UPDATE: Minnehaha County Commission joins City Council’s attempt to limit public input

I saw this coming when people concerned about election integrity and opposition to the CO2 pipeline started showing up to MCC meetings;

But having those comment sessions at the beginning of meetings delays other work. And members of the public who are at a meeting for a specific item have to sit through lengthier public comment sessions.

The new policy, which hasn’t been adopted yet, would also reduce comment from five minutes to three.

(See Former Mayor Mike Huether’s 9 minute public input at the MCC meeting as a private property owner)

They of course are using the tired old argument that the ONE person asking for a rezone has to wait through public input, as if the public’s sentiments are not important.

“When I started, we didn’t have a time constraint,” Commission Chairwoman Cindy Heiberger said. “People rarely came to talk to us.”

That has changed, particularly in recent months with people who doubt the county’s election integrity.

Besides lowering the time limit to three minutes, the new policy would forbid speakers from using electronic recordings in their presentations, and paper handouts would have to be handed out in advance.

The reason people rarely show up to the meetings is because you have them at 9 AM on a Tuesday morning when common folk are working, it has very little to do with people being HAPPY with county government, they simply don’t know what you do because you conduct your business in non-opportune time slots and take days to post the replay of the meeting.

Commissioner Jeff Barth, who is soon to be retired from the commission, said the status quo has worked “pretty well” in his two decades as an observer and member of the commission.

“The fact that there has been some abuse in recent times isn’t a reason to throw the baby out with the bathwater,” he said. 

But that is what authoritarians do. When a couple of supposed bad apples show up and actually DISSENT the government their first reaction is to squash that dissent. The Sioux Falls City Council literally changed their public input policy because ONE person called the mayor an SOB, guess what, that person still comes and speaks at the meetings. You accomplished nothing except disenfranchising the rest of the public who have legitimate dissent.

As I have told the council in the past, general public input isn’t for birthday announcements and back patting it is to make our representative government aware of issues in the community. Sometimes those issues don’t have cute names like ONE, 52 or 437.

The more you limit the public to express themselves the more out of touch our government becomes.



5 comments ↓

#1 Very Stable Genius on 09.24.22 at 9:43 pm

You know, in a parliamentary system they have what is called “Prime Minister’s Questions”, where for instance in the UK, a member of the House of Commons can ask a question of the PM – every Tuesday afternoon in the Commons Chamber with the PM in attendance – about their government’s policy on a particular issue, but these questions are submitted ahead of time, however, which then gives the PM time to prepare a proper and competent answer. So, to throw PMs off, members of the opposing party in particular started to ask the generic question (many years ago) of what was the PM’s schedule for that week, and sense the questioner is allowed to interject during the PM’s answer, the questioner would then interject a poignant question about a particular current government policy or lack of policy by asking if the PM’s schedule also includes a concern or interest in addressing a particular issue that the questioner is actually concerned about, which would then hopefully throw the PM off guard and give the debate advantage to the questioner. So, given that UK strategy, maybe at the city and county level people need to start submitting (bogus) rezoning issues and or requests, which would then allow them to address the council in a timing manner, where they could then move the pendulum to the issue that they really want to talk about. 😉

#MakingDemocracyWork #AlwaysThinking #GodSaveOurDemocracy #LongLiveTheWoodstock

( and Woodstock adds: “Maybe a guy should talk with a
British accent, too, to make him sound smarter”… “But then again, if you talked with a French accent maybe they would think you were from Nord Hari-Bourgeois (Taupeville) and had some culture, huh?”… (…. “Wait a minute, was Tocqueville from Taupeville?”….)

#2 VSG on 09.24.22 at 9:48 pm

“sense”?…. Sorry Steve…. ( or should it be “cents” not “since”?) 😉

#3 D@ily Spin on 09.25.22 at 11:14 am

Without hearing from the public, just how would they know what needs attention. They’ll need subject matter for campaign promises.

Many don’t have local TV news in favor of cable. Local TV is owned by National conglomerates who ignore local issues. The Argus, what’s that? They’re barely here. Blogs, maybe but they lack research and are opinionated.

We’re coming closer to being unrepresented. It’s not freedom and democracy if people are left out of the equation.

#4 Fear & Loathing in Sioux Falls on 09.25.22 at 2:26 pm

The former mayor has a Micheal J Fox quality about him. I wonder if he ever jumps into his DeLorean so he can be mayor again?

#5 My Mistake Mike on 09.26.22 at 3:02 pm

That clip with Huether is from May 2016? While he was still the sitting Mayor?

That narcissist should have been flagged at 5 minutes, yet they still gave him another 4 minutes to try to make his point! He should have never been up there in the first place. As Mayor, he should have been at city hall doing the job he was being paid to do on a Tuesday morning – and not pontificating in his own self-interest for his summer residence on Diamond Slough.