Didn’t the Sioux Falls City Council talk and vote on smoking bans already? In fact just a few weeks ago? Why did they have to meet in a rare working session on January 24, 2017 to find out what? Even after sitting in the room for this meeting, Cameraman Bruce still is wondering all these questions. How much more time will be wasted on this non-issue while the city remains broke and the Events Center cleans out the city treasury?
The one thing we did find out with this working session were the rules of the process never before articulated. We now have them recorded for posterity. City Council members can ask a citizen to appear before the board with information pertinent to the discussion agenda. Council leadership has been very selective about this little rule.
You will notice the video quality is different than usually recorded in the main chamber. They were recording it differently and the city video was not available for us to use. Council leadership also restricted where the cameras could be set so you get to see how we anyone can record another meeting. The administration is fighting us every step of the way toward transparency. We will always find a way through their barriers as this shows you.
ArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016
2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.
But locally there were three things that stood out;
• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.
• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!
• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.
Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;
• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.
• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.
• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.
• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.
• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”
• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .
• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.
• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.
• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.
• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?
• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.
• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.
• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .
• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.
• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.
• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?
• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.
• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.
• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.
• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.
• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.
• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.
• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.
Remember when the cell phone ban in cars came to the city council and the council didn’t even give it a 2nd reading? At that time there was the suggestion to either do their own petition drive or see if the council would put it on the ballot. The council took no action to put it on the ballot. And what did the cell phone ban people do? Nothing.
So I ask the question again. Will the smoking ban people do a petition drive?
I think this is different then the cell phone ban because by putting the proposed ban on the ballot, they could make it more restrictive.
They could choose to either impose a fine or not.
They could not only ban it on all public property, but also could ban it in concentrated areas like the sidewalks downtown.
80% of people in Sioux Falls don’t smoke (that’s a lot of signatures).
The Cancer Society, Lung Association and the two hospitals combined could produce an army of volunteer petitioners.
Not sure if they would make such an attempt. I was actually surprised that not one single person pushing for this ban showed up to the council meeting last night to let them have it during public input. Besides the mayor’s macabre press conference about his dead dad and a little girl talking about her asthma at JazzFest on the news, there hasn’t been a peep out of the supposed supporters of this ban.
Do you think this is due to the entitlement some of these groups think they deserve? Do they think they are to good to do a petition drive? Prove me wrong.
Mayor Huether will address the media and the citizens of Sioux Falls on Monday Dec. 12th on why he did not sign the ordinance.
This ought to be quite the show, complete with tears and stories of his dying father. Ironically, as I have pointed out over the past couple of days, their is NOTHING stopping the entertainment venues, the libraries or even city hall from putting up signs in front of the facilities prohibiting smoking. So why not just do it? Council doesn’t need to weigh in.
Mike is going to use this press conference as an opportunity to SHAME the council. I hope the 6 that voted for the alternative plan show up and let him have it. Like the admin building veto, I think Mike is going to have a rough 16 months ahead of him.
UPDATE: It seems that not only can the entertainment facilities propose and stipulate their own smoking ban, it seems our libraries already have a ban on their property;
The following actions are examples of conduct not allowed on Library property:
Smoking, chewing, and other tobacco use on Library property.
So the bigger question is what exactly would a city council total ban on smoking entail? The ban already existed in parks and on library property, it CAN be stipulated at the EC and Pavilion. So what does that leave? The sidewalk in front of Carnegie and City Hall? Seems a lot of time an effort was put into a ban that technically already exists.
Especially a big thank you to Councilor Erickson for spearheading this effort. Her concerns were quite simple. She didn’t want a fine or criminalization of using a legal product, she wanted to keep children safe in our parks and she wants to further look at this ban, but she wants council involvement and do it in a studied, incremental way, not a ram-rod approach our mayor and his administration takes on these issues.
But there was a bigger question lurking in the shadows. Why hasn’t our entertainment facilities that are privately managed already implemented these changes? The Events Center already has a ban on concealed weapons.
Ironically, managers from both SMG (Events Center/Orpheum) and the Pavilion were at the meeting last night asking for the policy changes. So if they want them, why not implement themselves?
There is nothing stopping either one of them from posting signage and having a management policy that restricts smoking, say, 25 FT from the entrances to their buildings. Since they are privately managed, they can make these policy changes without the assistance of executive order, council direction or health department direction.
Maybe they wanted the council to do all of their dirty work for them? Funny how two managers that make well over a 1/4 million a year combined are not capable of making this decision, that they clearly support, but depend on our part-time council to make a decision based on something that was handed to them on a turd sandwich.
The Sioux Falls city council is set to vote on a ban next week. There was talk of several different amendments being proposed (like exceptions from golf courses and the Events Center).
I think several city councilors realized that the amendments would quickly sour the ban, and for the most part I think they do agree on a up or down vote AS is. In other words, it would apply to public parks, golf courses and the Events Center.
But there seems to be a split on whether or not it will get the 5 votes to pass. One of the arguments against the ban is that tobacco is a legal product (to those over 18). One of the ideas that is being floated in order to get a majority of the council on board with the ban is to eliminate the fine. In other words, if you are caught smoking in the banned areas, you would simply be asked to put it out and get a warning (unless you are underage).
Would you support it if there was no fine?
I think a lot of councilors are struggling with this ban, not because of the language and fine alone but how they were handed this ordinance by the administration. It is NOT the job of the executive branch and his minions to write ordinances, that is the responsibility of the council, the legislative branch.
I think if it does pass, it will be without a fine, otherwise, I think it will go down in flames.
The Argue Endorser’s ED board thinks that the No Smoking policy in city parks should also apply to JF.
JazzFest or No JazzFest, it is important to remember the No Smoking policy in parks was decided by a volunteer board and the city’s health department, NOT by the city council (who are supposed create and regulate policy in this city) secondly, there is NO fines or violations issued if you are caught smoking in a city park, an officer simply asks you to put it out. What’s the point?
Here’s how I look at it. Tobacco is a legal product to adults, city parks are PUBLIC property, and lastly IT’S OUTDOORS! While I think it is perfectly acceptable for a bar or restaurant owner to prohibit smoking on their patios (private property) and they should, I think it is a bit of a stretch to tell taxpayers who own our city parks, to put out their cigarettes, like I said, legal product.
There is an easy solution – courtesy. Ask those around you if they mind if you light up, whether you are in a city park or an outdoor restaurant patio. If they say ‘YES’ they do mind. Then don’t light up or walk to a place where you are not in proximity of others.
I think banning a legal product OUTDOORS on PUBLIC PROPERTY is a slippery slope. We already have the city telling us how to trim THERE trees, mow our lawns and scooping snow, they should concentrate on something else, like a little transparency from the mayor’s office.
While I supported banning smoking in drinking and eating establishments (to protect workers in confined areas). I find it quite silly that the city of Sioux Falls is considering banning smoking in our public parks;
Another option would be to ban smoking in parks, which is what Yankton County did back in 2006. Their parks are now completely smoke free.
Yankton County Parks are smoke free? LOL!
1) Impossible to enforce.
2) Tobacco is a legal substance.
3) It is outdoors, there is probably more pollution in the air from traffic and JM’s before people smoking in parks.
4) Public parks are taxpayer funded. Shouldn’t taxpayers decide whether this is a good idea or not?
Obviously if this ban goes in affect, people will ignore it. You will probably see more butts in the parking lots of parks and more butts in the parks themselves. Leave the ‘smoker’s outlet’ ashtrays. I kind of put this in the same category of providing junkies with clean needles. Why complicate it. I would apply the KISS theory;
‘We prefer you do not smoke in our public parks. But if you choose to do so, please dispose your butts properly.’
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