City of Sioux Falls CRC (Charter Revision Commission) doesn’t have time to listen to constituents

Yep, you heard it from the chair, Mr. Smith himself, towards the end of the meeting today he went on a (polite) rant about changing the charter over ‘political’ decisions the council made, then said the city council has more time to listen to constituents then the CRC does.

Oh, and it shows, they only meet about once a month at 3:30 PM on a Wednesday afternoon when NO ONE from the general public can attend and listen and comment. Talk about due diligence! I often shake my head when I hear government officials (whether elected or appointed) say that the public must not be concerned because they didn’t show up to the meeting – while having that meeting at a very inconvenient time during the work week. I guess if the public was concerned they would ask for PTO so they could come and give their two cents. I have often said this is an open government issue, and these meetings are held at times when it is difficult for the public to attend, because, they don’t want them to attend.

Moving on in the meeting they of course KILL the plurality vote suggestion blaming the petition drive and felt if the public wanted to change this they would speak up and sign the petition. Ironically it was changed to majority without input from the public, just because a couple of councilors felt bad. So if something was changed without a public plea to begin with, why not change it back?

CRC Chair Justin Smith also continues to act like putting something on the ballot is automatic passage of an amendment. He either doesn’t get it or is just playing games. The CRC only places amendments on the ballot from suggestions from the public, it is up to the voters to say yes or no. I’m surprised a government attorney is acting so ignorant about how stuff gets on the ballot. It seems his blatant spreading of misinformation should be an ethics violation. The CRC is not the ‘end all’. It is up to voters to decide the passage of the amendments – and he knows it!

But before it was killed member Pauline Poletes tries to defer because member Bob Thimjon wasn’t there, Smith shuts her down saying Bob was noticed of the meeting and could have attended and they don’t have time to revisit it later – which proves later to be ironic when they DO defer another item due to missing members.

Member Anne Hajek recuses herself on the super majority bonding discussion and blames ME for bringing it up on my blog and corrects me by saying that while her husband is a bonding attorney he doesn’t not work for a bonding company. This is true, and I apologize for the mistake. But she of course doesn’t expand and say that the firm her husband Doug works for does counsel ‘work’ for the bonding company that does bonding for the city. It’s semantics I guess, and a little wordplay. The city attorney though asks Hajek to leave the room if she is going to recuse herself, then they make a bunch of jokes about it. Yeah, because being ethical or unethical is soooo funny. Thought I was at a Trump rally for a moment.

City Councilor Janet Brekke during public input brings data showing most bonds pass with a super majority or more, and all the more reason to put this forth seeing NO harm in putting this in Charter, and I agree. 

The chair and other members of course say that all the more reason NOT to pass this because it already is taking place.

Stinking Rules! Who needs them!

They also blame the petition drive again. But chair Smith goes a step further and says that this is about some ‘political’ decisions the council made (over the bunker ramp) and the CRC shouldn’t get involved because they are ‘Non-Political’ (Could have fooled me).

Passing a bond isn’t a ‘political’ decision based on a bias, it is a TAXING decision that affects us. I was once again shocked by the very ‘POLITICAL’ statements of the chair. It is very much the duty of the CRC to be NON-POLITICAL when deciding what goes on the ballot, and if this is a legal change, you should allow it, especially when it has to do with how government is spending our money. These rules need to be put in place so city councils DON’T make ‘political’ decisions based on bias, but decisions based on the best interest of the taxpayers.

It did get deferred though due to member Poletes pointing out they need 4 votes to approve something and TWO members were not present to vote (Hajek and Thimjon) so even if they voted to kill it they would only have 3 votes, and they need 4 votes to pass it. Of course Chair Smith voted against the deferral, but it had the 2 votes it needed to be deferred.

They discussed making the city attorney a non-voting member of the CRC and just an advisor, which I thought he was already. I guess councilor Neitzert is making an amendment in the future to change this in the charter language. Brekke said during public input that she was unaware this was going to be done. Shocker! Greg told the CRC but NOT his fellow councilors.

As I suspected, the CRC has probably been working diligently behind the scenes to sabotage the petition drive (it’s obvious in their scripted discussions they have during the meetings), then turns around and tries to blame this same petition drive as for the reason to kill these amendments. It shouldn’t matter if there is a drive, the duty of the CRC is to determine if something can legally be changed in the Charter, if it won’t be harmful to the greater good of the public and government, and it the language is proper in style and form. When Chair Smith said the CRC is ‘non-political’ he was correct. Offering your opinions on whether you support something before the public has had a chance to vote on it is being ‘POLITICAL’. So when are you going to practice what you preach and put these on the ballot and let the public decide, as well as yourself, IN THE VOTING BOOTH, NOT AT A 3:30 WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON MEETING.



4 comments ↓

#1 Scott on 10.16.19 at 9:36 pm

This commission just exemplifies the art of corruption and arrogance. Do they think the citizens do not notice?

#2 D@ily Spin on 10.16.19 at 9:38 pm

My take is that the CRC is a mess created to confuse the issue that the charter is unconstitutional. There’s no purpose or progress. It should be kept closed door and untimely because it confuses and doesn’t address the real issue. This being that the public is not represented and has no voice in city government.

#3 The Guy From Guernsey on 10.17.19 at 9:34 am

Imagine being a member appointed to a commission which is charged with revision of the organization and operation of government and expressing surprise (or is it disdain?) that ‘politics’ is the only reason why an issue is front of your commission.

#4 "Very Stable Genius" on 10.17.19 at 4:06 pm

What? Political change should come from non political impetus? Has the Charter Revision Committee been watching too much Ancient Aliens? Do they think that political change merely comes from an impregnation due to cosmos manipulation?

( – and Woodstock states: “‘Ancient Aliens?’…..I think someone has been watching too much of that show, if you know what I mean.”)

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