Former Sioux Falls Mayor Rick Knobe posts on FB about his feelings of big money in City Council race

While I don’t agree with all of Rick’s points, he asks some very good questions;

Confession time. I’m feeling torn.

Back on the boat in Mobile, Alabama. Plan is to finish my Great Loop Adventure in next two months. Retirement is good. I worked hard and know I’ve made an impact on Sioux Falls, and those around me.

In Sioux Falls, and now in Pierre, things are happening.

The at-large council seat is up, along with three district positions. The at-large incumbent, Theresa Stehly has not yet announced her intentions.

A young man has announced and he has been given a huge amount of money(about 70 thousand as if this writing) to defeat her. Contributors include the usual big money folks, mostly connected Republicans.

Standing out is a 10,000 dollar check from former Governor Dennis Daugaard. Obviously the former Governor can donate money to anyone he wants. But this is the same Governor who worked hard to ban out of state money from state elections, speaking out, and signing a bill outlawing the practice. That bill was ultimately determined to be unconstitutional.

Last I knew Dennis and his wife lived near Garretson, outside of Sioux Falls. Are large contributions of out of city money ok for city elections in his mind, but not out of state money for state wide elections?

His contribution is probably legal, but in the face of previous statements and actions is he being ethically consistent?

Back to the election. Stehly’s opponent vows to raise well over $100,000. The four year job pays less than $20,000 a year. Are he and his people “jumping the shark?”( reference to the Happy Days TV show. The Fonz waterskiing while dressed in his jeans and leather jacket, jumping over a shark).

I don’t know the candidate. His pledge to raise more than five, nearly six times the salary seems beyond excessive. Is he motivated to serve or only to win? What does he want to do to improve life in Sioux Falls?

The mayor has created a PAC. He has given money to sitting council members he wants re-elected. Legal? Probably. Ethical? No definitive answer. He is the first mayor in Sioux Falls history to create a PAC. Is he mimicking the big dogs from DC?

One could ask, does he want to serve us, the citizens, or does he want to be a powerbroker?

In Pierre, we are only a few days into the session and already 42 legislators have signed onto a bill putting themselves, and maybe us, if the bill passes, into medical advice and treatment rooms to make felons out of professionals helping individuals and families deal with one of the most complex issues of human bodies, brains, and emotions, gender identity.

I consider myself relatively intelligent. I have talked with a physician who helps deal with people suffering from a gender identity issue. (He lives In Minnesota). It’s complicated. Very complicated.

I feel for people dealing the sex identity problems. I know enough to know, I don’t know enough about it to offer advice. I certainly don’t want to be in the treatment room and I don’t want elected officials in there either, in person or thru laws they pass.

I wonder what else is coming in Pierre? It’s scary.

I’m hoping those of you who care about local and state government will speak up and take action. Testify. Vote. Get involved.

We might not be able to influence the idiocy in Washington, but we can and should stop it in Pierre and prevent it from infecting Sioux Falls.


Of course Alex Jensen’s campaign manager, Matt Paulson had to respond (twice);

Matt Paulson – The issue is not dissenting Ms. Stehly’s votes and a need to control everything. The issue is with how she treats people that she disagrees with, which is very poorly. She seems unable to have a reasonable disagreement without declaring all out war. After repeated phone calls, underhanded blog posts that she orchestrated, complaints by her about me to numerous community leaders, threatening to vote against future funding for an organization she thought I was affiliated with and using her position as a city councilor to attack someone that has political disagreements with her in a public meeting, I’ve just had enough. She bullies people and tries to intimidate people into not speaking out against her by using whatever leverage she can find (usually calling people’s employers). It’s wrong. City officials should treat citizens, including those they disagree with, with respect. Frankly, That’s the main reason why I and others are working to elect someone else to that seat.

First off, NO ONE tells me what to post. Sure, people, including Stehly, have given me suggestions, but in the past, if they want to say something I suggest a ‘guest post’. I disagree with Theresa on a whole host of issues, and we have had our share of incredible fights. Remember, I have been blogging for almost 14 years, well before I knew Theresa, Cameraman Bruce and others. Ask them and they will all say the same, “I can’t tell Scott what to post.”

She should vote against future funding of the SFDF, especially when they use tax dollars to promote a candidate and violate laws. I would expect my elected officials to hold them to a higher standard.

It is also the job of elected officials to hold PUBLIC entities and their employees accountable, especially those who get public money.

Matt Paulson – One thing to consider is that every candidate is going to use the “tools in the toolbox” they have available to them to try to win an election. For Jensen, that is trying to leverage the establishment vote and the financial resources that come with that vote. For Stehly, that means using her elected office as a means to campaign, using her newsletter in the shopper, painting herself as the defender of the little guy. and showing up to as many events/meetings as she can because she does not have a full-time job outside of being a council member. I have a hard time believing that she, or any candidate for that matter, wouldn’t raise more money to win an election if that was a tool they had available to them.

All of the things you mention are called ‘doing her job’. C’mon Matt, are you that ignorant? BTW, when is Alex going to campaign or even tell us what his issues and stances are? Let’s say Theresa doesn’t run, and someone like Knobe gets in the race, is he just going to depend on his smiling face to win the race? Rick would kick his ass. I told someone the other day that it seems Jensen is taking the John Paulson approach to campaigning, “Stay positive and don’t take any stances.” Last I checked, Paulson spent a lot of money, and lost twice, first to Stehly than to Brekke. Not sure why you need to march forth on this losing strategy? But whatever. The only way you will win a council seat, especially running against a popular incumbent is by knocking on doors. All the money, yard signs and billboards won’t make a difference. And ironically, all of this hoopla, and Stehly hasn’t even announced if she will run again.


#1 scott on 01.16.20 at 6:58 pm

wow, matt Paulson sounds like a democrat crying about trump. does he get the irony?

#2 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.16.20 at 7:03 pm

“Positive and proven” sounds like a Sears battery, but who really wants a city councilor, who’s all charged-up thanks to big money?

I have heard credible people tell me that Theresa does threaten to fire this person or that person, but as long as she is not tipping over file cabinets, like one of our former governors used to do, then I think the hidden bourdon in the cabinets should be okay.

Oh, and Daugaard likes to give $ to “Democrats,” too. Well, to moderate and pragmatic Democrats, who are as exciting as a day old boloney sandwich, that is.

#3 l3wis on 01.16.20 at 7:14 pm

For the record, Theresa doesn’t drink alcohol, but I do think she hits the coffee pot a little to much.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.16.20 at 7:21 pm

Oh, when I talk about “tipping over file cabinets,”* I am talking about due to anger and not drinking, and the “hidden bourd(b)an”*, is in reference to a “technical” issue, if you catch my drift.

*How about these quotations? Are they permissible to “ALL?”

#5 "Woodstock" on 01.16.20 at 7:23 pm

“So Matt admits that Jensen is not for the little people, is that right?”

#6 Reliable Voter on 01.16.20 at 8:23 pm

“For Jensen, that is trying to leverage the establishment vote and the financial resources that come with that vote.”

Jensen was a reliable vote for Daugaard, like voting for the largest tax increase in the history of South Dakota, and now he gets his reward. Swamp.

#7 Erica on 01.17.20 at 12:10 am

I sure hope Theresa runs again bc I already know she is for the common person. All I know about this Jensen is that he is all for himself and appears to believe that the more $ you have the more people will like and listen to you.

The swamp at ALL levels of government needs drained and that includes the filthy swamp of Sioux Falls.

#8 Conservative Here on 01.17.20 at 9:35 am

The only thing that Matt has been right with Theresa is her WW3 approach to everything. I still think she is good to have on the council but, when people speak out against her, even respectfully, she goes after them pretty hard. I have been on the other end of a call or 2, the last one I did not return the call as I felt it would have gotten me no where. Do not get my wrong I am still going to support her I just think at times she gets obsessed and tunnel vision on a few items and goes off the deep end with them.

#9 The Guy from Guernsey on 01.17.20 at 11:14 am

“… showing up to as many meetings/events as she can …”
A council-member castigated and criticized for attending meetings!
You heard it here!
From the ventriloquist staff member of the campaign of The Much-Moneyed Manchurian Candidate of Sioux Falls.

#10 The Guy from Guernsey on 01.17.20 at 11:16 am

Mr Paulson, please have Alex Jensen show us on this doll where Councilor Stehly hurt you?

#11 The Guy from Guernsey on 01.17.20 at 11:26 am

Campaign staff for the Much-Moneyed Manchurian Candidate making a lot of gaffes and mis-steps.
But please. Carry on.
It is going to be Gold when there is an opponent.

#12 "Very Stable Genius" on 01.17.20 at 1:44 pm

The Jensen campaign should take a page from Jeb’s campaign: Alex!

( and Woodstock adds: “Next to Theresa, Alex is definitely ‘low energy’.”

#13 LJL on 01.17.20 at 2:44 pm

Is Matt Paulson one of those “tools” in the tool box?