It doesn’t take a constitutional scholar to realize the ordinance the city is attempting to repeal is a clear violation of 1st amendment rights. Doesn’t matter what city board you may sit on, nobody can hamper your free speech rights which include giving money to a candidate. While ethically questionable in some cases, completely legal.
So why has the city decided to now repeal this unconstitutional ordinance after a recent election (Item #B)? Makes you wonder how many appointed officers violated the ordinance in the past or even in this past election? Hey good for them, they were well within their rights. It’s the timing that smells fishy.
Second Circuit Court Judge John Pekas is scheduled to hear the case at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the Minnehaha County Courthouse.
No matter where you stand on the law or legal language of these statutes, it all seems irrelevant to me. Any document or settlement produced using tax payer money should be made public. It’s not like we are protecting the integrity of a man who shot himself with a 5-foot branch and a rifle in a grove of rural trees, this is about siding that was poorly installed on a building. Who are we protecting?
I also find it even more ironic we are spending MORE tax dollars on private attorneys to keep something a secret. Screw who won the spelling bee here, that should be a red flag enough to tell us something truly needs to be hidden.
Our intrepid mayor of Sioux Falls seems to think the US Constitution, Charter and written laws are brick walls to overcome. Listen to him discuss his quest to make over the city into his image at the Neighborhood Summit on November 14, 2015. His “to hell with the laws, Council and citizens” must be overcome if we are to have a clean and safe city for all.
The brick walls he is upset with are based on rights guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution, South Dakota Constitution and the Sioux Falls Home Rule Charter. Why does no one challenge hizzoner when he defends his administration’s lawbreaking actions?
In this Summit part 1 Mayor Mike let’s us in on his lawless vision of government by and for the specials at the expense of the rest of us.
Since the city of Sioux Falls heavily edits or blocks meetings videos we now offering a direct link to our collected city videos through www.siouxfall.org.
So we ask “Neighbors are only good if they conform to his vision?”
Mayor Mike Huether’s office was informed yesterday that the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty was planning to acknowledge the City of Sioux Falls and also Mayor Huether in a news release issued today. This relates to the City’s Paint the Plows program, which uses student artwork.
“Sioux Falls is becoming more and more diverse every day, and that is something we celebrate here. We value diversity and differing opinions. Everyone is important in our town,” says Mayor Mike Huether.
This year, inspired by the good cheer and common sense of the Mayor Mike Huether of Sioux Falls, we are bestowing the city of Sioux Falls the (momentary) Ebenezer award but promptly toasting the mayor.
Sioux Falls was our #1 contender for the Ebenezer award after it notified a private school that the city snowplow blades its young students had labored over and decorated would be repainted and censored. Why? Because the students had decided to celebrate the season with—gasp!—artwork celebrating the religious nature of Christmas.
The city, which had previously accepted religious art, momentarily lost its way when one lone atheist claiming to be part of the Siouxland Freethinkers filed an informal complaint.
The irony of this is that the Mayor is using city resources (Website, IT and Communications public employees) to applaud an award from a Religious Organization that promotes religious liberty (infiltrating government with theocracy). He demonstrates he still doesn’t understand the US Constitution OR the Establishment clause, and further uses tax payer resources to promote a specific religious view.
Mike, if you want to brag to your friends at church or to your co-workers about the award, go for it ‘Mr. Wear My religion on my sleeve’ but stop using tax dollars to promote Christianity.
A third early president—Andrew Jackson—was similarly convinced that the Establishment Clause prohibited presidents from declaring a national day of prayer. Though a devout Christian, Jackson was prepared to veto a proposal by Senator Henry Clay to declare a day of prayer and fasting. His veto message would have explained that, although he personally was convinced of the “efficacy of prayer in all times,” the Constitution “carefully separated sacred from civilian concerns,” and accordingly he believed it his “duty to preserve this separation and to abstain from any act which may tend to an amalgamation perilous to both.” Jon Meacham, AMERICAN LION: ANDREW JACKSON IN THE WHITE HOUSE 207 (2008) (quoting draft veto message). Once his opposition was made known, the proposal died without the need for him to veto it. Id.
Reminds me of the time I was in the back of a cruiser, handcuffed, and AFTER the officer read me my miranda rights he says to me, “May I ask you some further questions?” and I said, “Well, unless there is an attorney sitting next to me in the back seat, no you cannot.” He grunted, and put the car in drive and never spoke to me again. The funny part about it was, he whipped out a list of questions before he asked me that initial question. I knew where this was going. Entrapment.
As I was pondering the snow plow issue and all the crazy letters to the editor of people defending the violation of the establishment clause (because, you know, none of these people would be willing to paint Jesus Christ on the sides of their vehicles, well within their 1st Amendment rights, but defend it on government property). It reminded me of a discussion about what to name ‘Winter Wonderland’ when first proposed during the Munson administration. I remember there was a brief discussion when naming it, I think one of the suggestions was ‘Christmas at the Falls’. Not sure who got involved (City Attorney?) but I fondly remember someone within city government recommending it takes on a generic term not associated with a religious holiday. Smart move.
So what does this have to do with Jesus plows? It seems there are people who are intelligent enough about Constitutional law that work for the city (or worked for them at one time) to know you can’t cross that line while using tax dollars. So Huether shouldn’t act so surprised that this has become an issue. Of course, Huether knew nothing about local government or history of it until he started to run for mayor. History isn’t his strong suit.
As for the display itself, While I think it is a great idea, I think it could be done differently. Other cities do similiar displays but they have businesses volunteer the expense and labor and use it as an opportunity for teambuilding around Christmas. Workers and their families of the businesses that donate volunteer their time to set up the display then the city foots the bill of the electricity. They do have sponsors, but city employees do all the set-up. In fact, mostly public works department workers from the forestry division begin assembling the display starting October 1st. Which I find ironic in itself. One time when I questioned the city about project TRIM and why the city’s forestry department just didn’t trim trees that residences couldn’t reach in the boulevard, they replied, “We don’t have enough staff or enough time.” But taking almost two months to put up Christmas lights, plenty of time for. Just imagine how many trees could be trimmed in that same time period?
Once again, the city proves it’s priorities towards citizens and the law.
Here is a copy of the letter the attorney from Freedom From Religion Foundation sent to the city attorney: Freedomfromreligion
As you can see, he states several cases that show this is unconstitutional.
A little inspirational reading for the mayor (click to enlarge):
IMAGE: READER SUBMISSION
Heck, with a snowplow like this, the snow would melt at impact!
As any intelligent person that understands the US Constitution and 1st Amendment, and Jon Arneson would know, you can see where this is headed;
Arneson believes having those painting on city property puts the City into a corner where, by law, it would be seen as an endorsement of religion. He says U.S. Supreme Court rulings dealing with religion and government over the past 30 years support that.
I guess we are supposed to hear a resolution today from the city, I suspect if we don’t hear one by the weekend, that the city decided to quietly paint over the plow blades. We will see. I did notice it is already circulating the national news that our Mayor is Constitutionally inept. There was a blurb about it in the USA Today.
Triple-M doesn’t realize the Lutheran School doesn’t own the snowplows, we do, the taxpayers, while they can practice their ‘freedom of expression’ on government owned property, they cannot promote a particular religion (it really is that simple). If they want to paint privately owned school property, more power to them;
But Huether seemed adamant that the plow blades wouldn’t be removed.
“We are not going to be painting over those plow blades. We will not be painting over them unless I get some Supreme Court case that says that I have to,” Huether said.
Heuther is also reluctant to suggest changes to the “Paint the Plows” program for fear of trampling on the First Amendment rights of participating schools.
“That’s one of the things we’re struggling with,” said Huether. “How do we move forward and still allow people to have freedom of expression?”
Mr. Huether may just get his wish. Watch for the ACLU to be all over this. I also suspect the NCAC may jump into this. So now the mayor is willing to waste tax dollars on Supreme Court cases because he doesn’t have a clue about our US Constitution. How did I know he was going to take this stance?
During the recent informational today, Staggers was defending the plows, calling it a ‘political issue’. No Kermit, it is a Constitutional issue. It is one thing to ‘express’ yourself about a season (winter) and it seems all the other schools figured it out, it is entirely another issue to be disguising ‘artistic expression’ with a ‘Biblical message’.
Also, last I checked, artistic expression relates to somewhat original ideas, there was nothing original from stenciling already existing designs. Someone else also expressed to me we may be opening up ourselves to copyright infringement laws with Coca-Cola.
I will give city attorney Fiddle-Faddle credit, he told councilor Staggers that it was a ‘legal’ issue, and it is, a Constitutional legal issue. And Fiddle should be well-versed in them, he has plenty of case law proving the city doesn’t understand Constitutional law.
When I see stuff like this, I just shake my head, especially when a governmental body doesn’t understand the US Constitution, ESPECIALLY a school board. Apparently in Miller, SD, they don’t teach any civics courses;
Zacher said he was disappointed the board was forced to change its policy and disallow the Bible distribution.
First off, NO one forced the board to do anything. Following the US Constitution should be a duty of any governmental body, it shouldn’t be something you should even have to think about or second guess, it should come naturally. I bet if someone tried to take away your guns in good ol’ Miller, the Constitution would rear it’s ugly head and be on your side. But like most Hicks, you like to pick and choose what parts of the Constitution you think should apply.
“Our founding fathers felt God very strong in this country,” he said.
Zacher, you are absolutely correct. In fact they thought so highly of God and religion, they wanted to keep government OUT of their personal beliefs on God. The US Constitution’s view on this is to protect people from government’s intrusion into your religious beliefs. When are you going to figure this out?! Does somebody have to hit you upside the head with a bible or better yet a copy of the Constitution. Geez!
I got a surprise yesterday while attending the City Council working session. As some of you may or may not know, while the state shares revenue with alcohol sales, they don’t reimburse the city police department for conducting alcohol sale stings. I think a solution would be the city PD to stop doing the stings and require the Highway Patrol (which gets state funding) to do the stings.
Kenny Anderson says the problem is that people who fail the stings are not the owners or managers in most cases, it’s the clerks. While this is true, it is also the responsibility of the company to properly train their employees AND hire responsible people.
I have often said the solution is simple. Require anyone who is purchasing alcohol or tobacco to put their ID in a scanner. If they don’t or if the ID is incorrect, the cash register would refuse the sale. Of course, this would piss off a lot of older people who clearly look old enough to purchase. This would also probably get blow back from the malt beverage industry. I know a few years ago I read a study that said over 30% of beer that is consumed in this country is drunk by underage people. That’s a lot of lost revenue if roadblocks are put for these people to purchase.
Texting Ban – Still pointless & Unneeded
When the city decided to pass a texting ban, I agreed with councilor Staggers and some members of the Highway Patrol and SFPD, that it was unneeded because there are already laws in place like distracted driving and reckless driving that cover texting and driving. If you cause an accident while texting or talking on your phone, or eating a hamburger or scratching your butt while driving, you will get one of these tickets. Don’t get me wrong, I think texting while driving is idiotic, but since the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday about getting a warrant to search someone’s phone, it is going to be a lot harder to prove someone was texting and driving. That pesky US Constitution and 4th Amendment prevailed once again. Just wondering when our state legislature and city council are going to bother reading it and stop passing pointless laws and ordinances?