Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

What’s wrong with this picture? Nothing.

You will notice that I erased the parapet from the top of the Pavilion in this photo and kept the cornice, I actually think it looks better. I sometimes wonder when Washington HS was built some greedy contractor talked the school district into the railing to begin with? Some things don’t change.

Mayor TenHaken’s word games

I guess the best cliche you could use when it comes to how Mayor Poops has run the city is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. He is constantly changing directors and managers and titles, with little fanfare, and he likes to do word reworks on certain departments and boards, he is at it again;

Ordinance Update: Event Center Complex Advisory Board by Shawn Pritchett, Director of Finance

Basically they are changing the name of the EC advisory board, even though nothing has really changed, including taking any recommendations.

I look forward to the council discussion on this, I have a feeling several of them will have a unique opinion of such a failed district.

No City or State Officials attend Covid Press Conference today in Sioux Falls

To say I am not surprised would be an understatement;

It was only Avera and Sanford doctors and media relations staff along journalists at Thursday’s news conference. In many previous news conferences, people with the South Dakota Department of Health or City of Sioux Falls have also attended. 

While I appreciate them reaching out, I ask why we are relying on the private sector to inform us? There is NO mention of this presser on any of the City of Sioux Falls multiple media sources.

A candidate for mayor said this in an interview;

Taneeza Islam, a lawyer who announced her run for mayor in October says the more information the people have on COVID-19 the better. She would like to see weekly updates from the mayor’s office and…

“When the city council voted to encourage masking, the people of Sioux Falls listened, all they needed was little extra encouragement, that was not a mandate, and I’m not talking about new regulations but just the mere encouragement for people in our community to take this seriously once again really explain how serious it is needs to come from the mayor’s office,” said Islam.

As I have mentioned before, the mayor’s job, according to charter is to not legislate and write policy, the job is running the day to day operations of the city. That means informing the public and instructing staff to keep the public safe, but he seems to want to blame people in Councilor Neitzert’s district for the problem;

“The northwest quadrant of our city for instance has a much lower vaccination rate than the rest of the city so we’ve done research to understand why is that and how can we counteract the messages whether it’s, in some cases its just availability and we’ve set up a mobile vaccine unit that goes out to those communities,” said TenHaken.

What I find ironic is that TenHaken, with the power of executive order, could mandate a vaccination requirement for ALL city employees, or at least those in close contact with the public, he doesn’t need the blessing of the city council. I see police officers all the time not even wearing masks in public. Towards the end of the story, Tom Hansen said that the mayor said the city is dealing with skeleton crews in many city departments because of (covid) sick city employees. I have argued that a vaccination mandate for city employees is a taxpayer protection for our investment in their health and well being. What do you think it is costing us as citizens for healthcare costs associated with covid for employees who choose NOT to be vaccinated? I have even said we should give city employees a bonus for getting a shot.

Islam went a step further on her FB page;

Being mayor isn’t just sharing good news, it means having hard conversations about challenges facing our community. It means using the tools in your toolbox to keep our city safe.

I like that last sentence 🙂

Besides Covid, this city faces many more challenges, but you will never hear it from Poops. I have no issues with the power of positivity, I have no issues with having faith in a higher power, I have no issues with lauding the great things going on in Sioux Falls. But effective leaders take the good with the bad. Mayor Poops philosophy is we just ignore the bad, hide in your basement, tell some dad jokes, heat up the gravy and it may just go away.

Historical LED lighting & Secret(?) Bunker Ramp budgets at the Sioux Falls City Council

We will start with the regular council meeting last night. It was a very short meeting with virtually zero questions or discussions. The only fireworks were the expected obstruction from Lead City Attorney Stacy Kooistra, who likes to make things up when he doesn’t want to answer questions. I call it (I didn’t sign up for this) lying. It’s like he doesn’t want to lie, but he has to because the mayor made him accept an appointment because he was childhood friends with Mrs. Poops, or something like that.

Councilor Starr pulled the legal agreement for the Bunker Ramp from the consent agenda and asked Kooistra where the $150K is coming from? Stacy said it was coming from the project budget. Pat asked how much was remaining in the budget, and Stacy couldn’t answer the question without input from finance (who were in the lobby at the time) but the $150K could be covered, than chastised Starr for not giving the question in advance (their normal excuse). Than Pat asked how do you know if there is enough in the budget to cover the $150K if you don’t know how much the total budget is? Stacy then changes gears and says he can’t say publicly out of the best interest of the city and pending litigation, into which Starr replies, what about the best interest of the public and citizens and is the budget really that big of a secret?

It’s not.

The irony is that all of the information is publicly available because it is in the budget book from last year. I guess the fund started at around $1.2 million and now because of all the counseling and lawyering we are whittled down to around $800K and some change. The rumor from the developer is that he was made an offer and declined. Some officials on both sides think this will go to trial, which I welcome. I could care less of the outcome, it will just be nice to hear how this all fell apart in a court of law and the public will truly see how poorly negotiated this was on both sides.

During the last agenda item at the meeting, the finance director (you know the guy that wasn’t supposedly there earlier) presented the delinquent accounts for the year. Starr asked him what the total was since it wasn’t on their presentation. Shawn said he didn’t add it up, then Pat says, “Do you know how much is in the Bunker Ramp budget?” You can guess the answer.

HISTORICAL LED LIGHTING?

During the city council information meeting they discussed all the splendid savings we are receiving for the Pavilion roof repairs. We are actually saving quite a bit of money because we are using $6 million of Covid relief funds we budgeted last year. The consultants said that the roof would cost $3.6 million without the spindles and $4.2 million with them and a little extra for LED lighting. What I found humorous is that they want the spindles to keep the historic look of the building, but they want to add LED backlighting? Is that historic? NOT. It seems like since the kitty is full of Federal money we should just go whole hog, I agree, but we should spend the money on something else, like affordable housing opportunities. I personally don’t think we need the spindles or the LED lighting, fix the cornice cap and more importantly fix the roof and move on already.

Maybe I should put LED backlighting on my roof vents so people notice their architectural beauty 😊

Ending Food Deserts

Guest Post by by David Z for Mayor and Patricia Lucas

I want Sioux Falls to be a thriving, robust city with healthy citizens. Healthy citizens need a nutritious diet based on regular access to fruits, vegetables, grains, and meat.

This goal has become increasingly challenging. In our state of South Dakota, one out of nine individuals is food insecure and one of every six children is at risk of going hungry. The closure of grocery stores, higher cost of food, transportation limitations, and the COVID pandemic make the problem of food access critical. Some areas of Sioux Falls don’t have nearby supermarkets – they are food deserts. Food deserts occur most often in rundown parts of a city when grocery stores move away from high crime and low income areas. The HyVee on Kiwanis Avenue recently closed creating a food desert.

A former manager of this supermarket commented on www.reddit.com that the closure of this store “will undoubtedly impact countless families and individuals who shopped there on a highly consistent basis. A majority of the clientele were elderly, disabled, and lower income shoppers who may already have a difficult time in getting to the grocery store, especially in frigid winter months … it really is leaving behind a food desert.”

This is a crisis for our city of Sioux Falls. Malnourished people can become obese, have heart disease, and suffer from type 2 diabetes. Children can suffer even more. Hunger can slow their mental and physical development. They don’t do well in school and have lower graduation rates. Hungry children often don’t reach their full potential and remain disadvantaged during adulthood. Hunger results in reduced health and that increases medical costs and expensive emergency room visits.

A short term solution for hunger is providing food access through charities and government programs like food stamps and subsidized school lunches. While these excellent programs solve critical needs, they don’t solve the whole problem. We can make food more affordable by removing the sales tax on food. City government can subsidize placing grocery stores in food deserts and thereby increase local access to healthy nutritious food at reasonable cost. Urban agriculture can provide gardeners with delightful fresh fruits and vegetables. We can support the health and welfare of Sioux Falls by investing in our citizens of all ages, sexes, income levels, and races. We improve the present and build the future. Let’s solve local hunger together.

Sioux Falls Female Mayoral Candidate Panera Limchikans comments on stubbing her toe

I found this comment in an article on turkeyvulture605 interesting from a mayoral candidate;

I’m glad I was wearing closed toe sandals,” she added. “Get your closed toe sandals. We know people who wear them are less likely to get it in a bad way and be hospitalized. I still think just the confusion among people is so great, it’s hard to correct at this point, especially if you are used to wearing open toe sandals.”

So which kind should you wear? It’s hard to know if you should sacrifice safety for being fashionable? Will Panera support a closed toe sandal mandate if she is elected? Where’s my right to show off my pretty painted toe nails?

*I wrote this post while being ‘NON-ANGRY’

Washington Pavilion presenting their Bazillion Dollar roof on Tuesday

In other news from the Pavilion, there will be a presentation tomorrow for the new roof and their parapet replacement (you know, those spindle thingies on the top of the building that no one knows are there and if not replaced, most people would not notice);

Washington Pavilion Cornice and Parapet Replacement by Scott Rust, Purchasing Manager; and Steve Jastram, Arch, Inc.

As we know, there have been several numbers thrown out there about fixing the roof, the highest is around $6 million. Even councilors have asked if they don’t do the parapets could it be cheaper. But what most people don’t know is that the roof has to be fixed because 1) the parapets are about to fall off and 2) it wasn’t constructed correctly to begin with. When the center of the building was gutted during construction they were supposed to replace the entire roof as a complete roof, instead to cut corners they matched up the new roof over the Great Hall with the existing roof over the outside office space and lobby. It would be like backing your Ferrari into a telephone pole and fixing the cracked fender with duct tape and spray paint. They were warned it would not work, and it didn’t. In fact it leaked from the very beginning and was/has been causing water damage in the building and over the years they kept applying more duct tape and spray paint. As for the parapets, they should just go completely, they are a hazard, even if the new ones are made from fix-a-flat foam or something.

What is interesting about this proposal is that the Pavilion hasn’t released a financial report in 1-1/2 years, but recently they changed their reporting period from July-June for the fiscal year. We have NO IDEA what the finances were from July 2020-June 2021. But if you look closely, even during the first half of Covid the Pavilion did pretty good (pages 27-28). What is interesting is that expenses in 2020 were around $8 Million while in 2019 they were $13 million, yet the books level out at the end.

Hmmmmmm.

I just think the Bazillion has some splaining to do before asking the tax payers to blow $6 million on a roof from the entertainment tax when they have some money in their kitty to help pay for it.

Why is the Washington Pavilion hosting a show that promotes a cult?

I got an email from a foot soldier a few weeks ago, but didn’t think much of it;

I received a mailer about something called “Shen Yun: China before Communisim”. This is a stage shown produced by the Falun Gong religious movement, who is more well known for their pro-Trump rag The Epoch Times. They are going to put on one of these Shen Yun performances at the Washington Pavilion on January 26th. I wonder if this is worthy of a blog post as a SF government organization is allowing a pro-Trump religious movement to host a show at the Pavilion.

I responded;

I get it, and would agree this is a POS show, but the Pavilion is ran by a private non-profit even if it does get subsidies from the city they can basically put on any governmental or religious show and have over the years. You also have to realize the place is ran by a person who only cares about cashing in and making money.

As I mentioned above, there is little stopping the Washington Bazillion from putting on the show, and Holy Sh!t it is expensive. I guess cults don’t get money from trees.

If you don’t know much about the Falun Dafa Cult they seem to revel in being anti-socialism, anti-gay, anti-atheist, anti-premarital sex and and anti-science all rolled into a big old barrel of monkeys. Wait, I think I just described our governor’s agenda.

Secretly I am actually thinking about going just so I can laugh at the end when the Karl Marx character ruins all the fun. But I am also NOT a fan of putting my money in a burn barrel.

I encourage anyone thinking about going to NOT go and if you already have purchased tickets to ask for a refund siting you don’t wish to support a cult. I sometimes wonder whoever is booking the shows over there even bothers to do a little research. It reminds of how they didn’t book Lucinda Williams (about a month before she won a Grammy) because they didn’t think they could fill the seats or how they canceled negotiations with Hank the III because he wouldn’t promise to do all old timey music sets.

But a Chinese cult ballet for $180 a ticket? That’s A okay.

Has the City of Sioux Falls reached a settlement agreement with the Bunker Ramp?

Either they have or it’s very close. In the consent agenda (Item #7 – Sub Item #12);

City Attorney, Engagement Agreement for Legal Services for Village on the River, Fuller, Williamson, Nelson & Preheim, LLP., $150,000.00

I do have a few concerns with this 1) It seems like a very large dollar amount for legal services to just draw up a settlement agreement and 2) I’m not sure the city has ever used this local law firm before.

So what is this? I have a couple of guesses;

• This was the developer’s law firm and they are getting a cut of the settlement OR the city has agreed to pay the developer’s legal fees as part of the settlement?

It will be interesting to see how much of this plays out in the public and media. Will we ever know what the settlement amount is to the developer? Will there be some kind of announcement? NOT HOLDING MY BREATH.

UPDATE II: Is Mayor TenHaken considering City Employee Retention Bonuses?

UPDATE II: Today I heard chatter that the city employees have been openly talking about the bonus they may receive and many are happy with it. One employee mentioned this recently happened in Rapid City;

After two failed motions by the Rapid City Council Monday, 430 city employees will receive $500 in COVID-19 bonuses.

The Rapid City Council voted 6-4 to approve the bonuses for non-public safety employees who worked during the pandemic in 2020. 

Notice they are calling this a Covid bonus. I can see why it almost didn’t pass. While Sioux Falls virtually had NO shut down in the private sector a large portion of Sioux Falls city employees were allowed to work from home.

I also find it ironic that Mayor Poops is considering such a bonus (like Rapid City) after receiving this endorsement;

In the police briefing today it was mentioned that new recruits would get a hiring bonus. I am not opposed to this, because it is a normal practice for the private and public sector to offer hiring bonuses.

But it got me thinking. I thought I heard TenHaken talk about this recently;

“Our city employees are seeing the bonuses and incentives and work-from-home opportunities and every kitchen sink being thrown at employees … so we have to continue looking at how we’re being aggressive in retaining our people and making us an employer of choice,” he said. “We have to get serious about how to compete with the private sector. I have a lot of unfilled positions causing stress for the city.”

First off, besides the corner of 8th & Indiana and a couple dozen panhandlers, the city is running just fine. If we are short on city staff, it certainly isn’t being seen. Day to day operations are not any different then pre-covid.

I don’t know how the city could possibly give retention bonuses. I don’t think it has ever been done before. It would also be a troubling move for the city union(s) to accept a bonus instead of a raise. A bonus is a one time payment that really doesn’t do much to advance your salary. Every year the city council rubber stamps a property tax increase by a certain percentage, and based on their argument this is good because that compounds over the years. Raises also work that way. It would be much better for city employees to negotiate a permanent pay increase instead of a lousy stimulus check from the city and signed by Poops.

I also don’t think it is appropriate to give retention bonuses to current city employees. Studies have shown that current city employees are already some of the best paid in the region AND further more, the city is not a for-profit institution. What would this bonus be based on? Tax collection? Which is also concerning because that means we are collecting too much if we have money to throw around for bonuses to employees who are only measured by their service instead of profits. Also consider around 30% of city employees don’t even live in Sioux Falls or contribute to the tax base.

Further more, where are we at with tax collection last year? Does the mayor have some kind of inside information he is not sharing with the public and a bucket of money he can just throw at the city employees. Why not spend the money on fixing more infrastructure?

But the biggest red flag is the ethics of giving out bonuses right before a city election. It is nothing else but a huge bribe for the city employees who are eligible to vote in April. I’m not even sure that is legal?

If any of this is true (who knows with all the babbling Paul does in the interview), I encourage the Unions to reject the bonus and ask to go back into negotiations for a percentage increase instead and throw this bribe back in Poops face.

UPDATE: This was just posted on the SF City Council agenda for Tuesday informational. So there must be something going on? Bonus or Raise? We will see.

*Some of my city hall moles have told me there is something else brewing. I guess there was some secretive meetings held this week with (some select) councilors and directors in Poops Quarters about some kind private/public partnership with developers and a possible higher education institution. Probably to assist TenHaken’s Tool Team at DSU? 🙂