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?

Survey on SD Legislature, SAD, but True

I voted on this survey Friday afternoon on Dakotanewsnow.com and took this screenshot. I knew the ‘NO’ percentage would be high, but I about fell out of my chair. 92% -WOW! Obviously this is unscientific and not sure how many votes were cast, but still astonishing. The problem is people continue to vote for the ‘R’ instead of the candidate. I tell people, research your candidates. We keep electing the same clowns and wonder why surveys end up like this.

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.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr announces re-election bid

Starr is running again, and that’s a good thing. He was on fire last night calling out the administration about dropping the bomb on the supplemental budget (so did Stehly) and asking why we can’t budget correctly for the police.

This was NOT an easy decision for Pat to make to run again, a few months ago he was unsure if he wanted to. He currently doesn’t have a challenger.

I’m not sure if I have ever told Pat this before, but I consider him the ‘rock’ of the council. Only speaking when it is appropriate and always looking for transparency. I truly believe in local government that transparency is the cornerstone of good government, and Pat has ALWAYS defended it. He deserves four more years!

Stehly still has yet to make up her mind. I spoke with her a couple of days ago, and she still hasn’t decided either way, but I do believe she will announce ‘something’ soon. I have also told her that I understand if she doesn’t run again.

Airport moving ahead with ‘fiscally’ responsible parking ramp

As I posted about in 2017, the airport is building a fiscally responsible structure that maximized their parking needs at a fair price. But here is the real kick in the shorts;

But that’s not a long-term solution, so the Sioux Falls Airport Authority, the governmental entity that oversees the airport, has been saving for a permanent fix.

Did you catch that word ‘SAVING’. Maybe our city leaders could learn something about saving for projects, or at least completing them as planned. Not possible, that takes GUTS.

Small city mayors are hard workers, when they show up

I would have to agree with Mayor Selfie on several aspects of what he commented about Joe Biden’s TV ad about Mayor Pete;

This tone deaf ad reeks of elitism and mocks the expansive work we as mayors do to keep our cities running.  

America’s biggest problems AND solutions live in our cities. To my fellow mayors out at 5Ks, ribbon cuttings, grocery store sidebars, and more today — keep grinding.

First of all, this is simply out of Donny T’s playbook, attacking Democrats (who are attacking Democrats) and attacking Joe Biden. But I kind of find it ironic, and more proof it is amateur hour over at city hall when PTH thinks his duties as mayor are to run road races and drink coffee at the HyVee deli. Yes, that is part of the job, but showing up once in awhile to do the job set out in the charter, managing the day to day operations of the city and it’s directors and employees, is the most important part. PTH has instead just signed an executive order to have a couple of overpaid lackeys do the job for him, and they are not very good at it (but get $10,000.00 a year raises). There have been many people asking me ‘Where is Paul?’ I cannot answer that question.

So while he wants to defend the ‘hardworking’ mayors of the country, maybe he needs to follow a few of them around sometime and find out what ‘real’ work is, you know, the kind that leaves a sweat stain in the rim of your trucker hat.

Also, in the video below, PTH addresses HIS supplemental appropriation ideas, towards the end of the video he stretches the truth a bit and says he worked with city council. As I understand it from talking to 4 of them, he only worked with two councilors behind closed doors and the rest were left in the dark. Selberg and Neitzert were mentioned as the two. It is the council’s job to appropriate surpluses, that means they get to decide where that money goes, NOT the mayor. He keeps confusing himself with a King.

South Dakota State Legislature Coffee, Feb 8, 2020

2019 Sioux Falls Crime Stats