Entries Tagged '1st Amendment' ↓

Residents of Hartford, SD want to recall mayor for limiting public input

I have been watching this issue over the past week, and to say it has peeked my interest would be an understatement;

More than 300 residents agreed with Randall, believing that Mayor Campbell is not a good fit for the city of almost 2,700 people. But Randall says this hasn’t been the first time Mayor Campbell has behaved like he did last Tues.

“Numerous times folks have gotten up to approach the podium to ask for permission to speak and before they got to the podium the Mayor’s motioned them and say you’ll need to sit down, we’re not going to hear from you right now.”

Not sure if many of you remember, but I was involved with the successful recall of a mayor in Yankton a few years ago (doing editorial cartoons about the issue).

What is shocking is that the small town of Hartford is flexing it’s 1st Amendment rights and recalling a mayor based on free speech. I revel in their activism. We have a mayor in Sioux Falls who not only has tried to limit public input, he has jailed people before they could even show up to testify. He also keeps as many contracts and settlements as secret as possible, even hiding the documents from the city’s legislative body, the city council. If Hartford is successful recalling a mayor based solely on his acknowledgement of the 1st Amendment and Constitutional rights of citizens, it seems Sioux Falls has a strong case to send our current mayor packing. Who is with me?

Mayor’s Neighborhood Brickwalls Summit, 11/14/2015

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Our intrepid mayor of Sioux Falls seems to think the US Constitution, Charter and written laws are brick walls to overcome. Listen to him discuss his quest to make over the city into his image at the Neighborhood Summit on November 14, 2015. His “to hell with the laws, Council and citizens” must be overcome if we are to have a clean and safe city for all.

The brick walls he is upset with are based on rights guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution, South Dakota Constitution and the Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter. Why does no one challenge hizzoner when he defends his administration’s lawbreaking actions?

In this Summit part 1 Mayor Mike let’s us in on his lawless vision of government by and for the specials at the expense of the rest of us.

Since the city of Sioux Falls heavily edits or blocks meetings videos we now offering a direct link to our collected city videos through www.siouxfall.org.

So we ask “Neighbors are only good if they conform to his vision?”

Professor Mike Myers explains his arrest


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Closing statements

The Arrest of Mike Myers

As you may or may not know, Mike Myers was arrested on November 3 on the campus of a public university at USD in Vermillion, SD. Below is his citation for TRESPASSING. I will be posting more video tonight of our mini-documentary we filmed this pass Sunday about the situation.



UPDATE 2: A fun Sunday afternoon in Vermtown

Cameraman Bruce and I head South to film a mini-documentary with former USD Law Professor Mike Myers at his former place of employment. Things get really interesting, especially when small town cops start pulling Latin law terms out of their butts that they don’t understand. Stay tuned.


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Patriotic God Plows

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After hearing a rumor that the Jesus plows were back, I made a trip out to Public Works. They are not, they have been replaced by two other themes this year. The Lutheran school did an American flag with the word ‘God’ on it, and another school did an American flag with ‘In God we Trust’ on it. These are well within constitutional rights since the word ‘God’ doesn’t promote a certain religion (the point we were trying to make last year). In one sense I should probably commend the schools for actually grasping their constitutional rights, but on the other hand you get the sense they are still poking the bear to see if there would be any controversy. Besides the fact that painting an American flag isn’t really creative, the whole thing that is ludicrous about this is that the stupid disclaimer signs remain, this time they have them mounted to the actual blade.


Food for thought (when it comes to religious freedom)


Another Daily Update

Well lots of things have been happening in our pleasant city besides frolicking in the pools that are getting more expensive (The Sioux Falls City Council had a great discussion at the informational meeting on Tuesday). Let’s just say not everyone is happy about the rate increases and how they came about. I think the only councilor to support them was Karsky, and he was even skeptical.


During public input (at the Sioux Falls City Council meeting), things got a little heated. Bruce Danielson pointed out the secret sub-committee meetings that were taking place to get the pools rates passed without including the public OR the city council. As Bruce was talking I noticed Parks Director Kearney was ‘laughing’ at Bruce pointing out the meetings. In fact you can see him laughing on camera as Bruce is at the podium.

When I took the podium, I first chastised the stupid 5-minute rule and reminded the mayor, the council AND the directors in the room that there are NO time limits on meetings and they all get paid very well to be there.

I then thanked the city council, and told them I was ‘proud of them’ for the discussion they had at the informational, and told them to take the issue to an OPEN committee meeting to discuss with the public. I also chastised Kearney for openly laughing at Bruce and the secret meetings.

I closed with telling them about my meeting with Patrick Warren, and told them he was a great asset to the city, and they should not have fired him.

After another constituent blabbered about it being OK to have closed door meetings (because you get more things done that way – OMG – you ain’t a kidding) Bruce attempted to approach the podium for a second time saying it was well within Roberts Rules of Order, to which he was gaveled, then I.L. Weiderman approached also, to which he was gaveled, then we all got a pleasant lecture from Hizzoner about how we need to conduct ourselves at the meeting, and that city directors are not ‘paid enough’. I think I laughed out loud.


Moving on, I had an update over the weekend about the mosaic wall. I was told two things, that some of you may or may not know. Central Services who is in charge of cleaning city owned art never ever intended to budget for or clean the wall AND even if development happens at the triangle lot adjacent, the wall has to remain, It’s a Federally mandated flood wall. I asked if volunteers could clean the wall and that is out of the question due to the salt buildup. Special chemicals have to be used by professionals to clean the wall. I am told that councilor Erpenbach is working on a solution.


The council was a bit dumbfounded last night (Item #16)when ‘former’ Billion Automotive employee (Dave Billion Jr.) addressed the council over Billion Auto wanting a street vacated so they can expand there lot on 41st street. He spoke against it, and his testimony must have been good, because the vacation failed 3-5 (it needed 6 votes to pass). A confused council questioned Billion’s intentions. Councilor Kenny Anderson Jr. asked why he was speaking against it, and something about ‘Doesn’t your company want this vacation?’ Too which David responded, “That’s the OTHER David Billion”.

While I have known about Dave’s departure for quite a while, there hasn’t been much media about it. Mostly because no one is talking. Hopefully this latest stint last night will give at least one of the ‘David’s’ to talk. But even if they do what media source in town is going to risk losing advertising? Even when KELO did the story about it last night, they called Dave ‘A former employee’ then stated his name.

Just another fun night at Carnegie. Lots of laughs, lots of gaveling and lots of confusion.

The Vote YES campaign offers weak excuses about their disadvantages

Before we get to the Whaabulance party going on in the Vote YES campaign, I want to clarify something for voters.

If you vote NO on Tuesday, that means you support school starting after Labor Day. That vote also means you will TRULY get a school start date change.

If you vote YES on Tuesday, that means you like the calendar just the way it is, and there will be NO changes made. There seems to be this myth floating around out there that if you VOTE yes there is a chance of a compromise. I can almost guarantee that will NOT happen. The school board has already said they would not look at it seriously until after the vote, and there is nothing in writing. In fact, only one school board member, Kent Alberty has said he supports a compromise, but doesn’t speak for the rest of the board. Don’t kid yourself, whoever wins on Tuesday, one of two things will be clear. The calendar will remain the same, or it will change to after Labor Day. Let’s not muddy the waters with what ifs.

As for the campaigns themselves, I have been watching both of them very closely. It seems the Vote NO campaign has raised money, they have organized, they have put up yard signs, they have done a mailer and they have done print ads. They have also participated in several forums.

The Vote YES campaign has depended on students to get out their message, have raised very little money, and have really just whined about being hamstrung by state law. This is where I will come in and say “Poppycock!”

When I addressed the school board about state law concerning campaigning and the use of public funds and property I never once said that teachers couldn’t campaign. In fact, the way I look at it, teachers have 16 hours a day Monday-Friday and 24 hours a day, Saturday and Sunday to fully practice their 1st amendment rights and campaign for the YES vote. State law hasn’t prohibited the teachers from organizing, raising money, knocking on doors, talking to friends and neighbors or even holding public informationals, that would be a direct violation of their 1st Amendment rights, and they know it, or maybe they don’t?

State law is pretty clear. You can’t do it on the taxpayer’s dime, that’s it. But I have heard a lot of whining by their side that they have been somehow hamstrung by this law. That is just a bunch of boloney. It almost seems like teachers don’t think they should have to campaign for their cause unless they are getting paid, and that is unfortunate. Or is it that NOT all teachers support the early start? I have talked to several who are looking forward to the longer summer and voting NO. So let’s be clear, nothing has prevented teachers from campaigning on their own time, and some have, and I commend them. But to claim they are being hamstrung by state law is a stretch.

At the end of the day, the choice is simple on Tuesday. If you like the way things are, VOTE Yes, if you want your kids to enjoy summer more, VOTE NO.

This isn’t rocket science folks.

When transparency is not applied

Not quite the Mexican Hat Dance, but close
Recently we have seen major issues across our city, county and state when it comes to the correlation between the lack of transparency and corruption, and still many unanswered questions. Heck, as I mentioned in the last post, the mayor of Sioux Falls said at Rotary today he wants to dispel those rumors. Well the first step to recovery Mike, is admitting you have a problem, oh and finding a higher power (check your sleeve).
In just a short period of time we have had these issues;
• Failure to release Benda’s death report putting a cloud of suspician over EB-5. I have often felt this is the linchpin to the EB-5 scandal. While they constantly are blaming the dead guy, they are not letting us see how he became dead.
• The Events Center siding, lack of reports to the public and the temporary occupancy permit. This is a quagmire. Why has the contractor accused of wrongdoing freely came forward to tell their side of the story while the city has remained silent?
• Minnehaha County Commission NOT releasing the names of the 29 commission applicants and planning to interview the 5 finalists in private, two of which have blatant conflicts of interest. While there are qualified people on this list, it would be nice to see who all applied, or at least make the interviews of the finalists VERY public, and better yet, let the public ask questions.
• MED-Star not being chosen as an ambulance service provider as a result of a questionable consultant’s bias report to a committee that met behind closed doors. The selection process should have been open to the public. And while ambulance service doesn’t cost taxpayers, we should be concerned with who is providing us this important service, and if favors are being handed out.
• Lack of audio, visual, testimonial, officer identification or forensic evidence in the Tuthill shooting incident. The public has not been told one single thing. Are we in danger? Would be nice to know.
• Tribal money missing. I can’t even wrap my head around one of the poorest area’s of the country missing millions of dollars in aid money.
• The Sioux Falls School board interviewing future superintendent applicants behind closed doors. This of course is no surprise. Propaganda Queen Homan and her staff have always made a great effort to remain non-transparent throughout her tenure. I can guarantee she had a hand in this. What amazes me is that not one single school board member has an issue with it. While I can understand keeping most of the applicants secret, I do think the public should be able to vet the finalists in a very open and public interview. But of course, this is coming from the same school board that would only reverse a decision after having death threats issued against them.
Now let’s all say the pledge of allegiance, while wearing blind-folds.