Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Charter Revision Commission' ↓

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’!



Did the Sioux Falls City Attorney’s office improperly use an Executive session?

Last week after the conclusion of the Sioux Falls City Council informational meeting, they held an executive session. Per state law those meetings are VERY specific because of the secrecy and privacy involved;

Consult with legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters pursuant to SDCL 1-25-2(3)

But that may not have what happened in the meeting. According to a South DaCola foot soldier, a conversation was overheard that the meeting was a strategic planning session on how the rental car tax was going to be presented by the council. Hardly a contract agreement. This should have been brought before the Charter Revision Commission, in public.

Still no verification if this is what was discussed, but if so, it seems to be a stretch of the law;

     1-25-2.   Executive or closed meetings–Purposes–Authorization–Violation as misdemeanor. Executive or closed meetings may be held for the sole purposes of:
             (1)      Discussing the qualifications, competence, performance, character or fitness of any public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee. The term “employee” does not include any independent contractor;
             (2)      Discussing the expulsion, suspension, discipline, assignment of or the educational program of a student or the eligibility of a student to participate in interscholastic activities provided by the South Dakota High School Activities Association;
             (3)      Consulting with legal counsel or reviewing communications from legal counsel about proposed or pending litigation or contractual matters;
             (4)      Preparing for contract negotiations or negotiating with employees or employee representatives;

             (5)      Discussing marketing or pricing strategies by a board or commission of a business owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions, when public discussion may be harmful to the competitive position of the business.However, any official action concerning such matters shall be made at an open official meeting. An executive or closed meeting shall be held only upon a majority vote of the members of such body present and voting, and discussion during the closed meeting is restricted to the purpose specified in the closure motion. Nothing in § 1-25-1 or this section may be construed to prevent an executive or closed meeting if the federal or state Constitution or the federal or state statutes require or permit it. A violation of this section is a Class 2 misdemeanor.Source: SL 1965, ch 269; SL 1980, ch 24, § 10; SL 1987, ch 22, § 1; SL 2014, ch 90, § 2.


The city needs to eliminate TIF funding in 2016, once and for all

Isn’t it ironic while the school district asks for higher teacher pay, the city screams for another penny in sales taxes, and the county, well the county is just flat broke, they have no issue with handing out millions in TIF funding this past year.

You can’t help to notice in the news this week the city is boasting about $675 million in record building permits, and every developer, banker and his cousin are bragging up the record construction.

Which is all very fantastic, while my wallet size remains the same as my property taxes go up.

Doesn’t it seem pretty obvious with record construction (99.99% of it without TIF funding) and the need for additional property tax revenue, the time is now to put an end to TIFs? What is there purpose anymore? To spur development? To clean up blight? To help affordable housing options? Well the last two TIF’s were for luxury condos and workforce housing downtown (which is code for NOT affordable housing, but cheap enough for a working stiff to afford rent, paycheck to paycheck).

There may have been a time and space that TIF’s were needed to spur growth and development in this town, but at this point, it just seems like extreme overkill and corporate/developer welfare.

The developers will be just fine, have them experience the free market like the rest of us working stiffs, and pull the TIF funding program from the city’s charter once and for all.


Let’s Fix the Home Rule, Charter Revision Commission, 9/9/15

Do we fix or replace? The Home Rule Charter has been so abused by out of control administrations we must consider its future.

In 12 years the city has dropped down into the sink hole of debt we may never be able to climb out. We are being taxed and levied fees at greater rates than ever before with little to show but larger egos. We have an administration abusing citizen’s rights in an attempt to mold the town into some kind of image we are not part of but have to pay for.

The Charter Revision Commission is appointed to look at the needs and make suggested corrections for voters to approve in 2016. We all know the Charter needs help, so let’s get involved to fix it.

There will be at least 4 more monthly meetings to present ideas. Here are the Charter Revision Commission Members:
– Robert Thimjon – Term Expires – March 2020 – Chair
– Susan Aguilar – Term Expires – March 2019 – Vice Chair
– Jill Entenman – Term Expires – March 2019
– Justin Smith – Term Expires – March 2019
– Pauline Poletes – Term Expires – March 2020

The first meeting was organizational. Each of the next 3 meetings will cover 3 sections of the Charter in order with Public Input allowed on each. It appears there will also be general Public Input at the end of each meeting.

As active participants in the 2014 city election, Greg Neitzert and Bruce Danielson spoke up during Public Input with ideas for the Commission to consider. They have promised to return with more ideas on the Initiative and Referendum process, direct election of City Attorney, appointment process to boards and commissions, Chair of City Council actually runs the meetings with mayor in attendance, clarification of the rule of law, and legal due process must be properly served by city agencies including Code Enforcement (no more drop and run process service or we think we mailed it stuff).

As it is, the Charter is so full of holes from top to bottom we are running out of fingers to plug it. With our “strong” mayor form the leader claims there is no way to stop him or the administration from taking away our rights. We need you to be involved to plug the leaky Charter.

If you have ideas, bring them to the Commission. Two people showing up at a meeting is not going to fix the Charter. Call AND write the members then show up to press your point of view. From all we can tell, there has not been public showing up to these meetings in the past. They need to see people!