The only thing 'asinine' is how the city enforces code violations

ernie-sesame-street

City Attorney, Shawn Tornow, puts the ‘ASS’ in ‘ASININE’.

Dan Daily FINALLY got his day in court after spending thousands of dollars of his own money and the city probably spending well over $100,000 to fight a $300 dollar violation;

In a daylong hearing, Dan Daily’s lawyer tried to paint a picture of the city’s record-keeping on code violations as haphazard and its enforcement as selective.

It has taken Dan several years to get to this point because the city attorney, Tornow and the court have been in cahoots to keep delaying the trial in hopes Dan would give up or run out of money.

Assistant City Attorney R. Shawn Tornow, in his questioning of witnesses, countered that Daily was given adequate notice that a driveway extension on his property violated city zoning ordinances, and the four citations he eventually was issued were meant to get Daily to comply.

And that’s the sticking point. The code violations they cited to Dan, have NOTHING to do with the driveway extention. It would be like running a red light and a cop giving you a ticket for speeding.

The idea that Daily and his lawyer were provided an incomplete file for the trial is “asinine,” Tornow said.

Interesting language. Are we getting a little frustrated, Shawn, because someone is challenging your Kangaroo Kourt – As Dan’s lawyer points out;

Daily’s lawyer, Charles Dorothy, questioned witnesses Tuesday about how the city assembles its code enforcement and appeals files from various agencies. Dorothy questioned why witnesses did not keep documents related to citations or the appeals process and other hearings.

In the shredder, that’s how the city ‘FILES’ stuff they want no one to see. Kind of like my Visual Arts Commission application, that ‘mysteriously’ disappeared on my first attempt.

Summer of Sam on dvd

Bringing Up Bobby divx

The code enforcement process has been scrutinized for a lackluster collection system and criticized by some as difficult and confusing. If Daily wins, the controversial administrative rules could be declared unconstitutional under both state and U.S. constitutions, and the process would have to undergo substantial changes.

They are Unconstitutional because they deny due process, just like the red light cameras.

Daily maintains that the process in Sioux Falls deprives residents of basic rights because they are not allowed to subpoena witnesses; the burden of proof is on those who appeal a ruling; and there are no formal rules of evidence.

At one point during the hearing, Dorothy asked city code enforcement officer Brad Hartmann why he did not cite the other 10 homes on Daily’s block that had similar driveway extensions.

Hartmann said he had received a complaint about Daily’s property, and he indeed had cited a neighbor for a driveway extension. Hartmann also said he was not aware which, if any, of the other properties had obtained variances or were in the process of trying to get them.

Like I have been saying all along ‘selective’ code enforcement by the city is unacceptable. Like I have said in the past, if you are truly not following code the city should be able to enforce it. But they cannot tell a property owner what they can and cannot do because they ‘think’ you might be doing something wrong. That is not the purpose of code.

Something interesting to point out is that Dan received this violation shortly after he wrote a letter to the editor being critical of the city’s red light cameras. Coincidence? Also, officer Hartmann got his job with the city after ‘leaving’ the Highway Patrol. Hartmann was one of the investigators of the Janklow / Scott accident. Dan’s lawyer has attempted to get information on whether Hartmann quit from the Hi-Po or was dismissed. Hopefully it will come out in the trial. I guess he left the department shortly after the investigation . . . interesting thought for us conspiracy theorists.

Hopefully Dan will come on here today and give us more deets about the hearing.



6 comments ↓

#1 Plaintiff Guy on 06.17.09 at 8:03 am

It’s worse than you think. There is no appeal from a city hearing. They do not allow evidence, do not allow you to call witnesses, and do not properly record hearings. You can be cited over and over (double jeopardy). The code enforcer can leave a citation on your door without your acknowledgement (proper service). I’m seeking a declaratory judgment forcing them to return to democracy. The city attorney delayed 3 years. The last time was because I did not serve with a PO Box Number. All previous times were accepted at the city hall address. Trial dates have been here and there 4 times but the last day looks like June 24th. Post trial, my attorney and I are planning a trip to Pierre to see the attorney general. The city violates each and every point of the South Dakota Civil Procedures Act. This matter deserves state supreme court stature. The city has wiggled out from court warnings twice. This time they’re hooked. Never deny a combat veteran his constitutional rights. He’ll fight with his assets and, if necessary, his life. This is for every soldier who fought or is fighting for US freedom and constitutional priveleges. I seek no monitary award.

#2 l3wis on 06.17.09 at 8:43 am

Thanks for the update, Dan. A friend of mine attended yesterday and took notes. She filled me in a little bit better this morning. She thought the ‘asinine’ statement referred to Tornow being upset about calling his assistant to testify, but Caldwell overturned it? Is that true?

You also make a good point about PO Boxes and mail in general when it comes to the way the city does business. During the council meeting debating the Sanford rezoning, Staggers asked why the city doesn’t send out certified mail to property owners that would be affected by rezoning so the city knows if they got the notice. Mike Cooper’s answer was something to the affect that is something they ‘could do’. But I think you pointed out why they don’t. I think it is irresponsible for a city to not make sure it’s property owners are properly notified. This city throws away millions of dollars a year on useless consultanting, yet they won’t certify mail or use all the voting precincts so they can save a couple grand. That is truly ‘asinine’.

I commend you Dan for following thru with this, I hope it makes it to the SDSC. It has been interesting to watch.

Now if we can just get Roger Hunt to spill the beans . . .

#3 redhatterb on 06.17.09 at 6:46 pm

The photo that was in today’s paper, didn’t show the fire hydrant that the city is so afraid of a car hitting it while backing out of the driveway. All in all I’m getting really tired of the way the city operates.

#4 Plaintiff Guy on 06.17.09 at 7:01 pm

The fire hydrant is on the adjacent property

#5 l3wis on 06.18.09 at 6:41 am

So now code enforcement gives you a violation for something that is on your neighbors property? Interesting. And people wonder why you are fighting them in court . . .

#6 Plaintiff Guy on 06.18.09 at 11:52 am

They’re arrogant bullies. Everyone’s wrong, they’re always right. City hearings are like Saddam in the auditorium. They call your name. You stand up. They escort you outside and kill you. It’s ass-in-nine. That’s how many on the council should be reamed for allowing the city attorney’s office to install socialism.

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