Entries Tagged 'Corona Virus' ↓

‘A Goat Rodeo’ – Sioux Falls City Council special meeting

During the special meeting today at 4 PM, Mayor TenHaken called the current crisis a ‘Goat Rodeo’. What he didn’t mention is he is the head rodeo clown.

What was supposed to be a simple meeting about taking further action against the corona virus pandemic in Sioux Falls turned from a goat rodeo to a real sheep sh*t show.

While the health director was addressing the council about possible further action, some councilors decided this would be a great time to discuss some of those further actions. Stehly was well within in her rights to ask these questions, and a very respectful exchange was occurring between her and the health director Franken when the mayor decided to cut off the questioning because it wasn’t relative to the ordinance, even the city attorney jumped in to say this wasn’t about what may be further done.

Starr called for the adjournment of the meeting and Stehly seconded it, to the mayor’s befuddlement, he asked why? Starr stated that basically if they couldn’t have a discussion and ask questions they might as well go home.

But it got better, councilor Brekke, who was joining the meeting telephonically, basically said it was their right to ask these questions and told the city attorney she was ‘confounded’ as to why he thought he could shut it down.

Of course the mayor and the health director went into apologetic mode as councilor Erickson complained about the barking dogs of one of the telephonic councilors joining (funny, I thought it was her barking, as she normally does during the meeting. She is starting to remind me of a former . . . erp . . . councilor).

From D.C. on down, I’m beginning to wonder who is really in charge right now. The answer is simple; The virus.

Sioux Falls City Council RS5 and Mayor TenHaken prove again tonight their immense HATE for transparency

Tonight at the City Council meeting Councilor Starr offered a a simple amendment to the $1 Million dollar gift to the Community Foundation (specifically the $750K from the general fund). He wanted the city to have the ability to audit the rental assistance program after it was completed.

A fair amendment that was actually suggested by Councilor Neitzert just minutes before the amendment was proposed. Greg basically said he discussed it with the internal auditor and thought it was a good idea (he of course didn’t know Starr wanted it in writing and quickly melted with the rest of the RS5 after proposed).

Even the CEO of the Helpline Center, the ones processing the applications for rental assistance and in charge of dispersing the money (starting this week) agreed they would let the city look at the program and dispersements in a spreadsheet. (this was also before the amendment was proposed).

But since Pat is part of the Right Way 3, the RS5 has a fit. I thought Councilor Soehl was going to pop a vein in his head he was so pissed that Pat dared to suggest transparency with taxpayer funds.

Why? They hate transparency, because the public would get to see who greases the palms of the RS5.

Heck, when Soehl questioned City Attorney Stacy Kooistra, Stacy couldn’t even figure out if this was a contract or a supplemental appropriation, but gosh darn it, he was pretty darn sure it was the job of the ‘administration’ to negotiate the contract or whatever it is. So sure that Mayor Selfie handed the gavel over to chair Marshall Selberg so he could look like a powerful leader who had a pout fest earlier today because the State Legislature wouldn’t give him the authority to close businesses (than Noem later said he has that authority thru the city’s health department) but Pauly is scared some of his buddies might sue. Please Paul, take off the trucker hat and Converse All-Stars and put on your big boy pants.

It got even better when Councilor Ricky Lee Kiley accused Councilor Starr of aligning himself with folks who are ‘critics of the Community Foundation’. Who are these mysterious folks he speaks of? I think the rental assistance program is a good idea, and I happen to agree with Pat that it should be transparent. You know Ricky Lee, if you were talking about a certain blogger, you can use my name, just make sure you mention my URL also, because if you are going to insult me, at least give me some free advertising. Maybe I’ll volunteer to print you some flyers for your next violin concerto.

But Theresa had the last word when Soehl said we needed to get this done ASAP and worry about the auditing later. She mentioned that we have heard this before and reminded them of the colossal mistake, the Bunker Ramp. You could have heard a pin drop.

Once again, it’s ramrod, ramrod, ramrod than worry about the hurried mistakes and secrets later. Pathetic.

Noem’s new staffer is a sexual assault denier

I guess recently Mitch McConnell was mouthing off that the reason the Federal Government didn’t act sooner on the Corona Virus Pandemic was because they were busy with the impeachment trials. Even Trump said today in his daily press conference that was not the case. He pretended he was not distracted by the proceedings. LOL.

I kind of agree with McConnell, if Trump would have just resigned gracefully, we would probably be in a lot better shape right now.

As you know, Jim Jordan lied non-stop in defense of our law breaking president during the impeachment trials. It was nice of Noem to tap into such great ‘talent’.

Should South Dakota Act Now?

This is an interesting graphic from this research site.

Stehly Report, Mayor Ten Haken gives ‘vague’ answers about public safety

You’ll see his answers to Theresa’s questions at the bottom of the column. Not only does he say there is a temporary hospital plan, he basically says they don’t need to tell anyone until it gets bad.

Usually you should share those plans before it gets ‘bad’.

He also has NO idea how much the taxpayers are giving to the Community Foundation. He says $750K, it’s actually $1 Million.

We know who the really leader is in this column, and it’s not the guy answering the questions.

UPDATE: City of Sioux Falls is using the backdoor for rental assistance

UPDATE: This was the explanation from council staff;

$250k is from the Planning and Development Services budget.

The administration is requesting the Council to appropriate an additional $750k  from the General Fund available fund balance (reserves) to support the One Sioux Falls Fund.

The funding for the Community Foundation is for $1,000,000; $250 (P&D) funds and $750 (General Fund Reserves).

The funding is one in the same.

I want to thank the city for finally contributing to rental assistance, and I think they will have to do a lot more, but I do have some issues with how this assistance is being delivered;

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, PROVIDING SUPPLEMENTAL EMERGENCY APPROPRIATIONS FOR HOUSING.

WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, the Mayor issued Executive Order No. 218 declaring an emergency to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19); and

WHEREAS, the Mayor has collaborated with the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation to establish a One Sioux Falls Fund (the “Fund”) to help local residents and businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19 in Sioux Falls; and

WHEREAS, the Fund will consist of both public and private sector contributions; and

WHEREAS, the Fund will be used for public, charitable, or humanitarian purposes and accommodation. Specifically, the funding shall focus on any of three critical areas: health, housing, and food security; and

WHEREAS, Section 5.07 (b) of the Charter of Sioux Falls allows for an emergency appropriation to be made to meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property, or public peace;

I don’t take issue with the amount of funds themselves ($750K) because I think we are going to need a heckuva a lot more.

NOTE: THERE IS ALSO A $1 MILLION FIGURE IN THE CONSENT AGENDA WHICH IS CONFUSING – ARE THESE SEPARATE EXPENDITURES?

What is wrong here is the delivery system because it lacks transparency. It would be logical to assume no matter who pays for this the money will be direct payments to the property owners of the rentals. But by transferring public dollars to a private fund, the taxpayers will never see who is receiving these funds. Once again, I will stress, this is not about knowing the names of the renters, they will not be an equation in this because they will never see the money, it’s about knowing what property owners are receiving the payments. Will it be the big guys? The little guys? Will it be evenly spread between them? We will never know because the city will be giving up their rights to transparency by having a private non-profit distribute the money.

So what is the fix? The property owners need to apply for the funding from the city themselves so that all transactions are open and transparent. I keep telling people that during a time of crisis, full transparency is the key, this is just another example of a backroom deal that doesn’t need to happen to accomplish the ultimate goal.

But there is another issue with this money transfer, the city council was not consulted on the ordinance before it was posted (or at least some of them weren’t) they also were not asked to help draft it or the amount. While the mayor may have some emergency powers, the council is the legislative body that is in charge of drafting legislation like this. Some have even suggested to me that the mayor is violating charter and ethics by proposing this distribution before consulting with the council. It should be an interesting meeting to watch.

If Sioux Falls has emergency plans, what are they?

Many cities across the US are setting up temporary hospitals in convention centers to deal with the non-critical patients. Are we?

I’ve been told by several people that ‘maybe’ the city has plans for things I have pointed out over the past week;

• Temporary hospitals

• Food insecurity

• Housing assistance

• Flood control

I have argued that if that is the case, we certainly haven’t been communicated that. At the Thursday special council meeting several officials bragged about the daily press briefings on the virus crisis, but if they are not sharing critical information and plans, what’s the point?

We have heard about the plan to help people thru the Community Foundation, but that pot is going to have be a lot bigger and the city needs to start preparing to dip into the reserves. WHAT IS THE PLAN?

Feeding South Dakota has been giving out food but lack enough volunteers. I suggest city employees help with this, but what is the long term plan when grocers shut down? WHAT IS THE PLAN?

We have heard literally nothing on temporary hospitals being set up. Maybe all the cars at the Sanford Fieldhouse were people setting one up there? But I doubt it. WHAT IS THE PLAN?

Many people have been reaching out to city councilors asking if we have a stock of sandbags in case a flood occurs again. WHAT IS THE PLAN?

If we do have plans, that is wonderful. But in a time of crisis we must share those plans with the public, if we don’t have plans, we need to be working on them instead of concentrating on campaigning for the next election.

Now is not the time to ignore transparency. Democracy dies in Darkness. Tell us WTF is going on!

Mayor TenHaken’s quote made it all the way to California

While Great Shots has been closed, other entities were still operating

At about 1 PM today I drove past several places in the Sanford Sports Complex, this is what I saw. Great Shots had only two cars in the parking lot and appeared to be shut down. Power and Grace and the Iceplex only had one car in each of the parking lots and seemed to be shut down. The MatchPointe throughout the week has several cars in their lot but today was down to about four. The Pentagon however (first picture below) had over a dozen cars and I saw people showing up dressed for basketball practice and gym bags. At the Fieldhouse I saw over 20 vehicles in the lot. This tells me they are still operating. These facilities, according to the new ordinance passed need to be shut down, especially considering their connection to a healthcare facility.

If we are going to shame private business on social media for being open and endangering lives, the big boys have to play by the same rules.

Sioux Falls City Government needs to have some contingency plans in place ASAP!

While we have been putting up billboards and closing down telephone booth casinos across the city, we are ignoring plans we could implement right away to help us get through this.

Even after the virus spread is over and a vaccine is in place, the repercussions of this will be enormous and long lasting. Even the things we don’t think about are now starting to rear their heads in the national news like suicides and domestic violence. Tonight on PBS Newshour (BTW, the only news source I have been following for fair and accurate reporting during this crisis) they had on a national expert about domestic violence pleading with people to watch out for you neighbors. It is only one issue we are dealing with.

Here is a very short but important list of what our local government needs to do to assure we can weather the storm, and BTW, screw the lawyers, the city has the legal authority to do this thru executive and legislative powers under the home rule charter. A lot of these things are not at a crisis level yet, but we need to have a plan in place;

• Marshall the Events Center, the Convention Center and Arena for a temporary hospital for NON-emergency and NON-corona virus patients. This will free up our hospitals for critical emergencies and protect those patients from being infected in the regular hospital setting.

• Demand our local food banks and grocers work together to have a safe food distribution system where people who have food insecurity can pull up in the safety of their vehicle to get food by simply opening their trunk and have people give them essentials without person to person contact.

• Free city utilities for the next 3 months if not longer.

• Rental assistance from the general fund in combination with private donations. (the city has around a $60 million dollar surplus, specifically designed to help us in a time of an emergency).

• A sales tax holiday on at least food for the next few months – city and statewide.

• Flood preparedness. Let’s face it, this will come in the middle of this meltdown, and if we are not better prepared this time around it will compound our problems.

• Seek volunteers to assist in anyway possible who are young and healthy to help with this crisis.

• Require public employees (who have job security) to pitch in where they can, manning phones from home, helping with temporary hospitals, checking on the elderly with food and medicine delivery, etc. Do you know there are several public employees who we are paying right now that are not doing anything. This is what we pay taxes for, they need to help us in a crisis. I’m not shaming them, they are only following directives of their managers and elected officials, and their managers need to put them to work – NOW!

• Lead and don’t look back. This is the most important. Don’t worry about the critics (like myself). Put on your big boy pants and make quick, smart, decisive decisions. This is why we elect you, to help us in times of a crisis. It isn’t about ribbon cuttings and new parks, it’s about assisting those who fund this society through our taxes. If it is too much for you, please, step aside and let those willing and capable to do the job. We won’t hold it against you. You can only fail if you choose to do nothing.

Trust me, I am trying to stay positive through this, because I know the sh*t storm hasn’t even begun, and it is going to get much worse before it gets better. But if we have a strong plan of attack, we can come out of this with less scars. I do agree with our president on one point, we can recover, and we can come back from this nightmare, but where I disagree is that it won’t come from wishful thinking and crossing our fingers behind our back. It will happen with a solid plan. If we do all this and we didn’t need to implement some of these plans – GREAT!

Get to work for those of us that are out of work. I’m praying for you, and I don’t need a live streamed pastor to tell me that is also a part of the equation. Blood, sweat and tears solve problems, wringing your hands solves nothing. Let’s make some solid plans and let’s do it NOW!

I’ll leave you with one my favorite songs (I can actually play the harmonica parts). Helping each other will be the key to our survival.