As I was pondering the snow plow issue and all the crazy letters to the editor of people defending the violation of the establishment clause (because, you know, none of these people would be willing to paint Jesus Christ on the sides of their vehicles, well within their 1st Amendment rights, but defend it on government property). It reminded me of a discussion about what to name ‘Winter Wonderland’ when first proposed during the Munson administration. I remember there was a brief discussion when naming it, I think one of the suggestions was ‘Christmas at the Falls’. Not sure who got involved (City Attorney?) but I fondly remember someone within city government recommending it takes on a generic term not associated with a religious holiday. Smart move.

So what does this have to do with Jesus plows? It seems there are people who are intelligent enough about Constitutional law that work for the city (or worked for them at one time) to know you can’t cross that line while using tax dollars. So Huether shouldn’t act so surprised that this has become an issue. Of course, Huether knew nothing about local government or history of it until he started to run for mayor. History isn’t his strong suit.

As for the display itself, While I think it is a great idea, I think it could be done differently. Other cities do similiar displays but they have businesses volunteer the expense and labor and use it as an opportunity for teambuilding around Christmas. Workers and their families of the businesses that donate volunteer their time to set up the display then the city foots the bill of the electricity. They do have sponsors, but city employees do all the set-up. In fact, mostly public works department workers from the forestry division begin assembling the display starting October 1st. Which I find ironic in itself. One time when I questioned the city about project TRIM and why the city’s forestry department just didn’t trim trees that residences couldn’t reach in the boulevard, they replied, “We don’t have enough staff or enough time.” But taking almost two months to put up Christmas lights, plenty of time for. Just imagine how many trees could be trimmed in that same time period?

Once again, the city proves it’s priorities towards citizens and the law.


6 Thoughts on “Using Winter Wonderland as an example for separation of church and state

  1. Until this was started there used to be a really nice display out at Yankton Trail Park that charged $7.00 per car load, as a fundraiser for the Heartland House Project. Different businesses rented light displays from some company. There were things like a toy soldier, gingerbread house, etc. Volunteers from those businesses worked the gates, etc. At least that display was organized and not just a bunch of lights like any homeowner could do if they wanted to. I would rather pay to see a nice display rather than a free display that looks like what I could do, if I so desired. I jsut plain think the display at the falls looks hap hazard.

  2. They have to check to see that every light bulb works. That is a lot of time consuming work. The bulbs that are burnt out or broken have to be replaced.

    If businesses volunteer their staff and money, would that include the cost of replacing the light bulbs at any time of the display?

    Some businesses in Sioux Falls are very small, and some individuals do not have the physical ability to put up the lights, who would put up the lights for them?

    In the other communities that rely on business volunteers, how, if at all, are the businesses recognized? Are their logos on display at the base of the tree?

  3. Dan Daily on November 29, 2014 at 2:20 pm said:

    Be careful, they don’t monitor this blog but pay several 6 figure consultants to. Also, no doubt the city attorney has hired expensive outside council to quote biblical or Koran verses to cite at the ACLU trial. 4 court cases proving the city ignores constitutional law has done nothing to invoke change. It’s better to minimize unnecessary spending and get plowed with Jesus.

  4. Dan Daily on November 29, 2014 at 3:00 pm said:

    Someday soon we’ll have a new mayor who will expose the corruption and push the reset button on individual liberty. I suspect debt is far worse than city finance reports. We’ll have to move outside city limits to escape excessive taxation or the city must take bankruptcy. Who’s fault? Emperor Mayor is. Billionaires and contractors will be forgiven because it’s just capitalist business. Nagle, ex-mayor of New Orleans, is doing 20 years for public funds fraud. I’m wondering what the sentence will be for this mayor.

  5. Don Coyote on November 30, 2014 at 1:33 pm said:

    “Smart move”? Really? That must be why the State calls their Christmas Tree display in the Capitol rotunda “Christmas at the Capitol”. As determined in Allegheny County vs ACLU, the SCOTUS held that Christmas being part of the winter holiday season had attained a secular status in society.

  6. Pingback: We can keep the Winter Wonderland while saving tax money — South DaCola

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