I do support 1st Amendment Rights and the freedom to dissent our government, but there are things the government can do that has very little to do with free speech. The City of Sioux Falls could put these modest proposals in place with very little capital, if any, which would actually reduce the need for constituents to dissent the government.
Some local governments have instituted some of these things;
• Livestream all public meetings on YouTube (including boards) and have that livestream on the main page with . . .
• A rolling calendar of all public meetings . . . (which we have on the council agenda page, but NOT on the main page)
• All public meetings should be after 5 PM during the work week.
• An online search engine portal of all public city documents (the city has something like this, but it is complicated and cumbersome)
• Answer constituent questions if possible during public input (the council used to do this but the practice was ended during the Huether administration).
• Have a weekly mayoral and separate council presser to answer media questions about the weekly agenda (and live stream it on YT).
• Stop limiting council debate during the meetings.
The last one is a new thing. During the past couple of council meetings there has been an effort to limit the council debate. I am not even sure where this is coming from, but it seems there now is an effort from council leadership and the mayor’s office to limit debate between councilors during first readings.
Open government is easy, and most times it costs nothing to do. I think our issues with zoning, homelessness and violent crime could be easier tasks to conquer if we just talked about them openly.