Entries Tagged 'Media' ↓

Colorado Springs Mayor ‘doesn’t have the data’ to back up claims

Dakota News Now interviewed Colorado Springs, CO, Mayor John Suthers (FF: 7:30). While I was disappointed that DNN did not also interview proponents of IM 27, it didn’t seem to matter since Mayor Suthers buried himself. When asked if he has data to back up his claims about an increase in crime he says,

“I don’t have numbers . . . but I know we have a lot of them (crimes).”

He also could not provide data linking an increase in traffic deaths to marijuana use, but he ‘personally’ believes there is a link (without mentioning a 100K increase in population since Rec MJ was approved in Colorado).

Once again, a small group of officials who are opposed to decriminalizing recreational MJ are pulling crap from their behinds.

It is worth noting that all IM 27 really does is decriminalize the use of Rec MJ for adults 21 and over. The state legislature will be responsible for the regulation and taxation of a commercial retail product. This means it will give an enormous amount of control to local jurisdictions. Just because you vote to pass IM 27 doesn’t mean it will be the Wild West of pot. Larger cities in SD could choose to limit dispensaries to 1-2 to NONE.

I have argued that the state, counties and cities will save millions in law enforcement and justice costs while raking in millions more from taxation. There have been numerous studies that have proven this. The mayor of Colorado Springs has chosen a different path, he has chosen to not allow the sale of MJ in his community and because of that is getting NO benefit from taxation to fight the black market and illegal minor use. That’s on him.

South DaCola welcomes The Dakota Scout

There has been some speculation out there that I may be competition with the new media coming soon in Sioux Falls. Hardly. Even I know that what my blog offers is mostly my editorial view on what is happening in local government and my enduring fight for transparency, common sense, and good government. I even hope to assist them in any way possible.

I am thrilled that Jon and Joe are launching an alternative to the hospital, food truck, developer welfare crazed local media.

Almost every day I see our local media miss the big stories that effect local governing.

During and after the last local election there were two big stories out there about Councilor Dr. Sarah Cole that not one single media outlet in Sioux Falls would cover;

• Before she voted for herself, Cole had NEVER voted in a local election even though she had lived here for almost 10 years.

• She received $17,500 from Mayor TenHaken’s PAC as a campaign donation.

It has always amazed me when I will hand a story to the media on a silver platter they do nothing with it. I hope Jon and Joe don’t fall into this pattern.

Recently I was reading comments on social media about how our local officials don’t listen to constituents and how we need to make them listen to our concerns and needs. This is true, I have been doing it for 16 years and have seen many positive changes in Sioux Falls due to my diligence and the diligence of my readers but what really needs to happen is there needs to be a full court press to change the makeup of these bodies which means getting the public involved with local elections, not just voting in progressive candidates but volunteering for their campaigns.

The regular Sioux Falls constituent is getting clobbered at the ballot box because of low voter turnout and the massive amount of money being thrown at candidates by the ruling elite. It is unethical and dark.

I’m hoping The Dakota Scout starts to uncover how this dark money has turned our local government bodies into impractical, ignorant, rubber stampers that virtually do NOTHING for the everyday citizen in Sioux Falls let alone hear anything they say.

I wish them luck! Telling the truth about things can be a very lonely place sometimes, but it is always rewarding.

Argus Leader loses two incredible journalists

While I never worked for the Argus (I did have several editorial cartoons printed) I did work with these two fine gentleman on several big stories concerning city politics. The Event Center siding settlement comes to mind. The one thing I appreciated about both of them was there ‘NO BS’ approach to creating a story. anytime I would give either one of them a lead they would dig. Ellis said to me all the time, “If only I could get someone on the record!” he was always adamant about having a reliable source. Sneve had a different approach, he would usually try to coax the information out of people with a little liquor and biker charm. I hope they both continue as great journalists in our community. I know they both have families and long ties to South Dakota, so I don’t see them leaving anytime soon.

My funniest memory was meeting Joe for the first time. I had beers with him, Bruce and Mike Myers at Monks. MMM’s communications manager saw us and quickly told her boss about our meeting. Joe told me soon after that Mike told him not to talk to us and Joe told Mike “I will talk to whoever I want to.”

Joe Sneve

Today marked my last day as a reporter at the Argus Leader, a newspaper which I’ve had a relationship with for the entirety of my 37 years on this planet.

From the announcement of my birth that ran in a 1984 August edition of the paper, swimming in disheveled copies of the paper on the floor of my grandfather’s house as a tot, to delivering two routes in Dell Rapids as a young teen, to becoming an intern while in college, to eventually becoming a new hire in 2012 – the Argus Leader has been part of the fabric of my life more so than just about anything else besides my family.

It’s a been a wild ride that’s opened many doors, brought me to many places I’d never have gone otherwise and has enriched my life deeply.

I’d like to thank every single co-worker, many of whom have become some of my best friends (which isn’t going to change), that I’ve had over the years. You made me a better journalist.

But the Argus Leader chapters of my life have come to an end.

However, I am not letting my years of experience as a watchdog journalist go to waste. And despite having some safer career alternatives presented to me, I am forgoing those to continue to hold South Dakota governments and the officials that operate them accountable.

My time at the Argus Leader is done, but I’m only getting started when it comes to kicking ass and taking names.

Stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks about what’s next!

Jonathan Ellis

After nearly 17 yeas, today marked my last day at the Argus Leader.

It’s been a great run. I’ve worked with some phenomenal people over the years. First-rate journalists and just good people. Sadly, a couple of them are no longer with us. Dave Kranz was an outstanding political columnist. Maricarrol Kuiter a great editor.

When I interviewed at the Argus in 2005, I had also interviewed at the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. Working at the Argus gave me opportunity I never would have had at a larger metro daily. Thank you Amy Johnson Ellis for highly suggesting that I take the job.

Less than three years into my time at the Argus, I was doing one-on-one interviews with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as they battled in the 2008 Democratic primary. I never would have had that opportunity at a larger paper.

The Argus has supported my numerous efforts to win public information. We’ve been to the South Dakota Supreme Court several times, and we also went to the U.S. Supreme Court. Not many newspapers would have had the moxie to do that.

So I will always be indebted to what the Argus gave me. But now, it’s time to move on. It may seem crazy to some, but I believe we are entering a golden age of journalism. And Joe Sneve

and I are ready for what’s to come. Standby.

Finally, I want to thank the institution and the great people I worked with and under. We’ve had solid newsroom leadership at the Argus. We’ve done amazing work. That can never be taken away from those of us who labored there. We can be proud of much.

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 Mayoral Candidate Zokaites gets cut off by Council Dictator Kiley


Besides the fact that the city council folded like a wet paper bag when it came to poorly researched and negotiated employee retention bonuses (or was it about inflation? Proving the absurdity of city employee vote bribes? Or trying to humiliate Brekke, you know, the councilor they are unethically hosting fundraisers for her opponent) there was some other fireworks at last night’s meeting.

During public input Mr. Science and All around Know-it-All Councilor Ricky Lee Kiley cut off David Zokaites because of his presentation about allowing Mayor Poops a Freebie 2-hour interview on KELO AM. Ironically, I saw the presentation before the meeting (posted below), and all David was going to say is that KELO and Poops did nothing wrong and it was permissible by the FCC. Yup, he was going to defend the Mayor, at least on the law, but NOT the ethics.

Kiley was within his rights to ask David to stop the presentation and David did the right thing by ending it. As a candidate for office you are NOT allowed to talk about that candidacy at the podium during public input, and that is where David crossed a line . . .  kind of. I’m just curious why the council’s COS and City Clerk did not catch the violation when they pre-approved David’s PPT before the meeting?

Ironically, Poops violates ethical standards of running for office almost daily. From using insider information on concerts at the Denty, to tweeting candidate commercials while running a meeting, posting endorsements (that are missing a PAID FOR STAMP) on his supposed personal FB page and using most media interviews to promote his candidacy while telling everyone he is not a politician (but plays one on TV).

While Kiley was right that David was in the wrong, I’m just wondering when Poops will start following the same campaign ethical standards? Not in our lifetime.

CITY OF SIOUX FALLS HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT HIRES A COUNSELING AGENCY THAT EMPLOYEES A CONVICTED FEDERAL CRIMINAL

The real fun stuff was at the beginning of the meeting when councilor Starr asked why the city is hiring Key Solutions whose director/counselor recently got charged with Federal crimes;

Tami Haug-Davis, 64, of Sioux Falls, was ordered to pay $15,000 restitution, serve one year of probation and serve 40 hours of community service for making a materially false statement regarding minutes of board meetings during a federal investigation of the Missouri Valley Crisis Center.

Our director of HR, Bill Dah’Toole said to the council last night, they got reassurance that she wouldn’t do bad things anymore. You know, like when we picked Lamont to complete the bunker ramp. Starr had made them aware in advance of her record, and instead trying to find another counseling agency, they chose to double-down on their very stupid decision, and 6 of the 8 councilors agreed . . . of course they would, because that is the true definition of absurdity. Starr and Brekke voted NO. Erickson of course phoned in her VOTE since she is in Pierre lobbying at her other job. Must be nice to double-dip and have a council gig as a side hustle. I can’t even remember the last time I have seen her in person at a council meeting?

LIGHTS OUT!

But my favorite part at the meeting last night was when someone leaned against the light switches and turned off the lights in the Chamber. I’m sure they were all thinking cyber attack.

Dakotanews has a peculiar view on Investigative Journalism


I was a little puzzled by this story they posted yesterday;



The I-Team has learned that the city of Sioux Falls has hired an outside attorney to represent the city in a lawsuit against the Village River Group.



I am assuming the I-Team means investigative team. Besides the fact that I posted about this on January 18, it wasn’t some secret since it was on the public agenda at the January 18 meeting in the consent agenda in which Councilor Starr pulled and asked the city finance director and city attorney where the money was coming from.

They both kind of fibbed a bit (the real story here).

Still wondering why it took supposed investigative journalists 6 weeks to figure something out that was posted on a public agenda?

Did anybody even know there was a Sioux Falls School Board election?



If you do a search on google with key words ‘sioux falls school board election 2022’ you will notice the only independent media that comes up is that the election was cancelled because of no candidates except the incumbents.

The SF School District, the City of Sioux Falls and the SD SOS sites ALL mention the election in advance of the February filing deadline. But NO local mainstream media even told the public there was 2 seats up for grabs. I’m even guilty, because I can’t even find if I mentioned it on my blog.

Maybe NO ONE is running because NO ONE knew about it?

While our local media continues to give FREE campaign advertising to the incumbent mayor, they have remained silent about the school board election.

Local news funnies

I love it when these slip by on live news, luckily they replay online so Detroit can screenshot. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, ‘And you want to be my latex salesman!’

South Dakota Legislative Reporter explains why they are quitting (Pierre)

While there are many fine points in Dana’s editorial, none of it surprises me one bit. When I started doing editorial cartoons in 2006 the legislature was a very easy target. And while some may argue that target has gotten easier over the years, I just think in Pierre it depends on which way the wind is blowing. Take the transgender bathroom issue;

I just couldn’t take the crazy any longer. I couldn’t take the effort wasted on legislation that’s designed to bully and hurt.

I have always looked at this issue in two ways, 1) Someone’s sexual identity is not your G—— F—— Business and 2) who does it affect? Is this an issue in South Dakota? Are biological boys identifying as girls storming bathrooms and high school gyms across the state? In fact when some journalists and other legislators have asked this question nobody can actually identify more than a handful of transgender youth in our state and only 1 or 2 have made an issue about sports.

It goes along with this argument;

Each year the largely Republican Legislature seems to have its priorities in the wrong place. Bills that pick on the transgendered pass easily while last year members of the GOP said, “There’s nothing to see here” as they killed bills that would have shed light on state airplane usage and the governor’s security costs.

They really don’t want to take on the ‘REAL ISSUES’ this has not changed in the 16 years I have been watching the circus called the legislative session. All and any real reform has come thru the initiative/referendum process which now they are trying to kill in the courts and their own ballot measures. And they are becoming successful.

Often, when lawmakers want to make it safe for the rest of us to go to the bathroom or make abortions impossible to get or guns easier to get, they are getting their marching orders from outside the state.

Which also baffles me. If you do google searches on these three issues, while the poll numbers fluctuate, none drop below 50% (These are nationwide averages based on several polls);

• Support keeping Abortion Legal and Safe: 60% Support

• Federal legalization of Adult use recreational cannabis: 60% Support

• Stricter gun laws and other gun control measures: 53% Support

I kind of scratch my head when the peeps in Pierre act like South Dakota is some island when it comes to how the rest of the country thinks (even though over HALF of our funding comes from Federal taxpayers), I would remind you that when it comes to legal abortion and Rec MJ, voters have supported it in this state.

In journalism circles in South Dakota, we often bemoan the fact that there are fewer and fewer reporters writing about the Legislature. Now there’s one less and I feel bad about that. But not bad enough to force myself back into the press box and try to write objectively about legislation and resolutions that I know are by turns silly, symbolic, wrong-headed and cruel.

. . . and don’t forget destructively moronic.

I also see these same wingnuts taking over our city government (they already have) and the next election probably will only exacerbate the problem since many of the candidates running have NO challengers and were hand picked by the Mayor and his minions.

What can we do? I often tell people to spread the truth about the lies and corruption. Tell anyone you know (especially the 10% who vote in city elections about it).

I know it seems I have been kind of quiet about the upcoming city elections, trust me the silence will be broken soon and my spreadsheet of misdeeds on some of the candidates is filling up fast. I encourage others to run, especially in my Central District which has been given a total overhaul and leans pretty left to center. As of right now the incumbent (who has done nothing for the district) has no challengers or anybody on the horizon. This needs to change.

Is the lazy local Sioux Falls Media blowing off the City’s open meetings violations?

Of course they are. They don’t understand it (we will get to that in a moment) and they don’t want to ruffle feathers. It reminds of what Greg Belfrage said this morning on his show, about talking about politics at family events, he says he doesn’t. I believe him, because he doesn’t know a damn thing about politics and he is probably afraid he would embarrass himself, and he couldn’t hide from his liberal uncle by hanging up the phone on him while passing the gravy.

Many in the media have chosen to not talk about the open meetings violation because they have told the complainant that it is ‘too complicated’. A city official said that it is NOT a big deal and just an ‘ordinance violation’.

First it is NOT complicated and secondly, an open meetings violation is a big deal.

The city is required to have public input on items that are pulled from the consent agenda. Now mind you, if it is about spending $33 on a squirrel feeder at a park, probably NOT pressing, but still required, but this was about a liquor license for a bar with several questionable police calls and underage violations (the real story here), and the fact that the complainant had told many city officials she was going to speak about the item when pulled days in advance. I think the Chair of the meeting, Mayor Paul TenHaken did not call public input on purpose, because he didn’t want to hear what she had to say.

This is why this is IMPORTANT and should be shared in the media. You may not always agree with freedom of speech, but it is equal for all of us whether you want to talk about a gun stuck up your butt all day, a fertilized egg that has a heartbeat, that AR-15s are standard for EMTs, defunding the police or bars that are allowing teenagers to get pistol whipped when they illegally came into the adult establishment.

The simple, real story here is that the Mayor, Paul ‘Poops’ TenHaken violated the law by not allowing public input and a bar skirted any public rebuke because of a lazy, cowardly city staff and council and an oblivious media that doesn’t want to work to hard, if at all.

Is the infrastructure bill and January 6th investigations complicated? YES. And we have thousands of reports about them we can read every day. Is censoring public input complicated? F’CK NO! And we should have at least 2-3 local media reports about it. But we don’t.

Maybe if the meeting was held in a food truck?