Entries Tagged 'Theresa Stehly' ↓

Former Sioux Falls Mayor Rick Knobe posts on FB about his feelings of big money in City Council race

While I don’t agree with all of Rick’s points, he asks some very good questions;

Confession time. I’m feeling torn.

Back on the boat in Mobile, Alabama. Plan is to finish my Great Loop Adventure in next two months. Retirement is good. I worked hard and know I’ve made an impact on Sioux Falls, and those around me.

In Sioux Falls, and now in Pierre, things are happening.

The at-large council seat is up, along with three district positions. The at-large incumbent, Theresa Stehly has not yet announced her intentions.

A young man has announced and he has been given a huge amount of money(about 70 thousand as if this writing) to defeat her. Contributors include the usual big money folks, mostly connected Republicans.

Standing out is a 10,000 dollar check from former Governor Dennis Daugaard. Obviously the former Governor can donate money to anyone he wants. But this is the same Governor who worked hard to ban out of state money from state elections, speaking out, and signing a bill outlawing the practice. That bill was ultimately determined to be unconstitutional.

Last I knew Dennis and his wife lived near Garretson, outside of Sioux Falls. Are large contributions of out of city money ok for city elections in his mind, but not out of state money for state wide elections?

His contribution is probably legal, but in the face of previous statements and actions is he being ethically consistent?

Back to the election. Stehly’s opponent vows to raise well over $100,000. The four year job pays less than $20,000 a year. Are he and his people “jumping the shark?”( reference to the Happy Days TV show. The Fonz waterskiing while dressed in his jeans and leather jacket, jumping over a shark).

I don’t know the candidate. His pledge to raise more than five, nearly six times the salary seems beyond excessive. Is he motivated to serve or only to win? What does he want to do to improve life in Sioux Falls?

The mayor has created a PAC. He has given money to sitting council members he wants re-elected. Legal? Probably. Ethical? No definitive answer. He is the first mayor in Sioux Falls history to create a PAC. Is he mimicking the big dogs from DC?

One could ask, does he want to serve us, the citizens, or does he want to be a powerbroker?

In Pierre, we are only a few days into the session and already 42 legislators have signed onto a bill putting themselves, and maybe us, if the bill passes, into medical advice and treatment rooms to make felons out of professionals helping individuals and families deal with one of the most complex issues of human bodies, brains, and emotions, gender identity.

I consider myself relatively intelligent. I have talked with a physician who helps deal with people suffering from a gender identity issue. (He lives In Minnesota). It’s complicated. Very complicated.

I feel for people dealing the sex identity problems. I know enough to know, I don’t know enough about it to offer advice. I certainly don’t want to be in the treatment room and I don’t want elected officials in there either, in person or thru laws they pass.

I wonder what else is coming in Pierre? It’s scary.

I’m hoping those of you who care about local and state government will speak up and take action. Testify. Vote. Get involved.

We might not be able to influence the idiocy in Washington, but we can and should stop it in Pierre and prevent it from infecting Sioux Falls.


Of course Alex Jensen’s campaign manager, Matt Paulson had to respond (twice);

Matt Paulson – The issue is not dissenting Ms. Stehly’s votes and a need to control everything. The issue is with how she treats people that she disagrees with, which is very poorly. She seems unable to have a reasonable disagreement without declaring all out war. After repeated phone calls, underhanded blog posts that she orchestrated, complaints by her about me to numerous community leaders, threatening to vote against future funding for an organization she thought I was affiliated with and using her position as a city councilor to attack someone that has political disagreements with her in a public meeting, I’ve just had enough. She bullies people and tries to intimidate people into not speaking out against her by using whatever leverage she can find (usually calling people’s employers). It’s wrong. City officials should treat citizens, including those they disagree with, with respect. Frankly, That’s the main reason why I and others are working to elect someone else to that seat.

First off, NO ONE tells me what to post. Sure, people, including Stehly, have given me suggestions, but in the past, if they want to say something I suggest a ‘guest post’. I disagree with Theresa on a whole host of issues, and we have had our share of incredible fights. Remember, I have been blogging for almost 14 years, well before I knew Theresa, Cameraman Bruce and others. Ask them and they will all say the same, “I can’t tell Scott what to post.”

She should vote against future funding of the SFDF, especially when they use tax dollars to promote a candidate and violate laws. I would expect my elected officials to hold them to a higher standard.

It is also the job of elected officials to hold PUBLIC entities and their employees accountable, especially those who get public money.

Matt Paulson – One thing to consider is that every candidate is going to use the “tools in the toolbox” they have available to them to try to win an election. For Jensen, that is trying to leverage the establishment vote and the financial resources that come with that vote. For Stehly, that means using her elected office as a means to campaign, using her newsletter in the shopper, painting herself as the defender of the little guy. and showing up to as many events/meetings as she can because she does not have a full-time job outside of being a council member. I have a hard time believing that she, or any candidate for that matter, wouldn’t raise more money to win an election if that was a tool they had available to them.

All of the things you mention are called ‘doing her job’. C’mon Matt, are you that ignorant? BTW, when is Alex going to campaign or even tell us what his issues and stances are? Let’s say Theresa doesn’t run, and someone like Knobe gets in the race, is he just going to depend on his smiling face to win the race? Rick would kick his ass. I told someone the other day that it seems Jensen is taking the John Paulson approach to campaigning, “Stay positive and don’t take any stances.” Last I checked, Paulson spent a lot of money, and lost twice, first to Stehly than to Brekke. Not sure why you need to march forth on this losing strategy? But whatever. The only way you will win a council seat, especially running against a popular incumbent is by knocking on doors. All the money, yard signs and billboards won’t make a difference. And ironically, all of this hoopla, and Stehly hasn’t even announced if she will run again.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Stehly was on the attack yesterday, and it was the ‘Good Fight’

First, the obvious – The First Amendment DOES not protect free speech when comes to using tax dollars to promote a political candidate. This doesn’t even take a Constitutional scholar to figure it out. This is why Trump was impeached in Congress. He was withholding tax dollars to help his presidential candidacy.

While I understand a local entrepreneur casually mentioning a city council candidate he is helping out in an article funded by two institutions that receive some tax funding (state and city) may seem not as grand as what our president did, it is still worth talking about and correcting.

I was extremely irritated that some elected officials on the council chose to defend this obvious violation of free speech rights and state law.

Just because you violate campaign rules ‘a little bit’ doesn’t make it alright. That essentially was their argument.

While what councilors Brekke, Stehly and citizen Bruce Danielson said may have been uncomfortable, it was very appropriate to say and the right time to say it, in a public meeting. No one was advocating to arrest anyone, no one was going to throw some one in jail or fine them. This was simply an effort to ‘nip it in the butt’ before it became common place. People make mistakes, we get it.

Over the past day, I have told several people that Matt Paulson (Alex Jensen’s quasi-campaign manager, treasurer and fundraiser) did nothing wrong, neither did Siouxfalls.business. Stehly wasn’t attacking them, she was simply telling the Sioux Falls Development Foundation (and I guess DSU) that moving forward they should not promote certain candidates because they receive public money.

This isn’t an attack, it’s a fact, and many journalists and citizens agree.

We know what’s going on here, and we have been seeing this across the state for several years. The Republican establishment (a very small elitist group) has controlled our State House for almost 50 years, and they are trying to take control of our County Commissions, State’s Attorney offices and other non-partisan government entities like city councils and school boards. I want to clarify, I have voted for ‘good’ Republicans (like Stehly, Brekke, Staggers and Jamison) on these non-partisan bodies, because they have integrity and want to keep party affiliation out of politics. The group I am referring to is a very small group of ‘know it all’ elitist, establishment Republicans that want to control their business interests, and they see an opportunity here, though their actions look more like ‘amateur hour’.

I have said it already, they are using candidates like Jensen for city council, Cynthia Mickelson for school board and State’s Attorney candidates like Haggar and Bengford to stack the deck and implement their pro-corporate welfare of government, these are NOT Republicans in the sense of tradition, these are elitist greed mongers that only pray to one God; money. Don’t believe me? Why else would the South Dakota GOP Chair, a Jewish Iowa businessman lobby for an Islamic theocratic government? Because party doesn’t matter, only money and greed.

So yes, Stehly was on the attack yesterday. She was attacking greed, corruption, partisanship, lack of integrity and lack of open government. And not just ‘a little bit’ but a lot.

UPDATE II: Mysterious LLCs donate $2,500 to Jensen’s campaign

UPDATE II: Here is an updated Jensen donor list with references to the businesses/employment the donors are associated with.

This is even better where it breaks down it down into donor groups.

Besides the fact that Alex has gotten $10,000 from Dennis Dopey our former governor, he also raked in big contributions from local developers and banksters in town. READ FULL REPORT.

Less than 7% was small donations of $100 or less.

But one of the most interesting contributions came from a list of 3 LLC’s ran by this guy, Kevin Tupy. They all have the same PO box address at the UPS store. I always get a kick out of how people try to hide their identity when giving to political campaigns or wiggling around the rules. If Tupy gave individually he would have only been able to give $1,000 but this little trick was able to put his contribution up to $2,500 while hiding his identity. Notice he did NOT give an individual donation.

Even more interesting is that Mr. TenHaken’s PAC did not give any money to Jensen. No worries, I’m sure he will be plugging money into it the second round of fundraising because that report won’t come out until right before the election.

Even though Jensen has raised a lot of money, I’m curious when he will actually be campaigning? Even if Stehly does not run (I think she will) wouldn’t you want to be campaigning in case you have another challenger? I have heard NOTHING about his stances on the issues. Does he have any? People have told me he knows little about city government and will get mopped by Stehly in any forum or debate.

I still believe Stehly can beat Jensen by at least 6 points without spending a single penny. And if she does, there is going to be a lot of sore LLCs and PACs in town 🙂

UPDATE: I also find it interesting that $18,000 in donations came from out of Sioux Falls ($10K-Daugaard, $8K from other towns). Mostly from High Profile Republicans and PACS, this tells me they are making this race partisan. While I did see a ‘couple’ of the donors are indies or Dems, that I know of, this is about getting an ‘establishment’ Republican elected. Stehly, though a Republican, has always performed her roll non-partisan (because, that is what the seat is). I think there are people in the party who want to kick her out, but I also know there are many that like her.

There was a recent Argus article/survey it asked people to identify local politicians, media, celebrities, etc. Theresa was on the survey, she got 44% of people being able to recognize her. Christine Erickson was on the survey to, she got 26%. Would have been interesting to see Jensen and Huether on the list.

SF Councilor Theresa Stehly 44%

Governor Kristi Noem 90%

Sen. John Thune 85%

Sen. Mike Rounds 83%

Rep. Dusty Johnson 80%

Mayor Paul TenHaken 75%

Councilor Christine Erickson 26%

SFSB President Cynthia Mickelson 21%

Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden 15%

I told a friend last night that if Stehly decides to run, the best move by Alex would be to drop out, send the donations back and save himself the embarrassment.

Local Political Hero of 2019; Theresa Stehly

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. (Stehly at one of her numerous outreaches at Benson’s Flea market.)

I’ll get the uncomfortable part out of the way first. Theresa is my friend, a very good friend. In fact almost every time I have a conversation with Theresa, she asks how I am doing first. My career, my family, my faith and my health. She starts most conversations this way and I am sure she does it with all of her friends. She cares, even if she has a big mouth. It’s kind of cool, and it’s kind of her.

So why would I place my friend on this pedestal? Even if I didn’t know her personally, you have to admit you can’t ignore her perseverance. I have often said that Theresa may not get much legislation on the Sioux Falls city council passed, but she makes a difference. Here are a few examples;

• Potholes. After her and councilor Starr’s proposal to give a million dollars towards potholes fails, the mayor ramps up the program and puts several crews on it.

• The same could be said about the tornado cleanup. After she pressures the administration for city assistance, the city employees step up and provide the assistance. It goes one step further with Governor Noem securing Federal FEMA aid.

• After she meets with the prison warden, the mayor decides to use more prison labor. Which I think is a great step towards rehabilitation and repaying a debt to society, as well as learning good work and life skills.

• She helps compromise a deal with Lifescape’s street closure proposal, making the much needed organization in the community work with neighbors on a solution.

• One of the only councilors to respond to constituents on a regular basis, turning her part-time position into extra overtime and compassion for citizens.

• Organizing a meeting with Whittier Neighborhood businesses to work on solutions for intoxicated transients.

• While her texting legislation of the city council fails, she has gotten them on their toes to pay closer attention to the meetings instead of their phones.

• Bringing beekeeping to Sioux Falls, even though some Negative Nancy’s on the council have treated potential beekeepers as public nuisances instead of encouraging natural food production.

• Giving almost daily reports on social media about city issues and publishing a monthly column, ‘The Stehly Report’ in a weekly shopper.

• Making Sioux Falls neighbors well aware of annexation intentions and putting the meetings in the fore front.

• Having the courage to call out the conflict of interest hiring of the new internal auditor with no auditing experience.

• Doing the same with the online tool salesman who got appointed our technology manager of the city so he could fly around the country and tell us the latest museum he is boozing at on Mayor Bloomberg’s dime.

• Shortly after the local paper railed on her about ‘grandstanding’ they reported about the failed Bunker Ramp downtown something Stehly has fought hard from the beginning due to corruption, special deals, wasting taxpayer money and the general lack of government transparency.

• Speaking of Big ‘T’ and the ‘T’ word. While Stehly has gotten a lot of flack about her big mouth, it has helped to open government up to the people. Her almost daily and weekly rants about open government and transparency has gotten her a reputation, and it’s not so bad. She has the elite in town trying to raise $150K for her opponent, even though she has not announced. Of course they are scared, they should be. Loose lips sink ships, and the big ship builders in town are worried about another 4 years of Stehly. She has interrupted their ‘progress’ at the detriment of the rest of us working stiffs.

While her ‘style’ isn’t always in favor, her results have been astounding. That’s why I am calling Theresa Stehly the local government hero of 2019, and if she runs again in 2020, she will win in a landslide, spending only the pennies she pulled out of the seats of her late model Toyota, to the detriment of failed, corrupt, state employees blogging from podunk towns 40 minutes away.

Alex Jensen raises $64K for Sioux Falls City Council Race

Let’s pretend for a moment you are not following the city council races at all. Let’s also pretend that you have no idea who Jensen or Stehly is. Then you saw the story in the newspaper that Mr. Jensen raised this much money for a city council race. What would your logical question be after that? “Who is running against Mr. Jensen?” Well at this point nobody. So why on earth would anyone feel they needed to raise $64K? Even if Stehly decides to NOT run for re-election, Alex could still get a challenger. Stehly will ultimately have to make up her mind in the coming weeks. The last time I spoke to her about the issue last week, she still was undecided.

If I was a guessing man, my guess is that Stehly will run for re-election. I expect her to actually spend less than she spent last time she ran (I think it was around $8,000). Money doesn’t always bode well for votes, as Sneve pointed out in his story. You also have to remember, Stehly is popular and the incumbent. The only people that have a problem with Big ‘T’ are the Big Shots in town. You also have to expect a low voter turnout, because this is a municipal election in a NON-Mayoral run year. And when the numbers are low, that means more informed voters show up to the polls.

I have nothing personal against Mr. Jensen, I just think head to head with Big ‘T’, she is the better candidate. She has proven she will work with constituents and she really has gotten a lot of things done, even without passing ordinances. Is she loud and forceful sometimes? Sure. But you have to be; “Well behaved women seldom make history.” – Laurel Thatcher

There is one main reason they want Theresa gone, because she tells the public what is going on, and the big wheels in town don’t like big mouths.

The Argus asked Stehly to provide a quote for the Jensen story, and they wouldn’t print it, so here it is;

“I’m wishing the citizens a Blessed Christmas Season and asking for prayers for all elected leaders. I will continue to serve the residents with loving, positive and responsive leadership.”

And I’m sure Theresa will hold the door of the elevator at first floor and not just send it back down later. 

Belfrage misses the point of releasing the TenHaken voicemail

You can hear the discussion. She did have a defender during his segment.

I will say this first. I don’t like how this has been going. In fact I think everyone involved is acting horribly, I do agree with Belfrage that it is a little out of control. I wish people on both sides of this issue would just respect each other’s comments and opinions. They are all elected by the constituents, you are NOT going to agree with each other all of the time. That’s okay. That is how good government gets done. Having disagreements is healthy, also having open, transparent meetings to discuss these disagreements is healthy. Do people’s feelings get hurt? Sure. That’s what they call ‘making the sausage’. So I hope they all can just apologize to each other and move on. Including Theresa, the mayor and several other councilors.

But let’s look at the FACTS, just for clarification;

Belfrage first talks about how Stehly posted on his FB page about the issue over the weekend and he was upset about it. A couple of things I would like to fill Greg in on;

• Facebook and the internet is 24/7, 365 days. It doesn’t shut off when you are not blabbing on the radio.

• His FB page is his show’s FB page. He claims he is part of the media. While that is a stretch, it is true.

If someone is posting a comment on your FB page that is part of your show, there is NOTHING irregular about it. In fact, if a local politician wanted to post an issue there, that would be the appropriate place to do it. If this would have been a personal page, he would have a right to be upset, but it wasn’t.

The second issue is the whole point of posting the voicemail by Paul wasn’t to show he was ‘mean’. He wasn’t mean, he was actually calm and respectful. The point is that the mayor LIED. He made this comment on FB after Stehly said she had the VM;

‘There are no mean emails, voicemails, or the like here.’

Yeah, once again it wasn’t ‘mean’ but a voicemail does exist. That was her point. Instead of calling Theresa, or emailing her to ask to hear the VM, he just automatically denied it existed. That was the entire point folks.

Did Theresa probably go about it the wrong way? Yeah, probably, but as I have told people, I don’t control how Theresa operates. I can ‘try’ to give advice (I have told her several times to get the f’ck off of FB and start a blog instead so she can moderate the commentary a little better, or HAVE no comments at all, just make it informational in nature).

So what is the ‘bigger’ lesson here? Some people in city government don’t get along, we see it every week in the smirks and commentary at the city council meetings. Not sure that will ever change. Some of them simply don’t like each other. The mayor himself vowed to make sure certain people get elected to the council next time around. Theresa isn’t on that list. Sorry, I don’t have a secret VM confirming that, but unless you have been under a rock the past two years you can see that is pretty obvious.

I’m begging all elected officials in city government and local and state government to get off of Facebook and talk to our actual faces. That would solve a lot of problems. Transparency in government will always win the day.

TenHaken Voicemail

I guess since Pitty Pat decided to put this up, I will to. I was unable to use the audio file.

Here is the transcript;

“Hey Theresa it’s Paul it’s about 4:15. Uh, say we had a discussion a while back when we were talking about water reclamation and your desire to go on my Facebook page and stir up comments and I told you how I didn’t appreciate that and I see it’s happening again and I think last time you mentioned it was to defend yourself. I see no reason for you to be using my page, my forum to advance your agenda in your position you have a Facebook page feel free to use it accordingly and not canabalize mine so we’re gonna have to block you from my page if that continues. So I would ask that you would show some respect for that. Thank You. Have a good day.”

To tell you the truth, I really think it is a lot of nitpicking, on both sides. I think it is sad when the mayor is telling councilors how to behave – then lying on FB about it. They are independently elected, just like him. But I have seen this in past administrations to. The last mayor would scold the councilors all the time. In fact one time he even threatened a councilor in a text message. The council is a separate legislative body, they SHOULD be a check to the mayor. There is of course a simple fix to this – STOP POSTING ON FACEBOOK and hold more public meetings and town halls and answer questions from constituents about issues in that forum. I still don’t understand what the mayor and certain councilors are so afraid of when it comes to meeting with citizens in public? Are they scared they can’t answer the questions? Or is it just an incredible disdain for transparency? I think it is a little bit of both.

Stehly Report • Dec 2019

UPDATE: Mayor TenHaken tells councilor Stehly he will block her from FB

Theresa played me a voicemail tonight that had our mayor telling her he would ‘block her from his facebook page’.

I heard the message. It was him. No doubt. It had something to do with water reclamation and posting comments on his FB page.

But he was on FB last night proclaiming he didn’t do it;

‘There are no mean emails, voicemails, or the like here.’

While I would agree he wasn’t mean (he was actually pretty calm) he did say he would block her. I guess as an elected official if someone was accusing me of something and I was in doubt about it, I would get on the horn and ask for the proof. Then if I truly did do it (the VM is from January I believe) I would apologize and move on.

“It’s Better to Beg for Forgiveness than to Ask for Permission”

Now this happened. I commented on the page this morning that they should remove SF Politics from FB and start a blog where they can moderate comments like I do here. Apparently they are taking my advice.

Metro 911 meeting this morning

According to councilor Stehly on FB and local media;

Happening Now: Metro 911 wants $9-11 Million for a new facility vs $6-8 Million to remodel. Unfortunately,the meeting was not recorded.

She also told me that she was chastised at the meeting by another city councilor for posting that information on FB. This was a public meeting, so I’m not sure why that was an issue? Oh, because without the media there they can try to keep people in the dark. I’m not sure why our public officials like secrecy so much. I have often argued that if you keep the public informed from the beginning they can never come back and say ‘You never told us about this.’ That is why the Bunker Ramp has been such a disaster, too many behind closed door deals.

Well looky there, a quorum of leaders in a public building, wouldn’t that be considered a ‘public meeting’?