Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

City of Sioux Falls River Greenway and Falls Park design competition is actually a wonderful idea

When I first saw this on Tuesday, I thought to myself, “The city should do this more often.” For the small investment of $40K to selected competitors, we will probably get some innovative designs, save money, and encourage artistic competition.

If there is one thing I know about designers and artists, they love to compete, and they love to outdo each other. In a traditional sense of the RFP process, sometimes those bids go to the ones most connected and have insider information. What happens is we probably don’t get the best design, because we stifle creativity.

For years the city has used the same contractor over and over for these projects. I’m not saying they suck, but if you don’t know what other people have to offer, how will you ever know?

Of course, I am not naive, the selection process will probably be chocked full of backroom deals, and we will probably end up with the same contractor.

I challenge the city to post images of the submissions online and have residents vote on the final four. I think this would even the keel and be a wonderful way of having the public participate in the process. Great ideas die in the dark.

Where do we stand in the upcoming Sioux Falls City Council/School Board election?

As you can see, City Councilor Theresa Stehly has been out collecting her required signatures. I hear the goal is to turn in over 1,000 signatures, but I would not be surprised if the number is closer to 2,000. She is the queen of petitioning, and it is a good way to talk to the electorate.

All potential candidates have until 5 PM, February 28 to turn in their signatures. So far Theresa and Julian are the two left (that we know of).

As it stands today, the potential race between Stehly and Count Jensen will be the only full-city ballot option besides the Charter Revision Commission’s proposed amendments. The race between Greg and Julian is a district only race (NW).

As of right now, Selberg (SW) Starr (NE) and School Board President Cynthia Mickelson have NO challengers, and I don’t suspect they will.

All precincts will be used in this election, which ironically will probably make it the most expensive city election for the lowest turnout in the history of the city. I am suspecting between 5-6,000 voters city wide.

We still have a week to go, so here are some scenarios that could happen;

• Mickelson, Starr and Stehly/Jensen (At Large) could see challengers. I have been hearing whispers there are others that have pulled petitions, but have not filed statements of intent yet. I don’t think Selberg will have a challenger.

I think once everything is filed next Friday and we have the validated candidates, then we will start seeing the fireworks, especially for the At-Large race. There are a lot of loose lips from some of the campaigns, and I have been hearing some ‘interesting’ stories about strategy. Not all bad, but you have to take some of it with a grain of salt, because amateurs like to try to set up traps with their ‘bag of tools’.

Once the validation process is over, you will be hearing more from me about the election.

Big ‘T’ is Running for Re-Election!

I want to reassure everyone as a friend of Theresa Stehly’s, I have told her I would support her decision either way. I also know that she did not make the decision until recently, probably last night. I think it is fantastic she is running for re-election, and I think she will have no problem garnering enough votes to be re-elected

Did Count Jensen have a petition do-over?

“It’s hard collecting signatures at night.”

I’m hearing from a source that Alex Jensen had to submit his petitions twice. This is his 2nd set that have validated him for the ballot.

I’m not quite sure what was wrong with his first submittal, but I think one of the sheets was invalid which would have put him up short of the 200 valid signatures.

Ironically, there are many signatures on his current petitions that are invalid (but he does have the threshold – and they have to be challenged within 5 days of submittal). So no problems on the 2nd time around.

While running for office can be complicated, let’s face it kids, gathering a couple hundred signatures should be the easy part. Oh, and you should probably tell the wifey not to store her petition sheets in the bathtub, just saying.

Patrick Lalley Podcast

Pat’s guest was Sioux Falls City Councilor, Christine Erickson. Pat drilled Christine about her and Neitzert getting their panties in a bunch over Knobe’s ethics comments. What I find funny is if you don’t think you did anything wrong ‘ethically’ why do you care what Knobe says? I think your reaction speaks volumes about your guilty conscious.

UPDATE: City officials receive a letter of complaint about one of the non-profits they subsidize

UPDATE: As I reported on January 31, it seems action has taken place;

The president and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is no longer employed with the zoo, according to the board chairman.

Elizabeth Whealy had been employed with the zoo since 2005. In an email to the Argus Leader, Jeff Hugunin, the chair of the Board of the Zoological Society of Sioux Falls, confirmed Whealy’s departure, saying she had left “to pursue other opportunities.”

As I said in the post below, I think it is unfortunate, because I think she really turned the organization around, not just appearance wise but financially. But you know what they say, money isn’t everything, and sometimes you have to treat the people you work with a little nicer.

The letter was supposedly sent to the non-profit’s board of directors, city councilors and I believe the mayor’s office. They are essentially complaining about the management style of the director/CEO and blame that person for the low morale and massive employee turnover. The letter comes from an anonymous group of current and past employees.

Let’s just say it is one of the major subsidies the city has under it’s umbrella. This paragraph is troubling;

We, as a collective, love working here, but unfortunately ‘The Director’ is extremely hard to work for and creates a toxic climate.

I know what you are thinking, ‘It’s the Pavilion’. It’s not, but if it was it would not surprise me. I have actually met the person they are referencing one time at an event, and enjoyed our conversation, and I think they have done a great job turning this entity around. But what can I say, success is usually achieved by a hard ass.

I’m sure this will come out in the MSM soon.

UPDATE: Rick Knobe calls out the ethics of Sioux Falls City Councilor Erickson and Mayor TenHaken

UPDATE: So it gets even better, Erickson actually went out and got nominating petition signatures for Neitzert, who is the sitting city councilor incumbent running against a Democrat. Ethics be damned!

Rick actually did two articles. ONE & TWO. He makes a great point;

City Council member Christine Vinatieri Erickson used her title on an invite raising money to a candidate opposing a sitting City Council member. Did she break the law? Probably not. But using her official title on an invitation to the event to me crossed an ethical line. Sure she can give money to any candidate, and she can use her first amendment right to speak in favor of or against any candidate, but sponsoring a political fundraiser to unseat a fellow council member to me is over the top. It crosses that ethical line.

Like I said a few days ago, completely legal, but it looks a little ‘sketchy’. I had a discussion the other day with a foot soldier about this topic, and he said something that made sense. “It’s because these people (Erickson & TenHaken) are partisans.” It started to make sense. In legislative races, this kind of activity goes on all the time, because they are partisan races. But in a non-partisan government like the Sioux Falls City Council, playing partisan games just doesn’t fly. It is even more curious, because the Mayor and at least 6 city councilors are Republican. Ethics aside, it just looks ‘odd’. Why bring these kind of games into a non-partisan race? At a recent council meeting, TenHaken compared himself to John Thune (I know, eyeroll). What is obvious to me is that he doesn’t understand the role of a non-partisan city government when he makes ridiculous and ignorant statements like this. If Stehly or anybody else decides to run against Jensen, it’s only going to get more partisan. I have a feeling this will become one of the messiest municipal election campaign seasons we have seen in a long time. Pull up your boots.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Feb 18, 2020

*NOTE: I heard today that the city council may have a special 4th meeting this month on February 25. They normally don’t have a 4th meeting unless they are backlogged or for something special. I guess the Fire Chief got his panties in bunch about the deferral of the supplemental appropriations and the claim that bids need to be HONORED ASAP or they won’t be locked in. Hogwash. You can lock bids without having the funding in place, especially if you are city government. This is an attempt by Mayor Selfie to get this pushed through before the council can pick it apart more.

Council Informational Meeting • 4 PM

Presentations on Coronavirus Update and a Falls Park Design Competition (no supporting documents right now)

Regular City Council Meeting • 7 PM

Item #6, Approval of Contracts, Sub Item #2, $95K into that money pit Sioux Falls Stadium

Sub Item #9,$74K subsidy to the Sioux Falls School District for transportation services

Item #31, 1st Reading, Ordinance, Amendment to lease agreement. I believe the property is where the Phillips Avenue Diner sits. The city is applying the new discrimination ordinance to their lease agreement, which is okay I guess, but not sure how it applies? All the restaurant is leasing is the ground under the Diner. They own the restaurant building and operate it.

Count Jensen’s ‘Proven’ Record

Whether Stehly or someone else runs against Jensen they really need to look at his voting record. He never sponsored any legislation himself and only co-sponsored two bills, one failed.

He voted for the half-penny sales tax increase for teacher pay, that has failed miserably yet we continue to pay. So we know how he stands on tax increases.

He also has several votes discriminating against transgender youth.

He voted against background checks for concealed carry permit.

He also co-sponsored a youth minimum wage (which was later overturned by an initiative).

It seems Jensen’s ‘Proven’ record is higher taxes, less gun safety and discrimination against young people. With a record like that, who wouldn’t support him?

Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke is asking for an ‘Ethics’ opinion, NOT a ‘Constitutional’ opinion

As you can see in her advisory request (VIEW DOC), Brekke is simply asking is if it is within the council’s ethics cannon to publicly support, give money, throw fundraising parties for, etc. to candidates.

But Brekke said she wants the ethics board to square that with the canons of ethics in charter that say public officials “should avoid the appearance of impropriety in all his or her activities,” limit their “extra-governmental activities to minimize the risk of conflict with his or her official duties,” and “refrain from political activity inappropriate to his or her office.”

I’m glad she is asking because there seems to be a fine line. But let’s make this clear, I agree with Erickson;

Erickson also said participating in politics by supporting candidates is a First Amendment right that belongs to all Americans, including public officials.

It is well within a councilor’s constitutional rights to support other candidates, but just because something is legal or constitutional doesn’t mean it is ‘ethical’ and that that is what Brekke is asking here.

Personally, I could care less either way, I’m a big supporter of Freedom of Speech and I don’t think those rights go away once you are elected. If you don’t have a problem with looking like a big shot by throwing a fundraising party for a candidate, go for it. Visually, I don’t think it makes you look good, but hey, you have that right. Just like people have a right to come to public input and call the the previous mayor a SOB . . . twice. Doesn’t look great, but within your rights.

I just found it funny how another blog (who comments on Sioux Falls city politics a lot lately while being in a town 40 some miles away) doesn’t understand that Brekke is asking for an ‘ETHICS’ opinion from the ‘ETHICS’ Board. She isn’t asking whether or not it is legal. But of course, this is the same blogger who quit his cushy state job due to his ‘UNETHICAL’ behavior, while AG Jackboots cleared him of ‘Not Stealing’ from the state. Go Figure. Remember, there is a difference between, morality, ethics, and laws. Sometimes they don’t always align. Just look at who is running our country (into the cold, cold ground).

*Not worth the time, but I did get a chuckle out of Mayor Selfie’s comment on the matter;

“I’m choosing to stay focused on larger matters like crime, addiction, infrastructure, housing and economic development.”

Really? You better start focusing a little bit harder on that bro.