Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

UPDATE: Rick Knobe calls out the ethics of Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson and Mayor TenHaken

UPDATE: So it gets even better, Erickson actually went out and got nominating petition signatures for Neitzert, who is the sitting city councilor incumbent running against a Democrat. Ethics be damned!

Rick actually did two articles. ONE & TWO. He makes a great point;

City Council member Christine Vinatieri Erickson used her title on an invite raising money to a candidate opposing a sitting City Council member. Did she break the law? Probably not. But using her official title on an invitation to the event to me crossed an ethical line. Sure she can give money to any candidate, and she can use her first amendment right to speak in favor of or against any candidate, but sponsoring a political fundraiser to unseat a fellow council member to me is over the top. It crosses that ethical line.

Like I said a few days ago, completely legal, but it looks a little ‘sketchy’. I had a discussion the other day with a foot soldier about this topic, and he said something that made sense. “It’s because these people (Erickson & TenHaken) are partisans.” It started to make sense. In legislative races, this kind of activity goes on all the time, because they are partisan races. But in a non-partisan government like the Sioux Falls City Council, playing partisan games just doesn’t fly. It is even more curious, because the Mayor and at least 6 city councilors are Republican. Ethics aside, it just looks ‘odd’. Why bring these kind of games into a non-partisan race? At a recent council meeting, TenHaken compared himself to John Thune (I know, eyeroll). What is obvious to me is that he doesn’t understand the role of a non-partisan city government when he makes ridiculous and ignorant statements like this. If Stehly or anybody else decides to run against Jensen, it’s only going to get more partisan. I have a feeling this will become one of the messiest municipal election campaign seasons we have seen in a long time. Pull up your boots.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Feb 18, 2020

*NOTE: I heard today that the city council may have a special 4th meeting this month on February 25. They normally don’t have a 4th meeting unless they are backlogged or for something special. I guess the Fire Chief got his panties in bunch about the deferral of the supplemental appropriations and the claim that bids need to be HONORED ASAP or they won’t be locked in. Hogwash. You can lock bids without having the funding in place, especially if you are city government. This is an attempt by Mayor Selfie to get this pushed through before the council can pick it apart more.

Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM

Presentations on Coronavirus Update and a Falls Park Design Competition (no supporting documents right now)

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, Sub Item #2, $95K into that money pit Sioux Falls Stadium

Sub Item #9,$74K subsidy to the Sioux Falls School District for transportation services

Item #31, 1st Reading, Ordinance, Amendment to lease agreement. I believe the property is where the Phillips Avenue Diner sits. The city is applying the new discrimination ordinance to their lease agreement, which is okay I guess, but not sure how it applies? All the restaurant is leasing is the ground under the Diner. They own the restaurant building and operate it.

Count Jensen’s ‘Proven’ Record

Whether Stehly or someone else runs against Jensen they really need to look at his voting record. He never sponsored any legislation himself and only co-sponsored two bills, one failed.

He voted for the half-penny sales tax increase for teacher pay, that has failed miserably yet we continue to pay. So we know how he stands on tax increases.

He also has several votes discriminating against transgender youth.

He voted against background checks for concealed carry permit.

He also co-sponsored a youth minimum wage (which was later overturned by an initiative).

It seems Jensen’s ‘Proven’ record is higher taxes, less gun safety and discrimination against young people. With a record like that, who wouldn’t support him?

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.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr announces re-election bid

Starr is running again, and that’s a good thing. He was on fire last night calling out the administration about dropping the bomb on the supplemental budget (so did Stehly) and asking why we can’t budget correctly for the police.

This was NOT an easy decision for Pat to make to run again, a few months ago he was unsure if he wanted to. He currently doesn’t have a challenger.

I’m not sure if I have ever told Pat this before, but I consider him the ‘rock’ of the council. Only speaking when it is appropriate and always looking for transparency. I truly believe in local government that transparency is the cornerstone of good government, and Pat has ALWAYS defended it. He deserves four more years!

Stehly still has yet to make up her mind. I spoke with her a couple of days ago, and she still hasn’t decided either way, but I do believe she will announce ‘something’ soon. I have also told her that I understand if she doesn’t run again.

Small city mayors are hard workers, when they show up

I would have to agree with Mayor Selfie on several aspects of what he commented about Joe Biden’s TV ad about Mayor Pete;

This tone deaf ad reeks of elitism and mocks the expansive work we as mayors do to keep our cities running.  

America’s biggest problems AND solutions live in our cities. To my fellow mayors out at 5Ks, ribbon cuttings, grocery store sidebars, and more today — keep grinding.

First of all, this is simply out of Donny T’s playbook, attacking Democrats (who are attacking Democrats) and attacking Joe Biden. But I kind of find it ironic, and more proof it is amateur hour over at city hall when PTH thinks his duties as mayor are to run road races and drink coffee at the HyVee deli. Yes, that is part of the job, but showing up once in awhile to do the job set out in the charter, managing the day to day operations of the city and it’s directors and employees, is the most important part. PTH has instead just signed an executive order to have a couple of overpaid lackeys do the job for him, and they are not very good at it (but get $10,000.00 a year raises). There have been many people asking me ‘Where is Paul?’ I cannot answer that question.

So while he wants to defend the ‘hardworking’ mayors of the country, maybe he needs to follow a few of them around sometime and find out what ‘real’ work is, you know, the kind that leaves a sweat stain in the rim of your trucker hat.

Also, in the video below, PTH addresses HIS supplemental appropriation ideas, towards the end of the video he stretches the truth a bit and says he worked with city council. As I understand it from talking to 4 of them, he only worked with two councilors behind closed doors and the rest were left in the dark. Selberg and Neitzert were mentioned as the two. It is the council’s job to appropriate surpluses, that means they get to decide where that money goes, NOT the mayor. He keeps confusing himself with a King.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Feb 11, 2020

City Council Informational • 4 PM

Presentations on;

• 2019 Sales Tax Update, 2020 Capital Projects and Bond Funding Update by Shawn Pritchett, Director of Finance; Don Kearney, Director of Parks and Recreation; Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works; and Brad Goodroad, Fire Chief

• Washington Pavilion Parapet and Cornice Condition Assessment and Study by Liz Squyer, Principal Architect, Architecture Incorporated.

While there is NO supporting documents yet online, the rumor is the project will cost around $6 million. This is for removal of the badly deteriorating pieces now, repairing the roof and replacing them with fiberglass replicas. And here’s the kicker, only one company can make them. Any councilors willing to support this extravagant expenditure should be taken to the wood shed. The pieces should have been removed at the time of the remodel over 20 years ago and never replaced. Also, they are NOT a part of the original building, they were added in the 1930’s, and NOBODY will notice they are gone. The council should budget for removal and repair (which I’m sure will be expensive also) but not for replacement. I’m sure he Pavilion will be just fine without Parapets and Cornice. If they really want to replace them, they can take on a private fundraiser.

Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #7, Approval of Contracts, Sub Item #5, $35K to the Sioux Falls Arts Council. While I think this amount should be more, like a cool million, I think this item should NOT be hidden in this document.

Sub Item #11, Ice rink joint replacement at the EC, $178K

Item #13, 2nd Reading, Ordinance, $300K for coppers running parades. I support this despite my sarcasm. The rumor going around city hall is that councilor Erickson is in the doghouse with Mayor Selfie over this, and he has left her out of the ‘special lunches’ lately. Oh Christine, you know it was only a matter of time before a woman in leadership was going to be tossed aside by the Dutch Mafia. Notice it is not called the ‘Dutch FEMALE’ Mafia’.

Item #14, 2nd Reading, paying more for parks. As a foot soldier pointed out to me yesterday, what is up with the Levitt fees? While I understand these costs have to be covered, taxpayers built this joint, maintain this joint (parks grounds) so why the crazy rental fees? Also, not sure why they are based on attendance. Whether 3 people show up or 4,000, the sound system works the same.

Item #15, another $300K plus in supplemental appropriations to the Pavilion. We really should rename this place ‘The Money Pit’.

Item #16, this is the one where Mayor Selfie has decided he is going to tell the city council, the legislative branch how to spend money. If I was a city councilor, I would make an amendment to file an ethics violation against the mayor for his abuse of power.

There is nothing ‘Gutzy’ about approving TIFs

Similar to Donny T’s touchdown victory dance this past week, the receivers of an unneeded TIF downtown for the Sioux Steel Development couldn’t resist their own little victory lap, via the paid media (I’m not sure if this piece is paid for or not, because it looks like Jodi’s weekly column);

It takes guts to decide to forego certain property tax revenue for 20 years. And to approve the largest incentive of its kind in the city’s history. And to tackle another parking ramp project – even though it’s significantly different – while many are probably still stinging from the last one.

Sorry folks, it takes zero courage to approve a 20 year tax rebate. ZERO. I have seen this travesty across the nation, developer welfare run amuck. Courage would have either been denying this all together, or as I have suggested, at least amending it so we gift them the greenway and limit the TIF to $10 million.

Leadership is Courageous, going along to get along is NOT leadership, it’s a mamby pamby pitty party at most.

“The City Council took it very seriously to sit down with us and talk through it,” said Jake Quasney, executive vice president for project development at Lloyd Cos.

Of course they did, everytime this company has asked for a TIF, the city council has rolled over like old dogs and gave it. Heck, the city even held onto to property for over a decade, tax free for the last Lloyd project and gave a TIF to boot. When this company asks, they receive, 100% of the time.

But these two votes really mattered, and it was reassuring to see the fairness and logic that all council members used in approaching them.

Let’s not kid ourselves, there was ZERO fairness and logic going on. 1.) Everytime this developer asks for a TIF they get it 2) There has been no hard evidence that ANY of the TIFs given to them have had significant economic impact, and no studies to this day to prove it. Sorry, but ‘logic’ is based on ‘Facts’ and ‘Fairness’ is based on making decisions based on those ‘Facts’. The only FACT here is that this developer has a perfect batting average when it comes to TIFs.

It’s another to stand up, vote on what could be a politically sensitive issue and thank the business for investing in the community.

There was NOTHING politically sensitive about this issue, this was just another walk in the park for the city council. They always approve this stuff, the public knows or cares little about it, the ink dries on the rubberstamps, and the developers smile all the way to the bank.

There are other developers and other businesses looking at investing in Sioux Falls.

Investing or bilking? Isn’t that the question here? When I think of the FREE enterprise system and investment, that investment is coming from them privately, and they get to reap and keep the rewards. In the TIF system we have set up, we require the taxpayers to pay more to invest in these schemes and get nothing back but higher taxes and mediocre jobs. If you make a great investment, and you do it all by your lonesome, you deserve the booty. If the taxpayers have to supplement you, and you make money, you should share. And that is the tragedy of a TIF, they never do.

They say all politics is local. In this case, some higher-ups could take a cue from Carnegie Town Hall last week.

I think I’m going to be ill.

Is Jensen running to be our next Parade Grand Marshall?

A resident in Taupeville sent me this image today. Maybe he can get a picture on the front of Etc. Magazine also;

Mayor TenHaken Shows How Little He Understands Governance

Guest Post and Video by Bruce Danielson

Triple Check the Charter has just found a new voice for the separation of power clauses of the Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter. Mayor Paul TenHaken shutdown David Z’s Public Input comments with statements he made violating not only the 1st Amendment but the very essence of our Home Rule Charter, the Separation of Powers. The Mayor of Sioux Falls has very limited powers of moderating the activity of City council meetings.

The mayor has no power over the policies of the chamber, 

NO MAYOR CAN ISSUE AN EXECUTIVE ORDER CONTROLLING THE CITY COUNCIL OR ITS CHAMBER.

Got that? An executive order is a policy order signed by the mayor to only allow or direct city employees do something. In many instances it might be a CYA or get out of jail free card issued by the mayor to cover a potential wrong doing. An executive order cannot control the independent policy making body of the town, the City Council. Simply said, The mayor was wrong in his abusive statements during the Monday meeting.

The PTH administration has no understanding of the role required by a mayor in governing. He thinks he can update a longstanding Executive Order limiting the use of Sioux Falls governmental resources under his control and take over the City Council? 

The issue being discussed was whether an officeholder in the city of Sioux Falls guberment can setup a secret stash of money by squeezing money out of someone wanting a favor from the politician. The mayor has a secret stash of leftover campaign money in operation as a PAC (political action committee). Its secret because he announced recently his donations of money to two of his favorite candidates for the City Council. His golden boys, Selberg and Neitzert, gladly accepted the gold and were anointed his chosen ones. Kind of Biblical isn’t it? Reminds me of the Golden Calf. What was the Golden Calf? The sin of the golden calf is widely regarded as one of the most disgraceful moments in Jewish history and we don’t even have to go to Egypt.

Is this is our Golden Calf moment?