Sioux Falls City Council ‘IS’ the policy making body of government

As we have all read, the Argus took the mayor to task about the lack of transparency in their ED board column on Sunday. This line I found the most interesting;

Now the topic is being revisited with a group that includes members of the hotel, construction, architectural and banking industries – all areas where avoiding questions of conflict of interest would be prudent.

This is one of the main reasons these meetings need to be public. When you have a group of powerful business men in town (even if they are volunteers) making recommendations, we need to be clear that their suggestions are for the good of everyone, not just their pocket books. Their is a part of me that wonders if some of the members asked that they be private meetings. We wouldn’t want that pesky Bruce showing up with a camera while we are planning our future investments.

During the informational meeting yesterday, councilors Stehly and Starr reminded the rest of the council about the importance of transparency (while the rest of them just stared into space and made no additional comments. I think even one of them was laughing at Stehly’s comments about ‘loving thy neighbor’). Starr went on to say the obvious, the City Council is the policy making body of the city, not the mayor’s office or his appointed study groups. The city council should be heading up this group, yet only ONE member is invited to attend (Soehl). We seem to be going even further backwards these days when it comes to transparency. Many city hall watchers have even been stating that TenHaken may even worse than the last dude.

What even bothers me more is that we seem to have a majority of the city council that isn’t questioning this. I’m sure Brekke agrees with Starr and Stehly, but where was Erickson and Neitzert who used to rail on the last administration about transparency. Or what about our chairs, Selberg and Erickson allowing TenHaken to usurp the powers of the council? It’s an outrage, and they remain silent.

It’s because they HATE public input and TRANSPARENCY, they proved it this summer while limiting public input.

That’s not the only thing that has disappeared into the night. I guess proclamations are no longer read at the council meetings because TenHaken found them to be a waste of time that takes away from the regular meeting. Part-Time Mayor Beck now handles them internally, I guess. Why don’t we eliminate the invocation to? There is no requirement we have one, the county commission only does the pledge of allegiance. Some of those pastors tend to be winded anyway.

I can’t say it enough, there is never a good excuse to keep government closed. And saying we need candid conversations as one of those excuses is just ludicrous. I think the best conversations about policy happen in the open when feet are held to the fire.


#1 D@ily Spin on 02.05.19 at 2:22 pm

Is government who despises who they represent government at all?

#2 Wirelessly Irradiated on 02.05.19 at 5:25 pm

Financial & legal liability can rain down on each individual responsible for allowing the roll out of 5G in Sioux Falls. Ignorance of the effects of wireless radiation is no excuse b/c it is incompetent of all the members of the City Council, the Mayor & especially the City Attorney’s office, to not have researched the issue before ramrodding it through. No insurance company covers the effects of wireless radiation. It is specifically excluded in their policies, so they know the dangers & HAVE DONE THEIR RESEARCH.

(A possibility for SF?) A Mass Action of Liability:

From the article below:
“The deployment of 5G constitutes an experiment on humanity and the environment that is defined as a crime under international law.” – International Appeal to Stop 5G on Earth and in Space. (2018)

#3 Indy on 02.05.19 at 5:32 pm

The title of your post is the answer. This task group has no authority. Is there a state statute against having a brainstorming group? No money can be spent without council approval and all those meetings are public. There will be a first and second reading for anything at the Council.

Please point to objective statutes or ordinances when crying not personal opinion about what is or isn’t transparent.

#4 l3wis on 02.05.19 at 5:42 pm

It needs to be open to the public because they will be discussing MY MONEY! If PTH wants to have a ‘brainstorming’ group, he can invite a few of his running buddies over to his garage for a few brews, but policy should be MADE by the council then voted on by the council. Not only should the study group be made public, it should have been selected by the council. Just because there is wiggle room on certain ordinances or laws still doesn’t make it ethical or right. We have some of the most closed government laws in the nation.

#5 Indy on 02.05.19 at 5:49 pm

This group is not setting any policy. That is fact.

No laws were broken. Your preferences were not followed. That doesn’t make it unethical.

This is not difficult. There is nothing wrong with presenting a different strategy or philosophy. However, we should be careful about making judgments about ethics without basing those on objective standards set by statutes.

#6 l3wis on 02.05.19 at 6:12 pm

“This group is not setting any policy.”

Then who is? Not the council. Their ideas will be packaged into policy and sent to the rubberstamp council from the administration. Oldest trick in the book.

“There is nothing wrong with presenting a different strategy or philosophy. ”

You are right, but why hasn’t this been done in the past? Because it looks shady, and either PTH is too ignorant, too arrogant or a little bit of both to not see that.

“However, we should be careful about making judgments about ethics without basing those on objective standards set by statutes.”

Ethics to a private taxpaying citizen are much different then what is set in statute for elected officials. Elected officials write those statutes to protect their asses, not ours. And just because something is legally ethical doesn’t make it right. And besides, it’s a little hard to make judgments about a group I will never hear publicly. The ‘Just trust me line’ certainly doesn’t work on me, and I think most citizens are not that naive. If this study group, or whatever the hell they are calling themselves is truly being ethical, they will invite the public in to hear there conversation, otherwise it doesn’t mean a pile of sh*t.

#7 Indy on 02.05.19 at 9:38 pm

Not sure we can even come to any agreement since we can’t even agree on a simple fact, the council sets policy and this task group has no authority. Why is that so complicated to understand?

If the council just rubber stamps a proposal brought by the administration that does not mean the process used to come up with the recommendation is bad. It means the council is weak. The council has full right to bring their own legislation as well.

#8 LJL on 02.05.19 at 9:47 pm

Get rid of this strong mayor government!!!

#9 l3wis on 02.05.19 at 9:52 pm

If they are not setting policy then 1) what is there purpose and 2) why can’t these meetings be public? Face it, you will never make an argument to keep things private when it comes to the public’s business.

#10 matt johnson on 02.06.19 at 6:16 am

so we can agree; the establishment of this group was not a violation of state law you can rail all you want (and I stated several times in previous posts that I agree about openness) but do accuse others of illegalities when the facts do not support it

#11 D@ily Spin on 02.06.19 at 10:07 am

LJL says it well. Strong Mayor Charter has ruined democracy. There’s a council but they seem regarded as overruled consultants or are influenced by partisan special interests. The present government is not democracy in that citizens are denied due process and most policy is without a public vote.

#12 scott on 02.06.19 at 10:11 am

you can have all the task forces you want, but a turd is still a turd no matter how many meetings you have. however, it is good to see that those who thought they’d profit by having the event center out there, haven’t done so.

#13 anonymous on 02.06.19 at 10:26 am

Indy is obviously someone who has not followed our local government and how it works for any length of time.

#14 Wirelessly Irradiated on 02.06.19 at 12:06 pm

1. What do you think about reverting back to the Commissioner form of city government for Sioux Falls?

2. Seems as though since we went to the home rule strong mayor format, the mayor actually runs everything with the councilors either just going along or powerless to stop the mayor. I think we need strong commissioners instead of ineffectual councilors. At least there would be fewer people to reason with if we had a mayor & three commissioners format.

3. Furthermore, it’s apparent that spread across eight people, the Council has extremely diluted power. This appears to result in way too much dependence on the 4th branch of government, the entrenched administrative state & careerists, which can & often do have their own agendas.

4. 5G is an example where the City Council relied upon the City Attorney’s office & a few city employees for information that turns out to be at least wholly inadequate and at worst flat out wrong. To wit:

City Attorney’s office indicated this cannot be fought at all, that no locality had successfully fought it and indicated that people were worried about the safety of TV’s when they first came out as a sort of dismissive way of saying “nothing to see here re adverse health effects, just move on.” Either the City Attorney’s office had not done its homework or provided inaccurate, incorrect information.

A simple internet search shows myriad information on the adverse health & biological effects of wireless radiation & 5G is worse & adds to what’s already provided – does not replace the prior generations:

5. Then we find that dozens of cities/local governments are fighting 5G now & numerous other cases where the local govt won:

Two localities stop 5G and/or are suing:

6. Just since Dec 3, 2018, two separate Congressional letters to the FCC questioning the 5G roll out AND on Jan. 14, 2019 Congresswomen Eshoo & Speier introduced HR 530 to block the FCC Cell Tower Preemption. Links to each:

#15 "Very Stable Genius" on 02.07.19 at 4:54 pm