UPDATE: KSFY edits Councilor Stehly’s ‘OPINION’ after Mayor TenHaken sends out chastising email to the media and Theresa

UPDATE: Just when you thought this couldn’t get any better, KSFY decided to put Stehly’s comments back in the story with this disclaimer;

Mayor Paul TenHaken has called into question Stehly’s comment about sewer bills rising to $300 a month. He calls it an absurd assertion. KSFY News initially removed the comment after the story aired over concerns that it was confusing, but we have since put the comment back in. Stehly says she stands by her comment.

Prairie Values TV Journalism at it’s best. Maybe KSFY should just stick to doing stories about charity dog races, halloween decorations and food trucks and let the newspaper and blogs cover the ‘real’ news.

It is one thing to edit a story based on having a name misspelled, or numbers and places that or incorrect. That is responsible journalism. But to edit an ‘Opinion’ of an elected official after another elected official in same government entity sends out an email, well, is horrible journalism. I often chuckle at Trump when he says ‘Fake News’ but in this case, one has to wonder.

The other night on KSFY they did a story on the wastewater treatment plant, Councilor Stehly said she has a ‘concern’ that water bills could exceed $300 dollars a month. While I kind of cringed when she said that, it is what it is, an OPINION. (she really isn’t that far off the mark, while our bills will increase $2 a month, for a small business owner they could easily see bills increasing to $300. In fact, over the past decade our water/sewer bills have increased 93%).

Well this ‘Opinion’ did not sit well with Selfie Paul, he sent out this email to city staff and the media (I was conveniently NOT included);

Councilor Stehly:

Thank you for the opportunity this week to once again provide you with information on the Water Reclamation System. Upcoming investments in the collection and treatment systems is a foundational investment crucial to both current and future residents who expect a reliable wastewater collection and treatment system.

The administration has invested hundreds of hours on this project due to the importance of this infrastructure for our city as well as the large price tag attached to it. We have also spent time briefing the City Council, media and public on the importance of this project.

Unfortunately, this week you broke a sacred trust elected leaders have with their constituents. As elected officials we have an obligation to present factual information to the public. That is what I have done in my role as mayor and that is what I expect of city employees. Yesterday, on KSFY and on Tuesday at City Council Informational you stated wastewater customers will experience a $300 per month rate increase as a result of this project. Spreading such misinformation when factual projections have been presented to you is a disservice to your constituents and I’m disappointed you knowingly spread this false information.

Talk about misinformation! It was simply an opinion of ONE city councilor. In the original KSFY story (the edited version is here) Stehly’s ‘Opinion’ was in there, after this email was sent it was edited out of the video (almost) and the text.

Ironically though they didn’t edit the close captioning, it still remains there;

I’m NOT blaming the reporter for this, I’m sure the higher ups made this decision to edit the story, which makes it even more egregious. There’s a fine line between FACTS and OPINIONS, maybe someone should explain this to the producers of KSFY or more importantly the Mayor.


#1 Bruce on 11.17.18 at 2:07 pm

I guess you and I are not “media” as we were promised to be considered. Does mean we are going to re-experience the abuses of ‘ol bowlcut and buckteeth?

#2 Warren Phear on 11.17.18 at 2:25 pm

I am going to go out on a limb here. I think what she said, and what she meant could very well be two different things. I have not seen the video so I cannot jugde by that alone. Maybe what she meant is rates have gone up 300%, not gone to $300. Would be easy to do with the bright lights shining.

#3 Solution is simple..use 2nd penny on 11.17.18 at 3:43 pm

Protect the homeowner/citizen with backup from the Second Penny Tax!!! I am thinking that is what Ms Stehly is proposing as protection for the homeowner, in case The city’s projected growth is not attained.

This water treatment facility is the largest ever proposed expenditure ($260M) on record for SF residents. Event Center was around $120 M. I believe we would owe about a $25M yearly payment on the debt. And currently we have 55,000 homes. Do the math for your share of the payment.

What is concerning is why the city is not proposing usage of the 2nd Penny Tax when they have previously used it for so many unneeded projects. What gives???

#4 l3wis on 11.17.18 at 4:11 pm

It was a sarcastic figure of speech, sarcasm is used to present the absurdity in the truth. It is absurd to think we can pay down this debt with just user fees. I think that is the point she was trying to make. She was asking basically if the projected growth doesn’t happen will our water rates have to be raised to $300 to pay off the debt?

#5 Taco Bar on 11.17.18 at 4:45 pm

KSFY came to the rescue of Paramedics Plus, too, do you remember? Too bad KSFY doesn’t present news all day long, because then our Mayor could just sit back and watch them and get ideas like the ‘Clockwork Orange’ mess does from FOX…..

(That $300 million figure must not be a “nothing burger,” huh?)

#6 LJL on 11.17.18 at 4:51 pm

This is a fine example of how your stretching the truth and over exaggerations has consequences.

My advice Theresa would be to pay less attention to Scott and apologize for the incorrect choice of words. You did not intend to insinuate the average user would see a $300 water bill.

#7 anominous on 11.17.18 at 5:11 pm

Yeah, make sure that new facility can clean the fire dept’s foam out of the drinking water.

#8 D@ily Spin on 11.18.18 at 9:58 am

It’s not the mayor’s place to call out a councilor. Nor should the media misrepresent statements. From the chart water rates are aligned with inflation and growth. Good infrastructure (i.e. water) is relevant for public health and real estate valuation. An investment such as this relates to quality of life. Now is a good time for this. Later will be more costly because of rampant growth and lack of sophisticated planning.
Besides, a good political scuffle is free entertainment and more fun than expensive concerts at the Denty.

#9 Theresa stehly on 11.18.18 at 12:08 pm

The long term financial impact on citizens seems to be more concerning to people on fixed/limited incomes who need this as a basic necessity. I want to ensure that we are not faced with monster rate increases when the debt payment really starts to ramps up. Let’s look at all funding options.

#10 LJL on 11.19.18 at 6:28 pm

Good people don’t expect our elected officials to be perfect. We do expect those people to own their mistakes and admit when they’ve misspoke.

All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”
― Sophocles, Antigone

#11 l3wis on 11.19.18 at 8:20 pm

When has Trump ever apologized for his thousands of sarcastic remarks and exagerations? Last I checked, he is a little higher on the totem pole than Stehly. Besides, in this case she used sarcasm in an appropriate manner, and it certainly wasn’t inflamatory or directed at any one person. She never said your bills WILL rise to $300 but they could. As I said in the original post, I did cringe a bit when she said it, but as long as she owns and sticks by it, it’s her deal to deal with. Ironically she may not be that far off the mark when you consider we have had well over a 100% increase over the past 10 years. I can’t think of any other utility that could get a way with that.

#12 Conservative Here on 11.20.18 at 10:24 am

Sioux Falls is starting to look like all the other big cities around the US, buying stuff without the money to do so. Water treatment upgrades are more important that all this other crap our last administration put in. I don’t envy the current administrations position having to deal with it but, unless is 100% necessary I think we need to delay until we pay off all t his other crap. Does anyone have an idea how much debt we have with all these big projects and the expected time we will have this paid off? I am ALL ABOUT making sure infrastructure is done but, my water bill is already 80-100 bucks each month and only 3 people live in my house

#13 Taco Bar on 11.20.18 at 1:00 pm

Trump gets a “B,” while Stehly gets a letter of reprehend.


#14 Ljl on 11.20.18 at 4:15 pm

Trump gets no love from me and I’ve typed that out several times right here. I expect very little from our president in civility of doing the right thing. I would hope our local folks would use him as an example of how NOT to be.

Still time to do the right thing here. Have a private meeting with the mayor and come together to set the correct tone. Civil disagreement is ok. Word fights through the press is not.