Entries Tagged 'Mayor TenHaken' ↓

UPDATE: Is TenHaken’s idea of Neighborhood Revitalization a Bulldozer?

UPDATE: I got an update last night. I guess the administration has been pushing hard on property owners along the loop on 11th street to buy the property so they can ‘revitalize’ it. Many property owners are thumbing the mayor and not agreeing to the offers.

A SouthDacola foot soldier reached out to me last night and confirmed something I have speculated about for a while. The city does have a plan to clean up the core and it probably involves a bulldozer and a wrecking ball;

One of those is neighborhood revitalization, and TenHaken today announced a new organizational structure to address it.

The newly created division will combine the city’s code enforcement arms under one entity that reports up through planning and development services. The team, led by Matt Tobias, will address “how do we take care of our core and make neighborhoods cleaner and acquire properties,” TenHaken said.

The bigger vision is to assemble and invest in land and amenities such as parks to create neighborhoods in the center of the city that appeal to residents and businesses, “so people aren’t looking to the ‘burbs but look inward,” he continued. “Some of the best neighborhoods are in the core.”

Notice the 2 words, ‘acquire properties’. This is essentially code for tearing down affordable housing that can be easily renovated in our core to tear it down instead and turn it into apartments or subsidized houses that don’t fit in the older neighborhoods. There is NO reason that these houses can’t be fixed up for a fraction of the cost and make excellent first time houses or retirement homes, but developers need to make a buck so they want to start from scratch.

They did a presentation on the proposal today at the city council informational meeting, and it had few details and a lot of things needed to be worked out. Councilor Brekke asked about TIFs and more importantly tax rebates. Councilor Erickson ripped them a new one about how the council had very little input on this and how they need to be involved. Yeah, no Sh!t Sherlock, wondering when the council was going to wake up from their Covid Coma and get back to making policy instead pulling a Biden in their basements.

I have been hearing that the city is negotiating purchasing large sections of property in the downtown and core areas that they can prepare for development and sell to large developers for subsidized housing. When I think of cleaning up the core, I think of rehabilitating the existing neighborhoods and houses. If you don’t think these smaller homes are not in demand explain to me why I get 3-4 offers a week on my small 1889 home in central Sioux Falls? BECAUSE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IS IN HIGH DEMAND and I am wondering how bulldozing these properties will address that problem?

I will be curious how this rolls out, but I think the major part of the plan involves a very large Caterpillar.

City of Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken delivers his dirty SOC

While the replay is working just fine, when it streamed on the city’s FB page it didn’t start until about 11 minutes in. Even when they are streaming on social media they can’t get the video to work properly.

While Paul did introduce the council, he didn’t take a roll call vote, I wonder if you can even do an official meeting like this;

Section 3.03  Mayor’s duties and responsibility.

The mayor shall, at the beginning of each calendar year, and may at other times give the council information as to the affairs of the city and recommend measures considered necessary and desirable. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the council, represent the city in intergovernmental relationships, appoint with the advice and consent of the council the members of the citizen advisory boards and commissions, present an annual state of the city message, and perform other duties specified by the council and by article III. The mayor shall be recognized as head of the city government for all ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law.

I was pleasantly surprised when he raised an initiative about cleaning up the core, something I have suggested for over a decade. While he was short on details, I welcome it. I asked a couple of councilors if they knew anything about it and they said notta. I would still like to see tax rebates in the initiative, but I will wait for details. While it is good he is working on it, it really should be the job of the city council to push this policy (kind of their job). I know that councilor Brekke has been working on this for several months and it is good to know the mayor has been listening. I don’t care who takes credit for good ideas, as long as they help the city.

He also proposed a Mayor’s Youth Council, while a worthwhile endeavor, telling us he wants input from the youth of the city, I’m wondering when he is going to get input from the adult taxpaying voting citizens? This same mayor has done ZERO coffees, cracker barrels or listening and learning sessions with citizens in his first term. He also moved public input to the back of the council meetings. He may want to hear from the kids in town, but not the adults.


I Also heard today that more TIFs for Downtown developers is coming down the pike in the area around Cherapa Place and the Railroad Redevelopment area. Brace yourselves. I’m still baffled why we are giving out TIFs when this city has a 2% unemployment rate and an affordable housing crisis with building permits going thru the roof. Developer welfare in the shape of growth for growth sake.


Not sure how a city councilor can inject themselves on county initiatives or state initiatives, but Greg has;

Sioux Falls City Councilor Greg Neitzert has been researching licensing, locations, and even the number of dispensaries in the city.

“We need to do something in the interim, it wouldn’t be a moratorium, but something is so that we could wait until we have regulations because we don’t even know what the regulatory framework is going to be the counties have to wrestle with this as well are they going to allow people to grow marijuana in the county, that’s their decision, they’re gonna have to decide on that. But cities are also gonna have to make that same determination as well. So we both have our own jurisdictions and then we have our joint jurisdiction. So that’s where we need to work together,” said Neitzert.

Neitzert says he has briefed Mayor Ten Haken on his findings. Whether the city or the county will be ready for the legalization of Medical Marijuana, is yet to be seen.

State law dictates that city’s have to follow those laws. As Commissioner Barth points out;

Barth is frustrated in what he believes to be the stalling of working out the details.

“So, the powers that be, want Minnehaha County to put a moratorium on medical marijuana operations. Now they’ve had since last November, to try to get their ducks in order. They didn’t in fact they did everything they could to prevent it from moving forward. And now we’re getting to the tenth hour, and they’re asking us to take the hit because they have refused to do their job,” said Barth.

Of the fifteen years, he’s been a commissioner, this is the first time he’s seen a template to assist the county to write an ordinance.

“If it just goes into effect. Coming up on July 1 That’s the way it goes,” said Barth.

He is exactly correct, get your poop in a group and figure it out.

Sioux Falls City Council Agenda, May 3-5, 2021

State of the City Address • Mon, May 3 • 1 PM (State Theatre)

This address can be viewed via livestream at www.facebook.com/citysiouxfalls

Informational Meeting • Tue, May 4 • 4 PM


ADA Transition Plan by Sharla Svennes, Assistant City Attorney and Human Relations/ADA Coordinator; Peter Blanck, Ph.D., J.D.  and James G. Felakos, J.D., Blanck Group LLC (I have no idea what this is about, no supporting documents)

Comprehensive Housing Plan by Jeff Eckhoff, Director of Planning and Development Services; and Matt Tobias, Development Services Manager (I have no idea what this is about either, no supporting documents)

Regular City Council Meeting • Tue, May 4 • 6 PM

Item #6, Consent Agenda;

Sub Item #29, South Dakota Research Park, Inc. dba USD Discovery District, Funding Agreement providing innovation focused economic development strategies, development of public-private partnerships and to foster innovation driven industry growth. Actively support economic development and workforce development initiatives. $150K (while this is a good initiative, it would be nice to have a presentation from them on what they are doing instead of just shoving this into a consent agenda item).

Items #24-25, So this is interesting, Sanford’s Golf Shots is transferring it’s liquor license to the Sanford Event Barn, and then in the next item, the Barn is transferring its license to Golf Shots. I’m so glad one of our major health systems in Sioux Falls have all this time to horse around with liquor licenses and their ownership 🙁

Item #26, Most people know that a bar is likely going in the corner space of the Washington Square building on the main floor (even though a roof top bar would have been much cooler). So where has their liquor license been parked while they are waiting to open? Two doors down at Parlour ice cream shop. Funny, that was one of my favorite places to get ice cream last summer, and I never saw a full bar in there 🙁 The lax rules on how licenses can be ‘parked’ is ludicrous and needs to be changed.

Item #53, Second Reading, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, REZONING PROPERTY LOCATED NORTH OF W. BENSON RD. AND WEST OF N. MARION RD. FROM THE PO-PUD PEDESTRIAN-ORIENTED PUD DISTRICT TO THE RA-1 APARTMENT RESIDENTIAL—LOW DENSITY AND RA-2 APARTMENT RESIDENTIAL—MODERATE DENSITY DISTRICTS, NO. 14007-2021, AND AMENDING THE OFFICIAL ZONING MAP OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS. This is the rezoning for apartments next to the new Amazon Warehouse. As we know CountCilor Jensen has a financial conflict, and some think Selberg does also. We will see if they both recuse themselves and tell the public what that conflict is. This is a controversial item because the neighbors who have homes out there were lied to by developers, as usual, and of course the planning department plays along and says, ‘You can always ask us questions.’ Here’s one, ‘Is it hard to breathe with your heads stuck up developer’s asses?’

Item #55, 2nd Reading, AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 77: PARKING REGULATIONS, SUBCHAPTER: PUBLIC PARKING ADVISORY BOARD. During the 1st reading several councilors suggested that they need to streamline the public boards qualifications.

Planning Commission Meeting • Wed, May 5 • 6 PM

Item 2E, Rezone for Foundation Park so they can chop up lots and spend our TIF money.

Item 2I, Rezone for Water Reclamation

Item 2J, Expansion of an existing VL Casino. Just what we need 🙁

Item 2K, More details on the expansion of the Sanford Sports Complex;

Item 5A, Rezoning from C1 to C2. This will be just north of the gas station on 18th & Cleveland. I am not sure if there is any neighborhood opposition. But what I find interesting is if you read all the documentation there is not one single mention of Dollar General in the documents. How did I figure it out? It was flagged that way in the document name ‘Dollar Gen.doc’.

This is something I have been railing on over the past couple of years where documentation in the agenda items in all the city’s public meetings is vague and hard to understand. I believe the attorney’s office in cahoots with the clerk’s and planning’s office is doing this on purpose. Why? It all goes back to the HATEFEST of Open and Transparent government.

I’m starting to think TenHaken is NOT interested in a 2nd Term

Many people within the city administration are starting to wonder if Paul is even interested in a 2nd term. Who files paperwork to run, asks for money then when questioned by several media sources if he is running for a 2nd term he blows them off. If he really was interested in a 2nd term, he would have at least put out a press release saying he WILL run for a 2nd term but will make an official announcement later this summer. I still think he hasn’t made up his mind.

He certainly hasn’t been having much fun fighting flooding, tornados and Covid, and from listening to him grunt and groan at the city council meetings, he certainly doesn’t like being there either. I think being mayor takes a person who likes social interaction. I think Mayors Huether and Munson truly enjoyed that part of the job, Paul seems to be uncomfortable with it. If he decides to not run, which is looking like more and more he isn’t, I wonder who they will recruit to run in his place. This could get pretty juicy.

What is interesting is that Paul moved the money he had left over from his first term into his PAC and I can’t find anywhere where that money was moved back.

In another bizarre move, he is having his state of the city address at the State Theater and it will only live stream on the city’s Facebook page. And good luck finding a seat once all the city employees fill it up.

Minnehaha County & City of Sioux Falls officials looking to limit Medical Marijuana distribution

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth informed me yesterday that Sioux Falls City Councilor Neitzert, Mayor TenHaken, Minnehaha County States attorney Dan Haggar and Sioux Falls City Attorney Stacy Kooistra have been cooking up a proposal with the help of the Municipal League to ask the Minnehaha County Commission to put a Moratorium on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries until after January 1, 2022.

They do have some fair arguments. First off the July 1st implementation of the law is quickly approaching and the city and county has yet to set up licensing fees and licenses for these establishments. So instead of having secret meetings, how about trying public meetings to get the job done?!

While it is fair to say that they can ask for a small delay, those delays are usually only good for 30 days.

Barth told me he would NOT vote for it if it did get on the agenda and also told me he trying to make sure it is not done in the dark of the night in an executive session.

The biggest issue with this is that we have known since November that this is legal and the Governor’s office and legislature farted around way too long.

They need to get it in high gear and figure out how it will be regulated by the state, ASAP, and the county and city need to move fast and determine the licensing instead of having secret meetings about how they want to delay this.

What baffles me is that Medical and even Recreational is inevitable, and instead of dragging our feet we must act as elected officials to make sure this is implemented July 1st because of the will of the voters.

Hopefully we will hear more about this idiotic move in the coming week. I do know that Barth has been talking with both TV stations about the issue.

Mayor TenHaken files his intent to run for 2nd term, but tells the media a different story

I found it a bit odd that Paul still hasn’t announced if he is running yet is sending out fundraiser emails;

A campaign email from “TenHaken for Mayor” was sent to supporters Monday although the Sioux Falls mayor has yet to announce his reelection bid.

In an email to supporters, TenHaken says “Sioux Falls is poised for great things” and asks for a contribution to help him “keep Sioux Falls moving ahead.” TenHaken has not announced his reelection bid and says any announcement is still months away in a statement to Dakota News Now.

“Formal decisions and announcements on reelection are still months away, but it’s also prudent to be looking ahead. My primary focus is leading the City and making sure we remain a vibrant and thriving community for the years ahead of us,” says TenHaken.

Here is a copy of the email;


I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for your past support and also, ask you to consider helping me in my efforts to keep Sioux Falls moving forward in the years ahead. 

Together, we have accomplished so much. Our economy is thriving, the quality of life amenities in our city continue to grow, we’ve weathered the challenges of flooding, tornadoes, community unrest, and the current pandemic. Sioux Falls is poised for great things, and I need your help again today so that we can continue to succeed.

Will you consider a contribution today to help me keep Sioux Falls moving ahead?*

We live in an incredible community and have much to be thankful for. I’m thankful everyday for the honor to serve as your mayor and I’m especially thankful for the support and prayers from friends like you. 



*Individuals/entities may contribute up to $1,000 per calendar year.

Paid for by:
TenHaken for Mayor
PO Box 961
Sioux Falls, SD 57101-0961

So while he is sending out fundraising emails, and filing yesterday his intent to run for a 2nd term he tells the media that his announcement is ‘months away’. Of course, he doesn’t become an actual candidate until he receives his first donations, but that may have already happened.

If you filed the legal documentation to run, and are raising money for that run, why wait several months to announce? Not sure what his mysterious strategy is but not surprising after seeing how he has ran this city on cruise control the past 2.5 years.

What’s going on with the Events Center area task force recommendations?

The Loneliest place in Sioux Falls

I got a reminder today about the desolation of the area around the Denty when a restaurant chain nearby decided to close that location for good, citing prior to Covid things were not so hot;

But “even before COVID, some of the events in the arena had decreased from the prior heyday when it first opened up,” he said of the also nearby Denny Sanford Premier Center, which opened in 2014.

I have noticed that the city has put a lot of things on hold because of Covid, or should we say using Covid as an excuse. I think with having Covid closing down things it would have been a perfect opportunity to bulldoze Sioux Falls stadium and renovate or tear down the Arena. I have also noticed that this administration, even before Covid, doesn’t do much with recommendations unless they are something they want, like 5G.

The mayor either has his agenda or no agenda at all. I guess he can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

UPDATE: Will TenHaken run for Re-election as Sioux Falls mayor?

UPDATE: A South DaCola foot soldier told me today that they heard an interview where Paul said he intends to run for a 2nd term as long as his COS, Erica Beck, is on board and she said she would stay on. I had to chuckle a bit, because Paul has to keep her on board if he serves a 2nd term, because she is the one running the city.

With about a year away from the 2022 municipal elections I’m sure most people have other things on their mind. For instance, Curt Soehl is also up for re-election as the Central District councilor, but he doesn’t have to announce for awhile, and I think that race will be quite crowded.

It seems strange to me that Paul hasn’t said one way or another if he is running again. He wouldn’t need some big news conference, just a simple press release saying he will or will not run again. At the very least, just to raise money.

If I was a betting man, my guess is that he will seek a 2nd term AND will beat his closest competitor in a landslide. I also think Paul knows the job is gravy train, that is why he pays his COS $177K a year to run the city for him while he makes supposed side developer deals with inside information. It’s win-win for everyone.

If he decides to NOT run again, my guess is there would be a long list of people that would think about running like Huether, Erickson, Neitzert, Jamison and Stehly.

If Paul does announce he is running I’m not sure if he will have any serious contenders, and it will sure be fun watching him debate David Z.

City of Sioux Falls Plays Shell Game behind closed doors with Federal Covid Money

Last night, the city council, mostly councilor Kiley got irritated with me because I pointed out the shell game they played with Covid money. Rick was even more frustrated with the fact that I accused the council of NOT being involved. While he did correct me that they were involved, I reminded them that it was behind closed doors with the mayor in private, non-quorum meetings instead of open to the public working session with the ENTIRE council. According to open meetings laws they can to this, but it really isn’t that ethical or transparent, you know, SOP for the TenHaken administration. (ironically they scheduled a working session today for this Friday at 2 PM, you know, so working people can attend 🙁 they had to schedule the session because of the executive session they had to skip yesterday because the city council meetings start to close to the informational meetings, 6 PM)

So how did they pull this off?

It is true that the city did follow Federal guidelines when spending the initial money, where they played a game with it is what they did after spending the money. The city basically paid for stuff that was already in the 2021 budget following those guidelines. Since the Federal aid paid for those budgeted items, they transferred the budgeted money to other projects that WERE not included in the Covid guidelines (Parks, Zoo, etc). Personally, I think it is questionably legal. The best way you could explain it is using car insurance money to fix the fender on your car to buy a big screen TV and turning around and hiring your neighbor Chuck to fix the fender at a fraction of the cost.

It’s sneaky, very sneaky and probably the reason it was arranged in the mayor’s office with the lights down low. Not sure if the Federal government would even look into this practice since initially the money was spent correctly. I have a feeling this has been going on across the state and country. I reminded the mayor and council this is what happens when you have bad leadership and decision making behind closed doors, rules are broken.

I also reminded the council at the informational public input portion that we are being extremely overtaxed and Downtown Sioux Falls needs to move towards a more walkable downtown.


Ironically, this is because the HR department and the City’s chief liar, the parks director, are finding their jobs very difficult in hiring seasonal workers at $11.50 an hour (I think they want to bump it up to $13.00 an hour). During my public input on the matter I said it is because the city is setup like a for-profit corporation when it comes to pay (execs and directors get overly paid and the minions are underpaid). I also said that no manager, director or city employee should be paid more than the mayor (he makes $130K a year and 19 managers with the city make more than that, with his COF making $177K and almost 90 making over $100K). Which got a good chuckle out of Councilor Soehl (I am assuming because he agrees). Three separate councilors railed on the issue about how we need to pay our seasonal employees better. Which was good.

The police are also receiving two drones that they will share with the Fire Department. After that item passed an officer explained to me they have thermal cameras and will be used for fire inspection, traffic accidents and missing persons. He also told me that they had to follow National Civil Rights rules and objectives when using the drones. In other words they can’t hover over your house while you are having a drunken orgy in your hot tub 😊 While the drones themselves are around $2K, the thermal camera’s put the price tag in at $9K each.

During public input at the end of the meeting I reminded the council they need to put a public task force together to combat panhandling and they need input from the public. Believe it or not at least 4 of them were nodding their heads in agreement while the mayor continued to scowl and grunt into his microphone. That’s mostly all he does at every meeting.

Cruise control government at it’s best once again.

There is also a push to make newly elected CountCilor Jensen vice chair in next months council chair election even though both Starr and Brekke have been there longer and deserve the seat.

Sioux Falls City Council meetings still don’t livestream properly

Unfortunately it is NO surprise to me that the city council meetings didn’t stream properly yesterday. They were both replaying fine today (INFOREGULAR) The SIRE system they use to post agendas and stream video has been marginally working for over a decade. In fact the past three city clerks have struggled with the system. You would think by now it would be scrapped. At the very least you would expect them to just automatically livestream the video on YouTube, and heck, on Facebook also. In fact, the Mayor is doing his state of the city address from the State Theatre(?) and it will only be streamed on Facebook, which is questionable since you must subscribe to FB to watch it. The ongoing Hatefest towards transparency is mind boggling.

With our Mayor and his administration consistently talking about the technological advances of the city you would think that with over a DECADE of problems with SIRE it would have gotten the boot a very long time ago. A Dotard could have figured that out, but somehow two mayors, three city clerks, multiple councilors, consultants and city IT personnel still seem to be baffled with a system we have thrown millions at when we could use a FREE service called YouTube.


Of course the Devil is in the details. During the informational meeting the city got a presentation on the new proposed facility. While Sioux Falls taxpayers are footing the bill for the land and pipe upgrades (hey Noem, that is called infrastructure), the organization will provide all the other funding privately. When asked where that money will come from, they really didn’t have an answer. Kind of reminds me of the Bunker Ramp and just taking the developer’s word on it. Here we go again. The city council never learns.

I also found it interesting that the agenda item for this presentation was posted on Friday with NO attached documents (Power Point) which seems the SOP for this administration. But when I checked back on Tuesday morning, the presentation was still absent (Until about 2 PM) But interestingly enough Pigeon605.com had a story up that morning about the vet village, then the Argus and Dakotanews soon followed. So how is a presentation that is put on the agenda on a Friday not have supporting documents until 2 hours before the meeting yet everyone in the media knows what the presentation is about? Taxpayers should always take priority. If my tax dollars are being used to pay a communications specialist, which I am ok with, the public should receive those communications before the media. I also wonder if Pigeon is getting PAID to post these stories? The city has a way of getting information out to the public without using private media except in press releases.

• Put the details/presentation in the Agenda online when posting the agenda on Friday (DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!)
• Post on main city website
• Put on Citylink or do a YouTube video
• Post on Facebook and Twitter
• Send the media a press release and grant interviews (this should be done last)

I’m all for the media doing a story about this, and I learned a lot from the Pigeon story, but when tax dollars are being spent on projects, that information should be granted to the public before the Fourth Estate.


During the Sioux Falls City Council Regular meeting, Councilor Starr asked a planning department staffer how the planning commission can even function when only 5 members are approving plans with a 9 member board. You could hear Mayor Stoneless grunt and sigh into his microphone. Of course excuses were given because we all know that planning decision are directed by the mayor and granted by the ‘approval’ process of the appointed, paid, planning staffers. The Commission meetings themselves are merely Bread & Circus.