Mayor TenHaken pens rare Op Ed

Imagine my surprise when I found this Op Ed by the Mayor in the Argus today. I can’t remember the last time he wrote an Op Ed in the Argus (or should we say one of his minions). I suspect there has been some push back by VIPs in the community about crime prevention;

Our per-capita violent crime rates have been largely flat for the past decade, and that is true again for 2022.

While this is true when you compare to population growth, the crimes have become more violent and drug related. I’m not putting this entirely on PTH, even though he has had 4 years to do something about it. The past two police chiefs essentially hid in their offices doing little to address the drug related crimes. Chief Thum has decided to tackle it with 1,000 times more transparency than the last couple of guys but he does need the mayor, his boss, to step up.

The Sioux 52 Mentoring Initiative was set up to intentionally begin addressing challenges we were seeing with juvenile crime. 

I commend this program. Mentoring is essential to help keep youth out of trouble. After winning re-election PTH handed the program over to the HelpLine Center. I’m fine with that except when an elected official starts an initiative they need to stick with even after leaving office. It’s one thing to applaud mentoring programs but on the other hand turn them over to a private entity.

Crime largely has to do with economic status. I don’t believe middle class and lower middle class individuals in Sioux Falls ever fully recovered from the 2008 recession in which wages were frozen for several years. While businesses complain they can’t find workers and can’t afford to pay more, the problem is they never kept up to begin with, wages were stagnant for over a decade while the cost of housing has skyrocketed. The math just doesn’t add up.

It’s the tale of two cities. Over the summer I have decided to ride my bike through neighborhoods (logging almost 3,000 miles since last November) and came to the conclusion that 18th street (west to east) is the dividing line. The further South you go the better the residential neighborhoods, the further North, not so much. While there are pockets like extreme NE and NW for the most part the city is divided in economic status, infrastructure upgrades and housing.

When Janet Brekke was on the council she pushed hard for a pilot program to fix up some of these neighborhoods which would have required a heavy lift from the city when it comes to infrastructure. The solution the city offered was slab on grade tract homes between Brandon and Washington HS. Hardly what Brekke was envisioning. If we don’t address building density in our core for affordable housing in this community ASAP I’m afraid crime is only going to get worse.

Fighting crime means fighting for a more sustainable economy in Sioux Falls, FOR EVERYONE! As that line on 18th street gets wider crime is only going to rise.



4 comments ↓

#1 Very Stable Genius on 09.04.22 at 2:00 pm

There should be historic markers along 18th Street depicting it as the original 57th Street. South of 18th used to be the original “Taupeville”, but back then people were free and could paint their houses any color they wanted to. They also washed their own cars. New homes were built with two stall garages and a basement. They walked to Park Ride – which was The Bridges at 57th Street of its day – to shop at Newberry’s and dreamed of the Western Mall being built “Someday”.

Now, it has become the dividing line between the haves and have nots, between crime and far less crime, which is similar to having voting boxes and not having them, camping at one Walmart, but not another, or limitless dreams versus a Limitless predatory nature.

But Sioux Falls has changed, has it not? Many say for the good, but I guess it depends upon which side of the tracks you live. Although, for some the tracks are still there, but the reality of its sounds are being asked to be silenced like the negative changes in this town, which our leaders at times seem to be silent towards.

Where am I going with this, well, 18th to 57th is the de-militarized zone, is it not? But when it starts to get ugly there, will our leaders even care? Heck, the local media dragged its feet to report the last tornado there. Or, will 57th Street continue to be a moat of indifference and allow its key “Bridge” to not be drawn?

( and Woodstock adds: “Well, at least that ‘Someday’ came into being”…. )

#2 "Woodstock" on 09.04.22 at 3:20 pm

“And tell me more about ‘two stall garages and a basement'”….. “Was that back when Hoover also promised a ….’chicken in every pot’….?”…… “OH, and in ’24, Trump should promise plenty Diet Cokes in every mini-fridge”….

#3 The Guy From Guernsey on 09.06.22 at 9:13 pm

I wonder how mentoring (as suggested in the op-ed by Paul) might have changed the outcome of the most recent murder in Sioux Falls.
Perhaps Paul can set an example and establish a mentoring relationship with the next wannabe thug who threatens murder with a machete while in the commission of domestic violence.

One thing about which Paul was correct in this op-ed – the soft nature of prosecution, ajudication and sentencing in criminal cases in Sioux Falls. Lots of brushes and contact with the law catch and release (at best) … until someone is dead.

#4 l3wis on 09.06.22 at 9:28 pm

We are good at catch and release in SF. I see many fisherman along the bike trail dipping their poles in the Big Poo. I never see any of them bring the 3-Eyed Bullheads home.