Friday, September 16, 2011

The Stampede - an Open Letter to the City Council

Below is an open letter from Rick Knobe to the City Council. It is being published here as a guest blog.

Rick Knobe

Vernon Brown <>,
michelle erpenbach <>,
sue aguilar <>,
kenny anderson <>,
rex rolfing <>,
dean karsky <>,
jim entenman <>,,
mike huether <>

Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 2:52 PM

The stampede

when one buffalo starts to stampede, the rest of the herd follows. the followers don't know why they are running, they just do.....eventually one of the animals decides to stop, then others do, the leader may keep going for a while but then it will stop, look back to see nobody following and walk back to the main herd......all it takes is one buffalo to start the stampede, the rest will follow....

don't know which one of you started this stampede, but clearly, based on thoughtful and unthoughtful observation from those pesky voters and taxpayers, the herd followed and can't explain or don't know why.

not smart to dismiss your chief election officer 60 days ahead of the "biggest election" in city history.....

could this dismissal have waited until after the election, or were the "sins" so great they had to be punished immediately or the "republic as we know it" would have burst into flames???  If the sin was so great, many believe you owe an explanation.....

reading between the lines, it appears the city clerk may have been on the wrong political side of a personnel action.
if that is the case, you should have let the personnel action work itself through the system..and then if the end result showed she was clearly part of the problem, then action could have been taken.......

here is the perception therefore the reality on the streets::

1)   the council fired the key election employee weeks before a major election..........doesn't give much confidence to the voters. "What does she know,or what did she do, or not do,  that you don't want us to know.?"

2)  the mayor inserted himself into a COUNCIL personnel issue..... "can't he stay out of anything?  he started this because he doesn't like her."(the first stampeding buffalo?)

3) At a time when trust in our federal government is at an all time low, the mayor and city council have provided locals a reason to have doubts about the how our city is being run.   remember the public reaction to the major problems at the fair a few years ago???  in this instance no money is gone, no laws have been broken, no fraud.....  it leaves the question, "what could she have done so wrong to warrant an abrupt dismissal?"  I know you can't/won't answer that question, but many people in town want and feel they deserve  the answer......

4) This will blow over. These things always do. However, like Dave Munson and the phillips to the falls problem, like the mayor's campaign promises about private funding for the event center, like the city seeming to be asleep at the pot hole filler, like the dumping of sewage into the river, they all have an impact of voter perception, feelings, and trust.........mother nature, through freezing and thawing, messes with the streets, and she sent us more water than we could handle...most of us get that....but man made "disasters" leave long lasting memories, too....

5)  piece of advice for next time.........before you start the stampede, or worse, follow it,  take some time to think through the long term may have followed the law and procedure, but to many, you did so llke a herd of buffalo..........there were probably several other ways you could have handled this......stampeding does not appear to have been a good choice..........


Rick Knobe      


  1. Rick, well stated! Your letter deserves to be submitted to the Argus so more of the "Good Citizens of Sioux Falls" can read it.

  2. Bravo, Rick! You interested in running for mayor again?? :)

  3. The biggest deficit in our fine city today is trust in the leadership. I wonder if there is anyone left at City Hall that does not agree 100% with the Mayor. He has forced out some great people. Hopefully the full story will come out soon (before the EC vote) and people can decide if they want to buy what the Mayor is selling.

  4. Great job Rick!!!! I also hope more people get to read this. Sadly, I doubt the My Paper Argus would publish such a piece. I would however help pay for the ad space to get it printed. Anyone with me?

  5. Very well said Mr. Mayor, I mean Mr. Knobe, maybe the first title should ring true once more. The truth is that nobody in a leadership position within the city is going to stand up and say boo to the mayor. Would you??? and risk your 100K a year sit on your butt and do nothing job. Nobody has the backbone for that around this country anymore, not even in good ole little SD. The good ole boys are back in town and have mounted the horses for a ride....

  6. What should concern all the citizens of Sioux Falls is how quickly this Mayor divided and then ran roughshod over this Council. I guess with useful idiots like Karsky, Rolfing and Entemann it wasn't all that difficult a task.

  7. So Rick Knobe is saying that perception is reality? A person should really stop reading after that statement, but understand it is human nature to not stop. Just like it is human nature in today's world of instant media and need to know everything to think that a blogger or radio host must have all the answers if it fits our agenda....or theirs.

    Knobe. Fail.

    And for the record I love your show and "viewpoint" almost all the time.