Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

Mayor TenHaken shares text

On the Mayor’s official, non-official, Facebook page, he shared a text he received after the election;

Someone was obviously high when they sent this 🙂 and I have NO doubt if PTH knew who sent it, the police or sheriff’s department were probably dispatched to have a convo with this individual.

I agree with the sentiment, but I would have wrote it a bit differently;

You would think as the mayor of the state’s largest city you wouldn’t be so ignorant when it comes to adult use cannabis. But you Republicans are not big on facts, science or telling the truth (e.g., Kristi Noem). Now go do something you are good at, like licking windows.

I’m not even sure what it means to lick a window?

I do agree with Paul this is NOT the best way to interact with your elected officials;

Paul TenHaken

I share this only to highlight the state of diminishing dialogue I see in our democracy. A state where people feel this is an appropriate way to contact an elected official. A state where people are so angry and frustrated by all they see on social media that they lash out in knee jerk ways that I believe they really don’t mean. I see these messages very often, and use it only to highlight the fact that we can do much better as a city, state, and country. But it starts with each of us modeling the way.

A better way is to address them at public input so you can get them on audio calling you a loser, or have them accost you in the lobby of Carnegie, because you know, it is okay for them to name call constituents but don’t dare treat them the same way. The only thing that has truly been diminishing is the grey matter between the ears of our local elected officials. Instead of encouraging them to lick windows, maybe we need to get them to stop eating paint chips?

Wholestone, Video Lottery, Ticket fees and Data Harvesting

There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming election. One of the topics is Mayor TenHaken’s participation in the Anti IM 27 campaign and if it is it is legal. I have been warning people for years that PTH’s former job was being a political partisan marketing hack, and little has changed. He continues to ignore the ethics of being a politician while setting precedents when unchallenged. Paul not only is betting the farm on his input to the opponents but I also think he is doing this to harvest statewide voter data for an eventual run for Governor or Senator. It makes me laugh when Paul says he hates politics and doesn’t like being a politician, but he has done it his entire professional life and now is using PAC money from a PAC he runs to make a political stance. We will see how this plays out. I think the race is in a dead heat, but if Paul is successful in getting his SF mayoral supporters in line with his feelings on MJ he will set another precedent right in front of our faces. Even if IM 27 passes and foils his ambitions (he will still have secured the voter data), I still encourage members of the IM 27 campaign to file ethics violations against him for his political stunt as a sitting (lying) mayor.

Even if the Wholestone Slaughterhouse ordinance fails or passes (I think it will get between 70-80%) it will ultimately be decided in a court of law and NOT by voters. Why is this? For the same reason I voted NO. It is a poorly written measure that doesn’t address property rights and current zoning. Liking the concept or not doesn’t matter here, it is about law and city ordinances, and since the city council didn’t have the courage to do something about this in January here we are. Thousands of disenfranchised voters and a very nervous judge.

Speaking of the ordinance, council chair, Curt Soehl, decided it was a good idea to write a letter to the editor in support of the NO vote. I was told the entire council was advised to publicly keep quiet about the ordinance until after the election, Soehl obviously ignored them. Funny how this guy likes to tell councilors how to conduct themselves during meetings but does whatever he wants to on the side. Not just an authoritarian, but a hypocrite.

The Events Center Campus is a dump and always will be, that isn’t coming from me, that is straight from councilors yesterday at the informational meeting;

Neitzert called the proposal to spend more at the events center complex a “sunk-cost fallacy,” and unless the plan includes overhauling the entire neighborhood and creating a walkable road network, he doesn’t anticipate much success.

“We’ve been proven wrong twice,” he said. “It’s just a tough area. It just is.”

Maybe Greg learned something from his Bunker Ramp vote. The 3rd time isn’t always a charm.

Speaking of Greg, last night with the support of the mayor at the council meeting found ways to limit video lottery at a handful of casinos but did argue that it will take some stronger ordinance changes in the near future to affect change. I can guarantee lobbyists for the VL industry in SD are already nagging lawmakers to make changes to state law so they can have these mega casinos that hand out free beer. Like Wholestone, this will also be decided by a court, and also like Wholestone the City Council acted too little and too late. The city council should have been working on this for the past two decades.

A few weeks ago I addressed the city council about having a $5 dollar bond payment ticket fee at the Denty to help pay down the mortgage. This week they turned around and gave a ticket fee to the general fund of the Sports Authority for ‘Marketing’ with NO oversight. Of course this is the same city council that continues to subsidize the operations of the Pavilion while spending millions on building repairs while the Pavilion sits on a $5 million dollar savings fund. Yet some how the city may have to scrounge the money together for an additional warming shelter this winter.

The screenshot below is from the last Audit Committee meeting Councilor Jensen chaired. It was so nice of the taxpayers of Sioux Falls to fund City of Sioux Falls logo wear for councilors (instead of a simple $10 lapel nametag magnet) so that when they actually show up to a live streamed public meeting they could be promoting their Dr. Oz and Alex Jones vitamins. #justrolledoutofbed

It’s about ETHICS not LAW

There have been some people questioning if Mayor TenHaken’s presser on IM 27 violated state law;

When Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken attended a news conference and shared his concern about recreational marijuana on Oct. 26, it caught Melissa Mentele’s attention. She was sponsor of the successful 2020 ballot measure which legalized medical marijuana in the state. Mentele herself held a news conference on Tuesday in Sioux Falls; she wants to know if TenHaken broke state codified law, which says that the state or a state agency can’t spend public money to influence the success or failure of a ballot question.

Technically you could say he violated state law; he used a public facility funded by the taxpayers of Sioux Falls and Minnehaha County and he did it while he was on the clock. He also did not share FACTUAL information.

As for any 1st Amendment violations, I agree with TenHaken;

TenHaken sent KELOLAND News via text message: “Fortunately as an elected leader I don’t have to forfeit my First Amendment rights to say IM27 is terrible public policy and people should vote no.”

He is very much correct that elected officials don’t give up their 1st Amendment rights after taking office, but, this is NOT about constitutional or state law, this is about ethics.

As an elected official who may have to rule/vote on proposed law in the future, it is very unethical and conflicting to take a position on a ballot measure before it has been voted on. What makes it even more complicated is using money from a personal PAC to fund an opposition campaign, BTW, a campaign littered with lies and false information.

This should be questioned, but not on the basis of law, but on ethics.

“Laws without morals are in vain.” – Benjamin Franklin

Mayor TenHaken proposing sale/lease agreement on Bunker Ramp BEFORE developer selected

As I have stated in the past, the selection of who takes over the Bunker Ramp will likely be a usual suspect, and probably already in the hopper. But all assumptions aside, the mayor has sponsored a resolution (Item #59) to put framework in place BEFORE the developer has been chosen. Cough, snicker, laugh, cough;

Background & Objective: This Resolution outlines the City Council support to consider both a lease and/or sale of the property at 140 E 10th Street (Parking Ramp site). It outlines the goals and expectations of any proposals that will be received through the Negotiated Sale process.

It seems this time around they are trying to get ahead of any questions about who is chosen. I look at this as a good thing, besides who is negotiating this sale, likely behind closed doors.

They still struggle with the concept of transparency, and if used the first time around (they had three bites at the apple) we wouldn’t be in this place.

There has been a lot of discussion about what went wrong with the original project, just like how did a slaughterhouse get approved without conditional use permits, why is homelessness and violent crime exploding and musical chair rotating video lottery casinos.

It seems this administration and council have learned very little from the past, but they are trying really, really, really hard (not to blow out the candles during their meetings).

IM 27 opponents spread lies

The worst part about the campaign is it is being funded by the mayor of the largest city in South Dakota. The opponents know they need Sioux Falls to vote this down in order to win so they spread the lies.

Rick Steves was the guest on The Dakota Scout podcast this week. He did a marvelous job of explaining decriminalization further and how it will be up to our state legislature to fine tune the law if passed. He called it the ‘Reefer Madness’ propaganda.

Lalley brought up the sticky situation Mayor TenHaken has put himself in;

But Mayor TenHaken made an interesting point. He said that if IM27 does pass, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to buy weed in Sioux Falls, other than what’s currently allowed for medical marijuana use.

The mayor brought up Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the city doesn’t allow dispensaries even though it’s legal in that state. Ultimately, it would be up to the South Dakota Legislature to decide how marijuana is regulated, he said.

So I asked him what he would tell lawmakers should that come to pass.

“If I could tell them what to do, I would say we have what’s called home rule in Sioux Falls. I think that is a muscle that we would certainly flex on this. But I can say other vices that we limit. We limit the number of liquor licenses. We’ve limited medical (marijuana) dispensaries. It’s not going to be a cannabis free-fall in Sioux Falls if this would happen and we have to put this here. We need to be pragmatic about if it would pass.”

First off, even with Home Rule, the mayor doesn’t have the power to limit anything, that is up to the city council. I would also find the limitation of casinos, bars, liquor stores as NOT a fair comparison. You can gamble, drink or buy alcohol for home ingestion on any corner in this city. I guess I would ask what limitations he is talking about? By that comparison we could have a dispensary within a half mile of everyone’s house in Sioux Falls.

I don’t care if you are running for office or are advocating for or against a measure. Lying to constituents to get the intended result will always fail in the end. Liars will always be losers no matter what happens on election day.

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken’s Next Gen PAC gives $10K to Anti-IM 27 group

UPDATE: I have seen some poorly thrown together pressers before, but this one took the cake. During the briefing which featured mostly TenHaken, he was asked about the monicker ‘Reject IM 27’ he said it isn’t a slogan just some materials that his PAC, Next Gen came up with. They also tried to link homelessness to Rec MJ legalization. If I wasn’t surrounded by Republicans I probably would have busted up laughing. Sheriff Milstead also went after a retired veteran and SFPO for supporting IM 27. I didn’t catch everything he said, but I think he questioned his mental state. I also enjoyed Maggie Sutton’s phone going off while in the middle of the presser. Several reporters asked questions, but I think one of the TV stations cameramen really went after them about why they are so opposed. Patrick Lalley with Sioux Falls Forum also asked PTH about his conflict if it passes and he has to implement policy. Paul pretty much said he would use the power of Home Rule Charter to limit access. This is pretty bold statement considering the city still has to follow state law and the council approves all ordinances. Lalley also asked Minnehaha County State’s Attorney, Dan Haggar about what the city and county are currently doing to combat illegal MJ use right now. There was a lot of stammering. A few days ago PTH posted a video on his FB page where he tricked his youngest daughter into believing MJ edibles were real candy to prove a point. Here’s the deal, potheads won’t be going to schools handing out edibles. Unfortunately polling for IM 27 has it a neck and neck race, and if SF doesn’t carry the measure, it won’t pass.

Leaders(?) will have a presser tomorrow to spread more baloney about the harmful effects of marijuana. The only thing IM 27 does is decriminalize possession of small amounts of recreational MJ for adult use. There is nothing in the measure that sets up dispensaries or a taxation system. That will be the job of the legislative ‘leaders’ to take that on if the measure passes. There is also NO exemption for use of the product under the age of 21 (just like tobacco and alcohol).


As mentioned by the chair and proponent of IM 27, if legalizing Rec MJ across the country (about 20 states) has been so harmful and detrimental, then why hasn’t any of these states repealed the legalization? It’s simple. Because the benefits of legal MJ for adults outweighs any issues that may arise from legalization.

The opponents are trying to make this about the kids, but it has nothing to do with kids, enforcement or taxation. If the leaders in this state really want to make a difference, they would climb aboard and find a logical way to regulate, sell and tax Rec MJ for the betterment of all.

I encourage anyone who supports IM 27 and know what the opponents are pushing is total BS to show up to the presser tomorrow and call them out on their stats. It’s time we publicly call them out on their games and the dark money funding their opposition campaign from the mayor’s PAC’s donors.

Mayor TenHaken is pushing to sell our parks to the highest bidder

This isn’t just a rant from a Sioux Falls government blogger, many people from the business sector, private property owners and journalists have reached out to me and agree that selling our parks off is a precedent that we will never be able to reverse;

In the early days of Mayor Paul TenHaken’s administration, the new mayor challenged each department head to set stretch goals.

As he put it, “throw the buoy way out there,” said Don Kearney, the city’s director of parks and recreation.

In the case of the Sioux Falls Parks & Recreation Department, that meant an eight-digit reach: Earn $10 million in private support for the department by 2022.

“We thought we could do $7 million, but we increased it to $10 million, and now we’ve exceeded that,” Kearney said.

“And we could double that to over $20 million by the end of the year.”

Don’t misunderstand me, I am all for private donations to help our parks system, and I am not even opposed to modest placards appearing in our parks honoring those who give, but when a private donation is given, it should be put towards the parks general fund to be spent on our greatest parks needs. One thing I have advocated for is 24/7 bike trail access and solar lighting in the darker parts of the trail.

Some other contributions to our parks are also wonderful ways to give;

Other contributions came in the form of land, such as an extension of the west-side Family Park.

Labor counts too – including from volunteers and inmates. Kearney estimates their help has saved the city more than $300,000 over the past few years.

But this is where donations get sticky;

Last year, the Sioux Falls Parks Foundation was organized as an affiliate of the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation.

“There’s a lot of interest,” said Jennifer Kirby, who chairs the foundation’s advisory board. “It all comes down to finding the actual project that will mesh with a donor’s passion.”

Her group held an informational event for donors last month and has been meeting individually to gauge interest in specific projects.

While I get it that donors have a certain level of privacy, that privacy should go all the way to the end with NOT plastering our parks with donor signs. A private foundation meeting secretly with donors to determine how our parks are being shaped is not acceptable. The taxpayers of Sioux Falls are the main donor to our parks system, we also foot the operational expenses of the employees salaries and park maintenance. The taxpayers are the main owners of our public parks and they should be in on the discussion on how to use donor’s money, which should be given anonymously and modestly.

It was disheartening but not surprising that our mayor is pushing to sell off our parks like they are cars in a NASCAR race.

Is the revamped Facade Easement program just political payback?

I saw this coming a mile away.

When the program got reinstated earlier this year I knew what was up. Councilor Soehl pushed for reinstating the program while his campaign’s treasurer was restoring a building in Pettigrew Heights. Look who got a grant, item #6, sub-items #4-5;

Conditional Façade Grant Agreement for building commonly known as 100 South Grange Avenue, Boulevard Properties, LLC, $95K

This is for the proposed coffee shop at 9th and Grange that already got special zoning and street parking. This is a massive conflict of interest on Soehl’s part and he should be charged with an ethical violation. It is the epitome of quid pro quo.

And it seems the mayor’s very special campaign donors are getting some facade monies;

Conditional Façade Grant Agreement for Lucky’s at 224-226 S Phillips Avenue, Blackstreet Partners, LLC, $25K

This of course is part of a conglomerate of investment and development partners who have given thousands of dollars to Mayor TenHaken’s campaign and pro-Haken candidates.

Gee? I wonder why the facade grant was reinstated? Ethics be damned!

Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken taps former Thune and Rounds staffer for Housing Development Manager

Logan Penfield was tapped 2 months ago according to his profile. He does have educational and professional government experience (unlike some of Paul’s past appointments) but I found it interesting that the circles Mr. Penfield runs in probably contributed to his appointment.

When I think of affordable and accessible housing advocacy, the Republican Party usually doesn’t rank high on that list. (FF 9:40 to hear is introduction);

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken & Sheriff Milstead turn public safety presser into anti IM 27 campaign

UPDATE: There was some more debunking last night of what the mayor said;

TenHaken isn’t sold on the idea that revenues from marijuana legalization are a tremendous boon to a community.

“Any revenue that is realized is used to deal with the unintended consequences, treatment issues, crime issues, that result as a result of legalization,” TenHaken said.

Shweich argues against that.

“If it were the case that in any of these legalization states that the cost of the policy was greater than the revenue then why haven’t we seen any state repeal this policy?” Schweich said.

In fact, both Lincoln and Minnehaha County along with the City of Sioux Falls and neighboring towns could see millions in tax revenue that could be directed at education, roads and criminal justice.

There was a lot of bull being thrown at the public safety presser yesterday.


Besides Sheriff Milstead rants about the Southern border and immigrants they started attacking IM 27 claiming that cannabis legalization would lead to more violence, hurt children and families. Alcohol, Meth, Opioids, Poverty (low wage jobs) and Video Lottery do a pretty good job of that already.

But none of that was mentioned – only the evil weed.

“Individuals go to purchase marijuana, and they get drug-ripped,” Milstead said. “And, so, that’s why some of the people buying marijuana are carrying guns, and that’s why some people are selling marijuana are carrying guns. And, so, there’s a lot of black market marijuana dealings that go on in our community, and some of them result in violence. Some of them result with individuals joining gangs, and, so, I certainly would keep marijuana in that top three of what drugs we’re encountering and dealing with on a regular basis, sometimes with people that are armed and posing a danger to our community.”

They claimed the black market would thrive if Rec MJ became legal. Sure. Just like it is now. It would only be legal to purchase by those who are 21 and older, so yes, teenagers are going to have to find an illegal way to use, just like they have been doing for decades with alcohol and tobacco. The crimes committed because of the illegal trade of MJ are already here, they won’t suddenly disappear if Rec passes.

And whose job is it to stop the black market drug sales? The very people who want to blame a boogey man from Mexico with a truckload of pot and illegal guns, our Police and Sheriff Departments.

It was disappointing that they offered NO solutions to the current illicit drug problems we already have.

The reporter, John Gaskins, who wrote the DNN article asked Milstead at the press conference that he mentioned drug dealers and criminals stealing guns out of unlocked cars and wondered if Milstead would support fining people whose guns are stolen and used in crimes. Milstead said that was up to the legislature (passing the buck once again) and said he would not be inclined to punish LEGAL gun owners. But when a legal vehicle owner does something irresponsible with their vehicle they get a fine.

In fact, since our Legislature and Governor signed an open carry law in our state, gun violence has skyrocketed in Sioux Falls. Not sure if there is a correlation, but it is hardly a coincidence.

When it comes to the black market drug trade and the violence associated with it in our state, our police and deputies could take a multi-faceted approach to prevention, but instead they decided to focus on a country that doesn’t border our state and a drug that no one has ever overdosed on. They also failed to mention that legal MJ sales could be taxed very heavily and assist law enforcement with funding to prevent violence and illegal drug trade. Milstead made a claim that taxation would not offset the legal issues with Rec MJ, that claim, about Colorado Springs was debunked by DNN;

In July 2022, Suthers told a Colorado TV station that he’s “vehemently opposed” to recreational marijuana sales in Colorado Springs. Suthers’ office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

“When we legalized recreational marijuana in the state, I remember the promises,” Suthers told the station. “Number one: there’ll be all kinds of money for schools, roads, all that kind of stuff. But all the money we’ve taken in barely pays for the regulation of marijuana and it doesn’t pay for the social problems.”

In response to this, Anthony Carlson, a campaign manager for Your Choice Colorado Springs, told The Center Square — an American conservative news website that features reporting on state and local government — that Suthers “is sticking his head in the sand and talking as if adult-use recreational cannabis isn’t already 100% legal to possess and consume in Colorado Springs. Right now, people are traveling to nearby communities, purchasing their cannabis, and bringing it right back home to use.”

“Recreational cannabis is already here, we just don’t reap the benefits of the tax revenue that comes with it,” he added.

Our illegal drug trade problems won’t be solved after Rec MJ is legalized in the state, but who is solving them now?