Complaints against Rapid City Councilor violates her 1st Amendment Rights

Once again, Attorney Tornow is diddling where he shouldn’t be diddling;

Complaints were submitted to the Rapid City city attorney regarding common council president Laura Armstrong’s involvement in the Facebook page, Caring Businesses of Rapid City, saying her actions violate city code.

“Code of conduct two says Rapid City officials, like council members, are to refrain at all times from discrimination or the dispensation of special privileges,” said Tornow. “I don’t know how you can have any more clear violation.”

First off, if this is a violation of city code (I don’t think it is) the complainers don’t have much of a legal leg to stand on. As an elected official your 1st Amendment rights are NOT stripped from you once you become elected. Sure, some would question ethics in this matter (though I would argue she is acting ethically by supporting a mask mandate that actually helps local businesses stay open) acting unethically is NOT illegal and as we saw in Sioux Falls, you can hardly be removed from office for it.

But more importantly she has a right granted from the highest law in the country to freedom of speech and if I was her I would counter sue these clowns for making a fuss over it.

It seems though the Rapid City, City Attorney did the right thing;

After the group submitted their complaints, a media outlet requested copies. Joel Landeen, the city’s attorney, says those were provided, much like complaints released in the past.

“If we choose not to disclose, or say we cannot comment on that because it’s confidential, then it makes it look like we’re trying to hide something or are not being transparent,” said Landeen. “Their argument is that the complaints should have remained confidential. I would point out that the last two complaints against aldermen Lisa Modrick and Jerry Right. The media became aware of both of those complaints almost simultaneously with them being filed.”

Tornow says the release of the complaints violates city process and the complaints included private information such as age and address. But Landeen says no one was required to share that information as part of the complaint process.

“I don’t think that the city did anything wrong in releasing the complaints,” said Landeen. “You have to put your name on a letter to the editor, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect to have to put your name on a complaint. As far as some of the other information, I can understand why people are concerned but I would point out that the form that contained all this information, those were not on city forms.

Notice the last part of the last sentence, if you file a complaint to a government body on a piece of toilet paper, guess what, that just might appear in the media. When you are so stupid to complain about an elected official who is practicing their 1st Amendment rights to keep a community safe and economically secure, and file that complaint on unofficial forms, guess what, you spill gravy on your tie.

I have often argued that code enforcement complaints in Sioux Falls filed by residents (non-city employees) should be made public to the person the complaint is being filed against. I guarantee more transparency in code enforcement would make the problem disappear quite quickly. If you have a problem with your neighbor, bake them a pie and go have a chat. If you have a problem with your city councilor, buy them a cup of coffee and go have a chat.

I applaud the Rapid City, City Attorney on how he is handling the complaints. It’s going to be fun to watch this explode in the anti-maskers faces. They wouldn’t know the constitution or civil liberty rights if it hit them over the head with a baseball bat.

But a word of advice to the city councilor involved in this Trumpist-Noem fiasco, STAY OFF OF FACEBOOK!


#1 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 12.24.20 at 3:51 pm

There should be a cam attached to Tornow. ‘Tiger King’ would still be more interesting, however, but at least the tiger meat sandwich breaks would be intriguing.

#2 D@ily Spin on 12.27.20 at 8:54 am

Yet another Facebook Fail. Political types should know not to post. Doesn’t have to be a rule when it’s common sense. Facebook is for Conmen and Mean Girls. To me it’s a waste of time reading from losers that want to believe what’s not true about themselves.