Over a month ago, Argus city reporter Joe Sneva-spiffiness asked to do a profile article about Bruce. I told Bruce not to do it. I gave him several reasons why I was suspicious of the request, and it had nothing to do with the interviewer, it had to do with his bosses and the other city issues we were working on.
I also told Bruce NOT to do the interview without filming it (in which he did) mostly for his record, but just for reference once the article came out. The Argus allowed it, but asked we don’t post it until after the article was released. We hope to have it up sometime tomorrow, and we hope it will give you insight on how an article is researched and what happens to it after the editors get their manipulative hands on it. Like I said, you be the judge. But there are some glaring points;
“Anytime anybody comes in front of the council every week, week after week, and generally points out our inabilities to do our job well,” Councilor Greg Jamison said, “it does become somewhat tiring.”
As well it should . . . you should be doing your job better. But I won’t get into that. The headline itself is misleading, there are plenty of differences between ‘Gadflies’ and ‘Citizen activists’. But what is funny is when you try to call activists derogatory names, that only emboldens them. I actually told Joe that when he interviewed me about Bruce (never made it in the article). Activists want POSITIVE change, and while it may seem like we are bitching and whining, we are actually keeping the pressure on. That is important as an activist. It is also not personal or about individual politicians, it is about the process, the truth, integrity and transparency. I could care less if the mayor gets a haircut every 5-1/2 days, that’s his gig, but when working as an elected official he must ‘serve’.
Under the comment section of the article online, former Minnehaha county commissioner Bob Kolbe sums it up;
As a person who has served as an elected official I can only comment about those citizens who come to public meetings.
People only care about government when they have an issue on the agenda.
My perspective is that elected people need to value those who are willing to invest their time observing and commenting on meeting issues. It is far to easy to “slide” something into a public meeting and then those elected and the buerocrats will claim “it was a public meeting”.
Elected people need to listen, whether they agree or not. If taken to task, that person has a reason and They just may be right. Listening is part of serving.
Buerocrats are buerocrats no matter how you spell it as their purpose is to (serve) make elected people feel good.
Elected people are to serve the electorate with a heavy emphasis on SERVE. When elected people start to believe Their own public relation press releases and/or slighly use the pubilc tax money for their agenda, or reelection it is to take them to task and give them a retirement party!
While Bob probably had a lot of enemies while he ‘served’ he certainly understands (now) the relationship that should be occurring between elected officials and constituents, but if only councilor Dean Karsky could;
Karsky has been an acquaintance of Danielson’s for nearly as long as the neighborhood drama has been going on. He said he became aware of the nasty back and forth between Danielson and his neighbors within days of being appointed to the council in 2011 but he chooses to stay out of the matter.
And doesn’t that last line by Dean say it all? He chooses not to serve.
But enough of the article about Bruce, let’s talk about the article itself (which I am completely baffled by how many people may have touched this copy before it hit print).
Ehrisman’s blog, SouthDaCola.com, where Danielson is sometimes known as “Cameraman Bruce,” is their outlet for expressing frustrations with city government.
“We both kind of take this as a hobby,” Ehrisman said.
I did say that, and I will give Joe credit for printing that quote correctly. But I do believe I informed him that we take our citizen activism seriously, and when I use the word ‘hobby’ I mean it is something I do on my own time because it is important to me and others. I don’t do it for pay, I don’t take it lightly and I certainly don’t do it to hurt people (elected officials) personally. I do it because I feel I should, and I believe Bruce does it for those reasons also. If we are productive, progressive and create some laughs in the process, so be it. Laughing at ourselves and the process alleviates hate, which is only counterproductive to change. Some people have a problem with cynicism and sarcasm, but once you embrace it, you won’t jump off buildings in distress or gun down kids in a school. We must learn that identifying something as bad, only creates solutions and makes us better.
So as I asked at the beginning, “What’s missing from this article about Cameraman Bruce?” There are only three people quoted in the article, and those quotes were framed around negativity towards Bruce (even mine). You would think after an hour and 45 minute interview with Bruce, there would be at least one quote from him. There wasn’t. Zilch.
That should tell us all we need to know about the integrity of the column.
I did this toon after the Argus cynically accused me of being an infamous graffiti artist in town. He was never caught, and after he moved away, I arranged an interview with him at the Top Hat when he was visiting. He chickened out and I never did get his name.
First about TIF’s and the mayor’s conflicts of interest;
35.028 CONFLICTS OF INTEREST; ACTING IN AN OFFICIAL CAPACITY ON MATTERS IN WHICH AN OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE HAS A PRIVATE FINANCIAL INTEREST CLEARLY SEPARATE FROM THAT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC.
(a) No officer or employee of the city shall knowingly have a financial interest clearly separate from that of the general public in any contract, transaction, zoning decision or other matter which is subject to an official act or services from the city. This provision shall not apply if the interested officer or employee discloses by written communication to his or her immediate supervisor, director and the appropriate elected official(s) and they reply with unanimous consent to the financial interest or if the person serves on a lay board and discloses to the city council the full nature and extent of that interest and disqualifies and/or removes himself or herself from consideration or future participation in the matter in any respect.
(b) The foregoing conflict of interest prohibition shall not apply if an interested officer or employee does not or will not act in the regular course of his or her duties and responsibilities, directly or indirectly, for the city as to inspection, any related performance issues or any operational oversight or work with the matter in question. Also, this prohibition may not apply if the interested officer or employee is an employee of a business involved in the matter in question and the officer or employee has no ownership interest in the matter and will not receive a fee or compensation related thereto.
Clearly, current TIF ordinance language does not speak to criteria or investors. Ordinance language in Chapter 37 should address criteria. However, the conflict of interest ordinance (Chapter 35.028) does speak to acting in an official capacity on matters where the official might have a financial interest. It is mindboggling to read the councilors responses to the disclosure about the mayor’s wife’s involvement in an approved TIF. Do they not comprehend ethics or conflict of interest when they are elected officials?
Uh, not really. In fact, I think most of them are in cruise control, don’t ask any controversial questions, and just move right along. Just look at councilor Enteman, ever since he said he wasn’t running for re-election, you haven’t seen much of him. ‘Caring’ about what is ‘ethical’ and ‘right’ doesn’t seem to cross their minds much.
Holsen also brings up the gorilla in the room when it comes to public transit and affordable housing, and how they don’t match up;
The city says its nearly impossible to expand transit services to keep up with the growth rate of the city and federal funding just doesn’t keep pace with increased costs associated with transit fixed route costs. The city is growing outward from the core and many of the outlying areas don’t even have transit service. So, it’s kind of a head scratcher to learn that city is awarding funds to private developers to build affordable housing in an outlying area that doesn’t even have transit services and probably won’t get transit services.
More like banging your head against the wall, especially when a committee (of supposed experts) approved this loan and gave the loan to a developer who is the Planning Commission’s Chair. Besides the obvious conflicts of interest, shouldn’t he have known better? Doesn’t leave a lot of confidence in the man running our Planning Commission. But according to the Planning Department, they do no wrong, EVER!
“Let’s see here, I have three Whopper Jr’s, a Thune press release, a hidden server and STYX blaring on my stereo. I’m ready to blog!”
The Argus is at it again, asking if Bloggers are journalists. I ask the bigger question, are their journalists very good bloggers? Well, during the State Legislative session, David Montgomery had the most extensive coverage of any journalist of the session. Fair, balanced and accurate, but you didn’t read about it in the newspaper or even on their website, all of this very well balanced ‘reporting’ by a ‘journalist’ occurred on David’s BLOG.
Do I think I am a journalist? No. I prefer citizen advocate. I don’t have a degree in journalism, and I often misspell words and use poor grammar. But the main reason I don’t consider myself a journalist is because 1) I am not getting paid to write on my blog 2) I don’t consider what I do as writing ‘news’ stories. I see things happening, I get a couple of good sources, I ask questions. I also offer my opinion, which makes me more of an editorialist then anything (the main reason I started the blog to begin with).
I did get a kick out of the cast of characters rooted up for the Robo-call trial though;
He and several high-profile Republicans have been called by Willard as witnesses for the defense, along with Secretary of State Jason Gant, state senator Dan Lederman, and Tony Venhuizen, a senior adviser to Gov. Dennis Daugaard. (also Powers, Joel Arends and Shawn ‘The Tornado’ Tornow are involved).
Joel Arends VS. Shawn Tornow. Would love to see that Sh*t Show. I hope they don’t slip on each other’s slime. Then you have Powers as a ‘Journalist’ (I didn’t know publishing Thune and Noem press releases was considered ‘journalism’)
So do I agree with the judge that bloggers are journalists? I dunno?