Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

The Bickering and Backbiting continues

While things are becoming more strange by the day with the corona virus, our local government has been reacting very well. I will commend the city, county and school district for the continued updates and staying vigilant. I will say however, the Federal government has been flailing for weeks. But one thing didn’t change at last night’s council meeting, the continued fighting between councilors, especially the riff between councilors Erickson and Stehly. When the city council was set to vote on the operations manual updates, Stehly suggested an amendment (that got the support of councilors Brekke and Starr). She asked that city council employees be respectful of citizens (FF 1:25) This was the second time in the meeting in which Stehly was attacked, and told she doesn’t know what she was talking about.

The first time was over the RFP for the sewer plant. Theresa asked for a deferral, due partially to the economic situation we are facing, but mostly because there is a ton of unknowns because of how the RFP was handled. I also question the $9.5 million in CMAR fees to the Manager of the project (6% of $159 million). While I don’t always agree with Stehly’s logic on some of her deferral ideas and amendments, I agree 100% with her on this deal. It seems like they are trying to push this thru as fast as possible with nobody’s really looking on how this deal was concocted. Remember, the last administration basically kept this expansion from the public, only mentioned it in passing a few times and never had a price tag attached to it. This, I believe was done on purpose so Bucktooth & Bowlcut could build his play palaces. If the public knew a $200 million dollar sewer plant was looming, they would have never supported these other projects. On top of that, two new jails (Minnehaha and now in Lincoln county) and $300 million in school bond debt.

I’m afraid we are not going to see a lot of things going on behind the scenes during this crisis. Greed and corruption lurks in dark spaces. If there ever is a time that we need to be open and transparent with the public, that time is now.

Also, during the meeting, two councilors chose to call into the meeting, those two were Brekke and Kiley. Even on the phone, Kiley continued to tell us how smart he was while defending the bureaucracy. I’ve have always been kind of irritated by his tone, and I finally figured out why. He is always defending government instead of citizens. It must be from all his years as a teacher. Kiley has never grasped that he is elected by citizens to represent us, that is why we have an elected council. If Kiley wants to defend the city instead of the rights of the citizens, maybe he should resign his seat and apply for a job with the city. I’m sure they could find something for that know it all to do.

The blog up North continues to make unfounded accusations about Stehly. The latest was her comment at the council meeting about the possibility of Marshall Law. This isn’t far-fetched at all. Many major cities across the nation and world have shut down. While the mayor may not have the power to declare a curfew, the Governor or the President could. While Councilor Soehl calls this ‘hysteria’ he may be eating his words in a few days. There was also a dig on Stehly for not attending last week’s emergency meeting. She informed me that she got a ‘text’ from COS Erica Beck late in the afternoon about the meeting, and couldn’t attend due to a teaching appointment. But she also told me that she could have called in if someone told her that was the option, which they did not. Trust me, Stehly wanted to attend the meeting, she didn’t just blow it off.

Theresa sent this email to the Governor today;

Dear Governor Noem,

Our Catholic Masses have been cancelled, our schools have been cancelled, our employees are being told to work from home, our restaurants are closing their eating areas,  stores in the malls are closing, and our City Council is restricting public gatherings.

In light of all the precautions we are taking to keep our beloved citizens safe, I am begging you to intervene and reschedule our upcoming April 14 City Council/school board election.  Absentee voting is slated to start on March 30 at our Minnehaha County administration Building. However,  The Argus has just reported:

 “Second Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Robin Houwman issued an order Wednesday restricting who can enter the courthouses through April 30. “

There is rampant confusion about what is happening with this election. If you and our city officials don’t reschedule the election, 

You need to personally ensure that all voters  and election workers will be safe and protected from illness.

According to yesterday’s  Argus Leader  you were quoted as saying the following:

“She said the state is having ongoing discussions with local officials regarding the Sioux Falls election in April, but no decisions have been made to delay it at this point. “

Thank you for your consideration. Know that you are in my prayers.

Theresa Stehly

The word now is that the SOS and Governor do not have the power to postpone the Spring municipal elections across the state but she has asked the legislature to rule on it on veto day, March 30.

Also today this text message is going around;

I am not sure who sent it, but Stehly said it was NOT from her campaign. The word is this was NOT an independent survey and the Jensen campaign was behind it. IF THIS IS TRUE it could be a violation of campaign rules. More to come on that.

Will the Coronavirus affect city elections across the state of South Dakota?

Sioux Falls is NOT the only city having elections on April 14th, many cities across the state are having municipal elections, including Crooks, Brookings and Yankton, and several others.

Governor Noem has mentioned she is looking into her options. I guess according to state law, that date cannot change. What I don’t know is if she has the executive authority thru the SOS’s office to move that date up. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Noem said at a news conference Friday at the Capitol that one of her lawyers had met with the South Dakota Secretary of State staff about how the spring elections might be affected.

I have told candidates at this point I think a ‘wait and see’ approach may be better. For instance if the virus curve is going down by April 6th, there may be no reason to postpone, if it is spiking like crazy, Noem may have to take action.

Personally I would hate to see it postponed. I know that the candidates, all 4 of them in the race in Sioux Falls, have been working hard on getting out the vote.

I encourage people, if you are healthy, to absentee vote at the courthouse after March 30. I know the county courthouse in Minnehaha is looking into providing hand sanitizer stations in the lobby, which is good.

On a similar note, the city of Dell Rapids put out this advice on FB;

Due to the coronavirus concerns, there has been a shortage of toilet paper on store shelves. This may cause users to look for alternative products such as paper towels, facial tissues, baby wipes, flushable wipes, and other similar items. These products do not break down like toilet paper and can cause sanitary sewer overflows, which in turn can cause additional public health hazards. PLEASE DON’T FLUSH ITEMS OTHER THAN TOILET PAPER DOWN YOUR TOILET.

As for cleaning up campaign rhetoric in this election cycle, I suggest using a shovel.

Is Count Jensen using one of the most expensive and overrated ad agencies in the state?

In this screenshot of a FB video Jensen posted about the Mexican Beer Flu, absentee voting and yard signs (yup, it was all in there) I noticed a familiar logo on a conference room table, the logo of Lawrence and Schiller. If Count Counciloser is using this firm to help mold his message, no wonder he needs to raise a lot of money, they ain’t cheap, and they certainly don’t scream grassroots. The special interests just keep stacking the deck.

I will commend Alex on one thing in his disjointed message though, it is important to absentee vote.

Sioux Falls’ city election will be held on April 14th, with polls open between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM.

Check your voter registration, find your polling place and view a sample ballot here:

If you are concerned about COVID19, we encourage you to vote absentee in person between March 30th and April 13th. All registered Sioux Falls voters may vote absentee in-person at the Minnehaha County Auditor’s Office (415 N. Dakota Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57104).

You may also vote absentee by mail. Information on voting by mail is available on the City Clerk’s website. https://www.siouxfalls.org/council/city-clerk/election-information/2020-elections/absentee-voting

Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert doesn’t deserve re-election

This isn’t an endorsement of his opponent Julian Beaudion (though it kind of is). While I don’t know much about Julian, I do know one thing, as a SD Highway Patrol officer, he must conduct himself with the highest degree of integrity, especially while serving the public, it is essential in performing his job. While Julian has no governing experience, he certainly has public service experience and I think he would make a great asset to the city council.

This is more about the complete failure of Councilor Greg Neitzert. I won’t lie to you, I helped Greg run for office 4 years ago, I helped him with a strategy, I helped write a lot of his campaign materials and did most of his graphic design. He was a good student who listened and did what was asked of him, and he won. In less than a year into his term I noticed that he was more interested in rubbing elbows with the mucky mucks of Sioux Falls than getting in the ditches with the common folks. He started to hint to me that many of the things I believed about city government were really not true and it was just a bunch of conspiracy theories. Yeah, because you know, I was wrong about the EC siding and bunker ramp. I knew where this was headed. Soon after, Greg and I stopped communicating all together. He sold his soul to the special interests of Sioux Falls, and as someone commented the other day, “Greg first finds out from his masters how he should vote, than researches how he can best sell that vote to the public.” Bingo! But the citizens are not buying it. Greg has become a complete sellout rubber stamping puppet tool who will kiss the ring of anyone who wants a favor. He has lied during meetings, lied to constituents and stabbed many of his colleagues and the people who helped him get elected in the back – numerous times. There are many other things Greg has done behind the scenes that I can’t even mention here. He certainly doesn’t deserve 4 more years, but it seems as the incumbent in a small district, he will probably be re-elected. If that happens, and fellow incumbent Stehly gets re-elected also, it is going to be a rough ride for him.

Puzzling mailing in Sioux Falls City Council race

As a person who has helped get FOUR Sioux Falls city councilors and a Democrat elected to the legislature in a conservative district, I often shake my head when I see things like above. While I could certainly go on a very long rant about everything wrong with this mailing, I will only say one thing. If you are running against a popular incumbent, you never, ever attack them in your introductory mailing. I am incredibly baffled as to who is giving this poor soul campaign advice (well I do know who). FAIL!

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly Meet & Greet, Sunday

Stehly will be at the Benson’s Flea Market on Sunday March 8th from 10:00-2:00 to visit with the public.

So will Mayor TenHaken and Councilor Erickson publicly endorse Jensen now?

(screenshot of Erickson’s FB page. Look, Alex has a name tag already!

So now that the ethics debacle has taken place, will this now give Paul and Christine the green light to publicly endorse (not just give money) Neitzert and Jensen, essentially saying that Julian and Stehly are not fit for office? And if so will Brekke and Starr follow suit and publicly endorse Stehly?

Neitzert said this on FB about the decision;

Yesterday the board of ethics ruled it was not only legal but ethical for Councilors to donate, endorse, and host fundraisers for other Council candidates. Same goes for the Mayor. And thus common sense and free speech won. And those using the board of ethics as a weapon during the campaign season to try to malign good people and attack their political opponents failed miserably.

I know, it reads like a line from a Shakespearean tragedy.

The issue with this kind of endorsement is the reason Brekke asked the question. Why? They are not really endorsing anyone, they are just saying that Theresa and Julian are not fit for office, so she needs to be replaced and Julian shouldn’t be able to serve.

It’s a different situation with Julian because he isn’t the incumbent, but with Stehly, she has a record. All we have from Jensen is a short rubberstamp legislative career chocked full of discrimination and higher tax votes. They are certainly not going to endorse Jensen based on his record, all they are saying is we need a rubber stamping seat warmer to replace Stehly.

This has been my biggest frustration with the race so far. We know Stehly and Neitzert’s record, we also know that Julian has had several public events saying what he stands for, he even helped with Jolene’s campaign. But with Jensen we have heard virtually nothing. NOTHING.

How can you say he would be better than Stehly when we don’t even know what that ‘better’ means? It is pretty clear to me that an endorsement of Jensen isn’t an endorsement at all, it’s just a dig on Stehly, and it’s extremely unethical, and any logical adult can see right thru the charade.

Crystal Johnson is the most prepared to be the next Minnehaha States Attorney

The Petty Politics continue

Now they are going after Stehly over a in-kind donation of less than $30;

Stehly, though, told the Argus Leader Monday that her 2016 campaign website was renewed on her behalf by Sioux Falls resident and political ally Bruce Danielson. She said she would file an amendment to her campaign disclosure report showing an in-kind contribution of $29.98, the price Danielson paid on Feb. 11.

But she has no intention of listing those other expenses because they weren’t related to her campaign, she said.

First off Theresa was made aware of this donation by the Argus employee and intends to file an amendment to her campaign finance report (which isn’t officially due until March 4).

As for the other expenses, anyone with common sense knows that 1) Stehly paid for those out of her own pocket and 2) they were public information mailings, etc. None of it was campaign materials. You don’t have to believe me. Read any of it, and no where in those materials does she mention to vote for her in the upcoming election or NOT to vote for her opponent. Even a dead person knows the difference between a campaign ad and public information. I guess according to them any thing Stehly has bought over the past 3 years was a campaign ad. Seriously, that is their argument. Gee, she better report that pork chop she grilled for me two years ago, must have been a nefarious attempt to buy my vote 🙂

But this is how low in the gutter Jensen’s surrogates will go to try to muddy the waters about Stehly. While they are concerned about an in-kind donation less than $30, their candidate is going to spend thousands of dollars donated to him by the well connected special interests of Sioux Falls. This is what should truly scare us, trying to buy a city council seat.

As for their argument about Stehly’s finances, what about all the PACs and LLCs with Fed Ex PO boxes that donated to her opponent? Let’s talk transparency.

I didn’t think it would hit rock bottom this soon, but I suspect by April 14th Jensen’s minions will be below the wreckage of the Titanic with their attacks. Pathetic.

Why does the establishment want Stehly gone?

I have often said that this race is not about Jensen being a better candidate than Stehly, he is simply a pawn in this game. This is about the monied establishment getting rid of Stehly. If they could have legally ran a monkey or a dog against her, they would have. As commenter and supporter of Jensen said on that ‘other’ blog; ‘a ‘dead’ person could beat Stehly.’ They probably wish they could run a dead person against her.

Here are some reasons why I think this group of mucky mucks want Stehly gone (this is strictly my opinion and I have not consulted with Theresa or anybody else before scribing this post).

• Misogyny & Sexism. I call it more of a light hearted, passive aggressive version of it. Not only does it exist with those outside of government, it is within also. ‘Certain’ men in power don’t like being told they are wrong by a woman, especially a middle-aged woman who has never been married or ran a major corporation or small business. Let’s face it, Theresa has a big mouth, but I don’t think this has anything to do with wanting to be the loudest person in the room or embarrassing her male counterparts, I think it has to do with the next point.

• Transparency. Theresa likes to get information out to her constituents. She often does this during public meetings that are live and video recorded and broadcasted to constituents, sometimes asking strange questions that befuddle her colleagues, but it is an unique way to get the answers on record out of city employees. This inflames the establishment and those within city government who like doing things thru the ‘Good Old Boys’ network system of closed door meetings, private phone and email conversations, and back door handshake agreements. She sheds a light on this practice, and they want to silence her.

• Money & Greed. Many business people in this city have been the recipients of millions of dollars in corporate welfare handouts like contracts, TIFs and tax breaks. While Theresa does support some of these programs, her questioning of the practice drives them crazy because they don’t like getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar. I think if Theresa wins a 2nd term you will see her go after this more intensely, and that scares the bejeebers out of them, because she does not need a majority of the council to question it.

• Responds to constituents. While there are others on the council that do respond to constituents, Stehly spends a great deal of more time on it. That is one reason she has such strong grassroots support behind her, she often is the only one to look into a city issue while the rest of them hope they just run into you at the grocery story. The establishment doesn’t like someone in city government standing up for the little guy. The little guy in Sioux Falls is supposed to go to his crappy paying job, pay high rent for his crappy apartment, shut up and don’t complain. Theresa is their voice, and she often encourages them to come to public input and share their story.

• Spends her own income on informing the public. I think this alone perplexes the establishment, because they would never in a million years do something like this if they were elected to office. I know Theresa and a little about her finances, and I can vouch 100% she has no secret donors paying for these informational mailings, it all comes from her bank account. In fact, she has had to cut back a little on teaching when she became a councilor and has lost some revenue from that, because she treats it like a 24/7 job. Yes, Stehly does receive a paycheck of a little over $19K a year from the city, but that isn’t any different than a city employee receiving pay for the work they do for the public, and Stehly is free to spend that income on whatever she wants to. Councilors also don’t receive a pension or healthcare benefits.

• Challenges the special interests play palaces. Theresa has fought hard to oppose ridiculous projects like the Bunker Ramp and City Administration building. She is often in the minority, but has never faltered and has been 100% spot on in her criticism. Special interests don’t like that she questions these unneeded projects, and they want to return to the super majority, rubber stamp council of the last administration. It also doesn’t help that she often very accurately predicts the outcome of these disastrous projects.

• Treats everyone with respect when she is treated with respect. Some have accused Theresa of being mean and a bully, but Theresa applies the Golden Rule, if you smack her down, she smacks back. If you help her, she will hold out a hand. It goes back to my first point about sexism. When men do it, they are considered courageous and brave, when women fight back they are bitches and mean. Theresa stands up for her beliefs, even if she is wrong sometimes. Well-behaved women seldom make history.”

I know it is going to be a rough 5 weeks until the election, and big money just might buy this seat for a monkey rubber stamping vampire, but make no mistake, certain special interests and special people in this town want her gone, and you will soon see more of the vitriol that already started today. Trust me, I know Theresa has learned from how Jolene was treated in the mayoral election, and she certainly isn’t going to let that kind crap happen to her.