Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Why is the City of Sioux Falls paying for an outside Counsel Review of the Human Relations Commission?

So the Sioux Falls city council has decided to bury this on the consent contracts/agreements, Item #6, last sub item #38;

City Attorney’s office, Engagement Agreement for Human Relations Commission Review, Cadwell Sanford Deibert & Garry, LLP, Not to exceed $5,000

A concerned citizen asked a city councilor to pull this from the agenda for discussion and he not only refused to pull it, he refused to tell the citizen what it was about. Mind you, this is on a publicly posted agenda.

So why is an outside law firm reviewing the Human Relations Commission. I don’t know, but let’s make some guesses;

• The attorney running the department mysteriously disappeared and the replacement left to work for the county. Why?

• There has been several accusations that the commission (city) has been dismissing complaints for no reason.

• Was there a Federal complaint filed? The commission probably is funded by some Federal grants and has to follow certain Federal rules when it comes to the appeals.

As I understand it another city councilor has agreed to pull it from the consent agenda and have some one from the administration explain what this review is about.

At this point I won’t speculate, because I am just as curious as you.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls CountCilor Alex Jensen misconstrues how the city can use TIFs

I come to suck the blood out of the city coffers!

I was a little surprised that a former state legislator and current city councilor could be so confused about how the city can apply TIFs. During his interview on KELO AM (Sept 21) Jensen says the city should use TIFs for affordable and accessible housing. Imagine my surprise, especially since Jensen gleefully voted for 3 TIFs totaling $144 million that have ZERO to do with affordable housing. But what he said about what needs to change really surprised me even more. Jensen said the state has to change laws in order to do that. Huh?

While the State could certainly do that, it is not necessary. As I have proposed, with Home Rule we can make our charter stricter than State Law, we just cannot violate the law;

Application for TIF will only be accepted for projects that will eliminate blight, build density in the core, and simultaneously provide affordable and workforce housing. Home rule charter allows the city to be stricter than state law.

There are three ways we could go about this change. The easiest would be the council just proposing the change and voting on it. That would be as simple as a presentation about the change and a 1st and 2nd reading. The next easiest would be my proposal above and have the CRC put the change on the ballot and let the voters make that change. There is also a 3rd option which would be the hardest and that would be to do a petition drive to get it on the ballot.

This is why Jensen’s statement baffles me. The Council and himself already have the power to make this change, we don’t have to wait for the legislature to do something. And if he really believed that TIFs should only be applied this way why did he vote for three that have to do with parking ramps, slush funds and Korean owned egg roll factories?

Talking out of both sides of your butt must be a vampire thing.

UPDATE: Jensen also touches on this during inside Town Hall. Alex offers some strange solutions to our housing shortages;

• Encourage people to live in our neighboring small communities. So basically he is telling people to come to SE South Dakota to work in Sioux Falls, but BTW, we don’t have any room for you in our town. So once you punch out, and go home please take those wages you made in Sioux Falls and pay your taxes in Tea or Brandon or Crooks.

I have suggested for over a decade you could do a pilot program in a core neighborhood in a 4-6 block radius. The city would fix the roads, water, sewer, curb, gutter, city owned sidewalks and lighting. You then could get the residents and property owners in that sector to sign onto a group tax incentive program thru community development to fix up the properties. Depending on income levels the help could be tax rebates or NO or LOW interest loans. As we have seen, the Mayor already has the discretionary power to that.

• Senator Jack Kolbeck brought up TIFs. Either Jack is naive or he is in on the scam, but he wants to get the TIF down to 0% for developers and eliminate excise taxes for them. He then says “So they can pass the savings down to the consumer/renter.” The tired old Reaganomics argument of trickle down. If you are giving the tax cut to the developer, the developer or contractor will simply put that money in their pocket. They know with the demand of housing in Sioux Falls they have NO reason to pass ‘savings’ on down to the consumer. The tax breaks should go to the consumer once the home is purchased. Trickle down DOES NOT WORK, we have proof of this with the enormous income gap that was created by these horrible policies.

• Jack also brings up expanding the prison built homes project to Sioux Falls prison. While I am all for this program, I think the inmates should get paid better for it, I also think they should have job guarantees in the industry when they get out and work it into their probation or parole.

• He also mentions tiny homes (I agree with) and deregulation. That is a buzz word with Republicans, they always seem to think sacrificing safety will save money. In 2018 South Dakota ranked #5 with Highest Rate of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Less regulation is NOT the answer.

I’m not saying the city needs to do this all at once or even change existing ordinances, just try a pilot program based on existing zoning and laws. Shape Places already fixed a hurdle that allows residential areas like this to either fix up or expand their properties. This isn’t rocket science folks. It’s what I told a friend the other day about the issues at the Dudley House. We have this desire in local government to re-invent the wheel and make things complicated while giving them fancy names. We don’t have to do that, we can get simple straight forward ideas from other communities on what works and we don’t even need to travel or pick up a phone to do it. You can get online and see thousands of projects. It just takes time, research and google. When I used to be a full-time graphic designer a fellow designer told me his secret to being so good, ‘90% of my ideas are stolen’.

More Sioux Falls City Council Race Gossip

I got some more news on the council races.

In Central District I asked Tom Hulbert over the weekend if he was going to run for Central. While he didn’t say he will, he certainly hasn’t ruled it out. So that’s good.

In the one At-Large that currently has the incumbent Brekke it sounds like they found a challenger from the medical sector (not sure what they do or if they are retired.)

But the big gossip is that they found another puppet like CountCilor Jensen to run for Erickson’s At-Large empty seat besides the possibility of Zach DeBoer. Supposedly the candidate will have the full-force of the mayor’s connections (and money) behind them and they come from the non-profit world.

This of course is NO surprise to me. I always new Poops and Crew would put up another Pooppet candidate for that seat.

I guess these candidates will be announcing soon. I’ll be polishing my campaign wrecking ball in the meantime.

Emmett Riestroffer slams City Hall and its Corruption

So Emmett drops some zingers . . .

City of Sioux Falls 2022 Municipal Election Update

In all honesty, this really isn’t an update, because I got nothing but gossip, but let’s have fun anyway?

Mayoral Race; As it stands right now it is Paul TenHaken vs. my favorite Levitt dancer, Mr. David Zokaites. Some have speculated that others will drop their hat in this ring, but I am at a loss of words of who would.

Central District; Curt Soehl currently doesn’t have a challenger, but I suspect someone will emerge. Some names thrown around are Tom Hurlbert, Sierra Brussard and Emmett Riestroffer.

Southeast District; so far one person has announced for the empty seat that Ricky Lee Kiley will be leaving, David Barranco. I think David will have a challenger, but I’m not sure who that would be.

At Large (2 seats); There are 2 at large members, Brekke and Erickson. Erickson is term limited and will leave an open seat. The rumor is Zach DeBoer will announce he is running for that seat. Brekke is the incumbent for the other seat and I think she plans to run again.

It is pretty early in this, and I don’t expect any real commitments until after the 1st of the year but if you have any juicy, squirt it my way.

Councilor Erickson goes ape over $60k while giving millions in tax rebates to welfare developers

(FF: 16:40)

So this happened at the informational meeting on Tuesday, and I didn’t think much of the drama until people started nagging me about it;

Erickson said the Playhouse, formerly known as the Sioux Empire Community Theatre until August, currently owes $66,000 in debt to the city. She questioned why the debt had not been settled after it received $418,739 between several COVID-19 relief programs, including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

First, let’s put some things in perspective. The Sioux Empire Community Theatre incurred this debt, not the current group and SMG let it grow to level it should not have. Once the Orpheum changed hands to the Pavilion’s management a payment program was set up. But in all reality, the city should have just wrote off the debt due to SMG and the previous theatre company no longer being in play. That would be the ‘logical’ thing to do

Some have asked me, “While Erickson has voted to give millions in TIF tax rebates to wealthy developers and voted for a failed $26 million dollar bunker ramp debacle why does she give a sh!t about this $60K debt?”

Well folks, this isn’t about the amount of debt it’s about who is being held hostage for the debt. The NEW organization’s president is no other than Mr. Rick Weiland, and this is an obvious attack on him politically as a prominent Democrat in our state and Christine’s cozy relationship with SD GOP leadership. It’s petty, and honestly the reason I didn’t say anything on Tuesday after witnessing her driveling. But par for course for the dirt bags that run that institution (out of Iowa).

Besides, if we really want to question the abuse of tax dollars by an arts org in Sioux Falls, we only have to look to the Washington Pavilion who is rumored to pay their director around or over $200K a year and has ravaged the entertainment tax year after year for millions in maintenance for a $19 million dollar building that cost us $50 million plus to complete and continues to drain us. Why doesn’t the city council just have a resolution that renames the tax the ‘Pavilion maintenance tax’? Let’s call it what it really is. And when are we going to get a financial report from them? Isn’t the director a Democrat?

Sioux Falls Districting Commission Recommends New Map

They recommended C11A. I like it because it includes Whittier and Cathedral neighborhoods into the Central and further makes that district more diverse. This is only a recommendation (all members voted for it). It still has to go thru the public review process and be approved by the City Council.

I would also like to commend Chair Mark Millage and especially Commissioner Tom Hurlbert for pushing for this major change in the Central District it is something I think should have been done a long time ago. I have often felt that the Legislative District of 13 should look like this to.

If the Sioux Falls Districting Commission picks option C11 it would be a game changer for the Central District

While there are many options for the Districting Commission to review at their meeting on Wednesday, options C9 and especially C11 would be the biggest changes to the district in years. Not only would you make the Central the largest by population, you would really make it a core district again.

The discussion should be interesting.

Hopefully many candidates will be challenging Councilor Soehl for the Central District in the 2022 municipal election since he has been an utter failure delivering very little to the residents and homeowners of the district and more concerned about handing out millions in TIFs to DT parking ramps we don’t need while letting the residential streets of the core turn into the roads of Baghdad.

First Rule of Fight Club, Pay your Taxes!

When I have helped with city council campaigns in the past, the first thing I remind people of is to ‘take care of the little things’ before announcing. Seems Mr. Barranco failed to tidy up a delinquent property tax bill before announcing running for city council;

Of course, this is no Federal Crime, he will likely have to pay a late payment fine and it will be all good. But I often tell people that if someone running for office can’t even manage the simple things in their personal lives, how can we expect them to serve us? Like I said, I could give 2 rips if he is late on his taxes, but this personal failure on his part certainly shows how much he will pay attention on the city council when managing OUR business, like when the city council hired a city clerk to run our elections that wasn’t even registered to vote. Just another rubber stamping, cruise control, seat warmer and little else.

David Barranco announces candidacy for Sioux Falls City Council, SE District

I had heard a couple of months ago a ‘young attorney’ was running for Ricky Lee’s open seat;

David Barranco is getting ready to move forward with his candidacy and this past Friday announced to friends privately that he’s running, and is noting his interest,

In 2022, when Councilman Kiley’s term ends, his seat will be open. I am excited to run for that position. My hope is to serve working families, keeping a pragmatic, problem-solving focus. I’m dedicated to building a bright future for Sioux Falls, with a strong economy and reliable infrastructure.

I’m passionate about expanding the local workforce and creating more affordable housing. As a husband, father, and FCA coach, I’m dedicated to keeping kids safe by supporting law enforcement and defending public health. I’ll endeavor to grow pet-friendly spaces, reduce automobile traffic, and plant thousands of trees. Most importantly, I’ll strive to be a cooperative consensus builder — one who embraces good policy but eschews divisive rhetoric.

Of course it should not surprise anyone that David has close ties to the SD GOP. His wife Catherine is involved with the National Federation of Republican Women (I think she serves on the board) and used to work for the SD GOP as staff in communications and is still a region director.

It will be interesting to see what kind of support Dave gets from SD GOP . . .