Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

South DaCola 2016 year in review (Part I)

art-maze-mower-lrArtMaze, one of the better parts of Sioux Falls life in 2016

2016 has been a rough year for citizen activism. While it has been up and down here in Sioux Falls with many successes and failures to boot, it seems Washington DC has gone into full collapse as we allowed racist, sexist, hillbillies to elect our president.

READ ABOUT 2015 REVIEW HERE.

But locally there were three things that stood out;

• Governor Daugaard claiming that voters were ‘hoodwinked’ into voting for IM 22, then getting the Pierre (in)justice system to go along with it. Funny how for over 40 years voters have been voting his party into power, and no word about ‘hoodwinking’ but once that corrupt power will be challenged, all the voters are idiots. As one official told me that used to work for Dennis, it’s not the public that are idiots, it’s Dennis. And his idiocy has been shining through.

• The South Dakota Democratic Party’s bottom completely fell out, and the people in charge patted themselves on the back. Insanity I tell you! Insanity!

• But one of the greatest achievements of the year is the Sioux Falls City Council’s change of power. The four new councilors have been flexing their muscles with a little help from Councilor Erickson, and while they have had a few missteps to start out, they have been learning from the battle scars. While ‘leadership’ of the council (Rolfing and Kiley) seem to be on a two man mission to rubberstamp all things Huether, shut down public input, and concoct false ethics charges against a fellow councilor (until they got caught lying like the snakes they are) they are becoming more and more in check. The city council has many big plans for 2017, and I have a feeling their agenda will push through easily as our lame duck mayor melts.

Let’s take a look at some the finer high and low points of 2016;

• The Huether Tennis center continues to block parking from other event attendees at the Sanford Sports complex though they basically stole $500K from taxpayers for the facility. Throughout the year there was several reports on cones and signs blocking the lot with not cars in it. But hey Mike’s Bride won an award this year and seemed surprised she did, without commenting that her check to the organization that gave the award wasn’t returned.

• The Sioux Falls City Council leadership and mayor’s HR department pulled a military retiree out of their asses for city clerk, a person who will be in charge of our city elections and hasn’t been registered to vote for years. He also proved his knowledge of official stamps when he stamped a petition without even bothering to read it. While Mr. Greco has gotten better over the year, the city clerk position should not be a $80K+ a year job as an apprentice, sadly being trained by one of his assistant clerks who has ten times the qualifications and applied for the position but was turned down. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the council chair’s view of women in the work place.

• Speaking of letting the mayor’s HR department and Leadership’s Mutt and Jeff pick the next internal auditor, the council barked loud enough that they did not want another ‘Greco’ pick. Not sure if the barking worked, but the person who was set to take the job saw the writing on the wall and turned it down. Hopefully the person who ultimately gets the position won’t be turned down because they shave their legs.

• The city continues to blow money on the Winter Wonderland Display, but the way the mayor has been cutting budgets these days, I expect next year’s display to be a couple of homeless barrel fire pits, sponsored by the Dudley House of course.

• After posting about the ridiculous corporate like raises the mayor has been giving to his management team, he turns around and still screws the minions with dismal raises again this year. I think in a special note to the city employees on their Christmas paystub he wrote, “I don’t care.”

• The city continues the FREE condom distribution program at area bars, and for some reason Monk’s is always emptied the quickest. Coincidence that is also a favorite watering hole of city managers . . .

• The Tuthill shooting case becomes ‘inactive’ and a tree branch shadow gets off scott free.

• The Erp wrongfully calls out local massage therapists as prejudice because they pointed out the ‘shower massages’ that were taking place around town. Apparently someone got a bad fortune cookie that day.

• The car rental tax and BID tax grabby-grabby fails in Sioux Falls, but the state legislature passes one of the most idiotic tax increases ever so our teachers are now just tied for last instead of dead last in pay. Out hoodwinking governor already has plans to rob the pot only one year after its passage.

• Hartford’s city government was in a state of collapse. Who really cares?

• The Levitt Pavilion is moving forward in Sioux Falls. It will be nice watching outdoor concerts sitting in the grass while battery acid is boiling beneath our asses.

• The Boulevard ordinance changes went into effect. Now stop worrying about rocks and plant a garden.

• The Washington Pavilion got a change of leadership after Darrin Smith takes over as President. So far he has only eliminated one director, but I hear the blood-letting has just begun. Now let’s throw another couple of million at the place to fix the poor construction to begin with. That will never happen with the Events Center . . .

• The Events Center cracks down on outside snacks and guns at events. We are all now safe from cheap fat people shooting us, but not in the parking lot.

• The Pottie Room war starts in Pierre and is guaranteed to return in 2017.

• A state legislator calls transgender people ‘twisted’. Now I’m struggling with what word to use describing our state legislators?

• A city council candidate throws a hissy fit over a post I wrote about his wife’s involvement with the Jesus plows and after threats to my employer I pull the post. He ends up taking last place in the at-large race. How’s Jesus working out for you now?

• Due to health reasons, Kermit Staggers decides not to run for a 4th term on the city council. His endorsement of Stehly puts her over the top.

• One of the youngest candidates in city history runs for city council. I apologize to Briggs for all the shitty things I said about him during the campaign.

• The Argus Leader sues the city for the details in the secret events center siding settlement. The Argus loses the first round but it is headed to the SD Supreme Court.

• On a similar note, the SON neighborhood is also awaiting a judgement in their Walmart suit with the SD Supreme Court.

• While our Sioux Falls City Council approves the DAPL through Sioux Falls, it takes thousands of protesters in ND to actually stop it. Too bad our city council chair doesn’t understand how to vote.

• The Mayor and Q-Tip Smith screwup the DT parking ramp development by flapping their traps to soon, and the council later on in the year returns the favor and defunds the ramp all together for 2017. I still think the fiasco is what got Smith to seek refuge at the Pavilion.

• City officials throw a hissy-fit over Bruce’s camera at a city meeting we were invited to by then city councilor Kenny Anderson. Looking back on it now, I just chuckle.

• Former city councilor Dean Karsky and now commissioner elect has become the official endorser in Sioux Falls.

• Bruce and I do a presentation on voter turnout in Sioux Falls at Democratic Forum and one of the mayor’s buddy developers in Sioux Falls tries to shut us down. When he fails, he walks out. Another casualty to transparency.

Sioux Falls 2018 Mayoral Race

Anybody but this guy is fine with me

To be quite honest with you, I may stay out of endorsing or helping a candidate this time around. I had a discussion this weekend about the candidates possibly running;

Kenny Anderson, Greg Jamison, Jim Entenman, Darrin Smith, Rob Oliver and Michelle Erpenbach. I have also heard of about 2-3 ‘ghost’ candidates. Even disgraced former Deputy Secretary of State is getting into the speculation game;

But what I do keep hearing – and did so again tonight – is that former Republican Legislator Christine Erickson who had said “no” before might be softening her no into a “maybe.”  And it might be a strong maybe at that.

I’m glad Pitty Pudge could put down is double whopper for a moment and get with the times. I asked Christine about a mayoral run several months ago, and her response was that she was going to ‘keep her options open’.

It’s not that I don’t think any of these people are qualified for the job, I just don’t think any of them really stand out. And councilors have a horrible track record of winning the mayor’s seat.

I think the next mayor is going to have to be a true populist with economic savvy and an appetite for transparency and someone who is willing to invest in rebuilding our core while putting urban sprawl on hold. While the race is technically non-partisan, I don’t think a Republican or a Democrat can manage a city that way, it will take an open minded independent who is willing to listen to all sides of the table. They are going to have to also deal with the financial mess credit card Mike has left behind.

But to anybody who is willing to run, I wish them luck.

The Lurking Campaign Consultant

After speaking to several Democratic candidates for the state legislature this year, I realized where some of them threw their money away, on a certain ‘consultant’ that was ‘helping’ with several of the legislative races and some of the ballot measures. And they didn’t come cheap. As for their winning record, they haven’t been too successful at winning. They have only won a handful of races over the past few years.

While having a consultant is sometimes a good idea, for smaller districts, it is really a waste of money. As I have pointed out in the past besides leaning on party assistance, sometimes it is just best to work directly with a printer/direct mailer. When dealing direct, you not only have a contact with a person that actually is doing your print work, you will be saving a lot of money. Why? Printer’s usually only make a profit from the printing services they supply, while dealing with a consultant or broker, you have to pay out commissions. Commissions vary, but a 40% markup is typical, plus there consultation time. This could be a lot of money, especially when you don’t have a lot to begin with.

I won’t even mention who this person was, because after their performance in this last election, I think their record will speak for itself.

Money, Money, Money

noem-screamer111

I better pretend I’m into this governor thing, and quick.

Ah, now the truth comes out over Noem’s early announcement, skirting the law before it comes into affect;

Attorney General Marty Jackley and Rep. Kristi Noem have both filed paperwork establishing campaign committees to run for governor in 2018, enabling them to transfer funds for the upcoming race.

Noem’s paperwork was filed at 4:59 p.m. on Monday with Secretary of State Shantel Krebs’ office shortly before she made a formal announcement saying she would not run for a fifth term to Congress and would instead seek to become governor. Noem was expected to transfer about $1.6 million from her congressional account into her account for governor.

So now she will be able to spend $1.6 million (made from mostly out of state donors) on a campaign for governor. Don’t you love the integrity of these folks.

Cameraman Bruce weighs in on the election

Well here we go again. Another election season has passed and we are now already into the next. The election consultants and media pundits are eagerly awaiting another election season happening in less than two years. God help us, everyone….

On Monday, we in South Dakota received the news we have been expecting, Kristi Noem is running for governor of our fair state and we don’t know why. Will we ever know why she is running? Probably not the real reason(s).

Last week we learned Mark Mickelson was not going to be a candidate for the office held by his dad and grandpa. We join him in being thankful he bowed out. He is young enough to try someday to form a successful message for his political future to rest on. We don’t need people to run just because they are next. The 2018 Democratic presidential candidate proved it is a bad reason.

This election season was a surprise to many who thought forgone conclusions ruled the day. As we learned last Tuesday, November 8, 2016, forgone conclusions were wrong. Those of us who really talked with voters this year were warning of a wave election. A tidal force not likely to be understood by candidates and their supporters if they were not in the field really listening to the voters.

In Sioux Falls we had a change election in April and a record-breaking petition drive to try to reign in arrogant officeholders from their abusive practices.  We voters tried to signal to the candidates of our intentions, but tried and true routines are hard to break.  We witnessed more ineffectual Facebook games and other social media stuff to make it look like something was happening but again most of our candidates wasted time and money trying to look busy. What a waste. Even Paula Hawks is calling these clowns out;

Hawks said she was committed to working with the party to rebuild and didn’t feel that current party leadership gave her the support she needed in running her campaign against Rep. Kristi Noem.

“We need to put out the press releases and be ready to throw the punches,” Hawks said.

Both South Dakota “major” parties are in the process of imploding. Each for different reasons.

  • Let’s get the Democratic Party reasons out of the way. Our Democratic Party refuses to let people in. They claim inclusive, big tent ideas but it is just lip service. If you are part of the special group of insider players you are asked to pay so they can play. If you have any experience to go with your gray hair, stay away. The Democratic Party knows how tap into Dakota progressive nature for ballot measures but destroy any good from it by not letting any one else play in their party.

 

  • The Republican Party of South Dakota runs a winner takes all mentality. It is a Super Bowl played every two years. The party is controlled by entrenched players who control everything but the underlying goodness of the people who are really progressive in their souls. This inborn goodness is born out of the 1880’s progressive movement heritage of our region.  We can see it in the backstories seldom written about but always exploited by those in power. The GOP has always been a group with a label but not a clear direction other than power. We have legislative winners who are not part of the inner circle and never will be. Their election wins only matter in the backrooms of Pierre.

Those of us who have been politically active for decades are tired of the usual exclusionary practices of both parties. There will always be the people who vote for the same brand of candidates because they are running under “the” label.

The Democratic Party does nothing to make candidates, oh sure there is the couple of weeks where promises of help are made in attempts to get candidates but where are the off year training / teaching forums to build potential candidates? Where is the effort to build a financial network to support party building efforts? Is there ever going to be an effort to do outreach to the rest of the state? When will we have others allowed in the decision making process?

Have you noticed how little the GOP is doing in the same areas just laid out? The Super Bowl mentality is showing in their efforts. The GOP is now becoming a control fight between the haves and have not groups under their crowded umbrella. The umbrella is getting so crowded only those in the center control and those on the fringes are getting tired of being wet on. We will soon see interparty control fights escalate causing severe unmendable fractures. Will the swept under the carpet scandals finally break open more space under the umbrella, we are watching. One of the state’s top budget analysts just leaves the Daugaard administration in the middle of the night with no explanation. Hmmm.

In the meantime, we need to get ready for 2018 in Sioux Falls and South Dakota. Our mayor is going to run for something. He will find his message somewhere. He will set in place his chosen candidate for mayor to support for his legacy and possible return to the office in the future. There are City Council candidates leaving their seats and many of us are glad to say good riddance. We helped change how the Council works for now and we are keeping close track of those we helped bring to the party. We are trying to set the stage for the future of responsive city government.

Some of us decided to put out efforts toward city government because our state parties did not want us interfering in their games. As movement politics goes, this shall pass and those controlling will be gone when they do not accept what is happening in the real world.

Bruce Danielson

UPDATE: Will Huether run for US Congress? Will Dusty Johnson challenge him?

After Noemless announced just minutes ago that she will run for governor, does this mean Mayor Huether will decide to run for congress? Not sure, but let’s setup the scenario. Though the 2018 race for governor won’t have an incumbent challenger, the Dems have had zero luck for almost 40 years taking that seat. Take also into account that Kristi is very, very, very popular. I am even guessing that Jackley will back out so Noem doesn’t have a Republican challenger in the primary, or some crazy weak teabagger. I also speculated days ago she would be running after Mark bowed out.

What is unfortunate is that Noem will spend the next two years running for governor instead of being a congress person, but that’s not all so bad. She can’t take her fortune from her congressional campaign purse to use for the governor’s race, so she will have to run from scratch;

Although she didn’t say it, Noem’s decision to run for governor was forced by a ballot issue that voters approved last week. Initiated Measure 22, which becomes law on Wednesday, contains a provision barring candidates for governor from collecting more than $4,000 a year from any person or political committee.

Once effective, the language would mean that Noem couldn’t transfer more than $4,000 from her congressional campaign account to an account for a governor’s run. Under current law, federal office holders can transfer all of their money into a state account.

For Noem, that would mean forfeiting a huge advantage: Prior to Tuesday’s election, her congressional campaign was reporting nearly $1.9 million in the bank, an amount that would make her a formidable candidate in the Republican primary.

UPDATE: Now let’s move to Mr. Huether. He is a determined man who likes to win, but like running for mayor instead of governor to begin with, he took the path of least resistance. Congress would be that path, maybe. I do know that there has been a strong desire for Dusty Johnson to throw his hat in the ring. A Johnson vs. Huether matchup would be interesting to watch, they have many similarities when it comes to campaigning. South Dakotans, while they lean pretty much right, they do elect moderate Democrats to Washington, Huether could easily sell himself that way with no incumbent to run against. Not to mention, he would love Washington. I have often contended that he really doesn’t like Sioux Falls because he has been so persistent to change it into other places like San Antonio.

If I was advising Huether I would recommend he run for congress instead of governor, but hey when you have a bucket list, you have a bucket list. But Noem would cream him.

I will say this though, no matter what he decides, don’t under estimate him, because that is when he bites you in the ass.

Enough of the radio/TV ads and Facebook games, SD Dems need to focus on direct mail

While all of us want to believe Direct Mail in political campaigns is a thing of the past, you couldn’t be further from the truth. When targeted at specific voters, especially likely voters, it is quite effective, and believe it or not, very affordable.

This is what the United States Post Office says about it;

Why use it?

Direct Mail is one of the most powerful tools to get your message to voters. Your mailings will be:

  • Cost–effective by mailing to specific areas or addresses, and the format can be as inexpensive as a postcard.
  • Personalized with messages and graphics to tell the story of your candidate or message.

As a person who has worked in Graphic Design and specifically direct mail for over 22 years, I have seen the positive effects of strategic direct mail campaigns.

The Wellstone organization, who is the leader in grassroots campaigns has said this about direct mail;

TIP #2: BEGIN WITH A GOOD PLAN

  • Strategic universe: Make sure you define who your targeted voters are using the voter file. If you have a mail consultant, he or she can help you figure out your universe.
  • Repetition matters: Your mail plan must include multiple contacts with targeted voters over a span of time building toward Election Day.
  • Complements other media: To support the campaign message your direct mail must complement all other communications – not just paid media, but what the candidate is saying on the stump, what volunteers are saying at the doors, etc.
  • Thoughtful timelines: Your plan must balance resources with repetition and timeliness of your mail.  Most voters aren’t paying attention to a campaign until the last 90 days. The challenge in waiting until voters are tuned in is that you will be competing against the clutter of everyone else’s mail; you’ll want to make sure you have a big enough program with enough repetition and creative design to break through the clutter.  If you start too early, without a large enough program to sustain consistent contact throughout you risk being forgotten or will not have the repetition during voters’ key decision time.

So what I can’t figure out is why the South Dakota Democratic party steers away from those campaigns, or has weak ones? The SD Republicans always use them, and quite effectively. Guess what? They also win.

The SD Democratic Party needs to wakeup and embrace the power of direct mail.

Play Ball!

TUM

Michael Moore offers advice

Morning After To-Do List:

1. Take over the Democratic Party and return it to the people. They have failed us miserably.
2. Fire all pundits, predictors, pollsters and anyone else in the media who had a narrative they wouldn’t let go of and refused to listen to or acknowledge what was really going on. Those same bloviators will now tell us we must “heal the divide” and “come together.” They will pull more hooey like that out of their ass in the days to come. Turn them off.
3. Any Democratic member of Congress who didn’t wake up this morning ready to fight, resist and obstruct in the way Republicans did against President Obama every day for eight full years must step out of the way and let those of us who know the score lead the way in stopping the meanness and the madness that’s about to begin.
4. Everyone must stop saying they are “stunned” and “shocked”. What you mean to say is that you were in a bubble and weren’t paying attention to your fellow Americans and their despair. YEARS of being neglected by both parties, the anger and the need for revenge against the system only grew. Along came a TV star they liked whose plan was to destroy both parties and tell them all “You’re fired!” Trump’s victory is no surprise. He was never a joke. Treating him as one only strengthened him. He is both a creature and a creation of the media and the media will never own that.
5. You must say this sentence to everyone you meet today: “HILLARY CLINTON WON THE POPULAR VOTE!” The MAJORITY of our fellow Americans preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Period. Fact. If you woke up this morning thinking you live in an effed-up country, you don’t. The majority of your fellow Americans wanted Hillary, not Trump. The only reason he’s president is because of an arcane, insane 18th-century idea called the Electoral College. Until we change that, we’ll continue to have presidents we didn’t elect and didn’t want. You live in a country where a majority of its citizens have said they believe there’s climate change, they believe women should be paid the same as men, they want a debt-free college education, they don’t want us invading countries, they want a raise in the minimum wage and they want a single-payer true universal health care system. None of that has changed. We live in a country where the majority agree with the “liberal” position. We just lack the liberal leadership to make that happen (see: #1 above).

Let’s try to get this all done by noon today.
— Michael Moore

Does your vote for President count?

I have been contesting for a long time that it doesn’t and why I really don’t pay attention to the Washington silliness anymore;

Votes are still being counted across the country, but it appears Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton could win the popular vote, while President-elect Trump wins the electoral college and thus the White House.

At 5 a.m. on the West Coast, the Associated Press showed Clinton with 59.16 million votes nationally, compared to Trump’s 59 million votes.

So let’s talk local silliness. Some big disappointments for the night besides the talking Mango winning president, were Karsky getting elected to the county commission (as he has been telling people, he needed a seat to warm until he can run for mayor). It also looks like ‘V’ failed, but there were some big and surprising wins of the night;

Marsy’s Law wins by a large margin (I voted against this, but I still would be curious how it works).

The biggest victory of the night was the passage of 21 and the 36% rate cap, and the failure of U.

Pam Nelson will remain our Minnehaha county treasurer, Woot! Woot!

IM 22 also passed. A measure I supported but felt it would fail due to the public funding of campaigns. Apparently voters are ready for an ethics commission.

Ref 19 also failed, which is fantastic. It would have only hamstrung Indy’s more when trying to seek office.

And it also looks like teenagers will be making the same in minimum wage.

So last night wasn’t all so bad. As I said above, I really don’t have time to fiddle with the lies and silliness of DC when there is a lot of that going on right here in our little village. Heck, last night I had to show up again to slap down the lies of our chief liar of Sioux Falls, the mayor, during public input. He really has a problem with facts and history.