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Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke on Ethics & Open Meetings

Janet Brekke set a new standard for Sioux Falls City Council thought provoking discussion on June 19, 2018. During the discussion of the fake Public Input control ordinance Brekke had to remind the proponents and everyone else what goes into proper process.

We must remember, there is nothing lost if everything is in the open following proper process. The Selberg / Kiley fake Public Input ordinance controversy never had to happen. It was a brain dead proposal to shut off voices they did not want to hear, interfering in proposals they appeared to want hidden from us, the owners and customers of our city government.

To help everyone understand, the city of Sioux Falls is technically a public corporation run through by-laws (A.K.A. Home Rule Charter). The Home Rule Charter gives the administrators certain responsibilities and are answerable to us, the stockholders. We citizens are the stockholders of the corporation, not the special interests who pay money to have more influence or pay platting fees.

The last few years we have been teaching the public how and when they should redress their issues and concerns. This fake issue was shot down by the people, those who showed up and those who couldn’t. It appeared for the time being, the elected board of directors heard the message.

UPDATE: Open Meetings Complaint against Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken being sent to the Open Meetings Commission for Review

UPDATE: There seems to be confusion from several people in the media about Haggar’s original letter, so another one was submitted to Sierra and the AG’s office. Basically Haggar is saying he does NOT have the authority to rule on this, BUT the Open Meetings Commission under the direction of the AG’s office does. It now will be up to the OMC to first determine if the complaint is viable to hold a hearing. This could take 6-8 weeks. If they determine that it is viable they will have a hearing on the matter. I’m not sure what certain reporters in the media are confused about? All Mr. Haggar did was review the complaint and he felt it needed to be passed on because it has merit, so that is what he did. At this point we just need to wait to hear from the OMC. That is the only story here.

Minnehaha States Attorney, Daniel Haggar has determined that it appears that city ordinance was violated when citizens were not allowed to publicly comment on two items pulled from the consent agenda (see statement below).

In Haggar’s LETTER he has chosen to send the complaint over to the Open Meetings Commission. Here is the original Complaint.

Is the lazy local Sioux Falls Media blowing off the City’s open meetings violations?

Of course they are. They don’t understand it (we will get to that in a moment) and they don’t want to ruffle feathers. It reminds of what Greg Belfrage said this morning on his show, about talking about politics at family events, he says he doesn’t. I believe him, because he doesn’t know a damn thing about politics and he is probably afraid he would embarrass himself, and he couldn’t hide from his liberal uncle by hanging up the phone on him while passing the gravy.

Many in the media have chosen to not talk about the open meetings violation because they have told the complainant that it is ‘too complicated’. A city official said that it is NOT a big deal and just an ‘ordinance violation’.

First it is NOT complicated and secondly, an open meetings violation is a big deal.

The city is required to have public input on items that are pulled from the consent agenda. Now mind you, if it is about spending $33 on a squirrel feeder at a park, probably NOT pressing, but still required, but this was about a liquor license for a bar with several questionable police calls and underage violations (the real story here), and the fact that the complainant had told many city officials she was going to speak about the item when pulled days in advance. I think the Chair of the meeting, Mayor Paul TenHaken did not call public input on purpose, because he didn’t want to hear what she had to say.

This is why this is IMPORTANT and should be shared in the media. You may not always agree with freedom of speech, but it is equal for all of us whether you want to talk about a gun stuck up your butt all day, a fertilized egg that has a heartbeat, that AR-15s are standard for EMTs, defunding the police or bars that are allowing teenagers to get pistol whipped when they illegally came into the adult establishment.

The simple, real story here is that the Mayor, Paul ‘Poops’ TenHaken violated the law by not allowing public input and a bar skirted any public rebuke because of a lazy, cowardly city staff and council and an oblivious media that doesn’t want to work to hard, if at all.

Is the infrastructure bill and January 6th investigations complicated? YES. And we have thousands of reports about them we can read every day. Is censoring public input complicated? F’CK NO! And we should have at least 2-3 local media reports about it. But we don’t.

Maybe if the meeting was held in a food truck?

Open Meetings Violation filed against the City of Sioux Falls today

You can read the full complaint HERE.

The complaint was filed at the Minnehaha County State’s Attorney office and the State AG’s office because there may be a conflict of interest. Once a report is filed it could move onto the Open Meetings Commission for consideration.

It has to do with not allowing public input on items that were pulled from the consent agenda in Tuesday night’s city council meeting that was riddled with many issues, including possible conflicts on items, a mysterious potty break and failure to notice an amendment 24 hours in advance on the garbage hauler notice.

The Chair of the Meeting, Mayor TenHaken, the City Attorney, Stacy Kooistra, City Clerk & Parlimentarian, Tom Greco and City Council Chair Curt Soehl are all mentioned in the complaint for failing to call for public input during the meeting.

As I mentioned to the Charter Revision Commission a couple of weeks ago, we have many issues with public input in this city that needs to be fixed but they accused me of ‘micro managing’ the meetings. Well it seems someone needs to manage these meetings, because our supposed leaders are not doing a very good job of it.

Open Meetings Violation Filed against the City of Sioux Falls

The below document is actually a ‘notice’ to the city that one will be filed next week with the State’s Attorney office. I believe that it refers to presentations during the consent agenda in which the Chair (Mayor TenHaken) did not ask for public input. It was also the responsibility of the City Attorney, the City Clerk and the Chair of the Council, this is why they are mentioned in the complaint.

I also want to clarify, I wasn’t the one who caught this, I missed the part in the meeting when this occurred as I was on a phone call (I watch the meetings live from home). Sierra is the one who actually caught it and took action on her own.

The irony of all this is that I just told the Charter Revision Commission last week that public input at city meetings was broken and needed to be fixed.

Stay tuned, much more to come next week.

Danielson notifies Sioux Falls Mayor TenHaken and City Council of possible Open Meeting Violations

This was emailed to the city council and mayor yesterday;

To the Sioux Falls Council and Mayor Paul TenHaken:

To make sure each of you has been informed of my actions on Friday, November 6th, 2020, I am making a special note to inform you I had served on the city of Sioux Falls and the City Council a SDCL 3-21 Notice of Claim concerning the city violating SDCL 1-27-1.16. Material relating to open meeting agenda item to be available–Exceptions–Violation as misdemeanor. 

The action of voting on the three issues was illegal and the possible actions of voting to move the items forward are teetering on a violation of 1-27-1.16. The body was warned 3 separate times by me to produce the missing proposed ordinances. None of you recessed the meeting or had your staff go to a copy machine and print the items. Once again this is a flagrant violation of long standing South Dakota Open Meeting laws and custom.

Posting the items on the overhead screen is not the same as following the simple law requiring the items to be printed on paper and placed on the table for the audience to pick up and review.

The SDCL 3-21 notice I have filed was necessary to inform the city of harm they have caused. In this case, the harm to me as a citizen who wanted the information produced on paper, in the room and the law requires it to be done without the public begging for a copy. It does not matter if the items were finally posted on the website, the law clearly required the materials be in the room for the public to review.

Do you realize over the past few years, we audience members continue to receive less meeting documents or notice? We are tired of it. There are other violations we have pointed out in the recent past, such as when pointed out a violation to the Waste Management Board recently, causing the meeting to be postponed until proper legal notice was adhered to. The Board did the right thing, why can’t the City Council? The Board of Ethics did not properly publish and adopt their agenda recently when the Public Input was not placed on the agenda.

My efforts issuing warnings to the City Council last Tuesday were my attempts to prevent a violation or three.

Why do we not consistently get ALL the agenda discussion items such as zoning changes? The Clerk has placed the meeting notebook on the table but it is incomplete.

I will be preparing a complaint for the South Dakota Open Meetings Committee for the flagrant violations the City Council. I am considering adding a few others. Right now there are violations I will likely be filing as part of last week’s meeting and have decided I shall wait to complete the process once I know if there are more violations to add from the Tuesday, November 10th, 2020 meeting.

The actions taken last Tuesday are illegal because they violated SDCL 1-27-1.16. If the City Council continues with the 2nd reading this coming Tuesday and casts any votes on the illegally passed items, the votes cast will likely be null and void. 

ORDINANCE SECOND READINGS

12. 2nd Reading: AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, TO REQUIRE FACE COVERING IN AN INDOOR PUBLIC PLACE WHERE 6-FOOT SOCIAL DISTANCING CANNOT BE ACHIEVED.

Sponsors: Council Members Soehl and Kiley

13. 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 30: CITY COUNCIL; SECTION 30.001 COUNCIL MEETINGS.

Sponsors: Council Members Jensen and Erickson

14. 2nd Reading: AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SIOUX FALLS, SD, AMENDING THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY BY AMENDING CHAPTER 30: CITY COUNCIL, SUBCHAPTER: ORGANIZATION AND PROCEDURE, SECTION 30.013, ORDER OF BUSINESS AND SECTION 30.015 ADDRESSING THE CITY COUNCIL; TIME LIMIT.

Sponsor: Mayor

Each of you are personally invested in the three items above, I may or may not have an opinion on them, it does not matter. What matters is the legality of moving them forward when you know they are not legally processed. Moving them forward is up to each of you.

The body is not permitted to knowingly vote on and cannot pass into law, an item brought before the body through illegal process.

Bruce Danielson

Sioux Falls Transit meeting probably violated open meeting laws today

I know, I was shocked to hear the news to 🙁

Besides the fact that there are NO supporting documents online, I guess no supporting documents or presentations were available at the meeting either. If what I was told of the meeting was true, well, that’s kind of an open meetings violation.

I think it is time to start doing some citizen arrests 🙂

Also, I guess the all knowing Tech Director, Jason ‘The Toolsalesman’ Reisdorfer did not attend because he is busy bragging on FB that he is drinking at the Smithsonian. Please tell me this wasn’t at taxpayer expense.

UPDATE: Potholes and Open Meetings

Here is the copy of the proposed pothole funding supplement ordinance; Pothole Supplemental TS

Funny how these things work;

Thanks to the absence of precipitation in the coming days, the Public Works Street Division is increasing the number of crews dedicated to this spring’s pothole repair efforts.

“It has been a rough winter for our city streets,” says Mark Cotter, Director of Public Works. “The current condition of our streets has prompted us to take a more aggressive approach to our annual spring pothole repair efforts.”

To increase its emphasis on patching potholes, Street crews will be working the following adjusted work schedule for the next three weeks:

Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of six crews addressing potholes.

Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight and from midnight to 8 a.m.:Public Works will have a minimum of one crew addressing potholes in high-traffic volume areas.

Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Public Works will have a minimum of three crews addressing potholes.

 

While the media got their panties in a bind over being put between the mayor and the council (give me a break!) it seems Pat and Theresa’s pressure may have gotten the public works department to re-think the pothole situation moving forward. As I have been telling many people over the last couple of days, it is the Mayor’s job to run this city (direct Public Works), it is the council’s job to set policy and budgeting. No reason to get our shorts in a bunch.

I would also like to thank all the ‘grunts’ in our city’s workforce who have gone above and beyond to help people. You are appreciated, even if I am tough on the mayor and council, I do want you to be happy with your employment. I also would like to hear about any private contractors who decided to help the city out with flood management or cleanup. I haven’t seen anything in the media about that, but maybe they are just silently helping out?

Sioux Falls City Councilor Brekke on Ethics & Open Meetings

Janet Brekke set a new standard for Sioux Falls City Council thought provoking discussion on June 19, 2018. During the discussion of the fake Public Input control ordinance Brekke had to remind the proponents and everyone else what goes into proper process. We must remember, there is nothing lost if everything is in the open following proper process.

The Selberg / Kiley fake Public Input ordinance controversy never had to happen. It was a brain dead proposal to shut off voices they did not want to hear, interfering in proposals they appeared to want hidden from us, the owners and customers of our city government.

To help everyone understand, the city of Sioux Falls is technically a public corporation run through by-laws (A.K.A. Home Rule Charter). The Home Rule Charter gives the administrators certain responsibilities and are answerable to us, the stockholders. We citizens are the stockholders of the corporation, not the special interests who pay money to have more influence or pay platting fees.

The last few years we have been teaching the public how and when they should redress their issues and concerns. This fake issue was shot down by the people, those who showed up and those who couldn’t. It appeared for the time being, the elected board of directors heard the message.

On July 3rd we will need everyone to show up again to make sure the message was received and the Council does the right thing by getting rid of the fake problem. There is other work to be done.

POWER to the PEOPLE

 

Why the rule change? Just follow the open meeting laws to begin with.

(IMAGE: KELO-TV screenshot)

So let’s add another layer of rules that the city attorney can find a way to wiggle out of;

In the future, the City Council will have to name an employee and the action being taken against the employee. Pfeifle says going forward, city leaders intend to be as open as possible.

Wasn’t that what you were supposed to do to begin with?