Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

I’m flattered

I had to laugh that newly elected councilor stole my cartoon idea in this article;

“My joke is: a doctor, a lawyer and a preacher walked into a bar …” Barranco said of himself and his fellow incoming council members.

He also said this;

He also sees the commanding re-election of TenHaken – and the election of all candidates he endorsed – as a sign that residents are happy with how things are going and that “the city’s on track.”

Yes David, a very small percentage that bothered to vote in North Harrisburg are just tickled Taupe.

Newly elected Councilor already has an official photographer

Good thing, because image is everything!

Also throughout the installations, when Paul would introduce them, he would say who their guests were (namely campaign donors). This has never been done before except for introducing kids and spouses. Not sure why Matt Paulson and Leslee Unruh being guests for a particular candidate needed to be announced?

UPDATE: Citizens for a Sustainable Sioux Falls file ballot question Committee

UPDATE: Here is a copy of the petition, and also a detailed story about it.

So the people fighting the Wholestone Packing Plant filed this last Wednesday (FULL PDF)

Notice the name of the committee is ‘Smart Growth Sioux Falls’, and below they listed their intentions ‘The ballot question committee supports measures to prohibit certain Slaughterhouses from being constructed, or being permitted to operate, within Sioux Falls city limits’

I guess it would be safe to assume they will attempt to circulate a petition to stop Wholestone. While they have made no pronouncements to the media or on their website about what their intentions are, I am guessing we will hear soon. They will probably have 6 months to gather a little over 6,000 signatures.

Without taking a stance until I know more about their intentions, I will warn them, the city’s legal counsel will either do everything in their power to kill your petitions or fall over themselves to support you to get this on the ballot.

This will be fun to watch from the outside for once.

I had a great convo today with a local businessman and Switzerland’s direct democracy form of government and how the Swiss people embrace voting on most laws that affect them. I have felt for a long time the only way you get anything done that truly affects our lives and government policy is thru direct democracy and the ballot box, and this is a prime example. Representative government is a flawed and broken system.

Were these PACs fined for missing the filing deadline?

As you can see, three PACs that donated to the candidates in the latest City of Sioux Falls city election did not file their reports until 4 days after the filing deadline of April 7, 2022.

Ironically, 2 of the reports were filed within minutes of each other. I had asked the question why these PACs were not held accountable? And while they were filed less than 24 hours before the polls opened on Tuesday, is this really accountability?

While hindsight can be 20/20 we have been digging around on not just the money flowing into the winners column but an interesting strategy of data collection on targeting likely voters, especially in North Harrisburg (SE District).

Let’s just say the city’s use of Facebook for videos and EventBrite to book public meetings should be be BANNED immediately. They are harvesting data on citizens and it is NOT being used to improve your lives. We found out on Tuesday it is being used to manipulate voters and elections.

Mayor TenHaken made a revealing statement before the election about having the privilege of being a sitting mayor and having access to information his competitors do not. Was he using some of this access to help his campaign? I don’t know, but I do know that several years earlier he was using some of the same techniques to help the Marion Mike Rounds campaign dig up a dissenter and also trying to hide a blogger turned Deputy SOS who was also accused of using taxpayer information to assist his personal campaign consulting business. Jackboots let him off saying he didn’t steal any money from the petty cash drawer.

Is it ethical or even legal for a campaign to use this data for their personal benefit? Yes, if it is done from the outside thru other data collection tactics. Will we ever know if that is the case?

I encourage everyone to stop following the mayor and city on Facebook and Twitter. I also encourage to NOT fill out any surveys or RSVP requests from the city that use a 3rd party company.

Mayor ‘Hottie Pants’ garners the Hot Mess Mom Vote

Well, some nicknames can’t last forever, and now with a new term, we may have to drop Poops and replace it with Mayor Hottie Pants (see below).

People continue to vote for image NOT substance.

This exchange on Argus 911 FB page says all you need to know about how the desperate housewives of Taupeville vote. Ironically, I told a friend the other night while watching the debates, Ms. Islam isn’t too hard on the eyes either, but I still voted for the hippie.

If you go to the thread (April 12) you will also see several blatant racist comments about Muslims. But the comparisons to Trump and how much Captain Hottie Pants has accomplished really had me laughing. I wonder what city some of these people have been living in the past 4 years? I wonder if they realize the SE District is just a district and not the entire city?

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader and MSM Media got what it wanted (Guest Post, Theresa Stehly)

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader got what it wanted: A City Council of Paul Tenhaken’s hand picked supporters.

Never mind that they never, ever have mentioned the $120,000+ that people like Alex Jensen are spending on Council campaigns now to win.

They wanted less debate and scrutiny from Council members. They got it!

Council members voting for projects that benefit their employers? The Argus doesn’t mind.

Councilor Janet Brekke brought an ordinance, supported by the board of ethics, to mandate ethics training for employees, Council members and ethics board members. It was voted down on second reading last night, without discussion. Does the Argus care? NO!

God knows what the Argus Leader’s motivation has been, personal relationships, concern for business advertising, or just plain lazy reporting. But their bias and lack of balanced reporting has worked to rip away the representation, transparency and accountability for the average citizen and their concerns. Since things will run so smoothly now for City Hall and Chamber / Developer interests, perhaps the Argus does not even need a City reporter?

We can trust that City Hall will take care of everything without public oversight. AMEN.

EDITOR’S NOTE: While I am just as much upset as Stehly, I saw the writing on the wall with how the local media was treating Poops and his Endorsed Candidates. Not one single source asked Sarah Cole why she has never voted in a city election (her first vote was for herself ironically). Or the ethics of a mayor and council endorsing the opponent of an incumbent. But the worst was the zero coverage of what Paul has actually accomplished over the past four years even when he admitted he hasn’t done anything by saying his first four years were for setting up the chess board. Also no mention in the debates why he said, “I didn’t sign up for this.”

I will tell you the real reason why Poops won by such a wide margin, people don’t like change, and they know from his first term, he won’t change a damn thing except more closed government, more handouts to rich friends and higher taxes and fees.

As you can see from Megan’s story that years of voter suppression is what lead up to this. The sad part is in the poorer neighborhoods;

Voters in Sioux Falls’ southeast district had the highest turnout (about 32 percent), and voters in the northeast district had the lowest turnout (about 20 percent).

Turnout data showed some correlation to income (note: correlation does not equal causation). The two precincts with the fewest voters casting a ballot were also in neighborhoods with high rates of poverty.

There are many factors. One is the lack of media coverage and lack of the city providing information (sample ballots). This has been going on for awhile. Like when the school district holds an election, they don’t put any polls in the Northern part of the city. Then we wonder why the poorer neighborhoods don’t vote?

“What we have to do is figure out as a society that it’s OK for everyone to vote,” Erpenbach said, “and then make it as easy as possible.”

Weird, because if you look at Megan’s chart, Michelle was serving on the council during this flatline and spearheaded firing a City Clerk who was trying to make city elections better who was later replaced by our current clerk who wasn’t even registered to vote when he got hired for the position.

And we sit around and wonder why voter turnout is so low? It’s not an accident, it’s by invention.

Sioux Falls City Election; Democracy Candidates got their butts kicked . . . kinda.

There was a couple of good things that happened yesterday. We got some much needed rain, AG Rumblestrips got impeached and the mayor’s salary increase failed (that one was easy to predict).

I will admit, the candidates that lost don’t have any excuses, the other side played a better game. The Dutch Mafia has a strong following and the troops were well organized. I only assisted one candidate with a logo design and verbal advice, I had very little to do with the other campaigns except for my endorsements. I only spoke with Pam Cole two times when I signed her petition and at a forum and I spoke with NO ONE from the Islam campaign. In fact, Taneeza personally called David Z and asked him to drop out of the race so he wouldn’t steal votes from her. This is the main reason I supported David. Taneeza was playing the same political games as TenHaken. But who can top his intimidation tactics by threatening candidates then pretending he is the victim. It was a scare tactic that worked. It doesn’t matter how low you go, as long as you win.

The mayoral race and At-Large B races were easy to predict. TenHaken was impossible to beat, nobody had a chance. Also, Rich Merkouris had a stellar campaign. But those were NOT the only factors. The Wine and Cheese Democrats were running the opponents campaigns, they use the same playbook over and over again expecting different results. Their topics are always the same, help poor people, gay rights, childcare, poor people housing, addiction, public transit, the homeless. You know, all the bummer topics that the good Rich White Christian positive folks in Sioux Falls do NOT want to hear or talk about in Taupeville, because those problems don’t exist in their neighborhood and they proved that last night.

I also think when it comes to the campaigns of Ingle, Reistroffer and Brekke, a ground game doesn’t work anymore (direct mail, knocking on doors, etc.) unless it is in combination with a strong digital marketing strategy. I also don’t think robocalls and texting is a good idea. I am not sure it angers a lot of people, because I think they are used to it, I think they just ignore it. You also have to take into account that you CANNOT be your own campaign manager. There was a lot of that going on. You need someone in your campaign that will be critical of the decisions you make. I can pretty much guarantee all the winners last night were NOT running their own campaigns.

If I had to guess the winning campaigns threw tons of money at digital ads targeting the SE District (Taupeville). But I think the main strategy of targeting Dutch Mafia Churches (a lot of campaigning was going on in the churches) worked brilliantly. There is a national movement going on that involves extreme right wing politics and targeting churches for campaigns. Unfortunately the money came from a handful of people who think of themselves as kingmakers using PACS to concentrate large amounts of donations and fail to file any of their campaign finance reports before the election. But even if they would have, would the media cover it? Doubtful. I was the only person who talked about Sarah Cole’s voting record. Not one single media source touched it. (It’s going to be fun watching her learning curve. I guarantee you will hear zero discussion from her the first year on the dais. I nicknamed her Sarah Selberg.) It also didn’t hurt that the city conveniently partners with churches for polling precincts. I have never agreed with this. All polling places should be in publicly funded buildings, like community centers and schools. There is NO reason taxpayers should be paying churches rent for polling places.

Media bias also played a role. It was shown over an over again that the media was in the bag with Poops, and of course anyone he endorsed. There were many behind the scene conversations with reporters about their media bias. And when you would point it out, they would cry like little babies. There was also an incredibly strong push for voter suppression. We had to beg the city clerk to put a sample ballot out before voter registration deadline and early voting started. The city did ZERO promotion of the election. This was probably NOT by accident. Voter suppression helps the ‘chosen candidates’.

After TenHaken won in 2018 I have been warning candidates about the power of the SE District voting bloc, and when the school bonds passed and Alex Jensen won, it further cemented my belief that Taupeville was a force to be reckon with. They proved this last night. They have a Maga Hat on their heads, a bible in their back pockets and a schedule filled with youth sports activities. I have told candidates over and over YOU NEED TO CAMPAIGN IN THE SE DISTRICT!


While the margins were good for the winners, this was hardly a mandate. Many people come on here and comment that most people in Sioux Falls don’t agree with the candidates that lost. I guess I really don’t know. I agree, not everything they support is mainstream. I joked last night with a Lincoln County Republican politician that I know my socialist ideas are not mainstream and that I could give two sh!ts about people who go to church, youth sports and childcare. The childcare issue could be easily fixed in Congress and Pierre by funding Pre-K and making it a National standard. Not one single candidate brought this up. I’m not sure there is a wide group of people that agree or disagree with the Democracy candidates, I just wonder if people really don’t care either way. My BFF tells me all the time (who is a Republican) that no one gives a sh!t about local government. I recently agreed with him. The voter turnout proved this.

When you look at the numbers around 7% of the total population picked the winners. You can look at the breakdown here. With only 24% of eligible voters participating. It is sad, but on the bright side it means the ones in charge don’t really have a mandate, just an election certificate.

Also factor in the bizarre undervote numbers (that prove once again the city suppressing the vote and information). Undervotes are people who submit a ballot but don’t check the box in every race. It is called an undervote because they left a certain race blank. There could be a number of factors. They could dislike all the candidates that are running, but more then likely they don’t know any of them, so they leave it blank. This is why education of the ballot by the media and city should be important.

The undervotes (non-votes)

Central, 826

At-Large A, 3,575

At-Large B, 4,467

One of the interesting things to watch will be how these 7 rubber stampers and mayor will run the city over the next 4 years. If crap hits the fan, they won’t be able to point at Brekke, Stehly or Starr, they will only have themselves to blame for their foolish mistakes. You will also see a completely closed government. We won’t know about many decisions made until it is over. Maybe in 2 years people will realize that the votes they placed yesterday were NOT such a good idea, but I am not holding my breath since the TenHaken administration has done virtually nothing the past 4 years except hand out money to his rich developer friends and getting rid of Stehly and public input. Crime has risen, the core has deteriorated more, homelessness and panhandling has increased, housing options are minimal and expensive, the job market is tight, property taxes and fees are going thru the roof, and the list goes on. The media of course didn’t bring any of this up.

Sioux Falls used to be cool. I have lived here for 30 years. About 7-10 years ago I noticed that live entertainment started to disappear. You used to be able to see at least 1-2 national or regional bands in Sioux Falls every week. Once we started to move away from this was because of the infiltration of the Lily white yuppies downtown and the construction of the Denty. Sioux Falls has transformed itself into a franchise fast food haven, family centric, rich retirees town that has no room for progressive ideas like a flourishing underground arts scene or numerous choices for live music in locally owned clubs. In some respects we have gone backwards.

As the Seattle grunge band, Mudhoney, once sang when that town was getting popular for it’s music scene, “Time for leaving is now.”

Vote for the ‘Democracy ‘ candidates in the Sioux Falls City Council race Tuesday

I have been blogging about this city government for over 15 years, I may not be an expert on all it’s ins and outs, but I have watched its deterioration from an open government.

I used to think the Munson administration was bad, but he was a light weight in comparison to the last two mayors who have destroyed any shred of transparency and open government.

This is why voting for the ‘Democracy’ candidates for council is important, Janet Brekke, Emmett Reistroffer, Cody Ingle and Pam Cole.

We need to bring openness back and shine a light, we also need to put the mayor back at city hall to run the day to day operations and keep out of the council’s policy objectives. This isn’t an ask, this is how the charter is written. The mayor runs the city by directing its employees to implement the policies the council adopts. I have argued for a long time the past two mayors have been violating charter over and over again, and the rubber stamp council has been derelict in their duties of writing good policy and controlling the purse strings.

If we don’t elect at least 3 of these candidates you will see a downward spiral to darkness and we will never be able to crawl out of that hole.

What would happen;

• Government action will be done in complete silence.

• The mayor will introduce all policy and his hand picked rubber stamp puppets will implement it.

• Taxes and fees will skyrocket to keep up with the reckless spending on special interest projects.

• Crime will go thru the roof.

• The core neighborhoods will crumble to dust.

I know this sounds dire, but we are already moving in these directions and it needs to be stopped. While a 4/4 council might not be able to stop all bad legislation (The mayor can still break ties and veto) it will at least be slowed and hopefully we can turn this around.

What does mean to elect the ‘Democracy’ candidates?

• More open and transparent government (which saves us millions).

• More interaction with the citizenry to shape policy.

• Building density and cleaning up our core neighborhoods.

• Fiscal responsibility and holding the line on handouts to wealthy developers, banksters and bondsters.

• A strategic plan for the city written by the council with interaction from the citizens.

• Creative ways to build affordable and workforce housing.

• Safer streets and neighborhoods.

• A modern, safe and practical bike trail.

• More opportunities for small businesses.

I am not asking you to vote for the ‘Democracy’ candidates, I’m BEGGING YOU!

After Tuesday, if we don’t elect these 4 candidates, we can’t go in reverse, and I am afraid Sioux Falls will never be the same.

Interactive Government: David Zokaites

Guest Post by Mayoral Candidate David Zokaites


  • Government should care more about public
  • Government should respond to citizens
  • More interaction between government, citizens
  • Would profoundly impact modern life 

Community Outreach

  • Mayor should weekly dine with random city residents
  • Plus weekly lunch with random city employee
  • City councilors, department heads should also regularly meet with random people
  • New mayor will meet with all councilors individually
  • Mayor, councilors should have annual barbecue for camaraderie (invite public too)
  • It’s all part of the job

City Council Meetings

  • Mayor – facilitator, main power source
  • City councilors – vote on proposals, usually approve mayor
  • Citizens – provide input, usually ignored
  • Let’s change the dynamic
  • Increase city council power
  • At-large councilors should be full-time not part-time
  • Utilize public input to create better laws

Current Council Invocation

  • Prayer by minister chosen by mayor
  • Constitution says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”
  • Check to see if starting public meeting with prayer is constitutional
  • Take a survey, see if citizens want to keep prayer
  • Council also says Pledge of Allegiance

Ideas for Invocation

  • Mayor’s prayer for community (I wrote one)
  • Mayor’s secular pledge (I wrote one)
  • Mayor’s prayer for social healing (I wrote one)
  • Mayor’s prayer for personal healing (I wrote one)
  • Each city councilor should present their prayer or pledge
  • Invite public to present prayer or pledge

Public Input

  • Mostly ignored – should be valued
  • Limited to certain points in the meeting
  • Better to allow input after raising your hand
  • Each public inputer should be contacted by district councilor, at-large councilor, mayor’s assistant, or mayor
  • Acknowledgement is key to peace, progress
  • Allow PowerPoint and electronic presentations
  • They were generally disallowed 4 years ago
  • Exclusion was (apparently) directed against myself and Bruce Danielson
  • Move public input back to the start of council meeting to encourage more public input

Designing Laws

  • Ordinances (usually) decided long before public presentation
  • Design laws with actual citizen involvement
  • Convert council meeting from theater to meaningful discussion
  • Present rough ideas at council, a preliminary reading (new)
  • Keep first reading of codified proposals
  • Keep second reading

Controversial Votes

  • If any proposal has 3 or more public comments …
  • All councilors and mayor should explain their votes
  • Limit explanation to 2 minutes  

Falls Community Growth PAC missed filing deadline

As I reported in January, local businessman, Matt Paulson is funneling his personal wealth into the city council races by using his PAC. It is completely legal, but kind of shady (you know like having your toddlers donate thousands to a campaign).

According to the city’s website;

April 7, 2022 – Local Jurisdictions Campaign Finance Disclosure Report due not later than 5 p.m. for all municipal candidates, municipal candidate campaign committees, municipal political action committees, municipal ballot question committees, and applicable nonmunicipal political action committees.* The reporting period is March 1, 2022 (or last submitted report) through April 4, 2022.

Paulson’s PAC hasn’t filed another report since January.

Maybe I am unclear of the rules, but it appears to me you don’t have to file a report if you didn’t give or receive money. But that is not the case. In January he lists candidates Rehfeldt, Barranco and Soehl.

But if you look at the reports for Merkouris filed on April 7, he has since then received money from the PAC. Soehl also lists receiving another donation since then.

Sarah Cole also received $5,000 from Lee Schoenbeck’s PAC, SD Strong. That PAC hasn’t filed since January either and Buffalo PAC gave her $5,000 and they have not filed either.

I think the fine is $50 for missing a filing date, but you have to wonder if they are just running out the clock until Wednesday to hide something? Or it could be blatant incompetence. I’m going with further shaddiness.

Mayoral Candidate David Z said it best in the debates, there is too much money in the local races.