As I have mentioned earlier today, both the Active Transportation Board and the Parks Board tabled the recommendation citing ignorance of E2 technology.

And that is FAIR.

As I told Councilor Neitzert after the first meeting, I would much rather have NO recommendation then one from a group of volunteers that don’t understand the topic.

While Greg wants to rework the ordinance, AGAIN, and bring it back, I told him to just bring it to the council as is. Councilor Starr agreed and further added that we gave these boards an opportunity to make a recommendation and they passed citing their lack of knowledge on the topic. So what would make you think they would become any wiser in a month or two?

I think the council has at least 5 votes to pass this, and there will be public opposition and support. Even if it fails, you can use the experience to figure out what needs to be reworked. Or better yet, pass the ordinance with an amendment that funds a year long study of the effects of E2s on the trails and speed limits. After a 12 month review the city council can come back and tweak the issues, or expand the availability. This isn’t rocket science folks. You could even put a 12-month cutoff on the temporary ordinance with the intent to re-introduce or make permanent.

One of my friends who recently moved back to Sioux Falls after living in the Southwest for the past decade is an E-bike fanatic and was really involved in her last E-Biking community and she was amazed by how far behind Sioux Falls is when it comes to regulating the technology. We are essentially 5 years behind the rest of the country (ironically when they passed this stupid ordinance to begin with).

We want to be big kids when it comes to parking ramps and hotels on the river but we play like tots* when it comes to modernizing city policies. I think I am going to start handing out binkies at these meetings moving forward.

*There was an ‘incident’ at the Parks Board Meeting that I will posting about in the near future.

As suspected, this is ONE of the changes;

  • Reimbursed or paid expenses from a third party to the
    city may be accepted if ALL of the following
    requirements are met:
  • 1. The event is related to the official duties of the
    officer or city’s legislative or policy making role
    (Consistent with City Council Travel Policy)
  • 2. The event organizer is not a person, entity, or
    business who seeks or does business with the city
    or conducts activities regulated by the city or is a
    political party (nonprofits and other governmental units
    are NOT prohibited sources)
  • 3. All expenses are paid for or reimbursed by the
    event organizer (not a sponsor of the event)
  • 4. The event is a widely attended gathering and the
    agenda and any paid or reimbursed expenses are a
    matter of public record

I Still think it is dangerous territory to allow partisan groups to fund trips.

I was alerted to this recently but my foot soldier couldn’t tell me what the proposed changes were;

Ethics Ordinance Update by Greg Neitzert, Council Member

Like I said, I have no idea what he is proposing, but with his impeachment over a paid for partisan trip to Texas with Mayor TenHaken and his then Deputy COS, TJ Nelson, one has to wonder if they are re-writing the ordinance to make the sins of the past go away, which would allow partisan political groups to pay for trips of local elected officials.

If this is the proposal, I think it is dangerous territory. While I maintain that not only was Councilor Neitzert guilty of ethics violations, so was the mayor and Nelson. Partisan groups, left, right or center, should not be able to buy influence.

And while the recreation trail ordinances have languished for 5 years, this apparently is top priority . . . saving their own asses!

I know, I know, a little early, but you would be surprised how much chatter has been going on already about the next mayoral race. The below predictions are PURE speculation based on convos I have had with city government nerds;

• Mike Huether, the former mayor has been actively reaching out to potential supporters and it is highly likely he will run.

• Greg Jamison, Greg currently serves in the SD legislature, but I have a fishy feeling he would love another round with Mr. Huether.

• Christine Erickson, she is coming off a very successful campaign against the stinky folks, and she has the ego to take a stab at this.

• Alex Jensen, not sure what to think of this, but his name has been floated out there by TenHaken worshippers.

• Greg Neizert, not sure if he is interested, but it seems like the most logical next political step.

• Theresa Stehly, I doubt she will run, but I can almost guarantee if she does run she will be in the runoff.

I’m sure there will be a couple of other Zombies (SNARK!) entering the race, but I have a feeling we will see a very crowded and diverse group.

There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming election. One of the topics is Mayor TenHaken’s participation in the Anti IM 27 campaign and if it is it is legal. I have been warning people for years that PTH’s former job was being a political partisan marketing hack, and little has changed. He continues to ignore the ethics of being a politician while setting precedents when unchallenged. Paul not only is betting the farm on his input to the opponents but I also think he is doing this to harvest statewide voter data for an eventual run for Governor or Senator. It makes me laugh when Paul says he hates politics and doesn’t like being a politician, but he has done it his entire professional life and now is using PAC money from a PAC he runs to make a political stance. We will see how this plays out. I think the race is in a dead heat, but if Paul is successful in getting his SF mayoral supporters in line with his feelings on MJ he will set another precedent right in front of our faces. Even if IM 27 passes and foils his ambitions (he will still have secured the voter data), I still encourage members of the IM 27 campaign to file ethics violations against him for his political stunt as a sitting (lying) mayor.

Even if the Wholestone Slaughterhouse ordinance fails or passes (I think it will get between 70-80%) it will ultimately be decided in a court of law and NOT by voters. Why is this? For the same reason I voted NO. It is a poorly written measure that doesn’t address property rights and current zoning. Liking the concept or not doesn’t matter here, it is about law and city ordinances, and since the city council didn’t have the courage to do something about this in January here we are. Thousands of disenfranchised voters and a very nervous judge.

Speaking of the ordinance, council chair, Curt Soehl, decided it was a good idea to write a letter to the editor in support of the NO vote. I was told the entire council was advised to publicly keep quiet about the ordinance until after the election, Soehl obviously ignored them. Funny how this guy likes to tell councilors how to conduct themselves during meetings but does whatever he wants to on the side. Not just an authoritarian, but a hypocrite.

The Events Center Campus is a dump and always will be, that isn’t coming from me, that is straight from councilors yesterday at the informational meeting;

Neitzert called the proposal to spend more at the events center complex a “sunk-cost fallacy,” and unless the plan includes overhauling the entire neighborhood and creating a walkable road network, he doesn’t anticipate much success.

“We’ve been proven wrong twice,” he said. “It’s just a tough area. It just is.”

Maybe Greg learned something from his Bunker Ramp vote. The 3rd time isn’t always a charm.

Speaking of Greg, last night with the support of the mayor at the council meeting found ways to limit video lottery at a handful of casinos but did argue that it will take some stronger ordinance changes in the near future to affect change. I can guarantee lobbyists for the VL industry in SD are already nagging lawmakers to make changes to state law so they can have these mega casinos that hand out free beer. Like Wholestone, this will also be decided by a court, and also like Wholestone the City Council acted too little and too late. The city council should have been working on this for the past two decades.

A few weeks ago I addressed the city council about having a $5 dollar bond payment ticket fee at the Denty to help pay down the mortgage. This week they turned around and gave a ticket fee to the general fund of the Sports Authority for ‘Marketing’ with NO oversight. Of course this is the same city council that continues to subsidize the operations of the Pavilion while spending millions on building repairs while the Pavilion sits on a $5 million dollar savings fund. Yet some how the city may have to scrounge the money together for an additional warming shelter this winter.

The screenshot below is from the last Audit Committee meeting Councilor Jensen chaired. It was so nice of the taxpayers of Sioux Falls to fund City of Sioux Falls logo wear for councilors (instead of a simple $10 lapel nametag magnet) so that when they actually show up to a live streamed public meeting they could be promoting their Dr. Oz and Alex Jones vitamins. #justrolledoutofbed

In her time in office on the city council, the Quen Be De and I agreed on very little. But one night De Knudson decided to take on video lottery, she was on fire, and I was in the chambers. She essentially wanted to close it down in our city and she said, “I’m tired of all these junky casinos on every corner . . . and if the state wants to sue us, bring it on!”

Well, they did, and they won;

And, if a business has a full liquor license (not just wine and/or beer), the city can’t really do anything to stop them from also offering video lottery. That’s because of a 2011 S.D. Supreme Court case – Law vs. Sioux Falls – that I will spare you the details of here.

Our state law on these things is crappy, because, well our state legislature is crappy. I recently talked to a South Dakota parole board member about the attacks on his group by Sheriff Milstead and Mayor TenHaken. I said, ‘Don’t you have to follow state law when granting parole?’ He said yes. Then I said, ‘So wouldn’t it be up to the state legislature to change the laws so parole opportunities are more rare?’ He said yes. ‘So why are they attacking you?’ He laughed.

Councilors Neitzert and Merkouris think they have state law on their side;

Councilors Neitzert and Rich Merkouris in recent weeks have been visiting casinos across the city. Neitzert told Sioux Falls Simplified they’ve seen several violations of state law, as well as some unintended consequences of a 2019 city ordinance change related to video lottery.

Oh, but that pesky SD Supreme Court, that makes it up while they go along, might have a problem with your arm chair lawyering.

I could walk these two into certain bars in this city at any given time and show them health code violations, video lottery violations, public smoking violations, over serving, and a whole host of other problems. To be honest with you, I have not seen POs in a bar doing random ID checks for about a decade.

Maybe enforcement and not state law is the real issue here?

I will commend Rich and Greg for teaming up to combat the ‘Junky’ casinos, but at the end of the day, you will probably lose in court, and I am willing to wager on it.