Entries Tagged 'Rich Merkouris' ↓

Sioux Falls City Councilor Merkouris proposing a Homeless Task Force

At the Tuesday’s Informational meeting during open discussion councilor Rich Merkouris proposed a resolution to form a Homeless Task force that focuses on east 8th street downtown.

This of course is long overdue and I applaud Rich for taking the initiative to tackle this at his 3rd meeting.

One of his fellow new councilors, Sarah Cole decided to skip her 3rd and 4th meeting of the council. Of course, councilors only have to attend one meeting a month, but it doesn’t look real good skipping your 3rd and 4th meeting after just being newly elected and not even phoning it in. I do understand she is a medical doctor and emergencies do happen . . . one of the reasons I didn’t think she had the time to dedicate to the job. Nothing against her personally or her profession, I just don’t think they work well together.

*Sorry I was out this past week on a little R & R, so I am a little late on this stuff.

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.

Sioux Falls City Council Candidate Merkouris will not protect your right to Public Input

The Sioux Falls Election is bringing out the best of the worst, including this endorsement of taking away citizen rights by City Council candidate and preacher Rich Merkouris was expressing in 2018. 36 Citizens who gave impassioned Public Input on June 12th, 2018 were wrong? They are according to Marshall Selberg and Rick Kiley. The Mayor and 4 Councilors are saying “Stay away from our meetings, quit interfering!” We’d like to say, “Good Bye!” The Mayor is being encouraged to shove our civil rights up our backsides by the TenHaken best friend, Rich Merkouris. The City Council candidate Merkouris who doesn’t want audits of the millions of dollars he has received from the city coffers? Yup.

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.

DUH!

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.

COUNCIL CANDIDATE RICH MERKOURIS ENVISIONS A STAKEHOLDER FORM OF GOVERNMENT

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.

Larry, Curly and Mo

Sioux Falls City Council Candidate hands out free money thru his church


And we thought it was questionable when one candidate was buying pizza and rounds of mini-golf, or Poops giving secretly negotiated bonuses to city employees. Candidate for At-Large B, Pastor Rich Merkouris’ church is handing out gift cards



Fill out this form, and you will receive a $25 gift card to give to that person.
But that’s just the beginning.


You can request up to $500 to help someone with a specific need. The barrier to receiving money is low. There is some follow-up to check on the details, but the goal is to fulfill as many requests as possible, Merkouris said.


And if you need help, just ask.


The budget for the campaign is $45,000.


Don’t get me wrong, I will commend any non-profit or church that wants to help people in our community, like the weekly food giveaway at the fairgrounds, but this is questionable considering the good pastor is running for city council and these gift cards could appear as a way to buy votes. It seems the crowd that runs with the mayor can only win elections with money.

I sometimes wonder if anybody running for office has any sense of ethics?

There will never be ‘Regular People’ serving in Sioux Falls city government ever again

We saw the writing on the wall when Alex Jensen and his cabal of donors had to spend $127K to beat a self-employed piano teacher by around 90 votes. The regular guy/gal is no longer allowed to compete.

Just look at the usual donors on the financial reports (someone should tell Andera that she can’t add her smaller contributions up twice 🙂

It is the same group of rich Republican businessmen and mysterious dark PACs (so some of these rich people can hide their identities) that are once again funding the campaigns of the NON-regular people (except Islam who seems to have half the state of Michigan gunning for her and they all work at the same hospital 🙂

You have to chuckle when Clowncilor Marshall Selfish actually suggested that the reason the members needed a bigger salary is so more regular people could run. That’s rich considering he never mentioned that you actually need the money up front.

We could change this with a couple of easy steps;

• Get rid of the Home Rule Charter as it exists and give more power back to council and,

• Publicly finance the races so everyone is on the same playing field.

We of course first must throw out the current charter, and there is a stew brewing on that one along with some other goodies I will share very soon.

So it looks like we will have yet another city election where a handful of people vote for the very people who are lining their pockets with donations from the banksters, bondsters and developers that are turning our city into a corporate welfare state.

This is the current lineup for the election;

Mayoral Race; Paul TenHaken, David Zokaites, Taneeza Islam

Central District; Curt Soehl (No challengers)

Southeast District; David Barranco (No Challengers)

At Large (A); Janet Brekke, Bobbi Andera, Dr. Sarah Cole

At Large (B); Rich Merkouris, Pam Cole

Write your own caption

I’ll get us started;

‘A Pastor, a Color Blind Graphic Designer and a Narcissist walk into a bar . . . wait, maybe I got those mixed around’

Merkouris Announces Candidacy for Sioux Falls City Council, At-Large B

Rich personally asked me today to share this, and I appreciate him reaching out. I will post any candidate information if they send it to me;

Rich Merkouris, a respected faith and community leader, has announced his intention to seek a seat on the Sioux Falls City Council in the 2022 elections. He will be a candidate for the At-Large B seat held by Christine Erickson. The election is April 12, 2022.

“My commitment as a Councilor would be to listen, communicate and collaborate,” Merkouris, 39, said. “I will work hard to hear the concerns of citizens, share my perspective and work alongside others to find compromise for the good of all citizens.”

Merkouris, a Sioux Falls resident for 20 years, serves as President of Kingdom Capital Fund and Senior Pastor of King of Glory Church. He is on the board of directors for Empower Sioux Falls, Compassion Child Care, and the Sioux Falls Hope Coalition. He has helped lead multiple collaborative efforts in Sioux Falls including the development of the Empower Campus, the formation of the Sioux Falls Hope Coalition and housing re-development in Pettigrew Heights. Over the last eleven years, Merkouris has served as a Volunteer Chaplain for the Sioux Falls Police Department and Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office.

Merkouris pledged to focus on several critical issues, including strengthening housing options, renewing core neighborhoods, enhancing public spaces, lowering youth crime, and encouraging collaboration across all segments of the community.

“I love Sioux Falls and believe it is the best city in which to raise a family,” he said. “Our family has been given so much by this community. We want to strengthen it so that every family can flourish in this city. It would be a great honor to represent citizens from all different parts of the community on the City Council.”

Merkouris and his wife, Shannon, a special education teacher at John Harris Elementary School, have three children: Hannah, Henry and Hazel.

EDITOR’s NOTE: I personally have NOT endorsed anyone for this seat. Rich is the first to announce and the only candidate so far for AT-LARGE B (Erickson’s current seat).

I have argued for a long time that religion and politics don’t mix and I don’t think a pastor or faith leader should be an elected official. Either pick to lead a congregation, a non-profit or a city, you just can’t do all three. I fully support separation of church and state and I really don’t care about anyone’s arguments against it because you are not only ethically wrong, it is a violation of the US Constitution.

It is also important to note that Rich was a part of the group that received city funds for rental assistance. It said this in that agreement with the city;

The Organization shall provide the City with reasonable documentation of distribution of the grant funds upon request by the City.

At this point this group has NOT provided the city council OR the citizens an audit of how the money was spent and who it was sent to. I would appreciate before Rich moves any further into his candidacy he explains where my tax dollars went. I have personally heard a lot of gossip, but until the group comes clean with documentation, I’m tempted to believe some of it. For instance, were the landlords forced to only except 70% as a full rent payment? Has all of the money been spent? Where did it all go?

This is what I said when it was proposed at the City Council meeting;

What is wrong here is the delivery system because it lacks transparency. It would be logical to assume no matter who pays for this the money will be direct payments to the property owners of the rentals. But by transferring public dollars to a private fund, the taxpayers will never see who is receiving these funds. Once again, I will stress, this is not about knowing the names of the renters, they will not be an equation in this because they will never see the money, it’s about knowing what property owners are receiving the payments. Will it be the big guys? The little guys? Will it be evenly spread between them? We will never know because the city will be giving up their rights to transparency by having a private non-profit distribute the money.

As I said, nothing personal against Rich, but he needs to do some housekeeping before moving forward especially after hearing the rumor he was personally recruited by Mayor Poops and promised the Pot of Gold that goes along with that support.

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. -JC