So who will get your support at the ballot box tomorrow in the At-large Sioux Falls city council race? De Knudson, Kermit Staggers or the third candidate Cory Buttemeier?
City Council candidate De Knudson has raised almost $45,000 and spent nearly as much, making her run for the At-large seat the costliest City Council race in Sioux Falls history.
Her chief opponent in the race, Kermit Staggers, accused Knudson on Friday of using a lot of that money to distort his record as a city councilor. Staggers and Knudson served together on the council from 2002 to 2010.
I know both De and Kermit. I have always liked De and went door to door for Kermit in 2010’s mayoral race. While I enjoy talking with De I strongly prefer Kermit as an elected official.
Though Staggers said he and Knudson served amicably side by side, he said her campaign against him has been dishonest. In a mailer paid for by her campaign, Staggers said it implies that he voted against projects that he supported as a councilor. One of them was the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System.
?I have always been supportive and always voted for the Lewis & Clark project,? Staggers said at a news conference.
The Knudson campaign released a news story documenting that in 2003 Staggers introduced an amendment to cut money to Lewis & Clark. But Staggers pointed out that he voted for the $70 million bond issue that will bring water to Sioux Falls by this year.
Knudson responded to the news conference, saying that Staggers? history on the council was one marked by ?grandstanding? who rarely worked behind the scenes with other councilors to get their support. And she said she supports everything in her campaign literature ?100 percent.?
?I?m actually very disappointed that Mr. Staggers has decided to end our campaign in such a negative manner,? she said.
You know I am disappointed that De is making allegations intendend to distort and detract from Kermit’s record, and then when she is called out for being misleading she resorts to the typical political reponse of accusing her opponent of what she is actually doing. Anyone who knows Kermit knows there is nothing negative or dishonest about him. He is very straight forward and willing to discuss any issue with anyone.
Knudson?s ads have featured claims that while she was on the council, property tax rates decreased. Staggers said it?s technically correct that the mil levy decreased, but property taxes went up. Under state law, the city can increase property tax rates by a maximum of 3 percent a year. Each year, Staggers voted against those increases. He said Knudson voted for them each year.
So let me get this straight, De voted to increase property taxes everytime she could while Kermit voted against them and now De is using campaign materials that give the impression she is one of the reasons taxes decreased? Maybe her flyer should just thank Kermit for the decreases?
Staggers also claimed that in his 2010 mayoral campaign, he supported an events center, as long as it would be profitable and wouldn?t require a tax increase. But Knudson said Staggers as a councilor supported an events center only if it were paid for by somebody else.
?I think that?s very deceptive,? she said. ?I think it?s ridiculous. I think it?s a preposterous statement.?
Oh how ridiculous and preposterous to want a project to be “profitable and not require a tax increase.” Wait a minute wasn’t De insinuating earlier that she was the candidate who didn’t want tax increases?