Entries Tagged '1st Amendment' ↓

Sioux Falls City council wants to set the guidelines when it comes to Public Input

I’m going to be cautiously optimistic, but it seems the council has a desire to keep the control of public input under their power, which they should.

Watch the Info meeting HERE.

That of course wouldn’t stop the chair (Mayor TenHaken) from controlling people during public input, which he should. But the guidelines will be clearly set by the council, or at least that was their desire. State law is murky, but I would interpret it as public bodies can set guidelines as long as the chair can monitor the working meeting as they see fit within that scope.

There will be a working session next Tuesday at a time TBD at Carnegie for the public to give their input on public input. Be there or be square.

My advice; keep it simple; leave it as is.

What I find Ironic

While our local talking heads will go on and on about people who talk to long or cuss out the mayor, there seems to be NO concern about ACTUAL violence at our public meetings.

Our state legislature, in all their hillbilly wisdom, says it is just fine to bring a loaded firearm into public meetings or buildings. Did you know that? In other words, while some people may be ‘hurt’ or ‘offended’ by t-shirt images or words, no one brings up the fact that real damage could occur at these meetings NOT from words, but from bullets. And while they have tried to compare us public commentators to ‘gun nuts’ they couldn’t be further from the truth. I don’t own a gun and NEVER WILL. Most of us deplore violence. I believe in peaceful assembly. If the city council really wanted to make their mark, they would challenge state law and ban all firearms in public buildings in Sioux Falls. You can’t really support the 2nd if you don’t support the 1st.

Frank Zappa does it best, there just words.

Maybe the City of Sioux Falls & Minnehaha County should try this

Hey, what a great idea;

Cody Schulz; Morton County Commissioner: “OpenGov is a web-based software platform that will allow our citizens and the general public to look at budgeting, information, revenue, financial transactions. You’ll actually be able to go online and see any transaction with a particular vendor, it’s searchable that way, or by category. If they want to see how much money we’re spending on public safety verses parks and recreation, that kind of data will be available.”

OH, but it gets better;

Cody Schulz; Morton County Commissioner:”We want them to be able to voice their opinions to us on how their money is spent.”

An elected official actually advocating for public input? And this isn’t in California or Austin, TX this is MANDAN, North Dakota!

Mayor Elect TenHaken . . . please read, and repeat.

UPDATE: Loetscher makes statement about Public Input

Was glad to hear Jo talk about this today;

“Public input at council meetings is one of the most important tools that make sure your voice is heard.”

She proposes NO changes to public input.

Her speech at McGovern Dinner

Public Input belongs to the Public, not the mayor or council

So if Paul becomes mayor he thinks he is going to make some changes;

TenHaken said establishing a sign-up sheet for those wishing to address the City Council, potentially reducing the five minute time allotment, enforcing a code of conduct for everyone at meetings and designating seats in the Council chamber for those who’ve signed up to speak.

First off, Public Input belongs to the public. Secondly, the mayor has ZERO power in changing the rules at public input, that is the council’s job.

I will not sign a sign up sheet, and I will not sit in a designated area. Public input belongs to the public. We own this government and the agenda, not the mayor or council. I will not have goofy rules put on my 1st Amendment rights.

When people are acting up, you gavel them and ask them to leave or escort them out by security.

It is already intimidating enough for people to come and speak, we don’t need to make that process harder for EVERYONE because a few bad apples called the mayor names when HE wasn’t following his own rules of conduct.

I refuse to take a number and be called on like a person waiting at the DMV. And if Paul or the Council think they are going to thru with these changes there will be the biggest revolt they have ever seen, and it won’t involve respect or decorum.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Kiley on Main Street Café this Morning

KSOO Radio’s Main Street Cafe with Chad and Beth had as special guest Sioux Falls City Council Chair Rick Kiley on April 6, 2018. LISTEN HERE.

The discussion centered on Public Input during the City Council meetings without touching on why people are showing up. Instead of trying to talk about the important issues being brought up during the citizen inputs, Rick only talked about his hurt feelings.

TRANSCRIPT

McKenzie; you’ve done away with I think I agree it’s a very important part of the meeting I just think that we’ve lost all decorum it’s gotten to the point we’re expecting you guys to sit through a video of toy trains with the three stooges doing some sort of Nazi salute* at the very end of it or somebody who’s done a rap video that’s uh that’s a waste of time that’s not what public input was intended to be at least in my opinion so I agree with you I think the public input released remain but my question is does it have to be on television does it have to be carried live on Sioux Falls on your cable channel**

*This episode of the Three Stooges is one of their most famous, it was making fun of fascism and dictatorships, not promoting it.

**CityLink is on Cable. But it is also public access paid for by the very people who speak at public input.

Kiley; well you bring up very good points Chad and I would agree that the examples that you just just cited that’s not productive time that’s not using our time productively or the citizens time productively especially for individuals that are attending the meeting because they have important items that are going to appear later on the agenda.

*The people who speak at public input own the city government just as much as the people that are there to do business.

There’s been cases where we haven’t finished a few times it’s been after 10:30 close to 11 o’clock and sometimes that’s due to the length of public input sometimes that’s due to the length of input during the different items as well but and much I much of the input over the years has been very valuable

*No where in the charter is there a ‘time limit’ on meetings. If they are getting long the council can take a short recess or recess to the next day. They have that right. They also are getting paid to be there unlike the public who shows up on their own time.

but as I mentioned lately here we’ve reached new lows and unfortunately I do believe that it’s probably going to be looked at very closely with the new administration coming on and what kind of changes could potentially be implemented I’m not sure what those may be you bring up some good suggestions.

*I hope changes are made. I told Bruce recently that as soon as the new mayor is elected I am going to sit down with them and explain the importance of public input. I’m also going to tell them that it won’t be the same because the person causing the turmoil will be gone. As long as the next chair is dedicated to open and transparent government, they will have no concerns about public input.

Others have too by the way the story that you posted to the KSOO website a few days ago that’s been picked up by other blogs as well and comments have been made in and for most purposes I know the comments that I’ve seen have been favorable towards what you what you have written.

*Actually the comments have been about 50/50 with most people agreeing it is the chair that has turned this into a circus. In fact, when Kiley ran the meeting about a month ago in the absence of the mayor, public input went swimmingly.

It’s obvious something does need to change but it’s very unfortunate that there’s really just a small group and I mean three to four people that are driving this change the need for the change I would say it’s become personal it’s now to the point where for some reason it’s become a personal thing they’re out to purposely embarrass the City Council and the mayor for whatever reason and it it’s uncalled for it doesn’t need to be yes unfortunately for the mayor it’s it has to be difficult to sit in his seat night after night and take that kind of abuse and there’s been some directed toward the City Council but not nearly as much as what’s been directed towards the mayor and I would tend to agree that it is personal it’s now a clash between individuals that do not like one another and it’s just unfortunate and it’s serving absolutely no purpose it’s big it’s turned into a mockery and that’s not the way it was intended to be well we should be able to have people attend with their children we’ve had Scouts and Girl Scouts and other individuals bring their children the smoking issue brought families in and then had to have them exposed to this kind of behavior it’s not only is it embarrassing but it is just not right.

*So now government is PG rated? In a Democracy things are messy, and I think it is a great civic lesson to the young people that are attending.

Hosts; and Rick to you one of the things I’m concerned about is if a citizen would like to address during that time that they may see themselves as not wanting to be grouped in with the others that are also providing that public input and so people with a concern I don’t like about tree trimming or something are not going to go there because they don’t want to be seen as part of that group best you bring you bring up a very good point after witnessing what happened there there was another lady that I had not ever seen before at public input and I’m quite certain she did come up but I’m quite certain she was wondering what she was getting herself into at the time and we don’t want to discourage individuals from addressing their City Council we would like them to feel that they’re free to do so well Rick we appreciate you making some time for us this morning and addressing what was on our website earlier this week I hope that the new City Council and the new mayor addressed this and something can be done about it.

*Actually I think we have empowered a lot of people to come up and speak. I have been speaking for over 12 years at council meetings and I am often complimented on my testimony. The only person intimidating people from speaking is the chair who stares people down and makes smart ass remarks after they speak. He recently told an attorney that he should be ‘better prepared’. Really?

Kiley; I truly do well I hope so too and I hope that the citizens have realized this isn’t a reflection of a good work that the City Council is performing and when I say that I include the mayor there have been a lot of good things that have come out of our meetings and out of the whole process but it’s easily overshadowed by just a few minutes of very gear responsible behavior.

Hosts; Thank You councilor we appreciate it thank you okay have a good day councilor Rick Kiley chair of the Sioux Falls City Council joining us this morning here on KSOO.

Is Huether making one last attempt at killing public input?

There is no doubt that Huether and some of the councilors have been salivating for several years to kill public input by pushing it to the back of the meetings. This all became more clear when last week a frequent commenter called the mayor a stupid SOB.

There have been rumors circulating they are going to try to make this move using the excuse of ‘safety and security’ you know like the stupid fence they built between the audience and the dais, ironically a fence that was built for a man that is now dead.

Ironically, while sometimes the discussion gets heated and embarrassing for the council and mayor, it has never been threatening, and if it ever does, that is why the mayor has a gavel and Carnegie is staffed with security personnel.

The super secret operations committee of the Sioux Falls city council, that makes these decisions in secret probably have been in discussions on how to bring this forward. Like the stupid run-off election for city council candidates, I’m sure Rolfing and Erpenbach have been scheming to put this in place before they leave office.

We will stay vigilant at DaCola and fight any changes to public input tooth and nail. This is one boondoggle they will NOT succeed at. I will make sure of it.

South Dakota State Legislature needs to take some classes on the US Constitution, 1st Amendment and political satire

When I first saw this toon, I thought it was about Gene Abdallah’s fascination with urine.

Remember what the State Legislature told us last year? They had to repeal IM 22 because one circuit judge who is a partisan hack for the Republican Party said he felt parts of it were unconstitutional.

So what do our constitutional geniuses decide to do? They want to ban anyone from altering the state seal.

Libby Skarin, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, said the legislation is in conflict with the First Amendment, which protects freedom of expression.

“It’s not a road that’s constitutional and it’s not a road we want to go down,” Skarin said.

Peterson said she wasn’t aiming to address Mehling’s image with her bill, but advised those using the seal without express permission to reconsider.

“Anybody that is using it in a way that is not consistent with the Constitution and state law should take a look at it and not do it anymore,” Peterson said

While Peterson is concerned about how some shirt was made (maybe call the prison and have them fix it) it’s no reason to make a law that is clearly a violation of the 1st Amendment.

Over the past 12 years that I have been blogging, you can’t imagine the crap I have heard about my political cartoons. First off, you can’t make a law that stops people from altering the state seal and secondly this proposed legislation just proves, once again, how F%#@ing Stupid our (mostly Republican) state legislature is. We should pass a law that requires our legislators have a higher IQ then monkeys.

Knobe on Lalley Show: Next mayor may change public input

Rick Knobe was the guest on The Good Ship Lalley Pop show today. During the first segment, Councilor Stehly messaged them on FB saying, “Public Input remains as is.” Knobe had pushed in the pass to have it changed.

Knobe responded that some of the mayoral candidates have considered changing the way we do public input if they win. He says it has become ‘disrespectful’. While I don’t disagree with that to a certain extent, the disrespect is not only coming from the public but from the dias, mainly the mayor. Either way, the 1st Amendment doesn’t stipulate ‘respect’. I also believe respect is earned. I don’t think I have to respect people who show me none.

Also, Public Input needs to remain at the beginning. The public isn’t getting paid to attend these meetings and there is no reason for them to sit through an entire meeting waiting to give their grievances. The mayor, city councilors and city staff are getting paid to attend, they can wait to do business until after public input.

I also think public input should extend to 1st readings and at the informational meetings.

If any mayoral candidate comes out publicly and says they will change public input to make it more difficult for citizens to participate in their government, they will certainly hear about it at the ballot box.

Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr did the right thing

Sure, we can discuss the minute details about how Pat handled this (did he walk out at the right time? Was it professional? etc., etc.) but when you look at the BIG PICTURE something I reminded the council to do when looking at the parking ramp project to begin with, I think Pat walking out was the right thing to do, especially since he had no other options. The Mayor and Kiley already said there would be no more input, could Pat really have gotten the rest of the council to overturn it? Probably not.

As Tim Stanga brought up during the meeting (and Belfrage discussed it on his show today) the council’s minds were already made up before the meeting even started.

What was disappointing the most about the input about the ramp itself was the fact that we heard NO testimony from the developers, we also had NO testimony from the city’s legal counsel about the liability of Hultgren and Drake.

It was obvious that the mayor wanted to bury the hatchet as quick as possible, it was obvious when he was acting like a restless child when Stehly brought forward amendments.

But what is more troubling is that Kiley and Huether reaction to Starr’s statement that he is the one being ‘unprofessional’. The entire council and mayor BESIDES Starr acted like complete children throughout the meeting, as I have pointed out earlier. I don’t blame Starr for not wanting to be a part of it. I also applaud him that his name will not appear on any of the documents or votes on the project (that I think will never happen due to lawsuits, lack of investors, bankruptcy OR all of the above – remember, the developers have already said they have no investors yet, or a hotel franchise).

Huether and Kiley were acting like jackasses when it comes to public input, as they normally do, and they finally got called out on it. If anyone should be embarrassed it should be them. Honestly Starr looks like a Star in this manner.

The tiresome complaints about Public Input and this messy thing called a democracy

I still scratch my head a little bit when I still hear people talk about a NFL player kneeling at a game to bring awareness to police brutality.

To be honest with you, I think most of the professional athletes in this country are overpaid brats that bilk public tax dollars for their stadiums of gold and glitz. But no matter who they are, they have a right to their 1st Amendment Rights.

City ordinance allows 5 minutes for public input as long as it isn’t inflammatory or threatening. Following Roberts Rules of Order the mayor or chair of the meeting has the right to cut off the public input if it violates these rules.

I’m not going to give you another lesson in the 1st Amendment, but I do have something to say about public input and the constant complaints from some people in the public and some in the media about how ‘certain’ people shouldn’t be able to speak.

First off, some of the same people, like myself do speak each week, but I think we bring a different topic forward each week, some don’t, oh well.

Some would say we are negative. Baloney. Petitioning your government has to do with improving government. The whole point of the 1st Amendment is allowing the public to tell it’s government how it can do things better. Government officials don’t always agree, but to call it negative is far-fetched. People are uncomfortable with criticism, but if you are an elected official that is part of the job, if you don’t like it, please resign. Government doesn’t have time for thin skinned cry babies.

But most importantly, especially here in Sioux Falls, the public only gets that five minutes once a week at the city council meeting. We are there on our own accord and are not getting paid to be there, unlike our elected officials. The mayor even asked a well known public inputer who was ‘putting him up to it’ to speak out. As if they were getting money on the side to criticize the administration, because who would dare just do it on their own?

The mayor on the other hand who absolutely detests public input spends several hours each week, on the clock, in front of a camera giving his opinion on various parts of city business, mostly propaganda, and sadly that propaganda probably costs us taxpayers several thousand dollars each week. I would be willing to bet that over the past 7-1/2 years our mayor has spent well over a $1 million using city media to push his agenda while each of us have 5 minutes that doesn’t cost the city a dime.

A great example of this was the numerous town hall meetings in which the mayor and city staff sold us on an indoor pool and the propaganda didn’t stop after the pool was built, in fact it threw a party celebrating the pool’s attendance over the first year. But did you know over the past 2 months since the 1st year anniversary attendance was way down from last year? Did you also know on January 1st the pool rates will go up significantly? You won’t hear that from talking heads in city hall.

This is why our ‘5 minutes’ each week is important whether you like it or not or if the mayor hates it, it’s important to a democracy.