Entries Tagged 'US Constitution' ↓

Mayor continues to politicize the Jesus Snowplow issue

Man, this guy really doesn’t get the whole ‘Freedom of Religion, Establishment Clause’ thingy;

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.

Here is the acknowledgement;

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.

I just finished reading American Lion, the book about President Andrew Jackson, here is passage from the book that I think Mayor Huether should read;

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.

Know your Constitutional rights

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.

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Using Winter Wonderland as an example for separation of church and state

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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.

 

UPDATE: Compromise on Snowplows?

They are going to use a disclaimer. Sorry, but this won’t hold up in court. Huether give it up.

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.

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A little inspirational reading for the mayor (click to enlarge):

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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.

Duh?!

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.

 

 

UPDATE: Mayor Huether proves once again he doesn’t understand the US Constitution

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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.

Welcome to South Dakota, where the Constitution doesn’t apply

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!

Why is the city paying for something the state should cover?

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?

My mixed feelings about the ‘invocation’ and the Supreme Court Ruling

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Believe it or not, as a deist, I support it, to a degree. Ben Franklin, my favorite founding father, convinced me that a ‘prayer’ or a time of ‘reflection’ helped calm lawmakers. He felt that before the debates and disagreements in the Congressional Congress started, they essentially ‘broke bread’ together, they shared a time of common good, and reflection, and how our fellow man is our brothers and sisters and while we may want to strangle each other over the next several hours, we will meet in peace first, go fist-a-cuffs, then enjoy some barley pop afterwards.

Of course, our fine mayor must twist it into being about water, wine and tennis;

“Whether it be a motivational reading or a prayer, we have stewards of all denominations actively engaged to help represent the increased diversity of our town,” Huether said.

I wonder if anyone has told Mike that Dale Carnegie wasn’t the son of gawde?

This isn’t about religion, as much as people want to make it about that on both sides, I will say this is about getting along.

City attorney David Fiddle-Faddle proposing some interesting changes to the ethics board procedures

I found some of his proposals to be very interesting, especially in this section;

FIRST PARAGRAPH: What confidentiality rules? A private citizen is protected by the US Constitution and the 1st Amendment. They don’t have to keep ANYTHING confidential. If I file a complaint against an elected official for a certain reason, I can tell anyone I want to about the complaint. City charter and ordinance does not trump the US Constitution. Sorry Fiddle-Faddle, you are not fooling anyone with this proposal.

SECOND PARAGRAPH: The word frivolous means all kinds of things to all kinds of people, as defined in the dictionary;

1. characterized by lack of seriousness or sense: frivolousconduct.

2. self-indulgently carefree; unconcerned about or lacking anyserious purpose.

3. (of a person) given to trifling or undue levity: a frivolous,empty-headed person.

4. of little or no weight, worth, or importance; not worthy of serious notice: a frivolous suggestion.

What may be important to you, may not be important to me. This proposal is just an out for the ethics board to throw out complaints they don’t want to deal with. I can see why Fiddle-Faddle was unemployed when he came crawling to the city for a job.
ENTIRE PROPOSED CHANGES; ethicchanges

Dan Daily case files

I have spoken with many people about Dan’s case after he testified to the city council last week, many are curious just what the city did to him. If you have time I encourage you to read these three files

Original filed case, 2008: Daily vs City lawsuit 5-29-08

Caldwell’s opinion: caldwell

SD Supreme Court’s opinion: scruling