Watch the below video (FF: 30:00). Minnehaha County Auditor, Leah Anderson, tries to blame ES & S for her lack of knowledge with elections. At one point she complains she has to cancel her vacation to learn her job. Yah think?!

She also complains that their is too many people from ES & S answering her questions. Huh? Hey Leah, that is called customer service. We pay a lot for these services, they should provide this level of service.

Trust me, ES & S isn’t an Angel, they have issues, but there are best practices that can be followed to remedy issues.

Leah admits during the conference that she hasn’t even touched a tabulation machine and has no idea how they work . . . 4 MONTHS before a city election!!!!

We can’t hand count a city election. First off, the city already has a contract with the county to machine tabulate the votes, so this delusional idea you are going to hand count the election isn’t going to happen.

As I have said in the past, Assistant City Clerks Denise and Tamara have decades of election experience, but my worry is that they may be bullied by the Auditor. I would suggest that on city election night next Spring, the auditor sits back and learns something or better yet, take her much needed vacation that week!

‘I haven’t done much over the past 8 years, put I can sure run a meeting.’

It’s hard to explain all the stuff that happened in a few short sentences;

• Mayor thinks he should have his own legislative priorities

• Former Fire Fighter, Councilor Soehl, doesn’t understand public safety for dignitaries

• Mayor and the Count think they are going to fix the childcare crisis

During the informational meeting the council (our legislative and policy body) brought their 2024 legislative priorities forward. This one is baffling to me;

The Sioux Falls City Council opposes any legislation that would reduce or repeal any
municipal or county tax.

One of the duties of our council and mayor’s office is to be fiscally responsible with our tax dollars. That would mean trying to find ways to CUT taxes (and expenses), not find ways to protect these HIGH taxes. I have never heard of a politician promising to keep our taxes high.

The mayor also brought forward his own legislative priorities which as the council points out, not necessary, because they should have joint ‘policy body’ priorities. What does it tell the legislature when the council has different priorities then the mayor’s office? It says they are NOT working together (which is totally obvious and why I have encouraged the council to hire their own executive assistant/paralegal and council attorney so they can write policy without interference or blockage from the mayor’s office).

One of the mayor’s priorities was regulating autonomous vehicles. With all the issues we have in this city, he taught this was worthy of mentioning? I agree, they will need to be regulated, but that is a state DMV issue. Does he even know he is the mayor of Sioux Falls?

Councilor Jensen (who decided to show up today) talked about how him, the mayor’s office and the legislature will forming a task force to fix the childcare crisis. I laughed so hard I almost fell down. So the mayor who handed the mentorship program over to the HelpLine center (and they are struggling to find volunteers) and Jensen who is walking out the door after one term (his only purpose was to cock block Stehly) and the legislature who gave us a whopping 3 points of a penny tax cut is going to come up with a child care solution. BLAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

I bet a pre-nap meeting at EMBE would be more productive.

I can almost hear Poops first suggestion, “Maybe kids just need an adult to do jumping jacks with them?”

Even Jensen’s comment (paraphrasing) ” . . . We are going to study this so we are not going to just throw money at it . . . and after we study it, we will put money towards it.”

Huh? So it is only worth throwing money at when it is your idea?

I sometimes wonder if Jensen’s brain is just one big popsicle?

It got even better at the city council meeting;

During the discussion on moving Metro 911 employees to the city’s employment umbrella (Item #23) the HR Director, Bill Da’Toole, said that once they become city employees on January 1st, they will become civil service employees but they will have to form their own union. Granted, the HR director did say they would help them thru the process (you know, under a very ANTI-UNION council and mayor’s office). The council asked why the union wasn’t formed in advance (since the process will take 8-9 months). These city employees will have NO union representation for their first year of employment and will probably struggle with negotiations in 2025. I have a feeling the administration may use this as a way to start chipping away at the other unions. If they can convince the 911 employees that they would be better off without a union they could be the outlier. I encourage ALL 911 employees to support unionization, without it, you are NO better off then you were under the old system because if you think Da’Toole, Mayor Poops and (some of) the City Council have your back, you are sadly mistaken.

I could criticize our local Union leadership(?), but without them, you are screwed.

During the discussion on Ethics ordinances (Item #24), Neitzert who is sponsoring the legislation, offered an amendment;

In furtherance of this section, city council members may attend conferences or events affiliated with a political party, and may hold appointed or elected positions within their respective political parties, including, but not limited to, precinct officer or delegate to party conventions. However, in no case shall city funds be expended for any event or activity organized by a political party.

Greg mentioned a constituent asked him to add this (it was likely me) even though I would have probably written these changes completely different. While it adds a little more teeth, Councilor Soehl was NOT happy about this amendment and asked (paraphrasing); “If Jill Stein from the Green Party came to Sioux Falls for a rally and our police department offered escort, would they be in trouble?”

Soehl should know better, as the former SFFD Union President and a retired fire fighter officer, the reason police protect dignitaries isn’t just for the their protection but for the protection of the public attending the event. DUH! FK’ING DUH!

Also, as written, and as Greg pointed out to Curt, this is the ethics cannon of the mayor and city council (elected positions) and does not refer to city employees.

But hey Curt, if you like Jill Stein, feel free to party with her, just don’t let her pay for the drinks.

One of the funnier things that happened tonight was the council getting all butt hurt over the mayor naming the 6th Street Bridge the Unity Bridge (Item #25). Soehl deferred the item for two weeks because it seems the council is not to happy about the mayor naming the bridge without council input. It passed 7-1 (Merkouris who sits on the naming committee was the dissenting vote)

The irony of calling it the Unity Bridge isn’t lost.

In other tidbits, during the informational, the council discussed getting state law changed so they have the ‘option’ of shipping the Delbridge Collection to another entity in another state who wants to preserve the collection. As I have said all along, that has been my biggest concern. I could care less if I see a bunch of dusty old monkeys and goats, but they need to be preserved for scientific and historical reasons, and to be honest with you, I think it would be in the best interest of this collection to get the Fc’k out of Dodge before one of these Clems turns the collection into hood ornaments.

I also was told recently the new power and light facility being proposed by the mayor’s office is mostly just an empty pre-fab warehouse. So if that is the case, why doesn’t the city just buy an existing warehouse and retro-fit it? We blow money on the dumbest crap.

I will leave you with a positive note. I have been kind of hard on Councilor Selberg over the past 8 years. I don’t have anything personal against him, I just think as a local elected official he is incredibly lazy. BUT, he has been chairing quite a few meetings lately and I told another city councilor after the meeting tonight that ‘Marshall does a nice job running the meetings. He doesn’t interrupt folks, he always accommodates new speakers, and generally he keeps the drama to a minimum at the meetings, because he offers no drama. Can we just hire Selberg to chair all the city council meetings moving forward over the next 10 years? Everyone has their unique golden parachute.

I’m changing my mind ‘again’ on trickle down housing.

Augustana did a presentation today to the SF City Council about housing needs in Sioux Falls.

One point the presenter made was that middle income people are actually spending less than the 30% for housing because they are renting more affordable middle income housing which is actually taking affordable rents away from lower income folks.

In other words, just because middle income folks CAN afford a more expensive rental unit, they are still choosing to save money and the lower income housing ISN’T trickling down. I can tell you when I was in my 20’s I didn’t care if I lived in a garbage can. I worked 60 hours a week and all I did at my studio apartment was sh!t, shower and shave (and a little sleep). Not everyone needs a luxurious apartment to get by. There are only a few things in life you have a little control over when it comes to expenses. You can cut back on going out to eat and drink, you can make more affordable food choices, you can limit your gas usage by walking, car pooling, riding bus or biking! You can also rent a lesser apartment to save money, and if I was in my 20’s now, I would probably be living in a mop closet.

I have often wondered why a developer hasn’t found a way to build affordable studio units in Sioux Falls? I would think with Federal Grants, ARPA state money and any possible local tax rebates you could make it work. If I had $26 million I would buy the Bunker Ramp and build a studio apartment building on top of it.

We have a housing crisis mounting, we haven’t seen it yet, but once interest rates drop by the end of 2024 (I think it will be around 3-4%) you will see as people climb out of the Covid hole they are going to start trying to buy 1st time homes (used or tract homes) and better rental units. What they are going to find is that their isn’t anything available, even if you are stinking rich.

This last couple of weekends I have been reintroduced to Winter. Last Saturday morning while running errands the streets were a pure sheet of black ice that was undetectable unless you tapped your brakes. After sliding thru almost two intersections I wondered where the sanders were? Yesterday while riding my bike down East 10th street I hit a patch of ice and almost dumped my bike. I am not expecting our street department to sand every residential street in this town, but at least the busy streets and intersections.

The rumor coming from city hall is that the snow budget for 2023 was already eaten up and they are trying to get by without a supplemental appropriation until January 1st. Which is ridiculous since tax dollars main objective is to fund taxpayer services like street maintenance.

I found it funny that a city that has a tennis court on every corner of this town wants to build pickleball courts. You can play pickleball on a tennis court, you just have to lower the net by 2 inches. We seem to have money for a fad (I call pickleball the rollerblading of the 2000’s) but no money to throw a little sand on the streets so people can safely navigate? BTW, I also saw a gigantic 4-door super max truck slide thru an intersection, so when it comes to ice, size doesn’t matter.

This ‘cheating’ us on snow removal started with Munson and progressively got worse towards the end of Huether’s term. TenHaken acts like when it snows he has to make some weighty decision. It’s simple, money is in a fund for this, you call the Street Director and tell him, get to work. Nobody will criticize you for doing ‘too much’.

I have spoken to former street department managers and workers (retired) and they all tell me they have no idea why it is being run the way it is now. I think I have the answer, it’s not being run, it’s being ignored. On purpose.