Councilman Starr opposes venue for Mayor TenHaken’s State of the City address


SIOUX FALLS, SD ( – Sioux Falls Councilman Pat Starr clashes with Mayor Paul TenHaken delivering his State of the City address Wednesday morning at the convention center and demanding tickets to attend .

In a statement, Starr said the council never voted to move the meeting.

He also says the event should be open to the public and no ticketing should be required.

Starr said if anyone needs a seat at Wednesday’s address at 8:30 a.m., he says he’ll give up his.

Below is Starr’s press release. Below is the official City of Sioux Falls page inviting the public to the event, but noting that places are limited.


March 15, 2022 – Sioux Falls – “The city charter of Sioux Falls is clear, the law of South Dakota is clear, and the Constitution of the United States is clear: Our government belongs to the citizens of Sioux Falls, not the mayor” , said Starr. “The mayor of Sioux Falls and the city administration have stirred up a mess over who is allowed to attend the annual state of the city address.”


  1. By charter and ordinance, the mayor must present a statement of the city of Sioux Falls to the city council.
  2. For a city council meeting to be considered legally “official” or “special,” the council must vote to change the location of a meeting. The city council did not vote to move the meeting. 3. By law, charter and ordinance, all City Council meetings are open to the public and do not require prior registration. Our law is clear, there is no requirement or “registration” to attend a council meeting.
  3. Marketing materials created by the mayor’s office claim that city council members and residents of Sioux Falls must have registered by March 4, 2022 to attend.
  4. By tradition, the State of the City Address was presented in Council Chambers at Carnegie City Hall, in front of the City Council, with the audience watching the address live.
  5. The speech will not be available for viewing on City Link (cable channel 16), the city’s television station.
  6. Marketing materials from the mayor’s office say the speech will only be viewable online through the data collection site, Facebook.
  7. Also at issue, the speech is presented in campaign style at a meeting called by the mayor.
  8. The mayor’s event required advance tickets to attend, with the internet registration site selling the audience’s personal data to political campaigns.

“Wednesday’s mayoral campaign event is not open to the public. If this is an actual State of the Town meeting held at the Sioux Falls Convention Center (1201 N. West Avenue, doors open at 7:30 a.m. and the unofficial Council meeting begins at 8 a.m.).

Said Starr adding, “If anyone wants to attend, no pre-registration is required. Places are not limited; there will be room for anyone who wants to attend. In fact, if you’re having trouble finding a place to sit, you can have mine! “I just want people who would like to attend, as I want the public to attend all of our official meetings. It’s your town. We are elected to serve you,” Starr said.


Comments are closed.