Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls' ↓

Are White Older Women under represented on the Sioux Falls City Council?

https://michaelliedtke.com/journal/2015/bobbi-andera

City Council Candidate Bobbi Andera wants people to know she’s an ‘older woman’ and apparently a red wine drinker.

As the bar for being a City Councilor gets lower by the second, sometimes you see stuff on the organization forms that make you, well, laugh, really hard, for a long time;

As you can see the section she filled out refers to PACs and NOT to candidates.

I’m not sure what kind of candidate Bobbi will be, but she must have one heckuva of a dating profile.

Speaking of AT-Large, I have noticed on the city website, they no longer list the 3 At-Large seats as A, B and C like they used to. So I’m sure there was some confusion when she filed her paperwork. Not sure why those designations were removed? Just the continued WAR on transparent and open government.

Sioux Falls Cannabis Raffle

Guest Post by Emmett Reistroffer

Who wants a dispensary license? Step right up and buy your raffle tickets! No limit on how many tickets you can buy. That’s right folks. Just $75,000 Dollars, now who’s ready to test their odds?

All satire aside, this is a very serious issue and shows why policy details matter. Not only policy details – but how city attorney’s and bureaucrats interpret policies. The Sioux Falls cannabis licensing ordinance (#105-21) clearly states, under Section 121.003 (Licensing of Medical Cannabis Dispensary and Testing Facility), sub-section (a)(E)(2) “Only one application per location is allowed.
At no time during council discussion did the City Attorney point out that this would be interpreted differently. According to the City Attorney, it’s only one application per location, per applicant. “Applicant” is not tied to the individual, but it’s tied to the ‘entity’ which applies. So, Mr. Monopoly can create 100 separate LLCs, and submit 100 separate applications, all listing the same location/address, and thus drastically increase the odds that Mr. Monopoly gets a license over his other less-funded competitors. It’s also not just a matter of who has the most funding at their disposal, but who genuinely follows the process according to the spirit of law versus those who are willing to exploit a “loophole”. Unfortunately, the way loopholes work, it doesn’t matter where you stand on it ethically – the outcome is based entirely on how it stands legally. If it’s legal to form the 100 LLCs and submit 100 applications – then at the end of the day that’s all that matter and the applicant willing to do that absolutely will have the greatest odds at getting a license.

This can be prevented and fixed. The path of least resistance would be for the administration to put its foot down and change its position. The administration should stick to, “only one application per location” per the plain meaning of the language of the ordinance. They could accept an application listing an address, and then deny all other subsequent applications that list the same address (first come first serve), OR the city could just simply deny all applications submitted which list the same address. Either way, if the city is very clear in its position and in the application instructions – then this issue can be easily preventable.

If this requires a policy change, then that’s more difficult. That would require Council to call an emergency meeting and get a majority of council to agree to an amendment. I’m not very optimistic, however I am grateful for Councilors Brekke, Neitzert and Erickson who have all responded to my concern with an open mind, and have indicated they’re all working in various ways to find a solution. However, like I said, an administrative fix would be the quickest and easiest path to a solution, and a legislative fix is up against a tight timeline and would require a majority of council to act in agreement.

Ultimately, if the city doesn’t fix the loophole – then I have no doubt this will end up in the courts and the city attorney’s interpretation will come into question. This will cost the city time and money and delay the opening of medical cannabis dispensaries in Sioux Falls.

Regardless, my group is working to draft an ordinance that is legally sound and based on fairness and gives the voters what they want. Our ordinance will not include a licensing cap or lottery, and it will generally allow a free market – balanced with common sense zoning requirements and setbacks (away from schools, parks, daycares etc.). We don’t want dispensaries to be open on every corner, and we also don’t want the city conducting lotteries or creating processes that allow big money unfair advantage over others.
Here are some links to demonstrate how licensing lotteries are riddled with problems:


https://www.denverpost.com/2021/10/05/broomfield-marijuana-licenses-lottery-lawsuit-terrapin/


https://harrisbricken.com/cannalawblog/was-the-illinois-cannabis-dispensary-lottery-rigged-sure-looks-like-it/

https://www.chicagotribune.com/marijuana/illinois/ct-illinois-marijuana-license-lottery-qualified-20210728-dncra2em3fhhjeel2isr3ew7am-story.html


Best,
Emmett Reistroffer

Lincoln County Tax Levy Vote proves local officials are NOT doing the work of the people

I do agree that it was only an 8% voter turnout, but either way, it was a blowout. I have felt for a long time that both County Commissions, the City Council and the School Board are NOT listening to what the citizens want, or in this case, don’t want. They simply show up and vote for tax increases on the minions so they can turn around and give contracts or tax breaks to the welfare queen developers, banksters and bonders.

The system is rigged.

We no longer have representative government in the Sioux Falls Metro Area or even in the state. This is what happens when you have one-party rule by authoritarians who only serve the ruling class. Don’t believe me? A majority of all of the members of all of these governing bodies are Republican. I think the only members that are registered Democrat are Pat Starr, Jeff Barth and Kate Parker (there may be a couple more, but they ain’t telling anyone.)

The irony of the Tax Levy revolt is that it was spearheaded by Republican voters! That is why it still baffles me they continue to vote for the very representatives that don’t listen to them.

I told an older Democrat not to long ago that no matter who the majority party in local government bodies is, you will continue to get tax and fee increases. The difference is the Dems will spend it on the citizens and the Repugs will spend it on their welfare queen developer bankster buddies.

Is it time to Disband the Inept Sioux Falls Planning Commission?

Ironically, it may be a secret goal of Mayor Poops and the rich developers and banksters that support him.

Over the past year I have pointed out on this blog and during public input to the commission itself that they are a useless body. They have non-elected planning staff pre-approve agenda items, they have conflicts of interest with agenda items and recusals at almost every meeting with multiple members AND they have a serious attendance issue barely making quorum at the meetings.

Add another one to the list, as I mentioned Sunday in my agenda post, they had NO discussion on the items tonight because they put them ALL in the consent agenda even though several were controversial like Item 2A which dealt with changing a whole neighborhood into a Historic District (so they likely can get property tax breaks and other historic grant goodies to pay for their remodels).

The meeting lasted a whopping 13 minutes and if you blinked your eye or turned away to scratch your butt, you would have missed what was discussed.

There is an effort by some state legislators whose districts are in Sioux Falls and City Councilors to streamline the planning approval process, or should we say, take it out of the public eye. Developers have been saying for awhile that they are being hamstrung by the planning approval process because neighbors of their projects are objecting. Hey, McFly, that is why we have the process.

After watching the meeting tonight, if you didn’t know the developers and banksters are running this city, you do now.

They should just paint City Hall and Carnegie Hall Black on the outside to match the blackness on the inside.

Charter Revision Commission changes meeting time for NO good reason

From today’s meeting, the good news is that they will be discussing my proposals* at November’s meeting. The bad news is that they changed the meeting time from 4 PM to 3:30 PM, I’m guessing due to the whining and crying of the 1st Amendment Hater City Attorney, Stacy Kooistra. This from the minutes of September’s meeting;

City Attorney Kooistra reminded the Commission of the process for Public Input and the need for items to be listed on the Agenda for discussion or voting purposes. He stated there may be a need to reschedule future meetings to earlier in the day to allow for additional time.

No mention of how I cut him off during public input by saying they couldn’t ask me questions.

During open discussion at the end of today’s meeting they discussed the change (I love how they must have dress rehearsal before the meeting to make sure they can slip this stuff in and make it look legit). Commissioner Carl Zylstra mentions he went and tried to find a meeting longer then last month’s meeting of 1 hour 30 minutes and he could only find one longer in July of 2019 which lasted 1 hour 48 minutes. They quickly moved into a discussion about moving the meetings to 3:30 PM so that they could have more time to discuss items before 5 PM which city attorney Kooistra argued was the time staff needed to leave (there is NOTHING in the Charter requiring boards to adhere to staffers work schedules, if I am wrong, please notate in the comments section and I will update).

Only Commissioner Anne Hajek (partially) objected and said that the later time is to better serve the public (attending). But it fell on deaf ears as they all agreed to have November’s meeting at 3:30 PM so staff could leave at 5 PM.

As I have argued these public meetings are for the PUBLIC, NOT the city staff and I was extremely disappointed in the CRC for caving to the whims of the city attorney and his ignorant objections to long meetings.

This is also contributing to the constant destruction of open and transparent government by this administration and his hitmen. Maybe no one participates in city government because the meeting times are inconvenient. Yup. And they continue their madness with this change.

*Commissioner Carl Zylstra suggested my proposal for having city directors have residency within Sioux Falls could be easily inserted into the charter. So I still have hope that at least one of my proposals will make the ballot 🙂

MJ Advocate Reistroffer proves the incompetence of the City of Sioux Falls Attorney Stacy Kooistra

So Emmett dropped this bomb on the city council last night;

Emmett Reistroffer, a consultant for medical cannabis businesses, believes the current interpretation of the new application process by the city attorney’s office could lead to out-of-state interests exploiting a loophole that could have a business entity or individual submit multiple applications and then squeeze out local business people.


Reistroffer told the City Council during public comment that to ensure a level playing field, they should limit the applications to one per location.

Emmett told me last week he had been in a back and forth with the city attorney’s office about this for weeks with no avail. This is why he showed up during public input last night to inform the council about the issues.

When the MED MJ ordinances were being debated, Councilor Brekke also questioned the City Attorney if the lottery system was even legal. Remember, Janet was the first full-time city attorney, she doesn’t take this lightly.

I have known for a very long time that our city attorney who is trained in military law, knows next to nothing about city law and also struggles with 1st Amendment Constitutional law. Usually if he doesn’t know the answer, he doesn’t answer the question which is happening a lot these days.

Some quick advice for candidates running for local office

I have noticed that several people are now announcing for city races. As I watch this process I see several missteps. As a person who has directly worked with candidates on 5 winning campaigns I want to share some brief advice;

• Never run your own campaign or be your own treasurer. Have a campaign manager who has a winning record and experience.

• Never mention the party you are in unless asked directly (especially in a non-partisan race). I actually recommend people register independent before running in non-partisan races.

• Use your friends for volunteering and raising money do NOT use them for campaign advice (they will only tell you what you want to hear and will never give you critical advice).

• Spend money on a competent walking and mailing list.

• Knock on the doors of voters that wouldn’t normally vote for a candidate like you and keep notes of all your engagements (for revisits).

• Have a clear, simple and concise message and logo and find a good writer who will proofread and edit your materials and speeches.

• Make sure your website and other media works before you announce.

• Invite strangers and the press to engage you whenever possible and don’t keep secrets.

• Vet all of your skeletons before announcing.

• Don’t respond to negative or false information.

• Admit and apologize for any accusations that are true immediately and don’t dwell or play the victim.

• Never use your opponent(s) name when publicly discussing their failures. Pretend you are the only one in the race. Only offer new solutions to their bad policies.

• Target likely voters. Don’t waste money on billboards, yard signs, TV and Radio ads or EDDM mailings (Every Door Direct).

• Smile, stay upbeat and positive.

Read this book!

I have not been asked to help any candidate so far in this election cycle, but will likely be involved in a couple of the campaigns before the election but those candidates haven’t announced yet. If you want my help, I only have one request, you have to allow me to be ‘all in’ when it comes to strategy, and you have to be willing to take criticism (probably the main reason people didn’t ask me in the last city election 🙂

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, Oct 4-6, 2021

The City Council and other boards have a full agenda this week;

The Audit Committee has finally released some audits, been awhile. On Spectra (the people who provide concessions to several city owned entertainment facilities) they found a ton of non-compliance especially with insurance requirements. On the Midco Aquatic Center they have seen an over 50% drop in attendance since 2019 and around a 40% drop in revenue. They were also non-compliant on several fronts and like the Spectra Audit it seems our own Finance Department is not doing regular checks of compliance. For Travel expenses there was several instances of non-compliance. $137,000 travel reimbursements paid directly to travelers (city employees). Many of these results don’t surprise me. I have said the City Manager (The Mayor) is running a rudderless ship and when you have a poor city manager, it results in poor management under that person.

The Planning Commission has decided to go full rogue by putting every single item on the consent agenda this month. Now items can be pulled for discussion by the Commission or Individuals from the public but I find this startling considering that all items are recommended for approval by the Planning Department and I am sure several Commission Members will recuse due to conflicts. Folks, this is what true cruise control government looks like. I am still puzzled why we even have a Planning Commission.

The Charter Revision Commission will continue to review the Charter.

City Council Informational will review building code changes.

City Council Regular Meeting;

On the contracts and agreements (Item 6) in sub items 17-18 they are paying this consulting firm out of Florida to do this?

And of course sub item #38 where we are reviewing the Human Relations Commission.

Why is the City of Sioux Falls paying for an outside Counsel Review of the Human Relations Commission?

So the Sioux Falls city council has decided to bury this on the consent contracts/agreements, Item #6, last sub item #38;

City Attorney’s office, Engagement Agreement for Human Relations Commission Review, Cadwell Sanford Deibert & Garry, LLP, Not to exceed $5,000

A concerned citizen asked a city councilor to pull this from the agenda for discussion and he not only refused to pull it, he refused to tell the citizen what it was about. Mind you, this is on a publicly posted agenda.

So why is an outside law firm reviewing the Human Relations Commission. I don’t know, but let’s make some guesses;

• The attorney running the department mysteriously disappeared and the replacement left to work for the county. Why?

• There has been several accusations that the commission (city) has been dismissing complaints for no reason.

• Was there a Federal complaint filed? The commission probably is funded by some Federal grants and has to follow certain Federal rules when it comes to the appeals.

As I understand it another city councilor has agreed to pull it from the consent agenda and have some one from the administration explain what this review is about.

At this point I won’t speculate, because I am just as curious as you.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls CountCilor Alex Jensen misconstrues how the city can use TIFs

I come to suck the blood out of the city coffers!

I was a little surprised that a former state legislator and current city councilor could be so confused about how the city can apply TIFs. During his interview on KELO AM (Sept 21) Jensen says the city should use TIFs for affordable and accessible housing. Imagine my surprise, especially since Jensen gleefully voted for 3 TIFs totaling $144 million that have ZERO to do with affordable housing. But what he said about what needs to change really surprised me even more. Jensen said the state has to change laws in order to do that. Huh?

While the State could certainly do that, it is not necessary. As I have proposed, with Home Rule we can make our charter stricter than State Law, we just cannot violate the law;

Application for TIF will only be accepted for projects that will eliminate blight, build density in the core, and simultaneously provide affordable and workforce housing. Home rule charter allows the city to be stricter than state law.

There are three ways we could go about this change. The easiest would be the council just proposing the change and voting on it. That would be as simple as a presentation about the change and a 1st and 2nd reading. The next easiest would be my proposal above and have the CRC put the change on the ballot and let the voters make that change. There is also a 3rd option which would be the hardest and that would be to do a petition drive to get it on the ballot.

This is why Jensen’s statement baffles me. The Council and himself already have the power to make this change, we don’t have to wait for the legislature to do something. And if he really believed that TIFs should only be applied this way why did he vote for three that have to do with parking ramps, slush funds and Korean owned egg roll factories?

Talking out of both sides of your butt must be a vampire thing.

UPDATE: Jensen also touches on this during inside Town Hall. Alex offers some strange solutions to our housing shortages;

• Encourage people to live in our neighboring small communities. So basically he is telling people to come to SE South Dakota to work in Sioux Falls, but BTW, we don’t have any room for you in our town. So once you punch out, and go home please take those wages you made in Sioux Falls and pay your taxes in Tea or Brandon or Crooks.

I have suggested for over a decade you could do a pilot program in a core neighborhood in a 4-6 block radius. The city would fix the roads, water, sewer, curb, gutter, city owned sidewalks and lighting. You then could get the residents and property owners in that sector to sign onto a group tax incentive program thru community development to fix up the properties. Depending on income levels the help could be tax rebates or NO or LOW interest loans. As we have seen, the Mayor already has the discretionary power to that.

• Senator Jack Kolbeck brought up TIFs. Either Jack is naive or he is in on the scam, but he wants to get the TIF down to 0% for developers and eliminate excise taxes for them. He then says “So they can pass the savings down to the consumer/renter.” The tired old Reaganomics argument of trickle down. If you are giving the tax cut to the developer, the developer or contractor will simply put that money in their pocket. They know with the demand of housing in Sioux Falls they have NO reason to pass ‘savings’ on down to the consumer. The tax breaks should go to the consumer once the home is purchased. Trickle down DOES NOT WORK, we have proof of this with the enormous income gap that was created by these horrible policies.

• Jack also brings up expanding the prison built homes project to Sioux Falls prison. While I am all for this program, I think the inmates should get paid better for it, I also think they should have job guarantees in the industry when they get out and work it into their probation or parole.

• He also mentions tiny homes (I agree with) and deregulation. That is a buzz word with Republicans, they always seem to think sacrificing safety will save money. In 2018 South Dakota ranked #5 with Highest Rate of Fatal Occupational Injuries. Less regulation is NOT the answer.

I’m not saying the city needs to do this all at once or even change existing ordinances, just try a pilot program based on existing zoning and laws. Shape Places already fixed a hurdle that allows residential areas like this to either fix up or expand their properties. This isn’t rocket science folks. It’s what I told a friend the other day about the issues at the Dudley House. We have this desire in local government to re-invent the wheel and make things complicated while giving them fancy names. We don’t have to do that, we can get simple straight forward ideas from other communities on what works and we don’t even need to travel or pick up a phone to do it. You can get online and see thousands of projects. It just takes time, research and google. When I used to be a full-time graphic designer a fellow designer told me his secret to being so good, ‘90% of my ideas are stolen’.