Mayor TenHaken misses the point of open government

PTH was on Belfrage yesterday talking about a bunch of things. Belfrage brought up the ‘dysfunction’ of the city council. It of course came back to trying to blame ‘ONE’ person on the council. While Stehly’s name was never brought up, it was clear who he was talking about.

PTH thought it was a waste of time to discuss a $20 fee for the housing summit instead of spending more time talking about supplemental appropriations during a council meeting.

As for the supplemental appropriations, the council and the public, I believe were in agreement. What discussion did you need? (PTH even admitted to that). But to say having a ‘wasted’ discussion about the $20 fee just shows (as I have suspected) he knows little about open government and transparency. This wasn’t about the $20 this was about charging the public to come to a PUBLIC event. Ironically, the administration changed their tune and said they would waive the fee and film the event (I encourage people to watch the over 5 hours, it is fascinating, especially the tiny homes for vets discussion). So was the discussion really a waste? Open and transparent government SHOULD be priority over everything else.

I think we need to have a longer public discussion about how the citizens own this government and they shouldn’t be ‘charged’ to participate in it.


#1 Jannelle Cain on 05.17.19 at 10:06 am

I agree Scott. I watched the council meeting while driving back from teaching a day in Rapid City on Tobacco Free Housing, Vaping Meth and Opioids in Housing. I was mortified that they called out the gentleman by name who said he couldn’t afford the $20 and the fee would be waived. HOW DEMEANING CAN YOU BE TO SOMEONE WHEN YOU ARE IN A PUBLIC FORUM!!! All I could think of was what the DOJ would say to this call out by name because of someone’s economic status and forcing them to humiliate themselves to ask for a free pass!!! Not from a public municipal meeting. The option should have been there just to not eat and not pay! It was disgusting and very nonempathetic to an entire cross section of citizens in this city. Very out of touch!!!!!!!!!!

#2 Taxpayer/Voter on 05.17.19 at 10:14 am

When it comes to transparency and open government Paul Tenhaken’s ‘learning curve’ is over.

In the beginning, as a taxpayer/voter, I was willing to cut him some slack because moving from the private sector to government is a huge leap. But now, he has been in office for a year and in that year he has repeatedly shown blatant disregard for transparency.

Obviously, he has a fundamental disregard for the basic tenet of what good local government is about.

And, BTW, he has not helped himself with some of the people he has chosen to surround himself with.

#3 WTF on 05.17.19 at 10:35 am

I agree with Taxpayer/Voter, this is what happens whe people with no interest in public processes being elected to run government like a business. Our government is not a dictatorship, it is the public’s property to be run in the open no matter how frustrating the naivety of the officeholder.

#4 Blasphemo on 05.17.19 at 10:59 am

T/V – well said. “But now, he has been in office for a year and in that year he has repeatedly shown blatant disregard for transparency.” I think by extension this also translates to “indifference to public opinion.” Not an attribute any public official ought cultivate.

#5 Scott Linder on 05.17.19 at 11:22 am

Behavior and attitude from the selfie king is consistently surprising but mostly disappointing. After a year in office, has he earned the trust of the citizens yet??

#6 "Very Stable Genius" on 05.17.19 at 11:56 am

The elite laugh at $ 20. If only they would pay their workers that much per hour…..#TaleOfTwoCities

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