Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken claims he has an executive order that violates the 1st Amendment AND the city charter

In a very strange exchange tonight at the city council meeting, Mayor Selfie made an astonishing admission. During the public input for the proposed campaign finance ordinance, David Zokaites mentions at the end of his testimony that Paul said last week from the dais that he was running for re-election, so David said ‘He’s got competition – me!’.

Paul got irritated and told David, ‘I would remind you David Z based on that you are not to use the dais per executive order to promote your candidacy, so this will be the last time you will be able to mention that, from the podium.’

David quickly snipes back, ‘That goes for both of us.’ and PTH says, ‘I don’t speak from THAT podium. That’s just a reminder of that executive order and thank you for adhering to those rules of this chamber.’

Wow! What arrogance! First off, people have been making those kind of pronouncements from that podium for years. Why? Because they can. I actually think it is hilarious that Paul thinks he can write an executive order (and not tell anyone about it until tonight) that is unconstitutional. No mayor in any city in this country can override the 1st Amendment and the US Constitution. It only proves how thick and petty Paul is. The rules for announcements applies to city officials from the dais because they are using their government position (and ultimately our money) to promote themselves. Any candidate that is currently not serving on the city council can say anything about their candidacy from the public input podium. Also, the city council controls their chamber, NOT the mayor. He cannot write an executive order about how the council runs their meetings, that is a violation of the charter, even though I’m more worried about the constitutional violation.

Never thought I would see a mayor in Sioux Falls admit to violating the US Constitution and City Charter at a public meeting. Ellis is right, it’s amateur hour at city hall.

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.

UPDATE: Big News coming next week for the Sioux Falls City Council Race?

UPDATE: I got word today, that I may have jumped the gun on this. There may not be any surprise announcements next week. While it is still a possibility, there are some other things going on behind the scenes that need to be situated before the announcements can be made. Stay tuned.

I’m getting word today there will be some ‘major’ announcements next week when it comes to the city council races. Candidates could pickup petitions starting today and have until February 28 to turn them in.

I’m keeping quiet about some of the rumors I have heard because this all could change by next week and at this point it is all pretty fluid. But let’s just say, some will be pleasantly surprised, and some will be crapping their drawers.

Important Dates for City of Sioux Falls Election

NOTE: I had to edit the 2nd slide because the dates were wrong on the city’s presentation. I passed the information along, so it will likely be fixed tomorrow.

Former Sioux Falls Mayor Knobe writes another FB post on money in local politics

Rick gets into the thick of it again;

A word on Sioux Falls City Election Campaign funds.

You learn a lot about a person by the way they handle other people’s money. Both tax dollars and those monies raised to run an election.

When a person runs for office obviously they need money to run a campaign so they can get their ideas out to the public.

When the campaign is over and the bills are paid, what should be done with leftover cash?

To me it’s simple.

It’s not your money.

Whether you win or lose, you don’t keep it. You don’t save it for your next election. You don’t give it to others running for office.

I agree, as I said a few days ago, the responsible thing to do to your contributors is spend every last penny up until the day of the election. Your campaign chest should really be empty or in debt on election day. That is called running a responsible and fiscally wise campaign which reflects on how you will run government when elected.

If you can figure out how to return it on a per donor or pro rata (an equal percentage goes back to each donor) that would make sense. Remember, It’s not your money. It belongs to your donors.

If that is too cumbersome, then donate it. Maybe the Community Foundation, the United Way, or the local government you love.

I think it would be difficult to give it back, but I do agree with the charitable idea.

Also I think it is dishonest to raise money to run for a city election and use the leftovers to run for another office later on. “I gave you money to run for mayor. I didn’t give you money to use it to run for Governor, Senator, Congress, or any other position.” I’m not targeting the current mayor. Just using that position as an example.

You kind of are, especially a politician who has money left over by skirting campaign finance rules and receiving donations from toddlers. Yes, toddlers.

I like level playing fields. People who have accumulated big war chests while holding office have both the name identification advantage AND the money advantage.

That makes it nearly impossible for smart motivated unknowns to make a dent.

If you run for office to be a true public servant that’s where your energy and time should go. Not to endless fund raising.

This is local government. It’s supposed to be non partisan and with few exceptions be part time.

Let’s not allow lucre (money) to interfere with good local government.

There have been several local races that have won spending a lot less than their opponents. Staggers (versus Knudson), Stehly, Brekke and Starr all spent less than their opponents and even though DeBoer lost to Soehl (by a handful of votes) he spent a lot less. It is possible to beat big money, you just have to find creative ways to get your message out there.

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.

Worried about having money left over from a campaign? Raise only what you need.

It was no surprise to hear our esteemed mayor complain about campaign finance rules and how he had money left over;

“It created a lot of unnecessary paperwork for me. It’s a huge pain in the you know what,” he said recently of why he opted to create a PAC instead of giving it away. “And I don’t want to give it away because I may run again.”

Remember, this is coming from the guy who skirted fundraising rules by taking money from toddlers, was doxxing people who were critical of Marion Mike Rounds’ campaign, and played musical servers for Pitty Patt when he was trying to hide from unethical behavior. If you are so concerned about all this left over money, maybe you should spend it, or raise less.

I have helped with many successful local campaigns that have literally ran on fumes and were in debt at the end. If you have money in your campaign chest, you spend every last penny up until the day of the election. That’s good planning, strategy and the responsible thing to do towards your donors. They give you the money to SPEND, not to sit on it for 4 years. I would think a communications guy who helped with marketing for many campaigns would know this.

There is a great quote by car culture artist, Von Dutch that I actually framed and hangs on a wall in my house;

I make a point of staying right at the edge of poverty. I don’t have a pair of pants without a hole in them, and the only pair of boots I have are on my feet. I don’t mess around with unnecessary stuff, so I don’t need much money.  I believe it’s meant to be that way.  There’s a ‘struggle’ you have to go through, and if you make a lot of money it doesn’t make the ‘struggle’ go away.  It just makes it more complicated. If you keep poor, the struggle is simple“. 

I love this quote, because Dutch is essentially saying, Money is bad and stay modest. I find it frustrating and comical that the mayor who just got back from a mission trip is complaining he has too much campaign money left over. Oh, the irony, Selfie Paul.

I also think that when this comes to a 2nd reading there will be some amendments thrown in to help certain people running for city council this time around. I recommend to avoid the appearance of benefitting certain candidates in this city election cycle, they defer the implementation of this ordinance until July 1st. The fireworks and debate on this item is going to be fun to watch.

Where’s Councilor Count Alex Jensen?

When I helped Greg Neitzert run for his first term, we were clear with him about what he needed to do to win the seat; announce before everyone else, and knock on doors like a mofo. Greg not only announced early, knocked on hundreds of doors, but also put out effective mailers. I think he also spent under $10K, and he won by quite a bit in a large pool of candidates. I will admit, there was no incumbent for the seat, but that just meant he had to work harder to get his name out there.

I had to laugh about a month ago when a frequent commenter on DWC, said that a ‘dead’ Jensen could beat Theresa Stehly. Well I would certainly agree with one part of his comment, Alex Jensen’s campaign has been one of the most well funded and lifeless campaigns I have ever seen in the history of city politics.

While he did announce early, he hasn’t really done much of anything else. In fact, a lot of people who don’t even like Theresa have said to me, ‘What does he stand for? I haven’t heard a peep from him.’ All the while his campaign manager goes around complaining about the incumbent (who hasn’t even announced yet – and may not).

I think Jensen’s campaign is wasting valuable time. I am quite certain that if Theresa decides to NOT run, there will a bevy of candidates that will run against Jensen (I know of at least two who are interested if Theresa decides to not run).

Wouldn’t you be concentrating your energy on telling people who you are instead of having your little campaign troll spend all day on FB calling Theresa a bully? Ironic, I know.

Could Alex Jensen beat Theresa Stehly in a one to one race? Sure. But not a ‘dead’ Jensen. I think it is the first time I have seen a vampire run for city council, but certainly not the first time a ‘bloodsucker’ would serve on the dais.

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.

First Public Sioux Falls City Council Operations Committee meeting

The operations committee has never met in the 7 years they have existed in public until a couple of months away from a city election in which the chair, Neitzert is up for re-election. Shocker. Towards the end, Councilor Brekke schooled them on the legal repercussions of using cell phones during public meetings (FF: 52:30)