Michelle sent this email to people on the letter, the media and some city managers. Michelle seems to think it was pointed at her, yet I find no mention of her in the letter. Guilty conscience perhaps?

There were also rumors going around that Brekke’s competitor’s supporters were planning on filing charges against Brekke for sign compliance issues, until of course we showed almost all the candidates were out of compliance.

Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2018 7:09 PM
To: Pat Gustaf; Bill Peterson; Steve Kirby; Jim Wiederrich; Tom Dempster
Cc: Karen Leonard; Joe Sneve; Don Jorgensen
Subject: Campaign letter allegations

Good evening.

As I near the end of my eight years of service as the elected representative from the Central District on the Sioux Falls City Council, I’m incredibly proud of the positive changes I have been part of. I’m even proud of our new event center, which I fought hard to have built in a different location than where it is performing so successfully for our community. I think Sioux Falls is a better place now than it was eight years ago.

I’m also happy to be stepping aside to allow for new leadership to help continue the momentum of growth and prosperity in our community. But I’m terribly disappointed by the rhetoric I’m seeing in this year’s municipal campaign.

Several personal friends received the letter attached to this message. They noted it appears to have been sent by the same direct mail firm that candidate Janet Brekke has used for her other mailings, making it a mass mailing that went to a significant number of people.

As a signer of this letter and a person I hold in high esteem, I have one major question. Does this letter represent allegations you are willing to stand by and support publicly?

I’m doing this by email so that you can respond to me in writing with the reasons you have allowed your name to be associated with unfounded rumors. In particular, this letter charges city government — and by extension me — with doctoring/tampering of public documents. This letter is full of allegations, but the tampering with public documents charge should be easy to prove and is most hurtful to me as an individual whom I thought you trusted.

Please respond back to me by email with the proof you have that convinced you to drag me through the political mud at the end of eight years of public service. I am copying a couple of friends in the local media as well as the city attorney, just as a precaution. Your allegations are harsh and personally embarrassing for me.

Thank you for your time.

Michelle Erpenbach

Watch last night’s Sioux Falls City Council meeting and listen to why the city rejected a bidder. Their reasoning was;

A new company was formed from an old company in 2014, and the old company did bad work for the city between 2001-2008 (apparently it took the city 7 years to figure out they were a bad contractor).

They weren’t paying subcontractors on time or at all

Bonding company had to bail them out on several occasions

Old company had to break up because of multiple judgments against them.

Listening to this, and assuming we trust what the city attorney’s office was saying, it would be safe to assume they had good reasons to reject the bidder.

But read the list again. Does this sound like another contractor/developer the city is currently in cahoots with to build a $20 million dollar parking ramp? Makes you wonder what criteria was used to pick Legacy doesn’t it? Apparently NOT the same to pick contractors that do sewer work for our city. Just sayin’.

*On a side note, at the public input portion of the meeting I mentioned that the new city council needs to work on policies to bring more transparency to city government, especially with communication between the council and mayor’s office.

Before the consent agenda discussion, Erpenbach took the opportunity to chide me and say that while she served on the council they worked on transparency like getting the consent agenda published on SIRE. While this is true, I found her statement a bit ironic. As I recall it, it was Councilor Vernon Brown who spearheaded the idea with the help of than City Clerk Debra Owen, the very person Erpenbach helped push to be terminated, and did it while violating open meetings laws. Erpenbach’s ‘transparency’ hypocrisy will be her legacy.

This is possibly a new low by a city councilor. Michelle emailed a constituent over the weekend and said this;

Honestly, I’m disappointed by the direction of the dialogue around this project. You know that a good leader doesn’t cast fear and doubt in his/her constituents’ minds. When citizens say they are seeking transparency in our government officials, they really mean they’re looking for the truth.

To hide the truth under insinuation and flat-out lies is not transparency in government. But that is what is happening with the garbage being spread by Councilor Stehly and her cohort.

Michelle is probably referring to the NOTICE postcard Theresa sent out below. All the facts were verified by Community Development Director Daren Ketchum 2 weeks ago at a city council meeting. If any of this was a false, Ketchum should have said so and clarified with Theresa at the meeting. He told councilors later that ‘he just didn’t want to argue with Theresa’. So when did Daren plan to have the ‘argument’ if none of this was true?

Besides the egregious remarks about Theresa, who is her ‘cohort’? I would assume it is Pat Starr, but it could be a whole host of people? The Argus, Me, Bruce, etc. Seems funny she supports transparency but can’t name this mysterious ‘cohort’.

She continues her mysterious rant;

The facts are:

1.  It is against the code of ethics set in law, and it is against the terms of this specific contract for city employees or elected officials to be investors in a project of this magnitude. Councilor Stehly and local media who quote her are implying that the mayor or other city employees — even Council members — are secret investors in this project. If you believe what she is implying, we are all going to make off big and head for Cancun with our plunder from the parking ramp/hotel project. Honestly, it’s insulting and hurtful. I will say as much on Tuesday.

Michelle, we have learned that we can’t just trust this administration’s ‘word’ on something, that was proven with the siding settlement in which the mayor lied about the settlement amount. Besides, when it comes to our taxdollars the prudent thing to do is put it in writing.

2.  The cost of the parking ramp is being reported with a twist in the figures. It will cost upwards of $20.6 million to build the city’s share of this project. But that includes far more than just construction costs and it is disingenuous to make people believe the city is paying some ridiculous amount per parking space. I’m not going to try to convince you otherwise. You need to see it for yourself. Please spend some time viewing the truth on this website: http://www.siouxfalls.org/active-projects/active-projects/parking-ramp-project.aspx. All of the information around this project is included there. Please also watch and review the documents from the city council’s Nov. 21 meeting. It is Item 45 on this webpage: http://docs.siouxfalls.org/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=2656&doctype=AGENDA. Again, facts = transparency.

This is not a good value, the numbers you quote above are proof of this. We simply are not getting a significant amount of parking spaces for the money and really are not solving the problem we should be solving. This is a economic development handout, not a parking solution.

3.  This point is the most important for me. I’m incredibly concerned about the dramatic decrease in sales tax revenues for the city of Sioux Falls, and for the entire state of South Dakota. There are two facts behind this financial hole that is only growing deeper: First is the drought and its effect on the ag economy. Farmers don’t shop in Sioux Falls when their incomes are in the tank. Second is the fact that more and more of us aren’t shopping in Sioux Falls either. All of us local shoppers are online, spending hundreds and thousands of dollars without paying sales taxes. But we’re still demanding that our streets be pothole free and plowed curb-to-curb within hours after the last snowflake. These services require tax dollars. A full-service hotel of the magnitude involved in this public/private partnership will help improve our sales tax collections by attracting precious out-of-town visitors. The NCAA tournament structure (for example) requires a specific number of full-service hotels (I think 12 but I have to confirm that) and this is one more on the scorecard. The fact that it is a public private partnership makes it all the more attractive. This means tax dollars that you and I don’t have to provide (unless we choose to stay overnight downtown which is more and more attractive!).

This one is almost hilarious in itself, and pure speculation. One hotel (that will be competing with 4 other DT hotels for business) certainly isn’t going to pull Sioux Falls out of a tax collection hole. The retail isn’t either. As we know now, many DT retail businesses are closing as fast as they are opening. Financial experts across the country are also predicting another recession coming in late Spring.

It’s critical for you to understand the parking ramp will be paid off in 13 years (or less) and it will not be paid with tax dollars. It is a user-funded project. Some people call that a tax of its own. But if it’s a “tax” it’s not something every taxpayer will pay UNLESS they choose to park in a city parking space. There are lots of other options.

This is debatable, as I have already said, paying government for a service is a tax.

Also important to understand is that we’re not inventing some weird, corrupt new wheel here. This model is highly successful in communities across the country. Anyone who travels outside South Dakota has experienced the benefits of projects like this.

Like the Sanford Sports Complex TIF, we are setting a precedent in Sioux Falls, don’t care about other communities. We should be treading very lightly here, and we should be getting the best value for the citizens. I don’t see this here. When setting a precedent in governing we shouldn’t take the ramrod, get R’ done approach we should review this project with a fine tooth comb.

And, finally, providing public parking in Sioux Falls only serves to keep parking rates low. There are far more privately-owned parking spaces in Sioux Falls than public. The per-day/per-month/per-year rate would be far higher if it weren’t for the low-cost competition provided by the city.

Rates will go up, they have to support the payments of the bond.

I’m proudly voting in favor of this project on Tuesday as another step in the positive, progressive growth of this amazing community I call home.

Michelle Erpenbach
Sioux Falls City Council
Central District
(605) 367-8110

It still baffles me that at least 6 councilors and the mayor support this project. I have been following city government closely for 12 years and this appears to be the biggest scam I have seen in a long time. It just shows in the fierce defense of the project in Erpenbach’s email in which she calls Stehly a liar. Kill the messenger is the only line of defense they have because they truly know, when you look at the ‘facts’ of this project, the math just doesn’t add up.

During the debate over the election threshold to 51% (FF 1:00), Rolfing called public input ‘Garbage’ than went on to say that he felt ‘sick’ as well as councilor Erpenbach because SEVEN years ago they didn’t get 50% of the vote.

Stehly pointed out that if they felt so ‘sick’ about it, why did it take them SEVEN years to propose this. She also pointed out she has heard NOTHING over the past SEVEN years that this was a problem, from either Rolfing, Erpenbach or the public.

It of course passed, 4-5. Selberg, Rolfing, Erpenbach, Kiley and Mayor Huether voted to make our elections more expensive for candidates and taxpayers because Rolfing’s tummy hurt over the past SEVEN years.

I have seen councils pass some pretty crazy sh*t over the past decade but this takes the cake. It is a gigantic slap in the face of past councilors who have served since 1996 who didn’t get over 50% of the vote and a slap in the face of the taxpayers who have to fund additional unneeded elections that they most likely WILL NOT attend.

In fact, councilor Neitzert put up a graphic showing voter turnout over the past decade(?). Guess which municipal election had the highest turnout (41%) the Event Center. Which was only an advisory vote that didn’t have any legal precedent.

I said during public input that maybe instead of spending $80K on a runoff election, we should spend it on promoting municipal elections. But what do I know, I’m just a pile of garbage.

Let’s just stop pretending citizens can be involved in the process called city government.

A RexCam exclusive for you. Sioux Falls City Council members Rex Rolfing, Michelle Erpenbach and Rick Kiley making fools of themselves on September 12, 2017.

Why would we place such authoritarians in office? Why should we respect people who want to take away the rights of average citizens because they could not get their own way in an election?

We are seeing voters being purged from the rolls.

We are seeing intimidation being used to keep people from voting.

We see areas with no voting location.

We see voting locations moved from one location this election to a different location in the next.

These things are not happening in far off lands, these are thing happening right here in Sioux Falls.

The vote taken to change the way elections are settled in Sioux Falls is a way to restrict our access to the process. Listen to the buffoons talk about how illegitimate they felt when they won their first elections. Feel the pain two of them felt on their 2010 election nights. Why did they wait 7 years until their friend lost an election to decide to change the rules? Those of us who pay attention to these things know when to poor the barnyard out of our boots. We need to make sure one of these buffoons knows what it’s like to lose in 2018.

The mayor of Sioux Falls believes he is right as right can be, to limit the average citizens participation in the process. This is another reason why the mayor should NOT be sitting in Council meetings and breaking ties. If a tie vote happens, the proposal should just die until a majority compromise happens along. What do you think? Let’s band together to fix this Huetheristic mess called strong mayor government.

These people are pathetic, never let them return to elective or appointed office. They do not deserve the honor of pretending to represent us. I did this video to let all know how those leaving office want to put a lasting stamp on the process so we can’t be part of it.

I got an up close experience a few months ago with how big money corrupts local elections. Randy Dobberpuhl who placed 2nd in the school board election was out spent over 6-1 by Cynthia Mickelson who won the seat. The other two candidate who spent nothing or very little were creamed.

The rumored proposed amendment by Sioux Falls city councilors Rolfing and Erpenbach to garner 51% of the vote in a general election for city council or go to a runoff is a ruse to eliminate the grassroots candidates that don’t have deep pockets.

What is astonishing is that just less than two years ago, Mayor Huether, in a press conference with former city councilor Kenny Anderson Jr., he was begging for people to run for city council;

“I would like to encourage our citizens to get involved in public service. It will make a wonderful difference for our town,” says Mayor Mike Huether.

At the time it seemed MMM was concerned there would not be any candidates for council. We should be doing everything possible to make it easier for regular people to run for office instead of making it more expensive not only for the candidates but for the taxpayers. If we want to make real change, the city needs to do a better job of educating people about upcoming elections instead of playing this game with money.

I’m hoping Kenny Anderson and Randy Dobberpuhl will attend this Tuesday’s council meeting to speak out against the money grab, and all other candidates considering a run this Spring.