Entries Tagged 'Cynthia Mickelson' ↓

Former Sioux Falls School Board President, Mickelson starts newsletter

I will have to give Cynthia Mickelson props, she is one of the rare local public servants who actually wants the public to understand what she does and why. I don’t always agree with Mickelson, but she is willing to have that conversation and provide answers when asked. She has always either returned my calls, my texts or emails and doesn’t shy away from having difficult policy discussions. You can fault elected officials for NOT being transparent or just blatant laziness but it is difficult to become frustrated with an official who wants to work with you.

Cynthia’s N/L was informative, but the chart below really astonished me with how we fund public education now, opposed to 70 years ago;

Mayor TenHaken says FREE youth ridership is part of Sioux Falls ONE initiative

I guess I was a little surprised to hear that the program was a part of Sioux Falls ONE, an initiative that I still have trouble understanding its mission. This program came about because of years of advocacy from former transit board members, a successful program in Rapid City and the work of former school board President Cynthia Mickelson and councilor Curt Soehl. While I do appreciate the presser and the celebration of a wonderful program it kind of sounds like someone is spiking the football after the rest of the team has already hit the locker room.

Washington Pavilion, Transparency and FREE youth bus rides

During the Informational meeting yesterday I spoke about the Pavilion’s slow growth in concert revenue and memberships as well as charging to attend regional art shows. (FF: 49:20) Below is a graphic of the current annual report.

During the city council regular meeting I talked about transparency in government (FF: 7:00) and the FREE youth bus rides (FF: 15:10). For clarification, several advocacy groups have been pushing for this for over a decade. Last Fall a couple people from those groups reached out to me to blog about it. I then reached out to former SF School board president Cynthia Mickelson who currently still serves on the board. She thought it was a good idea since the school district has been struggling with their own bus system and she reached out to councilor Curt Soehl and they have been working diligently to get it pushed through the transit board. A big thank you to both of them for their diligence.

Sioux Falls City Council Candidate Forums

Monday May 18th, Downtown Rotary Forum • At-Large Candidates Stehly and Jensen • Online at NOON.

Thursday May 21st, Council Candidate Forum • All candidates • 5:30 PM

Tuesday May 26th, Argus Leader • At-Large Candidates Stehly and Jensen • 10:30 AM.

There was a SF Chamber Committee private forum this past week and I spoke with someone who was in attendance. They basically said, ‘Theresa crushed it!” They also said Jensen knew very little about city government. Shocker!

My endorsements haven’t really changed;

• Vote NO on both Charter Amendments

• Stehly for At-Large. Like her or not, she has the best interest of the citizens at heart. She is also a champion of transparency.

• Julian Beaudion for NW district. Neitzert has been a turncoat.

• Cynthia Mickelson for school board. I know this may shock some people, but I think she has tried to open the school district up to more transparency. I don’t always agree with her, but I think she really works hard and tries to do the right thing.

• Crystal Johnson for Minnehaha State’s Attorney.

I also encourage everyone to absentee vote either by mail (complicated and they are way behind on applications) or in person at the election center, directly east of the Minnehaha County Administration building. I voted a week ago, brought my own pen, and I was the only one there. As I was leaving I soaked my hands in hand sanitizer by the door.

Sioux Falls Municipal Election Roundup

Here is what we know as of 5 PM.

• Cynthia Mickelson seems to have a challenger, Sarah Stokke is a nursing instructor at the University of South Dakota. I am not familiar with Sarah, but I have heard her name before in certain circles. This will make two races for the citywide ballot, but the interesting twist is that NOT everyone voting for this race can vote in the city election because the boundaries are different. In other words there will be people who can ONLY vote for school board or ONLY vote for At-Large council. I know, complicated.

• Marshall Selberg (SW District) and Pat Starr (NE District) do not have challengers, so they will get 4 more years.

• Greg Neitzert has a challenger, Julian Beaudion (NW District). This is a district seat only and not city wide.

• Theresa Stehly and Alex Jensen will challenge each other for the At-Large position. Since there are only two, their will be no run-off election (The ‘Stehly Rule’ won’t be used again). This will be the ONLY city-wide position on the ballot besides the Charter Amendments (and those living in the SFSD who can vote for school board).

I suspect a very low voter turnout of about 5%. The interesting part is this will be one of the most expensive elections in city history for only having two horse race. All precincts will be used, and the money Jensen plans on spending will probably be a record for a council race (the rumors going around are $200-250K). I’m not even sure how you can spend all that?

But this will be fun to watch, because all the attention will be on the At-Large race. This will give Stehly the advantage, besides her incumbency.

Let the Games Begin!

Will Mickelson have a challenger for Sioux Falls School Board?

Sioux Falls School Board President Cynthia Mickelson currently does NOT have a challenger for the seat. As I have mentioned before, there is only one official race for the April 14th School Board/City Council election, the race in the Northwest District between Neitzert and Beaudion.

There are 3 other council seats up for re-election.

While I do suspect Alex Jensen will have a challenger for the At-Large position, I’m not sure the other 3 races will see any challengers.

Mickelson steamrolled her way into the seat spending an unprecedented $16K for the seat, even placing signs in the Tea School District. I find it ironic that Cynthia serves on the SFSD board while her husband is busy wreaking questionable havoc on the environment with his CAFO business, while costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal fees for pushing unconstitutional laws against petition gatherers. Of, course, many would say, that has nothing to do with Cynthia, but if you look at her donor list from when she ran the first time, I think it is very relevant.

There continues to be a Monarchy in Sioux Falls and South Dakota, and I think Cynthia’s title as Board President should be changed to Dutchess of Schools.

Will Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly run for a 2nd term?

It’s a question I get almost daily, and I don’t know the answer to it. I did have a conversation with Theresa this morning, and she did confirm to me that she has still not decided, but told me to share this message,

“I have been praying about the decision and have been praying for our mayor.”

I hope Theresa can make a decision soon, so if she does decide to NOT run someone other candidates can get in the race. I told her personally that I would respect either decision, I know the toll the council position has taken on her, yes, some of it self-inflicted, but no one can deny that she has worked harder to inform citizens than any councilor since the home rule charter was instituted.

I also want to say that this may be a dismal election. There are 4 city council seats up for grabs and 1 school board position, so far there is only one city council race that has a challenger and that is the race for the NW district between incumbent Neitzert and Julian Beaudion. Even if Theresa decides to not run against Jensen, I think he will have at least one challenger. That being said, there may only be two races on the ballot with only one of those seats being city wide, the current seat held by Stehly. If there is only one city wide race on the ballot come April, I expect the voter turnout to be extremely low. There is still time though, and other councilors and Mickelson (school board) could get challengers. We will see.

Sioux Falls School District has NO PLAN to staff $300 Million in new schools

Maybe Sioux Falls School Board Member, Cynthia Mickelson just didn’t know the answer, but when asked the other day while addressing the League of Women Voters about the school bonds, she was asked where the money will come from to staff the new schools.

Obviously, when you build three new schools and spend $40 million to upgrade other schools, you will need additional staff. When Cynthia was asked the question, she pretty much said, “We will figure it out.”

The $300 million bond is ONLY for capital improvements and will not be used for operating. On top of that, the levy will change so they could change the tax structure for paying off the bonds. In other words LESS money coming in for operating.

So how will they staff the new schools? I expect another small opt-out initiated by the school board. But seriously, shouldn’t the Super and Board explain to the public how they will fund these schools operations? Utilities? Maintenance? Teacher/Admind/support staff salaries?

Good Question.

Sioux Falls School Board Member Cynthia Mickelson says some interesting things about open enrollment and the school bond issue

The first thing I found interesting was she was out promoting the bond issue before the school board has even voted on the special election (They vote on it July 23). She talks about the problem of re-districting and how it will be done AFTER the schools are built, which is putting the cart in front of the horse. It should be done before the bond vote. She shows how some of the schools are under utilized. She continues to mention that re-districting is hard and will come with some challenges. She talks about how they may use the school for the deaf area for a new Whittier (but says that is off the record). She also talks about losing housing in the ‘Poorer’ neighborhood if they build Whittier in current location. One person in the crowd asks an interesting question, “Where will the money come from to staff the new buildings?” Cynthia really didn’t have an answer except that “They hope not to have another opt-out.” She than goes on to say, “They will have to figure it out.” So basically they are asking for around $300 million to build new schools without a plan to staff them. Speaking of the $300 million number, Cynthia never mentions the principal + interest with the bond. It seems to be the dirty little secret about this bond issue, NO one will talk about the total cost of these bonds. Should this be considered lying by public officials? NO. But it certainly is very dishonest to not give the voters these numbers.

Cynthia Mickelson spends 5.5x more than closest opponent

The final 2017 Sioux Falls School Board Race Final Finance Reports came in on July 18. With those reports in we can present the ‘REAL’ numbers of what was spent in the race. I am comparing the top two vote getters, Dobberpuhl and Mickelson.

 

Mickelson, 2,278 Votes. She spent $6.12 per vote

(Spent $13,944. She raised $21,504)

 

Dobberpuhl, 1,811 Votes. He spent $1.39 per vote

(Spent $2,524. He raised a little under $2,000)

 

I originally posted that Mickelson spent 7-10x more than Dobberpuhl, which was NOT TRUE and wanted to correct this with the final numbers.

Mickelson’s Final Report (PDF DOC: Mickelson-YearEnd Report) and First Report (PDF DOC: cyn-a11)

Dobberpuhl’s Final Report (PDF DOC: Dobberpuhl-Final)

I spoke to the School Board about the last school board election and not only raised concerns about how the election was handled (Lack of precincts, etc.) I suggested that there should be a spending cap of $5,000 for candidates. I think it is very hard for regular candidates to compete when their opponents outspend them in such a drastic way.