Entries Tagged 'Greg Neitzert' ↓

Sioux Falls City Council limits Video Lottery when it suits them

Like the recent property tax hike and ignoring the zoning amendments when it comes to Wholestone Foods, it seems the city council only does the right thing when it suits them;

Tuesday’s council meeting finally saw a vote on a series of video lottery terminal requests and malt beverage license approvals applied for by Commonwealth Gaming and Holdings that, taken together, would comprise four establishments holding 10 video lottery terminals each, all within one building near East 69th Street and South Cliff Avenue.

“It just completely violates the spirit and the intent and the letter of state law, which is that it’s supposed to be separate businesses with 10 machines,” said Neitzert in an interview.

So why did you vote for this reach around of state law in the past? The city council has had the ability to limit Telephone Booth VL casinos for years, and NOW they are realizing they can do these limitations?!

Part of the issue is a 2019 ordinance passed by council which allowed separate casinos operating under one roof to share cooler space and employee access points.

It was a compromise that followed several denials of licenses that CGH had applied for, as city ordinance says alcoholic beverages cannot move from one establishment to another, and that walls must separate businesses that hold licenses to sell alcohol.

Neitzert, who voted in favor of the ordinance, said CGH had always said they were looking to operate two establishments under one roof, not three, four or five.

I figured when they passed that ordinance that casinos would find a way to expand it even more. While I wasn’t a 100% sure this would happen, I initially opposed the change because the city council should be doing everything in their legal power and authority to limit VL casinos and not just automatically approve new venues when they come before the council. While they like to cry about a couple of Med MJ dispensaries they seem to have no issue with a junky VL casino on every corner in this city. Video Lottery has destroyed more lives in this state than MJ could ever do and the tax revenue just gets wasted in the general fund. Besides contributing to more crime, addiction and bankruptcy, a job at a casino isn’t exactly a career move unless you own the place.

When the latter two video lottery terminal requests came to a vote, they failed in a 5-3 vote, with Councilors Curt Soehl, Marshall Selberg and Alex Jensen voting in their favor.

And you gotta wonder what these three clowns were thinking? Further proof our city council is NOT truly citizen representatives.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert says transit is like a free toaster

I never tried to drive a toaster to work;

“There’s been this argument that — and I don’t know if it’s provable — that if you give the rides away for free that kids will use it and they’ll become lifelong riders,” Neitzert said. “I guess I would say if you give me a free toaster and it’s awful, I’ll use it once and then I’m going to throw it away. I’m not going to keep using it. And so we have to improve the toaster. And that’s going to take a lot more work, and it’s a lot harder than just giving away free rides.”

Of course Greg voted against the FREE youth rides with a convenient argument;

Councilor Greg Neitzert was the sole vote against the proposal, saying the thing preventing people from riding the bus was not cost, but the fact that it doesn’t meet their needs.

I would ask Greg ‘As the legislative and policy body of the city, what have YOU done to improve it?’ Not a DAMN thing!

The first step is improving the marketing of the transit system. While it was good this passed, there should have been an amendment or resolution supporting a new marketing strategy encouraging youth ridership. If minors don’t know it is free, they will not ride. The school district, along with the city and even Lincoln and Minnehaha counties need to promote this.

We also have the money to do this. When we are spending tax dollars on ice ribbons, tennis courts, butterflies, zoo exhibits, cornice on the Pavilion roof, bunker ramp parks, etc. We have a couple of grand to market youth ridership.

Transit ridership is down because the city has virtually ignored improving it, expanding it or even marketing it. I have felt this has been done on purpose, and like the EC task force, the city blames Covid for the stalemate. I call BS on that!

I sent a letter to the Secretary of Transportation last month asking the DOT to reach out to the city with assistance in helping us make it better. That could be anything from promotional ideas, to better planning and MONEY! I am not sure if they have reached out, but I am hoping they do since our councilors are only good at making silly comparisons to kitchen appliances instead of actually digging in and doing the work.

If I was given a FREE toaster and it didn’t work right, I would either try to fix it or give it back for a different one. There are certain councilors that I would certainly like to ‘throw’ off the council for their awfulness and inability to work.

Half of the Ethically Challenged Sioux Falls City Council hosts fundraiser

It has often been confusing to me over the last couple of election cycles sitting councilors have been hosting public fundraisers for challengers to incumbent councilors. I can understand that you may not like the incumbent you serve with and you certainly have a 1st Amendment right to speak publicly about it and even donate money to their opponent. But you do have to question the integrity and ethics of these councilors who will openly HOST a fundraiser that is challenging the incumbent, and using their official titles as councilors on the media promoting the event.

The irony is the incumbent is probably one of the most qualified city councilors we have ever had, working several years in the law offices of city hall. You also have to factor in their dedication towards open government and transparency. But what makes the other councilors (and three of the Mayor’s campaign GOONS, with a sprinkling of bankers, bonders and trusters) support of this candidate puzzling to me is that the incumbent has always been in lock step with the rest of the council on most issues, especially when it comes to development and growth.

So while she may still make it into the rubber stamp club on occasion, I think her questioning of the administration and especially their confused and inept legal counsel, it disqualifies you from the club, so they need a new member; A physician that has ZERO experience when it comes to planning, litigation and long term strategic planning. A perfect fit for the rubber stampers.

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.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Kiley’s Tuesday Night Shananigans & Scammery

Besides the potential Open Meetings violations at last Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, it seems Kiley was participating in some very strange behavior.

If a City Councilor has a conflict of interest with an item, they must recuse themselves and go in the back room. They must do this AT THE ANNOUNCEMENT of the item and not return until after the final vote. They can’t sit there and listen and then leave before the vote. They must ALSO tell us why they are leaving. Kiley didn’t do that.

My assumption was it was done to save the mayor from having to have a tie vote on Neitzert’s Amendment that Kiley saw in advance*.

Watch how this plays out on Item #40, resolution on development.

(FF 21:20) Kiley doesn’t leave at the beginning, and Erickson whispers something into his ear.

(FF 1:06) Kiley is still sitting on the dais and leans into Erickson and says something as Neitzert discusses his amendment. Between 1:06 and 1:10 he leaves the dais and goes into backroom before the Amendment vote of 4-3 saving the Mayor from breaking a tie. Kiley doesn’t return until after final motion vote and the announcement of the next item.

So Ricky Lee, seems like an interesting time to take a potty break? Talk about blatant corruption and scammery.

But that wasn’t the only time Ricky was up to his little bag of tricks with the help of his magician assistant Heels. *(FF: 2:38) While Neitzert gave an advance notice (several days) of his Garbage Hauler amendment, Ricky did not. It has been ruled in the past by the city attorney that councilors should give a 24 hour advance notice, they have called councilor Starr out on it. So Pat asked Ricky Lee about it and said he could do it because Pat did it in the past to which Pat responded sarcastically, “Yeah, I’d be happy to take credit for it.”

UPDATE: Public input on IM 26 Task Force (after the fact)

FF this Newshour from yesterday to 12:00, it is fascinating the kinds of hoops they make people jump through across the country to sell a harmless plant. The story is about discrimination against minorities who want to own dispensaries, but there are similarities with what we are going through because the fanatics we have in government want to continue the pointless war on marijuana.

City of Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken delivers his dirty SOC

While the replay is working just fine, when it streamed on the city’s FB page it didn’t start until about 11 minutes in. Even when they are streaming on social media they can’t get the video to work properly.

While Paul did introduce the council, he didn’t take a roll call vote, I wonder if you can even do an official meeting like this;

Section 3.03  Mayor’s duties and responsibility.

The mayor shall, at the beginning of each calendar year, and may at other times give the council information as to the affairs of the city and recommend measures considered necessary and desirable. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the council, represent the city in intergovernmental relationships, appoint with the advice and consent of the council the members of the citizen advisory boards and commissions, present an annual state of the city message, and perform other duties specified by the council and by article III. The mayor shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law.

I was pleasantly surprised when he raised an initiative about cleaning up the core, something I have suggested for over a decade. While he was short on details, I welcome it. I asked a couple of councilors if they knew anything about it and they said notta. I would still like to see tax rebates in the initiative, but I will wait for details. While it is good he is working on it, it really should be the job of the city council to push this policy (kind of their job). I know that councilor Brekke has been working on this for several months and it is good to know the mayor has been listening. I don’t care who takes credit for good ideas, as long as they help the city.

He also proposed a Mayor’s Youth Council, while a worthwhile endeavor, telling us he wants input from the youth of the city, I’m wondering when he is going to get input from the adult taxpaying voting citizens? This same mayor has done ZERO coffees, cracker barrels or listening and learning sessions with citizens in his first term. He also moved public input to the back of the council meetings. He may want to hear from the kids in town, but not the adults.

TIFILICIOUS IS GETTING MORE TIFFY

I Also heard today that more TIFs for Downtown developers is coming down the pike in the area around Cherapa Place and the Railroad Redevelopment area. Brace yourselves. I’m still baffled why we are giving out TIFs when this city has a 2% unemployment rate and an affordable housing crisis with building permits going thru the roof. Developer welfare in the shape of growth for growth sake.

COUNCILOR NEITZERT ADMITS TO TRYING TO STALL MEDICAL MARIJUANA IMPLEMENTATION

Not sure how a city councilor can inject themselves on county initiatives or state initiatives, but Greg has;

Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert has been researching licensing, locations, and even the number of dispensaries in the city.

“We need to do something in the interim, it wouldn’t be a moratorium, but something is so that we could wait until we have regulations because we don’t even know what the regulatory framework is going to be the counties have to wrestle with this as well are they going to allow people to grow marijuana in the county, that’s their decision, they’re gonna have to decide on that. But cities are also gonna have to make that same determination as well. So we both have our own jurisdictions and then we have our joint jurisdiction. So that’s where we need to work together,” said Neitzert.

Neitzert says he has briefed Mayor Ten Haken on his findings. Whether the city or the county will be ready for the legalization of Medical Marijuana, is yet to be seen.

State law dictates that city’s have to follow those laws. As Commissioner Barth points out;

Barth is frustrated in what he believes to be the stalling of working out the details.

“So, the powers that be, want Minnehaha County to put a moratorium on medical marijuana operations. Now they’ve had since last November, to try to get their ducks in order. They didn’t in fact they did everything they could to prevent it from moving forward. And now we’re getting to the tenth hour, and they’re asking us to take the hit because they have refused to do their job,” said Barth.

Of the fifteen years, he’s been a commissioner, this is the first time he’s seen a template to assist the county to write an ordinance.

“If it just goes into effect. Coming up on July 1 That’s the way it goes,” said Barth.

He is exactly correct, get your poop in a group and figure it out.

Minnehaha County & City of Sioux Falls officials looking to limit Medical Marijuana distribution

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth informed me yesterday that Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert, Mayor TenHaken, Minnehaha County States attorney Dan Haggar and Sioux Falls City Attorney Stacy Kooistra have been cooking up a proposal with the help of the Municipal League to ask the Minnehaha County Commission to put a Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries until after January 1, 2022.

They do have some fair arguments. First off the July 1st implementation of the law is quickly approaching and the city and county has yet to set up licensing fees and licenses for these establishments. So instead of having secret meetings, how about trying public meetings to get the job done?!

While it is fair to say that they can ask for a small delay, those delays are usually only good for 30 days.

Barth told me he would NOT vote for it if it did get on the agenda and also told me he trying to make sure it is not done in the dark of the night in an executive session.

The biggest issue with this is that we have known since November that this is legal and the Governor’s office and legislature farted around way too long.

They need to get it in high gear and figure out how it will be regulated by the state, ASAP, and the county and city need to move fast and determine the licensing instead of having secret meetings about how they want to delay this.

What baffles me is that Medical and even Recreational is inevitable, and instead of dragging our feet we must act as elected officials to make sure this is implemented July 1st because of the will of the voters.

Hopefully we will hear more about this idiotic move in the coming week. I do know that Barth has been talking with both TV stations about the issue.

UPDATE: Will TenHaken run for Re-election as Sioux Falls mayor?

UPDATE: A South DaCola foot soldier told me today that they heard an interview where Paul said he intends to run for a 2nd term as long as his COS, Erica Beck, is on board and she said she would stay on. I had to chuckle a bit, because Paul has to keep her on board if he serves a 2nd term, because she is the one running the city.

With about a year away from the 2022 municipal elections I’m sure most people have other things on their mind. For instance, Curt Soehl is also up for re-election as the Central District councilor, but he doesn’t have to announce for awhile, and I think that race will be quite crowded.

It seems strange to me that Paul hasn’t said one way or another if he is running again. He wouldn’t need some big news conference, just a simple press release saying he will or will not run again. At the very least, just to raise money.

If I was a betting man, my guess is that he will seek a 2nd term AND will beat his closest competitor in a landslide. I also think Paul knows the job is gravy train, that is why he pays his COS $177K a year to run the city for him while he makes supposed side developer deals with inside information. It’s win-win for everyone.

If he decides to NOT run again, my guess is there would be a long list of people that would think about running like Huether, Erickson, Neitzert, Jamison and Stehly.

If Paul does announce he is running I’m not sure if he will have any serious contenders, and it will sure be fun watching him debate David Z.

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.