Entries Tagged 'Alex Jensen' ↓

UPDATE: Sioux Falls CountCilor Alex Jensen misconstrues how the city can use TIFs

I come to suck the blood out of the city coffers!

I was a little surprised that a former state legislator and current city councilor could be so confused about how the city can apply TIFs. During his interview on KELO AM (Sept 21) Jensen says the city should use TIFs for affordable and accessible housing. Imagine my surprise, especially since Jensen gleefully voted for 3 TIFs totaling $144 million that have ZERO to do with affordable housing. But what he said about what needs to change really surprised me even more. Jensen said the state has to change laws in order to do that. Huh?

While the State could certainly do that, it is not necessary. As I have proposed, with Home Rule we can make our charter stricter than State Law, we just cannot violate the law;

Application for TIF will only be accepted for projects that will eliminate blight, build density in the core, and simultaneously provide affordable and workforce housing. Home rule charter allows the city to be stricter than state law.

There are three ways we could go about this change. The easiest would be the council just proposing the change and voting on it. That would be as simple as a presentation about the change and a 1st and 2nd reading. The next easiest would be my proposal above and have the CRC put the change on the ballot and let the voters make that change. There is also a 3rd option which would be the hardest and that would be to do a petition drive to get it on the ballot.

This is why Jensen’s statement baffles me. The Council and himself already have the power to make this change, we don’t have to wait for the legislature to do something. And if he really believed that TIFs should only be applied this way why did he vote for three that have to do with parking ramps, slush funds and Korean owned egg roll factories?

Talking out of both sides of your butt must be a vampire thing.

UPDATE: Jensen also touches on this during inside Town Hall. Alex offers some strange solutions to our housing shortages;

• Encourage people to live in our neighboring small communities. So basically he is telling people to come to SE South Dakota to work in Sioux Falls, but BTW, we don’t have any room for you in our town. So once you punch out, and go home please take those wages you made in Sioux Falls and pay your taxes in Tea or Brandon or Crooks.

I have suggested for over a decade you could do a pilot program in a core neighborhood in a 4-6 block radius. The city would fix the roads, water, sewer, curb, gutter, city owned sidewalks and lighting. You then could get the residents and property owners in that sector to sign onto a group tax incentive program thru community development to fix up the properties. Depending on income levels the help could be tax rebates or NO or LOW interest loans. As we have seen, the Mayor already has the discretionary power to that.

• Senator Jack Kolbeck brought up TIFs. Either Jack is naive or he is in on the scam, but he wants to get the TIF down to 0% for developers and eliminate excise taxes for them. He then says “So they can pass the savings down to the consumer/renter.” The tired old Reaganomics argument of trickle down. If you are giving the tax cut to the developer, the developer or contractor will simply put that money in their pocket. They know with the demand of housing in Sioux Falls they have NO reason to pass ‘savings’ on down to the consumer. The tax breaks should go to the consumer once the home is purchased. Trickle down DOES NOT WORK, we have proof of this with the enormous income gap that was created by these horrible policies.

• Jack also brings up expanding the prison built homes project to Sioux Falls prison. While I am all for this program, I think the inmates should get paid better for it, I also think they should have job guarantees in the industry when they get out and work it into their probation or parole.

• He also mentions tiny homes (I agree with) and deregulation. That is a buzz word with Republicans, they always seem to think sacrificing safety will save money. In 2018 South Dakota ranked #5 with Highest Rate of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Less regulation is NOT the answer.

I’m not saying the city needs to do this all at once or even change existing ordinances, just try a pilot program based on existing zoning and laws. Shape Places already fixed a hurdle that allows residential areas like this to either fix up or expand their properties. This isn’t rocket science folks. It’s what I told a friend the other day about the issues at the Dudley House. We have this desire in local government to re-invent the wheel and make things complicated while giving them fancy names. We don’t have to do that, we can get simple straight forward ideas from other communities on what works and we don’t even need to travel or pick up a phone to do it. You can get online and see thousands of projects. It just takes time, research and google. When I used to be a full-time graphic designer a fellow designer told me his secret to being so good, ‘90% of my ideas are stolen’.

Erickson & Jensen want to talk to you about housing, if you can make it

The only problem is you will have to be late for work to have that conversation with them;

Public Invited to Discuss Strategies to Expand Homeownership in Sioux Falls 
Councilors Alex Jensen and Christine Erickson will hear from citizens on how the city can make homeownership more accessible in Sioux Falls. Ideas gained from this outreach effort could be used for future legislative efforts intended to tackle the lack of homeownership opportunities. 
When: Thursday, May 20th 
Where: HyVee at 37th and Minnesota 
Time: 7:30am to 9:00am 


I have often noticed that if city councilors really want to hear from constituents they have these kind of meetings on a Saturday or after 5 PM. The Vice-CountCilor and Errackticson have ZERO interest in talking to constituents about these issues, that is why they are doing it on a Thursday morning when most working class stiffs are at work. Jensen even said in the meeting yesterday something like, “We would like to discuss these ideas with developers and contractors, oh, and I guess the public can come to.” You can’t make this stuff up, even if you tried.

Sioux Falls Councilor Soehl gets elected Council Chair and Jensen Vice-Chair

Soehl didn’t even bother to show up tonight and got elected Chair (he was vice-chair). While Jensen hasn’t even been there a year, he got elected vice-chair, even though Brekke or Starr deserved the position. This was obviously political and partisan. Brekke and Starr tend to question the other councilors and administration and probably the reason they were not nominated. I don’t think Starr was interested but I think Brekke did want to be vice-chair. Further proof in this town and city government it is who you know, not what you know. Erickson got elected to operations committee even though she is done in about a year. Probably one of the most pathetic council chair elections I have ever seen, but certainly not shocking.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City CountCilor Jensen recuses himself on controversial apartment zoning

UPDATE: Supposedly Councilor Selberg should have recused himself from this vote also since the developer he is working for is considering investing in this project also. It’s hard to keep track of all the conflicts these councilors have.

Don’t get me wrong, he probably did the right thing, but he gave little explanation why he recused himself. He did site this city code;

30.017  VOTING PROCEDURE.   City council members may not abstain from voting, but may absent themselves from the meeting by physically leaving the meeting at the time an item is called by the clerk. Members with a financial interest in a matter shall disclose that interest and shall absent themselves from the meeting by physically leaving the meeting while the matter is considered.

In item #48 tonight at the city council meeting there was a controversial apartment zoning, the applicants are Cresten Capital Holdings. Without mentioning specific names, individuals investors in this group gave heavily to Jenson’s council campaign. Jensen also works for a bank that could be helping to fund this project.

Two great reasons to recuse himself.

The remaining seven councilors voted to move it to 2nd reading.

My only concern is the influence Jensen may have behind the scenes with planning staff and other councilors and one of the biggest reasons I opposed him on the council because of all the conflicts of interest he has financially with the city not only because of the bank he works for but deals like this.

Like I said, he did the right thing by recusing himself, but I would sure like an explanation from a councilor who bought his seat on this council with the very money he received from the investors in this project.

Sioux Falls City CounTcilor Jensen’s final campaign finance report is revealing, but expected

What do you get when a hospital lawyer, an ad agency exec, a banker, a developer, an angel fund investor and a guy who does business out of a UPS Store PO Box join forces? One heck of a political action committee. (PAC)

We all knew that there would be more money funneled into Jensen’s campaign chest after the last finance report before the election. He received an additional $13K coming from the Buffalo PAC. Curiously he didn’t spend it all, in fact he only spent about $3K on the campaign in it’s waning days (Full report). Curiously he spent around $8,500 on legal fees ($1,000 donated). I’m assuming that was for the recount. What I find ironic is that with all the money and power swirling around the SD GOP who helped get Alex elected that not one single lawyer took him on pro-bono for the recount. Stehly’s (a Republican) attorney, the Chair of the SD Democratic Party, Randy Seiler offered his services for free to Theresa. So basically the donors to the Buffalo PAC and ultimately Jensen funneled money to a Republican Law Firm (Redstone). I know, mind boggling.

Curiously the PAC is registered to a Sioux Falls residential address, a home owned by a SF hospital attorney (not the green one) and an ad agency executive (the big one in town). Both of them also have a connection (still trying to figure out) to a Sioux Falls city director that TenHaken appointed. Strangely they were only used as conduit because none of them donated to the PAC.

So who did? Well the usual suspects, with two of them pouring thousands of dollars towards Alex through various PACs, family members and individual donations. I’m surprised they didn’t find a way to get dead relatives to give since it is against the law now to use your toddler children.

BUFFALO PAC DONORS:

Matthew Paulson – $5,000.00 (Jensen’s campaign treasurer and suspected manager)

Dana Dykhouse – $5,000.00

Crescent Venture Capital (Kevin Tupy ) – $2,000.00

Daniel Costello – $1,000.00

Yes, I know, not surprising since most of these characters already had been throwing money at Jensen’s campaign. I wonder if they knew he gave half of their donation to a law firm?

Sioux Falls City Councilors Jensen, Erickson and Neitzert vote against asking a bar manager questions about police calls and license renewal

Sometimes you see some pretty bizarre things at council meetings, actually just about every one over the past 5 years, but hearing a councilor (Erickson) argue against hearing from a bar manager that has had complaints filed against them about police calls is ridiculous.

Basically, during the 2021 license renewals at tonight’s council meeting, PAVE Bar was up for renewal and councilor Starr asked for them to be pulled from the consent agenda because he had questions about their police calls but asked for it to be deferred until December 1st because he learned the applicant could not attend, and Jamie Palmer, the city’s licensing agent asked if he could come later, and he said he could, she also informed the person complaining to come at a later date.

Makes sense? Right? Wait until the applicant can attend to answer questions about police calls.

Not so fast.

Erickson wasn’t happy about it, and felt that since the applicant wasn’t there to answer questions, they shouldn’t have to answer those questions.

HUH? Where the Frick is the logic in that? That would be like telling someone who was supposed to be in court to defend themselves against a violation and the judge and jury telling them if they don’t show up for their hearing they will be presumed innocent.

WOW. Christine and her lap dogs Greg and Alex have been going off the rails for a while now, and I honestly don’t understand where it is coming from? I really don’t. I could only speculate that her and her pups are friends with the people who own PAVE. Kind of reminds you of how a $26 million dollar disaster got approved. The only explanation would be something my grandma VI used to say, “Maybe she is taking 500 mg ugly pills before the meeting?”

I have not seen the police call evidence about PAVE, and I have NO idea what it is costing taxpayers, but should we at least see the evidence and have a hearing before we renew their license? I think it is only fair. Apparently Christine, Alex and Greg don’t give a rat’s ass about any of those things.

Fortunately five of the councilors felt it was important. They left their ugly pills at home tonight.

Sioux Falls CountCilor Alex Jensen thinks the city council isn’t a legislative body

Madeline Shields asks a pretty basic question, “People are always intimidated about running for public office . . . what is it that you hope to learn more about?”

Jensen’s answer, “The legislature compared to the city council are two very, very different things.”

Well, they are not. But we will get to that in moment.

Ironically Jensen ran on his ‘legislative experience.’ He told voters that as many times as he could. Also, the city council is the ‘legislative body’ they are the ones that (should) be making the ordinances, creating the yearly budget, etc. That duty has been robbed by the Mayor’s office (starting with Munson) and has gotten progressively worse. In fact, by charter (which I’m sure Jensen has never read) the city council specific duties is legislating, while the mayor’s duties are running the city as the city manager. By not legislating on the city council, you are effectively derelict in your duties.

Somebody asked me once if the council is not legislating, what are they doing? Well besides approving some beer licenses, they show up every Tuesday to Rubberstamp the Mayor’s agenda and Mayor’s budget while raising taxes and fees on the rest of us and handing out goodies to the banksters, contractors and welfare queen developers in town. That’s not legislating, that’s rewarding the folks who fund your campaigns. Don’t believe me, it cost Jensen $117,000.000 to beat Stehly by less than a 100 votes. Do you think this money came from his pocket? I can almost guarantee you that 99.9999% of city voters have NEVER given a penny to a council or mayoral race. So where does this money come from? The people who show up every week to rob the cookie jar, and after Tuesday’s meeting, they will now be at the front of the line.

Jensen is right, the council isn’t a legislative body anymore and they should be brought up on ethics violations for not following their duties as prescribed by the charter. Folks, that may just happen. As John Lee Hooker said in a song once, “Pot’s on, gas on high, we are cooking.” The council isn’t going to like what’s for dinner when we are done.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken and the Sioux Falls City Council continue their ‘HATEFEST’ on Transparency and Open Government

UPDATE: As you can see the council and mayor are moving forward with their plans (Items #40-41) on a night when most people will be paying attention to the election. The items are also misleading because in the titles it says NOTHING about moving public input or meeting time moving. Only if you read the red notes you will see the changes.

This change could also be construed as unconstitutional in the public input ordinance;

Notice that currently public input at the beginning of the meetings doesn’t allow you to comment on pending business coming up in the rest of the meeting, which is also unconstitutional, but they are saying with this NEW ordinance that you can’t comment on what happened during the meeting though the items have already been voted on and the business of those items is closed. The SCOTUS has ruled very recently that you can discuss ANY city business at public input whether it is on an agenda or not. I think they said as long as a citizen is commenting on business that is ‘germane’ to that government body, it is allowable. I guess now the Mayor thinks he knows better than the Supreme Court. Not only do they suck at transparency, they are getting very sloppy legal advice.

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I just found out this afternoon that the mask mandate isn’t the only controversy coming on Tuesday. There are two items that will probably get first readings on Tuesday night also that have not been presented to the public in an informational, which is no surprise. I knew that both of these were coming after Stehly’s seat was bought by the banksters and developer welfare queens, and they have to do with shackling citizens;

• The first is a move rumored to be brought forward by Councilors Erickson and Jensen that would move the regular council meetings to 6 PM. This of course would give citizens very little time from when they get off of work to attend the meetings on time in person and an obvious assault on open government.

• The second is rumored to be proposed by Mayor TenHaken himself to move public input to the end of the meetings.

I have no doubt both will get the 5 votes they need to pass. These actions come after just a few weeks ago the Mayor ended the traditional mayor/director meetings with council leadership on Friday mornings and also the move to remove red notes from ordinances that are being changed.

This of course is NO surprise since this mayor and council has had a full on assault on transparency and their hatred of open government and more importantly citizen input and advocacy. They despise more than anything else and won’t be happy until they lop off the citizens rights to dissent their government, or at least make it more challenging to do so.

Messing with public input and citizens rights to advocate for themselves is a whole new level of disgusting behavior by this administration and city council. I would ask if they have any shame, but you know the answer.

So why are they so Hellbent on silencing the public? Because they have several plans to hand over MORE of your tax dollars to the elite who fund their campaigns and they are tired of the public making that process messy and in the open.

And if you think the steamrolling won’t happen, wait until Starr leaves the council (hopefully) and they replace him with another rubberstamper.

Prepare for your taxes and fees to rise exponentially while your voice and services get stifled. This is what happens when you let a non-partisan government get controlled by political hacks of the Republican Fascist Party with no governing experience and deep, deep, deep hatred of citizen activism and transparency.

We have a virus destroying our city alright, and the only way to stop it is with lots of Sunshine.

Sioux Falls City Council Operations Meeting full of some very dark proposals including killing public input

The City Council had its Operations Committee meeting in the dark of the morning Thursday at 10 AM. I wonder why there was NO public input? Trust, me, this was done on purpose so the public could not attend, especially with some of the crap they were proposing. Once again, like the mayor, the majority of the council, the RS6 now, HATE transparency and openness, it is at the core of their very dark agenda for the city.

The meeting started out with a proposal for more per diem money to the council for logo wear city council apparel. I think right now they receive around $50 a year and they want to increase it to $150 per year. What confuses me is that they could just buy each councilor a simple magnetic name badge (for around $15 bucks) that they could wear on any piece of clothing, heck, buy them two. Just another example of how they waste taxpayer money on something they don’t really need.

I found it interesting that CountCilor Alex Jensen wasn’t wearing city logo wear but a First Premier pull over, nice touch. Reminds me of when Jim Entenman was wearing his Harley Davidson shirts to council meetings. Got to get in that shameless promotion yah know. Also, we can’t forget the thousands of dollars that were funneled to Alex’s campaign thru his employer’s upper leadership and various mischevious PACs. You better wear the damn shirt Alex!

Another change is for the consent agenda. They want councilors to give a 24 hour notice to city hall if they are going to pull something from the consent agenda so the city director/manager responsible for that item can come to the meeting to answer questions, because their time is valuable or something. Nutzert rambled about wedding anniversaries and kid’s birthday parties. Because, when you make a 6-Figure a year salary from the taxpayers of this city you shouldn’t be bothered for 5 minutes to answer a question about city spending when you should be a Chucky Cheese with your kids. Puhhhleese. There has always been this consistent argument, that I knew would gear up after the RS6 was installed, that city employees personal lives on a Tuesday night are somehow more important than the public’s business. They know they have an expectation to come to these meetings, and like I said, they get paid a hefty chunk of change to do so. If you can’t make it because of an important family event, ask someone from your department to fill in. This seems like a responsibility of the director in charge of that department instead of the city council.

They said city councilors don’t have to give the notice, but if they don’t there is no requirement for the director to show up. So basically it is a ‘Pass’ for the very people who are supposed to be serving us (because you know, they get a paycheck to do so).

I have often argued that the consent agenda should be read at the meeting, and after it is completely read by the clerk, items can be pulled. That’s true transparency.

During the meeting, non-committee member, councilor Brekke chimed in from the podium and suggested that the mayor’s office started giving informational meeting updates like they used to, but ended suddenly. We all know why, because of his simmering hatred towards transparency. Just look at the Covid press conferences, vanished, while our numbers are spiking.

The meeting got more interesting with a move to eliminate open discussion at the beginning of the informational meetings and renaming it council comment or report. Basically they can comment about something they are working on, but NO policy discussion, they once again blamed time constraints even though there is NOTHING in the city charter about time constraints or time limits at meetings. If a meeting runs to long, they can recess and come back at another time. Heck the Board of Ethics recessed twice over Greg Nutzert’s ethics hearing. This is a way of keeping more policy decisions from citizens. Disgusting.

The best was at the end of the meeting when, ironically, during open discussion CountCilor Jensen suggested moving public input to the end of the council meetings and eliminating public input on 1st readings. Oh, he was very soft and careful how he presented it, but it was clear when he said something about doing ‘business’ first, what he meant. Councilor Nutzert quickly chimed in and said he would assist him on it, but they may have to take an all expenses paid trip by a right wing partisan hack group to come up with a plan (I jest). I have often argued you put public input first because the public’s opinion is much more important than the business of the council, you know, the people who fund this government and come on their own time to do so. A business coming for a rezone or license is part of an expense of doing business and has little to do with the issues and policies of this city. Citizens should always be at the forefront of local government. I knew this was going to happen when Theresa left, and they have the votes to get it done, so it will probably happen. While I will do my best to fight it, unfortunately this is what happens when a majority of the council has this fascist view of transparency. Total Darkness.

Count-cilor Jensen’s Campaign Treasurer(?) tells us why Alex won

Funny how the treasurer who told me all along he wasn’t Alex’s campaign manager knows so much about the strategy that was used. Matt was Alex’s campaign manager and everyone knew it. It was one of the lousiest lies I have ever heard in a campaign. But telling the truth doesn’t win elections.

While I will agree with some of his points, let’s simply this;

• Raised a buttload of money (from the banksters and develpers) and spent around 10X more than his opponent.

• Campaigned 3X longer than his opponent.

• Used the extra time from a delayed election to campaign more to primary voters that don’t normally vote in city elections.

• Used the list of Mayor TenHaken’s supporters from 2018 to turn the tide in the SE districts. I figured they were going to do this early on. I got tipped off by a mole that was the list they were working from months ago.

There was no grand mystery here, it was really simple math that made Jensen the 6th member of the RS5. MONEY! And lots of it.