Entries Tagged 'Janet Brekke' ↓

The water problem with Wholestone’s packing plant

Recently Joe Kirby wrote a post about why another slaughterhouse is NOT a good idea for Sioux Falls;

Slaughterhouses are a horrible fit for our community. Affordable housing and workforce availability are already huge concerns. The idea of adding lots of difficult, low-paying, low-skill jobs, the type that have traditionally been a drag on our progress and success, makes no sense to me. And expanding the presence inside our city of an industry which has long caused pollution problems in our river and air makes no sense. I simply don’t understand why we would want more of this in Sioux Falls.

I agree, I don’t want another slaughterhouse built, but I would much more prefer there was an effort to not only STOP Wholestone but to close down Smithfields.

The issue with this entire fiasco has nothing to do with Wholestone vs. the Citizens vs. the City, it has to do with South Dakota voters, including right here in Sioux Falls who vote against their own interests. When the City Council passed Shape Places, several citizens said this was a bad thing and wanted to see some changes to the zoning ordinances, so they referred it to a vote. The development community along with some councilors said nothing to see here, move along, and the voters ultimately passed the original plan.

The argument then is still the argument today, Shape Places took power away from the council to make conditional use decisions, and when you take power from our citizen representatives, you take power from us.

I think if the council still had that power instead giving total control over to the developers Wholestone would have been denied by the Council or scaled way back and it has little to do with water quality or air quality, it has to do with water supply.

Where do you think WF will get their water? The reason WF is building within the city limits has nothing to do with the labor market, it has to do with using city resources, they will be using a lot.

Besides letting the developers take over almost all branches of city government we have also let them plan this city instead of the government and citizens;

Granted, the city does a lot of planning. It has a parks plan, a capital spending plan, a downtown plan and much more. But I am not aware of any sort of comprehensive plan for our city with direct participation of the mayor and council.  In support of that, some council members and candidates have told me they wished they could be involved in that sort of big-picture, strategic planning. If there was such a plan, I doubt it would have included the phrase, “add more slaughterhouses”.

This is something Janet Brekke stressed in her entire 4 years on the council. Her colleagues on the dais ignored her and did nothing. I think if she would have gotten re-elected and we would have changed a couple of other seats, Brekke would have been successful moving it forward.

Once again, in Sioux Falls and the rest of the state we continue to vote against our own best interests, and until that changes, you will see NO change in the status quo; DEVELOPERS RUN OUR CITY.

Mayor TenHaken pens rare Op Ed

Imagine my surprise when I found this Op Ed by the Mayor in the Argus today. I can’t remember the last time he wrote an Op Ed in the Argus (or should we say one of his minions). I suspect there has been some push back by VIPs in the community about crime prevention;

Our per-capita violent crime rates have been largely flat for the past decade, and that is true again for 2022.

While this is true when you compare to population growth, the crimes have become more violent and drug related. I’m not putting this entirely on PTH, even though he has had 4 years to do something about it. The past two police chiefs essentially hid in their offices doing little to address the drug related crimes. Chief Thum has decided to tackle it with 1,000 times more transparency than the last couple of guys but he does need the mayor, his boss, to step up.

The Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative was set up to intentionally begin addressing challenges we were seeing with juvenile crime. 

I commend this program. Mentoring is essential to help keep youth out of trouble. After winning re-election PTH handed the program over to the HelpLine Center. I’m fine with that except when an elected official starts an initiative they need to stick with even after leaving office. It’s one thing to applaud mentoring programs but on the other hand turn them over to a private entity.

Crime largely has to do with economic status. I don’t believe middle class and lower middle class individuals in Sioux Falls ever fully recovered from the 2008 recession in which wages were frozen for several years. While businesses complain they can’t find workers and can’t afford to pay more, the problem is they never kept up to begin with, wages were stagnant for over a decade while the cost of housing has skyrocketed. The math just doesn’t add up.

It’s the tale of two cities. Over the summer I have decided to ride my bike through neighborhoods (logging almost 3,000 miles since last November) and came to the conclusion that 18th street (west to east) is the dividing line. The further South you go the better the residential neighborhoods, the further North, not so much. While there are pockets like extreme NE and NW for the most part the city is divided in economic status, infrastructure upgrades and housing.

When Janet Brekke was on the council she pushed hard for a pilot program to fix up some of these neighborhoods which would have required a heavy lift from the city when it comes to infrastructure. The solution the city offered was slab on grade tract homes between Brandon and Washington HS. Hardly what Brekke was envisioning. If we don’t address building density in our core for affordable housing in this community ASAP I’m afraid crime is only going to get worse.

Fighting crime means fighting for a more sustainable economy in Sioux Falls, FOR EVERYONE! As that line on 18th street gets wider crime is only going to rise.

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.


§ 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.