Sioux Falls City Council Chair Soehl is quite the Authoritarian

The newly elected chair, Curt Soehl, has quite the authoritarian streak. Yesterday while chairing several of the meetings he kept limiting public input to 15 minutes or about 3 people. They should not be scheduling these meetings back to back and should be spreading them out over a couple of days. But this does not give him an excuse to limit public input, it is a blatant violation of the 1st Amendment in reference to prior restraint.

While I thought maybe this was just a one-time decision someone told me he pulled the same trick today at the 10:30 AM, downtown library Working Session. Hey, I get it, they don’t like open government, that’s why they have meetings in the middle of the morning at the library instead of Carnegie, but now it seems they want to limit it also to the ones that can actually attend. I have never seen so much disdain towards the public’s opinion on matters. Yes, the council hasn’t been very open for a long time, but now there seems to be a lot of openness about NOT being open. They seem to wear it like a badge.

As for the meeting itself, it was a bunch of Covid money handouts to the Parks Department projects including more tennis courts, because you know, it is such a huge sport in Sioux Falls, LOL. I am often reminded of this when I drive by the parking lot at the Huether tennis center with 2-3 cars in the lot. Wondering if we will ever get our Half-Million back.

Speaking of open government and transparency, during the working session yesterday, I found it a bit bizarre that the council hasn’t asked the very people who wrote IM26 (Medical Marijuana) to be a part of the discussion. Wouldn’t you want the very people who wrote the successful measure to help advise you on what is in it? Or do we want to just do whatever we want to (basically sitting on our hands) then come up with regulations without their input then let them sue us? Seems counterproductive to me. Not sure the council or county commission has done their research (not likely) but the national movement to decriminalize marijuana has a lot of Benjamins behind it and they take their investments seriously.

This is what you get when you have a local government that works behind closed doors, is not transparent, limits public input and does the bidding of big business instead of the work of the people. All the hub-bub about TIFs, Mary Jane regulations, zoning, etc. doesn’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t operate government in the open. As I said last week, only crooks, scammers and schemers do business behind closed doors. Add authoritarians to that list.


#1 D@ily Spin on 05.27.21 at 9:58 am

I don’t play tennis or polo. Neither is popular here. Give me some old fashion ax throwing or cow paddy frisbee. Now we’re talking. Sounds like Soehl needs soul for public office. If we’d voted for Janoct, there’d have been a better quality of life in Sioux Falls. That’s it, real people in city office. Then, there’d be more bingo instead of tennis and listening at council meetings instead of computer solitaire.

#2 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 05.27.21 at 1:33 pm

Janoct wanted to truly fill the potholes, while the other politicians want to fill them with you know what. A cow paddy frisbee, however, with the words: “Noem 4 Prez”, might be in order.

#3 Donald Pay on 05.28.21 at 10:31 am

I’m not a SF resident, but the effort to stifle public input is quite the thing these days all over the country. We have one national party that wants authoritarian autocracy. It seems to be bleeding down into local and state government.

If you are going to be spend COVID money on activities that promote health, you can’t do much better than tennis courts. Tennis, bike riding, running, hiking, bird watching, etc. are things that get you moving, outside, and socially distant. When I was growing up in Sioux Falls, McKennan Park courts were always crowded, so they started building more courts over the city. At first, they weren’t used much, but soon there was tennis boom. Tennis courts are sort of like the baseball field in “Field of Dreams:” build it, they will come.