Entries Tagged 'Curt Soehl' ↓

There will never be ‘Regular People’ serving in Sioux Falls city government ever again

We saw the writing on the wall when Alex Jensen and his cabal of donors had to spend $127K to beat a self-employed piano teacher by around 90 votes. The regular guy/gal is no longer allowed to compete.

Just look at the usual donors on the financial reports (someone should tell Andera that she can’t add her smaller contributions up twice 🙂

It is the same group of rich Republican businessmen and mysterious dark PACs (so some of these rich people can hide their identities) that are once again funding the campaigns of the NON-regular people (except Islam who seems to have half the state of Michigan gunning for her and they all work at the same hospital 🙂

You have to chuckle when Clowncilor Marshall Selfish actually suggested that the reason the members needed a bigger salary is so more regular people could run. That’s rich considering he never mentioned that you actually need the money up front.

We could change this with a couple of easy steps;

• Get rid of the Home Rule Charter as it exists and give more power back to council and,

• Publicly finance the races so everyone is on the same playing field.

We of course first must throw out the current charter, and there is a stew brewing on that one along with some other goodies I will share very soon.

So it looks like we will have yet another city election where a handful of people vote for the very people who are lining their pockets with donations from the banksters, bondsters and developers that are turning our city into a corporate welfare state.

This is the current lineup for the election;

Mayoral Race; Paul TenHaken, David Zokaites, Taneeza Islam

Central District; Curt Soehl (No challengers)

Southeast District; David Barranco (No Challengers)

At Large (A); Janet Brekke, Bobbi Andera, Dr. Sarah Cole

At Large (B); Rich Merkouris, Pam Cole

Sioux Falls City Councilor Curt Soehl plays an interesting game tonight

At the council meeting tonight, Soehl recused himself on Item #45, which is a rezone of an historic building in Pettigrew Heights to be converted into a coffee shop. I’m am not sure why he recused himself because he never told the council and the public, but my guess is he may be investing in the project but I do not know for sure. Let’s just say he has a conflict and admitted to it, whatever it is.

After coming back he co-sponsored item #53, a resolution to pull $120K from streets to re-establish the core facade program. He claims he has NO idea who would want to use it but has heard several people are interested.

So imagine my surprise when the main developer of Item #45 was interested in applying for the program after his rezone was approved.

Coincidence? I think not.

So how is it that Soehl walked out on the coffee shop project because of an assumed conflict, then turns around and sponsors a program that MAY benefit the project he has a conflict with?

Hey Curt, we can connect the dots . . . unfortunately you cannot. This will be brought up time and time again when your re-election campaign heats up.

UPDATE: Apparently the Developer of the Coffee Shop is Curt’s re-election campaign treasurer

Open Meetings Violation Filed against the City of Sioux Falls

The below document is actually a ‘notice’ to the city that one will be filed next week with the State’s Attorney office. I believe that it refers to presentations during the consent agenda in which the Chair (Mayor TenHaken) did not ask for public input. It was also the responsibility of the City Attorney, the City Clerk and the Chair of the Council, this is why they are mentioned in the complaint.

I also want to clarify, I wasn’t the one who caught this, I missed the part in the meeting when this occurred as I was on a phone call (I watch the meetings live from home). Sierra is the one who actually caught it and took action on her own.

The irony of all this is that I just told the Charter Revision Commission last week that public input at city meetings was broken and needed to be fixed.

Stay tuned, much more to come next week.

If the Sioux Falls Districting Commission picks option C11 it would be a game changer for the Central District

While there are many options for the Districting Commission to review at their meeting on Wednesday, options C9 and especially C11 would be the biggest changes to the district in years. Not only would you make the Central the largest by population, you would really make it a core district again.

The discussion should be interesting.

Hopefully many candidates will be challenging Councilor Soehl for the Central District in the 2022 municipal election since he has been an utter failure delivering very little to the residents and homeowners of the district and more concerned about handing out millions in TIFs to DT parking ramps we don’t need while letting the residential streets of the core turn into the roads of Baghdad.

Sioux Falls City Council Chair Soehl is quite the Authoritarian

The newly elected chair, Curt Soehl, has quite the authoritarian streak. Yesterday while chairing several of the meetings he kept limiting public input to 15 minutes or about 3 people. They should not be scheduling these meetings back to back and should be spreading them out over a couple of days. But this does not give him an excuse to limit public input, it is a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment in reference to prior restraint.

While I thought maybe this was just a one-time decision someone told me he pulled the same trick today at the 10:30 AM, downtown library Working Session. Hey, I get it, they don’t like open government, that’s why they have meetings in the middle of the morning at the library instead of Carnegie, but now it seems they want to limit it also to the ones that can actually attend. I have never seen so much disdain towards the public’s opinion on matters. Yes, the council hasn’t been very open for a long time, but now there seems to be a lot of openness about NOT being open. They seem to wear it like a badge.

As for the meeting itself, it was a bunch of Covid money handouts to the Parks Department projects including more tennis courts, because you know, it is such a huge sport in Sioux Falls, LOL. I am often reminded of this when I drive by the parking lot at the Huether tennis center with 2-3 cars in the lot. Wondering if we will ever get our Half-Million back.

Speaking of open government and transparency, during the working session yesterday, I found it a bit bizarre that the council hasn’t asked the very people who wrote IM26 (Medical Marijuana) to be a part of the discussion. Wouldn’t you want the very people who wrote the successful measure to help advise you on what is in it? Or do we want to just do whatever we want to (basically sitting on our hands) then come up with regulations without their input then let them sue us? Seems counterproductive to me. Not sure the council or county commission has done their research (not likely) but the national movement to decriminalize marijuana has a lot of Benjamins behind it and they take their investments seriously.

This is what you get when you have a local government that works behind closed doors, is not transparent, limits public input and does the bidding of big business instead of the work of the people. All the hub-bub about TIFs, Mary Jane regulations, zoning, etc. doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t operate government in the open. As I said last week, only crooks, scammers and schemers do business behind closed doors. Add authoritarians to that list.

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.

John Michael’s Forum • Jan 2019

Former Mayor Munson

LISTEN HERE

• Dave gives all the credit to Jeff ‘Cherapa Place’ S. for making the River Greenway successful. He failed to mention the behind closed door negotiations, the threats of lawsuits and the millions taxpayers have spent subsidizing the bulk head for Cherapa. Yeah, I will give credit to, credit for being successful of bilking the taxpayers of Sioux Falls.

• When John brings up the extremely polluted Sioux River, Dave changes the subject and says the scenery is beautiful though if you take a canoe ride.

• Dave thinks having problems from fast growth is a good thing.

• And in his last laughable comments, he thinks Sioux Falls city government elected officials have good ethics. Yeah, since you and Bowlcut & Bucktooth have left. This was hilarious coming from a guy who SHOULD HAVE been charged with violating city ordinance with Phillips to the Falls.

Sioux Falls Central District Councilor Curt Soehl

LISTEN HERE

• Curt seems to be under the impression that Sioux Falls has few problems. I guess low wages, very little affordable housing and our drug crime epidemic are not real PROBLEMS.

• Curt makes an interesting point that while Sioux Falls attracts a lot of Doctors and White Collar jobs, he says, “Nobody comes here for a $15 per hour jobs.” John points out you can’t make a house payment in SF for those kind of wages.

• John also makes an interesting comment that the buses in Sioux Falls should be on a 24 hour route to all the Walmarts. Yeah, John, just what Walmart needs, more subsidies from government. We already subsidize their employees in welfare, medicade and SNAP. And subsidize them again with all the SNAP recipients. So now you want the public to subsidize transporting people to their store. HELL NO! Walmart should be paying for our public transit system through a local transportation tax.

Former Mayor Rick Knobe

LISTEN HERE

• When John asks Knobe what he thinks of TenHaken’s job performance so far, Rick says he doesn’t feel like Paul was prepared for it after running a small internet marketing firm. He thinks he struggles with working with Directors, Councilors and the Public and Public input. I would agree 100%.

• Rick feels the city needs to implement strategic planning.

• In one of the more stranger ideas, Rick felt people should only be able to use E-Bikes on the bike trail if they have a special disabled sticker they got from their doctor. Yeah, besides feeling depressed because they don’t have the physical ability to ride a regular bike on the trail, why not shame them with a sticker. Whatever. I guess even old people rip on old people.

When we let a former mayor and councilor ‘plant’ candidates, this is what happens

Kinda like Michelle, but less frowning.

Curt Soehl is turning into Michelle Erpenbach, but worse. At tonight’s council meeting he tried to play Michelle’s old trick of ‘I need to remind the council’ that she/he knows better. He got his butt schooled by a former city attorney (Brekke) about motions.

This is what happens when we continue to hit the ‘recycle’ button on elected officials. I warned voters that Curt was recruited by Huether, Erpenbach and their ilk. I warned the Unions they were making a huge mistake. Now we have another councilor who thinks they know everything about procedure while ignoring citizens by not answering phone calls.

You should have voted for DeBoer.

Congrats to TenHaken and Soehl

Before I go into my congratulatory mode, I want to talk about what went wrong for the two candidates that lost yesterday.

First, Mr. DeBoer. I have to be truly honest with you, I don’t think there was much more that Zach could have done to beat Soehl. I know that he attempted to get Tom Hurlbert’s endorsement, but that was sticky situation for Tom, and probably the reason why he declined. Tom has a successful architecture business and I think it would have been difficult for him to throw his weight behind either Curt or Zach because of those business connections. Hurlbert did the right thing by staying out of the endorsement game. I think where Curt succeeded was garnering the Union support. While he did raise a lot more money than Zach, I didn’t really see where he spent that money in a productive manner.

While Paul claimed he ran a ‘clean campaign’ from all appearances he did. Nothing came negative directly from him or his inner circle. Where the ‘dirty’ campaigning came from was NOT from his ‘tool box’. It came from the Sioux Falls GOP. They sent out nasty emails painting Jolene as a crazy liberal. Also, the endorsement from the Family Heritage Alliance should have been declined by TenHaken, as well as taking money from toddlers. While Paul may claim he personally kept it clean, that is really a fine line considering he could have informed the GOP to stay out of the race. By allowing them to throw the ‘dirt’ and letting the AG put out a misleading press release (the investigation is NOT done yet folks) Paul really did participate in ‘dirty campaigning’ even if he tries to distance himself from it.

Loetscher’s campaign certainly had it’s flaws. From the beginning of the runoff campaign I felt like Jo’s work was cut out for her. After the Argus put out a map showing where the TenHaken support was coming from it was clear to me she needed to put an army of volunteers together knocking on doors in ‘the red hook’ talking about bread and butter issues like infrastructure, property taxes and business experience. She also needed to reassure the people who voted for her to stay the course, and she needed to massage Anderson’s supporters a little bit.

She also reacted poorly to accusations. She should have just ignored them and never brought up the hacking or voicemail. I still think she was ‘framed’. I don’t think the tone of the VM was the issue, it was the fact that Paul left it to begin with. She also should have called the AG’s office and politely ripped them a new one about the premature press release and demanded a retraction. I think it would have just been best if Jo didn’t respond at all to the tricks, but she walked right into the GOP’s trap, hook, line and sinker. This comes from the inexperience of running for such a big position. She should have also hired an independent campaign advisor with NO ties to either political party or just ran the campaign herself with her husband. If she would have I think a lot of the rhetoric coming from the Right would have fallen on deaf ears. I have often encouraged friends who run for city, county or school board positions to register independent before doing so. If you are running for a non-partisan position, you should do it as a non-partisan.

Tenhaken and Soehl ran strong campaigns and deflected criticism well

 I will have to hand it to both of them, the dirt didn’t stick.

Besides the fact that the only dirt on Soehl was his business huckster donor list, which most people don’t pay attention to. He really didn’t have any barbs thrown his way. Besides, what would they have been anyway? As a retired firefighter he had a good resume and image. I do think Soehl can do the job, and it will be interesting to see if he will join the rubberstamp club or be his own voice. I do know that Soehl was NOT afraid to share his opinion during campaigning, and I hope he stays an independent voice moving forward though I still do worry about his donor list. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and see how he votes on the big things concerning our city. I think he is an intelligent person and will give a different perspective, or least I hope he does.

TenHaken has a knack of just brushing things off. That is NOT a bad quality, strong leaders need this appeal. I can also say in my 45 minute conversation with Paul, he intently listened, rarely interrupting, I also hope he continues to listen to the public not just bloggers or the media. This is an area where Huether failed, big time. He had no time for the public’s opinion. Huether is the reason Public input is such a mess, his resistance to the public’s opinion is deplorable and disrespectful. I also think Paul can build a good team, I’m hoping it is not to partisan or religious. He must be the mayor to all people, not just the ones that voted for him or didn’t vote at all. I hope he understands that.

Paul has also made a lot of promises about transparency and embracing diversity, he needs to stick to those promises. I believe that transparency was the #1 issue in this municipal election cycle and if Paul fails on that level I think the council and the public with push back on him hard, and it won’t be a pretty site.

There are many things in Paul’s past that concern me, and like I have said before, people don’t automatically change after they take the oath, we saw that with 8 years of Mr. Nightmare himself. They might even get worse once the power goes to their head. I also hope that Paul works side by side with the council and the media to let the sunshine in, and if he does uncover misdeeds in the previous administration he shares that with the public. You can’t fix mistakes of the past by covering them up, that will just blow up in your face. We only have to look to the siding settlement fiasco as proof. I hope Paul and the council take a good hard look at the city’s finances before moving forward with any major budget decisions.

I will also say this in closing about Paul, I think he is prepared for the job, I think he enjoys challenges and I also genuinely think he cares about people, not sure what the scope of those people are though.

I wish him and Curt well moving forward, 2018 is going to be an exciting time to watch the new administration and council take shape, and as I understand it, lines in the sand are already being drawn on the council before the two new members are even sworn in. Detroit Lewis is going to be a very busy guy over the next couple of months, I’m going to try to embrace the journey and bitch a little less. I know, good luck with that.

Update: Unions got scammed again by the Huether Clan

I’m starting to wonder if our local unions will ever learn?

I suppose I could talk about all the missteps the Loetscher campaign made and all the dirty tricks the TenHaken camp played (nice press release about nothing Jackley, some media in town are still saying it said something) but I really don’t want to waste my time or yours.

I could also talk about the missteps in the campaign between Soehl and DeBoer, but I don’t think either camp made any. In fact, DeBoer could have easily won, if it wasn’t for Soehl’s enormous war chest from all the banksters and developers in town (I wonder if he had money left over to buy his rubber stamp) and the UNION support.

I thought Zach was sitting pretty good until I heard the Unions were doing phone banks for Soehl. While I don’t have an issue with the Unions supporting a candidate or doing phone calls, they were supporting the WRONG candidate. Besides Zach’s youth, he supports local business, innovation and didn’t take special interest money, all the things Unions should support. Instead they backed an insurance salesman (who is a former union firefighter) who took every lick of special interest money he could. Money from businesses that don’t pay good wages and certainly don’t support unions. It was also obvious from the beginning that Soehl was a Huether recruit. In his first press conference announcing his candidacy he praised Huether and wanted to continue his legacy. Huether abused and used the Unions in his first term campaign, and screwed over city employees and police in union contracts and they never learned from that experience.

We will just see how much Mr. Soehl supports the unions after he takes his oath.

UPDATE: From Kooper Caraway the SF Union president;

So, Curt was a union fire fighter so you got that correct. But he has a more involved involvement in the labor movement than that. He grew up working the concession stand in the labor temple. He actually used to be in my position, President of the SIoux Falls AFL-CIO, and prior to recieving our endorsement he signed the Union Pledge, which reads: ” I do hereby pledge my most sacred word and honor, that I will represent the working people of Sioux Falls with Integrity, I pledge that working families will be a priority in my administration, and I further pledge that I will defend the right and freedoms of working people, including the rights of workers to organize in thier workplace and the right of all workers to collectively bargain.”

We love Zach, and we will support him on any future endeavors, but Curt has a longer history of involvement with the issues of Working People and I believe that is why the delegates voted to endorse him.