Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission' ↓

Out Damn Spot; Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission

The CRC essentially had their last slaughter today before recommending NO citizen proposals for the Spring 2022 ballot. I believe they killed 5 proposals today.

On a side note, if Mr. Kirby wants to propose changes to city government he should really do it in person instead of sending his hitman Dave Knudson who had to pause his proposal to call Joe, who I would assume is wintering some place nice.*

You can watch the massacre for yourself, but the Commission seemed somewhat giddy after the guillotine dropped, 5 times.**

The arguments were about as tired and haggard as most of the members.

Commissioner Hajek explained their job was to only look at ‘tweaks’ to the charter. How dare we assume the commission called the ‘Charter Revision’ would actually allow voters to weigh in on reasonable changes to said Charter?! The shame! They are not true pugilists just middle schoolers giving titty twisters.

They also recommended that it was up to the council to make these critical changes, and if that was NOT good enough the citizens could do a petition drive, which of course would end in a legal challenge on many fronts and never make the ballot.

I’ve seen a lot of apathetic boards in this city, like REMSA and the Planning Commission, but the CRC takes the cake as the biggest jellyfish in the group.

I ask the question, “What do you care how the citizens vote as long as that vote and proposal are legal?” I will tell you why, because of the massive conflicts of some of the board members.

I think Commissioner Hajek filled us in on the sincerity of the board when she leaned into member Zylstra and said after learning when her term ends, “Thank you! I hope to get out of here!”

*My assumption is Mr. Kirby probably suggested calling in his proposal, but that was likely nixed because during Covid, I believe Councilor Stehly suggested public input should or could be done over the phone, which was quickly thrown on the heap.

**I can’t help to boast a little since two of my proposals at least got some votes of approval.

City of Sioux Falls Meetings, Dec 6-8, 2021

Audit Committee • 4 PM • Monday 6th

• Update on External Audit of City’s 2021 Financial Statements by Eide Bailly, LLP

• Annual Risk Assessment

• 2022 Proposed Audit Plan

Sioux Falls City Council Informational • 4 PM • Tuesday 7th

• Engineering Design Standards Updates

• 2021 Crime Trends & Statistics by Police Chief Jonathan Thum (So now the City Council is finally getting a presentation yet still NO links to the Power Point presentation).

Sioux Falls City Council Regular Meetings • 6 PM • Tuesday 7th

Item #6, Approval of Contracts,

Sub Item #7, RR Crossing Improvements, $82K (I would assume this has to do with some of the development going on with the RR Redevelopment. I recently had a few beers with a business fellar who works closely in this industry that flat out told me any major changes to rail traffic through this area MUST go thru the FEDS.)

Sub Item #11, Zoo design for Lion exhibit, $482K (I find it curious this is going thru Parks and Rec. So now our parks budget is being used to ‘Design’ things for the Zoo. Just think of using this money for actual improvements to our FREE parks system?)

Sub Item #17, (you will notice this has to do with a payout to the Chamber for BID taxes since the separation from the CVB that NO ONE in the media wants to talk about. There is also NO mention of the dollar amount).

Item #40, 2nd Reading, the mysterious alcohol licensing fees.

Item #47, 2nd Reading, Fire sale for parking lot for UN-affordable housing DTSF.

Item #50, 1st Reading, approving new districts in Sioux Falls

Item #53, Resolution taking money from streets to the Facade Core Revitalization Program, $120K, but who is it going towards?

Sioux Falls Parks Board Meeting • 4 PM • Wednesday 8th

Ironically, this meeting is being held at the Overlook Cafe at the same time as the CRC meeting. How convenient? There is one item on the agenda that sparked my interest under ‘New Business’;

Sanford Parking Agreement – Don Kearney

Not sure what this is about, but maybe it has something to do with the soccer and ball fields they are building right now?

Charter Revision Commission • 4 PM • Wednesday 8th

Well, well, well. It seems the CRC has decided to move this meeting back to 4 PM instead of 3:30 PM like last month. I wonder why? There seems to be a lot more agenda items this time around . . . this will actually be a really interesting meeting. While I support Kirby’s ideas about the mayor, I don’t support rank choice. But it really doesn’t matter because the CRC will KILL all of these proposals anyway.

Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission denies my proposals based on (non-legal) Opinions

As I told the Commission at the end of the meeting during general public input, I had NO doubt they would deny my proposals because the CRC kills all proposals unless it comes from the administration in the form of fixing a typo in the charter.

I have reminded the CRC in the past that it was not their job to deny proposals based on their personal opinions but based on the law and if they legally could be on the ballot.

I do believe they had a good argument against my TIF changes proposal based on inserting a whole new section in the Charter. I also think the legislature once again is going to fiddle with TIF qualifications this winter in the legislative session. No harm no foul.

But where I take issue is the comments coming from Chair Justin Smith and Commissioner Anne Hajek when reviewing the other two proposals (directors living within the city and public input) Both said that these measures are ‘micro-managing’ and that they are trying to fix something that ‘isn’t broken’. These are merely personal opinions not based on the legality of the proposals being on the ballot, and two commissioners agreed with me. Commissioner Carl Zylstra voted for both of the proposals and Commissioner Larry Long (a former Judge and AG) voted for the director residence requirement. He said if it wasn’t prohibitive of the city to help pay re-location expenses he could support it.

I offered plenty of evidence that public input at all the public board meetings is broken, but they hung on the fact that it was 5 minutes and Hajek used the tired old argument that the business people and poor school kids had to sit through public input. Once again giving no LEGAL basis why this could not be put on the ballot and be voted on.

At the end during general public input where I informed them they denied my proposals not based on legality and evidence but just personal opinions and assumptions, I also reminded them the reason why the only two people in the audience was Mike Zitterich and I was because they hold the meetings at an inconvenient time for the public. I told them that city government is turning into serving leadership and the city employees and NOT the public. They quickly adjourned.

Sioux Falls Charter Revision to meet Wednesday, Nov 10, 3:30 PM

The Charter Revision will be reviewing my 3 proposals and I will be present for questions. They have written preliminary language if they agree to put them on the ballot. While I did ask for 30 days for a director to become a resident, Commissioner Zylstra is recommending 6 months, which I could agree to. We will see how that plays out.

I also see that Joe Kirby is proposing that the mayor be removed from the council meetings as chair and that city council elections be decided by plurality (or ranked choice). I have never agreed with a run-off in the council races. Another bone head idea from Rex Rolfing. I have also said that the Mayor should only have VETO power and NOT break ties or run meetings. If it is a tie, the measure should fail.

The Sioux Falls City Council meets Tuesday, Nov 9 at 4 and 6 PM

The two big items under 1st reading are the wastewater bonds from the state (inevitable) and the garbage container ordinance. Neitzert is basically providing an amendment to leave it as is. I have often thought that it should be up to the consumer as to where they place the containers. If they want to place at the end of the driveway, fine. If they want to leave by house, also fine. There should be NO extra charges for a valet service. Since this will most likely remain private for the foreseeable future it should be up to the consumers to dictate what they want. As for the drivers getting injured for grabbing cans, that is part of the hazards of the job. Wear the proper footwear. My mailman wears cleated snow boots in the winter.

Sioux Falls City Election, YES on A, NO on B

As people have been absentee voting, many have asked me how to vote on the amendments. Amendment ‘A’ is pretty easy to understand. Amendment ‘B’ is a little more complicated, but I will lay it out for you 1) VOTE NO 2) If this was as simple as following state law, the council would have passed this already, they did not, because it is more complicated than that 3) this would increase the number of signatures you would need to petition our city charter. It should be made easier to petition our local government not harder. This is simply an attempt to justify the questionable rules that were implemented on Triple Check the Charter. How can you apply rules to petitioning when citizens haven’t approved those rules yet? VOTE NO!

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Monday, Feb 3, 2020

This week’s meetings are on Monday due to the council going to Pierre on Tuesday.

Charter Revision Commission Meeting • 3 PM

Only agenda item is a going away party for Departing Members Pauline Poletes and Robert Thimjon. They accomplished their very successful shut down of charter amendments. Party on Garth.

City Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM

On presentation on Arterial Street Sidewalk Installation by Chad Huwe, City Engineer

City Council Regular Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts;

Sub Item #8, $150K to USD Discovery Center

Sub Item #9, $275K to Development Foundation

Sub Item #25, $136K to YMCA for after school programs and

Sub Item #26, $111 to VOA for after school programs.

I wish the merits of these four items would have been discussed in the regular meeting instead of stuffed into the consent agenda.

Item #7, Change orders, we will be handing about $1.5 million to Journey Construction for the Village on the River Bunker Ramp.

Item #20, Transfer of 2020 Retail Liquor License, with video lottery terminals, and 2020 Package Liquor License from Badlands Gaming LLC, Badlands Gaming, 1600 West Russell Street, to South Dakota Veterans Alliance Inc., 1600 West Russell Street. It looks like this deal is moving forward.

Item #25 (29-30), 2nd Reading of TIF agreement with Lloyd Companies and Sioux Steel Development. As I have said in the past this will pass. I guess councilor Stehly will be absent from this meeting and NOT voting on the issue due to previous commitments. I have said that a better approach would be to gift them the River Greenway property (so they can develop it at their expense) and give them a $10 million dollar TIF only for that redevelopment. I think it is a crying shame that local lawmakers across the country are suckered into these kind of agreements which are truly developer handouts and little else. I’m praying for an amendment, but I don’t think it will happen.

Item #26, 2nd Reading, ordinance on campaign financing and elections. I feel there will be some amendments to this item and it will be an interesting to see what is slipped in. I still think that this ordinance should be amended so it is NOT implemented until after the municipal election.

Item #27, Supplemental appropriations for police overtime pay for special events. Like I said yesterday in a post, I fully support this, but I think a discussion should have occurred with the council before the mayor’s office proposed this. It is the council’s job as laid out in charter to be the legislators, not the mayor’s office.

Item #28, Parks and Rec fee increases. You will notice that some of the biggest increases are at the Midco Aquatic Center.

Item #31, Resolution approving preliminary plan for the controversial Golden Gateway addition.

Item #32, A RESOLUTION REMOVING UNCOLLECTIBLE, DELINQUENT ACCOUNTS FROM THE RECORDS. Interesting that these accounts are confidential?

Item #34, Resolution, allowing Landscapes Unlimited to modify the noncompetition clause under the Management Agreement.

Item #35, Charter Revision Commission presents their ballot amendments. I’m urging a vote NO on amendment ‘B’ which would increase the number of signatures needed for a charter revision petition.

More information to come.

Planning Commission Meeting • 6 PM • Wed, Feb 5

Item #2, F, Consent agenda, Sanford Addition for office?

As I predicted, The Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission did very little in 2019

As I suspected from the get go, the CRC found a way to kill any meaningful legislation for the city’s April election. Oh but they did find a way to make it more difficult to petition our government;

The petitions shall contain or have attached thereto throughout their circulation the full text of the proposed charter amendment and must be signed by registered voters of the city in the number of at least 5 percent of the total number of registered voters at the last regular city election, or the number of signatures required by state law, whichever is greater.

In other words they are trying to get the voters to pass rules that they have already decided to implement on Triple Check the Charter. Yes, folks, they are applying rules that haven’t been amended yet. Isn’t that special? I also got a kick out of the attorney’s explanation on the ballot;

City Attorney’s Explanation of Amendment B:
The current language is, at times, less stringent in its requirements for charter amendment than what is required by the State Constitution. Such is not permissible under State law, which requires the standards of City charter and ordinances to be at least as stringent as State law. The proposed change, as approved and submitted by the Charter Revision Commission, would ensure that the requirements set forth in the charter for voter initiation of a charter amendment are at least as stringent as those set forth in the State Constitution, thus satisfying State law.

What they are basically saying is we MUST vote yes to satisfy State Law. My question is why aren’t we doing that already? And why are we voting on it? I’ll give you my explanation, you can vote NO on this, there is NO requirement we follow state law on this because we are a Home Rule Charter city, we make the rules when it comes to OUR elections. The SOS doesn’t run our local elections, and he shouldn’t. Don’t believe this poppycock, it is just a scare tactic to make it more difficult to petition our government in Sioux Falls and little else. They are trying to hoodwink the voters into passing this, because they know the requirement is not needed.

I vaguely remember the chair of CRC saying at the beginning of the 2019 meetings that it is the CRC’s job to make sure nothing harmful gets on the ballot that could have unintended consequences if passed. Kettle meet black.

Triple Check the Charter petition turned in for review to the Sioux Falls City Clerk’s office

The new city petition was turned into city clerk Tom Greco this morning for review, the petitioners hope to get the petition back today so they can start collecting. They will have 6 months to collect approximately 6,500 signatures.

Since the 3 changes proposed to the charter are all under ONE section in the charter, it will require only ONE vote to change these 3 things proposed;

  1. Make city council elections a simple plurality.
  2. Remove Mayor from City Council (tie votes will now fail an item and the council chair will run the meetings).
  3. Super majority (6) to pass ANY bonds (no dollar amount would be attached, it would be for ANY bond the city council has to pass.)

Danielson writes guest column about ethics complaint

Bruce’s column appeared in today’s Argus Leader, read the whole column HERE.

The Home Rule Charter is our city constitution. In theory it is to protect us from abuse while giving local government more latitude to meet statutory needs such as fixing streets, utilities along with fire and police protection. I am a strong proponent of a balanced government structure, without authoritarians ruling the day or weak elected officials being pushed around. We need a balance.

1. The charter establishes a mayor to be elected by the people to lead the city government and its employees.

2. The charter created a city council to be a policy making body to set the rules for the mayor’s administration to follow.

3. To keep everyone on a straight and narrow path, the charter has a section called ethics to keep everyone in order.
The secrecy in SF city government is bad enough, but without a strong balance of ethics, we as citizens have NO recourse.

VOTE YES on Amendment ‘F’

I know I have mentioned before the Amendments and voting yes on all except the mayoral term limits. But I want to talk about the importance of voting YES on ‘F’. The city of Sioux Falls should not tolerate discrimination on any level. VOTE YES on ‘F’!

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