Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

What are the Legal Struggles with the Bunker Ramp?

We have not heard much for awhile. In fact, even if the City Council has heard anything in executive session, they haven’t said much either.

We know that the developer, has put in a counter action asking to complete the project scaled down, but we know that would be a breach of contract.

City Hall moles and others in the media have told me there hasn’t been any lawsuits filed by the city. The reason? The rumor is the mayor has chosen NOT to sue Lamont based on being a nice guy.

Sadly, this isn’t the mayor’s decision. The breach of contract occurred against the taxpayers of Sioux Falls, not his administration, and the citizens should sue based solely on that.

Not only should Lamont NOT be allowed to finish the project half-ass, the taxpayers of this city deserve some kind of compensation for leaving us a hunk of crap. But of course this would mean several past and current councilors and two mayors admit the mistake and apologize for not pumping the brakes early on. Of course, corrupt, authoritarians don’t do things like that.

The real reason the city is NOT suing is because they don’t want this to look like a major F’up, which it is. I wonder if the developer will walk away with no fines and no deal? Don’t know, we may never know.

And I wonder what developer will be waiting in the wings . . . with a TIF to boot?

1,000 foot setback for Med Cannabis dispensaries is ludicrous

Most setbacks for facilities like this are 300 feet. But the IM 26 task force is suggesting 1,000 feet from parks, schools, churches AND residential. One cannabis advocate said to me, ‘That means NO dispensaries basically anywhere in Sioux Falls. Not on Minnesota Avenue or 41st street.’ They also pointed out to me that when they looked at a map and did a GIS approach to the setback they could only find a couple of spots in Sioux Falls.

The rumor going around is that Mayor TenHaken is the one who instructed the task force to make the setback so strict. I still don’t understand how we continue to allow Sioux Falls Mayors to stick their noses in policy issues. He is violating city charter.

As I have told the mayor and council publicly, your views on the morality of using legal cannabis is NOT your problem. You must uphold the laws on the books and not make it so difficult to distribute a product that the voters of South Dakota deemed legal.

I expect several lawsuits challenging the setback if passed. I also expect it to be passed, because that is what authoritarians do. I also think there could be a petition drive in Sioux Falls to change the setbacks in city ordinance.

And with the delay in the verdict on Amendment A, I don’t expect the SD Supreme Court ruled in favor of it. I think they will agree with the lower court. You also have to remember that the high court takes the summer off, so don’t expect a verdict until this Fall.

Sioux Falls City Council to get update on Skiter Control

After several residents complained about the city spraying people, pets and children in broad daylight, we are going to get the take from the city;

Vector Control Update by Denise Patton, Health Program Coordinator

It is going to be fun to listen how they are going to spin spraying residents in late afternoons. They have already used the ‘money’ excuse, but I don’t buy it from a city that has a $700 million dollar yearly budget. I have also suggested the city use cheaper more organic approaches to Vector Control. Not to mention it has been so dry this year, I don’t think I have seen more than 2 mosquitos in the city.

Sioux Falls City Council approves land transfer in Public Meeting without providing public supposed confidential legal documents

At the council meeting tonight you will hear a lot of legal mumbo jumbo about ethics ordinances, Supreme Court rulings and executive confidentiality. The problem is that it’s all horse pucky.

I am still of the opinion that the city council CANNOT meet publicly and vote on publicly announced agenda items in a public meeting without sharing the legalities of this land transfer. This is what they were told tonight, that they would essentially be violating ethics rules if they talked about the legalities discussed in executive session in a public meeting.

The whole purpose of having a public meeting to approve an agenda item, any agenda item, is to release that information publicly to the public before it is voted on.

Ethics be damned if you can approve deals like this in a public meeting without giving the public the legalities of the deal. I believe it is a gross violation of public meeting laws and rules and I would have been sitting up there tonight, I would have recused myself from the vote and stated that I would be violating said rules if I voted on it. I found it interesting that one councilor probably knew that since they were absent tonight, or likely they are heavily invested in the project.

When I talk about corruption and openness in government, this is a prime example. It’s what the public doesn’t know that corrupts the process.

I have never been so disappointed and disgusted as I was tonight watching this boondoggle. What makes it even more hypocritical is the very people who benefitted from this top secret land transfer didn’t even have the courtesy to show up tonight. Go figure.

Sidenote; there is a new public advocate in town that moved here from Florida in March who speaks during public input. He is very well spoken and takes the council to task for the issues with housing, public transportation, internet access monopolies and lack of affordable healthcare for self-employed individuals. It only took this person a couple of months in Sioux Falls to smell the lack of leadership in our city government.

City of Sioux Falls Public Meeting Agenda for July 20-22, 2021

There are several interesting agenda items, including another IM 26 task force meeting, in the AM during the workweek at the library where it cannot be recorded or easily attended by working folks. The mayor also lays out the budget for the city, even though according to charter this should be the job of the city council. In the regular city council agenda is the 2nd reading for the land swap deal the smells about as bad as the river it borders. If you go look at this land, it is pretty clear it is controlled by the Corps of Engineers and not the city or the property owner.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Planning Department & City Attorney’s Office hid information from the City Council and Public

UPDATE: Cameraman Bruce wanted me to remind you of this post from March of 2020, and this added commentary;

The article is credited to me and the maps are still true.

The river bed was never owned by anyone but the federal government and since it was part of a navigable it cannot be taken over by anyone without the Corp of Engineers releasing it and likely an act of congress. Sioux Steel never owned the river bed filled in by garbage. The reason the city is not releasing any of their documentation is due to the faulty “quit claim” deeds they might be citing.

The city attorney, Lloyd Companies and Sioux Steel are playing fast and loose with the facts to seal the property permanently. Sioux Steel cannot give away property then never owned. They were and are squatters with no real claims to the property.

The parties to the development including the Sioux Falls city attorney, Lloyd Companies and Sioux Steel must prove they have the rights to continue building on and trading property they do not own or have rights of fee simple.

————————————–

So if you watch the city council meeting tonight, Item #12 is a land easement deal with the developer of the Sioux Steel project. While that certainly isn’t anything to raise eyebrows over since the city does these kind of deals several times a year, what makes it concerning as you watch the discussion is that the Planning Department, the City Attorney’s office and likely the Mayor’s office hid this information from us and the city council for over 18 months. Wouldn’t this land transfer deal be something that should have been presented to the citizens before BOTH TIFs for this project were presented? What makes it even more interesting is that it seems some of the information remains confidential even though the city is having a public meeting, discussion and 1st vote on this land deal. Remember when they terminated former City Clerk Debra Owen? Deja Vu.

It also gets even more nefarious when you consider that this land transfer will end up costing taxpayers millions more because the land we are getting from the developers will suddenly become river greenway property that we will be responsible to develop.

Luckily this is only 1st reading, and hopefully the council will be able to really dig into what is going on here, and hopefully by 2nd reading some of those secret legal documents will appear.

At first glance, it is my guess that this was kept from the public and the city council for this long because it is NOT a good deal for us, and they tried to skate this as long as they could (or at least until they got their precious TIF).

I keep telling you folks, there is a lot of ‘stuff’ going on behind closed doors at city hall, and it is NOT to our benefit. And the irony is this is all occurring while the head city attorney is rumored to be on an extended vacation – how convenient for him?

Theresa Stehly asks Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken to look at her when speaking at the City Council Meeting tonight

During the public input portion of the meeting tonight, former city councilor Stehly asked the mayor to stop spraying for skiters in broad daylight. I guess the trucks have been emitting their chemicals before dusk throughout neighborhoods with complaints from people with kids, to people walking with pets. It is also kills beneficial insects. The best time to spray is from dusk to dawn when the skiters come out to play. I guess the city doesn’t really have a reason why except it costs more to spray after dark. I didn’t know running headlights was so expensive. I have complained for years that the city should use safer, natural methods to control skiters. The one reason I don’t have a vegetable garden is because of the spraying. The emission can also cause developmental issues in toddlers. But that’s typical of authoritarians, save pennies over here while harming the health and welfare of citizens while handing out $20 Million dollar plus tax rebates to developers.

I didn’t see Paul’s face, but when Theresa was addressing him, she asked him to look at her (I guess he was staring at his shoes, something you can do when the cruise control is on).

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, July 6, 2021

Informational Meeting • 4 PM

Three presentations;

EMS Annual Update and Rate Increase (notice in the linked documents there is NO mention of what they are asking for in a rate increase.)

Senior/Disabled Municipal Property Tax Refund (not sure what the presentation is about, this is something that is already offered by the county. Maybe the city will start doing it now also?)

Public Safety Home Buying Assistance Program (this is something that is done in other communities across the country with some success. Basically if Fireman and Police want to buy homes in lower income neighborhoods they would get assistance. While I am NOT opposed to the idea, as a realtor told me yesterday, this city is allowing the hospitals to eat up and tear down all the affordable housing in these neighborhoods and slumlords neglecting rental property instead of letting people buy these homes and fix them up themselves. I have felt for a long time we are neglecting our core, and we could easily implement programs to fix it up rapidly while providing home ownership that is affordable. But I guess that is some kind of far fetched hippy idea.)

Regular Meeting • 6 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts;

Sub Item #6, Health Dept, Agreement to grant funds for Operation Hope Fund for use in
public, charitable, or humanitarian purposes and accommodation. Grant funding shall focus on improving continuity of care for individuals served at The Link. Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, $500K. (this seems like an interesting backdoor way of funding the LINK without having an additional subsidy. The city council will eventually have to do this because the LINK has been plum full since day they opened. This of course should be NO surprise).

Sub Item #28, Parks & Rec, Conditional Gifting Agreement for house renovations with other improvements to be located at the Tuthill House within Tuthill Park. This gifting agreement will provide for exterior and interior house renovations and hardscaping to be funded and completed by the Tuthill Neighborhood Association, Tuthill Park Neighborhood Association, $0.00 (As I mentioned in an earlier post, this is a rare one. The Association took care of the entire project with very little from the city, design, contractors, materials etc. The sad irony is that this place should have been taken care of to begin with and never got into such disrepair. Some people are starting to wonder what is the Parks Department doing with their money?)

Item #7, Change Orders,

Sub Item #2, Phillips Avenue Improvements, 14th Street to 18th Street; Additional quantities and unforeseen conditions, T & R Contracting, $223K (I’m not sure what this is about, but I have warned that with prices of construction materials going up, contractors will be trying to have that inflation covered. I would like to see a councilor pull this item and have the street department explain what ‘additional quantities’ is?)

Item #23, Application for one day liquor licenses. (Notice the applicant who provides beverages at Levitt is asking for all of the licenses at the first meeting of the month, good idea.)

Item #57, 61-63, 2nd Reading, Sioux Steel TIF, which used to be 22 magically becomes 24 with the snap of the city’s fingers, yet they can’t figure out how to follow IM 26 rules without a lot of consternation and unrecorded task force meetings.

Item #59, 1st Reading, Ambulance rate increase (when you look at the original contract, you will see they are going from a 3% rate increase to a 5%.)

Item #65, A RESOLUTION ADVISING AND GIVING CONSENT TO THE APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS TO CERTAIN CITIZEN BOARDS. (Notice that former city councilor Erpenbach is getting appointed to the REMSA board, could this mean more transparency? LMFAO!)

Item #67, A MOTION TO PROVIDE ADVICE AND CONSENT FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF JONATHAN THUM AS POLICE CHIEF. (I told you the pretty one was going to get this appointment. Wonder if he will get any tough questions during his confirmation? Don’t hold your breath, that is NOT how cruise control government works.)

IM 26 Task Force Meeting, Wed July 7

I guess 8:30 in the morning, on a Wednesday after a National Holiday at the Library (not recorded) seemed like the most open way to have this meeting. Oh, silly me, I forgot the current council and administration have a deep dark hate towards transparent government;

Agenda

  1. Introductions
  2. Recap of state and local actions since last meeting
  3. Presentation from planning teams on current joint boundaries and growth areas
  4. Task Force discussion regarding joint jurisdiction framework
  5. Input from non-Task Force municipal representatives
  6. Timelines to adopt a Medical Cannabis Zoning Ordinance (City, County and Joint Jurisdictional)
  7. Additional updates from Taskforce
  8. Next steps
  9. Public Input

I guess I am still clueless why they are meeting since they have already said they will do NOTHING until the state puts together guidelines. No worries, the tribe will hook you up while our county and city doddle.

I’m opposed to Ranked Choice Voting

Recently I have been asked by some people in the community my thoughts and maybe some help in getting ranked choice voting in Sioux Falls. I am opposed to it, but would love to be a part of the conversation.

It’s not that I don’t understand how it works, it’s not as complicated as it may sound.

My opposition is that when I vote for a candidate, that is the candidate I chose. Not only do I rarely have a 2nd and 3rd choice, I sometimes don’t even have a number one choice. I have often left that portion of the ballot blank. A few years ago in a school board election as soon as the ballot was handed to me, I threw it in the box without marking any candidates.

I guess I struggle with electing people based on being ‘second best’. We should only be voting for the people we feel is most qualified, and as a community we should actively be finding ways to recruit the best candidates.

It’s not that we have a problem with the election process in Sioux Falls, we have problem with finding effective leaders to run.