I know I have been preaching about this since I started the blog, but closed government has repercussions;
Lenin’s Tomb at the Zoo. Casualty of Closed Government.
Rejected ‘censored’ public art. Casualty of Closed Government.
Sustainability. Casualty of Closed Government.
Infrastructure cost overruns. Casualty of Closed Government.
Bunker Ramp. Casualty of Closed Government.
Code and Health violations ignored. Casualty of Closed Government.
Policy discussions in executive sessions. Casualty of Closed Government.
I could list hundreds just from this administration alone. The worst part is the local media is mostly complicit. Besides Forum (Sioux Falls Live), Dakota Scout and SF Simplified, nobody is asking the questions or demanding the info.
Just look at the council agenda for this Friday. Why is there a special meeting at 9 AM with NO agenda and NO information from the council or administration? By state law, the agenda doesn’t have to post until 24 hours in advance, but in a REAL FUNCTIONING OPEN GOVERNMENT scenario, the public would have been informed immediately if a special meeting was being called even without the agenda being legally posted.
Part of the problem is that State Law ‘allows’ local governments to determine what they consider ‘confidential’. Leadership in either the mayor’s office or on the council could fix this, they could put into city charter that information flows freely, or better yet, present it to the Charter Revision Commission and put it on the ballot!
As I have mentioned, the city council struggles with getting help from the administration on crafting legislation. Just look at the E2 ordinance. Besides clarifying ADA and speed limits (which is already on the books) all Councilor Neitzert is asking is to add E2s and mysteriously both the active transportation board and the parks board said they don’t know enough about them to make a decision. At a recent bike committee meeting, they seem to keep beating the dead horse;
Parks Board and Active Transportation Board had tabled the Class II ebike ordinance proposal until questions could be answered regarding enforcement, safety, speeds, and other issues. Sims reiterated that there are safety concerns that need to be addressed and other options such as licensing of e-bikes which could be explored.
Newsflash! The city isn’t going to do a study. They also are NOT going to enforce anything. This has been on the books for 5 years with NO studies, NO enforcement and NO major injuries. Also, who is going to pay to register their E2 so they can ride it on PUBLIC PROPERTY? NO ONE! What makes these committees and boards think something will change next month? I encouraged Greg and other city councilors to bring legislation without the administration’s blessing. If these people are so concerned, they can show up to the 1st and 2nd readings and voice those concerns like the rest of us. Stop playing the mayor’s games and start throwing aces.
As I have stated in the past, a lot of information given to me cannot be published because either the source doesn’t want to go on the record or they are anon. While some in the administration ‘think’ the leaks are coming from the dais at Carnegie that couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a network of former city managers, current and former city employees and other associates. But the public doesn’t have access to these sources or the time to weed thru the rumors like I do.
We do have an opportunity here. There is a Spring council election with the possibility of 3-4 new councilors. I encourage people to recruit non-partisan candidates that are pro open government. I have about 6 possible candidates on the big board but it is going to take at least 3-4 in each race to really shake things up. Open government is easy to fix, and it costs nothing and saves taxpayers oodles of money in lawsuits. We can have a progressive city that cares about everyone, but we can’t have it when city hall is locked and asleep at the wheel.