Entries Tagged '1st Amendment' ↓

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.

UPDATE: Disgraceful

Tonight before the city council meeting councilor Stehly talked to a boy scout troop about city government, neighborhood watch and than asked the troop to pay close attention to public input as it was an important part of city government.

Shortly after a usually long public input that the mayor tried to ignore, he ran after the Boy Scout troop to see them on their way in the outer room.

Joe Sneve from the Argus tweeted this about the encounter;

So while Stehly seems to see the importance of the 1st Amendment and citizens petitioning their government during public input, the Mayor turns around and tells a Boy Scout troop that it is a ‘circus’. You wonder just how confused they must have been. Leave it to the mayor to call a constitutional right a circus. What a putz.

UPDATE: Joe corrected me today, the mayor didn’t use the word ‘circus’ but something along that sentiment when apologizing to the Boy Scouts.

National Anthem – To Kneel or Stand, Nov 9, 2017

Is it time to get up or down? Is right to express your rights? The Supreme Court guaranteed our ability to express our rights through the flag. Why do certain groups believe their version of what is right is the only version of what is right?

Like every civil rights discussion we Americans ever have, someone or some group decides we shouldn’t use our voice or action to express an opinion different than theirs. What does society have to lose by letting everyone speak? (Kind of like da mayor during City Council meetings?)

This November 9, 2017 Augustana University panel discussion let’s both service veterans and average citizens talk about Colin Kaepernick’s kneel. The kneel is a sacred symbol in human history. It can be submission or reverence. Why was it a problem? What does Sioux Falls have to say about this discussion? Listen it and see where you fit your thoughts.

Side Note: The video ends before the end of the program, so I wanted to include some closing statements by the Panelist (Vic?). He stated at the end that he felt more safe in the military on active duty than he does now when a police officer is following his car. He also talks about his challenges of raising a black son in our current society.

Denise (who is one of our city clerks and a veteran) touches on that she tried to get some female veterans for the panel but there was some time conflicts. She also asked a poignant question, “What if this was Tom Brady that took the knee instead? Would we be having this conversation.”

The National Anthem; To Kneel or Stand, A Panel Discussion.

Thursday, Nov 9th 7:00 to 9:00 pm Located in Froiland Science Center Rm 113. Augustana University

A comprehensive approach to a relevant conversation on rights, equality, and the misunderstanding of the protest.

We will have panelist with years of military service expressed their opinion of the situation. Then we will find ways to educate one another and move toward proactive solutions in our city.

This event is free and open to the public.

I am going to try to attend. Looks like an interesting conversation. To be honest with you, I struggle with how many Americans misinterpret the 1st Amendment and only think it applies to THEIR opinions but not others. I may not agree with someone’s protest, but as long as it is peaceful I will defend their right to protest.

A teachable moment?

I never expected SOS Shantel Krebs to take down the photo of a Mobridge student sporting a traitor’s shirt or another student sporting gang symbols. But she did, good for her. Even though she said it was ‘out of respect to the faculty and students’. Not even sure what heck that means, but nice try Shantel.

What worries me more about this situation is that schools don’t teach government or civics anymore. Some would say this is a 1st Amendment issue, I would agree. So let’s have that important discussion. What if the shirt was a Swastica or a image of Satan? What if it was of a nude girl? History tells us that we fought a bloody civil war to defeat the traitors of the South, just like we fought another bloody war to defeat facism in WWII. While I will defend anyone’s right to express themselves, there is a fine line when you are doing it on school time funded by taxpayers. I got into this same debate with the SF school district when teachers were advocating for the school start date on the taxpayers time and dime. Or when a private HS painted Christian religious symbols on taxpayer funded snowplows. There is a time and place (even legally) when it is appropriate to express your 1st amendment rights. Disrupting other students when taxpayers are paying to educate these kids is not appropriate, Mobridge faculty should have known better. Placing this photo on a taxpayer funded website for over a year is also not appropriate. Krebs and her staff should have known better, and should apologize out of respect to her fellow taxpayers who fund her salary and office.

Free speech is a wonderful thing, but when you are using my tax dollars to force your opinion on me, I take issue with this. If you want to look or talk or act like a jackass, you have that right under the 1st Amendment, you lose those rights when you use my taxdollars to do so. Maybe if schools would get back to teaching history and civics we wouldn’t have to see this stupidity anymore. It makes you wonder if our elected government officials understand the government they are in charge of running.

Are our regulations in Sioux Falls enabling us to be bad neighbors?

Hey, I see it right here on my blog, several anonymous commenters throwing barbs at each other, because it is protected speech, and better yet, no one knows who is saying it. We seem to be a lot more daring in how we treat people when we can get away with it without being identified. Sad really;

Is there really a need to demand action from the city or call the police every time we’re annoyed at a neighbor’s too-long grass or the landmine their Chihuahua left beside our mailbox?

Approach minor nuisances of daily existence on your street with a Neighborhood Watch philosophy that promotes autonomy and self-reliance. There will always be occasional extremes — like the toxic situation seen recently in Norton Acres — but a great deal can be handled on a neighbor-to-neighbor basis without appealing to authorities. Good fences might make good neighbors, but only if we’re willing to walk through the gate for mediation and understanding when needed.

In other words if we just chose to talk with each other instead of anonymously turning each other in, things would be a lot better off, and frankly cheaper.