Real leaders make tough decisions in times of crisis

While I cold certainly go on several rants about how our president and governor are handling this situation by not being proactive, even now with the data they have, I have to admit my disapointment in our mayor.

The mayor does have the power to shut down businesses that are encouraging the spread of the virus, as Cory has pointed out in our charter;

§ 92.070 PROHIBITED.

No person shall create, commit, maintain or permit to be created, committed or maintained any nuisance within the city.


Whatever is or imminently may become hazardous or dangerous to human health, whatever renders the ground, the water, the air, or food a hazard or an injury to human health, or whatever annoys, injures, orendangers the health, comfort, or safety of others… are, each and all of them, hereby declared to constitute nuisances….


When there exists on private property a condition which has been determined a nuisance by a city enforcement employee, a notice will be served in the matter specified in § 92.072. The notice will describe the matter to be removed or corrected and require removal or correction thereof within 14 days. The city health officer may shorten the timeframe for removal or correction if the health officer determines the nuisance item(s) presents a significant risk to the public health if not removed or corrected in less than 14 days. If the city health officer determines a shortened timeframe is appropriate in a particular case, the shortened timeframe shall be set forth in the notice. Any additional nuisance conditions not previously observed, or that may have been added to the property after the city’s inspection(s), must also be removed or corrected within the timeframe specified in the notice of violation.If at the end of the 14 days, or less as set forth in the notice, the nuisance has not been removed or corrected, the city shall have authority to cause the correction or removal and disposition. All costs incurred by the city for the removal and disposition of the nuisance or for correcting the nuisance shall be assessed, levied and collected as a special assessment payable in one sum or by up to five equal annual installments as the city council may provide against the premises from which it was removed, in the manner provided by law for the levy and collection of other special assessments [emphasis added; Sioux Falls City Code, retrieved 2020.03.22].

Who does the City’s Health Officer, Jill Fraken, report to? Mayor Paul TenHaken. Paul could easily ask Jill to shut down the businesses for violating code. He has this authority without the consent of the health board or the city council. An appointed city employee or an appointed volunteer city board cannot do these things on their own.

Further more in the charter, the mayor has the authority to manage the city, NOT the city council or appointed boards or employees. The charter grants him this awesome power and authority.

Don’t let Paul fool you by telling you he has to leave it up to a volunteer board, city employees or the city council. HE CAN DO IT!

So why doesn’t he? It’s really a simple answer, he doesn’t want to take the heat from businesses that will lose their shirts in this crisis. I can almost guarantee that 30% or more of small hospitality related businesses will go out of business after this (if they haven’t already). How easy will it be for PTH to wash his hands of this decision when he can point his finger at city employees, volunteer boards and the eight member, part-time city council.

Guess what Paul, it isn’t your fault either, it’s the fault of an invisible virus that got out of control. But you can do the right thing and help prevent it from causing more damage. Economies will come and go, life cannot be replaced so easily.

Paul, it is your job to handle emergency situations and crisis in this city, the council’s job is to make sure the laws and ordinances are in place to back up those decisions and the funds in place to fight this and recover. I advise you to make this decision by Tuesday morning before any meetings take place and stop this insanity. The directive is clearly in your hands.


#1 Steve on 03.23.20 at 7:24 pm

You are correct. He doesn’t want the heat nor does he want to rock the boat of citizens or businesses that could potentially vote for him when he decides to run for a higher office.

#2 l3wis on 03.23.20 at 7:52 pm

Ironically, if you study history, when leaders, small and large make bold decisions that protect people, they are usually remembered as great leaders. When they 2nd guess, they are often forgotten.

#3 Reliable Voter on 03.23.20 at 8:17 pm

The Noem Executive Order with its permissive “should”rather than “shall” today doesn’t qualify as a half measure.

Janklow would have dropped the gates on the interstates weeks ago and had highway patrol stopping cars to inquire where they were headed. No one would have had the guts to complain and he wouldn’t have cared.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 03.23.20 at 9:13 pm


That’s very true. He wouldn’t even let Canadian hogs in here one time.

The vacillation by Noem and NixonHaken on this issue is incredible. But then again, these are “leaders” who are “ON IT,” and especially when it comes to Chic-Fil-A.

( and Woodstock adds: “Maybe Fauci or Cuomo have a South Dakota cousin, who could help us, huh?”…. “And what was Janklow doing then, looking for the swine flu?”….)

#5 D@ily Spin on 03.23.20 at 10:03 pm

Tener checked the charter. Bravo. Or maybe he doesn’t want to be responsible so he can lay blame to the governor. Strong mayor charter makes the city sovereign from the state. He does have the authority but he’s worried about lost sales tax revenue from bars and restaurants.

#6 The Guy From Guernsey on 03.23.20 at 10:07 pm

Neither Noem nor TenHaken have the courage to act on this. Just two more in the long lineage of milquetoast officeholders in South Dakota.
I still remember Mike Rounds issuing a ‘style and form’ veto when the legislature boxed him with an abortion ban bill. He didn’t want to sign the bill, but couldn’t outright issue a legit veto … cuz “pro-life conservative Republican” and all.

#7 Reliable Voter on 03.23.20 at 10:14 pm

I understand Noem explained that businesses, if they intend to remain open in SD, need to follow her list of “should”s, and she will use broad emergency powers to force compliance, and I am now more interested in why the hell she didn’t say “shall” to begin with.

#8 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 03.23.20 at 10:32 pm

You know what God told Moses: “Thou should not do….”

#9 Moses6 on 03.23.20 at 10:57 pm

Tenhaken can not make a decision .They might get mad.Sorry excuse for a mayor.

#10 What happen to Fauci? (What is this?.... One big 'Apprentice'?) on 03.24.20 at 1:01 am

I see that the GOP is increasingly becoming more concerned about the economy, then flattening the curve. But, I thought they were all “Pro-Life”?

( and Woodstock adds: “Yah, and I heard that a hat ring on your forehead from a MAGA cap along with taking Ibuprofen can increase your risk of getting COVID-19, too”…. “It has something to do with the red dye imported from China, I guess(?)”….)

#11 "Very Stable Genius" on 03.24.20 at 10:52 am

There’s a recent NYT story that states the US Chamber of Commerce lobbied the White House to not invoke the Defense Production Act.

So let me get this right. The Chamber doesn’t only want to screw over healthy hard working workers, it also wants to screw over sick patients, too.

The GOP and some members of the business community are beginning to show their true colors during this crisis. No wonder we have all sat back over the last 40 years and watched our middle class collapse. We have too many in the business community – with their political clowns – who really do not care about people. They just care about their own financial interests at any cost.