Entries Tagged 'Sioux Falls Mayor Race' ↓

Just how much was spent by Heuther on consulting during the mayoral campaign?

Winning elections the good old fashion way – buying them

We will soon know the final amount when the final financial report comes out at the end of this month, unfortunately too late to make a difference at the polls. But someone pointed out to me that the ‘consultants’ were getting paid all along in the ‘in-kind’ donations and were cleverly labeled ‘consulting fees’ with the name of the recipient withheld. I decided to comb through those numbers.

Up until the election aproximately $65,000 was spent by Huether on ‘consulting fees’

This is a rough number, because the financial reports are fuzzy about how you claim these numbers (it seems in some places you claim it twice). The assumption is that these fees went to Hildebrand Strategies who was running Mike’s campaign. It will be interesting to see the final financial report, because quite often, bonuses are paid for winning elections to consulting firms. We’ll see, I guess.

UPDATE: It seems the 4/22/10 financial report was the last filing and the $65,000 is probably the last report.

Mayor Huether; “I can’t cross the street without women giving me their phone number.”

Meet Mayor Huether’s new advisor

This video of ‘Ask the Mayor’ is pretty informative, here is a sampling;

(Paraphrasing) (Ahem) “Excited people across the city want to talk to me about issues, and not just about my awesomeness . . . I can’t go anywhere without people wanting to talk to me as mayor, it is great thing, even greater then my perfect politician haircut . . . It’s hard to cross the street in Sioux Falls, because people are calling out my name to talk to me, some want to share their ideas some just want to tell me to fuckoff. I think it will go on for the next four years, and I am excited about it, especially the fuckers telling me to fuckoff. Because I like that word. Fuck! Especially in radio studios”

He also discusses his transition team;

(Paraphrasing) (Ahem) “Many people have been asking about my transition team, well it is me. But I also have other people, for instance my wife, Cindy. Also, my close friend, president of Augustana, Rob Oliver. But I also have others. I bought Wilbur the Coyote from Gigglebees, he is advising me, I also hired a drag queen, Princess Falls to advise me on how to turn Sioux Falls into a gay haven, and of course a place to get a perfect politician haircut, like mine.”

He thinks he may have to move the listening sessions from ‘whisk and choop’ to the Orpheum theatre becuase of all the people coming to them (nevermind there is a building you can use rent free – Carnegie Hall).

(Paraphrasing) (Ahem) “The popularity of the listening sessions on Saturday has been very popular. I have never seen so much blue hair in my life! We all drink crappy coffee and eat bland breakfast food and talk about the issues.”

Who is on Mayor Mike Huether’s transition team?

Not just a pretty face, but a former SF city councilor who QUIT, and LOST his bid for mayor.

I have often joked, besides the obvious, people helping our new mayor (Dave Nelson, Metli and Hildebrand) there probably isn’t anybody else helping him. But a little birdy told me the other day, the guy who went crying to KELO-TV about Councilor Staggers’ councilor trips, former city councilor, Darren Smith, is probably one of Mike’s chief transition advisors. I’m not sure if it is true, but if anybody is feeling frisky, fill me in.

I guess I am not the only one who thinks Beck is nuts

The publisher of our local rag enjoying his favorite snack

Glad to see someone else called his ass out on this;

Equally disturbing is Beck’s use of extreme language, saying that a dangerous divide exists in Sioux Falls concerning whether to move the city forward or backward. This is a contrived division because the real divide that exists in the city is between the political elites (including Beck) who hold power and the citizens who want a say in government.

Ironically, Harald had first hand experience with this when, as South DaCola reported during the campaign, Harald was harassed by the city’s code enforcement office about his STAGGER’s political signs.

Publisher Randell Beck continues to peddle lies about a good man

Looks like the publisher of the Argus Leader fell off again

With only one day left of Dr. Staggers eight year term as city councilor, the publisher of the Argus Leader can’t resist to punch Kermit in the gut one last time. This of course is no surprise. The AL, there editorial board, and Beck were successful in misleading the public about Dr. Staggers and even though they have pretty much ended his political career, they cannot resist to rub it in;

The 42 percent of voters supporting Kermit Staggers generally rallied around ideas such as limited government and lower taxes, spiced by opposition to public financing of civic amenities such as an events center and the aforementioned distrust of business.

While I agree 100% with Kermit on limited government and lower taxes (not sure who would want higher taxes?) saying that Kermit is against financing ‘civic amenities’ is a flat out lie. Kermit wanted to increase spending on roads and infrastructure, he wanted to install snowgates to plow our streets better, he wanted to continue to fund our parks, he thinks the city should fix what they own, the sidewalks and tree trimming. These are all ‘civic amenities’ that we all use. Indoor pools, hockey rinks and events centers are used by a very small portion of our community. What makes more sense? Spending the taxpayer’s dime on things that benefit us all or on stuff that only benefit a few special interest groups? I don’t understand this culture of handouts you constantly are cheerleading for?

Toss in the shameful whispering campaign that suggested Huether was plotting some sort of “gay agenda” – whatever that is – and the result was a loose-knit coalition whose influence could well rise in future elections as voter turnout declines.

So now you think Pastor DooHickey has influence in our city elections? LMAO! I agree we were a genuine ‘grassroots’ coalition (something you call loose-knit) but Dr. Staggers didn’t pay any of us a dime, we did it because we believed in him. He didn’t have to pay some big wheel strategist to convince people to vote for him like his empty suit opponent had to. As for voter turnout being low, didn’t YOUR MAN MIKE win the election? If Kermit would have won, it would have proven your theory to be true, but he didn’t. I also find it ironic that more people voted then subscribe to your newspaper. How did all of these people find their way to the polls without the great guidance of the all knowing, 100-eyes, Argus Leader?

“What’s that Lassie? You mean there is other sources of media in Sioux Falls besides the Argus? Please lead me to them?”

While Staggers worked hard to convince voters he was more than just Dr. No, it was hard to identify his ideas for change beyond gutting pesky zoning regulations, cutting support for nonprofits and eliminating the city subsidy for the Washington Pavilion.

Lie, Lie, and another Lie. Your own newspaper ran several stories about how big of a mess code enforcement has become in Sioux Falls. After running an image of the flow-chart of code enforcement in your paper many people commented to me that they thought it was a satirical image. It was not. The reason Kermit has fought so hard to ‘gutt’ zoning regulations is because they are a FUCKING MESS, and if you cannot see that you need to open one of your 100-eyes. And when did Kermit suggest he was going to get rid of the Pavilion’s subsidy? Were you even listening to your own interview of Kermit? He said he wanted to work with the Pavilion to make them more profitable and possibly ‘some day’ eliminate the subsidy. As for non-profits, Kermit has worked hard to give tax breaks and other incentives to private non-profits. Recently he offered an amendment to extend those incentives to the St. Francis House and the Union Gospel Mission, but the rest of the ‘progressive’ council turned him down.

Huether made it out of the general election thanks to savvy campaign management, a base of loyal followers and a year of hard work,

While I agree entirely and predicted Huether and Staggers in the runoff 5 months ago because of those very reasons it doesn’t hurt to mention he spent three times more then Kermit, and the consulting fee numbers have yet to come in. Kermit’s are already in; $0.

but ultimately won the runoff thanks to a widespread fear that a vote for Staggers meant turning the Pavilion into a parking lot

While I am sure Beck is using his own special brand of sarcasm that earned him a lawsuit from Dan Scott and Bill Janklow, it is still a disservice to continue to spread this bullshit about Kermit. Besides I can think of a better place for a downtown parking lot; The SE corner of 10th and Minnesota.

and building an events center the size and cost of a Quonset hut.

Mike’s plan and Kermit’s plan were almost identical (because Mike stole all of his good ideas from Kermit and repackaged them) except for one big difference, Mike wants to raise taxes to build and subsidize the EC, Kermit does not. Do you even know what a Quonset is?

That dread found special traction among business people, arts advocates and people who’ve moved to Sioux Falls from bigger cities.

It got traction because of columns like this that have relentlessly spread lies and misinformation about Kermit over the years. Mike never once answered a straight question with a straight answer. I followed this election for almost a year, I spoke with both candidates and gave both of them advice, I know the issues, but if you locked me in a room for an hour and asked me a series of questions on what Mike would do for our city, I wouldn’t have a clue on how to answer them. I have no idea what he will do, and that scares the shit out me. You plundered Kermit’s campaign because he did something that no other politician running for office does, HE TOLD THE TRUTH about the problems facing our city. And really? How can we move forward in Sioux Falls if someone is constantly telling us we need to fix the problems we face in our community? The first step to renewal is first admitting you have a problem, Kermit was willing to do that.

Beck, you have a problem, consider this your intervention.

Excellent Recap of the Mayoral Election (H/T- Not My Man Mike)

Personally, I have a few sour grapes, and I couldn’t say it better myself. But I am also looking forward to a Huether administration. I need some new toon material.

Congrats to our New Mayor ‘Subprime Mike’

Get out your credit cards, this election is gonna cost yah.

Maybe I am the stupid one here to honestly believe Kermit could compete with someone who outspent him, out strategized him and in the end mislead the public on a multitude of issues. But it’s easy to promise stuff when you have no record.

I am actually glad Mike won by such a large margin, because now he has a clear mandate. You know what that means don’t you? High expectations. Remember how quickly Obama has fallen from the graces?

I hope Mike is successful, but once he screws up, he is going to have a lot of voters to kiss up to. Better grow some thick skin, quick, because a smile and a wink isn’t gonna fix back upped sewers.

BTW, am I the only one that found it strange that none of his former peers or fellow employees at First Premier endorsed him? Not one single one. Things that make you go hmmm.

In the end, I am still very proud of my support of Kermit, he told the truth throughout the campaign, and sometimes people didn’t like the answer. Oh well. I told Kermit tonight that there wasn’t anything he could have done differently. It is truly a sad day in America when deception gets more votes then the truth, but hey, business as usual in Sioux Falls city politics.

Mike should be a fun one to watch, I wonder how long before he gavels me?

I will be on a blog break for awhile, I’ll be back though, real soon.

A message from Kermit Staggers, pass it on . . .

Residents of Sioux Falls,

Don’t forget to vote for me, this Tuesday, April 27th.

I have a proven record as a South Dakota state legislator and Sioux Falls city councilman, promoting strong family values and using common sense to solve problems. I will work hard to keep Sioux Falls on track towards real progress by:

• Creating economic growth by keeping property and sales taxes low and eliminating well-intentioned but costly, unnecessary, and stifling regulation.

• Promoting a strong business climate that encourages job creation with a pro-business climate, low taxation, safe neighborhoods, and a well educated work force.

• Protecting citizens living on fixed income from increasing property taxes.

• Refocusing on the primary functions of government such as the effective and efficient delivery of essential services- better city streets, rapid snow removal, and effective crime prevention.

I have visited over 19,000 households during my time as city councilman, and will continue to be accessible and value your input.

A vote for Me will be a vote for a strong and vibrant Sioux Falls.

Thank you for your support!

Kermit L. Staggers

MY PREDICTION? While I think the race will be tight, I think Kermit will squeak this one out. He has sided with voters on major issues, and they have agreed time and time again. Kermit hasn’t lost many battles in the public’s eyes for a very long time. I don’t expect him to lose this one either.

A little dedication;


Let’s go over this one more time, this is the industry Huether is coming from

Final thoughts on the Mayoral Election

(Screenshot from the final Argus Leader debate)

No matter what I said in the past about both candidates, make no mistake, both have worked very hard to get where they are today. I commend their enthusiasm and passion when it comes to Sioux Falls. While letter writers to the paper will tell you their candidate loves the city more then the other candidate, I would disagree. I think both of them love this city equally and really want to serve you.


Mike Huether literally came out of nowhere. I think his second place in the general election was no mistake. I predicted all along it would be these two guys in the end. After polling behind Vernon Brown he knew he had to turn up the heat and he did. He organized his base, the Democrats and got his message out. No matter how you feel about that, it really doesn’t matter, it worked and it may very well get him a victory tomorrow. Remember, while Obama lost in Lincoln county, he got the majority of the vote in Minnehaha county, this fairs well for Huether. But there are some factors to look at. Obama’s poll numbers are not the best right now and I am sure there is some disenfranchised voters who voted for him that wouldn’t vote for him today. I voted for Obama, but he was never my ‘first choice’. It was more like an ‘anti-Palin’ vote to me and I sometimes wonder if voting for Mike will be an ‘anti-Staggers’ vote for many? Hiring Hildebrand to run his campaign was a smart move. But what I can’t figure out is why it took so long for the media to say something about it? I knew about it months ago and was confirmed to me by Huether himself. I often wonder if people would have known about it before the general election if that would have changed the election results? While Mike has been very successful in this campaign, and the money he has spent (more then double of what Staggers has spent), his hardcore campaigning, his hiring of an expert campaign strategist and his ‘outsider’ label has helped him greatly. If he wins, it won’t surprise me one bit.

But don’t count Kermit out. While Mike has spent more money then Kermit, Kermit has campaigned just as hard, if not harder, in fact he has been campaigning for this job for years. It was unfortunate that partisanship was brought into the race, and I am truly disappointed in both candidates for doing it. It actually pains me to defend it on Kermit’s side, but hey, you have to fight fire with fire. I truly believe Kermit wanted to keep it out of the race, and I truly believe Mike did to. Mike was up against the wall, and it was a last ditch effort on his part to knock out Vernon. While voters will tell you that they hate partisanship and negative campaigning, it seems to be working for both campaigns. I know that both campaigns have not only energized their hardcore supporters but have also energized their base over the past two weeks (Dems and Repubs) I just hope this hasn’t disenfranchised the indies, the ones who will ultimately decide this race.

People on both sides of the debate have good and bad arguments for defending the practice. On the positive side, I don’t think there is anything wrong with bringing different social philisophical arguments into the debate. While I despise talking about abortion and gay rights in a mayoral race, let’s face it the next mayor’s job is to set policy. Sometimes that policy has nothing to do with Events Centers and Roads, sometimes it has to do with massive social issues like education, the homeless, job equality, etc. Do I personally agree with Huether taking money from the Unions. No. Do I personally agree with Kermit bringing up abortion? No. But they are both equally as guilty, just as much as I am guilty of stirring the pot on some of these issues.

Up until a week before the general election, Mike was my ‘second choice’ I told him that repeatdedly in emails and to his face and I will have to agree these are the two best candidates, and we should consider ourselves very, very, lucky to have these choices.

But why? I can clarify really quickly why I think Peterson, Costello and Brown lost. Peterson was unknown to the average voter, but don’t blame the average voter or the media. Peterson did very little campaigning. This was apparent to me when one of his supporters asked me to sign his petition to run. Gathering your own signatures is the best way to campaign and get a feel of the voters. Peterson failed big time in campaigning. Costello lost because of his ties to special interests. His lack of experience didn’t help much either. As for Brown, I will say this, his lack of funds really hurt him in the end, he also got to sure of himself after the poll came out. Mike outspent him and out organized him. I like Vernon and actually agree with him on many social issues facing our city, like the homeless. In a lot of ways Vernon and Mike agree on many issues, like spending money on quality of life projects like there is no tomorrow. The difference is Vernon has a voting record on the matter and Mike can dodge the question when he needs to. I think a lot of voters disagree with Vernon’s stance on projects like the Zoo. When our streets are falling apart, why are we buying new monkey crappers for the zoo? It just doesn’t make sense.


While I have pounded Mike over the past few weeks on a whole host of issues (and to be honest with you, I didn’t think I was going to be able to dig up much dirt on him, boy was I wrong) There is some things I like about Mike. In the face of the public, he is very passionate, this is important. I also agree with him wanting to make investments within the city (though I think Kermit’s investment ideas are better). I also agree with him that the Events Center task force’s plan was flawed. In fact I sat next to him in one of the final meetings and we whispered back and forth discussing what was being presented, it was clear to me then, that Mike wasn’t buying the plan. I also agree that we must be fiscally responsible even though he repackaged that idea from Kermit, and the fact that a liberal Democrat talking about fiscal responsibility is an oxymoron, I think Mike knows that not only must he support the idea, I think he must implement it as mayor. It is pretty clear that Mike knows people are really pissed off about the economic shape of our city, and while Munson and other city officials pretend there is nothing wrong, the public knows better.

So why my opposition to Mike? It comes down to some basic things that have nothing to do with him being a Democrat, being partisan or taking union money. He has no government record. Zilch. All we have with Mike is promises. I was really unclear of how much Mike knew about government and particularly city government up until last week. Heck, there was a part of me that thought he might know more then he puts on. Hardly. Last week during the Argus Leader debate it became clear that Mike knew little about regulation (his solution was to hire more compliance officers) and very little about city budgets (one of the journalists asking the questions actually corrected him when Mike seemed confused about the Parks budget). While Mike touts his business experience, lets be clear, he worked in the marketing department at First Premier Bankcard, not the finance department. Do I want someone who can market our city well? Sure, but they must first understand how our city operates before they can sell it.

I will start out with Kermit’s negatives first. A majority of Kermit’s years on the city council have been very productive, but sometimes he barks up the wrong tree. While I appreciate him for not being a rubberstamper, there is just some things that need to be rubberstamped. I also think that Kermit sometimes is TOO conservative on financial issues, he sometimes pinched pennies instead of pinching dollar bills. For instance his stance on the new clubhouse for Prairie Green golf course. While I could give two-shits about a new clubhouse for a bunch of golfers, the facts are clear; the city courses make money for the city, let them build a new clubhouse. The new homeless shelter will save the city money in law enforcement, let’s build it. Kermit also is a great debater, which I love about him, but sometimes he just needs to admit when he is beat and turn the other cheek.

But why do I think Kermit’s positives outweigh his negatives? Because there is a multitude of them. Besides Kermit’s 21 years of public service experience, his intellect and knowledge of government, law and taxation is unmatched by anyone in the city. You don’t get to be a professor of political science for 28 years by being a dummy. But even better then that, Kermit has many progressive ideas to move the city forward, and they focus around the citizenry, something he has a proven track record in while serving on the city council for 8 years. The voters have agree with him when he has opposed some major policy changes. Like fee and tax increases, supposed quality of life projects, ordinance changes, etc. I could go on and on. Kermit has always sided with you, the citizen and not the special interests. This is commendable, and I think he will continue this policy as mayor. Kermit knows a city can only be great if it centers it’s greatness around superior customer service for it’s citizens, this means less taxes and fees, deregulation and more DIRECT services to the citizenry (like tree trimming, fixing sidewalks and roads and snowgates). These are REAL quality of life projects that help make all of our lives better.

But the one thing I like the most about Kermit is his honesty. You may not always agree with him, but you will always know he is telling the truth. This is a comforting trait in a politician.

I will take both candidates to task for their partisanship though. I really wish that Kermit would not have gone down that road, but I guess we will find out if it pays off tomorrow to fight fire with fire.


I want to end by saying I wish them both the best of luck, win or lose, and I hope no matter who wins (sorry I have no predictions this time) that I stand by what I have always said when I am knee deep in the political bullshit, I’m not a hater, If I end up hating a politician it just takes the fun out of what I do here. Am I cynical, sarcastic and foul sometimes? Sure, but the truth isn’t always pretty. This has been one of my biggest disappointments in the race, the editorializing of the candidates (both of them) by the local media and their constant blabbering about an Events Center and Quality-of-Life projects. We get it, you have an agenda, now let’s talk about the REAL issues.

I have had many great conversations with BOTH candidates over the past months leading up to this and have given BOTH of them tons of advice (yes to Mike to). I have enjoyed being in the middle of the debate and if I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t do it any differently, it has been a blast, and truly entertaining and life changing for me. NOW GET OUT AND VOTE!

Now I can finally get back to painting.