The System is Rigged

I have been following Sioux Falls politics on my blog since March of 2006. The one thing I have often told people is that is is ‘very predictable’. It is also very corrupt and often rigged.

This is what happens when you have essentially one-party rule across the state, even in governments that are supposed to be non-partisan, they often are NOT. For example, there is only one Democrat serving on the Minnehaha County Commission and one on the Sioux Falls City Council and ZERO independents.

But often it is NOT about one-party, it comes down to the ruling class making the decisions based upon the greed of the elite in our community. You can call it what you want, but I call it corporate welfare. It flourishes in Sioux Falls and has been going on for decades. Former city planner Steve Metli is often praised by these people, they even built a courtyard in his honor under the Arc of Dreams. It doesn’t surprise me that people speak very highly of Steve, he made a lot of them very wealthy using taxpayer resources, and the tradition continues today.

As citizens, we have very few options to stop this, but one of them is petition gathering and voting (something the ruling class has been trying to take away on a state level). Well now they are trying to take it away on a city level based upon the ‘OPINIONS’ of a city clerk and city attorney who have ZERO municipal law experience, especially when it comes to Home Rule Charters. They are both from the military, and until someone called out the city clerk, he wasn’t even registered to vote before taking his job with the city. He has also NEVER received his clerk certifications (that I am aware of) (the two assistant clerks have more certifications) and the city attorney has admitted on the CityLink show ‘Directions’ that he had NO municipal law experience before starting with the city. So who assisted Mr. Kooistra and Mr. Greco with their ‘Opinions’? We have our guesses, and we highly doubt they are employed by the city.

I have never served in the military, but have had countless family members either volunteer or be drafted. There is an adherrant difference between running a municipality and running a war machine. A HUGE DIFFERENCE. In the military, you follow orders or people die (I know that is a corny line from A FEW GOOD MEN, but it’s true). In municipal government, you should follow orders also, but your generals are not seasoned military personnel, they are taxpayers. So when taxpayers are faced with a decision to petition their government, city employees should do everything in their power to listen, help, assist and follow the orders of those ‘generals’, the taxpayers.

Mayor TenHaken has started this program called ONE SIOUX FALLS. I still have no idea what it is, but I think when he first explained it, it had something to do with better customer service to citizens. Maybe that information needs to be passed on to the city clerk and city attorney. They should be making it as easy as possible for citizens to petition their government instead of setting up more hurdles based upon assumptions and opinions, that will ultimately only result in a court challenge that creates an even higher bar for these petition drives. Which goes back to my thing about predictability, we predicted they would make this complicated, because they can and always do.


I often get depressed watching government on all levels, but locally, I know I can make a difference. We must fight the elite in this community who have helped rig the system in their favor. I’m not always right, but I do know this, corruption is wide spread in city government, and has been for a very long time. We have had countless examples, too many to go into. We can end this corruption by demanding city employees work for the people and not the ruling class. I really believe by working to make our lives better, they make their lives better. It’s just unfortunate that a few at the top are making it incredibly miserable for the rest of us, and they should be ashamed.


#1 Scott on 08.20.19 at 9:41 am

The third paragraph sums up pretty quickly what happens in Sioux Falls but the 1st sentence of that paragraph hits the nail squarely on the head. This Mayor is and the two previous were just puppets for the self proclaimed elite. Then you count in certain heiny kissing city Councilors, it’s no wonder that there is more corruption and less transparency. This entire article is well written but sadly true. Thank you for posting it.

#2 Blasphemo on 08.20.19 at 9:49 am


#3 D@ily Spin on 08.20.19 at 11:06 am

What I’ve come to realize is there’s no way to change this picture. Home Rule Charter protects the dictatorship structure. What especially surprises me is political and wealthy participants are not ashamed of their actions. They should be deported for treason so we can welcome Hispanic immigrants in their place. Mayors would make good drug dealer lieutenants in Mexico. Past majority council members could be used to swallow heroin condoms and act as mules. What I’m saying is city officials could have a purpose. Just not a public purpose and certainly not here.

#4 ''Extremely' Stable Genius" on 08.20.19 at 1:33 pm

Sioux Falls has plateaued and the railroad yard area, (even Dillard’s) and the Bunker Ramp are symbolic of this fact. While the Arc of Dreams symbolizes the foolish hopes and denials of an elite, who are thus buried in their own bunker of denials themselves.

We live in a town where affordable homes are skyrocketing in price to the point, that soon they will no longer be affordable for a collapsing middle class, while developers build only executive and junior executive homes to appease the health care elite in this town, who want us to be amazed by capitalized medicine, which creates nothing, but an unnecessary middle man in our attempt to be more healthy, when what we really need are preventive medical initiatives, which would be good for the many, but offer no profit for the elite in this town, however.

The modern Sioux Falls was built on credit cards, the absence of usury laws, and predatory lending. The funds gained from such a reality have now taken to us to a new phase, where the credit card industry has given way to a health care industry in this town; a health care industry, which in its attempt to save our lives is destroying our lives by destroying our neighborhoods through demolition and hyperinflation of those affordable homes which survive the ambitious goals of two competing health care systems in this town, and whose energy combined directs our politics, and in so doing, directs our lives.

This plateauing is further complicated by the fact that economic norms are changing. Online retail makes Sioux Falls less attractive as a city to pursue for ones shopping and as fewer come to Sioux Falls to shop, then fewer tax dollars will be collected in the future to maintain our infrastruture, thus causing those who do reside here to pick-up a greater piece of the cost to run and maintain this town through taxation; which in turn, will place an even greater burden upon the collapsing middle class in this town.

I don’t have an answer for all of this. I was always wondering how all of this was going to end, however, the growth that is, but now I know. This town over the last roughly forty years has seen incredible growth due to a predatory capitalism, but now that type of capitalism is beginning to eat away at our own town. This predatory attitude has found its way not only into our business climate but also our politics, where the citizens, who are beginning to no longer benefit from all of the growth – actually, having benefited in terms of hope, because they never really did in terms of wages – will be left over the next decade to figure out this whole mess, which then will be further complicated by the growing stress of Trump’s continual trade policies and his inevitable recession, which many of the elite in this town have been enablers to. Good luck everyone….. #ItWasFunWhileItLasted

#5 Drive-By Petition Signing on 08.20.19 at 1:47 pm

One of the most troublesome aspects of what the City Attorney and City Clerk have done is to declare who can circulate the petitions.

The right to petition was granted to all South Dakotans in the State Constitution in 1889. That right was First exercised in the municipality of Sioux Falls in 2007 with the Drake Springs petition drive.

How can they legally restrict this right to the 15 individuals who organized ‘Triple Check the Charter’?

Each of the 15 would need to collect 449 signatures plus some additional for the margin of error.

Could the 15 accomplish this by setting up drive-by stations in parking lots all over SF?

I agree with go get ’em, there are many SF citizens who are fed up with the way things have been run in this town, esp. in the last 9-10 years!!

Corrupt mayors, dysfunctional city councils, corporate welfare developers, and on and on……..

#6 l3wis on 08.20.19 at 2:51 pm

They are claiming that the 15 petitioner rule has existed since the charter was formed, Councilor Neitzert spouted off about it on FB last night, Belfrage read it here;

#7 l3wis on 08.20.19 at 2:54 pm

If you click on my link about it to Dakotafreepress, Cory does a fine job of explaining that some legal wrangling was going on.

#8 WTF on 08.20.19 at 3:12 pm

Manchild Greg never has understood his election

#9 Moses6 on 08.21.19 at 12:53 am

This guy is as bad as slick Mike.Will he get his own tv show pathetic job the council does and let’s thus guy get away with about anything.

#10 Conservative Here on 08.21.19 at 2:46 pm

1st Amendment
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I didn’t realize that only 15 people could petition our government. This is just dumb why we have a magic number of 15. I also didn’t realize that because you hold a position in government that you give up your rights to petition or participate in that process. Heck I think if a couple councilors had taken this up it would gain some traction even more and citizens can vote on it. I am ALL for a Constitutional Republic as we don’t want mob rule but, our elected leaders are no longer listening or being good stewards. We have to step up and demand action, where do I sign this sucker!!!!!