Argus Leader has now posted story on Theresa Stehly’s history of blocking constituents. Is it time for her echo chamber of ego to stop?

The Argus picked up on the discussion over how Sioux Falls City Councilwoman Theresa Stehly excludes constituents from social (anti-social?) media:

But some of those blocked say they weren’t barred from participating in the discussions Stehly prompts on social media because they were disrespectful, used profanity or didn’t contribute to discussion. Rather, those blocked, including a candidate pursuing her seat as well as other city councilors, say they got the cold social media shoulder from Stehly because they don’t see eye-to-eye with her politically.

Thor Bardon, a candidate for the central district City Council seat in 2018, told the Argus Leader Thursday he has been blocked from seeing Stehly’s Facebook posts for months after challenging her on positions she’s taken as a city councilor. Not being able to participate in civic discussions with a public official, he said, is essentially government censorship.


Councilors Christine Erickson and Greg Neitzert say they’ve also been blocked by Stehly. Stehly asserts those two blocked her first, though both Neitzert and Erickson insist they do not block anyone from seeing their Facebook pages.

Read the entire story here.

As Stehly seems to isolate herself, she seems to be creating an ego-driven echo chamber of supporters, beholding only to herself.

Case in point would be her claim that multitudes were demanding that concrete ping pong tables be put up in Sioux Falls Parks.  Does anyone ever recall hearing an outcry for taxpayer dollars to be spent on concrete ping pong tables? Exactly.

But it’s not just blocking people. There’s also the pattern of her openly going after anyone who might express a contrary opinion.

We’ve had open attacks against someone who pointed out her misinformation on Facebook, and robocalls against people who she didn’t want the city to hire.

And more recently, in the past few months as a fundraiser was being announced someone who is running against her, Theresa allegedly saw the list of people who were publicly sponsoring the event, and called darn near all of them as far as I could tell to demand why they were supporting her opponent. At least in one instance it was related to me that she directly demanded to know why they don’t like her.

Stehly’s cult of ego has really hit critical mass, and the latest Argus story certainly makes it look like people are sick of her tantrums and behavior.

Stay tuned. I’m sure we’ll hear more before it’s over.

23 thoughts on “Argus Leader has now posted story on Theresa Stehly’s history of blocking constituents. Is it time for her echo chamber of ego to stop?”

  1. I have personally been called a traitor by Stehly and she demanded to know how much money I have donated to Alex Jensen.

  2. Rumor has it that Stehly actually called Jensen’s dad because he was on the fundraiser invite list. Apparently She wanted to know what she did wrong as a city councilor and why she didn’t have his support.

  3. IMHO, it should be *legal* for an office holder, such as a city council woman, to block people on social media.

    Also, IMHO, when a public official blocks an inordinate number of constituents and co-workers, that reveals something about her temperament and suitability for office. The city council is a collaborative body. On it, cooperative people succeed.

    Historically, some great leaders exhibited below average conscientiousness. Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, George Patton, et al, tended to dominate conversations, reject criticism, and overrule dissenting viewpoints. Not everyone is, by nature, a team player. But city council isn’t the best place for authoritarian “my way or the highway” personalities.

      1. Not many people are a friend to the 1A. For example, there are blasphemy laws, and people in FL can be fined/jailed for speaking in a certain way about Jews and their history. There’s also a law in NY city in which using the words “illegal alien” can get one fined/jailed.

    1. My understanding is the law says if you use social media for political purposes then it is unlawful to block people and I believe this is as it should be. If you use social media to share information with friends and family, it is lawful to block people and I believe this is as it should be. As a non-user of things like Spacedbook, Interestedgram and Tickler, I really do not know much about what is and is not allowed. I would think a politician can have a public and a private page. The public page would be for things having to do with an office or running for office and the private page would be for posting pics and stuff that most people use those media for. Is that possible now? If so, then perhaps Ms Stehly should consider a private and public page so she can remain within the law.

      1. Good post. The USSC has NOT ruled on this issue, and there’s not yet a statute, or even a regulation, but a Federal Circuit Court ruled that a federal official blocking people from his official social media account amounts to govt restriction of the blocked person’s 1st Amendment rights. We’ll see if the USSC agrees, Meanwhile, we don’t know if this holding applies all the way down from POTUS to Senate, to Gov., to mayor, to city council, to school board, to assistant dogcatcher. Does it apply to the US attorney general or secretary of state, who’re appointed not elected? Then what about federal agents and employees? state employees? county? city? These folks discuss their work on facebook & twitter all the time. If someone maintains a nominally personal FB account, but (inevitably) discusses politics & his job thereon, does that render it public? This is a much bigger can of worms that myopic people realize. Shall we demand courts scrutinize literally millions of social media accounts to determine if each one is public or private? That seems foolish to me.

        BTW, you don’t block people. You can’t. Re-read the endless soporific user agreement legalese. When you click that button, you *request* that a tech company block someone. Legally, you have no power to enforce your request. It’s permissive.

        1. Right. It will be fascinating to see if the precedent is extended to the millions of social media accounts operated by the nation’s elected, appointed, and employed officials.There are quite a few in 2019 America — that’ll be a nightmare to administer. But, for me, there’s a bigger flaw in the court’s reasoning. If Councilwoman’s stehly’s social media account is a “public forum,” how on Earth does a private social media company have the unilateral power, explicitly presented in community guidelines, user agreements, & affirmed by numerous court holdings, to shut it down? How does a private company (such twitter or FB) possess the right to erase a *public* forum? That’s incommensurate with the meaning of the word public.

          The sacred 1st Amendment protects kooks’ right to shout hateful things in public. Yet, social media companies reserve the right to terminate the accounts of kooks who post hateful things. Some public officials are kooks. If their social media accounts constitute public fora, the 1st Amendment must supersede the company’s power. If, OTOH, these are private fora, why can’t Stehly block users she deems hateful?

          I predict the federal holding will (eventually) be overturned or (very likely) limited to the nation’s highest public officials. Yes, that’s inconsistent & illogical but it’s much much easier to enforce. Therefore, I predict the lawsuit filed against Stehly (for blocking a user) will not succeed in court (i.e. the suit will be dropped or dismissed). Guess we’ll find out.

  4. The law is crystal clear that public school teachers (and state university professors) are government officials whose official conduct must not impinge citizens’ free speech rights. Let’s imagine a teacher who maintains what she calls a personal social media account. Like nearly everyone, she (occasionally) posts about her job. She, therefore, discusses government business. Perhaps she vents about insufficient funding from the district, the state’s failure to give teachers pay raises, the merits of the recent “in God we trust” law, the superb new principal, or the acrimonious school board meeting. Sometimes, she even posts from the teachers’ lounge, during her break period. A troll finds her. He calls her a snowflake. He lives near the school. He says school taxes are too high already. She disagrees. He says she should be fired. A flame war escalates. Her students and co-workers post comments, saying she’s a great teacher, etc. The troll responds with rude insults + profanity. Can she block him? She’s a public official discussing public policy…

    1. The what if games…

      What if the teacher starts this account you describe as public, gets called out by troll, then sets account to private. Is that considered blocking? Can they be sued?

      Still crystal clear?

      1. “Still crystal clear?”

        Not at all. It’s crystal clear that she’s a public official. It’s clear she has excluded the troll’s “offensive” speech. But would the federal circuit court deem her account a public or private forum? I genuinely don’t know. What do you think?

        1. I think many people are too easily offended, waste time and effort on trying to be offended and then sue because they feel attacked when someone says… No, I’m not going to engage with you.

    2. A school teacher has a private and public part of his/her life. As a retired teacher, I find it very disturbing when a teacher shuts down a student in a discussion in a class about issues of the day. In the classroom the teacher absolutely is a public servant. For the teacher to prevent a student’s first amendment rights is something that should be prevented. However this does not extend to the point of disturbing the class. If I am teaching Geography and a student wants to talk about an upcoming election, it is not the time nor the place. When I was teaching and had a situation such as this, I told the student he could come in after school and I would be glad to discuss the issue. I never did have a student come in to do that.
      A teacher it seems to me has a right to have a private section of his/her life. If that teacher does not want to interact with certain people then by all means I see no reason to stop said teacher from blocking people who cause problems on their private sites.

  5. many people are too easily offended ✅

    waste time and effort on trying to be offended ✅

    and then sue because they feel attacked ✅

    Three for three.

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