Despicable

It is about the only word I can use (besides some choice cuss words) to describe what the city attorney, the mayor and city clerk did to invalidate the signatures. A pure technicality based on the oath. The oath used on the petitions was a state oath (that is actually more stringent then the municipal oath, from what I understand just says the circulator should be a Sioux Falls resident). IMO, that could be easily fixed by just checking to see if the circulators are SF residents, which as far as I know are.

Ultimately this is the failure of the city clerk. The city clerk, Tom Greco, a guy who wasn’t even registered to vote until AFTER he was hired to be city clerk, must review and stamp a petition before it can be circulated. I also find this ironic, considering during the past city election campaigns, Greco was calling candidates about editing their financial reports, and allowing them to fix mathematical errors before posting them. He seemed to catch the minute accounting errors on these reports, but didn’t catch an oath? It is his job to make sure the petition was correct before it was circulated. He should have told Danielson at the time it was the incorrect oath, he did not. Failure of the city clerk to do his job properly as the municipal election overseer is a fireable offense. The city council could move forward and fire him for not properly performing his duties.

I warned Danielson that it would be an uphill battle, because our city clerk and city attorney will try to find any loophole they can to get their way. Mayor Huether’s administration doesn’t like to lose or interference from the citizens. He proved this with his two tie-breaking votes and the veto. It may be as simple as a judge saying the petitions are valid since the circulators took an oath and the petition signers are valid. It seems that is our only option now since city administrators that we pay with our taxdollars put up a gigantic middle finger to all the people who signed the petition.

Several elected officials across the state hate petitions. Mayor Huether proved this when he refused to sign the snow gate petition even though he supported them publicly. Before Shantel Krebs became SOS, she also told a petitioner that she doesn’t sign petitions and didn’t believe in that process. These are people in leadership folks, running our elections. That should scare the CRAP out of all of us.



32 comments ↓

#1 Davis on 08.30.16 at 6:42 pm

I knew as soon as I heard about the petitions being rejected that you would be making excuses and trying to place the blame elsewhere.

The City Clerk, the City Attorney, the Mayor, the City Council, and anyone else who you wish to point fingers at are not to blame. Bruce is the one who printed and presented the forms and the responsibility falls upon his feet.

Bruce said in his press conference that the citizens are never wrong, so clearly he isn’t willing to take responsibility for his own failures. Don’t pretend this is some vast conspiracy to prevent the citizens from being heard when it was Bruce who provided and submitted the forms.

Learn from it and don’t make the same mistakes in the future.

#2 l3wis on 08.30.16 at 7:00 pm

And I knew there would people like you coming on here and defending the man who is NEVER wrong, Mike Huether.

Should Bruce take some responsibility for this, sure. But there is already a case out there that says that signatures cannot be thrown out based on a technical foul. In other words, if the sigs are valid, the notaries are valid and the circulators are valid, it’s valid.

But there is also some blame here with the city clerk who should have never put his stamp of approval on it to begin with. It would be like an olympic athlete seeing one of his competitors doping before a competition, not saying anything, and after the doper wins, they decide they better tattle on them. If Greco had a clue of what he was doing, he would have never stamped that petition.

#3 Teatime on 08.30.16 at 7:13 pm

“Our city clerk and city attorney will try to find any loophole they can”

Or should we say “create” rather than “find”

What’s next?

#4 The D@ily Spin on 08.30.16 at 7:32 pm

There could be an ethics complaint against the city clerk but then Huether picks the board. We already know the outcome. This is a lawyer trick that the attorney general should look into. Sounds like there should be public comment lined up on the 6th calling the city attorney a ‘liar who should be disbarred pertaining to his city actions’. Remember the city, per ordinance, can’t sue.

To stop the bond sale it’s going to take a court order. With or without works for the mayor. With, a court date will be beyond the end of his term. Without, the bonds go on sale against citizens wishes and the mayor’s ego is satisfied.

Using the ambulance chaser method against citizens is disgusting. The new mayor will ask for the city attorney’s resignation. This matter will be enough to keep Huether from getting elected into higher office or any office. The 3 Bobblehead Councilors will be remembered as co-conspirators. Their political career is ended, their private business will suffer, and they lose all respect in the community.

The petition campaign proved unconstitutional city government and corruption. It will be hard to find a sponsor and (if they do) investors. When the city takes bankruptcy Huether will be arrested. More than half of city employees will be laid off. Retirements will be cancelled. Area residents will move but might come back later after property values tank. Remember this mayor, the city attorney, and the 3 Councilors by name. They’re the reason.

#5 teatime on 08.30.16 at 8:15 pm

So, how to approach the AG?

#6 teatime on 08.30.16 at 8:16 pm

Also wondering, if the rest of the form was correct, but the oath portion was incorrect, how did they wind up on one form to begin with?

It’s not a cut and paste form is it?

#7 The D@ily Spin on 08.30.16 at 8:22 pm

What a shame. A few communists are destroying an all American city of 170,000 people. ‘Live Free or Die’ but maybe just move and come back once the state and the Feds clean house and inject cash or force bankruptcy.

#8 Davis on 08.30.16 at 8:31 pm

“And I knew there would people like you coming on here and defending the man who is NEVER wrong, Mike Huether.”

There are a few flaws in your argument.

1) Most people don’t agree with Huether 100% of the time, so I’m sure most would say he has been “wrong” on occasion. The difference is most don’t find him to blame 100% of the time. I myself have disagreed with the mayor on several occasions. The indoor pool was one, the indoor tennis facility was another. However I’ve also agreed with him on a few items. I didn’t want the Events Center downtown. I did agree with him that we didn’t need to even consider building a new baseball diamond downtown, and yes I do agree with him that we need a new city administration building.

2) Mike Huether doesn’t have anything to do with Bruce’s failure to follow the rules. He wasn’t the one who used the wrong form, yet some would still like to try to shift the blame to him.

#9 Deep Throat on 08.30.16 at 8:49 pm

I’m just going to go out on a limb and say this is Bruce getting receiving payback from the city clerk over the mass email he sent during the council election.

For someone who always is talking about how the process should be upheld and bashing Huether for not following it. Your statements come off as a little hypocritical.

#10 Enough places and legacy of mmm on 08.30.16 at 8:54 pm

I bet Cooper and Schmitt had fingers in this. So much like the lies and bs when Walfart and shape places got
Shoved down everyone’s throat. Draw a circle on a map. Cut and paste an oath. Some one should be headed for the pokey for this. Bottom line the city clerk approved the petition prior to circulation. A clowns

#11 Rufusx on 08.30.16 at 9:02 pm

I agree with Davis. It is the responsibility of the circulator(s) to make sure they have the correct petition form. Curious how one’s emotional fervor (especially negative fervor) clouds ones ability to act rationally and responsibly – isn’t it?

#12 Reliable Voter on 08.30.16 at 9:55 pm

The petitions were delivered to the Clerk’s office on August 23. It seems odd it took them a week to recognize a error in the form and notify Mr. Danielson.

#13 l3wis on 08.30.16 at 10:34 pm

Yes, Bruce does share some responsibilty, but unlike a person running for office, Bruce is a normal citizen circulating a petition, and when getting a petition certified before circulating it, it is the job of the public official to either approve or disapprove of the petition, and to tell that citizen why. Tom stamped it. While on one hand we are telling Bruce, ignorance of the law is no excuse, we are telling the city clerk (who should actually know the law) you did nothing wrong, and you can ignore it. Huh?

#14 l3wis on 08.30.16 at 10:37 pm

As for the slander accusations, for clarification, I edited what I said. But the jist was Greco was getting candidates to edit and fix their financial reports with mathematical errors before posting them. That’s not how it should be done. He should have posted the reports immediately as is, not wait for days, and then posted ‘amendments’ to those reports later. Maybe it’s just a matter of opinion on how Greco handled it, not sure, but what I was pointing out is his sloppiness.

#15 l3wis on 08.30.16 at 10:40 pm

Here is my post about it;

https://www.southdacola.com/blog/2016/06/sioux-falls-city-clerks-office-sloppy-handling-of-finance-reports/

#16 Judy Judy Judy on 08.31.16 at 2:10 am

I say restart a petition drive for the Initiative and combine it with the start of petition drives to recall the Mayor, Rolfing, and the two District Councilors, Erpenbach, and Kiley. (Only about 2200 valid signatures are required to recall the District Councilors). The situation hasn’t really changed. It is still up to the city council and Mayor to allow the Initiative on the ballot. They are still in the same political pickle they made. The new Initiative could easily be completed within three weeks. The recall petitions would not have to be completed for 60 days but they could be submitted as soon as they have enough valid signatures. With all of that going on the bonding company wouldn’t dare sell the bonds even if the Mayor gave his OK. The Mayor and the Councilors enabling his undemocratic behavior, seemingly not confident of the political viability of their proposal to build a second City Hall for $25 million, could be held to a public accounting for forcing this project on the citizens of Sioux Falls.

The arrogance of the Mayor and his supporters who demean those who want the voters of the city to have a voice in how $25 million of their own money is spent is despicable.

#17 anonymous on 08.31.16 at 5:57 am

Was the language on the petition checked by a private attorney before you began circulating them?

#18 ol'bubbleguts on 08.31.16 at 8:31 am

smells of puppetry to the high heavens

obg
IaAL

#19 hornguy on 08.31.16 at 9:47 am

Judy, Judy, Judy… *facepalm*

Arrogance isn’t grounds for a recall. Nothing about this meets the state’s standard for recall. You don’t get to recall elected officials in South Dakota because you don’t agree with them or their actions. Sorry.

The barriers are considerable – as they should be, lest petition zealots continually use initiative and referendum processes to thwart the will of voters by constantly dragging them to the polls to vote in special elections. This is a behavior equally ridiculous when school districts employ it to get referenda passed. Never have I lived in a city that has, through the actions of community do-gooders, fetishized the notion of direct democracy like a small handful of people in Sioux Falls have.

General elections need to mean something, and the only way they will is if people are voting every six months about the people they elected two years ago.

Beyond that, you don’t seem to understand much about municipal finance. Once the bonds are sold, the obligation is created. Because governments have taxing authority, the ability to pay back the bonds is virtually guaranteed. State law precludes a referendum or initiative process from overturning or reversing the purpose for which the bonds are sold.

Nobody buying the bonds is going to care about Bruce’s petition. They’re going to care that Sioux Falls has an excellent credit rating and no history of default.

The real shame is that way more voters turned out to re-elect Huether in 2014 than signed these petitions, and yet you and others here want to constantly disrespect those voters and their will while arrogantly pushing your own agenda.

You want to talk about arrogance? Buy a mirror and hold it up to your face. If the roles were reversed, and this were a petition to force the city to borrow the money to build over the objections of a council majority that YOU elected, you’d be bitching and moaning about how nobody’s respecting the will of the people, I guaran-damn-tee it.

Giant hypocrites, all of you.

#20 matt johnson on 08.31.16 at 10:22 am

one would think that one of the three yes-men would finally have the integrity to say enough is enough. lets have a council vote to accept the petitions as presented

#21 The D@ily Spin on 08.31.16 at 1:37 pm

Petitions to recall the mayor and Councilors is the way to go. Only half the signatures required. There will be more multi-million dollar spending if somethings not done. The 5 ethical Councilors can reset city government but the mayor and the 3 senile Councilors must be removed.

#22 be part of the solution on 08.31.16 at 1:57 pm

Like I said in a previous post on the Pool topic. I have no problem with my tax dollars going to programs and buildings that actually serve the citizens and provide a benefit to the community. I do not see how a fancy new building will change things for our community. They will be doing the exact some thing they are doing in City Hall now, only we will be $25 million more in dept. Makes no sense!

#23 Me on 08.31.16 at 9:01 pm

Bruce really let us all down with this one. Maybe he will get it right next time.

#24 Judy Judy Judy on 09.01.16 at 2:34 am

Dearest hornguy,

You are obviously a troll for the Mayor. Did you write all of the posts here which are filled with misinformation and which attempt to marginalize well-meaning citizen activists under various aliases or has the Mayor hired you as part of a team of trolls.

And does the Mayor pay you directly by the word, or are you, figuratively speaking, only allowed to pick scraps from his table.

Oh! And here are three corrections to the many attempts in your response to misinform the readers of this blog; First, I agree that a general election should mean something. In fact there was an election this spring and the new council voted to end the current funding of the second City Hall. Second, per South Dakota statute the grounds for the removal of elected municipal officials are “… misconduct, malfeasance, nonfeasance, crimes in office, drunkenness, gross incompetency, corruption, theft, oppression, or gross partiality.” Obviously, taken together these reasons are broad enough to allow the recall of any official at any time. This may not be desirable but it is certainly true. Third, once the bonds are sold it is true that the City is responsible for their repayment. However, the bonding company has a fiduciary responsibility to disclose all relevant facts to investors. If there is litigation or public action which adds risk to the underwriting, the bonding company is obliged to inform potential investors and it might want to postpone the sale until the air clears. Just saying. Of course, a politically astute, as opposed to an arrogant, elected official might want to delay the sale of the bonds for the same reason.

#25 The D@ily Spin on 09.01.16 at 8:06 am

It seems there are lots of propaganda posts. Isn’t Channel 16 enough? Keep it downplayed so the mayor doesn’t create a new ‘Director of Internet Trolls’. OMG, another lateral move and raise for Darin Smith.

#26 The D@ily Spin on 09.01.16 at 8:16 am

There’s a movie script here. I’d say facts, not fiction. You can’t make this stuff up. It’s one of those big company comes in and enslaves the population sort of things. When it’s corrupt government with politicians lavishly spending public funds while crime and infrastructure suffer, it’ll be a box office hit. If we let Huether play himself, maybe he’ll spare us another 25 million on another foolish kickbacks oriented project.

#27 The D@ily Spin on 09.01.16 at 9:02 am

There’s enough grounds to recall Rex Rolfing (only). Perhaps he’ll resign before his public and business reputation is ruined. His vote on the Admin Castle but also discrimination against veterans. Only 1 council vote needed to prevent bond sales. Future votes will be an odd number of Councilors such that the mayor is overruled. RECALL REX

#28 Voter on 09.01.16 at 12:04 pm

The language of all petitions involved in the initiative and referendum processes need to be verified by three entities before a single signature is collected.

The language needs to be verified by a private attorney, the SD Secretary of State (Shantel Krebs), and the City Attorney (David Pfeifle).

Why was this not done?

This entire scenario has weakened a very important democratic process…..the next time the public is asked to sign a petition…..they will have a question in their minds about is this a valid petition?

This situation spells irresponsibility. Mr. Danielson did not protect the volunteers or the public in this process.

#29 Warren on 09.01.16 at 12:07 pm

Scott, did greco review and stamp the petition before it was circulated? If so, how is the course the city has taken justifiable?

#30 Al Anon on 09.01.16 at 1:05 pm

Interesting how our City has become a microcosm of our Nation. Yes the ruling exec is corrupt, dishonest and will cram down whatever he wants to ensure his legacy, rules or oversight be damned. Keep that Bank of China (or Premier) credit card maxed, baby.

Yet those who oppose him are essentially feckless and incompetent. Or branded as an out of touch nutjob, even when what they advocate makes perfect fiscal sense.

Elections matter. And we get the government we deserve.

#31 Teatime on 09.02.16 at 9:52 am

Hornguy, did you move back to Sioux Falls or did you just want to butt in and offer criticism when you can?

#32 The D@ily Spin on 09.03.16 at 1:00 pm

Caution: if you speak out against Huether, you’ll be falsely arrested and issued 100 double jeopardy citations. It happened to Bruce Danielson. It cost him thousands to have everything court dismissed. Then, the city recruited his surrounding neighbors to make false complaints. He won again in a private suit and the neighbors could have lost their homes for satisfaction.

The city uses citizens and the law to preserve and maintain their crime syndicate. It’s great expense (your money) that supports this.