Entries Tagged 'David ZoKaites' ↓

Interactive Government: David Zokaites

Guest Post by Mayoral Candidate David Zokaites

Goals

  • Government should care more about public
  • Government should respond to citizens
  • More interaction between government, citizens
  • Would profoundly impact modern life 

Community Outreach

  • Mayor should weekly dine with random city residents
  • Plus weekly lunch with random city employee
  • City councilors, department heads should also regularly meet with random people
  • New mayor will meet with all councilors individually
  • Mayor, councilors should have annual barbecue for camaraderie (invite public too)
  • It’s all part of the job

City Council Meetings

  • Mayor – facilitator, main power source
  • City councilors – vote on proposals, usually approve mayor
  • Citizens – provide input, usually ignored
  • Let’s change the dynamic
  • Increase city council power
  • At-large councilors should be full-time not part-time
  • Utilize public input to create better laws

Current Council Invocation

  • Prayer by minister chosen by mayor
  • Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”
  • Check to see if starting public meeting with prayer is constitutional
  • Take a survey, see if citizens want to keep prayer
  • Council also says Pledge of Allegiance

Ideas for Invocation

  • Mayor’s prayer for community (I wrote one)
  • Mayor’s secular pledge (I wrote one)
  • Mayor’s prayer for social healing (I wrote one)
  • Mayor’s prayer for personal healing (I wrote one)
  • Each city councilor should present their prayer or pledge
  • Invite public to present prayer or pledge

Public Input

  • Mostly ignored – should be valued
  • Limited to certain points in the meeting
  • Better to allow input after raising your hand
  • Each public inputer should be contacted by district councilor, at-large councilor, mayor’s assistant, or mayor
  • Acknowledgement is key to peace, progress
  • Allow PowerPoint and electronic presentations
  • They were generally disallowed 4 years ago
  • Exclusion was (apparently) directed against myself and Bruce Danielson
  • Move public input back to the start of council meeting to encourage more public input

Designing Laws

  • Ordinances (usually) decided long before public presentation
  • Design laws with actual citizen involvement
  • Convert council meeting from theater to meaningful discussion
  • Present rough ideas at council, a preliminary reading (new)
  • Keep first reading of codified proposals
  • Keep second reading

Controversial Votes

  • If any proposal has 3 or more public comments …
  • All councilors and mayor should explain their votes
  • Limit explanation to 2 minutes  

UPDATE II: Brian Allen shows his bias towards Mayor TenHaken before and during the Sioux Falls Mayoral debate

Before the debate starts, moderators Brian Allen and Trevor Mitchell have a hot mic conversation on how they will do the debate. I found this exchange interesting and thought I would document it if it gets edited from video;

UPDATE II: During the KELO TV debate they addressed Paul as Mr. TenHaken, the correct protocol.

UPDATE: They did edit it out of the DakotaNews and Argus FB videos, so luckily I caught it;

Brian Allen, “I’ve done this a time or two, I know where the quicksand is.”

Mitchell asks Allen, “How do you plan on addressing them? First name?”

Allen then asks who I assume is his producer, and there is a quiet conversation and it is decided to call him Mayor TenHaken.

Allen, “So we are giving him the power of the incumbency during the debate? That makes sense, so it will be Mr. Zokaites, Ms. Islam and Mayor TenHaken.”

Actually, they all should have been addressed the same way, as this handy little guidance points out.

Also during the debate Allen made sure he thanked Paul for his response every time, “Thank You Mayor TenHaken.” That did not happen with the other candidates as often.

Trevor and Allen also had a discussion about the candidates in attendance before debate, and Trevor said, “I see Brekke and Pam Cole.” and Allen perks up and says, “Is Sarah Cole here?” Not sure what that meant?

I will give props to David (who I voted for and have been endorsing) I think he gave common sense answers to big issues. I think Islam has a lot of passion when it comes to the vulnerable and she is well studied on the issues and she took Poops to task several times. TenHaken was on the defense most of the night, and seemed frustrated at the beginning and a little agitated. That is because he is NOT cut out for the job and never has been.

I guess Stormland TV is having another debate tomorrow night at 8 PM, hopefully the council meeting will be done by then.

Downtown Rotary hosted a forum with the At-Large A Candidates today;

Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidate Zokaites gets cut off by Council Dictator Kiley


Besides the fact that the city council folded like a wet paper bag when it came to poorly researched and negotiated employee retention bonuses (or was it about inflation? Proving the absurdity of city employee vote bribes? Or trying to humiliate Brekke, you know, the councilor they are unethically hosting fundraisers for her opponent) there was some other fireworks at last night’s meeting.

During public input Mr. Science and All around Know-it-All Councilor Ricky Lee Kiley cut off David Zokaites because of his presentation about allowing Mayor Poops a Freebie 2-hour interview on KELO AM. Ironically, I saw the presentation before the meeting (posted below), and all David was going to say is that KELO and Poops did nothing wrong and it was permissible by the FCC. Yup, he was going to defend the Mayor, at least on the law, but NOT the ethics.

Kiley was within his rights to ask David to stop the presentation and David did the right thing by ending it. As a candidate for office you are NOT allowed to talk about that candidacy at the podium during public input, and that is where David crossed a line . . .  kind of. I’m just curious why the council’s COS and City Clerk did not catch the violation when they pre-approved David’s PPT before the meeting?

Ironically, Poops violates ethical standards of running for office almost daily. From using insider information on concerts at the Denty, to tweeting candidate commercials while running a meeting, posting endorsements (that are missing a PAID FOR STAMP) on his supposed personal FB page and using most media interviews to promote his candidacy while telling everyone he is not a politician (but plays one on TV).

While Kiley was right that David was in the wrong, I’m just wondering when Poops will start following the same campaign ethical standards? Not in our lifetime.

CITY OF SIOUX FALLS HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT HIRES A COUNSELING AGENCY THAT EMPLOYEES A CONVICTED FEDERAL CRIMINAL

The real fun stuff was at the beginning of the meeting when councilor Starr asked why the city is hiring Key Solutions whose director/counselor recently got charged with Federal crimes;

Tami Haug-Davis, 64, of Sioux Falls, was ordered to pay $15,000 restitution, serve one year of probation and serve 40 hours of community service for making a materially false statement regarding minutes of board meetings during a federal investigation of the Missouri Valley Crisis Center.

Our director of HR, Bill Dah’Toole said to the council last night, they got reassurance that she wouldn’t do bad things anymore. You know, like when we picked Lamont to complete the bunker ramp. Starr had made them aware in advance of her record, and instead trying to find another counseling agency, they chose to double-down on their very stupid decision, and 6 of the 8 councilors agreed . . . of course they would, because that is the true definition of absurdity. Starr and Brekke voted NO. Erickson of course phoned in her VOTE since she is in Pierre lobbying at her other job. Must be nice to double-dip and have a council gig as a side hustle. I can’t even remember the last time I have seen her in person at a council meeting?

LIGHTS OUT!

But my favorite part at the meeting last night was when someone leaned against the light switches and turned off the lights in the Chamber. I’m sure they were all thinking cyber attack.

Guest post by David Z For Mayor – Widespread Sioux Falls Bribery

EDITOR’S NOTE: David’s post does NOT constitute my endorsement for his candidacy. I will give any candidate an opportunity to guest post on my website. I found the topic of interest when it comes to ethical standards in city government.

When public officials accept bribes, they stop working for “we the people” and start working for the people who bribed them.  Bribery therefore violates the fundamental purpose of democracy.  Sioux Falls Ethics Advisory Board found a widespread practice of bribery and local officials have been hiding it ever since.  Because of bribery’s great damage to democracy, and because I care so much about “we the people,” I keep raising the issue in the hope that someone in authority actually cares and will protect democracy.  I’ve publicly raised this issue so many times I’m losing count – three times at the ethics board and three times at city council – all to no avail.  Plus I sent email to SD Department of Criminal Investigation and received no response.  So now I’m sending the following letter to the attorney general and publishing it everywhere I can.  Integrity is critical to the success of democracy and both must be staunchly defended for the American way of life to succeed.  

I find the lack of official support for government integrity absolutely revolting.  I encourage you to get angry,  get involved, write letters, and vote in the upcoming city election on April 12.  Vote for candidates that care about protecting our democratic way of life.  Even if you don’t vote for me, vote for people who actually care. 

With that introduction complete, here’s the body of my letter:  

Dear Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg:

To provide some informative background information, I am campaigning for mayor of Sioux Falls and promoting honest, caring, practical government.  To prepare for the role as mayor, I have spent years studying issues of practical American government, making plans, and presenting findings via PowerPoint at Sioux Falls City Council meetings.  Many times over the past few years I have asked city council and mayor to improve processes, promote civil rights, and investigate bribery problems.  My efforts have met great resistance.  It is with considerable reluctance that I am writing this letter to yet again seek accountability and government transparency.  We the people should not have to go to such lengths as I have to obtain official accountability.

Last week I had a meeting with Police Chief Jon Thum and Sheriff Mike Milstead.  We talked about reducing crime and drug addiction by switching our communal focus from incarceration to treatment.  We also talked about investigating bribery among city officials.  The chief and sheriff recommended I share my concerns with you via a certified letter so that’s what I’m doing here and now.  Concerning bribery, the city’s ethics board wrote a letter to city leaders stating city leaders have a common practice of accepting gifts of paid travel.  In other words, bribery is common among city leadership.  I have attached the ethics board letter describing this problem.  We can be sure city leaders are aware of the problem because I publicly asked for accountability and disclosure repeatedly.  I have attached two of my PowerPoints on the subject, PowerPoints which I publicly presented at Sioux Falls City Council meetings. 

I am asking you to investigate city leadership accepting bribes and then to file appropriate criminal charges so the people of Sioux Falls can reasonably expect integrity in city government.  Our American Constitution begins with the words “We the people.”  When politicians accept bribes, they work for whomever provided bribes instead of working for “we the people.”  This of course violates the fundamental purpose of American democracy.  Government corruption doesn’t vanish by itself.  Frequently, visibility and publicity are necessary before bribery and corruption are addressed.  Consequently, I plan to publish this letter in local news and social media. 

                               Sincerely,

                                    David Zokaites

LINKS OF INTEREST BELOW;

AG LETTER

ETHICS BOARD LETTER, PAGE 1, PAGE 2, PAGE 3

PRESENTATION ON POLITICAL GIFTS

PRESENTATION ON ETHICAL PRACTICES

CAMPAIGN PROMISES

MAYORAL PRAYER

While the media gets in the weeds about TenHaken’s text messages, the real corruption is city employee bonus bribes

I agree, the mayor shouldn’t be using insider information to sooth his followers hunger for pop rock, but that is small potatoes compared to giving city employees a bonus right before an election.

I’m sure Poops is enjoying the deflection of ‘text gate’ so no one will talk about the other gorilla in the room;

In an interview Monday afternoon, TenHaken said he’s “always looking for different ways to communicate with people,” and said he liked the “pure, 1-on-1 communication” someone could get via a texting service.

“People like to know what’s going on in their city,” he said.

LMFAO! Yeah Paul, I have been asking for almost 4 years! What is going on? Backdoor meetings about bonuses, deals with Sanford, deals with developers, all done in the secrecy of your armed guarded offices. When were you going to drop us a text about over stepping your boundaries and secretly negotiating a bonus for employees from a mystery fund?

Islam added if elected mayor, “I’ll always be transparent about any news involving one of our taxpayer funded buildings.”

Mayoral hopeful David Zokaites had similar concerns, calling it “a disgusting abuse of mayoral privilege.”

David also added this in another interview;

“This is unethical and appalling but not surprising. Sioux Falls government has corruption problems (a massively-overpriced parking garage) and tries to hide bribery (gifts of third party paid travel) ,” Zokaites said in a statement to KELOLAND News. “What’s a little insider information compared to bribery and corruption? Certainly this abuse of insider information should stop immediately and an apology should be issued.”

David is right, this is highly unethical it may even violate campaign rules but that didn’t stop Poops massive ego from spilling out;

TenHaken said in response that in any election with an incumbent, candidates are going to be “envious” of the platform that provides and the advantages that come with it.

“That’s part of what comes with being the existing officeholder,” said TenHaken, adding he remembered the feeling from his run four years ago.

Sounds like something one of his campaign GOONS would write.

First off, the obvious, there were NO incumbents last time around and the other candidates that would have had access to that information certainly didn’t use it to their advantage since they both lost miserably. Secondly, just because you are the current mayor doesn’t give you the right to use information that WE own against your opponents, as Taneeza points out;

“The Premier Center is owned by Sioux Falls taxpayers,” Islam said in a statement.

Any information about what goes on at that facility should be public information shared to everyone at the same time, even if the mayor knows in advance.

As for the comment about being ‘envious’. WOW! You really are more arrogant than I thought. Trust me, I have had a lot of emotions about how you have run this city, like your lack of courage, ethics and transparency when you make decisions. But trust me, I don’t think I have ever been jealous of those qualities, just embarrassed that our city is being run by a bunch of toddlers in a clown car going around a track in a secret room in the basement of city hall. AND I can pretty much guarantee your two opponents are not jealous either.

Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidate David Z on the Police

Speaking of the nut crunching, dict picting police force, David Zokaites decided to touch on how they have treated him over the years.

FULL PRESENTATION HERE. (FF to 1:01:30 in the video below)

No City or State Officials attend Covid Press Conference today in Sioux Falls

To say I am not surprised would be an understatement;

It was only Avera and Sanford doctors and media relations staff along journalists at Thursday’s news conference. In many previous news conferences, people with the South Dakota Department of Health or City of Sioux Falls have also attended. 

While I appreciate them reaching out, I ask why we are relying on the private sector to inform us? There is NO mention of this presser on any of the City of Sioux Falls multiple media sources.

A candidate for mayor said this in an interview;

Taneeza Islam, a lawyer who announced her run for mayor in October says the more information the people have on COVID-19 the better. She would like to see weekly updates from the mayor’s office and…

“When the city council voted to encourage masking, the people of Sioux Falls listened, all they needed was little extra encouragement, that was not a mandate, and I’m not talking about new regulations but just the mere encouragement for people in our community to take this seriously once again really explain how serious it is needs to come from the mayor’s office,” said Islam.

As I have mentioned before, the mayor’s job, according to charter is to not legislate and write policy, the job is running the day to day operations of the city. That means informing the public and instructing staff to keep the public safe, but he seems to want to blame people in Councilor Neitzert’s district for the problem;

“The northwest quadrant of our city for instance has a much lower vaccination rate than the rest of the city so we’ve done research to understand why is that and how can we counteract the messages whether it’s, in some cases its just availability and we’ve set up a mobile vaccine unit that goes out to those communities,” said TenHaken.

What I find ironic is that TenHaken, with the power of executive order, could mandate a vaccination requirement for ALL city employees, or at least those in close contact with the public, he doesn’t need the blessing of the city council. I see police officers all the time not even wearing masks in public. Towards the end of the story, Tom Hansen said that the mayor said the city is dealing with skeleton crews in many city departments because of (covid) sick city employees. I have argued that a vaccination mandate for city employees is a taxpayer protection for our investment in their health and well being. What do you think it is costing us as citizens for healthcare costs associated with covid for employees who choose NOT to be vaccinated? I have even said we should give city employees a bonus for getting a shot.

Islam went a step further on her FB page;

Being mayor isn’t just sharing good news, it means having hard conversations about challenges facing our community. It means using the tools in your toolbox to keep our city safe.

I like that last sentence 🙂

Besides Covid, this city faces many more challenges, but you will never hear it from Poops. I have no issues with the power of positivity, I have no issues with having faith in a higher power, I have no issues with lauding the great things going on in Sioux Falls. But effective leaders take the good with the bad. Mayor Poops philosophy is we just ignore the bad, hide in your basement, tell some dad jokes, heat up the gravy and it may just go away.

Ending Food Deserts

Guest Post by by David Z for Mayor and Patricia Lucas

I want Sioux Falls to be a thriving, robust city with healthy citizens. Healthy citizens need a nutritious diet based on regular access to fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.

This goal has become increasingly challenging. In our state of South Dakota, one out of nine individuals is food insecure and one of every six children is at risk of going hungry. The closure of grocery stores, higher cost of food, transportation limitations, and the COVID pandemic make the problem of food access critical. Some areas of Sioux Falls don’t have nearby supermarkets – they are food deserts. Food deserts occur most often in rundown parts of a city when grocery stores move away from high crime and low income areas. The HyVee on Kiwanis Avenue recently closed creating a food desert.

A former manager of this supermarket commented on www.reddit.com that the closure of this store “will undoubtedly impact countless families and individuals who shopped there on a highly consistent basis. A majority of the clientele were elderly, disabled, and lower income shoppers who may already have a difficult time in getting to the grocery store, especially in frigid winter months … it really is leaving behind a food desert.”

This is a crisis for our city of Sioux Falls. Malnourished people can become obese, have heart disease, and suffer from type 2 diabetes. Children can suffer even more. Hunger can slow their mental and physical development. They don’t do well in school and have lower graduation rates. Hungry children often don’t reach their full potential and remain disadvantaged during adulthood. Hunger results in reduced health and that increases medical costs and expensive emergency room visits.

A short term solution for hunger is providing food access through charities and government programs like food stamps and subsidized school lunches. While these excellent programs solve critical needs, they don’t solve the whole problem. We can make food more affordable by removing the sales tax on food. City government can subsidize placing grocery stores in food deserts and thereby increase local access to healthy nutritious food at reasonable cost. Urban agriculture can provide gardeners with delightful fresh fruits and vegetables. We can support the health and welfare of Sioux Falls by investing in our citizens of all ages, sexes, income levels, and races. We improve the present and build the future. Let’s solve local hunger together.

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

David Z on the Campaign Trail

This was a nice story about David by Dan