As suspected, this is ONE of the changes;

  • Reimbursed or paid expenses from a third party to the
    city may be accepted if ALL of the following
    requirements are met:
  • 1. The event is related to the official duties of the
    officer or city’s legislative or policy making role
    (Consistent with City Council Travel Policy)
  • 2. The event organizer is not a person, entity, or
    business who seeks or does business with the city
    or conducts activities regulated by the city or is a
    political party (nonprofits and other governmental units
    are NOT prohibited sources)
  • 3. All expenses are paid for or reimbursed by the
    event organizer (not a sponsor of the event)
  • 4. The event is a widely attended gathering and the
    agenda and any paid or reimbursed expenses are a
    matter of public record

I Still think it is dangerous territory to allow partisan groups to fund trips.

I was alerted to this recently but my foot soldier couldn’t tell me what the proposed changes were;

Ethics Ordinance Update by Greg Neitzert, Council Member

Like I said, I have no idea what he is proposing, but with his impeachment over a paid for partisan trip to Texas with Mayor TenHaken and his then Deputy COS, TJ Nelson, one has to wonder if they are re-writing the ordinance to make the sins of the past go away, which would allow partisan political groups to pay for trips of local elected officials.

If this is the proposal, I think it is dangerous territory. While I maintain that not only was Councilor Neitzert guilty of ethics violations, so was the mayor and Nelson. Partisan groups, left, right or center, should not be able to buy influence.

And while the recreation trail ordinances have languished for 5 years, this apparently is top priority . . . saving their own asses!

UPDATE: So this happened today! The 1st Amendment prevailed. I like the part where they pretty much describe a certain zombie mayoral candidate in the suit as a ‘Gadfly’.

I get it, some people struggle with the rights the US Constitution and 1st Amendment has given us. Our forefathers had the vision to realize a strong Republic depends on it’s citizens ability to challenge our government very vocally and publicly. If you don’t like those rights, and some don’t, you can leave the country (if anyone will have you).

As I have said in the past several times, the 1st Amendment and especially ‘prior restraint’ gives citizens the right to say whatever they want to at public input. In fact, the US Supreme Court, has backed this up several times.

During the council meeting last night Mayor TenHaken cut off several inputers because he didn’t like what they were saying. At one point he claimed it was his meeting (he actually said this and didn’t mumble or grunt it into a microphone for once).

The guy really needs to take his act on the road . . . like permanently.

City Council meetings are public meetings and belong to the public. We own the building, we pay for the resources to run the meetings and we pay the salaries of those running the meeting.

There seems to be a consensus by a majority of our council and mayor’s office that once you win an election you can do whatever you want to, but quite the opposite should happen. When someone leaves the comforts of their private life to run for office and they win a seat this is when you START LISTENING to constituents.

When an elected official threatens you with arrest because you said something they didn’t like that is called FACISM.

If Mayor TenHaken thinks he is correct in the way he interrupts the US Constitution why doesn’t he follow thru with his arrest threats? But like most bullies they say stuff to intimidate and scare constituents.

One of the reasons why citizens have been challenging our city government at meetings and ignoring the Mayor’s empty threat of arrest is because they know they have the 1st Amendment on their side. In fact, once again, Mayor TenHaken failed last night to stop anyone from saying what they wanted to. Not that he didn’t try, but I think at this point most people just wave his interruptions away like flies.

I challenge PTH to follow thru with his threats and arrest someone for speaking their minds, then the real education starts.

Besides the lack of open government and transparency the authoritarians running this city went full dictator tonight and shut off the audio of two public inputers (fast forward to the Lucky Lady Casino public input. During Sierra’s testimony, Pettigrew Neighborhood Association president, the last minute was shut off and the first minute of the next inputer. This wasn’t just shutting off the public input microphone, but the entire room was silent.

I’m not a videographer, but it was pretty obvious this was probably done intentionally and NOT a technical glitch.

UPDATE: The latest from the city is that someone ‘accidentally’ hit the button. I guess my question is who ‘accidentally’ turned the button back on 🙂

I noticed a few weeks ago that when David Z was giving one of his usual public inputs with his printed out slides that they did not show the slides in the video. Maybe that was a dry run?

This isn’t just an open meetings violation, BUT a clear violation of the 1st Amendment. Unless an inputer is cussing like a sailor or threatening elected officials, they have the right to say whatever they want to. The public doesn’t have to follow the decorum rules, even though they should, those rules are for those on the dais.

When local governments start censoring their citizens at public meetings we have serious issues with who is governing us.


During the debate over the casino issues last night Paul admonished Legacy Development for NOT selling the troubled property to the city three years ago when he met with them privately to buy the property.

I was told about the meeting three years ago, and from talking to a couple of different sources it seemed believable. I told a couple of different reporters with NO followup. I guess if you want to get the news around here you have to wait 3 years for the mayor to tell us about it.

My concern wasn’t the failed deal, my concern than and now is that the city should get out of the land speculation business and he shouldn’t be cutting real estate deals behind closed doors without the council being at the table.

The irony of this is that the city has plenty of ordinances and regulations on the books to take care of this property, they just have to stop deferring and start acting. Last night’s decision was easy. Apply the laws you currently have on the books to stop the short term problems and create a long term solution to the neighborhood problems.


I think one of the reasons the state isn’t building their one-stop facility DTSF is because they want to move those kind of services away from downtown.

Picture below was taken right after the city council meeting last night.

This isn’t coming from your average Joe but a seasoned bureaucrat;

Wegman then headed back to the PUC as an analyst in the early 2000s. He has since retired but still does consulting work in renewable energy. He said his time in Pierre taught him an important lesson about elected officials.

“The only thing that matters to an elected official is that the public marks the box on the ballot,” Wegman said. “The unfortunate part is that no one follows up with those officials’ performance.”

He also touches on who butters the bread;

Wegman said the public should be aware that utility companies work hard to build relationships with elected regulators – for example, by sponsoring the Governor’s Hunt to get themselves invited, or hosting a dinner for the commission and lawmakers during the legislative session.

“Rule number one in business is that in order to have a relationship with the other party, you have to have a personal relationship,” Wegman said. “And that’s what those are. It is the company building a personal relationship with a commissioner. Whether they want to admit it or not, that’s what is happening.” 

In this political climate it is either get involved or suffer the consequences because as we have seen locally with the 6th Street Bunker Bridge, the proposed mural and Sustainability Plan the ones in charge only listen to one audience, and it ain’t us.

In The Dakota Scout’s print addition that appeared today, Paul has a column about his goals for 2023. Most of it was wordy unreadable or confusing double-talk. But I found this item curious;

Is he calling out himself?

Only truth, honesty and transparency can unify a community. Discussions don’t become inflammatory unless you are doing something, behind the scenes, that are concerning constituents. Like a $10 million cost overrun on a bridge, changing a recommended sustainability study that took volunteers over a year to compile or rejecting a mural selection with NO explanation (or even what this supposed mural looks like).

Honestly, I have no idea who likes to have an inflammatory discussion about local government policy (I kind of do) but other then this outlier, most people just want their local leaders to be competent, trustworthy and transparent and they would rather not engage city hall. The proof is in the low turnout in our city elections.

Division in city government doesn’t start with the low man or woman plowing or patrolling our streets, it begins at the top in leadership, specifically our policy body the city council that sits around and waits for crumbs from the mayor and the mayor himself.

If you want people to stop criticizing you, it begins with YOU! You would be amazed at how positively people respond when you are honest with them.

Speaking of our policy body, they have a shingig Saturday morning at Leonardo’s Cafe at the Washington Pavilion from 9-10 AM.

While I applaud this event, I also think the location and time is perfect, ON A DIFFERENT SATURDAY! There will thousands of people downtown Saturday celebrating St. Pats, not sure they are going to be driving over the top of each other to attend this event. Either move it to a different Saturday or different location.