Entries Tagged '1st Amendment' ↓

UPDATE: Brandon gets out the ‘Spanky Stick’ on a fellow councilor

UPDATE: Tim was on Belfrage this morning and explained why he thinks he was censured. He was one of six councilors to vote against hiring new police chief and he posted comments by a RESIDENT (not from him) on FB. The RESIDENT, not Tim, was accusing the city of fraud.

Start this fantastic video at 1:24;

I like how the Clerk practically yells out the charges, and the city posts this on there front page of website;

Not sure why there is large tubs of ice cream in front of the council, and I’m not even sure if Tim did anything wrong. But I find it a bit disturbing that they would censure a fellow peer without ZERO discussion, or allowing him to defend himself.

I think I am going to personally BAN myself from Brandon ‘Weirdsville’ South Dakota. I feel better already.

Brandon City Councilor’s 1st Amendment Rights were probably violated

I’m still waiting to hear more details on this fiasco;

The Brandon city council voted unanimously Monday evening to censure one of it council members.

Tim Wakefield tells KELOLAND News, he was censured because other council members don’t agree with his use of social media to bring public concerns to light.

He says the council is in the process of drafting an ordinance that says any council member can be fined $500 for that type of behavior.

Tim ran for mayor and lost last week. Tim’s platform was based on the condition of the water in Brandon (they have high levels of radium). Tim is an engineer that understands some of those processes, and while he was running for mayor he would often talk about Brandon’s water issues on Facebook. He has suggested that Brandon hook up to Lewis & Clark so the town has safe, clean water.

I guess the contention of the council was that Tim was on Facebook telling people he won’t drink city water. The council claims it is against the law (not sure if this is Brandon charter?) to say ‘bad’ things about Brandon’s city government or criticize them while serving in that government. Where do these small town Hayseeds come up with this stuff?

Just because someone is serving on a governmental board, doesn’t mean their 1st Amendment Rights are stripped of them, quite the opposite. Just imagine if Stehly was on the Brandon City Council, she would be serving a life sentence in prison for speaking out on Facebook 🙂

If Tim really wants to challenge this, Brandon could have a monster 1st Amendment lawsuit on their hands that could cost them millions if they lose, uh, I mean, when they lose.

I have never liked that town . . . Weirdsville is at it again.

Letter Writer misses Jefferson’s point about ‘God’ in schools

I often chuckle when people repeat quotes of our founding fathers in order to argue for their side while ignoring what the founding fathers were actually saying. This letter writer thinks Jefferson wasn’t supporting separation of church and state, but I guess it is how you read the quote and comprehend it;

Jefferson spoke directly against such an incursion of federal power, citing the First Amendment and Tenth Amendment restrictions on the federal government: “Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise or to assume authority in any religious discipline has been delegated to the General [federal] Government.”

I guess, there is no other way to comprehend this statement, except a separation of church and state. But the quote also includes this little ending to try to confuse the reader;

“It must then rest with the States.”

While the States do have their own constitutions, they must follow the highest law of the land, the US Constitution which contains the 1st Amendment. States often try to skirt this very important amendment, and have often failed. There is currently a lawsuit pending on this when it comes to out of state campaign money. But even if states were granted supreme power to ignore the 1st Amendment when it comes to placing ‘In God We Trust’ in schools;

  • Why have they offered to defend school districts in lawsuits? If they think they are creating laws that are constitutional, why would they have to have this disclaimer?
  • Who in this state asked for this legislation? While we are a representational government, who asked our representatives to change the law? Clergy? School Districts? Voters? I have never heard of one single group asking our representational government to do this. Why? Because most people with common sense know this is unconstitutional, and even if it wasn’t, what difference does it make?

Are we so ignorant and naive to believe that by posting ‘God’ in the mess hall of a school somehow we will produce a born again revolution of school kids? Give me a break. If you want your children to have a religious foundation in their education you have the option and the right to send them to a private school.

Our public schools are designed to educate, whether that is math or literature, or working together on a sports team, or creativity in the arts. Our teachers are NOT clergy. Faith is something that needs to be taught by parents with the assistance of faith based organizations that are NOT publicly funded for a reason, it violates the separation clause, something I think Jefferson was VERY clear about. Separation of Church and State is there to PROTECT people of faith from government intruding into your personal beliefs. It’s a good thing. If legislators truly want to SAVE our children from the powers of evil, the first thing they need to do is fund public education and healthcare better, something the state has the power to do, but continues to fail. Once that happens then we can talk about posting signs that actually mean something.

Sunshine Week. It’s Your Right to Know. March 10-16, 2019.

Sunshine Week Open Government Proclamation

Section 1

WHEREAS, James Madison, the father of our federal Constitution, wrote that “consent of the governed” requires that the people be able to “arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives,” and

WHEREAS, every citizen in our participatory democracy has an inherent right to access to government meetings and public records; and

WHEREAS, an open and accessible government is vital to establishing and maintaining the people’s trust and confidence in their government and in the government’s ability to effectively serve its citizens; and

WHEREAS, the protection of every person’s right of access to public records and government meetings is a high priority of [name of governmental unit], and

WHEREAS, the [name of governmental unit] is committed to openness and transparency in all aspects of its operations and seeks to set a standard in this regard; and

NOW, THEREFORE, the [name of governmental unit] commits during this Sunshine Week, commemorating the anniversary of James Madison’s birth, and throughout the year to work diligently to enhance the public’s access to government records and information, to increase information provided electronically and online, and to ensure that all meetings of deliberative bodies under its jurisdiction, and their committees, are fully noticed and open to the public.

Large turnout for Angelica Mercado’s reception

Even though there was a private party in the Everist Gallery (making a bunch of noise and disrupting the gallery talk, imagine that, poor planning on the Pavilion’s part) there was a huge turnout for the reception. Unfortunately I did NOT see the video that I posted to my site the other day being displayed in the exhibit. I’m wondering if this got censored from the exhibit? If so, NOT GOOD. First off, besides the fact there was NOTHING offensive about the video, that is neither here nor there, it is a publicly funded facility, not just local funds but Federal and State grants. Also, the building is owned by the taxpayers of Sioux Falls. Censorship is unacceptable in public facilities.

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Angelica Arely Mercado at the Pavilion

Posted by Julia Tasuil on Friday, March 1, 2019

I’m a credentialed journalist of ONE

In South Dakota, you can get a badge for almost anything!

As I have stated before, there is no credentialing of journalists in South Dakota. You can certainly belong to the SD Newspaper Association, you can also work for a TV station or newspaper in which you collect a paycheck. You can also have a degree in communications and journalism. But in SD, there is NO organization that will give you credentials.

I find it ironic that a state legislature and governor’s office find it necessary that you have credentials to carry a pen, but you only need a holster to carry a gun.

Their misunderstandings between the 1st & 2nd Amendments are astounding.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr comments on the Municipal League suit

UPDATE: I guess the hearing has been called off, and Taylor is NO LONGER banned. Still waiting to hear more details. I wonder if our AG stopped eating cookies for a couple of minutes and read the constitution instead.

Pat called into the B-N-B show this morning (towards end) and expresses his feelings on the issue;

“I’m concerned as a taxpayer,” Starr told The Greg Belfrage Show this morning. “It’s a great group for the municipalities to come together across the state. This just distracts from the organization that does this for us.”

Starr said it, unfortunately, the parties have had to go to federal court to determine for what he calls “a personality conflict.”

“I think you expect professional decorum on both sides,” Starr said. “I’m disappointed.”

But he said he needed to back Taylor, as she has free speech rights and works for “his” organization.

“To ban someone indefinitely is overreaching and probably one of the reasons she used to for the terminology,” Starr said.

I think both Taylor and Haugaard were out of line, they should just make up and move on. But instead, it’s going to cost taxpayers coming and going;

So, win, lose, or draw, South Dakota taxpayers will be paying indirectly for the two sides’ attorneys.

If we had an AG’s office with at least a half a brain that actually understood the Constitution, they would have sent a polite letter to Haugaard telling him his actions were unconstitutional and that he had no right to ban Taylor. Then send a letter to Taylor telling her she was no longer banned. Pretty simple. The postage may have cost the taxpayers a couple of bucks, but problem solved. So now we have two publicly funded institutions fighting it out in Federal court over a clear violation of 1st Amendment rights. Not only is it ‘Whacky’ it’s down right stupid. I think our state house is not only full of ‘Whackies’ but it also is full of the mentally challenged, mentally ill and just down right ignorant. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Steve.

UPDATE: Taylor respects the 1st when it is convenient for ‘HER’

Isn’t hypocrisy a funny creature? While I agree that the Municipal League’s chief lobbyist and director should not have been banned due to her FREE speech, she seems to forget the little people;

Taylor’s lawsuit accuses Haugaard, who is a lawyer, of violating her First Amendment right to free speech and First Amendment retaliation.

This is the same person who has fought, HARD, for years to squash the FREE SPEECH rights of the very people who pay her wages, fund local government, and have a 1st amendment right to express their feelings about ANYTHING. But apparently her ‘OPINION’ rises above the rest of us. Hate to break you the news, but if you want those rights, you need to stop kicking the rest of us in the groin for having the same right.

How does it feel? Hope it hurts.

UPDATE: And in some weird twist of fate, they are using language from Cameraman Bruce’s suit against Huether in this 1st Amendment case.

SD State Legislature won’t fund education properly but want schools to buy plaques that violate church and state

God, Guns, and Abortion, that is all the legislature seems to be concerned about. Now they want schools to violate separation of church and state, yet provide NO funding mechanism;

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require 1 the national motto of the United States to be

2 displayed in public schools.

3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

4 Section 1. That chapter 13-24 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

5 Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the national motto of the United States, “In God

6 We Trust,” shall be displayed in each public school. The display shall be located in a prominent

7 location within each public school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student

8 artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal.

9 For the purposes of this section, a prominent location is a school entryway, cafeteria, or

10 other common area where students are most likely to see the national motto display.

While some may argue that the term ‘GOD’ doesn’t talk about a specific religion, I still think it borders on violation of the separation clause. What’s even worse is that the legislature wants schools to apparently fund this on their own without providing a funding mechanism. A sign or plaque that is prominently displayed could cost anywhere from $75 to $750 dollars. This is a waste of educational dollars. If I was one of these schools I would take a highlighter to a dollar bill and put it in a frame and hang that up. In America, we only have one true God, and it is green.

Can the city council legally eliminate public input?

The Sioux Falls city council is set to debate public input again on Tuesday night (Item #35). While I support the changes (5 minutes on 2nd reading) you know my real opinion on the matter, unlimited on 2nd readings if it is quasi judicial and affecting property rights.

According to Roberts Rules the council does have the right to limit public input, they are even able to tell us when we can have it, and for how long. The chair also has the right to limit during the meeting. This is all according to Roberts Rules of course.

But could there be a Constitutional right (1st Amendment) that says total elimination of public input at a meeting on any reading is legal? While city’s like to hide behind Robert’s Rules and city charters they really are sworn to uphold the US Constitution. I also am unimpressed when city attorneys ‘TRY’ to be constitutional scholars and dance around an excuse. I haven’t seen it yet from Kooistra the current CA but Fiddle-Faddle did it all the time. I’m waiting for Kooistra’s ‘Grand Moment’.

It’s always fascinating to me to listen to local governments debate ‘public input’. I often find it an incredible waste of time and resources. Just let people talk. OPEN GOVERNMENT UP! Sunshine is a good thing!

If you don’t want to listen to your constituents, please resign.