Entries Tagged 'Count-cilor 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?

Count-cilor Jensen BOUGHT his seat

The newest member of the RS6 spent more than any council candidate in the history of the city. In fact, it is 5 years worth of salary for a city councilor. Also remember, we have not seen the final financial report, that will be at year end. It will be interesting to see what the final amount is. Astounding for a seat that pays around $19K a year and has little power. So far he approximately spent $8 per vote.

The bigger question is will Alex recuse himself on votes for the city’s bank, which he works for. And what kind of rezones will he vote on that his employer is financing? This wasn’t just about getting rid of a pesky city councilor, this was about the players in town having their own councilor on the dais.

He was bought and paid for. I hope it was worth it. Likely not.

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.