Entries Tagged 'Christine Erickson' ↓

Why does Sioux Falls struggle so much with open government?

Many in the media are wondering why Mayor Paul doesn’t hold regular press conferences where the media can ask questions. Sorry folks, have to head to my kid’s soccer game.

I have often argued that this should be one of the easiest things our local government officials do – open the books! We already have the laws in place that allow government in South Dakota to open the books as much as they want to, with only a handful of things that are not allowable (and are clearly defined).

It often baffles me when I watch the video above or hear a local official say this (Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson is referring to a conversation she had on Wednesday with Mayor TenHaken about communication);

“Help me understand this. Where was the communication breakdown, and how can we do better for you guys (city councilors)?”

I mean, if you have to ask, you are apparently either NOT fit to lead, or acting naive on purpose to hide things. I think it is a little of both.

When leaders fail at the simplest of tasks, it clearly shows they are NOT prepared for the job and should resign.

I drive past the Mayor’s office every weekday going to work (about 7:45 AM) and again going home (about 4:45 PM) and it is always dark. Why do we need city hall security for a mayor that doesn’t show up to his office?

Patrick Lalley Show, Episodes 8-9

I’m a little behind on these, but had a chance to listen today. Episode 8 with Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson is interesting. If you FF to about 18:40 you will hear Lalley ask about the Bunker Ramp. Erickson tries everything in her power to blowoff the important questions, she even asks Pat at one point to change the topic. Erickson said that it really couldn’t be stopped (construction) because they signed a contract. Pat quickly pointed out that the city could have defaulted on the contract and just paid a penalty. He also pointed out that it is ‘ugly’. She slithered thru the questioning.

Citizen Advocate gets arrested after a landlord tells her she is best friends with Council Chair Erickson

What doesn’t appear on the video is Sierra being arrested on public property (sidewalk) for filming a property that has already had legal problems. (FULL VIDEO HERE) The massage parlor in the background had a person working their without a massage license and I believe she didn’t have a work visa either. The landlord calling Sierra ‘Crazy’ doesn’t seem to be to concerned that illegal activity is going on on her property. She then lies to the police that Sierra was trying to come into the place of business. While Sierra did walk around the parking lot, she filmed the rest of it from the public sidewalk. She was arrested for trespassing based on testimony from the landlord who claims she has ‘Erickson’ on her side. What is sad is that this lady decided to drag in a city councilor on this (the council has no authority over the police force, that is under the executive branch, mayor). If I was Council Chair Erickson I would NOT be to pleased that her name was being used this way.

UPDATE: Chickensh*t vote of the night; Sioux Falls City Council Chair Christine Erickson

There are two kinds of animals on the city council, Reindeers and Chickens.

With zero explanation or discussion, councilors Selberg, Kiley, Soehl, Erickson and Mayor TenHaken voted to leave the 50+1 idiotic election practice former councilors Rolfing and Erpenbach pulled from their butts. While I understand 4 of the votes (elitists who want to keep regular folk off of the council) Erickson changed her vote from two years ago WITH NO EXPLANATION TO THE PUBLIC! I also found it funny that Rolfing Jr. (Kiley) was Chatty Cathy all night about the Philosophy of Rick but said nothing about why we need to keep this silly ordinance in place. Sorry Rick, while some reindeer can fly, chickens cannot.

She receives the Chickensh*t Vote of the Night award. She can CHANGE her vote if she wants to, but when you do it without explanation you move quickly from ruling the roost to just another peckerwood in the farmyard.

Congratulations on your ignorance and obvious vengeance on fellow councilors, because really without an explanation, that is exactly what you were doing tonight. Maybe you can get a job with the Noem administration? Not sure though if she would let you yell out “Oh My God” during a public meeting in your hot microphone. Funny how you had to call out God’s name when your personal business was questioned by a fellow councilor but you had ZERO to say about switching your vote tonight.

BaWch! BaWch! BaWch! but NO Cockadoodle-Doo!

UPDATE: Here’s her grand excuse;

Following the vote, Councilor Christine Erickson, who opposed raising the election threshold in 2017, told the Argus Leader she voted against reverting back to the old standard because changing election rules so frequently would be a disservice to voters and office seekers.

“It’s confusing for voters and candidates to continue to change this year to year,” she said.

Christine, I think I would have said nothing instead. There has been only ONE election since the rule changed, and in case you didn’t notice, the rule change wasn’t even used (Soehl and DeBoer would have to still have a runoff under the old rules). Most voters would not even have noticed it changed back. But nice try. Let’s call a spade a spade, it was a vengeance vote.

Is it time Air BNB operators in Sioux Falls start paying a BID tax?

The hotels in Sioux Falls of a certain size have to pay into the BID tax. If you are long term rentals you have to pay taxes. If you are an Air BNB operator you just pay sales taxes;

AirBnB owners must register their property with City Hall as a rental.

Renting out a private residence as a bed and breakfast in Sioux Falls comes with other requirements, including applying for a $250 conditional use permit, making the necessary accommodations for off-street parking, registering with the state health department and filing a site plan of their home with officials.

In 2015, city officials raised a red flag when they found about 30 AirBnBs operating as rentals while breaking the law.

Last year, the San Francisco-based tech company agreed to collect sales tax from South Dakota renters.

But as we are seeing, it is becoming a very lucrative business for those operating it in Sioux Falls. And who can blame them? You make much more money from short term renters AND they are pre-vetted before they stay. In fact Sioux Falls city councilor Erickson and her Realtor husband have continued to expand their Air BNB business since it has been introduced in Sioux Falls.

What do you think? Should there be a separate BID tax for short term renters since they really are NOT supplying housing like long-term renters and are acting more like a hotel.

Two Sioux Falls City Councilors supporting troublesome school bond issue

Councilors Kiley and Erickson have joined the drum beat of public officials who are encouraging people to vote yes for the school bond issue. It is well within their 1st Amendment rights to voice their opinions. What is troublesome though is that we have elected officials who support not only a dubious election but a very wasteful bond loan. For every $3 we put towards this in tax dollars over $1 goes towards interest and bond investors. Over a $100 million of tax dollars that will never be spent on education.

Another city councilor has worked behind the scenes to try to get the election to use ALL of the precincts, no E-Poll books and have the vote be electronically counted by the Minnehaha County Auditor. Their request fell on deaf ears.

The E-Poll books failed in the primaries because the company that created them no longer services them (Hart Interactiv) and another company, B-Pro has stepped in to try to get them to work. If the E-Poll books don’t work properly there is no way of knowing if people voted multiple times, and if they are hand counted, there is no way of knowing if ballots have been tampered with.

While the election process and extreme waste of tax dollars is troubling in itself, it upsets me even more that we have two public officials promoting this.

Talk about a lack of fiscal responsibility and democratic principles.

AirBnB mysteriously changes from Bed & Breakfast zoning to short term rentals

Short term rental or short term friendship with the mayor?

First off, I agree with the city, a ‘short term rental’ like AirBnB should be just that, a rental. For it to be considered a Bed & Breakfast it has to have a ‘service’ kitchen that serves food to the renters that needs to be inspected by the health department. Since it does not, it is pretty much like any other apartment, but just for a shorter time. But this could ruffle the feathers of your homeowner neighbors who ARE not short term renters.

The rules seem simple. The state requires a tax license;

Beginning Sept. 1, Airbnb will begin collecting and remitting state and municipal taxes on all eligible bookings in South Dakota.

The City of Sioux Falls requires rental registration;

Short Term rental properties (such as Airbnb, VRBO, etc.)

This all makes sense, taxes paid, registrations in check.

But here is where it gets a little ‘sticky’ and all that ‘transparency’ thingy a lot of council candidates like to talk about lately. This story from 2015 paints another picture;

“A bed and breakfast requires a Conditional Use Permit and approval of the Planning Commission for that permit to be approved,” said Shawna Goldammer, Sioux Falls Zoning Enforcement Manager.

Goldammer says an Airbnb is considered a bed and breakfast. Chances are, Airbnb hosts are unknowingly operating illegally.

“What the ordinance does for us in Shape Places makes residential residential. So when you live in a residential area under a residential zoning district, you can expect residential in your neighborhood,” said Goldammer.

Like I said at the beginning, I don’t consider short term rentals a bed and breakfast. What I take issue with is that after Shape Places passed and Goldammer made these statements, somehow the rules disappeared into the night without any action from the city council . . . that I can find.

What is also very interesting is that council candidate and incumbent, Christine Erickson’s main business is ‘short term rentals’ and AirBnB. Please tell me the rules didn’t change quietly in the night after a secret handshake with our mayor and code enforcement?

The irony of this is that Erickson could have had a very public debate about it, and would have probably won and got citizen support. Or maybe not. Would you want to own a home next to a short term rental in a residential neighborhood? I have renters in my neighborhood, I don’t take issue with it, but it’s not a revolving door either.

I would really like to know how these rules just magically change when it affects a city councilor’s business and a mysteriously renewed friendship with the mayor.

Kind of like the Downtown Parking ramp deal, Erickson got a little back peddling to do.

Dem Forum; At-Large ‘B’ Candidate Forum, Erickson & Weiland

Notice later on in the debate how Erickson tries to blow off her involvement with the Downtown parking ramp. She mentions that Hultgren is no longer involved and Lamont properties is in charge.

Hmmmmm.

When Erickson sat on the SECRET RFQ (Request for Qualifications) Committee, she picked Legacy, ran by Norm Drake and Aaron Hultgren. When she voted for the Parking Ramp, it was being developed by Legacy, Norm and Aaron (no mention of Lamont). When it was found out that Norm, Aaron and company were dragging illegal asbestos across our city and being criminally investigated, Erickson voted AGAINST the repeal.

Don’t let Christine fool you, she was all in from the beginning with Norm and Aaron, and she continues to support a private/public partnership with a company that is being sued in civil court and criminally investigated by the Feds.

There ain’t no splaining that will get you out of that.

Marty Jackboots to make a campaign stop at the Sioux Falls City Council Public Services meeting

I heard yesterday that Marty will be making the presentation to the council on Tuesday to talk about crime and drugs. I’m sure it has NOTHING to do with running for Governor.

It was sure nice of Councilor Erickson to invite our AG to campaign at Carnegie. The rumor in Republican circles she is on Jackboots ‘short list’ for possible Lt. Governor. First he has to beat Noem.

Erickson-Selberg proposal does little to help the contract approval process

I guess it is time the vice-chair of the Sioux Falls city council, Christine Erickson shows a little leadership now that she has a challenger;

City Councilors Christine Erickson and Marshall Selberg plan to introduce an ordinance that will require the mayor to open up facility management contract drafts for public inspection no fewer than seven days before councilors are asked to vote on them.

While the proposal isn’t completely worthless (it does let the public see contracts a week longer) it does NOTHING to help the council get involved with policy decisions;

That means if City Hall wants to renew a contract or enter a new one to authorize a third-party to run a city-owned facility, the proposed contract will need to be posted online a week in advance of an official hearing.

The idea comes just weeks after the Council was asked to approve a new golf course management contract that councilors had limited time to review.

The major problem with the golf contract wasn’t the timeframe that it was dropped on council, it was the fact the council had little or nothing to do with the decision to change over to a management agreement. As councilor Neitzert pointed out, the council should have been able to negotiate that policy change, and that change should have been approved by them before it made the RFP.

It is no surprise the mayor doesn’t have a problem with Erickson’s proposal;

In an email Friday, Huether said while his finance staff is meeting with councilors to further vet the proposal, he’s inclined to support it.

Of course he supports it, first off he has one foot out the door, and secondly, as I mentioned above, it does nothing to give the council negotiating powers when it comes to policy changes, even though they are the ones that should be setting policy.

Lastly, who cares if the Mayor supports it or not? That has been the major problem with the council over the past 8 years, their fear of what MMM thinks.