Entries Tagged 'Charter Revision Commission' ↓

Charter Revision Commission suggests City Attorney becomes voting member of board

Whether the city attorney is elected or appointed, he should only be in an advisory role either way. But what makes this even more troublesome is that he is appointed by the Mayor, if he were to come a voting member he would have the influence of the mayor.

I’m still baffled who might have came up with even suggesting such a ridiculous notion.

What makes it even more ironic is that at the beginning of the meeting, the city attorney, Stacy Kooistra, admits, AGAIN, that he didn’t know how to answer questions, this time about redistricting so he called on another ‘expert’ in the room, city clerk Tom Greco. Oh boy.

But the most (un)entertaining part was when councilor Brekke suggested to the CRC that the council should prepare a long range strategic plan, and it should be written in the charter (even though she admitted it didn’t really need to be in there – because it is kind of their job anyway).

Well that conversation went from bad to worse when one of the CRC members suggested that the mayor should do the long range strategic plan. In frustration, Brekke had to remind them that in the charter, the council is the legislative policy body and the mayor is administrative. She likened it to a paint by number painting, the council draws the lines and puts in the numbers and the mayor fills in the sections with paint.

They didn’t seem to comprehend why a part-time council would want to do such a thing or have time for it, and it was a better job for the mayor.

C’mon folks! This is civics 101, the council is the legislative body that compiles policy (Brekke compared it to a corporation’s board of directors) and the mayor is the executive branch executing the policies (the CEO). But this isn’t something Brekke pulled from her rear end, IT IS ALREADY WRITTEN IN THE CHARTER THIS WAY!

Shouldn’t the CRC know a little something about what is already in the charter?

The former mayor screwed the pooch on this entire process by becoming the ‘planner’ in chief and twisting the arms of 3 councilors to go his way.

I think the first order of business for the long range strategic plan is to terminate all the current members of the CRC.

A lot of Chicken Littles have been emerging over Triple Check the Charter

I was in amazement over the past 24 hours of all the peeps crying the sky is falling over Triple Check the Charter. Most of what is being said is pure bunk. First let’s start with KSFY’s story.

Besides the fact they mutilated the logo for the measure (eliminating the check marks and descriptive wording at the bottom) they seem to be a little confused.

‘One portion calls for the mayor to be taken off the city council and removes his tie-breaking vote. Any vote ending in a tie would fail.’ (while this part is true, it still doesn’t eliminate the mayor’s ability to VETO council action. With a VETO by the mayor, it would take a super majority to overturn the VETO. He still would have the power to stop legislation he doesn’t agree with).

‘Another item would turn city council elections into a simple plurality.’ (This was actually in the original charter until Councilor Rolfing decided to fiddle with it).

‘A third measure would require a 2/3 majority to pass any bond measure, meaning at least six of the eight council members would need to vote in favor.’ (This is actually the most important part of the amendments IMO. It would force the council to be in consensus when it comes to borrowing money and is an excellent measure that encourages fiscal responsibility of our tax dollars. The only ones that are crying about this are bond salesman).

‘It also calls for city council to develop a strategic plan.’ (That is false. There is NO amendment for that on the proposed petition. Maybe someone should tell KSFY that the word TRIPLE means THREE. Councilor Janet Brekke has proposed several times that the council come up with a strategic plan, but that is NOT a charter amendment proposal, that is just simply doing their jobs as policy makers).

KELO also posted this comment by Mayor TenHaken;

“To put that responsibility of the strategic direction of the city into the hands of eight part-time city councilors is, I think, a very dangerous thing to do,” says TenHaken in a video on his Facebook page

I am completely baffled by this statement. Why would it be dangerous for the policy makers of the city, the city council, to come up with a strategic plan? It is clearly ALREADY spelled out in charter that is it their job to create and establish policy. The petition doesn’t change this one single bit. The only thing that is ‘dangerous’ is our mayor making statements like this. It only confuses voters and is a form of voter suppression. The city council already has the RIGHT and the POWER to implement any policy or plan they want to, and the mayor can’t do a damn thing about it except VETO it. It frightens me that either PTH doesn’t already know this, or he is just flat out lying to scare citizens.

But the rhetoric gets even thicker at the CRC meeting when commission member, Ann Hajek makes this statement at the end of the meeting;

. . . however, this would be a major change to our form of government if adopted, so I think it is important for people to understand that there is some mis-information out there. So it is part of our job as the charter commission to let them know it hasn’t changed and we are in place to keep it in line . . .

As I mentioned above, the only people that are scared are the bond salesman and developers/contractors because it creates a higher threshold for bonding. Mrs. Hajek is married to lead counsel for our major bonding company.

But what I find even more ironic about her statement is that the charter, which was implemented in 1995 is just fine as is, and that the CRC’s job is to protect the status quo. It has actually changed several times since than, it just hasn’t been because of a citizen driven petition. The CRC and city council has made changes.

We heard the opposite with Shape Places. We were told several times we had to change our zoning laws because they haven’t changed since 1986. They actually were amended hundreds of times since 1986, and ironically since Shape Places has been implemented, it has been amended a handful of times to. Why? Because the city council that passed it didn’t bother reading the 400 page document before approving it. The Charter, like zoning laws, have to be updated from time to time. Triple Check the Charter is simply some ‘updating’ to the charter. Don’t listen to the chicken littles in our community who have a lot to lose ($$$) if these changes are made, while the citizens have a lot to gain in tax savings. If passed, progress would occur through a consensus of our council and within the parameters of fiscal responsibility. This isn’t ‘dangerous’ it is just no-nonsense government.

It’s time for citizens to fix the City of Sioux Falls Charter

If you watch the meeting, you will see the CRC (Charter Revision Commission) did their darn best to make sure nothing (so far) gets on the ballot for the Spring election. They consistently refer to the council to make changes. Quite honestly, when it comes to pay or how elections are run, that should be a CITIZEN decision, and should be put on the ballot by the CRC. In fact, I think most of the council would agree.

Fortunately, Dale Froehlich and Joe Kirby showed up to reveal the changes they would like to see. I’m sure they are NOT holding their breaths. They know as well as I do that it will be up to a petition drive to fix the issues with the charter.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda • July 16, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM

Update on Fire training center and the transit core team.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts. The EC is only a few years old and they are already planning a HVAC upgrade. This was one of my contentions when we were building the facility, if you go on the cheap on the front end, it will cost you millions in maintenance later. I believe the Pavilion was supposed to cost us around $19 million. With maintenance and upgrades over the past 20 years it has far exceeded $50 million. This is why we had to keep the entertainment tax.

Item #28, 2nd Reading, State Theatre funding (this is tied in with Item #35, resolution to authorize the contract. Basically the council approves the supplement in ordinance then they later approve the contract in resolution (I know, confusing) I have attached the contract. While the document is 110 pages long, the contract itself is about 11 pages. This will most likely pass 6-0 (Stehly and Soehl are expected to be absent). While I can see the payoff in tax revenue (eventually) I still take issue with where we are taking the money from and by the whims and demands of one man. It’s a piss poor way to govern a city, whether it is a $20 gift or $1.5 million dollar gift, the well to do of our town shouldn’t be able to put demands on citizens to gift money.

As you can see in the chart below, we will be paying for ‘specific’ things, and if I understand the contract correctly, we will be paying the contractor who does the work as it is completed. In other words, we are not handing the State Theatre Company directly. It is very similar to the Facade easement program (something PTH has eliminated).

Charter Revision Commission • 4 PM (Thur, July 18)

They will discuss council pay.

Events Center Campus Study Group, Public Input;

Wednesday, July 17th – 7am Upstairs Club Room, HyVee on Minnesota and 38th

Wednesday, July 17th – 6pm Falls West Room, Holiday Inn Sioux Falls-City Centre

Thursday, July 18th – 11:30am The Center for Active Generations

Thursday, July 18th – 6pm Rooms 8, 9 and 10, Sioux Falls Convention Center

Charter Revision Commission has first meeting of 2019

Local Attorney, Justin Smith was elected chair, and no surprise. He ran the meeting with an iron fist and made sure everyone was following procedures and gave extensive commentary to why policy and procedures should be followed. This is no surprise, as I told someone after the meeting, Smith made sure that the CRC last time around put nothing on the ballot, he was afraid that if something got on the ballot it ‘might pass’. Like a typical attorney, it was clear to me from this first meeting that Smith was building the case early to keep stuff off the ballot that may benefit the public. I’m not saying he won’t approve some minor language changes, but those likely will come from the administration.

During the meeting, councilor Neitzert spoke and told them to take their time on the salary increases for mayor and council (as if he was appointed by the rest of the city council to speak on their behalf) Well, he kind of is the self-appointed leader of the RS5. I’ve noticed several councilors depend on Neitzert’s research so they can hobble through the meetings while watching baseball games and texting their plumber or babysitter.

Another gentleman spoke at the end during public input, having several requests. One was to have a super majority for bonding (which I agree with). Smith asked him what would that threshold be ($$$)? The person said they could discuss later. IMO, there is no ‘threshold’. If the city council has to approve borrowing money, whether that is $20 or $20 million, it should have a super majority.

New CRC member, Anne Hajek also asked the public inputer for their street address, which took him off guard. We haven’t been required for several years to give our street address only our name and city we reside. He gave it anyway, though he didn’t have to.

I have lost all hope the CRC will put anything on the ballot accept pissy-ass crap about minor word changes in the charter. The only way to make real change in this city is by carrying a petition, and this time make sure the city clerk looks at it.

Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission meets next week

This is their first meeting of 2019, so it is just preliminary meeting to go over the agenda for the year. There are some new members this year, but I don’t have much hope things will change since Justin Smith will still be on the Commission reminding the members that we can’t risk putting stuff on the ballot because ‘it could pass’.

The CRC’s job is to make sure something is LEGAL and REASONABLE within the law to put on the ballot when it comes to changes to the charter. Their job is NOT to make educated guesses on whether something will pass or not.

I have a feeling nothing will be put on the municipal ballot in 2020 that is brought forward by councilors or concerned citizens or groups through the CRC. But I guess we will have to wait and see.

Thank God we still have the petition process, the only logical way to get ordinances passed in this town anymore.

Sioux Falls Charter Revision Amendment History

This Document ( Summary of Charter Amendments ) was prepared by the Sioux Falls City Clerk’s office.

As you can see, this last year they approved no charter amendments for the ballot out of 10 proposals. I really think the CRC set a really bad precedent this year based on the ‘sky is falling’ arguments to kill all of the proposals.

Charter Revision Commission finishes 2017 with no items on the ballot

As I have mentioned already, I have been disappointed with the CRC this time around. They have chosen to put no proposed amendments on the ballot for the 2018 spring election. I really felt it was because of pressure and legal mumbo-jumbo from one particular member, Justin Smith, a local attorney who specializes in government relations.

I told them how I felt about their ‘pointless’ meetings during public input this afternoon and told them they wasted their time with these meetings and let down the voters of this city.

I think there was many great amendment proposals, but the CRC chickened out and didn’t think the public should decide. Democracy at it’s worst.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Dec 19, 2017

Sioux Falls City Council Regular meeting

There is NO scheduled informational meeting.

Item#1, Consent Agenda. There are some strange items on the list I just can only speculate on. There is a massive Right of Way acquisition by the city along Ellis road, 12th street to 41st street.

There is also a curious building lease for $43K for vector control. I’m assuming the city is leasing space for safe storage of their highly poisonous and flammable concentrated mosquito control chemicals. I guess there was no room in the new city administration building 🙂

There is also several expenditures for affordable housing.

We are also throwing more money at the Railroads. Apparently they couldn’t squeeze $1,600 out of their $27 Million payout from Federal taxpayers.

Item #31, the city is moving forward borrowing money for storm drainage instead of just paying for it out of reserves, because it is a ‘heckuva’ deal.

Item #36, an ordinance change on essentially tool sheds with the county.

Item #39, A resolution for the new golf course management contract. This is the big one of the night. Rumor has it that the city will probably not buy the used equipment from Dakota Golf Management. The question is, if the city doesn’t buy it, will new equipment have to be purchased and if so, who will pay for it? The taxpayers or the new contractor? I find this disheartening for a couple of reasons. Like the Snowcat groomer at Great Bear, it seems the city has a habit of buying new equipment instead of maintaining what they have that is still useable. At a recent Minnehaha County Commission meeting (FF: 42:50) the commissioners were made aware of a county vehicle that was totaled in an accident (not the county’s fault) and their concern over replacing it because of it’s heavy usage (5 employees share 3 vehicles). Not only was the vehicle 13 years old it was originally a surplus vehicle gifted from the State DOT. If the city would use such prudence with maintaining city equipment we could probably save taxpayers millions each year.

Charter Revision meeting (Dec 20, 2017)

The CRC is in it’s final throws. In this meeting they will discuss increasing councilor’s pay. Like many things presented to the CRC so far, it will probably be thrown out. Erickson had suggested a super majority on the council for major bonds and Neitzert had suggested going back to plurality in council races (essentially letting voters decide how they want THEIR elections to be run). Both ideas were thrown out because they felt the council should change these things instead of the voters (even though ironically two councilors suggested taking it to voters). The whole purpose of having the CRC is to bring sensitive items like this to the voters instead of the council. I’m assuming the pay increase will be thrown out to. The CRC has been one of the most useless I have seen in recent history, though members like Sue Aguliar fought hard to put some of these items on the ballot, a new comer Attorney Justin Smith has been very vocal about squashing items and essentially keeping voters out of the legislative process. It’s almost as if Fiddle-Faddle has been sending him telepathic messages during the meetings. Hopefully the next mayor/council removes him from the CRC, he has been very detrimental to the process and the rest of the sheep on the CRC seem to be following him threw the hole in the fence.

Charter Revision Meeting, November 1, 2017

Council members Stehly, Neitzert, Starr and Erickson show how frustrated they are with the authoritarians in charge by speaking up for 2018 Council Charter changes. Joe Kirby and Dale Froehlich speak. Surprised Joe was still in Sioux Falls this late in the year and not at his ‘other’ sunny home. Don’t you love it when tax dodging millionaires tell you how to run your government from their armchairs in other ‘sunny’ states. FF to 15:00