Entries Tagged '1st Amendment' ↓

Prior Restraint at the Sioux Falls City Council meeting

The city council meetings are ran by the chair. Normally that is the mayor who only passes the gavel if he has a conflict, wants to speak on an item or has to cast a tie-breaker vote.

The chair has the ability to stop a speaker or interrupt a speaker. In normal circumstances that would be if someone goes over time limit, is cussing or makes physical threats towards the chair, council, city staff or anybody really.

What the chair SHOULD NOT be doing is stopping or interrupting speakers because of the content of their input, this is prior restraint;

In First Amendment law, prior restraint is government action that prohibits speech or other expression before the speech happens. .

When a speaker is making a point during public input, they have a certain amount of time to do so. (3-5 minutes) during that time it may be the case that a speaker builds a narrative that may have nothing to do with the item they are addressing but telling a story to make the case about the item on the agenda. But that doesn’t even matter. As long as public input is addressing the body about government it doesn’t matter if that narrative is about sewer pipes, teddy bears or hurdy gurdies.

In other words it is extremely inappropriate (and unconstitutional) for the chair to cut off or redirect speakers unless they are in violation of decorum that I wrote about earlier.

Lately the Chair (Mayor) of the meeting has been in that habit of trying to redirect speakers if he doesn’t understand or doesn’t like the narrative they are using to build their case. He did it a couple of times Tuesday night and has done it in the past, this is prior restraint and he has been made aware of it.

When former councilor Brekke was on the council she had a long conversation with the city attorney about it, and he seemed to conclude it was just a difference of legal opinion. It is NOT a difference of opinion, it is a violation of Free Speech and the 1st Amendment.

A couple of years ago when I was scolded by the mayor while giving public input (I think it was when I called him a hypocrite . . . several times) a former security officer told me later about the incident that he had NO intention of arresting me or making me leave because I was well within my constitutional rights. I think he said, laughingly, “Calling someone a hypocrite is NOT a physical threat, It’s not even a curse word.”

The scary part about this is that if someone wanted to file a legal complaint against the city because of the chair’s action, they could, and it could be a very easy prosecutable offense. I would never do that, because I am very capable of sticking up for myself and swatting the chair’s interruptions away like flies but it can be very intimidating to someone who has never addressed the council or understands what prior restraint is. In simple terms, it’s bullying.

Somebody asked me after the meeting why does he do that? I guess I could give a hundred answers, but I think this will suffice;

Authoritarian; favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.

Some citizens have expressed to me they are disappointed in how supposed non-partisan city government has become so partisan. I don’t see partisanship at all, all I see is Authoritarianism, and it is like a rabid dog.

Sioux Falls City Council Candidate Merkouris will not protect your right to Public Input

The Sioux Falls Election is bringing out the best of the worst, including this endorsement of taking away citizen rights by City Council candidate and preacher Rich Merkouris was expressing in 2018. 36 Citizens who gave impassioned Public Input on June 12th, 2018 were wrong? They are according to Marshall Selberg and Rick Kiley. The Mayor and 4 Councilors are saying “Stay away from our meetings, quit interfering!” We’d like to say, “Good Bye!” The Mayor is being encouraged to shove our civil rights up our backsides by the TenHaken best friend, Rich Merkouris. The City Council candidate Merkouris who doesn’t want audits of the millions of dollars he has received from the city coffers? Yup.

Sioux Falls Catholic Schools attack teacher’s 1st Amendment rights

I will have to commend the local media who have decided to cover this very important story. But let’s make no mistake, while the story is partially about gay rights, equality, employee rights, religious freedom and quite honestly, reality, the bigger story is that this teacher’s 1st Amendment rights were spit on by her employer;

“It was very evident that everybody that I talked to at the school cared a lot about their students, regardless of their orientation,” Hickman said. “But it seemed that once I put something on my personal social media, that’s when it became a problem.”

Employee contracts aside and the Catholic’s church stance on homosexuality, this is about a bigger issue; the rights of an American citizen to express their view on any topic outside of work without being pressured by their employer to STFU!

Three months later, she says she was called into a meeting at O’Gorman and was asked to take the post down.

“I left that meeting stating I don’t feel comfortable doing anything about the post when I don’t understand why you’re asking me to do this,” Hickman said.

She then received a letter from Kyle Groos, President of the Bishop O’Gorman schools. It says Hickman’s post ‘promotes beliefs about lifestyle and sexuality that are inconsistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church.’

This is close to my heart, being politically involved as I am, many employers I have had struggled with my private political life. I had to remind them that my private life and my political beliefs were none of their business, and I must have been successful, because none of them terminated me because of it, some actually defended me, and I only quit one job because of it (lead usher at the Washington Pavilion).

NO EMPLOYER can fire an employee for their personal beliefs outside of work. It is a blatant violation of their 1st Amendment rights. And while Ukrainians fight for their sovereignty I am reminded that we live in an incredible FREE nation and no one can take that away from us. Bravo to Rachel Hickman for taking a stance. Our rights as free citizens should never be questioned or punished, that is called fascism, because last I checked we live in a free country and the SFCS should be ashamed and admonished, especially an institution that is educating young adults.

Poops Text Gate is just the tip of the Iceberg

After bribing one of HenTaken’s campaign goons with a (fake) autographed picture of Reagan standing next to John Wayne I was given access to Poops future text messages to his followers. Here is a sampling;

‘Village on the River was my fault . . . just kidding.’

‘I was put on laundry duty tonight. Yes, Dutchmen can fold . . . Benjamins!’

‘I will fire another city director today. Big reveal tomorrow!’

‘I have a tramp stamp . . . BLESSED.’

‘Erica has been running the city the past 3 1/2 years. My bad.’

‘Marshall just told me the secret of his success. I forget.’

‘Good luck getting Werther’s candy at HyVee on Minnesota. SOLD OUT!’

‘I will be talking to a random minority group on Thursday. SELFIE MANIA!’

‘COVID is sooooo 2021!’

‘Pinball rocks! The Bonus Round room at StartUp Sioux Falls will pay the yearly rent.’

‘Pride Sioux Falls asked me again to read a proclamation. I feel a family camping trip coming on.’

This is just a sampling of the text messages supporters will receive over the next couple of weeks. Share yours!

Minnehaha County Commission introduces Public Input Time Limits & Broken Ice

While I would love to blame the Commission for the authoritarian move to put a time limit on public input, it seems the Trumper election deniers have ruined it for the rest of us. The group (who obviously believe Trump won the election) have been berating the Commission over the past couple of months about election integrity and all the supposed problems with our elections like drop boxes, mail in ballots and of course fake news.

So the Commission has decided to change their long standing rule of NOT having a time limit on public input to now having a 5 Minute limit (with a cute little clock on the big screen) and similar to the SF School Board a sign up sheet, to which the chair said was to make sure they are spelling the public inputers names correctly. It is also a very nifty way to turn them over to the NSA, CIA and FBI ðŸ˜Š

While I totally understand the annoyance of ignorant morons who watch to much Newsmaxx (the city council has the march of the Anti-vaxxers that show up each week), I think instead of changing a long standing public input rule maybe the commission needs to change the rules of engagement with the inputers. I think a lot of times at public meetings, whether it is city council, school board or county commission some of these issues can be quickly resolved if you would just answer their questions on the spot. They may not like the answer, but if you are clear with them that they got a response there would be no reason to show up week after week complaining about the same stuff while building up their conspiracy theories.

After watching this, I have come to a different conclusion on ‘general’ public input. It really isn’t about the time limit, the position on the agenda of even decorum, it’s more about the governmental body interacting with the public during this time. But you will never get that since most of the local governmental bodies are run by authoritarians who want to keep their backroom deals and schemes secret. Just watch how the chair of the Lincoln County Commission runs the meetings . . . scary stuff.

ICE RINK AT EVENTS CENTER MALFUNCTIONS

The Denty having to cancel the Stampede games this weekend due to malfunctioning icing equipment is a flashing warning sign of what is coming for taxpayers. If you think the $10 million a year mortgage is draining us, wait until major upkeep and maintenance starts. The building is getting to the age that this stuff needs to start being budgeted for (7+ years old). Just look at the Pavilion, a place that was supposed to cost us $19 million has probably gone far beyond $100 million in maintenance and upgrades over the past 20+ years, and this is just a small facility compared to the Denty. A city official told me recently they will have to start budgeting major maintenance expenses starting next year (like siding replacement) and the price tag will NOT be small. I still think the Denty (besides the bunker ramp) was one of the stupidest investments this city ever made that sends around $20 million in profits straight out of town and out of state every year never to be recirculated locally, and don’t get me started on the location!

Sioux Falls Public Works continues to sponsor a state religion

Just like clockwork, the Jesus plows appear in the Fall. It’s like our own little version of the Taliban. Like Afghanistan, let’s end this war with the US Constitution.

Happy Independence Day! Remember we are Free when we are Open and Transparent

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.” – Patrick Henry

“Information is the currency of democracy.” – Thomas Jefferson

“Without freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech.” – Ben Franklin

“Let the people know the facts, and the country will be safe.” – Abraham Lincoln

“A popular Government without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives.” – James Madison

“Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Ben Franklin

“Secrecy is for losers.” – Daniel Patrick Moynihan

“Sunshine is the greatest disinfectant” – Louis D. Brandeis

“Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity.” – Lord Acton

Detroit’s Journal

Okay, I am taking a page from Ms. Schwan, but this column is not about her, just about my personal feelings lately. I think pride month is a perfect time to reflect on them. I love all my rainbow friends, know I love you.

For the record, I am NOT a father or intend to be, but those that are, happy ties.

Lately the right wing radio sh!t show has decided to attack ‘Woke Culture’ and we will get to that in a moment, but as I reminded friends the other night, getting rid of the ‘R’ word was a successful campaign, because it was played out well, I can’t say that for the current state of woke.

I don’t care if you are queer, had an abortion, smoked pot or ran a stop sign. The great part about America is we get to try things. Sometimes more than once.

I have to tell you that I am not confused by the ACA, BLM or the Proud Boys. I get it, but the woke culture really gets under my skin.

If you are offended maybe you should just stay home. I understand your grievances when it comes to someone saying something you are offended by, that’s life learn from it. My favorite founding father, Ben Franks said it best;

If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.

I would not want to live in that world, and you should not want to either.

UPDATE: So now the Sioux Falls City Council is just deleting (censoring) the meeting videos?

UPDATE: The meeting has been fixed. Last night it was missing about the last 30 minutes.

So I showed up late to the City Council meeting last night and did public input on some items towards the end and mysteriously, that part of the meeting is missing.

I’m going to be nice, or at least ‘TRY’ to be nice 🙂

I could go on rants about open government, the 1st Amendment, the violation of State Law, etc., oh I just did.

But how is that a city with a $700 million dollar yearly budget can’t rebroadcast their public meetings in their entirety?

When I look at the city council in action it reminds me of this image;

BUELLER? BUELLER? BUELLER? HAS ANYONE SEEN BUELLER?

The sad irony is the city could rebroadcast these meetings on YouTube, FOR FREE.

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.