Entries Tagged 'SF City Council' ↓

Former Sioux Falls Mayor Rick Knobe endorses Stehly and Beaudion for city council

Obviously the virus and info about it is the big story.

Like after 9/11, we are entering a new normal.

As you know I’m a local government guy. That’s where the rest of this post is going.

City Council Election Day is April 14th. No provision in State Law to postpone it.

Local government has a profound impact on the quality of your life.

Streets, the quality and quantity of your drinking water, police, fire, public health(including the Covid 19 virus) are responsibilities of local government.

The people elected to the City Council need to be visionary, intelligent, articulate, independent thinkers, and when needed leaders, which may mean disagreeing with the “pack. “

I know the two incumbents and one of the challengers.

Since we are entering a new normal I want the voice of Julian Beaudion to be on the City Council. The qualities and resume of Julian Beaudion impress me. He’s in the trenches being a state law enforcement officer and also with his family running an Independent restaurant in downtown Sioux Falls. His campaign is about diversity and inclusion. We need that on the Council. He has my vote and yes, I gave him a modest donation. The incumbent is a decent man. He has a loving family. I like him. However voting isn’t about liking someone.

It’s about putting people in a responsible position who can represent ALL of us and has the ability to deal with the complex issues facing us. To me that’s Julian Beaudion.

The At Large seat has the outspoken incumbent, Theresa Stehly being challenged by an unknown challenger. I haven’t met him. His donors have given BIG money, including $10,000 from our former Governor. The list includes the moneyed folks in town.

None of that is evil, but to me it is a sign. The power people usually don’t like outspoken people. They want somebody they can manage/handle/ control.

The incumbent, Theresa Stehly, is not automatically against the moneyed people, but she is not afraid to disagree when she thinks they are wrong.

I like that quality in an elected official.

I want, and the City Council needs, alternative ideas. Ideas and suggestions different from the administration and moneyed folks.

The challenger to Theresa Stehly has chosen to go negative in his first two presentations. First, a public challenge to Stehly’s privately funded Stehly Report, and second, a negative postcard.

I want people in office with ideas to make Sioux Falls better. So far, the challenger, and his handlers, have gone negative. Not a good sign.

He might be a nice fellow. But so far his actions are those of a negative thinker. We don’t need that.

Finally, Theresa Stehly has been right on the big issues. She has fought for, and won, more transparency from the city administration.

She was right about concerns over the now defunct hotel and parking ramp project, now in litigation.

She was right in her attempt to collect law enforcement and other expenses, from the PRIVATE fundraiser held by then governor candidate Kristi Noem, which featured President Trump.

I know she has been an irritant to some. But, I think we need people to challenge our thinking and our habits.

Theresa Stehly has my vote and will get a modest check to support her campaign.

That’s it from me.

Early voting starts March 30th.

The Bickering and Backbiting continues

While things are becoming more strange by the day with the corona virus, our local government has been reacting very well. I will commend the city, county and school district for the continued updates and staying vigilant. I will say however, the Federal government has been flailing for weeks. But one thing didn’t change at last night’s council meeting, the continued fighting between councilors, especially the riff between councilors Erickson and Stehly. When the city council was set to vote on the operations manual updates, Stehly suggested an amendment (that got the support of councilors Brekke and Starr). She asked that city council employees be respectful of citizens (FF 1:25) This was the second time in the meeting in which Stehly was attacked, and told she doesn’t know what she was talking about.

The first time was over the RFP for the sewer plant. Theresa asked for a deferral, due partially to the economic situation we are facing, but mostly because there is a ton of unknowns because of how the RFP was handled. I also question the $9.5 million in CMAR fees to the Manager of the project (6% of $159 million). While I don’t always agree with Stehly’s logic on some of her deferral ideas and amendments, I agree 100% with her on this deal. It seems like they are trying to push this thru as fast as possible with nobody’s really looking on how this deal was concocted. Remember, the last administration basically kept this expansion from the public, only mentioned it in passing a few times and never had a price tag attached to it. This, I believe was done on purpose so Bucktooth & Bowlcut could build his play palaces. If the public knew a $200 million dollar sewer plant was looming, they would have never supported these other projects. On top of that, two new jails (Minnehaha and now in Lincoln county) and $300 million in school bond debt.

I’m afraid we are not going to see a lot of things going on behind the scenes during this crisis. Greed and corruption lurks in dark spaces. If there ever is a time that we need to be open and transparent with the public, that time is now.

Also, during the meeting, two councilors chose to call into the meeting, those two were Brekke and Kiley. Even on the phone, Kiley continued to tell us how smart he was while defending the bureaucracy. I’ve have always been kind of irritated by his tone, and I finally figured out why. He is always defending government instead of citizens. It must be from all his years as a teacher. Kiley has never grasped that he is elected by citizens to represent us, that is why we have an elected council. If Kiley wants to defend the city instead of the rights of the citizens, maybe he should resign his seat and apply for a job with the city. I’m sure they could find something for that know it all to do.

The blog up North continues to make unfounded accusations about Stehly. The latest was her comment at the council meeting about the possibility of Marshall Law. This isn’t far-fetched at all. Many major cities across the nation and world have shut down. While the mayor may not have the power to declare a curfew, the Governor or the President could. While Councilor Soehl calls this ‘hysteria’ he may be eating his words in a few days. There was also a dig on Stehly for not attending last week’s emergency meeting. She informed me that she got a ‘text’ from COS Erica Beck late in the afternoon about the meeting, and couldn’t attend due to a teaching appointment. But she also told me that she could have called in if someone told her that was the option, which they did not. Trust me, Stehly wanted to attend the meeting, she didn’t just blow it off.

Theresa sent this email to the Governor today;

Dear Governor Noem,

Our Catholic Masses have been cancelled, our schools have been cancelled, our employees are being told to work from home, our restaurants are closing their eating areas,  stores in the malls are closing, and our City Council is restricting public gatherings.

In light of all the precautions we are taking to keep our beloved citizens safe, I am begging you to intervene and reschedule our upcoming April 14 City Council/school board election.  Absentee voting is slated to start on March 30 at our Minnehaha County administration Building. However,  The Argus has just reported:

 “Second Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Robin Houwman issued an order Wednesday restricting who can enter the courthouses through April 30. “

There is rampant confusion about what is happening with this election. If you and our city officials don’t reschedule the election, 

You need to personally ensure that all voters  and election workers will be safe and protected from illness.

According to yesterday’s  Argus Leader  you were quoted as saying the following:

“She said the state is having ongoing discussions with local officials regarding the Sioux Falls election in April, but no decisions have been made to delay it at this point. “

Thank you for your consideration. Know that you are in my prayers.

Theresa Stehly

The word now is that the SOS and Governor do not have the power to postpone the Spring municipal elections across the state but she has asked the legislature to rule on it on veto day, March 30.

Also today this text message is going around;

I am not sure who sent it, but Stehly said it was NOT from her campaign. The word is this was NOT an independent survey and the Jensen campaign was behind it. IF THIS IS TRUE it could be a violation of campaign rules. More to come on that.

Carnegie becomes ‘Corona-Proof’ for tonight’s meeting

I advise people to watch from home HERE. There is no reason to risk your health going to the meeting.

I found out today that the new innovation director nominee will not be at the meeting tonight for his appointment resolution, but will be calling in, which is understandable. But I guess he wasn’t even going to call in, but had a change of heart after several councilors questioned his absence for his appointment.

I have argued for years that local officials need to do more business via tele-conferencing, not only is it more convenient, it saves taxpayers money. There is no reason to fly all over the state and country to have a simple conversation about governing, in fact, it is ludicrous and extremely wasteful. For a mayor that likes to brag about technology so much, I wonder why he flies all over the place, except when he has to take questions from reporters, than he hides in his garage.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, March 17, 2020

Not sure if the city council will happen or not on Tuesday, but it seems to be scheduled at this point;

Local Board of Equalization Hearings, 3 PM, Monday, March 16

Regular city council meeting, 7 PM, Tuesday, March 17

Item #6, Approval of contracts, Sub Item #23, a $50K data services contract with Midco. I guess they are getting their MAC sponsorship money back in one form or another.

Item #40, Resolution to dissolve TIF #5. I think this was the Cherapa Place TIF, hard to tell because no where in the documentation does it mention the recipient of this TIF. Unreal.

Item #41, Resolution, go into an agreement for a CMAR for the sewer plant expansion. This deal stinks to high heaven. The public deserves more transparency on this deal, I have a feeling there is a lot more going on behind the scenes on this deal. The way it is being handled is very suspicious.

Item #45, Appointing new Innovation Director. While I support this new director, I find it very odd there is NO bio or resume attached to this item on the agenda.

Is Count Jensen using one of the most expensive and overrated ad agencies in the state?

In this screenshot of a FB video Jensen posted about the Mexican Beer Flu, absentee voting and yard signs (yup, it was all in there) I noticed a familiar logo on a conference room table, the logo of Lawrence and Schiller. If Count Counciloser is using this firm to help mold his message, no wonder he needs to raise a lot of money, they ain’t cheap, and they certainly don’t scream grassroots. The special interests just keep stacking the deck.

I will commend Alex on one thing in his disjointed message though, it is important to absentee vote.

Sioux Falls’ city election will be held on April 14th, with polls open between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

Check your voter registration, find your polling place and view a sample ballot here:

If you are concerned about COVID19, we encourage you to vote absentee in person between March 30th and April 13th. All registered Sioux Falls voters may vote absentee in-person at the Minnehaha County Auditor’s Office (415 N. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104).

You may also vote absentee by mail. Information on voting by mail is available on the City Clerk’s website. https://www.siouxfalls.org/council/city-clerk/election-information/2020-elections/absentee-voting

Orwellian nightmare or just hysteria time?

The message was and is simple. Don’t panic, keep your head about you. Show some leadership.

Don’t get this message wrong, the current health scare going around the world right now, is serious. Just like your kindergarten teachers stressed hygiene is important to stop the spread of any virus and especially the coronavirus now.

Does it rise to local and national declarations of possible martial law? In a word, No.

Does it rise to fearmongering? In a word, No.

Does it require leadership, planning, plans? Yes, Yes, Yes.

What did Sioux Falls get on March 12th, 2020? Only reactions we got was from the youth pastor’s sermon to the choir scrambling for something.

The Sioux Falls belated response to the novel coronavirus in our nation is seems to be turning into an Orwellian nightmare of central government edicts. Instead of reassuring the public before the mess hit our shores and our town, the public officials should have been preparing the public with proactive messaging. Our national leaders have decided to lock down our shores except to white English speaking visitors from the U.K.? How is this reassuring?

The last minute, rushed through open-ended Emergency declaration has no sunset built into it. It was so rushed, the city attorneys and the committee didn’t even check the get the date of the Sioux Falls Board of Health correct. It had to be corrected by a motion. We have seen so many contracts and official documents in the past, back-dated and postdated and never corrected, leaving  some of us to wonder if they ever review their final work.

Heck, the sewer plant contract is so messed up we don’t even know what we are paying for it.

Cameraman Bruce tried to get information upon hearing of the meeting and there was no notice. It starts to make you wonder what else was happening behind the scenes.  Do you realize during the 2019 tornado emergency, the administration never called an official emergency but still acted as if had been official? Our Charter has very specific processes for this and in 2019 it did not happen.

In the past, Cameraman Bruce has asked consistent questions concerning disaster and emergency planning. How often do we have actual public planning meetings and organized disaster practices. This goes back to the lackadaisical attitude REMSA, Metro Communications, emergency services and the other local governmental units have shown. If we had a repeat of the United 232 disaster in Sioux Falls, we would not have the ability to respond. Bruce was one of many Sioux Falls people who experienced the amazing response firsthand in Sioux City that saved many lives.

To illustrate how weak this committee response is was summed up when there was no point person publicly announced at the Emergency City Council meeting. What? It just shows how little was learned from last year’s 3 tornado event where the emergency sirens were forgotten to be turned on.

So we now have public buildings shut down for a period of time. Now that we have an official emergency, closing down city buildings releases the city and promoters from financial loses because of the hysteria. The actions of our ineffectual national government leadership is causing the economy to head into bear territory. Look at Minnesota Gov. Walz asking the legislature to set aside $1.2 billion surplus money to prepare for likely cash shortfalls. This is going to be a bumpy ride and all we have are public leaders who’s main job is to prepare for these emergencies doing nothing.

After Cameraman Bruce finished speaking during the public portion of the ram rodded ordinance process, the response from the usual rubber stampers on the dais was degrading comments, laughter and hoots. How is this respect for the public. How is that leadership? City “leaders” hiding their lack of answers behind degrading remarks, as the public was asking for leadership.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert doesn’t deserve re-election

This isn’t an endorsement of his opponent Julian Beaudion (though it kind of is). While I don’t know much about Julian, I do know one thing, as a SD Highway Patrol officer, he must conduct himself with the highest degree of integrity, especially while serving the public, it is essential in performing his job. While Julian has no governing experience, he certainly has public service experience and I think he would make a great asset to the city council.

This is more about the complete failure of Councilor Greg Neitzert. I won’t lie to you, I helped Greg run for office 4 years ago, I helped him with a strategy, I helped write a lot of his campaign materials and did most of his graphic design. He was a good student who listened and did what was asked of him, and he won. In less than a year into his term I noticed that he was more interested in rubbing elbows with the mucky mucks of Sioux Falls than getting in the ditches with the common folks. He started to hint to me that many of the things I believed about city government were really not true and it was just a bunch of conspiracy theories. Yeah, because you know, I was wrong about the EC siding and bunker ramp. I knew where this was headed. Soon after, Greg and I stopped communicating all together. He sold his soul to the special interests of Sioux Falls, and as someone commented the other day, “Greg first finds out from his masters how he should vote, than researches how he can best sell that vote to the public.” Bingo! But the citizens are not buying it. Greg has become a complete sellout rubber stamping puppet tool who will kiss the ring of anyone who wants a favor. He has lied during meetings, lied to constituents and stabbed many of his colleagues and the people who helped him get elected in the back – numerous times. There are many other things Greg has done behind the scenes that I can’t even mention here. He certainly doesn’t deserve 4 more years, but it seems as the incumbent in a small district, he will probably be re-elected. If that happens, and fellow incumbent Stehly gets re-elected also, it is going to be a rough ride for him.

Puzzling mailing in Sioux Falls City Council race

As a person who has helped get FOUR Sioux Falls city councilors and a Democrat elected to the legislature in a conservative district, I often shake my head when I see things like above. While I could certainly go on a very long rant about everything wrong with this mailing, I will only say one thing. If you are running against a popular incumbent, you never, ever attack them in your introductory mailing. I am incredibly baffled as to who is giving this poor soul campaign advice (well I do know who). FAIL!

Only 1-Year Warranty on New Water Reclamation Plant

Taxpayers are going to be building an over $200 million dollar expansion on the plant, and we are only getting a 1-Year warranty, with a 6-year cap on suing the contractor, according to presenters today at the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting.

I spoke tonight at public input during the regular meeting.

What a deal? Think failed HVAC system on admin building, bad siding on EC, leaky roof on Pavilion and failed parking ramp, or multiple problems at the Midco. Taxpayers are holding the bag. EVERY SINGLE TIME!

But the Sh*t show gets even better, since we only are hiring a CMAR (construction manager at risk) they get to pick the contractor with no guidance or permission from city officials, the mayor or city council. NONE. So the contractor actually building the plant wasn’t picked by taxpayers, and it is the same contractor who build the admin building (you know with the failed HVAC. Heck, if they can’t even install an air conditioner correctly, do we really want them to build a sewer treatment plant?)

Let’s talk about red flags folks!

1) We need to eliminate a CMAR on this project and hire our own contractor.

2) We need to have at least a 6-10 year warranty on the work.

In Germany, contractors have to warranty road work, if the roads fail, they must repair them at their cost. Guess what, they are some of the best roads in the world, go figure!

The reason why we have so many ramshackle public building projects in this city is because we don’t have the contractors back up their work. So they cut corners to make a bigger profit margin, and could care less what happens after the project is done because they have no obligation to fix it, unless we pay them or sue them (also at our expense).

It is legalized fraud on taxpayers and it is disgusting. Truly disgusting.

Neitzert argued that it was ludicrous to claim the city doesn’t get warranties. Really?! Please show us the warranties Greg, and if they exist (which I believe they don’t) when are these contractors going to fulfill those warranties?

It’s one thing to go down this path again on a project this expensive, as if we learned nothing, but to peddle mis-truths from the dais is a new low, especially from a guy running for re-election.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr Argus Leader interview

Live with city councilor Par Starr, who is running unopposed in the Northeast District.

Posted by Argus Leader Media on Monday, March 9, 2020