As I said in 2010 when council candidate Vernon Brown did it;

I do not respect any politician that uses their children as political props, in fact, I consider it desperate. 

Well, at least Vern was using his own daughter. In TenHaken’s (small) defense, he was at a public school helping kids make dog treats (so he could feed his campaign goons?), nothing wrong with that . . . but to post it to your FB page where you are posting campaign endorsements? Really? I also question if the parents of these kids are aware of this (I blocked out their faces).

What I find so ironic about this is that one of Paul’s campaign goons was just bitching on his blog a few days ago about an altered headshot of a candidate? Really? What about this?

If I were the parents of these two young girls, I would demand Paul takes these photos off his FB page and remind him that kids are NOT political props.

*I am aware that Paul’s opponent, Islam, also uses her kids as props too. Nothing wrong with getting your kids involved with the political process, I encourage it, but leave them out of the promotion and advertising. It’s not cute, it’s just tacky.

(Image: KELO-TV) This is a picture of a sinkhole that erupted overnight in SF.

It seems our city council gathered another prestigious award (SD Newspaper Association);

And the “Black Hole” Award goes to…

Since this is Sunshine Week, a national observance about the importance of openness and transparency in government, I think it is a good time to give what I call the “Black Hole” Award. Webster’s in part defines a black hole as a space that light cannot escape. Certainly true in the case of the Sioux Falls City Council, which last week was reprimanded by the Open Meetings Commission for violating state law. The complaint that went to the open meetings panel was initiated by the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

Last year in a special meeting executive session the Sioux Falls City Council decided to fire the city clerk. The problem: the official action related to the decision to fire the clerk was never conveyed to the public in the official minutes of the Sept. 14 special meeting.

Rather, Sioux Falls councilors decided, apparently based on advice from their attorney, to approve this motion following the executive session: “to authorize Councilors Erpenbach, Anderson Jr., and Entenman to take the personnel action that was discussed in Executive Session.”


The city attorney said the council needed to be non-specific in its motion in order to “protect” city clerk Debra Owen and afford her the same rights as if she was a private employee.

Yea, right. Benevolent-sounding, but it appears to be more about city councilors wanting to protect themselves rather than Debra Owen.

At any rate, the open meetings commission was right to reprimand the council, and the subsequent media attention has helped put some bite in the reprimand.

The Sioux Falls mayor has since said the open meetings laws are “confusing.” The Sioux Falls city attorney has said the reprimand is no big deal and he would welcome the opportunity to work with legislators to “clarify” the open meetings law.

Really? Confusing? Clarification needed?

South Dakota’s open meetings laws are pretty clear cut when it comes to taking any official action related to executive session discussions. Public boards in South Dakota generally have operated well under those provisions of the law for 25 years. The law allows public boards to keep discussions and rationales regarding personnel actions in secret. The law is clear that any official action regarding those discussions must be made in public. It also must be clear exactly what those official actions are.

Why Sioux Falls city officials suddenly find it confusing is rather amusing. And sad.

Nevertheless, the 2012 Sunshine Week “Black Hole” Award is no laughing matter. It’s a serious reminder that open government in South Dakota is always a work in progress.

The Mitchell Daily Republic decided to chime in;

It seems that many boards do not take great offense when they are reprimanded by the Open Meetings Commission, a panel that hears public complaints about possible violations of procedure by elected boards.

That Brown is so offended shows he cares, and it shows that he truly wants to conduct the people’s business appropriately.

We don’t care that his scolding of the city attorney caused offense. If the attorney’s advice was bad and caused embarrassment to the board, so be it. The attorney works for the people; so does the City Council, for that matter.

And further, Brown maintains that his role on the board does not trump his First Amendment rights to state his true feelings about this issue.

Hear, hear.

Good job, Vernon.

It is no secret these two have opposed the mayor and his events center plan. But I will have to give them credit for publicly speaking out against it. I know Vernon doesn’t like the funding plan and Jamison would prefer we remodeled the Arena. Can’t wait to see their 10 points.

Their “top 10” included how the proposed plan for the $115 million facility is to borrow 100 percent of the money, how there are no signed tenants for the proposed facility and examples of city projects that could potentially be cut in order to make the annual loan payment of $9 million after the facility is built.

“Our goal is to put everyone on the same playing field, except the pawn shop owners.”

Here we go again, our constitutionally inept city council with the help of the SFPD and a laundry list of consultants have decided that pawn shops, flea markets and antique dealers should be treated differently then other business owners;

The main concern is that a third-party private company will have their customer records and officials are able to view them without a warrant, she said.

Industry members proposed their own ordinance, which would require a warrant for law enforcement officials to be able to look at store records.

Twenty-one Sioux Falls businesses have signed off on the industry’s alternative proposal.

What’s one more ordinance on the books in Sioux Falls that violates the US Constitution? We gotta keep our city attorneys busy. It’s kinda boring when they only have one constitutional lawsuit going at a time. (currently they have lawsuits against them on code enforcement, red light cameras and sewer backups that occurred during the Munson administration.)

But as usual, Vernon has a great excuse;

Councilor Vernon Brown said the new ordinance is by no means extreme, especially compared with other states.

“The pawn industry is able to be regulated according to the courts for consumer protection.”

Who gives a rat’s ass what other states are doing? It’s blatantly unconstitutional. But you seem to want to roll the dice and see if the courts will rule in the ordinance’s favor. That is silly. Why put ourselves in that position? Councilor Anderson is the only one to stand up to the ordinance (ITEM #52 • FF to 1:50)

Instead of trying to find out who is selling stolen Sublime CD’s maybe you should be trying to catch casino thieves.



(Image; KELO-TV Screenshot)

Here we go again, Vernon Brown defending spending tax dollars on the Zoo. This broken record is getting older then my monkey crapper jokes;

“Today when we fund the zoo, it’s coming out of our general fund, which would normally fund street repairs, police and things like that.  Philosophically, the zoo should be funded with an entertainment tax,” city council member Vernon Brown said.

Philosophically it SHOULD NOT BE FUNDED BY ANY TAXES! Vernon will fight tooth and nail to not provide a service like snowgates (even though a majority of taxpayers support there use) then turn around and complain that the zoo isn’t getting there ‘piece of their (Banana Creme) pie.’

It’s time to get the zoo off of the city’s books and hand it over to a private non-profit. I would even suggest that the city gifts the property to them, and cut our losses. Is the Zoo good for our community? Yes. Should we fund it? No.