UPDATED: A curious letter . . .

Updated, summary of the letter: DT-Quest

Councilor Dr. Staggers and I received a letter today CC’d to both of us. While I cannot post the letter (apparently this person thinks they can copyright the contents, anonymously) I am free to discuss it’s contents in a general matter 🙂 OK, Wizard of Oz.

The letter contained a list of 20-some questions about the proposed Dunham TIF affordable housing plan. For the most part, focused, Good questions.

It seemed to trail off in some parts about herding the poor and minorities into certain parts of town. Not sure if this is true, but if you have ever knocked on doors collecting petitions, you may have a different aspect. They also asked if TIF’s are being used to supplement developers costs when associated to street construction?

There was even some speculation about certain city employees and elected officials benefitting from these developments . . . I will stay away from that. I’m sure Pathloss will fill us in 🙂 Though I have pointed out that the Mayor’s wife is investing in a project that is receiving a TIF.

The only reason I post this is because I hope this person gives me permission to publish the ‘Questions’ – otherwise, not sure what will come of the issue.

While I cannot publish this letter ‘electronically’ (because this anon person said I could not – LOL – I can, and will show other people privately, just so you know.)

BTW, on a similar note, I found out former city planner Steve Metli’s retirement package tonight. Wow! Let’s just say, keep your eyes open. One of our SF daily papers will be covering the story soon 🙂


#1 l3wis on 07.06.12 at 11:42 pm

BTW, Price is Right rules, guess how much Metli is receiving in retirement pay from the city. I heard the story may be coming out as soon as Sunday, so get your bids in!

#2 l3wis on 07.06.12 at 11:43 pm

Note: Yearly pay, not including benefits.

#3 Scott on 07.07.12 at 8:07 am

My guess without going over is $99,999.

#4 Testor15 on 07.07.12 at 8:07 am

L3wis, do you have the link?

#5 John on 07.07.12 at 8:49 am

“Local control” is just another term for graft.
There was a time when public service were public servants who provided stewardship over public resources. Now its all about milking the taxpayers and getting as much as one can from ones neighbors.

#6 scott on 07.07.12 at 10:12 am

I wonder on these “rent to own” deals, how many renters end up buying. If they have to rent for 15 years, then get a mortgage for another 30, the only people this helps is the Dunham company, not those seeking affordable housing.

#7 Poly43 on 07.07.12 at 10:15 am

Metli’s retirement package eh? So the argus is going to do a story once again about metli and his “spiked” pension checks? Just one of the perks of city employment, retirement, and the subsequent milking of taxpayers. I’ll weigh in a bit less than you Scott and take a S.W.A.G. of $68,355.72 a year. That could be a tad higher had he chosen a pension with built in COLA’s. Still, not a bad gig when you retire at age 60 with another 30 to 40 years of life to live.

Like cousin Eddie said to Clark Griswold in X-Mas Vacation…”It’s the gift that keeps on giving.” Yep…that’s exactly what “spiked” pension checks are. Also a taboo to bring up on Jennifers blog. I’ve brought it up several times on her blog and she has yet to acknowledge them. She also draws a spiked pension check, so this is SACRED to her and the hundreds of city employees who enjoy it…AT THE TAXPAYERS EXPENSE.

#8 Pathloss on 07.07.12 at 6:01 pm

I’m not aware of irregularities with affordable housing. Everything the city does is corrupt. I’m sure this is no exception. Without competive bids, every contract is overpriced and directed. Developers should be offered immunity if they implicate Huether. Their part is business. Huether’s part is treason. He deserves serious time in federal prison. Events Center public funds fraud will be easiest to prove.

#9 Pathloss on 07.07.12 at 6:10 pm

The IRS is doubling it’s work force. Some of the focus will be local government syndicates. A mayor with annual salary of $100K who has become a multi-millionaire in less than 2 years will get a good look. RICO can be applied to public servants if there’s unreported income. Everything Huether visably owns will be auctioned. We’re not going to see him around town for awhile. He’ll be busy money laundering and leaving the country with $10K at a time to Switzerland, the Caymans, and the Bahamas.

#10 Pathloss on 07.07.12 at 6:21 pm

I’m in favor of leading the city into bankruptcy. Stockton CA is learning how rich they are without city employee pension funding and exorbitant bond obligations. City contractor invoices can be listed. Everyone who effected city solvency will get theirs.

#11 anominous on 07.07.12 at 7:39 pm


#12 Poly43 on 07.08.12 at 8:28 am

Just finished reading the argus headliner about pension reform. What should have been a five minute read turned into an agonizing 45 minute ordeal. I go to about 20 or so different websites in a weeks time to get my “news.” The argus, BY FAR, is the slowest webpage I have EVER encountered. I can only imagine all the hidden programs they got running in the background.

Pension reform? That’s a tough one. Greed from both sides of the aisle is why we are, where we are. It would be great IF everyone could retire with a pension at 60 with a lifetime of monthly checks in the amount of two thirds what you made while working. BUT…that’s unsustainable. That’s the bargaining side of the “greed” equation. Now the management side. If mmm had his way, EVERY city employee would be just like one of three is right now. Part-time, working no more than 28 hours a week, for 9 to 12 dollars an hour with no bennies. Councilors are concerned we headed for a two tiered city employee. News for you. Yer already there.

The argus, I suppose, will apply the coup de grace later when they reveal once again, the story of the spiked pension system. The bargaining unit employee will garner NO support from the taxpayer after that story runs. Like I said…GREED, on both sides of the aisle.

#13 Testor15 on 07.08.12 at 9:41 am

Metli is one former employee of this city I am glad to know is a former. He and his predecessor influenced this town into too many things, causing too many costly planning disasters. He was a dreamer who could not build a Lego town. He made many ‘friends’ with too many deals we as taxpayers will pay for many years.

When I hear about failed projects in Sioux Falls, Metli’s name is rarely far away. I only met him once, many years ago and left the meeting with a desire to wash my hands.

#14 Testor15 on 07.08.12 at 11:27 am

I was just reading the PDF and your last question:

“The letter ended with a strange copyright tagline. Still baffled by how an anonymous letter writer can copyright something.”

I am not an attorney, but had to work with copyrights in the past and it was explained to me this way: a copyright is claiming attributable ownership of an original a written document or idea. If an item is sent by an unknown writer, asking to remain unknown and claiming copyright ownership who would the court decide owns the item if copyright is breached.

In other words, who is going to announce to the public they own the offended copyright?

#15 l3wis on 07.08.12 at 5:26 pm

I guess the AL did not print the retirement salaries. Poly was pretty close, Metli makes around $72,000 a year in retirement. I’m working on getting more numbers.

You are right Poly, painful to read. You can tell Sarah is a little green.

#16 Craig on 07.09.12 at 9:04 am

l3wis, you can print the entire letter provided you engage in some type of commentary, research, or reporting etc regarding the content (which you already have). It falls under the “fair use” portion of copyright law, so basically the author is full of crap and is likely scared someone might find out who they are.

This is very similar to the scenario involving former Republican state representative Ted Klaudt© when Ted Klaudt© tried to copyright the name Ted Klaudt©. That didn’t work either, and you can still run around printing the name Ted Klaudt© with zero repercussions since names cannot be protected under copyright law.

(The copyright symbols are intended sarcasm)

#17 Detroit Lewis on 07.09.12 at 9:49 am

Craig, funny, Cory mentioned Mr. Klaudt to me to.

The main reason I don’t want to post the letter is that there is some pertinent information within it that Councilor Staggers can use when questioning the TIF.

#18 Sy on 07.09.12 at 5:48 pm

You’re wrong about Metli, he has something rare in a City Hall employee: long term vision. He was instrumental in moving this place from a glorified packing town into a place that’s still growing nicely despite national & international recessionary pressures.

It’s just too bad this current Administration isn’t giving him the time of day. Whatever the City is paying him he’s earned it.

#19 l3wis on 07.09.12 at 9:20 pm

Sy, Wow.

Don’t know what to say to that.

Starting to wonder if our streets our paved with kool-aid.

#20 Testor15 on 07.09.12 at 11:29 pm

Knowing from experience how pathetic Metli was at planning, I have to always question his backers for the sourc of their happy juice.

#21 Craig on 07.10.12 at 10:08 am

Maybe it was Metli’s idea to cover the walls of the 57th street viaduct in tile. 😛

#22 l3wis on 07.10.12 at 2:16 pm

Who sells tile 🙂

#23 Sy on 07.10.12 at 4:55 pm

Nice try fellas, but incorrect. Try the DOT for that one. It’s considered a tunnel and it’s built according to national specifications. Expensive initially? Yes, but the maintenance costs over time are much less than other surfaces. Once again, that long term thingy so many around here seem to sturggle with.

#24 Sy on 07.10.12 at 5:06 pm

@Testor. You met the man once and you feel qualified to make that type of judgement?

Wow is fuckin’ A right.

Again, the proof’s in the pudding kiddos. SF has a lot more good things going for it than not, and it all didn’t happen soley because of Sanford’s checkbook. BTW, Metli also had the balls to come out publicly and say the Convention Center was a mistake, a project he managed. He did what he could to not repeat it when he could’ve simply sat in the weeds with his pension.

#25 Testor15 on 07.10.12 at 11:37 pm

I have worked with many people over my many years. Some people I have worked with were genuine in my estimation, sincere people from the first moment we connected. I’m sorry (not) if I blow your perceived sincerity of Mr. M. In my work I often have to make fast decisions on the quality of people. Mr. M was not quality. He is a user, always was and continues to be in my book. I watched from a distance how he changed many of the best things I found about Sioux Falls and changed them to make it ‘modern’ and worse.

For you who remember or saw in old photos, the amazing array of architecture once in Sioux Falls, thank Mr. M for it no longer being here. He and his predecessor gave us ugly parking ramps, many empty lots downtown and a business killing ‘mall’ downtown. These are the legacy of this really bad planner for our futures here.

Now we reward him with a no holds barred pension. I understand pensions and actually agree with them in general. Most employees spend years investing in a solid retirement program. They take lower wages for a decent retirement program. These people gave up salaries years ago to work with the ‘future value of money’ they were promised. I hold no ill feelings for these people who served us and gave up much in the years past to have something now.

People like Mr. M and several others have found a way through the poor management of the city to game the system. Their gaming of the system is destroying it for the rest.