Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

Northeast District candidate announces for Sioux Falls City Council, Pat Starr


Pat will have a press conference tomorrow at the Oakview Library at 4 PM.

While I don’t live in Pat’s district and can’t vote for him, I do support him.

There are also rumors he may have a challenger, but she has not formerly announced yet.

Shocker, big money in the council race already

As I always say, follow the money. It shouldn’t be any shock that a former Sanford executive, John Paulson, is getting these kind of donations for a humble city council run. DOC: 01-06-16-finance-disclosure-stmt-paulson


Manny Steele to run for city council to improve education?


Maybe someone needs to tell Manny that the Board of Regents and the Sioux Falls School District and other private education systems handle our education excellence in Sioux Falls;

He said his priorities will be to continue economic expansion by being business friendly, keeping taxes and unemployment low, having a safe environment for the city’s citizens and continuing the city’s “excellent educational system.”

Maybe he was referring to how the Mayor basically handed his bestie Rob Oliver the Arena over to Augustana for a pittance. Basketball is part of education? Right?

While I am not totally opposed to a conservative serving on the council (I did support Staggers) I wonder how Manny will handle votes when it comes to human relations and the LBGT community.

I wouldn’t say Manny is a bigot when it comes to gay and transgender rights, but he isn’t exactly a cheerleader either.

Sioux Falls & Brandon Public Schools seem to be confused about the term ‘Public’

”He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.” – Ben Franklin

Voting is the cornerstone of a free democracy, so where should this exercise take place? Well, probably in a public place, but Brandon & SF School District officials are saying “Not so Fast”;

Sioux Falls Schools officials have told county election managers that Hawthorne won’t be available for voting this election, citing security concerns.

Bob Bray, risk assessment manager for the Sioux Falls School District, said the building’s layout and scheduling make it hard to keep voters and students separate.

First off Mr. Bray, kids can be shot anywhere, parks, churches, walking down the street, and an election being held in your school is NOT going to increase that risk, and I almost question if you are using school shootings as an excuse.

Secondly, schools are publicly funded, and I almost question the legality of the districts denying access for an election, and would challenge Auditor Litz to dig up the laws on it.

Thirdly, the irony of all this couldn’t be more hypocritical. In a state where we scream and hollar about gun rights and being able to carry guns anywhere, we turn our backs on the very people who carry these guns and say, “Not in our facilities.” Well we can’t have it both ways. Until we change our culture about guns in South Dakota, there will still be shootings, whether they are accidental, intentional, or in a church or school setting, elections have little to do with when they occur.

Let’s end the paranoia, and stop the musical precincts;

Minnehaha County Commissioner Dick Kelly said he’s concerned the move will contribute to voter confusion during an important election.

“I think it is unfortunate you have to vote here one day, vote here another then vote here the next,” Kelly said

Litz agreed the search for polling places is a joint effort, requiring cooperation between the district and the county.

Never thought Bob and Dick would be the words of wisdom on this one, but they are right. Consistency helps with voter turnout.

Is anybody interested in running for the Sioux Falls City Council?

So far only 3 candidates have announced;

Two for the At Large seat that Dr. Staggers currently holds and one for the Northwest District that Dean Karsky currently holds.

No body has announced for the Southwest (Jamison’s seat) or the Northeast (Anderson’s seat) though South DaCola has been told that a person is seriously considering running for the Northeast seat, but is holding off on their announcement.

It makes you wonder if anyone is really interested in such a powerless position?

I did get this email today though (Mark is rumored to be considering a run against Greg Neitzert in the Northwest District, but at this point it is speculation since Mark has zero experience with local government);

For those that wish to attend the speaker after the Democratic county party meeting Tuesday (tomorrow night) will be:
Mark BlackburnAssistant Dean of Students and Director of Diversity & Inclusion at Augustana University. His talk at 8:00pm will follow the business meeting at 7:00pm and include information about a non-profit group he and other community leaders of color have recently formed called ESC, (Establishing Sustainable Connections). The Vision of ESC is to initiate, support and direct efforts to create and sustain community relationships in Sioux Falls. He will also bring an update on plans for the Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration week (Jan 13th – 18th) that will include six days of events commemorating Dr. King’s Legacy with a focus on what the city of Sioux Falls is doing to continue this legacy. The county meeting will be held at the Main Sioux Falls Library.

Lifting the $5,000 PAC donation limit in city elections . . .

Is a bad idea.

In fact, I personally think that $5,000 is too much. I don’t think ANY PAC donations should be allowed in city elections. This city is RAN and funded by people, not businesses and special interest groups (yeah, I know, funny huh?)

I understand the city clerk’s concern of matching our city ordinances with state law, but I also find that hypocritical considering many of our ordinances don’t match up with state law.

Believe it or not, I do agree with City Attorney Fiddle-Faddle that we don’t need any court challenges from PAC’s that want to donate (Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision).

What is the solution? Well, I often tell people when making a decision about who to vote for in a municipal election, follow the money. Check the financial reports, and see who is giving the candidates money. See who takes the PAC money, see who takes the developer money, see who butters their bread and who they will work for.

In some ways, the PAC money donations are very telling, but is anybody paying attention?

This is how we do ‘business’ in Sioux Falls

The Argus Leader reported today that the RFP for the mixed use parking ramp downtown was awarded to a joint venture which includes Ramkota Companies and Bender Real Estate.

These companies are lead by Robert Thimjon and Michael Bender.

Both men have donated in the past to the mayor and his campaigns;


Nothing nefarious here, it is perfectly legal in South Dakota to ‘pay to play’. A certain Ad Agency in Sioux Falls has been doing it for years with the state.

So it is NO surprise who got awarded the RFP. The bigger question here is if any city officials or family members are or will be investing in the project? A good question to ask at the presser tomorrow.

Possible 2016 Initiatives & Referendums


Ann Tornberg from the SD Democratic Party did a presentation to Democratic Forum today about the history of the initiative process in SD. She ended the presentation with the above slide of possible initiatives coming up. Representative Bernie Hunhoff is working on the school funding initiative. The redistricting would be changed to having NON-elected, bi-partisan members of the committee.

A very ‘Unusual’ SF School Board meeting

YouTube Preview Image

I was not in attendance, but one of my foot soldiers sent me this;

It was short, but quite unbelievable!

Kent Alberty momentarily FORGOT that approval of the 2015-2016 calendar was on the agenda.

Then, just two days after the public vote where voters gave her another three year term, Kate Parker wanted to change the school calendar which the infamous calendar committee had just formulated. 

Fortunately, Doug Morrison injected some common sense into the discussion and ultimately, the vote was 4-1 in favor of not touching what the calendar committee had just come up with!

Like I said, I wasn’t there, and have yet to watch the video, but I am uncertain how Parker felt she could skirt state law? Oh wait, I guess it was OK for some of the teachers to skate that fine line, so why not an elected school board member?

These people! When are they going to figure out the initiative and referendum process is a check and balance?


The Vote YES campaign offers weak excuses about their disadvantages

Before we get to the Whaabulance party going on in the Vote YES campaign, I want to clarify something for voters.

If you vote NO on Tuesday, that means you support school starting after Labor Day. That vote also means you will TRULY get a school start date change.

If you vote YES on Tuesday, that means you like the calendar just the way it is, and there will be NO changes made. There seems to be this myth floating around out there that if you VOTE yes there is a chance of a compromise. I can almost guarantee that will NOT happen. The school board has already said they would not look at it seriously until after the vote, and there is nothing in writing. In fact, only one school board member, Kent Alberty has said he supports a compromise, but doesn’t speak for the rest of the board. Don’t kid yourself, whoever wins on Tuesday, one of two things will be clear. The calendar will remain the same, or it will change to after Labor Day. Let’s not muddy the waters with what ifs.

As for the campaigns themselves, I have been watching both of them very closely. It seems the Vote NO campaign has raised money, they have organized, they have put up yard signs, they have done a mailer and they have done print ads. They have also participated in several forums.

The Vote YES campaign has depended on students to get out their message, have raised very little money, and have really just whined about being hamstrung by state law. This is where I will come in and say “Poppycock!”

When I addressed the school board about state law concerning campaigning and the use of public funds and property I never once said that teachers couldn’t campaign. In fact, the way I look at it, teachers have 16 hours a day Monday-Friday and 24 hours a day, Saturday and Sunday to fully practice their 1st amendment rights and campaign for the YES vote. State law hasn’t prohibited the teachers from organizing, raising money, knocking on doors, talking to friends and neighbors or even holding public informationals, that would be a direct violation of their 1st Amendment rights, and they know it, or maybe they don’t?

State law is pretty clear. You can’t do it on the taxpayer’s dime, that’s it. But I have heard a lot of whining by their side that they have been somehow hamstrung by this law. That is just a bunch of boloney. It almost seems like teachers don’t think they should have to campaign for their cause unless they are getting paid, and that is unfortunate. Or is it that NOT all teachers support the early start? I have talked to several who are looking forward to the longer summer and voting NO. So let’s be clear, nothing has prevented teachers from campaigning on their own time, and some have, and I commend them. But to claim they are being hamstrung by state law is a stretch.

At the end of the day, the choice is simple on Tuesday. If you like the way things are, VOTE Yes, if you want your kids to enjoy summer more, VOTE NO.

This isn’t rocket science folks.