When will the City of Sioux Falls tell it’s citizens we are going broke?

City workers collecting their pay checks

You can’t rack up millions in record debt building structures we don’t need, turn around and give your directors atrocious corporate like raises then turn around and tell the minions, here are your crumbs;

The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, which represents hundreds of clerks, drivers, and maintenance workers, said Friday that members have rejected a contract offer from the city that would have offered 1.5 percent annual pay increases through 2018.

A spokesman for the union said the raises aren’t enough to cover the rising cost of health insurance paid by city employees. The union representing police officers in the city rejected a similar contract late last year, leaving firefighters as the only employee group with a new labor contract in place.

At the end of the day, the city council will be expected to do the heavy lifting without being let in on the negotiations, basically a shot in the dark;

Although not privy to the negotiations, the City Council will be asked in the coming weeks to approve  the new terms. If the unions declare an impasse, the Council can impose the contract without the consent of the employee groups. Asked by leadership and city attorneys to stay quiet on the topic as it could end up in litigation, councilors mostly have balked at questions surrounding the labor dispute.

“We were told not to comment,” Councilor Greg Neitzert said Thursday.

Councilor Theresa Stehly said it’s not her intention to complicate the process, but she shares the unions’ concerns about not prioritizing personnel.

The city in recent years has extended itself financially with more than $150-million worth of large-scale spending projects like the Midco Aquatic Center, the Denny Sanford Premier Center and the planned city administration building, yet can’t keep the labor force happy, she said.

“I can understand how these unions feel like things aren’t adding up when we’re extending ourselves with pools and administration building,” Stehly said. “It’s so very important in our personal lives and in city life that we take care of what we already have and support what we have before we go out and extend ourselves for these wants.”

While true, seems too little too late. People often tell me that Mayor Huether has accomplished a lot, he sure has, on the backs and debt of the citizenry. He has been anything BUT prudent with our money and now it is time to pay the piper on the bill of goods he sold us.

Shut Up & Listen session (Jan 17, 2017)

Once again the mayor stretches the truth or just flat out lies about policies of the city. He didn’t disappoint once again.

I will first start off by saying that isn’t it amazing a film crew can follow the mayor around all over town for these sessions and press conferences and NOT once has his directors, the city council, himself or heck even citizens have questioned the cost. Why? Because we want transparency, and that is why I have never questioned it, so why should he question it when it comes to recording committee meetings? Because he is a hypocrite.

• On the topic of Paratransit, he quickly blames the council for not raising fees. Ironically the reason Paratransit costs us so much is because is poorly run with an out-dated dispatch system. We could probably make money on Paratransit if we just ran it more efficiently.

• He is already pushing the city of Sioux Falls to the 180K mark, his new line is ‘Almost 180,000 people’. Some have asked why he keeps pushing the population number and changes the population signs like he changes his underwear, that’s because our bond rating and borrowing power is based on the population number and the mayor doesn’t care if those people are working or not.

• Mike continued the same half-truth that the city hasn’t built any new administration buildings since 1935. I’m not going to list all the buildings the city has built for administration reasons since then, but If I had to guess it would be well over 20.

• He also claimed that the city council voted FOR the admin building (the second time around) and it passed because of the help of his veto. Huh? That doesn’t even make sense. Mike Huether is the ONLY person who decided to move forward on the administration building by the stroke of his veto pen, don’t let him tell you otherwise.

• He said he supports hiring more police. You can take that statement however you want.

• This session was recorded last Tuesday morning before the council meeting where they voted for gifting the Glory House city land. He was asked about how he would vote if he had to break a tie. He wouldn’t answer the question because he claimed he ‘just learned about it’ that morning and his directors ‘just learned about it’ last Thurday. I call BS on that. The council and Pat Starr have been discussing this with city administration since last October. If the mayor is AGAINST something he plays like he wasn’t informed. Even IF no one told him about it in October there have been several media stories about the potential of gifting the building since then. Play dumb and kill the messenger. Your games are getting old Mike.

Video or not here we go (Jan 17, 2016)

Open government or not, here we go. This Sioux Falls City Council decision starts the official process requiring boards and commissions to post their meetings on line.

The public discussion part of this item on January 17, 2017 was started by Park Department Director Don Kearney when he jumped to the front of the line and gave the mayor’s well rehearsed talking points. When Liz, Scott and Bruce finished the mayor once again had interject with pre-discussion commentary toward David Zokaties. Once David finished we had another Ferris moment when the mayor decided to call out Tim Stanga. What is it about the mayor? Why can’t people just attend City Council and not be harassed by him?

Based on experience with this administration, they will either:
1. spend another $60,000 on equipment and a staffer to operate it or
2. they will go to the Kmart clearance sale to buy a recorder to prove it won’t work.

In this discussion opponents stress:
* The burden of operating a video camera (even though they have been shown how easy it is to setup and record).
*The mental pressure on members being recording (if public scrutiny is too much, go home and someone else will take their place).
* The ability of media or malicious people to snip clips and use them out of context (as if this can’t happen now).
* Don’t just do the Park Board, do all 44 citizen boards (all we can say is YES!!!! but do them all once the routine is perfected).

Cameraman Bruce is looking forward to being at a few of these meetings just to record them. If the bloated Parks Department budget can’t find a few dollars to buy a decent camcorder and instead uses a crappy tape recorder to try and prove their point, we will be comparing the results of both. We know this mayor always plans to fail when he needs to prove a point and plans to win at all costs when he needs too.

As a side note, when you watch or attend most city board meetings you will find the comfortable nature of the participants shows many of the decisions were probably made long before the public displays.

Councilor Erickson says she is still considering a run for mayor on KSOO

This shouldn’t be a big surprise. Several months ago Christine told me she was keeping her ‘options open’ when it comes to running for mayor and she repeated that same sentiment today on KSOO. Even last week she asked my opinion about another possible candidate running for the job. She also commented she didn’t know if she would even run for re-election on council because her family business keeps her so busy.

She has become quite popular with the SD GOP and while the race is typically non-partisan, I don’t see Christine shying away from calling herself a proud Republican if she does decide to run for mayor.

I wish her luck no matter what she decides.

As I told another candidate recently, I may stay out of the race this time and not support anyone specifically.

Rick Knobe calls bloggers who cover city politics ‘wackos’

During his interview today with city councilor Christine Erickson (who kept her opinion to herself, only saying there is a group of regulars). Knobe went on a mini-rant about bloggers (which is ironic because he has a blog on this radio station’s website) going as far as calling us wackos.

I’m not offended, really I am not. Knobe and his counterpart, B-N-B say ridiculous things all the time because of their ignorance of local government. In fact, he didn’t even know the planning commission meetings are recorded live (neither did councilor Erickson).

He accused bloggers of saying things all times of the day. Well guess what, Rick, I do because #1 I can, and #2 I am informed and #3 I want to inform the citizens about things our local media does not.

As for us wacko bloggers, I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for our constant pressure, more transparency wouldn’t be appearing suddenly on the council. The million dollar settlement and secrecy lawsuit would have never happened surrounding the events center if it wasn’t for the big mouth of this wacko blogger.

I could go on and on about how much I have informed the public over the past decade and affected positive change for the citizens of this city. So if that makes me a ‘wacko’ I guess I’m a proud wacko.

Mayor is pouting again over council decisions

Open government makes me so emotional

The mayor has still not signed the approved parks board meeting recording ordinance or the Glory House resolution from Tuesday Night’s meeting (he has signed all other passed items). He has until next Wednesday to sign the items, or veto them. If he does neither they will be published without his signature.

I’m sure we will have another one of his pouting session press conferences next week about why he didn’t sign the items. I just hope the city can afford to tape both the audio and visual of the press conference.

Parks Board Meeting (Jan 17, 2016)

 

The world is coming to an end or is it just the wink wink nod nod way of holding Sioux Falls meetings. On January 17, 2017 the Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Board held its monthly meeting at the Oyate Center. We know, WHERE? Go look for it, the search is always on in the noisy places filled with kids as they are leaving school. Not places where you feel like you can hear the proceedings because you legally cannot fully close the doors. Oh and speaking of closed doors, one of the board members could not hear so he closed the door. Should we file an Open Meetings violation with the States Attorney? It is going to be added to our list of violations to be dealt with.

The city of Sioux Falls is going to start seeing or at least being able to hear these exciting meetings. The lack of public scrutiny of the meetings has made many of these boards very cozy and comfortable for the members to work with their departments. Our efforts to record these meetings is aimed at this comfy behavior.

So be bored with this meeting and more of them. By letting us see how little is discussed in the open lets us know the real decisions are made before the meetings actually are called into order. We appreciate the citizens who sit on these boards and want them to be able to make the decisions they are charged with.

Will the Sioux Falls parks board meetings get ‘truly’ recorded?

While it may have been a small victory to have Parks Board meeting recordings posted online, they don’t have to do video. This is the stickler. You may not know what is going on because you will not be able to determine who is saying what.

Hopefully the council will be able to amend this and require video. Knobe weighs in;

The Sioux Falls City Council mandate requiring parks board meetings to be recorded and put online does not go far enough.

Let’s back up a step or two and look at the bigger picture. City Council and Planning Commission meetings are broadcast live and then archived. This has been going on for decades. As mayor of Sioux Falls from 1974-84, I implemented live broadcasts of City Commission meetings. It is now standard operating procedure in most local governments nationwide.

If we are going for true transparency, then let’s broadcast the parks board meetings live. Let’s add live broadcasts of a few other city boards, such as Library, Health, Metro Communications. Each of these boards spend public money and implement policy.

I suggest the administration and City Council create a five year plan to allow for the live airing of as many city board meetings as possible. I think there are two locations within city government where live broadcasts can occur: Carnegie Town Hall and the City Link Studios on Phillips Ave. It shouldn’t be too hard to move these board meetings to those locations. Some adjustments in the meeting space for lighting and microphones may be necessary, but certainly not financially prohibitive.

Some in city government and some citizen board members may think this action is punitive, or that we don’t trust them. I am NOT coming at it from that perspective.

Most of the time city government has a good story to tell. Giving more citizens access to that good story,  builds confidence and trust. Something we desperately need at all levels.

I don’t always agree with Rick, but he nails it.