Pay to Play, Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly proposes resolution eliminating registration fee for housing summit

She talks about it above during the open discussion at the city council informational. She requested the mayor’s office to waive the registration fee (with the option to pay for breakfast and lunch if they want it) and to video tape the event. They refused her offer. So Theresa and Pat are bringing a resolution forward. I’m sure it will get voted down 5-3 as usual.

I love it on one hand when the administration and leadership talk about how transparent they are but when given the opportunity, they fight it. Then they scratch their heads wondering why people think they are not transparent.

Local Media websites incredibly frustrating and dysfunctional

I can’t hold it in anymore, the two news sites (that have obviously borrowed their website format from the super media sh*t piles that own them) are horrible. Beyond horrible.

As a person who hasn’t had a functioning TV in almost ten years, I depend on my large monitor and the internet to get everything I need. I actually think by only depending on the internet, I’m more informed. You can really weed thru the BS faster while surfing the net.

So now it comes to our local media. Ironically the best local media website, KDLT doesn’t have as many followers, but somehow have figured out simplicity works, they need to pass that knowledge on.

First with our only local daily. It shocks me that a media company that wants to get rid of their dead tree version and promote digital subscriptions has a website that has so many ads and videos going on that if you dare take a deep breath while viewing it you are back to the home page in a second. So which is it? Do you want to charge for your content or have paid advertisers pay for that content? You seem to want to have both which is a gigantic polished turd. I don’t know how many times I have to refresh, go back to where I thought I was in the story only to be interrupted with an ad, a video about cats, or some other distraction. Please, fire your web developers, they are failing you hugely. I just want to read your stories in peace without Morgan Freeman telling me I need a credit card.

Let’s move on to Stormland-TV. Why is every single video interrupted with an ad at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of your ‘tell me nothing’ 30 second news story? And why is every news story on mute, so I have to start over to hear only to be interrupted by another ad about corn farmers? And what’s up with the volume levels that fluctuate between an AC/DC concert and a kitten purring?

Trust me, it isn’t my ‘device’ these things happen on my phone, laptop, tablet, MAC and PC, at least they are consistent in their dysfunction.

Some would say, ‘Just give up’ but I like to stay apprised with what is going on in the community, I literally am forced to go thru these hoops just to get a tidbit of news and trust me #2 TV station is not much better.

While this blog may not have all the bells and whistles these circus clowns have incorporated, at least you can come here and read the stories without having to build a barrier around your mouse in case you accidentally hit the volume control or click on a floating ad.

The MSM might wonder why they are losing readers, please, take a look in the mirror.

UPDATE: Brandon gets out the ‘Spanky Stick’ on a fellow councilor

UPDATE: Tim was on Belfrage this morning and explained why he thinks he was censured. He was one of six councilors to vote against hiring new police chief and he posted comments by a RESIDENT (not from him) on FB. The RESIDENT, not Tim, was accusing the city of fraud.

Start this fantastic video at 1:24;

I like how the Clerk practically yells out the charges, and the city posts this on there front page of website;

Not sure why there is large tubs of ice cream in front of the council, and I’m not even sure if Tim did anything wrong. But I find it a bit disturbing that they would censure a fellow peer without ZERO discussion, or allowing him to defend himself.

I think I am going to personally BAN myself from Brandon ‘Weirdsville’ South Dakota. I feel better already.

Only One Incumbent running for two seats on School Board

The candidates have been announced for Sioux Falls School Board;

Sarah K. Anderson

Lora Hubbel

Nan Baker

Carly Reiter

Carly is the only incumbent running so we will get at least one NEW school board member. The establishment favorite of course will be Nan Baker, a very well connected person. Her family runs 1st National Bank. Nan also co-chaired the new school bond issue task force. It will be interesting to see if she tops Mickelson’s campaign spending of over $16K. This will be an interesting race to watch in terms of money spent.

We of course know who Hubbel and Reiter are, but I know very little about Anderson. I just wish more grass roots candidates would run and win these seats. Unfortunately, Mickelson set a precedent in the last election by spending mountains of money and posting her signs from here to Anchorage.

UPDATE: Will the new Sioux Falls Planning Director be named on Tuesday?

I guess so. I find it interesting that the new title includes the word ‘Development’;

Mayor Paul TenHaken is excited to announce the appointment of Jeff Eckhoff as the City of Sioux Falls’ next Director of Planning and Development Services.

Eckhoff is a 1982 graduate of South Dakota State University and completed his master’s degree in administrative studies from the University of South Dakota in 1997. Originally from Hurley, SD, Eckhoff and his wife, Gea, live in Sioux Falls and have two adult children, Lynnea and Logan.

With a strong background in economic development, project management and organizational leadership, Eckhoff will add incredible value to the City in his Director role. Since 2012, Eckhoff has led the South Dakota Small Business Development Center. Prior to SBDC, Eckhoff was the executive director for the Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations (LCEDA/MCEDA) from 1996 to 2012 and director of operations for Turning Point (now Volunteers of America) from 1993 to 1996.


Brandon City Councilor’s 1st Amendment Rights were probably violated

I’m still waiting to hear more details on this fiasco;

The Brandon city council voted unanimously Monday evening to censure one of it council members.

Tim Wakefield tells KELOLAND News, he was censured because other council members don’t agree with his use of social media to bring public concerns to light.

He says the council is in the process of drafting an ordinance that says any council member can be fined $500 for that type of behavior.

Tim ran for mayor and lost last week. Tim’s platform was based on the condition of the water in Brandon (they have high levels of radium). Tim is an engineer that understands some of those processes, and while he was running for mayor he would often talk about Brandon’s water issues on Facebook. He has suggested that Brandon hook up to Lewis & Clark so the town has safe, clean water.

I guess the contention of the council was that Tim was on Facebook telling people he won’t drink city water. The council claims it is against the law (not sure if this is Brandon charter?) to say ‘bad’ things about Brandon’s city government or criticize them while serving in that government. Where do these small town Hayseeds come up with this stuff?

Just because someone is serving on a governmental board, doesn’t mean their 1st Amendment Rights are stripped of them, quite the opposite. Just imagine if Stehly was on the Brandon City Council, she would be serving a life sentence in prison for speaking out on Facebook 🙂

If Tim really wants to challenge this, Brandon could have a monster 1st Amendment lawsuit on their hands that could cost them millions if they lose, uh, I mean, when they lose.

I have never liked that town . . . Weirdsville is at it again.

We need an Inspector General NOT an Internal Auditor (Guest Post, Bruce Danielson)

The Internal Audit department was established after it was discovered we had an out of control administration. The plan for establishing an Internal Audit department came about because laws were broken by city personnel with no process to make sure it could not happen again (The offenders were never charged with a crime because council chickened out, and the main offender got re-elected to a 2nd term). The framers of our government did not see a leader or employee, willing to destroy the government for the chance to make a personal buck no matter what, in the Home Rule plan they put together.

An Internal Audit department was developed to be a place to go, to verify projects were completed on the up and up. If the City Council wanted to check a contract or process, they were able to have it added to the audit schedule for the year. The Internal Audit staff was not to change the mission or the audit plan for the year. What we have learned over time is how the Internal Audit staff either changed the audit plan because the work was “too hard”, complicated or they didn’t want to do it.

What we have found since the Internal Audit office was set up, staff has never functioned as it was proposed. Internal Audit has become a place of semi-retirement with no expectation of getting any meaningful work done. Internal Audit should not be the go along, get along function as it has been for many years. The Internal Auditor staff or its function should not be feared. If the office or function being audited is on the up and up, an audit should be welcomed. If the department has no issues, they should be recognized for running a tight ship.

The Internal Auditor should never be transferred from a Sioux Falls city department staff. An Internal Auditor staff member should never be put into the position of auditing their prior office, co-workers, family or friends. To think anyone in the Internal Auditor office would be hired out of the finance or public works or city attorney office or any other office now or in the future is just plain wrongheaded and presents a huge conflict of interest.

The Internal Auditor office in Sioux Falls must be a true auditor office. It should not be led by a CPA with bookkeeper bees for staff. The Internal Auditor office could be led by an engineer with a bookkeeper and an investigator. It could be a mix of any number of people from many different types of backgrounds. Curiosity and the ability to think outside the box are probably more important than their ability to build a spreadsheet.

I firmly believe we need an Inspector General office more than a happy clappy Internal Auditor cheering on questionably legal city government actions many of us have seen over the years. The citizens need to have an office they can approach with questionably illegal issues and not have them buried in a bureaucracy, never to see the light of day.

Internal Audit should not be the resting spot of guilty consciences, it should be the blunt force that would come down on a wrong process or person because curiosity ruled the day and found a hidden issue. Finding problems and fixing them is a good thing, it shouldn’t be perceived as a ‘bad cop’. As citizens WE own the government, it’s our money. Anything we can do to save taxpayers money by fixing or streamlining processes should be the ultimate goal. If someone’s feelings are hurt in that process, maybe they need to find another job in the private sector.

Letter Writer misses Jefferson’s point about ‘God’ in schools

I often chuckle when people repeat quotes of our founding fathers in order to argue for their side while ignoring what the founding fathers were actually saying. This letter writer thinks Jefferson wasn’t supporting separation of church and state, but I guess it is how you read the quote and comprehend it;

Jefferson spoke directly against such an incursion of federal power, citing the First Amendment and Tenth Amendment restrictions on the federal government: “Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General [federal] Government.”

I guess, there is no other way to comprehend this statement, except a separation of church and state. But the quote also includes this little ending to try to confuse the reader;

“It must then rest with the States.”

While the States do have their own constitutions, they must follow the highest law of the land, the US Constitution which contains the 1st Amendment. States often try to skirt this very important amendment, and have often failed. There is currently a lawsuit pending on this when it comes to out of state campaign money. But even if states were granted supreme power to ignore the 1st Amendment when it comes to placing ‘In God We Trust’ in schools;

  • Why have they offered to defend school districts in lawsuits? If they think they are creating laws that are constitutional, why would they have to have this disclaimer?
  • Who in this state asked for this legislation? While we are a representational government, who asked our representatives to change the law? Clergy? School Districts? Voters? I have never heard of one single group asking our representational government to do this. Why? Because most people with common sense know this is unconstitutional, and even if it wasn’t, what difference does it make?

Are we so ignorant and naive to believe that by posting ‘God’ in the mess hall of a school somehow we will produce a born again revolution of school kids? Give me a break. If you want your children to have a religious foundation in their education you have the option and the right to send them to a private school.

Our public schools are designed to educate, whether that is math or literature, or working together on a sports team, or creativity in the arts. Our teachers are NOT clergy. Faith is something that needs to be taught by parents with the assistance of faith based organizations that are NOT publicly funded for a reason, it violates the separation clause, something I think Jefferson was VERY clear about. Separation of Church and State is there to PROTECT people of faith from government intruding into your personal beliefs. It’s a good thing. If legislators truly want to SAVE our children from the powers of evil, the first thing they need to do is fund public education and healthcare better, something the state has the power to do, but continues to fail. Once that happens then we can talk about posting signs that actually mean something.

The liquor license dilemma

Our daily paper has an intriguing story about liquor licenses. Mostly a bunch of people whining about the process. If I was in the state legislature I would present what they do in most states and have a yearly licensing fee for selling liquor.  I think it is ok to separate beer and wine from selling full on liquor, but I would combine the those two licenses into one and double that fee.

So how would it work?

• First I would eliminate who could have them, no waiting lists, etc. As long as your establishment was of a certain size and you could prove you were opening a viable business you could have one. Obviously free market competition would stop us from having a liquor bar on every corner.

• I would charge a yearly licensing fee. In larger markets like SF it would be much higher and based on population (like it kind of is now). For example the fee in SF would be $10K a year while in Baltic it would be much lower.

• Grandfathering license holders. This wouldn’t be for eternity, but I would set a time limit for phasing them out. How would that work? First, once a yearly fee is determined you would assess the value of the license you currently own. Each town would be the same within that town. Right now a new license is worth around $190K in Sioux Falls. So if the new licensing fee was $10K a year and you owned one of these licenses in SF you wouldn’t have to pay the fee for 19 years. But I would cap it at 20 years. In other words in 20 years after the new law takes place all of the old style of licenses would be null and void.

• The old licenses would NOT be transferable to another location but could be to a new owner at the same location with the same business model.

• I would give the option of selling the old license back to the municipality at 50% of the value if you wanted to get out of the bar business. I think this change alone would eliminate a lot of the old licenses. The new licensing fees would easily cover these costs for the cities.

Everyone who owns a license now complains they would lose there investment, but I think a plan like I suggested would still give value to that license. I also think that a ‘license’ shouldn’t be considered an investment anyway. It’s a frickin’ license. I think the way the system is set up now, you have a lot of the big guys hoarding the licenses, and that’s not fair. This would even the playing field and would actually produce better establishments based on service instead of how much money you have or the value of your liquor license. Think about it, what other license in SD is forever? There isn’t one that I can think of. Even your driver’s license has to be renewed every couple of years.

Is our state legislature brave enough to take such steps? Nope. They are more worried about protecting a certain class of people instead of fostering entrepreneurship. Besides, they are more concerned about God, Guns and Abortion.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • April 16, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM

• 2020 Municipal Election Update by city clerk Tom Greco

• Congressional City Conference, National League of Cities, Councilor Brekke

• Executive Session (I believe the City Council is getting close to hiring a NEW internal auditor. As I understand it, no big surprises, no outsiders, just more of the same.)

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item#2, Invocation, It’s been a long time since a NON-Christian has done the Invocation, this time a Hindu. I hope the X-Tians don’t melt.

Item#41, Ordinance, 2nd Reading, Cement Pad sponsorship at Levitt. Weird. Wondering how long before a sponsorship fence will be put up? It will look like a ballpark soon and all the DT baseball dreamers will have their way.

Items#42-43, 2nd Reading, Ordinance, City buying more Falls Park property. Can’t have enough parking at Falls Park 🙂

Item#44, 2nd Reading, Ordinance, Fiber Optic easement that may screw up the railroad redevelopment, redevelopment. Not sure why all the fiber optic needs to be laid, I thought we were going 5G?

Item#49, 1st Reading, Special Appropriation for flood prone homes. 2nd reading in special meeting next Tuesday. This will be an interesting discussion.

Quote of the week from Mayor Paul TenHaken when talking about cracking down on prostitution in Sioux Falls;

“We need the johns and sellers to see Sioux Falls is not screwing around with this,” TenHaken said.

Click to Enlarge Agenda Calendar