Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

End Panhandling in Sioux Falls by fining the enablers

Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr said it best yesterday at the city council informational meeting, if you want to help the homeless, give your donations to the organizations that help them with housing and food, there are several in Sioux Falls. But please, please, stop giving to the panhandlers.

I think if the city council wants to tackle this problem, they need to put an ordinance in place that fines people who give them money directly. Not sure what that fine should be, but something that makes them think about what they are doing.

As someone who only lives a couple of blocks away from 14th and Cliff, a real trouble area, I have watched them proceed into traffic and beat down people while they were highly intoxicated. Sometimes falling into the street and dancing in oncoming traffic. Will it take an innocent motorist mowing one of them down to seriously look at this problem? Think about it.

If the city council wants to fix and stop people from giving these folks booze money, they need to implement fines on those who enable it. As the Chief of Police said, citing the panhandlers isn’t working. He is right. Shut off the faucet, fine those who turn on the water. If you care, direct your giving to the fine charities in town that help these people crawl out of addiction and homelessness because what you are doing now isn’t working.

Mayor TenHaken implementing an Executive Order that benefits bureaucrats over citizens

In Paul’s latest fiddling with his extreme hatred for transparency, he changed an executive order which basically shortens up the time the public knows about an ordinance change, YET requires the council to give more advance notice to city directors about their intentions.

Once again Paul is nosing around in the legislative branch and telling them how they will legislate. While I’m okay with giving the city directors more time to mull over changes, we should also be extending the time citizens know about an issue.

I also think that this should be a decision made by the city council, NOT by executive order.

The city council doesn’t work for city directors and the mayor, they work for the citizens, this is why we elect them. But it has been evident, almost since the Home Rule Charter was founded that the city council does the bidding of the mayor and directors and has never turned down an opportunity to put more rules, more fees and more taxes on the citizens. I implore anyone who can show me when the city council has deregulated/eliminated ordinances or cut taxes and fees since this form of government was implemented in the 90’s. If you can, I’ll buy you a beer (or two).

This is the problem with the form of government we have now in Sioux Falls. It is setup so the directors form policy while the RS6 approves those policies that benefit the banksters and developers in town, while more regulations and taxes get levied on the rest of us.

This ‘little change’ is just another way of hiding city business from the citizens. And what it really is about is a deep hatred for sunshine and openness in our local government, and like covid, it will be hard to cure this deep sickness at city hall.

Events Center Complex loses $2.5 million in past year

Of course, it was no surprise they lost this much, it was just a little unusual we heard it at a SF City Council informational meeting from the finance director. The complex (EC, CC and Arena) was probably expected to lose money during Covid, but as I have mentioned over the past few days and weeks, the Denty hasn’t exactly been that stellar in attendance for well over a year and trust me, the bleeding of the complex will continue well into 2021.

What was not included in the discussion is the $10 million a year bond payment the taxpayers will continue to have to pay out of our 2nd penny (which should be spent on needed infrastructure and roads). We will also have to keep the lights and heat on as well and timely maintenance while the city’s finance director has given sponsors a pass on paying their dues.

While the management company has said they laid off many people, what they didn’t mention is if the executives took a pay cut? I mean really? What are you doing right now? I can only imagine they have all built George Costanza beds under their desks. Why not just furlough the entire management company until we can start booking shows again? Why are the taxpayers subsidizing these salaries?

The Washington Pavilion, as I understand, cut 25% of their workforce, for that very reason, if you have no shows, you don’t need people to work them.

As I said, the Denty was already bleeding, and this place will eventually become the dented up yolk around taxpayers necks for decades. I don’t expect the place to turn a profit again for at least 5 years, but that’s okay, we can keep digging into the taxpayer’s pockets even though almost 50% voted against it.

Sioux Falls (ethically challenged) City Councilor Neitzert panhandling for legal fees

No wonder the city council won’t pass stiffer panhandling ordinances in Sioux Falls, they are doing it themselves;

Although I have finally cleared my name, I really haven’t “won”. My family has been put through a lengthy emotional ordeal, and we have an enormous legal bill, which we are personally liable for. My attorneys were amazing and I will be forever grateful for their representation, and they deserve to be paid.

It always feels weird asking for money…however – Legal fees related to an elected official’s public service are qualified campaign expenses. Therefore, I can pay some of this bill through my campaign account. To the extent I do not have campaign funds available, we will be paying this bill personally. If you donate to my campaign account, Greg Neitzert for City Council, it will be used primarily for this expense, and in the off chance there is any excess to support good, positive, and principled candidates in the next city election cycle for City Councilors and Mayor. If you would like to support me, this is a great way to do it. I truly appreciate those who have supported me and encouraged me through this process and over the last 4 years. Your messages of support have meant the world to me.

I could certainly go on for a long time about the hypocrisy and irony of asking for money for legal fees after receiving a paid for partisan political trip, but you are smart, humorous folks, you get it. But this statement is rich;

I will only say that as currently constituted the ethics process is ripe for weaponization and abuse to influence elections and to hurt good people, and it must be reformed. All elected officials and future candidates are at risk in the absence of reform.

Greg continues to believe this was a political attack but the facts of the hearing don’t support it. I watched the entire circus, here is what was presented;

• Greg could never prove that the ethics complaint ‘harmed’ his reelection. Not only did he win, he beat his opponent handily.

• When asked during the hearing what collusion was taking place, and to present evidence there was a connection between his opponent and John Cunningham, all he could do is stare at his shoes. Sure, Pat forwarded a public email to John, and Pat and Janet endorsed his opponent (which the Board of Ethics said was protected free speech under the 1st Amendment). Oh and they had the envelope of a Thank You card from Pat to John, but zero evidence that John was working with his opponent, in fact John denied it, and he should, because it NEVER happened and zero evidence was presented. Just steam rising from a turd.

• While mountains of evidence was presented during the hearing that this was a partisan Republican event, Greg played dumb dumb and called it a ‘policy event’. Sure, Republican policies. Greg, you do understand what partisan means? Don’t you? Playing doofus doesn’t change the fact that it was clearly a partisan event. What does that have to do with this ‘weaponization’ you keep talking about? Nothing. Distractions.

• The only reason your ‘5 best friends’ dismissed this is because they knew the Mayor was next. I hate to say it Greg, but you should choose your friends better. They only bailed out your sorry butt because they didn’t want to bail water on the TenTantic.

No matter what you think of Greg as a councilor, the facts were clear, he went to a partisan event, paid for by partisans, and tried to kill the messenger with this made up story about collusion, even though it was well within Pat and Janet’s rights to endorse his opponent and well within John’s right to file an ethics complaint. And why did John file the complaint!? Because Greg was clearly guilty.

The only collusion that happened was between Greg, the mayor and his fellow rubberstampers. No worries Greg, it’s only a flesh wound.

Former Sioux Falls Mayor Got SH*T Done?

I remember when Bucktooth and Bowlcut was walking out the door, it seemed the last 100 days of his administration we were reminded of all the ‘S**T’ he got accomplished (not my words, his). But only a little over 2 years later, let’s look at those supposed accomplishments;

Railroad Redevelopment. While this hasn’t totally flopped (there are a few projects and apartments being built in the area, after developer friendly deals were cut at taxpayer expense) The major developments flopped due to issues with engineering and bedrock. I actually don’t see this development ever coming to fruition for at least 20 years. It was touted as his greatest accomplishment but really was just a massive waste of Federal tax money that never solved the rail traffic issues downtown. They continue to store rail cars downtown less than a few blocks away. And to add insult to injury, we are spending millions for an overpass on 26th street so the trains can continue to march through downtown.

Events Center. Besides the possible impending doom if Mr. S gets brought up on criminal charges, the Denty has been nothing but a complete failure only 5 short years after it opened. Not just the major screw job on the cheap siding and many other issues with the building, sponsorships have continued to fall and attendance is at near zilch. And that’s not just because of Covid. Last year several businesses in the area complained that there was little activity at the place. Besides the rusted up tin can looking like a total waste, taxpayers are stuck with propping up this place with around a $10 million dollar a year mortgage payment while a majority of the profits go straight out of town. We didn’t need a new Events Center, and I think citizens will come to that realization within the next few years.

City Administration Building. Besides the fact we didn’t need this place, it has had issues from day one. The HVAC that clearly got screwed up by the CMAR had to be replaced at taxpayer’s expense, with still no word from the city attorney’s office if we will get reimbursed (likely not). When we decided to gift the other city building for the TRIAGE center, it proved that we didn’t really need another city office building. This was just another developer handout because of some backdoor promises MMM made .

Indoor Aquatic Center. I haven’t been in the place since it opened, but what I have been hearing from peeps in the neighborhood, it is turning into a real wasteland. There has been issues with the windows, leaks in the pool and extensive rusting. And that’s just the little things. There has also been multiple complaints about customer service and the horrible locker rooms. Attendance was also down before COVID hit and our subsidies grow every year. Now I wasn’t opposed to an indoor public pool, but I think we should have done it with a partnership with Sanford Sports Complex and built the pool out there. So not a total failure, but wrong place and wrong deal. I suspect it will become VA property within 10 years.

Bunker Ramp. This is the disaster that keeps giving. After MMM & Mini-Mike Darrin Smith screwed up the initial development, they marched forward with the guys that were associated with the Copper Lounge collapse LLC debacle. Even though many in the public and in the developer world told them it was a bad idea to get involved with these folks, a majority of the council pushed forward. Then when Mayor Stoneless rolled in, he also passed on the opportunity to kill it (contrary to what many believe, Paul and the council could have stopped the project and paid a bond funding fine, which could have been around $1 million, but saving us about $25 million). Not only did the past mayor and council fail to stop one of the biggest dupes on the public, the current administration continues to bungle with this project. Recently they decided to sell two flat surface parking lots (I’m guessing to push those parking tenants to the ramps). The worst part is that neither the current mayor or past mayor and councils apologized for this massive f’up. That  building will always be a stark final reminder of MMM’s legacy of a multitude of failures.

He did have one success during his administration. He supported and endorsed Snowgates, even though he could not get it passed through the idiots on the council at the time. It took a petition drive by Stehly to get this service. So in a sense, he failed at snowgates also.

When I hear rumors about a possible run for mayor again in 2022, I look at the above screwups and wonder how he even thinks he has a snowball chance in Hell of ever serving in public office again? If I was MMM, I would just plan on spending more time at my trailer house in Wessington Springs.

Is the City of Sioux Falls trying to get away from plowing city side streets?

I won’t give Mayor Stoneless all the credit on this one, this actually started with Mayor Bucktooth and Bowlcut. I noticed in the last few years of his administration and into TenHaken’s there really hasn’t been a strong effort to plow the side streets during the winter, which turns them into icy ruts. After Paul’s church volunteer tornado cleanup effort, I’m getting the feeling more and more he is more concerned about developer handouts and less on citizen services. We pay taxes for a reason, to keep our infrastructure maintained. It will be interesting to see how he reacts this year, but if it is anything like the end of last winter, we are going to be driving on some pretty crappy ice covered streets.

Mayor TenHaken is playing Secret Boss

Instead of doing other people’s jobs, maybe he needs to spend a little time in city hall doing his job? I would really like to see him help the guys in Water Reclamation, oh that’s right, he’s only good at spreading manure, not cleaning it up.

So Sioux Falls voters get a drop box after all, in RED country

Remember what I said about voter suppression because of NO drop boxes in Minnehaha County in Sioux Falls;

Lincoln County voters, who live in Sioux Falls, will be able to save themselves a trip to Canton to drop off their absentee ballots. The Lincoln County auditor’s office will be setting up a once-a-week drop-box in Sioux Falls later this month.

The drop-off will be located in the parking lot of Faith Baptist Fellowship at 57th and Minnesota, right along Lincoln County’s northern border. Lincoln County voters can drop off their absentee ballots from 3-7 p.m. Wednesdays, starting September 30th.

But see this drop box is okay, because it is in a heavily Republican area within Sioux Falls. The refusal to have secure drop boxes in Minnehaha County in the city limits is further proof of voter suppression especially when it is okay to have them in Lincoln County at a private location. I’m wondering if the Lincoln County auditor asked our mayor if this was okay? Oh, that’s right, they don’t have to . . . when you are in RED country.

Sioux Falls City Council Re-Cap, Sept 16, 2020

The big story of the night actually occurred two minutes before the regular council meeting even started. The Argus broke the story of Amazon coming to Sioux Falls with the governor confirming it by saying;

Her office, she said, has been “heavily involved” in talks with Amazon for months.

Which is funny because she basically punked the mayor’s opportunity to announce the project. While I don’t tend to believe many SD Republicans (or any Republicans for that matter) I do believe she probably had more to do with cutting the deal than our hardworking mayor (snark) who is usually busy reading childrens books in his garage on FB Live or Selfie Biking with his manly friends.

But this comment from Noem shows her true colors;

“It’s about time. We’ve been waiting for them,” the governor joked during an interview with the Argus Leader. “It’s good news. It’s more jobs — higher paying jobs than some other areas of our economy — and it’s a good opportunity.”

Notice the line ‘than some other areas of our economy’. LOL. Yeah, it pays better than McDonalds or Taco Bell . . . Woot! Woot!

Maybe Noem punking Mayor Stoneless is the reason he put his himming and hawing into high gear Tuesday night. It is becoming more and more annoying and tiring listening to the mayor grunt, sigh, huff and puff and generally snort into his live microphone during the meetings. Not only is it very audible, it is incredibly disrespectful of those who disagree with him. He acts like a little kid who is getting scolded. Please Paul, knock it off, or just turn your gavel over to the ethically challenged Council Chair, which is ironic considering his biggest grunts came when Mr. John Cunningham’s sister, former South Dakota NAMI director, Phyllis Arends, spoke during public input about her disappointment in the way the Board of Ethics and the City Council treated her brother. Surprised she didn’t ask if some of them suffer from mental illness (she would know). I have heard from friends across the country who used to live here and still follow the council proceedings that when they watched the hearing last Thursday, they were baffled by some of the actions the majority of the council took and the mayor and the obvious bias and arrogance of them. In fact, I have talked to very few people who watched the episode that didn’t think it was a show trial. I have joked they should rename the council, Sioux Falls City Council Theatre Company. Though their actions were despicable and disgusting (Kiley) at least they were entertaining in a FREE performance in the park sort of way.

This year’s budget passed 7-1. Councilor Starr was the only one to vote against the budget, which got another sigh not only out of Paul but also out of Councilor Erractickson (who was in her normal rampage mode). Starr told me before the meeting that he intended to vote against the budget for several reasons, but the main reason is that the council is approving a budget without having a signed contract with the city’s 3rd union, AFSCME. As I understand it from peeps in the union, they voted down the contract offered from the city of a 0% raise for 2021 in a 98-3 vote. Ouch!

The council did restore municipal band funding, but for only one year, and formed a task force to ‘study’ it. That only took 100 years. Towards the end of the meeting during final business, Brekke brought up the fact that they skipped over public input for that amendment in the meeting. It seems Chair TenHaken and his unreliable City Clerk Greco are getting sloppier and sloppier while conducting meetings. That was evident during Nutzert’s hearing. In fact, it was pointed out to me that there was probably a public input and open meeting violation during that hearing because the resolution they presented that night for dismissal did not get a 24 advance notice to the public and there was no public input once presented. They should start holding these meetings in a clown car so we can start taking them more seriously.

Along with the budget approval, they approved the property tax increase, I think, at a 7-1 vote, Starr voting against it. Besides the fact that they shouldn’t be approving tax increases during a down economy, what made it an even bigger slap in the face was the arrogance of the council approving an open ended TIF for Flopdation Park, a multi-level TIF that will suck money out of the property tax fund and the individual property owners will have to prop up for international companies coming here because of cheap labor. What makes it even more arrogant is that the Planning Department ‘recommends approval’. I still ethically challenge that appointed city employees can ‘recommend approval’ of a massive tax increase on citizens while giving massive tax cuts to corporate welfare recipients. I think elected officials are the only ones that should be making recommendations. The only thing planning department employees should be able to say is if the TIF applicant filled out their application correctly. Of course the administration and the council use this as justification to pass this blatant handout to the super rich.

In the consent agenda the city council approved the additional funding to the CVB to promote the city this Fall and Winter. Hey, come to Sioux Falls and have yerselves a Covid Holiday! When Starr asked Finance Director Pritchett what metrics will be used to see if there is any results from the funding he was speechless. The rumor is that the CVB uses Mayor TenHaken’s former(?) company ClickRain for promotion. Would like to look at that contract. I think with people suffering in Sioux Falls from unemployment, under employment, food and rent instability, the last thing the city needs to be doing is promoting Covid holidays in Sioux Falls.

The West Mall Theater beer and wine license got deferred to October 6th. The License Specialist for the city said they needed more time to put their security plan in place. Of course Councilor Erractickson had to point out that is why they didn’t get it the first time around, even though they DID present basically the same security plan the State Theater did. It’s about who you know folks.

The Bump Back ordinance got approval on the first reading, which was no surprise. There of course were many tears shed over 6-Figure a year Directors not being able to find gainful employment if they could not bump back after essentially FAILING as a director. I would have to disagree, I think the former planning director found a part-time job at a garden shop and the former fire chief I guess mows lawns at a golf course. So much talent wasted! The shame! The shame!

There was also an incident, once again, where homeowners were fighting a storage unit in their backyards and how the developer didn’t bother to give them any notice. Shocker. Starr was able to defer the matter longer. Christine and CountCilor Jensen voted against the deferral.

But towards the end of the meeting I started wondering if Councilor Ricky Lee Kiley is determined to become the most narcissistic councilor ever to exist in the history of the city. While Councilor Starr was happy to announce the adoption of his daughter, and councilor Brekke was pointing out the failures of how the meeting was conducted, Ricky Lee cut Janet off and had to announce his daughter’s birthday? Really? What a jerk.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Sept 15, 2020

City Council Informational, 4 PM

It looks like they just have open discussion and public input followed by an executive session.

City Council Regular Meeting, 7 PM

Item #7, Approval of Contracts,

Sub Item 3, $40K for a Digital Inclusion Consultant
Agreement for the City to partner with an outside firm to help develop a comprehensive digital inclusion plan. You got me on this one?

Sub Item 26, $225K for the Convention Center to market conventions in the midst of a pandemic, to coordinate marketing of a Fall and Winter
Event Promotion in the City of Sioux Falls. That seems like a good use of taxdollars 🙁

Item #23, Beer and Wine License for West Mall 7. Since the council approved the license for the State Theatre, it will be interesting to see how they vote on this a 2nd time (I guess this item is getting moved to October).

Item #28, 2nd Reading, Property Tax increase. While the council is considering another TIF later in the agenda, they are raising taxes on the rest of us with a down economy and a pandemic raging.

Item #36, 1st Reading, Changes to Committee meetings;

The city council may assign or refer any policy question to a city council committee for its study, consideration, and/or recommendation. A city council committee cannot convene a meeting unless three or more of its members are present. All agendas for the city council committee meetings shall be posted with at least 24 hours’ notice.

Item #37, 1st Reading, Bump Back Ordinance;

Any appointed officer within fire or police or any other appointive officer holding an appointive office on or before December 31, 2015, who at the time of his or her appointment thereto, was in the civil service of the city shall, upon his or her removal from appointive office, be returned to his or her former position and pay as an employee of the city, and the period of his or her tenure as an appointive officer shall be included in his or her civil service rights. This provision does not apply to any appointive officer who has been removed from appointive office for any reason that would warrant a demotion, suspension, or discharge of any employee who is subject to this chapter.

I’m extremely against this. If you can’t make it as an appointed director, a job that you accepted, you should not be REWARDED for your failures by keeping you employed by the city. In the real world it doesn’t work that way. This was attempted by the council once before and failed by a tie vote of the council. I think they have the 6 votes this time around. More coddling of city directors at taxpayer’s expense.

Item #38, Resolution, Budget Adoption. I’m not sure if there will be any amendments to this or not. But it is a ridiculous budget in the face of a downturn in the economy. But hey, we could have saved $100K on the band.

Item #39, Resolution, TIF proposal #23. This is probably one of the most egregious TIF’s I have ever seen, basically open-ended. I am also wondering when they will withdraw TIF #22 since the Sioux Steel project is on hold. Maybe they will just sit on it for over a decade like they did with the land for Lloyd companies to build the Cascade apartments?

Item #40, Resolution,

That the City Council Chair and Vice Chair are hereby authorized to appoint a task force to study and recommend a long-term strategy that fosters a financially sustainable Sioux Falls Municipal Band.

So after 100 years they finally decide to appoint a task force to look into changes for the band?! That’s government hard at work for you!