Entries Tagged 'Janet Brekke' ↓

With a wink and a Nod

The Ethically Challenged Council votes against Ethics Training, 3-5

To tell you the truth, when a majority of the council voted against Councilor Brekke’s Ethics training tonight, I started laughing, because the ones that voted NO looked like complete fools.

During the 2nd Reading, Janet even added that the ethics training was endorsed by the Ethics board.

Without discussion they voted. Brekke, Starr and Selberg (I think he was confused) voted Yes and the rest NO. The best part was when councilor Neitzert was the last vote and he had to think about it, you know, the guy who was impeached for an ethics violation.

These people are so tone deaf.

They also deferred Janet’s annotated agenda ordinance to July (which means it will be killed). Janet said it best, “You can still pass this tonight and tweak it later.”

Vote for the ‘Democracy ‘ candidates in the Sioux Falls City Council race Tuesday

I have been blogging about this city government for over 15 years, I may not be an expert on all it’s ins and outs, but I have watched its deterioration from an open government.

I used to think the Munson administration was bad, but he was a light weight in comparison to the last two mayors who have destroyed any shred of transparency and open government.

This is why voting for the ‘Democracy’ candidates for council is important, Janet Brekke, Emmett Reistroffer, Cody Ingle and Pam Cole.

We need to bring openness back and shine a light, we also need to put the mayor back at city hall to run the day to day operations and keep out of the council’s policy objectives. This isn’t an ask, this is how the charter is written. The mayor runs the city by directing its employees to implement the policies the council adopts. I have argued for a long time the past two mayors have been violating charter over and over again, and the rubber stamp council has been derelict in their duties of writing good policy and controlling the purse strings.

If we don’t elect at least 3 of these candidates you will see a downward spiral to darkness and we will never be able to crawl out of that hole.

What would happen;

• Government action will be done in complete silence.

• The mayor will introduce all policy and his hand picked rubber stamp puppets will implement it.

• Taxes and fees will skyrocket to keep up with the reckless spending on special interest projects.

• Crime will go thru the roof.

• The core neighborhoods will crumble to dust.

I know this sounds dire, but we are already moving in these directions and it needs to be stopped. While a 4/4 council might not be able to stop all bad legislation (The mayor can still break ties and veto) it will at least be slowed and hopefully we can turn this around.

What does mean to elect the ‘Democracy’ candidates?

• More open and transparent government (which saves us millions).

• More interaction with the citizenry to shape policy.

• Building density and cleaning up our core neighborhoods.

• Fiscal responsibility and holding the line on handouts to wealthy developers, banksters and bondsters.

• A strategic plan for the city written by the council with interaction from the citizens.

• Creative ways to build affordable and workforce housing.

• Safer streets and neighborhoods.

• A modern, safe and practical bike trail.

• More opportunities for small businesses.

I am not asking you to vote for the ‘Democracy’ candidates, I’m BEGGING YOU!

After Tuesday, if we don’t elect these 4 candidates, we can’t go in reverse, and I am afraid Sioux Falls will never be the same.

If Citizen Dr. Sarah Cole hasn’t found the time to vote in city elections, how will she find time to be a Councilor?

As you may know, Sioux Falls city council candidate, Dr. Sarah Cole hasn’t voted in any city or school board election since moving to our city. I would assume if this was NOT true, she would have made a statement about it, she has NOT. One of her other opponents is not much better, Bobbi Andera, only voting one time in 10 years in a local election.

As I mention in the title, I struggle supporting someone for public office who hasn’t even bothered to take 10 minutes to vote. Does this say something about the time she will dedicate to her job if elected?

I found this article about doctor’s voting records revealing;

One in four physicians didn’t vote in all of the last three presidential elections. So, what’s their excuse?

Dr. Nidhi Goel, a hospitalist at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, offers up a suggestion: “I think everybody will use the excuse of time, which is fair, but then kind of not so much. Because we can find time to do things that are important.”

When Dr. Cole mentions in her latest mailer integrity, it kind of falls on deaf ears. How can we expect her to show up to meetings? Will she be absent, not only in votes but in responding to constituents?

Dr. Nidhi Goel, a hospitalist at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, offers up a suggestion: “I think everybody will use the excuse of time, which is fair, but then kind of not so much. Because we can find time to do things that are important.”

And she’s right. Lack of time is a key reason doctors give for not voting. Researchers who study voting patterns have theorized that doctors vote in lower numbers because medical schools attract people who like science more than civics. Other studies have indicated that many doctors feel like their work has enough social purpose, so they can skip voting, guilt-free.

If this is true, why does Dr. Cole want the job?

Think about it, do you really want to know that your doctor is voting for the candidate you can’t stand? Some doctors stay out of politics for the same reason, so they don’t alienate their patients.

This the same reason why many business people stay out of it, not to alienate customers. Shouldn’t Sarah be worried that a decision she makes on the council may make her look bad affecting her practice and employer?

“We are very linear thinkers,” Lam says. “We base all our decisions, or we try to, on data, on things that we see, on observations. That’s not necessarily the case in policy, where you’re trying to convince people. From a physician’s standpoint, from a scientist’s standpoint, it’s incredibly frustrating to realize that the data might be completely outweighed by one or two stories.”

Lam warns that politicians also make decisions based on who shows up to vote: “If they see that the physician community doesn’t come out to vote as often as, say, the attorney community, then they will probably be more likely to listen to the attorney community than to physicians. Because you don’t turn out to vote.”

I am sure Sarah is a fantastic physician. I have actually heard from colleagues and parents of patients she is good at her job. But being a good doctor may not make her a very good lawmaker as mentioned above.

After Mayor TenHaken’s intimidation tactic on Janet Brekke was revealed, it is even more obvious she was recruited for a job she probably has no desire to have and Poops probably feels he has to make up ground for Sarah due to the lack of her enthusiasm. I also find Councilor Greg Neitzert’s mentoring a little strange considering he is sitting on that very dais because someone mentored him and has since turned his back on those mentors.

If Sarah loses, and I think she will, it will be interesting to see how quickly her relationship with Neitzert and TenHaken deflates.

It turns out, taking good care of patients includes showing up Tuesday morning to pull that lever.

And if she can’t even bother to do that, I would suggest you vote for the incumbent, a former city attorney and prosecutor who will make the time to serve us, Janet Brekke.

Sioux Falls City Council Candidate Merkouris doesn’t believe our Police should follow National Standards

During the council debate on Thursday night Janet Brekke said she will work with Chief Thum to try to implement some national standards for the police. In her recent mailer she said;

• Secure a stable Police Department training budget so our officers have the latest instruction available.

• Support Chief Thum’s 3 new initiatives to engage young people so they don’t become offenders.

• Strengthen relationships between patrol officers and neighborhoods.

Apparently this really irritated candidate Merkouris who went on this rant;

While I would partially agree you don’t take all National standards and hope they work in Sioux Falls, you still have to look at what could work. I was very surprised how agitated he got over it, considering the problems we are having with our police and other city employees. There have been 4 arrests over the past couple of months of city employees. Two for abuse and two for child porn.

There was also some other ‘dog whistles’ on other candidates postcards;

David Barranco said this;

I have two strong boys . . .

and continued on the back;

We must not assume someone who shares our values will prevail on April 12.

You can take that how you want to, but I think Barranco is painting his opponent as someone who lacks values and it is a low blow.

Sarah Cole also made some false claims on her latest mailer;

I am not a politician.

I hate to break it to you Sarah, but when you run for office you become a politician. As a recent female business leader said to me when TenHaken made the same claim, “He is extremely tone deaf.”

Politician; a person who is professionally involved in politics, especially as a holder of or a candidate for an elected office.

Sarah continues her rant;

The people of Sioux Falls deserve a city councilor that will serve with integrity and respect for others. I won’t play games or pick petty fights.

The timing of this statement after TenHaken tried to intimidate Brekke is interesting to say the least especially coming from a POLITICIAN who has never voted in a single city or school board election in the community she wants to serve.

I think on Tuesday, your choice is very clear; Reistroffer, Brekke, Pam Cole and Cody Ingle.

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.

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;

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.

Shareholder vs. Stakeholder Government

While listening to Sioux Falls Central District City Council Candidate Emmett Reistroffer speak yesterday (for well over an hour) he brought up a recent candidate forum he was at with Councilor Brekke where she brought up the concept of Shareholder vs. Stakeholder government. He sang the praises of the simple concept. I found it intriguing, as she further described it today on FORUM.

I will confess I haven’t had a phone conversation or email exchange with Janet in months (she is fantastic to talk to about strategic planning and is probably one of the most intelligent city councilors we have ever had) and I had NO idea she was pitching this idea for her campaign.

It’s very simple, in local governments you have two kinds, the Stakeholder and the Shareholder. If you look up the definitions it is clear;

Shareholder; an owner of shares in a company.

Stakeholder; a person with an interest or concern in something, especially a business.

Brekke insists that our form of government in Sioux Falls has turned into a Stakeholder government where the money elite control the levers of power. She of course envisions a Shareholder government that includes all the citizens working with our elected leaders to make change and progress.

Brekke logically comes to the conclusion that open and transparent government eliminates the stakeholders and empowers the shareholders.


I have accused the Rubber Stampers on the council and the mayor’s administration of having a war on transparency, and now it is clear what the end game is, eliminating shareholder government.

Which brings us to a candidate running for the other At-Large position, Rich Merkouris.


We must first define what the good pastor stands for;

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith)[A] is a religious belief among some Protestant Christians that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one’s material wealth.

Don’t believe me? As the current pastor of his church and the president of Kingdom Capital, Rich draws salaries well over 6 figures a year. If he starts drawing a 3rd salary on city council, Rich could be pulling well over a $250K a year.

Besides the fact that I don’t think it is ethical for a pastor and a leader of a religious non-profit charity organization to run or serve in a governmental role, especially since they have controlled money from taxpayers for rental assistance it is clear who Mr. Merkouris serves and it is NOT the shareholders.

I have often loved these bible verses, and I sometimes wonder if Rich has ever read them;

Matthew 22:15-22 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.

It seems that Rich wants to entangle the wealth of God’s kingdom with the wealth of Caesar’s kingdom in his rise to power;

Matthew 19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

I understand it when a realtor, a doctor or an insurance salesman wants to run for city council and further their financial opportunities, where I get weary is when a supposed man of God who makes 6 figures a year wants to do it.

Former City Councilor Dr. Kermit Staggers said to me once, “I am very suspicious of politicians that run for office who wear their religion on their sleeves.”

Me too.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke on FORUM

Well at least one other city election candidate/incumbent took advantage of KELO AM’s policy of free advertising (FORUM is actually a required public affairs show that the station plays weekly);

A community issues and answering program that focuses on the city and people of the Sioux Empire.

As I mentioned last week, Mayor Poops two hour appearance didn’t violate any rules. Knowing Jon Michaels I am sure he will bring on several other council candidates to balance it out.

Janet talks about her decades of governmental and business experience in Sioux Falls. While I don’t always agree with Janet’s votes, it still baffles me that her colleagues are fighting so hard to replace her with a person that has ZERO experience in government, public service and the business world.

She also told a strange story of how the Mayor’s receptionist has a photo of herself with one of Janet’s opponents on her desk. Bizarre.

Janet finishes her interview talking about Stakeholder vs. Shareholder government. I will be posting later about a candidate who is part of the Stakeholder gang.