Entries Tagged 'Ethics' ↓

Mayor TenHaken may have violated FCC Committee Member Rules

Mayor TenHaken currently is the chair of the FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, as a committee member they have to follow certain rules and guidelines in that position. According to the FCC they are only allowed to provide opinions to the FCC Commission. I was unable to find the specific rule that prohibits committee members from making accusations or pronouncements about other fellow lawmakers, like a city councilor he serves with, but I do know that Federal boards have to meet a much higher bar when it comes to conduct. I would think if Councilor Brekke made an inquiry to the FCC about his accusations they would look into the rules he must follow as a committee member.

Here is the video of Brekke’s press conference. I like how she compared Paul to a singer of a rock band and the council is the musicians in the band;

Here is the dust up between Starr and Jensen;

UPDATE: City of Sioux Falls Employees are also voters

UPDATE: Notice in Trevor Mitchell’s story;

Asked for comment, TenHaken’s campaign responded with several links to the Federal Communication Commission’s rules on political campaign texts, as well as to the Sioux Falls Code of Ordinances. The city’s code states:


“No city employee shall, directly or indirectly, contribute money or anything of value to or render service in behalf of the candidacy of any candidate for nomination or election to any city office.” 


Notice that either Mitchell or TenHaken conveniently left out the last two sentences of the complete ordinance, which gives city employees the right to privately support candidates, just NOT financially.


§ 39.038 POLITICAL ACTIVITY.
No officer or employee under the civil service or appointive officers shall, directly or indirectly, contribute money or anything of value to or render service in behalf of the candidacy of any candidate for nomination or election to any city office. The expression in private of personal views concerning candidates for political office is not prohibited hereby. Violation of this section shall be grounds for discharge or other disciplinary action.

This of course is no surprise how low they will go to try to make it look like they have the law on their sides. Ironically, it seems Poops is the one who may have violated city charter when it comes ethics and employee bonuses;


§ 39.041 UNLAWFUL INFLUENCE.
No person while holding any office in the government of the city or any nomination for or while seeking a nomination for appointment to any office shall corruptly use or promise to use, either directly or indirectly, any official authority or influence in the way of conferring upon any person, or in order to secure or aid any person in securing any office or public employment or any nomination, confirmation, promotion or increase in salary, upon the consideration or condition that the vote or political influence or action of the last named person or any other person shall be given or used in behalf of any candidate, officer or party, or upon any other corrupt condition or consideration.

It seems Paul is trying to deflect from his own ethical challenges trying to play the victim after he attacked a city councilor;

These are baseless allegations and honestly, way beneath what we should expect from our leaders. Those who know me can see through them for what they are  — false, misleading and a desperate attempt for headlines a week before an election. I look forward to continuing to discuss issues like housing, public safety and infrastructure rather than publicity stunts like this.”

Baseless? Who sent the private text with a made up controversy? You did. It is unfortunate that Brekke had to respond to your political stunt. You are such a small petty person. I know hungry toddlers with more grace. You played the same game with Jolene. These are the games of a political hack who has no basic understanding of ethics or running government.

It continued at the informational meeting where Chair Alex Jensen decided to dig on Councilor Starr who had to attend a personal matter so he was late to the meeting saying, “Where is Pat Starr, thought he wanted to ask questions? (about Forward Sioux Falls funding). Starr showed up shortly later and at the end of the meeting he tore into Jensen saying he wasn’t ‘Man enough to say it to his face.’ Jensen tried to deny it and Pat said, ‘We can replay the tape.’ As the gavel was flying the video producer shut the video off, essentially censoring the exchange. That’s open government folks.

This is what it has come to, a bunch of partisan hack rubber stampers who are angry about getting called out for their immense stupidity, arrogance and incompetence.

Previous Post

Unfortunately, Mayor Doxxing has decided to threaten a city councilor that is up for re-election with a made-up crisis. Councilor Brekke is contacting voters with her text messages and some of those voters are city employees. It is completely legal, as she explains. Janet is not offering any kind of compensation to the city employees for posting her signs, and further more, according to city charter, city councilors have NO direct influence over a majority of city employees, only council staff.

This of course is a response from the mayor because Brekke pointed out it being unethical to vote for city employee bonuses before an election, something that directly impacts their employment and compensation. She took the high road and Paul is taking the low road.

I could say more, but I will let Janet explain instead;

Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke on Ethics & Open Meetings

Janet Brekke set a new standard for Sioux Falls City Council thought provoking discussion on June 19, 2018. During the discussion of the fake Public Input control ordinance Brekke had to remind the proponents and everyone else what goes into proper process.

We must remember, there is nothing lost if everything is in the open following proper process. The Selberg / Kiley fake Public Input ordinance controversy never had to happen. It was a brain dead proposal to shut off voices they did not want to hear, interfering in proposals they appeared to want hidden from us, the owners and customers of our city government.

To help everyone understand, the city of Sioux Falls is technically a public corporation run through by-laws (A.K.A. Home Rule Charter). The Home Rule Charter gives the administrators certain responsibilities and are answerable to us, the stockholders. We citizens are the stockholders of the corporation, not the special interests who pay money to have more influence or pay platting fees.

The last few years we have been teaching the public how and when they should redress their issues and concerns. This fake issue was shot down by the people, those who showed up and those who couldn’t. It appeared for the time being, the elected board of directors heard the message.

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

Appeal of Neitzert’s Ethics Hearing in Circuit Court gets thrown out

Remember this Delightful Hearing?

And the obvious and awful bias the chair of the meeting, Mayor TenHaken, had towards Greg and Greg’s detractors. Paul routinely cut off John, Janet and Pat while letting Greg’s 5 best friends make statements and cut off answers from John before he could finish. His performance that night should be a clear ethics violation.

Basically the judge threw out the petitioner’s complaint with a summary judgement saying he had plenty of opportunity to present evidence throughout the hearing (I wonder if she even watched the hearing?)

While the city council member against whom a complaint has been filed may be represented by their own attorney, may call witnesses and may present evidence, there is no requirement that the complainant has the same rights. Instead, the Ordinance requires the city council to “receive evidence” from the person making the ethics complaint. The record is clear that the council “received evidence” from the Petitioner. Petitioner had a right to participate in the process as set forth in the Ordinance. He did not have a right to dictate the procedure contrary to the Ordinance.

In other words the judge is saying that the city council has the right to act as a Kangaroo Kourt, as they do every Tuesday evening 🙂

Read the judgement HERE.

I also liked this under the profile of the (private) attorney representing the city on the issue;

Melissa successfully defended her clients in the following reported matters: 

• McDowell v. Sapienza and the City of Sioux Falls, 2018 SD 1, — N.W.2d —

If you fight city hall, good luck getting any legal or judicial deference in this town.

City of Sioux Falls Thursday’s Tidbits

Sioux Falls Ethics Commission met today, but we don’t know why

It says in the agenda;

CONFIDENTIAL REQUEST FOR ADVISORY OPINION 21-1 RECEIVED 10-14-2021 (EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS PERSONNEL MATTERS PURSUANT TO SDCL 1-25-2(1) AND CONSULTING WITH LEGAL COUNSEL PURSUANT TO SDCL 1-25-2(3))

This could be anyone with the city, employee or elected official. Since it is confidential we will never know. I think even if these meetings are in private, they should at least release the question and the decision without exposing who is asking. How do we know if the Ethics Commission made the right decision if we cannot watch the proceedings?

Will the Washington Pavilion be hired to run the Ice Ribbon?

With the new ice ribbon set to be built soon down by Falls Park, some are wondering if the Parks Department has what it takes to run the paid admission facility. Since they will have to have a ticketing booth and some kind of staff to assist people, they will likely have to hire a contractor to do it. While I am sure the Pavilion could handle it, what I don’t understand is why can’t the Parks Department? Oh that’s right, besides the department being ran by a two-faced liar, they can’t even hire part-time lifeguards, now try to find part-time ice guards. Maybe we should just let the Pavilion run our entire parks department, they are already draining our entertainment tax fund every year, might as well put them to work.

Available Liquor Licenses in Sioux Falls

After the 2020 Census, Sioux Falls has become eligible for more ON and OFF-SALE liquor licenses, I am awaiting the official numbers from the city but what I have heard unofficially is there is 27 additional Package (off-sale) licenses and 19 Retail (on-sale) licenses available. Not sure how many are already spoken for. Once I get more information I will let you know.

The Curbside Garbage ordinance is already on next week’s docket

I can almost guarantee the Rubberstamp Council will pass the curbside garbage ordinance and allow haulers to charge extra for valet service:

The Sioux Falls City Council will likely consider an amendment to the city’s garbage ordinances that could allow garbage haulers to require curbside placement of garbage cans for pickup or charge extra to continue valet service.

It should be up to the consumer if they want to do it and there should be NO extra charge for the service. But it sounds like the hauler wants the city to force the consumer to do it, and if they don’t want to, they will be charged extra.

Whether the city council will support the move is another issue. In his Facebook post, Neitzert said he was “torn on this issue,” and asked for feedback from residents, and Councilor Rick Kiley said earlier this year he’d be against any such change if haulers weren’t planning on lowering rates for reduced service.


Councilor Janet Brekke has also regularly expressed her support for the current ordinance and how it keeps trash cans away from the street, improving the city’s aesthetics.

You never know, it might come to a tie vote with Poops siding with the haulers, we will see. You know my feelings on it, I think the city should contract with 4 major PRIVATE haulers and divide the city into 4 sections and pay our garbage bill with our water and sewer. We already own the landfill, why would we charge tipping fees? Yesterday while driving to work thru Cathedral neighborhood I saw two trucks parked next to each other from different haulers collecting cans at the same time on the same street. Dumb.

Oh, and let’s hear about 3 city councilors who profess about apartment dwellers being great for a neighborhood, but don’t live next to them. I do, and I love apartments, but I love my house more.

Board of Ethics Meeting June 8, 2021

Sorry this took so long, Cameraman Bruce has been very busy;

UPDATE: David Z will be asking the Sioux Falls Ethics Commission on Tuesday to investigate the widespread bribery in elected city officials

UPDATE: As I predicted, the Ethics Board slithered their way out of doing their job by saying they didn’t define the word ‘common’ very well. You can’t make this crap up. I was waiting for Bill Clinton to pop out of the back and say, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” A video of the meeting will be posted soon.

The meeting on June 8 at 1:30 PM will review David’s complaint. Basically when the city council let Councilor Neitzert get away with taking a bribe (and also the Mayor) they said that these kind of gifts were common practice and the council needed to tighten up the rules. David is asking them to investigate these bribes if this so widespread. It will be interesting to hear how they worm their way out of this one.

On a separate note, the complaint filed against Neitzert was appealed by the Complainant and is still pending.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, June 8, 2021

Ethics Commission Meeting • 1:30 PM • Commission Chambers at City Hall

David Zokaites is asking for an investigation into widespread bribes and Councilor Janet Brekke is looking to start ethics training for elected officials.

Informational • 4 PM

• Southeast Technical College General Updates by Bob Griggs, President, Southeast Technical College (I think this is a yearly update because I think the city does give funding to the school)

• YMCA Downtown Community Youth Center and Call to Freedom – Marissa’s Housing Project by Mike Murphy, YMCA Interim President and CEO; and Becky Rasmussen, Call to Freedom Executive Director (I’m not sure what this is about, but they may be getting affordable housing funding from the city, but I have no idea).

Regular Meeting • 6 PM

Item #14, 2nd Reading, Motorized Foot Scooters (This item is being withdrawn. I wonder if they will re-visit it after fixing it and meeting with the public, which they should have done to begin with).

Item #15, 1st Reading, An ordinance sponsored by the Mayor to ‘stall’ Med Mary in Sioux Falls until the state comes up with regulation. So the mayor and council have decided to do nothing until October. Cruise control government at its finest;

WHEREAS, medical cannabis state laws under SDCL 34-20G are effective July 1, 2021. The
South Dakota Department of Health shall promulgate rules pursuant to Chapter 1-26 not later
than October 29, 2021, as defined by SDCL 34-20G-72. During the time between July 1, 2021,
and potentially as late as October 29, 2021, local units of government will not yet know
standards for medical cannabis and will not be able to adequately assess the local zoning and
licensing requirements necessary to approve local permits and to better ensure applicants have a
more predictable permitting process and avoid stranded investments;

Item #16, 1st Reading, the council is reorganizing the committee structure and creating a regulatory committee, which is ironic, because this is already their duty according to the charter.

Mayor TenHaken’s HATEFEST on Transparency continues with Ethics Complaint Coverups

I’m not going to mince words, this is just a blatant coverup;

But exactly how often are ethics complaints actually brought against city employees and elected officials, and for what? Well, taxpayers aren’t supposed to know.

There have been 16 ethics complaints filed with the Sioux Falls Board of Ethics since Jan. 1, 2000, according to the city’s recent response to an Argus Leader open records request.

But City Attorney Stacy Kooistra said not only could the details of those complaints not be released, neither could the roles held by those accused. Kooistra cited state law and city ordinances.

The only path to transparency on those ethics complaints is if the accused waives confidentiality.

Of those 16 complaints, only two have elected to do so.

While I don’t think there should be confidentiality to begin with, what I don’t understand is after a complaint has been thrown out, why does it remain confidential? While Kooistra may be correct that they have a right to confidentiality, I think that right ends once the complaint has been thrown out and the public has a right to see the complaint and the reason it was thrown out. I don’t think the law is on their side after the complaint has been thrown out. I believe there are two reasons why they are claiming they can do this 1) They don’t want the public reviewing the complaints that are thrown out and questioning why they were thrown out and 2) This administration has a deep, deep, deep hatred of open government, it’s almost a feverish sickness within city hall. It often amazes me why someone has such deep hate in their souls for something that is the moral, honest and the ethical thing to do AND actually saves taxpayers money.
You also have to remember that ANY complaint can be simply thrown out as frivolous if the complainant doesn’t cite the correct chapter in law/ordinance. You wonder how often this has happened? So while the complaint could have substance, it could get booted due to the ignorance of the complainant. Should the city attorney or ethics board be assisting the complainant to cite the proper ordinance? Yes!!!!

But, not only is there a DEEP HATE for open government they seem to be delusional about what an ethics indictment means;

The confidentiality of the complaints has been cited as a way to prevent their use as a weapon. Neitzert only waived confidentiality on the complaint following his successful re-election, saying there was “clear evidence of a timed and coordinated attack against my character for the purposes of defeating me in my re-election effort.”

Greg seems to be confused, because he WAS indicted on the complaint;

The board found probable cause that there had been a violation of ethical ordinances, but added that it was a ‘common practice’ for councilors to have their expenses paid for by a third party and that the City Council’s rules around such matters were broad and confusing.

The board recommended no individual sanctions against Neitzert, who was later cleared of the charge in a 5-2 vote of the City Council.

While Greg’s best buddies on the City Council dismissed punishment, Neitzert was still indicted by the ethics board and that remains unchanged. It wasn’t a political attack since the ethics board did say he violated charter. Him and the mayor accepted the gift and took the trip. A political opponent had nothing to do with that violation. In fact, to this day Greg hasn’t been able to show evidence that the complaint filed against him had any connection to his opponent. Not one shred. The only thing the ethics commission did say was he didn’t deserve sanctions since everybody was apparently ‘doing it’ even though they gave no evidence of who these other councilors or mayors that were doing it. Even though we know TenHaken has been ‘doing it’ quite a bit.

As I said from the beginning, this is clearly just a coverup. I would love it if Attorney Kooistra provided us the laws and ordinances that cover, coverups but not until he figures out prior restraint and the 1st Amendment.