A lot of Chicken Littles have been emerging over Triple Check the Charter

I was in amazement over the past 24 hours of all the peeps crying the sky is falling over Triple Check the Charter. Most of what is being said is pure bunk. First let’s start with KSFY’s story.

Besides the fact they mutilated the logo for the measure (eliminating the check marks and descriptive wording at the bottom) they seem to be a little confused.

‘One portion calls for the mayor to be taken off the city council and removes his tie-breaking vote. Any vote ending in a tie would fail.’ (while this part is true, it still doesn’t eliminate the mayor’s ability to VETO council action. With a VETO by the mayor, it would take a super majority to overturn the VETO. He still would have the power to stop legislation he doesn’t agree with).

‘Another item would turn city council elections into a simple plurality.’ (This was actually in the original charter until Councilor Rolfing decided to fiddle with it).

‘A third measure would require a 2/3 majority to pass any bond measure, meaning at least six of the eight council members would need to vote in favor.’ (This is actually the most important part of the amendments IMO. It would force the council to be in consensus when it comes to borrowing money and is an excellent measure that encourages fiscal responsibility of our tax dollars. The only ones that are crying about this are bond salesman).

‘It also calls for city council to develop a strategic plan.’ (That is false. There is NO amendment for that on the proposed petition. Maybe someone should tell KSFY that the word TRIPLE means THREE. Councilor Janet Brekke has proposed several times that the council come up with a strategic plan, but that is NOT a charter amendment proposal, that is just simply doing their jobs as policy makers).

KELO also posted this comment by Mayor TenHaken;

“To put that responsibility of the strategic direction of the city into the hands of eight part-time city councilors is, I think, a very dangerous thing to do,” says TenHaken in a video on his Facebook page

I am completely baffled by this statement. Why would it be dangerous for the policy makers of the city, the city council, to come up with a strategic plan? It is clearly ALREADY spelled out in charter that is it their job to create and establish policy. The petition doesn’t change this one single bit. The only thing that is ‘dangerous’ is our mayor making statements like this. It only confuses voters and is a form of voter suppression. The city council already has the RIGHT and the POWER to implement any policy or plan they want to, and the mayor can’t do a damn thing about it except VETO it. It frightens me that either PTH doesn’t already know this, or he is just flat out lying to scare citizens.

But the rhetoric gets even thicker at the CRC meeting when commission member, Ann Hajek makes this statement at the end of the meeting;

. . . however, this would be a major change to our form of government if adopted, so I think it is important for people to understand that there is some mis-information out there. So it is part of our job as the charter commission to let them know it hasn’t changed and we are in place to keep it in line . . .

As I mentioned above, the only people that are scared are the bond salesman and developers/contractors because it creates a higher threshold for bonding. Mrs. Hajek is married to lead counsel for our major bonding company.

But what I find even more ironic about her statement is that the charter, which was implemented in 1995 is just fine as is, and that the CRC’s job is to protect the status quo. It has actually changed several times since than, it just hasn’t been because of a citizen driven petition. The CRC and city council has made changes.

We heard the opposite with Shape Places. We were told several times we had to change our zoning laws because they haven’t changed since 1986. They actually were amended hundreds of times since 1986, and ironically since Shape Places has been implemented, it has been amended a handful of times to. Why? Because the city council that passed it didn’t bother reading the 400 page document before approving it. The Charter, like zoning laws, have to be updated from time to time. Triple Check the Charter is simply some ‘updating’ to the charter. Don’t listen to the chicken littles in our community who have a lot to lose ($$$) if these changes are made, while the citizens have a lot to gain in tax savings. If passed, progress would occur through a consensus of our council and within the parameters of fiscal responsibility. This isn’t ‘dangerous’ it is just no-nonsense government.


#1 D@ily Spin on 08.27.19 at 1:01 pm

It seems that those opposed to charter revision are special interests. The reason for the petition is to somehow include the general population into the charter amendment process. If there are enough signatures, citizens will be given input via their vote. I heard it’s called democracy. Perhaps it’s time to take autocracy out of the charter and give people a voice in what used to be their government.

#2 Scott on 08.27.19 at 8:34 pm

I think it’s being realized that those that fear this change are those that might lose some of their power grip on controlling the city and some of its leadership. And just like anything, the media can’t report accurately which fills plenty of people with unnecessary speculation.

#3 Blasphemo on 08.27.19 at 10:23 pm

These grossly misleading/misinformed statements by the mayor & that wretched shrew Ann Hajek (not to mention her conflict of interest on the CRC bonding considerations, given her bonding counsel husband) ought to be grounds for ethics violations. These are both highly educated adults (PTH w/a masters, Hajek a lawyer) who have sought public service. They don’t get a pass for saying STUPID sh*t. They need to practice some humility and think before they speak – or get called on it BIG TIME.

#4 Voter Suppression on 08.28.19 at 9:42 am

The initiative process was built into the South Dakota State Constitution in 1889, 130 years ago.

It has withstood the test of time.

It is a process which provides a pathway to a public vote.

Who could support a mayor who is actively promoting voter suppression?

I can’t.

#5 "'Extremely' Stable Genius" on 08.29.19 at 1:55 am

To refute the Mayor’s concerns over all of this, I think we should see the new council, which would emerge from this change, as merely a “Leadership Team”…… And doesn’t our Mayor like “Leadership Teams?”

( – Woodstock comments: “Who needs a mayor, when you get to have a team of leaders?”)

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