Entries Tagged 'Janet Brekke' ↓

Sioux Falls City Councilors Brekke, Starr & Stehly offer solutions in these troubling times

Dear City Council Colleagues and Citizens ,

This morning Councilor Janet Brekke and I had a very productive conference call with our City Attorney Stacy Kooistra and our Council Staff person Jim David.

We discussed two items that I wanted to share with you:

1. We discussed a proposed  ordinance that Councilor Brekke and I are preparing that will include safety  standards for protection of employees during this Covid 19 pandemic.   Councilor Brekke and I have spent hours working on this issue and now more than ever we feel it is a necessary part of our safety standards. We appreciate the advice and counsel of our City Attorney  Stacy Kooistra. We will keep you apprised of the outcome of those discussions.

2. We also discussed the  distribution issues related to  Rental Assistance fund.  This fund has $1 million tax dollars in it.  I have been receiving communication from recipients of the funds as to how the fund is being managed. After the conversation this morning with Councilor Brekke and City attorney Kooistra, I  did further follow up and had discussions with Planning director Jeff Eckhoff, 211 helpline director Janet Kitterams and Community outreach member Rich Merkouris. They have all agreed that the payment policy to the landlords could be revisited.  

In the midst of these conversations, I have suggested:

****Reduce the award to 50%.

**** Stipulate that the remaining  balance is forgiven by the landlord who is accepting the payment. NO FINES CAN BE IMPOSED UPON THE RENTER.

****Stipulate  that the tenant will not be evicted for a minimum of 90 days.

The discussions are ongoing and we will keep you informed as to the latest developments.

Have a blessed, peaceful Good Friday and Easter.

Theresa Stehly

Ethics Board confuses law with ethics

I’m hearing the ethics meeting today lasted 3 hours, and they ruled that there was nothing wrong with the mayor endorsing council candidates or giving them money.

VIDEO COMING

One board member dissented, I believe it was Greg LaFollette.

I guess board member Jack Marsh was being a real stinker.

The essential argument was 1st Amendment rights and the SCOTUS ruling of Citizens United. But the constitutionality of this has nothing to do with if something is ethical. One city councilor (I think Erickson) went as far to accuse Brekke of trying to make the mayor ‘look bad’ and unethical.

The board members felt that we have a very ‘ethical’ city government and were concerned someone would question their ethics.

LOL. Isn’t that why we have this board?

Of course none of this surprises me. The establishment special interest crowd is often saying if it is legal it is ethical.

Sioux Falls Ethics Board Meeting, Friday March 6th

A request for an open advisory opinion from the Board of Ethics was filed by Councilmember Janet Brekke. Councilmember Brekke is seeking guidance from the Ethics Board on appropriate local election related conduct. The request states: “The level of involvement of city elected officials in this current election cycle is unprecedented. I cannot assume these practices are ethical just because they are occurring now or have occurred in the past.  I am requesting a binding advisory opinion to guide my anticipated conduct in this and future elections.”

Brekke raises multiple issues regarding the propriety of local elected officials engaging in campaign financing and endorsement activities designed to influence the outcome of their own local elections. The ethical issues raised involve: 1) the use of public office for private gain for themselves or others, 2) the appearance of impropriety shall be avoided, and 3) refraining from engaging in political activities inappropriate to his or her office.

Councilmember Brekke specifically requested an open hearing so the testimony and deliberations will all be done in public.  Also, in an open hearing, opportunities for public input are part of the hearing process. This will be the first time issues such as these have been brought before the Ethics Board. The hearing is Friday, March 6, 2020 at 2:00 pm at City Hall in the old Council Chambers. Members of the public are welcome to attend and participate in the process by offering public input.

Belfrage’s Planned Cat Fight gets foiled

I was told a few days ago that Sioux Falls City Councilors Janet Brekke and Pat Starr were invited to come on Belfrage’s show next Tuesday. I guess yesterday, Belfrage asked for a change of plans, he wanted Erickson and Brekke to duke it out over ethics.

Brekke refused to participate in the matchup.

While some may say she is chickening out, I don’t see that way at all. First off, this process needs to go through the proper channels, the Ethics Commission, before having any public debates about it. Brekke asked a realistic ethics question, she is awaiting a hearing and an answer.

But secondly, I don’t think Janet is that naive. We know how Greg feels about Erickson and Mayor Selfie, he would have stacked the deck against Brekke, because let’s admit it, Greg likes Red Meat.

I have always had respect for Janet, but after hearing this revelation, it just got a lot greater. As for Greg, well you know how I feel about that putz.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke is asking for an ‘Ethics’ opinion, NOT a ‘Constitutional’ opinion

As you can see in her advisory request (VIEW DOC), Brekke is simply asking is if it is within the council’s ethics cannon to publicly support, give money, throw fundraising parties for, etc. to candidates.

But Brekke said she wants the ethics board to square that with the canons of ethics in charter that say public officials “should avoid the appearance of impropriety in all his or her activities,” limit their “extra-governmental activities to minimize the risk of conflict with his or her official duties,” and “refrain from political activity inappropriate to his or her office.”

I’m glad she is asking because there seems to be a fine line. But let’s make this clear, I agree with Erickson;

Erickson also said participating in politics by supporting candidates is a First Amendment right that belongs to all Americans, including public officials.

It is well within a councilor’s constitutional rights to support other candidates, but just because something is legal or constitutional doesn’t mean it is ‘ethical’ and that that is what Brekke is asking here.

Personally, I could care less either way, I’m a big supporter of Freedom of Speech and I don’t think those rights go away once you are elected. If you don’t have a problem with looking like a big shot by throwing a fundraising party for a candidate, go for it. Visually, I don’t think it makes you look good, but hey, you have that right. Just like people have a right to come to public input and call the the previous mayor a SOB . . . twice. Doesn’t look great, but within your rights.

I just found it funny how another blog (who comments on Sioux Falls city politics a lot lately while being in a town 40 some miles away) doesn’t understand that Brekke is asking for an ‘ETHICS’ opinion from the ‘ETHICS’ Board. She isn’t asking whether or not it is legal. But of course, this is the same blogger who quit his cushy state job due to his ‘UNETHICAL’ behavior, while AG Jackboots cleared him of ‘Not Stealing’ from the state. Go Figure. Remember, there is a difference between, morality, ethics, and laws. Sometimes they don’t always align. Just look at who is running our country (into the cold, cold ground).

*Not worth the time, but I did get a chuckle out of Mayor Selfie’s comment on the matter;

“I’m choosing to stay focused on larger matters like crime, addiction, infrastructure, housing and economic development.”

Really? You better start focusing a little bit harder on that bro.

First Public Sioux Falls City Council Operations Committee meeting

The operations committee has never met in the 7 years they have existed in public until a couple of months away from a city election in which the chair, Neitzert is up for re-election. Shocker. Towards the end, Councilor Brekke schooled them on the legal repercussions of using cell phones during public meetings (FF: 52:30)

Patrick Lalley Podcast

Pat’s guests this week were councilors Starr and Brekke. It was a great discussion about the lack of transparency and communication coming from the Mayor’s Administration and how it reminds us of the last administration’s lack of it also, even though there is different players.

Pat Lalley also rips on the councilors for not standing up to Video Lottery in our community, and I agree!

Bee Smart!

As councilor Stehly points out, let’s join the fight to save the bees.

Lalley Podcast; Ep 3

Janet Brekke and I are the featured guests!

Mayor TenHaken apologizes for ‘Whipping the Vote’ comment

During Tuesday night’s city council meeting Mayor TenHaken asked councilor Brekke to ‘Whip the Vote’ (FF: 1:02). It didn’t go over well with Brekke. She made it clear to him that’s not how things work (in municipal government). The council has the right to bring legislation forward before the meeting or to ask for a reconsideration during the meeting. Brekke had already talked to her fellow councilors about the plurality ordinance in advance, when it failed she tried to amend it. This happens on the fly.

While it is a positive thing that PTH realized he was in the wrong and apologized to Brekke (I guess in a public setting) it still doesn’t change the fact that we have a very partisan City Administrator. City government doesn’t work like Washington, there are distinct differences. It is a non-partisan form of government set up to serve all involved, the taxpayers of our city. We don’t want them to vote on ‘party lines’ because there isn’t any, but seems for the last several years the councilors belong to either the Developer Class Party or the Citizen Party – a terrible divide.

This goes back to the mayor not knowing his roles and duties under charter. He is the city administrator in charge of making sure the city operates smoothly within the budget set forth. In other words, he is the employee manager. It is NOT his job to set policy. He should not even have voted on the ordinance. It should have just failed on a tie. I think if the mayor wants to get involved in policy votes he needs to explain his vote. He knew well in advance that he might have to break the tie, he also expressed to the media he would probably vote NO if the opportunity did arise. So tell us why? I don’t think he knew why, because it was just another vengeance vote with the other 4 councilors. A horrible way to set policy, I’m sorry to say.