UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert’s challenger needs to learn the rules of engagement

UPDATE: I see after 4 years on the city council, Neitzert really has nothing to say about his service. It’s all about the Benjamins.

So I have been hearing for the last couple of months that the owner of Swamp Daddy’s would be challenging Neitzert, he will announce formally tonight.

But Mr. Beaudion needs to learn a little about challenging a popular incumbent;

“My campaign has nothing to do with him. It has everything to do with the people of Sioux Falls,” Beaudion told the Argus Leader Friday morning. “I’m not running against Greg. I’m running for the people.”

Oh boy, another one of these positive campaigner. For the record, I have never spoken to or met Julian.

If you are going to beat a popular incumbent like Neitzert, you need to reveal the bad aspects of his record, and he has quite the list. He has flip-flopped on about every issue from the city administration building, bunker ramp, tax increases, and numerous zoning issues.

In order to ‘beat’ your opponent, you have to show us why you would do a better job, in other words you need to counter Neitzert at every front, and confront him about his horrible record. Simply just telling us you are running for ‘US’ won’t cut it, and Neitzert will easily beat you.

To tell you the truth, I would like to see a lot more people in that race.

UPDATE: The city ‘COULD’ help clean up private property, & it should!

During the ice storm the city did come through neighborhoods and pick up branches in the boulevard from private property. The city also got a reimbursement from FEMA for those efforts.

In this last Spring’s flood the city decided to buy up some homes that were in a problem flood area. We also got FEMA money for flood prevention/relief.

This is from the Mayor’s Chief of Staff;

Councilors;

I was texted a screenshot of Councilor Stehly’s most recent Facebook post and asked to clarify what seems to be a misunderstanding of the information within Mayor TenHaken’s email below.  I am not able to comment directly on Councilor Stehly’s post in order to ensure the public is receiving accurate information.

For clarification purposes – if a tree originated within the boulevard and has fallen due to the storm then the City will work to remove that tree.  If there is debris from trees originating from private property or buildings in the boulevard then we need the community’s help in moving that to either the landfill or one of the two drop-off locations.  If the community has the ability to remove trees that were growing in the boulevard that have fallen, we certainly would appreciate the assistance in doing so.

We appreciate the community’s help in taking a #1SF approach to cleaning up from Tuesday night’s storms.

Best regards;

Erica L. Beck, Chief of Staff to the Mayor, City of Sioux Falls

I would agree with Beck on one point, if you ‘CAN’ cleanup your own yards, you should. If you ‘CAN’ transport your rubbish to the drop off sites, you should. But where I disagree is that many people cannot do this. They either don’t have the resources, money, time or youthfulness to do so. Volunteers can only do so much. If a resident of this city ‘CANNOT’ manage to cleanup after these storms, the city should HELP. Make no mistake, we have millions and millions of dollars in our reserve fund, it is there for incidents like this, not for private non-profit theaters or extending bike trails. On top of that, we could get reimbursement from FEMA. Not sure if the Mayor and his COS are aware, but we were hit by 3 tornadoes, those are natural disasters, those are covered by FEMA, an agency we fund through our Federal income taxes.

This administration needs to get it’s SH*T together!

If people are unable to cleanup their mess, HELP THEM! We pay taxes for services not for popcorn and Garth Brooks concerts! This is a SERVICE, NOT A HANDOUT! Enough Already with your Facebook shaming, trucker hats and mixed messages, just pick up the f’ing branches! Why do you have to make everything POLITICAL and COMPLICATED?! That’s my job dingbats.

UPDATE: Look at the fun graphic the city created to tell taxpayers what they WON’T do. Apparently they will take your tree ‘but just the tip’. The amount of time, energy and money spent telling people what they WON’T do could be put towards storm cleanup.

Nordic Hall Memories

It would probably take me hours to go into detail about the amount of punk rock shows I have been to. I often chuckle when people make fun of the way someone dresses in public, because if you are ‘punk’ the whole purpose is to make a spectacle. Clothing is a facade that serves no purpose but to impress others.

I started going to shows at Nordic before I even moved to Sioux Falls in 1991, and was fortunate to have a roommate who was older than me and a private security guard at the shows, so he would occasionally sneak me in.

I got to know all the players, musicians, promoters and regulars. To this day my 2 favorite bands at the shows were Eight Bark (from Chicago) and God’s Favorite Band (from Mpls).

I still listen to punk rock on a daily basis, I still love the humor and stupidity of it all. Whenever I am having a bad day, it always makes me smile.

I was probably at the show below,

Press Conference?

Paul said this to city councilors in an email last night;

I hope you’ve had a chance to follow communications shared by the administration during the two media briefings today and the information shared on the City’s social media channels. During a crisis, I can’t stress enough the importance of sharing information responsibly. As a reminder, the administration is charged with leading the public information efforts. Deviation from this messaging could lead to confusion with the public and mistrust of yourself. I would recommend you copy and paste the exact messaging we are providing, or share the City’s media posts. I would also urge you not to conduct any media interviews regarding response and recovery. Again, we want to avoid confusion. Trained emergency responders and public information officers carefully craft our messages and deviation can be troublesome.

Local Govt entities join forces to become ‘Sioux Falls OP-OUT’

For years, there has been a push for Minnehaha County and the City of Sioux Falls to join forces and become one. With this merger, they went even a step further. The City of Sioux Falls, the County and also the School District are now all one entity called ‘Sioux Falls OP-OUT’

County Treasurer Stan Neilson said, “So many people are confused about where their property taxes go, and with all these increases by all three entities, this will just make it easier to raise . . . uh . . . I mean ‘regulate’ your property taxes.”

So with this change I wondered if it would actually save taxpayers millions in employee salaries and benefits since a lot of the jobs could be combined.

“Highly unlikely,” said HR director for the city, Bud Da’Toole, “We are going to actually ADD more employees, mostly in management, because we will need a lot of middle managers to handle the transition, I also expect the the administrators to double in the education side of the deal.”

There was one bright spot in the whole transition though, and good news in the Parks and Rec department. Parks Director Dave Kornhole explains, “We figured since we are paying teachers a yearly salary anyway, they might as well work the entire year, so during the summer we will have teachers working in our parks mowing grass and during winter break we will have them plowing streets.”

I wondered if teachers would be qualified to plow the streets. Street director Kyle Skidmore said, “Like our current snowplow operators, if they don’t know how to use the snowgates properly, they’ll just skip a driveway or two.”

Some wondered who would be the administrator of this new unity. Would it be the mayor, the superintendent or the commission chair? Former county chair Sandy Highpants said that was an easy decision, “I’m in charge. I’m always in charge.”

We asked superintendent Bruce Mauler if he was aware of the new leadership decision. “Yeah, she may be ‘in charge’ but we all know who makes the decisions around this joint, behind closed doors of course.”

Mayor TwoSh*ts was unavailable for comment because he was busy with a SELFIE Shoot by a hat rack at Flying J Truckstop.

We also wondered what the legislative makeup would be. City council chair Marty Selless said that the first process would be asking any of the board members of each of the entities if they would want to resign. The only taker so far was Commissioner Jesse Farth who told Marty, “I’m outta here suckers!”

The second step of elimination would be done during a joint meeting with all three bodies. “Basically, whoever falls asleep during that meeting or is caught texting would be eliminated. We figured that should whittle us down to about 5 members” said Selless.

So there you have it, in the name of even higher property taxes, we have made government more efficient.

Charter Revision Commission suggests City Attorney becomes voting member of board

Whether the city attorney is elected or appointed, he should only be in an advisory role either way. But what makes this even more troublesome is that he is appointed by the Mayor, if he were to come a voting member he would have the influence of the mayor.

I’m still baffled who might have came up with even suggesting such a ridiculous notion.

What makes it even more ironic is that at the beginning of the meeting, the city attorney, Stacy Kooistra, admits, AGAIN, that he didn’t know how to answer questions, this time about redistricting so he called on another ‘expert’ in the room, city clerk Tom Greco. Oh boy.

But the most (un)entertaining part was when councilor Brekke suggested to the CRC that the council should prepare a long range strategic plan, and it should be written in the charter (even though she admitted it didn’t really need to be in there – because it is kind of their job anyway).

Well that conversation went from bad to worse when one of the CRC members suggested that the mayor should do the long range strategic plan. In frustration, Brekke had to remind them that in the charter, the council is the legislative policy body and the mayor is administrative. She likened it to a paint by number painting, the council draws the lines and puts in the numbers and the mayor fills in the sections with paint.

They didn’t seem to comprehend why a part-time council would want to do such a thing or have time for it, and it was a better job for the mayor.

C’mon folks! This is civics 101, the council is the legislative body that compiles policy (Brekke compared it to a corporation’s board of directors) and the mayor is the executive branch executing the policies (the CEO). But this isn’t something Brekke pulled from her rear end, IT IS ALREADY WRITTEN IN THE CHARTER THIS WAY!

Shouldn’t the CRC know a little something about what is already in the charter?

The former mayor screwed the pooch on this entire process by becoming the ‘planner’ in chief and twisting the arms of 3 councilors to go his way.

I think the first order of business for the long range strategic plan is to terminate all the current members of the CRC.

City’s Drone Flyover of Tornado Damage (9/11/19)

Once again the September 10, 2019 tornadoes prove the city of Sioux Falls is being run (not led) by the kids in charge who are not ready for disasters. These kids only want to get on Facebook and Twitter to let their friends and not citizens know there is an impending disaster. Childishness runs amok.

Facebook games by the kids in charge, now there is a disaster unfolding before our eyes as our asses are blown to Iowa. We have no ambulance service backup, no cooperation agreements between neighboring fire departments (our fire chief even lives 30 miles away in Canton) and we have a mess and no one even turns on a siren. Ted Mack’s Original Amateur Hour was better run.

After Tornado hits Sioux Falls, local paper decides it needs to share FREE information as a ‘public service’

Oh, and besides not understanding the duties of the 4th Estate, they take the opportunity of reporting on an emergency to ask for your subscription money. I’ve seen a lot of things in ‘bad taste’ in our local media, but this takes the cake. Funny, KELO, KSFY, KELOLAND & KDLT all shared the information for FREE, oh, and in real time.

Kudos to Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr!

In one of the most disappointing nights I have seen in a very long time, only one councilor opposed the property tax increase, Starr. I would have least thought I would have seen Stehly voting against this to (She told me she is voting NO on the 2nd reading).

Councilor Pat Starr, though, stood alone in opposing the annual increase, voting against moving the budget on to a second and final vote next week. He said in the same way that not taking those dollars have an accumulative effect on the city’s budget, property owners also feel the year-after-year impact of annual property taxes. And in a time when affordable housing is a challenge in Sioux Falls, making property ownership more expensive isn’t something he will support, he said.

WATCH THE MEETING HERE.

One of the leading arguments was maintaining our INSANE 25% reserve. I’ve never understood how we can allow local governments to essentially horde money. WHY!? They say it is for ’emergencies’. Hogwash! We have several options,

• We could get money from the Feds and FEMA (which we have had to do several times)

• We could get a loan from either the state or

• We could bond. We are always hearing about our great bond rating, so if we need emergency money, why not just bond it?

Government should never have a savings account on the backs of increasing taxes, especially property taxes, but this town has gone hog wild in raising our property taxes, this past year it seemed like a weekly event.

Councilor Greg Neitzert said the 2.4% increase is necessary to keep up with not just inflationary costs, but also the 3% cost of living increases granted to the three city employee unions during the last round of labor negotiations. Not taking it means structural, systematic cuts would need to be made to counter sacrificing the statutorily allowed increase, he said.

“If people can find a million and a half dollars of frivolous spending in the general fund, I challenge that,” Neitzert said. “I’m just going to urge that we do the right thing and the tough thing and approve a modest increase.”

Hey Greg, ever heard of this thing called CUTS?! Neitzert even had the nerve to call himself a fiscal conservative. I about spit tea thru my nose. When the working class of this town get 1% or 0% raises, guess what they do, they make cuts to their budgets. I guess the city is getting worried because 20% of it’s municipal employees are going to retire in the next 5 years (or something close to that). I look at this as a prime opportunity to cut the top fat and save citizens millions by not hiring replacements without the hassle of laying off or firing civil service employees. If I was the city council and mayor, I would look at this as a gift.

It seems the only thing Sioux Falls city government is good at these days is raising taxes and growing while the rest of us watch our wallets shrink into oblivion.

UPDATE II: Like we didn’t see this coming

UPDATE II: This gets more interesting by the minute;

In one of the provisions, Hultgren agrees to “. . . make restitution to the victims for Defendant’s conduct set forth in the Information, this Plea Agreement (click here) (including the Factual Basis Statement) (clickhere), and the presentence investigation report. . .”

How much this is is not included in the above documents. The court also sealed another document, Sealed Plea Agreement Supplement, which may or may not include such information.

UPDATE: As I expected, a deal was cut;

Hultgren Construction has reached a plea agreement with the federal government to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for its role in the December 2, 2016 Copper Lounge building collapse in Sioux Falls.

I find it interesting that individuals are NOT being charged. Makes you wonder if a deal is being cut;

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Dakota formally charged Hultgren Construction for its role in the Dec. 2, 2016 tragedy that took the life of Ethan McMahon, an employee of the company and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who had served in Afghanistan. McMahon died in the collapse, which occurred while Hultgren Construction was removing a 38-inch thick load-bearing wall. The wall separated the old Copper Lounge and the former Skelly’s Pub, two former bars that were being merged into one building.

The company faces the charge of willful violation of the Occupational, Safety and Health Act, a misdemeanor charge. The owners of the company, Aaron Hultgren, Larry Canfield, Norm Drake and Paul Cink, will face no criminal charges.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years probation and a $500,000 fine.

If found guilty though, it could lead to some pretty big civil cases.

Again, I ask, why did some city officials think it was a good idea to invest with these clowns? Baffling.