I first want to say that I think this resolution is a good idea;
Mayor Paul TenHaken next week will introduce a resolution to theÂ city council condemning hate, a move endorsed by the city’s Human Relations Commission.
â€œHate has no place in Sioux Falls,â€ TenHaken said in a news release Thursday afternoon. â€œI’m proud to stand with the Human Relations Commission and condemn bias, discriminationÂ and hate in Sioux Falls.
“With this resolution we reaffirm our belief that hate has no place in Sioux Falls and remind the public of ways to report discrimination to the City,â€ he added.
We should all disavow hate. I am actually embarrassed that in 2020 we have to pass resolutions to tell people to stop being racist jerks.
But this resolution has many procedural and intent problems. It’s nothing but some feel good reach around more than anything else. I also find it ironic that this resolution is being proposed right after the human relations attorney with the city announced he is running for State’s Attorney.
Kawinky-Dink? I think not.
So what are the issues;
1) It has no teeth. It just basically says that the city doesn’t like people being racist. Well Lah-De-Dah. I guess I am unaware of ANY city official, whether elected or employed who thinks it is a good idea to be racist. And in my personal life I ‘try’ to stay away from these people. So basically this is just a ‘memo’ or ‘sticky note’ from the mayor’s office.
2) The mayor should not be legislating. As I have told you fine folks in the past, according to charter, the city council is responsible for legislating and the mayor should run the city. As I mentioned above, this is just a campaign hat trick for the city’s human relations attorney, Daniel Haggar.
3) The mayor avoids gay pride events. I can’t tell you if PTH thinks gay peeps are ‘Icky’. Many have suspected that he does, but I have never seen him say anything publicly about it except at Dem Forum when he was running for office in which he stated that he was not ‘homophobic’. But what I find interesting about this resolution is that it did not include the LGBTQ community, or many other minority groups, like people of Muslim or Jewish faith that are discriminated against consistently. If we are going to pass a resolution disavowing hate, shouldn’t it cover all the bases?
This isn’t a Paul TenHaken issue, it is a bigger issue with politics in general starting with the top down, it’s all about ‘image’ instead of ‘substance’. If we really want to take a stand we need to pass ordinances that has teeth, otherwise this isn’t worth the paper it is written on. On top of that, hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, so is this a violation of our constitution?
We make change through education, and teaching people how not to hate. A more fitting resolution would be for the city to set up a grant program that funds seminars on teaching people about different cultures, creeds and sexual preferences. I have often told people that moving to a suburb of Seattle from a farm in South Dakota when I was 16 to live with my dad was the best cultural education of my life. I will sum it up really quickly, everybody has the same hopes and dreams as you do, no matter their color or creed. The city needs to educate people about cultures instead of handing out back rubs, sticky notes, lapel pins and pens.