Entries Tagged 'Charter Revision Commission' ↓

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Monday, Feb 3, 2020

This week’s meetings are on Monday due to the council going to Pierre on Tuesday.

Charter Revision Commission Meeting • 3 PM

Only agenda item is a going away party for Departing Members Pauline Poletes and Robert Thimjon. They accomplished their very successful shut down of charter amendments. Party on Garth.

City Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM

On presentation on Arterial Street Sidewalk Installation by Chad Huwe, City Engineer

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts;

Sub Item #8, $150K to USD Discovery Center

Sub Item #9, $275K to Development Foundation

Sub Item #25, $136K to YMCA for after school programs and

Sub Item #26, $111 to VOA for after school programs.

I wish the merits of these four items would have been discussed in the regular meeting instead of stuffed into the consent agenda.

Item #7, Change orders, we will be handing about $1.5 million to Journey Construction for the Village on the River Bunker Ramp.

Item #20, Transfer of 2020 Retail Liquor License, with video lottery terminals, and 2020 Package Liquor License from Badlands Gaming LLC, Badlands Gaming, 1600 West Russell Street, to South Dakota Veterans Alliance Inc., 1600 West Russell Street. It looks like this deal is moving forward.

Item #25 (29-30), 2nd Reading of TIF agreement with Lloyd Companies and Sioux Steel Development. As I have said in the past this will pass. I guess councilor Stehly will be absent from this meeting and NOT voting on the issue due to previous commitments. I have said that a better approach would be to gift them the River Greenway property (so they can develop it at their expense) and give them a $10 million dollar TIF only for that redevelopment. I think it is a crying shame that local lawmakers across the country are suckered into these kind of agreements which are truly developer handouts and little else. I’m praying for an amendment, but I don’t think it will happen.

Item #26, 2nd Reading, ordinance on campaign financing and elections. I feel there will be some amendments to this item and it will be an interesting to see what is slipped in. I still think that this ordinance should be amended so it is NOT implemented until after the municipal election.

Item #27, Supplemental appropriations for police overtime pay for special events. Like I said yesterday in a post, I fully support this, but I think a discussion should have occurred with the council before the mayor’s office proposed this. It is the council’s job as laid out in charter to be the legislators, not the mayor’s office.

Item #28, Parks and Rec fee increases. You will notice that some of the biggest increases are at the Midco Aquatic Center.

Item #31, Resolution approving preliminary plan for the controversial Golden Gateway addition.

Item #32, A RESOLUTION REMOVING UNCOLLECTIBLE, DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS FROM THE RECORDS. Interesting that these accounts are confidential?

Item #34, Resolution, allowing Landscapes Unlimited to modify the noncompetition clause under the Management Agreement.

Item #35, Charter Revision Commission presents their ballot amendments. I’m urging a vote NO on amendment ‘B’ which would increase the number of signatures needed for a charter revision petition.

More information to come.

Planning Commission Meeting • 6 PM • Wed, Feb 5

Item #2, F, Consent agenda, Sanford Addition for office?

As I predicted, The Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission did very little in 2019

As I suspected from the get go, the CRC found a way to kill any meaningful legislation for the city’s April election. Oh but they did find a way to make it more difficult to petition our government;

The petitions shall contain or have attached thereto throughout their circulation the full text of the proposed charter amendment and must be signed by registered voters of the city in the number of at least 5 percent of the total number of registered voters at the last regular city election, or the number of signatures required by state law, whichever is greater.

In other words they are trying to get the voters to pass rules that they have already decided to implement on Triple Check the Charter. Yes, folks, they are applying rules that haven’t been amended yet. Isn’t that special? I also got a kick out of the attorney’s explanation on the ballot;

City Attorney’s Explanation of Amendment B:
The current language is, at times, less stringent in its requirements for charter amendment than what is required by the State Constitution. Such is not permissible under State law, which requires the standards of City charter and ordinances to be at least as stringent as State law. The proposed change, as approved and submitted by the Charter Revision Commission, would ensure that the requirements set forth in the charter for voter initiation of a charter amendment are at least as stringent as those set forth in the State Constitution, thus satisfying State law.

What they are basically saying is we MUST vote yes to satisfy State Law. My question is why aren’t we doing that already? And why are we voting on it? I’ll give you my explanation, you can vote NO on this, there is NO requirement we follow state law on this because we are a Home Rule Charter city, we make the rules when it comes to OUR elections. The SOS doesn’t run our local elections, and he shouldn’t. Don’t believe this poppycock, it is just a scare tactic to make it more difficult to petition our government in Sioux Falls and little else. They are trying to hoodwink the voters into passing this, because they know the requirement is not needed.

I vaguely remember the chair of CRC saying at the beginning of the 2019 meetings that it is the CRC’s job to make sure nothing harmful gets on the ballot that could have unintended consequences if passed. Kettle meet black.

The Charter Revision Commission, Welcome to the Killing Floor

I sometimes wonder when I am watching the CRC meetings if it is an actual citizen board meeting or a Shakesperean Tragedy.

They first started by killing the majority of the council approving bonds. They actually amended it so that it would be 5 votes (of the council) instead of 6 (which I could go along with since it takes the mayor out of breaking a tie). It failed in a 3-1 vote. Yes ONE vote killed it, the chair voted against it, and they needed 4 votes to pass. Hajek recused herself due to a conflict with her husband being a bond attorney. I think she would have voted against it to, so it was dead whether she was recused or not.

Then they wanted to change this in charter to make it harder to do petition drives that change the charter;

The petitions shall contain or have attached thereto throughout their circulation the full text of the proposed charter amendment and must be signed by registered voters of the city in the number of at least 5 percent of the total number of registered voters at the last regular city election, or the number of signatures required by state law, whichever is greater.

They basically think we need to follow state law when it comes to our city business in handling petition drives proposing charter changes. Bogus. The governor’s election has NOTHING to do with city charter. That number is over 1,200 more signatures as of the last election. They say they are clarifying the language to follow state law. So I wonder why they think they can try to change the ordinance in the middle of a petition drive? That has always been my beef. They are applying these proposed changes to Triple Check the Charter before the rule has been changed by the voters. Now they are trying to change the rules that they are already applying. Huh? I know, confusing as all get out. The rule should be changed before it can be applied.

All 5 members approved this being on the ballot. We will be informing citizens that this is bad and encourage them to vote against it. Charter change petition drives should be based on city elections. That is really what they should have proposed for a change and let the do-nothing AG and SOS try to change it (my guess is they would not lift a finger). Maybe I am talking out of my ass (I am told that a lot) so please correct me if I am missing something here.

They reject Councilor Brekke’s proposal to put in charter that the council sets forth a strategic plan (Member Zylstra voted to put on the ballot, all other members rejected it);

Adoption of a long range strategic master plan created by the City Council

CRC members basically say the council already has the power to do this (which is true) and it shouldn’t be in the charter as a stringent requirement. This is exactly why it NEEDS to be in the charter, it would force the council to do their jobs instead of letting the mayor be the legislative body and proposing plans. According to charter already, the council is the one that proposes ordinance changes and legislation and the mayor’s job is really pretty simple, run the day to day operations and manage city employees.

Another meeting where the CRC is the Judge, the Jury and the Executioner. I will clarify again, their only job is to place legal changes on the ballot, it is NOT their job to determine whether or not these are good or bad if they pass. That decision is up to the voters. They seem to be making the determination that voters will pass something bad unknowingly if they allow it on the ballot. It is up to voters to determine whether or not something is ‘bad’ for them, not a volunteer group of folks appointed by the mayor. They are chosen for their legal and management expertise (I assume) that is what they are supposed to be determining, if these proposals are LEGAL and NOT HARMFUL to citizens. I haven’t seen a proposal yet this year that is not within the constraints of the law, or harmful to citizens. They are killing these proposals based on what is harmful to the 1% in our community, and not what is good for our whole community. I have been thoroughly disgusted with the actions of the CRC this year.

They also make some action to change language on the city website about their duties. This was an extremely confusing discussion, because I guess they already made the change, but no one said what it said before or what it was changed to. City Attorney Kooistra mumbled something, but I was still confused.

Towards the end, the most interesting part was before public input. Instead of the chair inviting people up for 5 minutes of public input, he first asks the dais if there was an ‘OBJECTION’ to opening the floor to public input before allowing it. No one on the dais responds (why would they?!)

What the F*CK!? It’s on the agenda Chief Kills an Amendment. By state law that recently changed, you have to have it, whether you object or not. I would think a chair who specializes as a government affairs attorney would know state law? The problem is he ‘thinks’ he knows, and why he has choked the life out of all the proposals that have come forth, except one that actually hurts the petitioning process.

Councilor Brekke ends the S-Show by telling the CRC she will continue to work on her proposal for strategic planning. The CRC, or at least one member, Hajek, seems to think the mayor has a right to a strategic plan also. Once again, certain people on the CRC don’t understand that is NOT his job, it is the job of the Council. I am often amazed that people who have been involved with local government for a very long time, really don’t grasp how it is supposed to work. As Archie Bunker would say, “Jeesh!”

The meeting ends humorously by the chair telling us the CRC and himself have been ‘open and transparent’ from the beginning about how they would conduct their business (laying the groundwork of how things would be killed). He also gives a nod to my commentary (online). So now that the chair has brought up this ‘open and transparent’ process I would assume all emails and phone calls between CRC members over the last several months will be released to the public?


The scripted meetings by the Director (the chair) made it blatantly obvious that many ‘behind the scenes’ conversations were had.

I would like to congratulate the CRC this year for their continued obsession with killing progressive and constructive ideas.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Dec 10-11, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tuesday, Dec 10

Update on Legislative Priorities for the 2019 session and a presentation on Walkability by Councilor Stehly (I’m not sure what her presentation is about). But I see they continue to peddle the perceived benefits of TIFs;

6. The Sioux Falls City Council supports tax increment financing (TIF), an economic development tool that has led to millions of dollars in increased property value, benefitting both the state as a whole and the local entities sponsoring the districts, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the process.

I say ‘perceived’ because we have NEVER gotten evidence that it has benefitted us.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM • Tuesday, Dec 10

Item #4, Annual city employee awards. This is always a fun one to watch.

Item #7, Approval of Contracts, Placement of MLK sculpture by Porter Williams at the refurbished Van Eps Park.

Item #15, 2nd Reading, Ordinance, $41 Million in bonds for wastewater. This is a series of several bonds over the next couple of years. I also want to remind people we should have started this process 5 to 10 years ago, but the previous mayor wanted to bond for play palaces instead and the public works director fell at his feet. I hope that at least one councilor asks him if he ever urged the previous king of Sioux Falls to get moving on this.

Item #16, 2nd Reading, Liquor license changes, This is going to be fun to watch. I have a feeling it is going to be a lively conversation. You know my feeling, we need to get rid of ‘lifetime’ liquor licenses.

Item #20, Pay Scales for City Council appointed staff. I won’t go into great detail, but it amazes me how much these people are being paid, and ironically, the staff that does the majority of the work is paid the least. I have said they could ‘trim the heard’ a bit and have less staff. I would first make the operations director the clerk also, and have only one assistant clerk. I would also eliminate the legislative/budget analyst since we pay the Municipal League already lobbying fees to do that job. Or maybe eliminate that fee and keep that person.

Charter Revision Commission Meeting • 3:30 PM • Wednesday, Dec 11

The hammer continues to drop at the CRC. As you can see from this graphic, they have been very good at killing stuff;

Oh, but they are going to get something done, making it more difficult to do a petition drive when it comes to the changing the Charter;

The petitions shall contain or have attached thereto throughout their circulation the full text of the proposed charter amendment and must be signed by registered voters of the city in the number of at least 5 percent of the total number of registered voters at the last regular city election, (change) or the number of signatures required by state law, whichever is greater.

When I talked to fellow city government nerd about this the other day, they said ‘If it gets on the ballot, we will make sure it doesn’t pass.’ The irony of it would be the mantra of the CRC and saying they don’t like to put stuff on the ballot because people just vote ‘YES’ on it without researching it. I will guaran-F’ing-tee you that if they put this on the ballot, we will make sure the public is VERY informed about what they are trying to do and it will be fun to watch the ONLY thing they approve for the ballot fails, or at least we hope it fails.

I also find this discussion curious;

Clarification of Duties of the Charter Revision Commission on its Webpage

Huh? This is what is listed on the city website;

The commission may deliver a report to the city election authorities framing and proposing amendments to the Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter. The commission holds at least one public meeting each calendar year for the purpose of receiving recommendations from the public regarding revisions to the charter and to take action upon any matters before the commission relating to proposed charter revisions.

It will be interesting to hear what changes they want to make.

Change Anything you want (Guest Post, Bruce Danielson)

Let’s get this out of the way right now, the Charter Revision Commission as currently composed and directed by the city government is set up to be a place where things go to die. It doesn’t matter what the proposed idea is, it should just die if the administration currently in power deems it. The CRC will just read their prepared scripts and do what they are told.

This year’s CRC fun involves the excuse Triple Check the Charter petition process is to blame for their inaction. We’ll disagree on this, Justin Smith said it plainly in the last go round 2 years ago, their job is to make sure thing don’t go on the ballot because the public might just vote for the change. So most of the work of the CRC is going down (as grandpa would say) “the crapper” as expected.

The November 6th, 2019 CRC meeting carried on the tradition of inaction by Justin Smith missing from the meeting this time and Bob Thimjon was missing from the last one so items can’t be fully discussed or ruled on. With Justin Smith missing, vice chair Pauline Poletes opened the meeting with a clarification of her personal role and of course Anne Hajek, not to be outdone, declares she also is there for the citizens. OK, they clarified their “personal” positions in a less than positive way. I wonder what brought that on?

As you watch the meeting video, note how different members seem to be reading a canned speech to make sure the right words are said. Who wrote the commissioner’s speeches? If the presenter really felt strongly about an issue, why did he need to read a speech?

Oh speaking of reading a funky smelling speech, let’s discuss the funkmaster of the city council showing up to funk up the proceedings. Greg Neitzert had to read from his notebook to make sure he told us of his undying love for all things administration. His statement “if you were to remove the mayor as a member of the City Council, I mean really what this comes down to is I think you have a small group of people that are still angry about two or three votes in the last ten years and their answer is to essentially upend city government…” I guess he is talking about we, who own the government, being upset by four mayors who have increasingly ignored their responsibility to protect the public’s right to know. We have watched Greg Neitzert go from begging us to help him run for office to now pretending he doesn’t know the people who helped him get his bigshot position as protector of PTH and TJ Typeover. BTW, did they help him write his speech?

There’s an issue brought up by Joe Kirby we’re torn about, the 6 month residency requirement. The original proposal would have prevented former Harrisburg sometime voter, Ritch Nobles, from running in 2016 for an At-Large spot. If the full implementation of the proposal were in place in 2016, Marshall Selberg would not have been able to take a seat as the SW District Councilor because he was still registered as a NW voter until a few days before the election. Does it matter if Marshall moves to a district he could win in and or does it matter if Ritch Nobles moves to Sioux Falls just so (as he admitted) he could run for city council?

All in all, the references to Triple Check was a confirmation the public was right in demanding changes because the Charter Revision Commission is a waste of time and energy if real changes are necessary to the home rule charter.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Nov 5-6, 2019

City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tue, Nov 5

We have presentations on Microblading & The 3rd Phase of the River Greenway Project. This should be interesting to see how they will spend around $10 million on this project.

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM • Tue, Nov 5

Item #7, Approval of Contracts, apparently it costs $79K to design and manage the construction of a very small Dog Park Downtown. I think I need to get into the dog park design business.

Fire Chief Goodroad also provides some information on what the design process will include for the public safety training center;

The Architectural Services will provide programming services and final space
requirements for the following:
• Main Classroom/Office Building
• High Rise Training (Burn Tower)
• 2-Story Training Building
• 2-Story Mixed Use Training Building
• Urban Search and Rescue (USAR)
• Hazmat/Rail
• Outdoor Live Fire Props
• Propane Fuel Farm
• Police/Fire Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) (high and low speed)
• Outdoor Classroom
• Tactical Gun Range
• Site Development and Landscape

Item #69, 2nd Reading, Bee Keeping ordinance. I think will have the support of at least 5 councilors. But it will be interesting to see what amendments get tacked on.

Item #74, 1st Reading, Clarifying the duties of the City Attorney as advisor to certain citizen boards. While I support the change, it should have been put on the ballot in the Spring for citizens to vote on it.

Item #79, Resolution to increase the funding for the Bunker Ramp by $1.5 million. It’s too bad this is all the way at the end of the meeting. I suspect the discussion about this should be HOT. I think they have at least 5 votes to pass this, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if this actually gets 7 votes. Hopefully though we will get some answers as to what this is for, but I’m guessing we will just get a lot of runaround with directors telling councilors during questioning, “I’ll get that info for you tomorrow and email it.” (so the public can’t see it tonight before it passes). I have often thought that a vote should be automatically deferred one week if city staff can’t provide an answer in the public meeting, or at least try to find it before the vote takes place. What’s the point in answering a question after the passage of legislation?

Item #80, Resolution to appoint citizen board members. The mayor gets to appoint two members to the State Theatre Board (since we THE TAXPAYERS gave them money). I can feel the warmth of the popcorn already.

Charter Revision Commission Meeting •  3:30 PM • Wed, Nov 6

The killing floor continues at the CRC meetings. They will take up several items including;

• Removing Mayor from Council, Super Majority to approve bonds & plurality or ranked choice voting. I suspect they will all be killed by the CRC. In the graphic below you will see the timeline they are working with in this slaughter of good legislation and changes to the Charter.

Planning Commission Meeting • 6 PM • Wed, Nov 6

Item 2-I, More redevelopment/additions at the Sanford Sports Complex

Item 5-B, Video Lottery Casino, Alcohol Permit

City of Sioux Falls CRC (Charter Revision Commission) doesn’t have time to listen to constituents

Yep, you heard it from the chair, Mr. Smith himself, towards the end of the meeting today he went on a (polite) rant about changing the charter over ‘political’ decisions the council made, then said the city council has more time to listen to constituents then the CRC does.

Oh, and it shows, they only meet about once a month at 3:30 PM on a Wednesday afternoon when NO ONE from the general public can attend and listen and comment. Talk about due diligence! I often shake my head when I hear government officials (whether elected or appointed) say that the public must not be concerned because they didn’t show up to the meeting – while having that meeting at a very inconvenient time during the work week. I guess if the public was concerned they would ask for PTO so they could come and give their two cents. I have often said this is an open government issue, and these meetings are held at times when it is difficult for the public to attend, because, they don’t want them to attend.

Moving on in the meeting they of course KILL the plurality vote suggestion blaming the petition drive and felt if the public wanted to change this they would speak up and sign the petition. Ironically it was changed to majority without input from the public, just because a couple of councilors felt bad. So if something was changed without a public plea to begin with, why not change it back?

CRC Chair Justin Smith also continues to act like putting something on the ballot is automatic passage of an amendment. He either doesn’t get it or is just playing games. The CRC only places amendments on the ballot from suggestions from the public, it is up to the voters to say yes or no. I’m surprised a government attorney is acting so ignorant about how stuff gets on the ballot. It seems his blatant spreading of misinformation should be an ethics violation. The CRC is not the ‘end all’. It is up to voters to decide the passage of the amendments – and he knows it!

But before it was killed member Pauline Poletes tries to defer because member Bob Thimjon wasn’t there, Smith shuts her down saying Bob was noticed of the meeting and could have attended and they don’t have time to revisit it later – which proves later to be ironic when they DO defer another item due to missing members.

Member Anne Hajek recuses herself on the super majority bonding discussion and blames ME for bringing it up on my blog and corrects me by saying that while her husband is a bonding attorney he doesn’t not work for a bonding company. This is true, and I apologize for the mistake. But she of course doesn’t expand and say that the firm her husband Doug works for does counsel ‘work’ for the bonding company that does bonding for the city. It’s semantics I guess, and a little wordplay. The city attorney though asks Hajek to leave the room if she is going to recuse herself, then they make a bunch of jokes about it. Yeah, because being ethical or unethical is soooo funny. Thought I was at a Trump rally for a moment.

City Councilor Janet Brekke during public input brings data showing most bonds pass with a super majority or more, and all the more reason to put this forth seeing NO harm in putting this in Charter, and I agree. 

The chair and other members of course say that all the more reason NOT to pass this because it already is taking place.

Stinking Rules! Who needs them!

They also blame the petition drive again. But chair Smith goes a step further and says that this is about some ‘political’ decisions the council made (over the bunker ramp) and the CRC shouldn’t get involved because they are ‘Non-Political’ (Could have fooled me).

Passing a bond isn’t a ‘political’ decision based on a bias, it is a TAXING decision that affects us. I was once again shocked by the very ‘POLITICAL’ statements of the chair. It is very much the duty of the CRC to be NON-POLITICAL when deciding what goes on the ballot, and if this is a legal change, you should allow it, especially when it has to do with how government is spending our money. These rules need to be put in place so city councils DON’T make ‘political’ decisions based on bias, but decisions based on the best interest of the taxpayers.

It did get deferred though due to member Poletes pointing out they need 4 votes to approve something and TWO members were not present to vote (Hajek and Thimjon) so even if they voted to kill it they would only have 3 votes, and they need 4 votes to pass it. Of course Chair Smith voted against the deferral, but it had the 2 votes it needed to be deferred.

They discussed making the city attorney a non-voting member of the CRC and just an advisor, which I thought he was already. I guess councilor Neitzert is making an amendment in the future to change this in the charter language. Brekke said during public input that she was unaware this was going to be done. Shocker! Greg told the CRC but NOT his fellow councilors.

As I suspected, the CRC has probably been working diligently behind the scenes to sabotage the petition drive (it’s obvious in their scripted discussions they have during the meetings), then turns around and tries to blame this same petition drive as for the reason to kill these amendments. It shouldn’t matter if there is a drive, the duty of the CRC is to determine if something can legally be changed in the Charter, if it won’t be harmful to the greater good of the public and government, and it the language is proper in style and form. When Chair Smith said the CRC is ‘non-political’ he was correct. Offering your opinions on whether you support something before the public has had a chance to vote on it is being ‘POLITICAL’. So when are you going to practice what you preach and put these on the ballot and let the public decide, as well as yourself, IN THE VOTING BOOTH, NOT AT A 3:30 WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON MEETING.

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.