Entries Tagged 'Alex Jensen' ↓

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.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly was on the attack yesterday, and it was the ‘Good Fight’

First, the obvious – The First Amendment DOES not protect free speech when comes to using tax dollars to promote a political candidate. This doesn’t even take a Constitutional scholar to figure it out. This is why Trump was impeached in Congress. He was withholding tax dollars to help his presidential candidacy.

While I understand a local entrepreneur casually mentioning a city council candidate he is helping out in an article funded by two institutions that receive some tax funding (state and city) may seem not as grand as what our president did, it is still worth talking about and correcting.

I was extremely irritated that some elected officials on the council chose to defend this obvious violation of free speech rights and state law.

Just because you violate campaign rules ‘a little bit’ doesn’t make it alright. That essentially was their argument.

While what councilors Brekke, Stehly and citizen Bruce Danielson said may have been uncomfortable, it was very appropriate to say and the right time to say it, in a public meeting. No one was advocating to arrest anyone, no one was going to throw some one in jail or fine them. This was simply an effort to ‘nip it in the butt’ before it became common place. People make mistakes, we get it.

Over the past day, I have told several people that Matt Paulson (Alex Jensen’s quasi-campaign manager, treasurer and fundraiser) did nothing wrong, neither did Siouxfalls.business. Stehly wasn’t attacking them, she was simply telling the Sioux Falls Development Foundation (and I guess DSU) that moving forward they should not promote certain candidates because they receive public money.

This isn’t an attack, it’s a fact, and many journalists and citizens agree.

We know what’s going on here, and we have been seeing this across the state for several years. The Republican establishment (a very small elitist group) has controlled our State House for almost 50 years, and they are trying to take control of our County Commissions, State’s Attorney offices and other non-partisan government entities like city councils and school boards. I want to clarify, I have voted for ‘good’ Republicans (like Stehly, Brekke, Staggers and Jamison) on these non-partisan bodies, because they have integrity and want to keep party affiliation out of politics. The group I am referring to is a very small group of ‘know it all’ elitist, establishment Republicans that want to control their business interests, and they see an opportunity here, though their actions look more like ‘amateur hour’.

I have said it already, they are using candidates like Jensen for city council, Cynthia Mickelson for school board and State’s Attorney candidates like Haggar and Bengford to stack the deck and implement their pro-corporate welfare of government, these are NOT Republicans in the sense of tradition, these are elitist greed mongers that only pray to one God; money. Don’t believe me? Why else would the South Dakota GOP Chair, a Jewish Iowa businessman lobby for an Islamic theocratic government? Because party doesn’t matter, only money and greed.

So yes, Stehly was on the attack yesterday. She was attacking greed, corruption, partisanship, lack of integrity and lack of open government. And not just ‘a little bit’ but a lot.

UPDATE II: Mysterious LLCs donate $2,500 to Jensen’s campaign

UPDATE II: Here is an updated Jensen donor list with references to the businesses/employment the donors are associated with.

This is even better where it breaks down it down into donor groups.

Besides the fact that Alex has gotten $10,000 from Dennis Dopey our former governor, he also raked in big contributions from local developers and banksters in town. READ FULL REPORT.

Less than 7% was small donations of $100 or less.

But one of the most interesting contributions came from a list of 3 LLC’s ran by this guy, Kevin Tupy. They all have the same PO box address at the UPS store. I always get a kick out of how people try to hide their identity when giving to political campaigns or wiggling around the rules. If Tupy gave individually he would have only been able to give $1,000 but this little trick was able to put his contribution up to $2,500 while hiding his identity. Notice he did NOT give an individual donation.

Even more interesting is that Mr. TenHaken’s PAC did not give any money to Jensen. No worries, I’m sure he will be plugging money into it the second round of fundraising because that report won’t come out until right before the election.

Even though Jensen has raised a lot of money, I’m curious when he will actually be campaigning? Even if Stehly does not run (I think she will) wouldn’t you want to be campaigning in case you have another challenger? I have heard NOTHING about his stances on the issues. Does he have any? People have told me he knows little about city government and will get mopped by Stehly in any forum or debate.

I still believe Stehly can beat Jensen by at least 6 points without spending a single penny. And if she does, there is going to be a lot of sore LLCs and PACs in town 🙂

UPDATE: I also find it interesting that $18,000 in donations came from out of Sioux Falls ($10K-Daugaard, $8K from other towns). Mostly from High Profile Republicans and PACS, this tells me they are making this race partisan. While I did see a ‘couple’ of the donors are indies or Dems, that I know of, this is about getting an ‘establishment’ Republican elected. Stehly, though a Republican, has always performed her roll non-partisan (because, that is what the seat is). I think there are people in the party who want to kick her out, but I also know there are many that like her.

There was a recent Argus article/survey it asked people to identify local politicians, media, celebrities, etc. Theresa was on the survey, she got 44% of people being able to recognize her. Christine Erickson was on the survey to, she got 26%. Would have been interesting to see Jensen and Huether on the list.

SF Councilor Theresa Stehly 44%

Governor Kristi Noem 90%

Sen. John Thune 85%

Sen. Mike Rounds 83%

Rep. Dusty Johnson 80%

Mayor Paul TenHaken 75%

Councilor Christine Erickson 26%

SFSB President Cynthia Mickelson 21%

Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden 15%

I told a friend last night that if Stehly decides to run, the best move by Alex would be to drop out, send the donations back and save himself the embarrassment.

Alex Jensen raises $64K for Sioux Falls City Council Race

Let’s pretend for a moment you are not following the city council races at all. Let’s also pretend that you have no idea who Jensen or Stehly is. Then you saw the story in the newspaper that Mr. Jensen raised this much money for a city council race. What would your logical question be after that? “Who is running against Mr. Jensen?” Well at this point nobody. So why on earth would anyone feel they needed to raise $64K? Even if Stehly decides to NOT run for re-election, Alex could still get a challenger. Stehly will ultimately have to make up her mind in the coming weeks. The last time I spoke to her about the issue last week, she still was undecided.

If I was a guessing man, my guess is that Stehly will run for re-election. I expect her to actually spend less than she spent last time she ran (I think it was around $8,000). Money doesn’t always bode well for votes, as Sneve pointed out in his story. You also have to remember, Stehly is popular and the incumbent. The only people that have a problem with Big ‘T’ are the Big Shots in town. You also have to expect a low voter turnout, because this is a municipal election in a NON-Mayoral run year. And when the numbers are low, that means more informed voters show up to the polls.

I have nothing personal against Mr. Jensen, I just think head to head with Big ‘T’, she is the better candidate. She has proven she will work with constituents and she really has gotten a lot of things done, even without passing ordinances. Is she loud and forceful sometimes? Sure. But you have to be; “Well behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher

There is one main reason they want Theresa gone, because she tells the public what is going on, and the big wheels in town don’t like big mouths.

The Argus asked Stehly to provide a quote for the Jensen story, and they wouldn’t print it, so here it is;

“I’m wishing the citizens a Blessed Christmas Season and asking for prayers for all elected leaders. I will continue to serve the residents with loving, positive and responsive leadership.”

And I’m sure Theresa will hold the door of the elevator at first floor and not just send it back down later. 

Tree Branches. We’re On It.

Sioux Falls City Council ‘AT-Large’ race should be at least a ‘Threesome’

Yeah, whether Stehly is Ramrodding or Swinging she says some interesting things

There seems to be a lot of people concerned that Theresa Stehly is running for re-election for the At-Large position with the Sioux Falls city council. Even last night at Alex Jensen’s kickoff party he brought her up without bringing her up. As I have said in the past, I’m not sure if Stehly is going to run. The last conversation we had about it she responded, “I’m not sure.” and said something about needing to clean her house.

I have been telling people it doesn’t matter if Theresa runs for re-election, we need to have a lot of people running for the seat since it is At-Large. I mean, just think about it. If Theresa doesn’t run, our only choice would be Alex who basically vowed in his speech last night to do whatever the administration wants him to do and developers and business people, which is code for ‘rubber stamper’. I would like to see 4-6 people run for the seat including Alex and Theresa. There will ultimately be a run-off anyway if there is three or more.

I would also like to see more people run against Neitzert in the NW District. He has been a total disaster, not only supporting projects and initiatives that have been detrimental to our city, but going back on his promise of good government and transparency. And his unapologetic support of the Bunker Ramp and new Internal Auditor is truly despicable.

I often tell people when municipal elections roll around to get involved, and to either run as a candidate or help a candidate. We can’t continue down this rubber stamping road.

What do you think of Politicians who say they are ‘Positive’

My first interpretation is usually they are trying to paint their opponent(s) as being negative. Jensen has the following ad up on the internet;

I often tell people I try to steer away from labeling individual candidates as positive or negative. There are going to be tough decisions that are made, sometimes those decisions and that process can become pretty negative, but it has to be done. I judge a politician on whether they are truthful and transparent. I believe open government and decisions made in the public are very ‘positive’ even if it doesn’t appear that way, and having closed door meetings and coming out later and saying everything his peachy keen is kind of negative because they are probably hiding something from the public.

Has councilor Stehly ruffled feathers? (who BTW hasn’t announced yet) Sure, but she was instrumental in getting the administration moving on things, even if she hasn’t passed any legislation. Sometimes that very public pressure that may look messy, can have positive results.

As for the word ‘Proven’ I think that is even more overused then ‘Positive’. Jensen’s short stint in the legislature produced few results except voting down the party line. All that proves is that he is a rubber stamper, and we don’t need any more of those on the council.

I’ll say it again, I have nothing personal against Alex, but unless he starts to come out with some policy ideas for the city, he could spend a MILLION dollars and still not beat Stehly.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls Businesses say they feel like ‘the enemy’ at Jensen fundraiser?

So Pitty Pat decided to chime in on Alex Jensen’s fundraiser last night. Like I have said before, I don’t really have an opinion on Alex, because he really has NO political resume. His time in the legislature was minimal and he usually voted with the GOP majority. That aside, I did enjoy a couple of tidbits from the event;

You might have even caught a glimpse of a city councilor or two.

I heard that Marshall Selberg and Greg Neitzert showed up, (correction, Erica Beck WAS NOT in attendance). This of course is 2nd hand information since I wasn’t there. But this part of Pitty’s assessment had me rolling in the aisles

You did hear business people note they were weary of being considered an enemy as opposed to a valued parter in the future of the city.

UPDATE: So it’s funny how this was being ‘spinned’. I was told by a person in attendance that the REAL frustration business owners were having is the problems in the 8th Street & Fairfax area with homeless. And apparently that frustration (I’m guessing) is the city partnering with the business owners for a solution. For the record, this really is an administration and police issue, BUT, Stehly did hold a meeting to hear their concerns. So if the business owners are frustrated, it certainly has nothing to do with the Stehly OR Jensen.

So business owners feel like the city is making them the enemy and not partnering with them? That’s hilarious. Well, the biggest partnership in the history of the city went down the tubes, the Bunker Ramp and the RR Redevelopment isn’t looking much better. Other then that the city has consistently given handouts to some of the biggest developers in this city. For almost two decades they have gotten millions in TIF’s, Tax reductions, infrastructure upgrades, worker training programs, etc. and in return citizens have gotten pallet humper jobs and low wages. We also have gotten higher property taxes to pay for these ‘partnerships’ and in return we must beg the city for a low interest loan to fix our furnaces (Community Development Loans). The working class has gotten the shaft due to these ‘Partnerships’. Any business that complains that the city is treating them like ‘the enemy’ is either blind, ignorant, naïve, stupid or just flat out lying. The greed is insurmountable.

The business community is upset because Stehly can’t be bought with a tiny $250 donation. For the first time since Kermit Staggers, the people have a voice with Stehly, she fights for them, because as taxpayers we are the REAL partners driving the economy in this town and we are tired of feeling like the ENEMY. We saw this with the Tornado cleanup last week where citizens helped each other while the city fiddle-F’ckd around with their FB messaging.

If I was Stehly, I wouldn’t spend one single penny

As I told Alex last night when I ran into him, I’m not sure if Theresa is running for a second term. But I what I did not tell him is, she is unbeatable, no matter how much money you spend. The only thing that could make Stehly vulnerable is if several people jump into that race (I do think there will be others). But in a head to head challenge between Alex, or anybody else, she can’t be beat. I am so confident of that, I would advice Stehly to raise NO money and spend NO money if she decided to run for re-election. It would be an amazing sticking point to prove money in local politics corrupts the system.

While I don’t agree with Theresa on many things (trust me, we have a lot of disagreements, and I also argue with her about her ‘style’ and ‘form’ sometimes) but the one thing that makes her extremely re-electable is that she listens to the people, and is their voice when NO one else on the council will speak for them, and for this, she will be impossible to beat if she runs.

Alex Jensen to run for At-Large seat currently held by Stehly

Let’s talk about getting in the game early. I guess his treasurer, Matt Paulson wants to get a head’s up on the game. I guess it takes awhile to raise $100K.

You may remember when Alex was in the legislature, he had to move out of his district 12, but before he resigned that position he decided to take out papers to run in his new district 13, then he lost.

Is this best you could find Paulson?