Entries Tagged 'Censorship' ↓

The City’s Lack of Transparency on the EC Siding is NOT an isolated incident

Since Huether has been mayor, there have been many instances of the city not being transparent with the public and the council and I see this lack of transparency getting worse.

Here are just a few ‘examples’ of the city’s (mostly the mayor’s office and council leadership) very non transparent moments;

- Holding a press conference to announce the building of two new Walmarts without Planning or Council approval.

- The mayor’s wife and him investing in TIF’s and other developments that are recommended by the Planning Department, a department he manages.

- Allowing Community Development to give an affordable housing grant to a developer who was chair of the Planning Commission, a clear conflict of interest

- Allowing Council Chair Erpenbach to CENSOR snowgate election testimony, which put off snowgate implementation for a full year.

- Mayor Huether was not required to list all of his investments on his campaign finance report, but other NON-incumbent candidates were asked to do so

- Two hearings on municipal election ballot language because petitioners were NOT allowed to proof the language before ballots were printed

- Asked the city to provide $500K towards a new indoor tennis facility without mentioning eventually his name would be on the side of the building.

- Sanford bought events center domain name before they were announced the title sponsor

- Spellerberg Park picked as location of new indoor pool before a supposed resolution on the quit claim deed

The EC siding secrecy is just another notch in the bed post for a mayor and administration that sleeps with a lot of secrets. And just think, these are the ones we KNOW about . . .

City Government Transparency?

Transcript of Public Testimony last night:

My name is Bruce Danielson, a resident of Sioux Falls and chairman of Citizens for Integrity.

I am here tonight to report on the two ballot advocational meetings held so far, sponsored by the City of Sioux Falls. These biased presentations are designed to confuse the voters and harm the Initiative and Referendum process.

Prior to the first video last night, city director Don Kearney read a statement attributed to the city attorney. The statement reiterated the s approval of the video presentations.

After the first video was completed, I read a statement for those in attendance to explain why we disagree with the presentations and to ensure an open dialogue.

After the ending of the presentations last night I was approached by a city employee, Shawna Goldammer. I was informed my disclaimer would be addressed. I took it as “accommodated and silenced”.

We are partaking in the citizen’s debate on issues citizens worked very hard to bring before the voters. We will continue and will not be silenced.

We are suspicious of the city involvement in the ballot measures just as we have been suspicious of the Events Center naming. The EC naming has been a curious process. It has many different aspects never made clear. On SouthDacola.com last night the timeline became clearer why we the people have not been able to trust the word of this city government.

Prior June 12, 2012: The city doesn’t renew their naming contract with Superlative.

June 12, 2012: Director Smith Talks about hiring Legends to help secure a title sponsor in a council informational meeting.

July 12, 2012: Sanford Health BUYS the domain: DENNYSANFORDPREMIERCENTER.COM

July 24, 2012: Director Smith tells the council in an informational he is to having a title sponsor, and will bring it to the council..

August 2, 2012: EC title sponsor announced, city council is told 30 minutes before the announcement.

t have transparency on this The mayor used to work for First Premier, and people in the community are closely associated with Sanford. Maybe we really got a good ll never know because we never had any ”

We would like to know why this council has not taken their legislative responsibilities to heart and let your constituents know why this curious process was allowed to happen.

We question the motives behind the activities bringing the ballot issues to the people. The issues we have before us are based on our ability to question motives and directives. We have a voice in this election and its aftermath and we are here to stay involved.

UPDATED: City of SF gets a ‘Salute’ in Government Video Magazine

Silent smiley face

And the award goes to . . .

The web channel we’re saluting for the week of Nov. 8, 2013, is the City of Sioux Falls’ YouTube channel. At a crossroads between the nation’s east and west, Sioux Falls has arts, culture, parks, scenery and — of course — the needs of any city for basic services, safety and overall management. All these are represented well on Sioux Fall’s active YouTube channel, including public chats with the mayor that would be hard to imagine in many cities. For the mayor of Sioux Falls, it’s just another day at a restaurant with some friends.

Okay, I will give the city some credit, they have a YouTube Channel, WOOT! WOOT! So do many elementary students featuring videos of them farting and making funny faces. But the ‘salute’ to the YouTube channel isn’t my issue, it’s the assumption that Government Video makes about transparency in our city;

For doing a great job of making government friendly and accessible, Government Video salutes the City of Sioux Falls’ YouTube channel.

Friendly and accessible?! Okay. Let’s go;

SIRE is broken, it has been broken for several years. (SIRE is the online program used to watch public meetings & to see documents related to public meeting agenda items)  Issues include;  long intros to videos (sometimes up to 20 minutes dead air before meeting starts), missing videos, bad audio, missing documents, and documents not showing up on the online until minutes before a meeting starts. This is not ‘friendly accessibility’ it is form of ‘soft’ censorship hiding behind perceived software issues.

While Central Services, Media Services and the City Clerk’s office has been told several times that SIRE isn’t functioning properly they have given many excuses, including denying it isn’t functioning properly. The Clerk’s office blames Central Services. CS has denied to me there is any problems, even though there clearly is. Weekly, there is at least one or more public meetings that doesn’t work right, disappears for several days, or has other issues. Remember, the city spends over $1,000 a month for the maintenance of SIRE by the software company that makes it. The city has also spent thousands of dollars over the past year on software upgrades and a backup cooling unit for the server room at city hall.

I find it hard to believe that Central Services, the clerk’s office and Media Services are all this incompetent, that is virtually impossible.

My speculation is that certain employees within the city are being ‘instructed’ to make the appearance that SIRE isn’t working properly. Remember, the city budget address wasn’t handed to the city council until a few minutes before the address. Is that the kind of transparency you want between City Hall & the City Council? I know what kind of ‘Salute’ that deserves. I have this underlying assumption that somebody is tampering with our ‘accessibility’ as citizens. And until SIRE is fixed and working properly, I will have no reason otherwise to assume this is NOT happening.

So a SALUTE to the city for accessibility is laughable at best, sad, disheartening and distasteful, and I encourage Government Video to retract their salute.

SiouxFallsYouTube

UPDATE: (H/T – GP)

Follow the links on the upper right hand corner (screenshot above). The person in charge of the channel has some weird fetishes.

Please note how Google relates the City Of Sanford Falls channel to others, then read the descriptions.

Related channels on City of Sioux Falls’ YouTube channel (upper right side of page):

SUPERIOR HISTORY (The rarest and best military history videos on the internet for the serious and technically disciplined. Stay on subject or get hit in the head with a ratchet.)

nuclearvault (Atomic Films Courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office)

Primeda (Tales of the Gun – Early Guns)

DarkFellowships (WW2 – WW1 – Third Reich)

Vasile Iuga (Scorched Earth S1/E1 – Panzer Battles)

lord lucan (some old news of the day when britian was great, purely for educational purposes)

Verrrry Interestingggg. You see when you do not clear your cache files before setting up your channel, Google takes your  computer’s tracking history and links to it. Now we know what they are doing while they are supposed to be working and it certainly isn’t repairing SIRE.

We should have seen this coming

When I first heard petition circulators were being ‘harassed’ and followed around by Parks workers, the SFPD and a Canaries baseball manager it didn’t surprise me. Even HyVee gave them the boot (Yes, this is a private business, and YES they asked permission and were not granted it.)

Of course certain people don’t like democracy and constitutional rights impeding on their family fun, oh the shame, as ‘Bill’ commented in a different thread;

Petitioners get pushy with people just trying to take in a game in a family environment. They complain to management and mgt calls Police. Police tell them to not be pushy or harass people and keep their space. That ain’t a conspiracy folks; that’s common sense. Stop taking yourselves so seriously! If SON wants a vote then they should get one. They probably won’t like the result though. Not many people in SF feeling sorry for them.

Asking someone to sign a petition if they are a registered voter IS NOT HARASSMENT. And asking someone to sign a petition at a baseball game? I could not think of anything more AMERICAN! The only thing that would make the situation better would be if it was raining apple pie and hot dogs.

Besides the obvious 1st Amendment rights issues, this is a bigger problem, that doesn’t just stem from the SON group, they have just uncovered the ongoing transparency and freedom of speech intolerance of the city and most importantly our mayor.

This statement and quote should say it all,

Mayor Mike Huether said by email that he didn’t know about the issue, and that “I can assure you we have better things to focus on in city government.”

Right  . . . . Mike. What the mayor should have said is,

“This is appalling that the SFPD is interfering with citizen advocacy that is fully legal and within their 1st Amendment rights. We will have a conversation with these officers so it doesn’t happen in the future.”

Of course, that statement would have come from a mayor that is concerned about transparency. Mike is more concerned about ‘controlling the message’ and squashing free speech. If you don’t think the directives to the Parks department employees and SFPD wasn’t coming from high atop the totem pole, you are pretty foolish and naive. There has even been rumors circulating that city employees were directed to NOT SIGN the petition.

The mayor had a similar response to me when I sent out an email to the council and him after our blatant censorship during the snow gates election discussion at a city council meeting;

However, in fairness to Councilor Erpenbach and the process, ALL OF THE COUNCILORS were notified about the managing the debate time or “20 minute conversation” at 1:47pm on Monday.  Your comment about “making up the rule before the meeting started without informing your fellow councilors” is not accurate.  Whether or not the Councilors made the time to review it or whether or not they wanted to be open and transparent or not to you and to the public, I can’t verify.

I asked councilors about this, both Jamison and Staggers said it was sent in an EMAIL on Monday. Staggers said he doesn’t review his emails everyday and wasn’t aware of this RULE change until Erpenbach brought it up in the meeting. Either way, it should not have been sent in an email, and further more, the public should have been informed about this change 24 hours in advance of the meeting. We were not. But like the comment in yesterday’s paper, once again the mayor tries to wash his hands of having anything to do with it. I call Beautiful Sunshine on his butt once again.

Since Mayor Transparency has taken over these very non-transparent events have taken place;

1) The discussion to fire a city clerk in private, breaking open meetings laws

2) The denial that head librarian Sally Felix was fired

3) The repeated ‘surprise’ press conferences about city news without including or informing the council

4) Using tax dollars to promote the EC without telling the cons of the project before the vote

5) Misinformation about the true cost of the EC, which is still occurring. By using a construction management company, they can cover up what is being paid out.

6) Keeping the EC naming rights deal in secret

7) Claiming we have an ‘above average’ city surplus or cash on hand without telling us much of the money in our piggy bank is ‘borrowed money’ being held until contractors need to be paid for the EC work.

8) The continued failures of SIRE (the online video and document viewing software the city uses on their website, which costs taxpayers around a $1000 a month)

9) Agenda documents not appearing on SIRE until the meetings start, even though the the agenda is posted 24 hours in advance (The city council received a copy of the city budget 7 minutes before the mayor presented it to them publicly.)

Now the mayor can claim all he wants that he is transparent, but saying something doesn’t make it so, actions speak louder then words, but when you are a salesman (mind you that he sold the worst most subprime credit card in the industry) all you really have is words. But I wouldn’t expect anything less out of man who accused me of being godless in a public meeting and a guy who can’t laugh at himself. But none of this is very funny, in fact, it is really F’ing serious.

Is the ACLU and NCAC watching and listening? I hope so.

Limiting Public Input – Tonight’s SF City Council meeting

Make no mistake, Item #29 on the city council agenda tonight will be contentious and there will be public input, I suspect quite a bit. I won’t speculate how city councilors will vote on the issue, and many of them are still saying they are undecided (ahem).

I will say this, after being CENSORSED by then council chair, Erpenbach and mayor Huether during the snowgate vote debate and discussion at the council meeting, I will put a word of warning to the council and mayor; city ordinance is clear when it comes to public input, 5 minutes, per person, per agenda item. You MUST allow BOTH sides of the Walmart zoning issue to speak tonight and express their feelings, opinions and arguements. This is much too important of an issue to limit (CENSOR) to 20 minutes. The testimony tonight MUST be on the public record, this is much more important then swaying councilors’ votes (most of them have probably already made up their minds) this is more about educating the public about both sides of the issue.

Even if the council approves the zoning tonight, the most important thing we should take from tonight’s meeting is freedom of speech, 1st Amendment rights and the public’s right to input. I hope and even pray that the council and mayor have learned something from the snowgate censorship fest.

People are watching. Follow your own laws and allow public testimony to last until each and every person has had the chance to speak their peace. This is a democracy, and the democratic process, not a Kangaroo court.

EMAIL from SON;

Tonight at Carnegie Hall the Sioux Falls City Council will be voting on the request to rezone just under 40 acres of farm-land from AG to C-4 commercial.  We need to pack the room this evening and have a large showing of support for our position.  We have folks ready to speak on our behalf concerning various topics and we remain hopeful that the city council will rule in favor of protecting the rights of its citizens over the economic desires of the world’s largest big-box retailer.  Please pass this message along to anyone you know who supports our efforts.  We hope to see you there and thank you for all you are doing, have done, and will continue to do to make Sioux Falls such a great city to call home.   Remember, common sense is on our side!

Censorship, Public Input & the SF City Council

After several months of holding it in, I finally let Council Chair Erpenbach and the rest of the council know how I felt about public input and censorship at the council working session yesterday.

I told them that 1st Amendment rights organizations like the National Coalition Against Censorship defend council rules when it comes to public input WITHIN THE LAW. I reminded them what city ordinance was, ’5 Minutes Per Person’ and by not following that ordinance they are in a sense violating city charter and breaking the law. I recommended that in the future it would be unwise to violate this ordinance again because next time there ‘would be consequences.’ I also reminded them that they take a oath of office to uphold the US Constitution, the State Constitution and the City Charter. They are bound by that oath to NOT violate city ordinances. I also told them that they are well within their rights to limit discussion ONCE the discussion has started if someone is being disruptive or even repetative.

I told Michelle she was not being totally truthful when she said Munson limited discussion. While I agreed that he did, he only did it AFTER the discussion had started and if people were being insulting or disruptive. I said,

“He never ONCE sent out an email 24 hours in advance to the council about limiting a discussion that hadn’t even started.”

Michelle mumbled something about MMM giving her latitude on how to run the meetings. I didn’t want to get into a long rant with her about how the MAYOR is the administer of the meetings and it is actually his duty to decide where the public discussion is going-NOT HERS. They seem to be pointing the finger back and forth on this, and it is getting tiresome.

Councilor Dean Karsky asked, “Shouldn’t the council have a set policy on public input?” DEAN! YOU ALREADY DO! It is set in city charter, 5 MINUTES PER PERSON! Follow the ordinance. That is all we are asking of you.

There was some good things that came from the discussion though. There will no longer be a sign up sheet to speak to the council (I never signed that stupid thing anyway). And councilor Jamison suggested that they don’t split the PROs and CONs into two separate groups. He said just let people come up and speak when it is their turn in line.

I hope I was clear enough with the council and especially with Erpenbach. Limiting public discussion will NOT be tolerated in the future.

SF City Council continues ‘discussion’ on public input

Council chair Erpenbach just doesn’t seem to get it. She continues to want to discuss changing public input at the working sessions. Another round on the topic is planned for 4 PM today.

2. Public Input Discussion

Here’s the deal, if you have a problem the 5 minute rule, go before the charter revision commission and ask them to change it, otherwise there is NOTHING to discuss. It is time to DROP it, and follow city ordinance.

Mayor Subprime requests a meeting w/ private citizen over parodies of him

You would think Mike would be used to the hassling by now, but it is all about controlling the message I guess. He has told me several times he doesn’t believe in censorship. Well Mike, what would you call dragging a private citizen into a meeting with you after he posted parody photos of you on his Facebook page? Grow a thicker skin.

JT Nelson talks about his meeting on Facebook;

JT Nelson I’m not going to say much… but let’s just say he didn’t offer me a job, NOR does he find this funny. [walking away with tail between legs].

• So much for being Grand Poo-Ba of the St. Patty’s Day parade. Did he take away your birthday?

JT Nelson Pretty much. I think I’m grounded.

• You’ve stained the family name. I’m thinking JT Jelinkovic will be your new name.

• Hope you charged him for your time.

JT Nelson I thinking about the last name “Timberlake”…. JTT. I like the sound of that. Maybe I’ll run for mayor.

• Well to put it this way in my opinion, he needs to realize he is a public figure and his actions on national tv reflect our community. In other words, when your a public official, don’t be dancing around pointing at people like a teenager on crack. Too bad I can’t find a video of it online.

• I am kind of surprised he didn’t find the humor in it. It was all in fun, and he is probably embarassed because he realized how ridiculous he looked. I noticed it while watching the game too. I hope he wasn’t too tough on you. You are not banished from SF for life, I hope!

Here are a few of my faves

 

How will the ‘Cowardly Five’ address public input & testimony?

The city council plans to discuss ‘public testimony’ at there next work session on Wednesday at 4 PM.

Why has the city, or more importantly our media been silent about this letter?

I received a copy of this letter a few days ago. I decided not to post it until now, because I wondered if our local media was going to report it. Besides being sent to AL‘s managing editor, Patrick Lalley, I understand it has also been emailed to KELO-TV. Hey, I am not the news media, but I cannot fathom why they would sit on this letter for over 3 weeks and say nothing of it’s existance. You would think a citizen who has successfully sued the city and beat them in circuit and state supreme court threatens to sue you over other constitutional violations, you would jump. Well, I can kind of understand why the city has been silent, because of legal ramafications, but why has our local media?

This letter is why I asked the question of councilman Staggers this morning about violating city ordinance.

What did I say about our local media being handed stories on a silver platter and doing nothing with them? One more example. The other part that bothers me is the AL constantly getting on the soapbox about free speech and open records and transparency, and when a citizen threatens to sue the city over these very things, they zip their lips, nothing to see here, move along. We have already determined our city council consists of cowards and now we see our local media isn’t very far behind them in that assessment.

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