There will never be ‘Regular People’ serving in Sioux Falls city government ever again

We saw the writing on the wall when Alex Jensen and his cabal of donors had to spend $127K to beat a self-employed piano teacher by around 90 votes. The regular guy/gal is no longer allowed to compete.

Just look at the usual donors on the financial reports (someone should tell Andera that she can’t add her smaller contributions up twice 🙂

It is the same group of rich Republican businessmen and mysterious dark PACs (so some of these rich people can hide their identities) that are once again funding the campaigns of the NON-regular people (except Islam who seems to have half the state of Michigan gunning for her and they all work at the same hospital 🙂

You have to chuckle when Clowncilor Marshall Selfish actually suggested that the reason the members needed a bigger salary is so more regular people could run. That’s rich considering he never mentioned that you actually need the money up front.

We could change this with a couple of easy steps;

• Get rid of the Home Rule Charter as it exists and give more power back to council and,

• Publicly finance the races so everyone is on the same playing field.

We of course first must throw out the current charter, and there is a stew brewing on that one along with some other goodies I will share very soon.

So it looks like we will have yet another city election where a handful of people vote for the very people who are lining their pockets with donations from the banksters, bondsters and developers that are turning our city into a corporate welfare state.

This is the current lineup for the election;

Mayoral Race; Paul TenHaken, David Zokaites, Taneeza Islam

Central District; Curt Soehl (No challengers)

Southeast District; David Barranco (No Challengers)

At Large (A); Janet Brekke, Bobbi Andera, Dr. Sarah Cole

At Large (B); Rich Merkouris, Pam Cole



25 comments ↓

#1 My Mistake Mike on 01.11.22 at 8:34 am

A Cole in A & B? That won’t be confusing.

#2 David Z for Mayor on 01.11.22 at 10:20 am

As long as political campaigns are expensive, politicians will sell out to gain campaign funds. Then then lie to themselves and the voters about motives. They also work against the people by thwarting anti-corruption measures and maintaining expensive elections. It’s really hard to compete in this environment but I’m giving it my best shot.

#3 D@ily Spin on 01.11.22 at 10:24 am

I’ve always (since 2008) advocated eliminating Strong Dictatorship Charter. It’s not democracy, promotes corruption, and unconstitutional. It attracts the white collar criminal element giving them open free will on the city half billion annual budget. They spending 100k per candidate to elect their posse is expected. What’s especially disgusting is they hardly hide it. I doubt a petition to replace this charter would make it to the ballot. It will take the right SD Supreme Court case to remove this charter and supervise initiating and installing a new charter. Federal and ACLU attention could help.

#4 NTNLIQ on 01.11.22 at 11:20 am

If I’m reading you correctly, only people that think exactly like you are “regular people”? Seems that the vast majority of Sioux Falls disagrees.

#5 l3wis on 01.11.22 at 11:34 am

Not at all, lots of regular people run for office I disagree with. You would have to ask Marshall what he meant.

#6 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.11.22 at 11:38 am

I dont think using “public tax dollars” to fund private campaigns is a great idea. Cause then “government” would be using those tax dollars to lobby for and help get elected certain individuals who support government agenda. And Do you really think that is a good idea?

You want to promote “grass root campaigns” – you want people to go out and meet and concur with each other, thus creating political action committees, raising private dollars to fit that cause.

And, in order to make your idea work, you would have to first amend the S.D Constitution as it forbids government from using “Public Taxes” for personal gain, or to fund grass roots movements. It may work in other states, but in South Dakota, ‘our’ very own Constitution forbids it.

This is why a few years ago, the COURT begged the Legislature to fix or strike down I.M 22 and its why we were successful in voting against Amendment W the following election.

Democrats need to learn how to actually pool their interests in ways that the people want, not working against the will of the people itself.

#7 Very Stable Genius on 01.11.22 at 1:08 pm

Taneeza should be running against Curt. Not surprised by the SE District. It’s a classic example of Taupeville conformity. Janet has opponents because she is not a “Yes Man” (woman?). Two Coles, what are the odds?
We already have the Tuthill ghost, why not Nate King Cole, too? Our current system is just big enough to make it look like it represents the people and just small enough to be controlled by special interests. We need a 31 one member neighborhood council. The chair would only vote in the event of a tie. The mayor would not preside over the proceedings, but would have veto power. We could only wish.

( and Woodstock adds: “I still like the Security Council idea where Sanford, First Premier, and Taupeville would have permanent seats on the council with the rest of the seats rotating in and out with personalities like Sierra, Mike, Cunningham, Zokaites, D@ily Spin, Bruce, Scott, and that one guy who always comments at city council meetings”… (“Silverstar?”…))

#8 "Woodstock" on 01.11.22 at 1:33 pm

“Say, I think someone should run on a boutique grocery agenda”….

#9 D@ily Spin on 01.11.22 at 1:43 pm

‘Regular People’ haven’t paid attention. Many don’t vote. This is a transient city. You take a call center or fast food job until you find better work elsewhere. People don’t care. This will not be their permanent residence. Cost of living and taxes without infrastructure have people looking around. I’m one of those. There’s democracy and ‘Activist People’ in neighboring cities. A few white collar criminals own Sioux Falls. They used the open door from the Charter. At some point one mayor will be held accountable. At least ‘Regular People’ are smart enough not to run for public office.

#10 Look again on 01.11.22 at 2:10 pm

If you look at the council, the mix is pretty average. I’m not sure I would call retired firefighters, a guy that sells print, or retired teachers rich republicans.

Brekke has the most competition because she has exposed herself as the weakest candidate, and she may still win. The self employed piano teacher didn’t lose because of 127k, she lost because of her own actions and behavior. Ironically, she could probably win if she ran again for council, and maybe even for Mayor with spending almost no money.

#11 l3wis on 01.11.22 at 3:21 pm

Most of them were regular when they got elected then the money people came in a scooped them up. Just look at Neizert and his lobbyist trips or Erickson and her change of heart after MMM backed off her short term rental businesses. Theresa lost because Jensen marketed to primary voters who don’t normally vote in city elections. I know I have seen the data. If it would have been a regular city election she would have tromped Jensen, and he knows it.

#12 l3wis on 01.11.22 at 3:24 pm

When I think of regular people I am referring to people who get elected to help the average person not the big developers who buy them lunches, oh a return an email in occasion.

#13 "Workin' at the Car Wash, Yeah!" on 01.11.22 at 3:47 pm

“This is why a few years ago, the COURT begged the Legislature to fix or strike down I.M 22 and its why we were successful in voting against Amendment W the following election……. Democrats need to learn how to actually pool their interests in ways that the people want, not working against the will of the people itself.”

But it was the people who agreed with the Democrats on IM22. And was it the “COURT”, or the “LOBBYISTS”?

#14 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.11.22 at 4:06 pm

If you all have answers, what stops you from going thru the nominating process of collecting signatures? Does it take tons of money to go door to door to collect signatures? Well, I will now find out, cause I am going to go out and collect signatures for the At-Large B seat to say I did it, and get on the ballot. I dont think it costs a lot to get on the ballot. I mean, its just a matter of doing it. I mean the money comes in where you want to market yourself, buy television ads, newspaper ads, signs, posters, etc. Do you really need all that, or just hold neighborhood townhalls meeting with the people?

#15 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 01.11.22 at 6:35 pm

I’ve always wanted to run for office by merely practicing existentialism to run and win. If you create your own world you never lose unless that is your wish. But isn’t that winning?

#16 Warren Phear on 01.12.22 at 9:29 am

Regular people as councilors are a thing of the past, just as Scott implies, and for the exact reason he states. You would think a banking officer would be regular people. Not necessarily. Money talks, and Bubba J and Jeff Dunham got nothing on this council. Exceptions to this rule are Starr and Brekke.

#17 Mike Lee Zitterich on 01.12.22 at 10:14 am

The city will have 250,000 residnets by 2041, and that’s means each council district will have 50,000 people per district. Which leads me to help make plans to reduce that size by amending the charter to read:

“The City shall be aligned in odd numbered districts which provide the residents 1 voice per every 29,000 people, plus no less than 2 at large seats, buy council membership shall be an even membership.

If yiy want more common people as part of that membership, then smaller districts is the answer. But remember, we also need at least 2 at large representatives to guard against minority rule.

#18 Conservative Here on 01.12.22 at 12:47 pm

Theresa lost because of Theresa. I was a huge fan for a long time but, then she started going off the rails without facts or logic at times. I was very puzzled at her behavior and the fact she made Mountains out of Molehills all the time was her downfall. Not every single small issue is a hill to die on but, she made it her cross all the time. The drama was unbearable at times to watch and people get fatigued listening to someone go off on everything.

Now would I have preferred her over Jensen, sure but, Jensen didn’t win Theresa lost.

I would say, and I have argued this before, blogs like this, and the media have made it impossible for regular people to run. Every single little thing is scrutinized, torn apart, and their character attacked constantly. The amount of personal attacks on those who even attempt to serve is just insane and for a job that currently pays like 19k and is supposed to be part time, no way a regular person wants that heat all the time. What you end up getting is people who WANT the spotlight and more often than not those people are not there for you and me, they are there for themselves.

Both sides of the aisle do this. This blog tears up Conservatives, Christians, Cops, etc. DakotaWarCollege tears up anyone not with their RINO thought process. You wonder why regular people don’t run, I would look in the mirror 1st and foremost. You can blame money and influence but, some of the crap that is wrote about people here is a big reason why.

#19 Look Again on 01.12.22 at 6:26 pm

I’d love to hear what your “regular” person is like. The piano teacher was not regular. CH is spot on. Sioux Falls spanked her for the repeated bad behavior. Better yet, maybe it was God spanking her. She deserved it. Enough people probably stay home this time as they feel she was punished already. That would only be 98 people, so yeah, she can win another race. I would not vote for on City Council, maybe for Mayor. I would love to see her in position where she can’t blame everyone else.

It’s alarming that you can’t see people didn’t vote for Jensen. The guy was a dude and still is. There is nothing exciting about him except he has a pulse. He will be vulnerable next election.

#20 l3wis on 01.12.22 at 6:58 pm

Hey, I get it, TS was not your person. But just because you didn’t like her doesn’t mean she wasn’t popular. As I told her after the recount, there is only one councilor who got more votes than her in the history of city elections, and that was Jensen. Theresa was very popular because she was one of the few councilors that would respond to constituents and stand up to the developer welfare. Did she have some personality issues? Heck yeah. I could write a 1,000 words on each of the character flaws of each of the councilors, and while they may be different then Theresa’s they aren’t any worse or better. At least she vocalized what she was trying to achieve, whether you agree or not, that was transparency and integrity. I told Theresa often when she was serving there is a lot of sexism from other elected officials and business people in town towards ALL of the female councilors. Rolfing was one of the worst offenders. She didn’t agree with me at first but once she was about half way thru her term, she started to see it firsthand.

For the record, for the same reasons CH mentioned above, I did not help TS run for her 2nd term, but it didn’t mean I didn’t support her being re-elected. She has a go it alone mentality sometimes that is to her detriment but I would take her over the bootlicker that replaced 100x over.

#21 Very Stable Genius on 01.12.22 at 7:49 pm

The recount on Theresa’s re-election bid was a joke. Her legal team didn’t challenge ballots, rather they just watched a recount of the ballots. You win recounts by challenging ballots, not by claiming ballots are missing, or the process is rigged, but by disqualifying some ballots on technicalities or by bringing some back into the fold on the same.

It seems that the art of winning, especially close races, has been lost. It’s not message, and/or just going through the motions, it’s math and technicalities.

Someone obviously had to win the race between Theresa and Alex, but I question if Theresa really lost. What she lost and how was the recount, because of how it was handled by her team.

#22 Conservative Here on 01.13.22 at 10:27 am

I will repeat this again, regular people don’t run due to the mindless and unnecessary personal attacks. This blog and many others like it have personally attacked elected officials frequently! I am not talking about policy decisions, I am talking about personal attacks. Regular salt of the earth people do not sign up to get their name drug through the mud for a measly 19k a year. I myself considered running for office a few years back because I am tired of the back scratching but, more than anything I was tired of paying through the nose for stuff we don’t need or really want. This is why I have often pushed back on Scott for his attacks on peoples appearance, their faith, their personal moral convictions, etc.

I highly doubt politics are going to get any better, probably worse, so unless those who throw the most stones look in the mirror one by one and stop, you are NOT getting regular people to run.

#23 l3wis on 01.13.22 at 11:45 am

So you are saying that people are not running for office because of the 1% of people in SF who even care about local politics that read what I wrote? Funny. Go to Reddit or FB there is much more scandalous things written there. Regular people don’t run because they don’t care or don’t have the time. When you are self employed, or are an insurance salesman, realtor, retired, you have the time. Just look who sits on the council.

#24 "Woodstock" on 01.13.22 at 1:44 pm

“What about the Village People?”…. “That would be a good time”….. #ByTheRiver?

#25 Further Fear & Loathing on 01.14.22 at 8:52 pm

CH,

Ed Meese once said that no one should fear a warrantless search if they haven’t done anything wrong. So why should regular people fear mud? Plus, mud can be fun. It might even be the scandal.