Entries Tagged 'Elections' ↓

My Grandpa Carl would never vote for Noem

One of my grandpa’s clocks from his collection.

I still remember him saying on November 4, 1980 how he voted for Carter, because “He was a good man.” I know, I was in first grade, and how can I remember this? Well, because my grandparents were opinionated. I know, hard to believe. They would tell you how they felt about their last sh*t, the food they had for lunch and the color of the sky, and they would wrap it all in a joke and a few ‘choice’ words. You knew what they were thinking. All of the time, and if they didn’t want you to know they would say it in Czech, then hug you while laughing at you.

I often think about how I have followed politics, and it always brings me back to the kitchen breakfast nook at my grandparent’s house, they were never shy about their opinions. Especially politics.

My grandpa Carl liked Carter for obvious reasons, he loved the earth. My grandpa was a certified green thumb, who could make anything grow, trees were his passion, but he could make anything work from his 70’s Caddie to his International Scout, to his passion of clocks.

I think he would look at Noem as a ‘fake’ and I would love to hear what he thinks of her right now. It would be colorful.

Both governor candidates have shared ‘traditions’ and ‘values’ but I often wonder if they know WTF they are talking about? The South Dakota I grew up in cherished these things, and if you worked hard, you may not become rich, but you were always rewarded with good friends, good food and a sense you were loved and valued for your beliefs.

When you vote on Tuesday, think about what is most important to you, like ‘Good People’ who care about you, the earth and your family, and want a better life for us all. To this day, I still think my grandpa’s vote for Carter was the right thing to do. Because we don’t have to mention the other guy, who Noem has presented as her hero in the latest debate. A man who put us down a path of the rich stealing the middle class and destroying a country who was modeled after people like my grandpa Carl.

He would be truly disgusted.

Hard workers who believed in this Republic, to take care of us, when we can’t, to defend our right to our opinion, and when we take up arms it is for the defense of our ideals, not to simply cause bloodshed. As Americans, we are better than this. We defend the right of others, we love those who don’t agree, and we embrace diversity and ingenuity. We simply are the Greatest Country in the world, and we don’t need props to remind us just leaders to hold our hands.

We can go down the same old path folks, but we can’t accept those results.

Vote for what you believe, because if you do on Wednesday you will have nothing to feel guilty about.

IM 25 is a bad way to fund education

Forget the fact that IM 25 will probably become a slush fund for state government, it is a horrible way to fund Technical education.

Am I against increasing tobacco taxes? Not at all, if the money was directed at cessation, prevention, healthcare or even drug treatment programs, I would be all for it.

So the question remains, how do we fund Technical education? The first question we have to answer is “Why is South Dakota the highest in the region for tuition?” My educated guess (no pun intended) is because of high administrative costs and staffing. I know the teachers are NOT making highest wages in the region, in fact most tech teachers make less than K-12 instructors.

So after we get that part straightened out, how do we get costs down for the students? I think it is simple. First, make apprentice programs easier, and pay the apprentice. Many of these students could skip technical education all together and start in these jobs right out of HS.

As for the more technical skills for the medical field, electronics, engineering, etc. make the industries that need these positions the most pay into a scholarship fund that students can apply for with the agreement they will work in SD for so many years.

If we want extra money for tech schools, shouldn’t the employers who need these employees pay into a special fund or tax since they are the ones benefitting from reduced tuitions with skilled labor? Seems like an easy solution that makes sense.

Still don’t know how they linked tobacco to tech schools. Of course, we only have to look at the clown who cooked this up, Former Lord of the Lords, Mark Mickelson who wants to make money off of the backs of poor smokers. Some things never change in South Dakota, the business elite want handouts and welfare and they want the poor to pay for it.

And this is why IM 25 is Lame, just like it’s creator. VOTE NO!

UPDATE: If you watch the Rotary debate today, both Noem and Sutton voted against IM 25 and cited some of the same reasons I stated above for voting against it (and I posted this before watching the debate – HA!)

Governor’s Race a ‘Dead Heat’

While I felt last week that Sutton didn’t have a chance, some things happened this past week which have me believe at this point the race is a tie. If the election were held today I think either one could win by just a few hundred votes.

I have felt that Billie needed certain stars to align in order to win this, here are some important factors;

• Mason Dixon poll puts them at a tie

• Many internal democratic polls and some unscientific online polls have Sutton ahead by 2-5 points

• Voter turnout is predicted at 50%, this helps to close the Dem/Rep voter gap

• Sutton has wide support amongst his party’s voters, Noem, not so much

• Some voters don’t want a woman as governor, and while that doesn’t mean they will vote for Sutton, they may leave it blank

• I think Sutton appeals to indy’s more than Noem, because Noem is taking a hard right conservative approach to the campaign

• Noem’s negative campaigning is NOT working because it is painfully false, unlike her ads against Jackley which were true. This postcard below if further proof of the gutter politics the SD GOP plays, which just piss off voters more than anything. It would be different if Sutton was being negative to, but all he does is show Noem’s true record of nothingness.

• Trump’s rating is way down at 49% in SD. This doesn’t bode well for a Washington Republican like Noem

• Billie performed very well in the last debate, even at one point laughing at Noem’s ridiculous claims about Bernie Sanders.

• Kristi can’t swim (well this isn’t a bad thing, I can’t either).

This is anyone’s game at this point. This next week will be crucial to both campaigns to sway those last handful of undecided.

UPDATE: I found this endorsement ad interesting. Besides the fact that it is very generic and you can tell that Dennis doesn’t really know diddle about Kristi except that she is a fellow Republican (He should have just said that, “Vote for Kristi, because she is a Republican like me”), I found it interesting they would film the commercial in a high rise office in Sioux Falls. If you were the current sitting governor and you were endorsing a governor candidate, wouldn’t you have filmed this commercial at the Capital or at least in front of the Capital instead of in an office building in Sioux Falls? FAIL.

Vote the Opposite of the Chamber on Amendments

It usually a good idea to VOTE the exact opposite of the Chamber;

Join the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce in voting:

NO on Amendment W
YES on Amendment Z
YES on Measure 25

No Thanks. VOTE YES on W and No on everything else. These laws are about protecting individual citizens NOT big business.

I think Amendment W will pass

Like IM 22 that was a similar measure, I think W will only pass by a small margin. But what I have found interesting is the opposition to W. While I would expect a simple campaign of just ‘Vote NO on W’, I have found the opposition to be quite ironic. Some of the opposition include;

SD Chamber of Commerce

Retailers Association

SD League of (Anti-Citizens) Cities

Several SD State Legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Should it surprise ANY of us that the biggest lobbyists in the State and Legislators are against this? Their opposition only enforces the reason why WE need this. Citizens need independent protections from legislative corruption. Nothing like that exists.

Are there some issues with ‘W’? Sure, but tweaks can be made along the way. I’m not one who thinks we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I think we need to go whole hog on this and pass it and deal with those tweaks later.

It is way overdue, we NEED anti-corruption rules in place in Pierre. This should have been done 50 years ago.

UPDATE: SFSD sends $100 million in interest payments to East Coast Bond Investors

UPDATE: It was fun watching the SFSD Board Meeting in which they quickly glazed over the finances so they could have a 10 minute presentation about marching band (don’t get me wrong, it was a great presentation) I just thought talking about tax payers expenses would have garnered the same attention.

When they did get to the Demographic report where they mentioned almost 50% of students are on Free or Reduced lunches, Board Member Kate Parker said, “We need to talk about that one of these days?” Well since this has been on the climb for almost a decade, when will that ‘magically day’ come Kate? When it hits 70%, 80% or maybe 90%? It always chaps my hide when we are constantly screaming teachers need to get paid more in SD (I agree, they do) but all wages in this state need to rise, so parents of these students can afford to feed their children, rising tides raises all boats.

As I predicted before the school district bond election, we were going to take out bonds which would cost around $100 million in interest payments over 20 years. Those interest payments DON’T go towards education, they DON’T go towards teacher pay, programming, or even building the new facilities. They go towards East Coast bond investors.

This was the fundamental issue with the bonding. We could have bonded less, built the schools we need now AND paid for the future schools through Capital Outlay. We would have still had to pay bond investors, but it would have saved us about $50 million. I will say it again, I am all for public education, I am even NOT against my taxes going up for it. But with all of our growth in SF we can pay for these projects as we need them with the current tax structure. We don’t need to line the pockets of Bond Investors.

50% of Capital Outlay goes towards debt service

This finance report is very telling;

Over half of our current Capital Outlay goes towards debt service. No where in the reports can I find the school district’s current debt (before taking out $300 million in bonds). But my educated guess is somewhere between $100-200 million. This would have been an important side note before we took out even more debt before the election.

Demographics Report of the SFSD

It seems we have a lot of smart people in the District educating our very poor student body;

As you can see, the more students that are enrolled in our elementary system need more assistance.

*What I also find interesting about posting the Monday agenda for the SFSD board meetings is that the final documents and attachments don’t get updated until Sunday. Is it because a school district employee is posting these docs on Sunday? Probably not. There is this little trick with the internets where you can ‘time stamp’ postings. I do it all the time with my blog. In other words I can schedule a post well in advance by using a ‘time stamp’. This tells me the District has this information in advance but chooses to post it only 24 hours before the public can view it. Why do they do that? Well that is a very good question.

UPDATE: Will the Harrisburg School Bond election results give us some insight on the SF election

UPDATE: The Bond election passed with almost 85% approval (no surprises there) and like the SFSD election a low voter turnout, about 10%. I still wonder how these elections would have turned out if held with the Mid-Terms.

I think it will be very interesting to see the results of the Harrisburg School Bond tonight.

There are many differences. Harrisburg is taking out $40 million (not $190) and they are having NO tax increase attached to it (their levee is already higher than SF).

Another factor is that Harrisburg and other surrounding towns like Brandon and Tea tend to be a little more fiscally conservative when voting.

I still think it will pass, I’m even willing to say by 75%. But what if it is 85% or higher? Does that tell us that Sioux Falls 85% passage is believable? What if it is a lot lower? Or doesn’t pass (60%)?

The voter turnout will also be another factor.

While the results certainly can’t be compared 100% to the SF School Bond election, there will be some areas we can review and do some comparisons.

I also find it curious that the SFSD told voters they had to have the election in September because their budget HAD to be submitted to the state by September 30. So how is it that Harrisburg can have their election after that magical date in the middle of October and still be able to submit it to the state? Oh, that’s right, because the budget can be amended and submitted to the state later. Both Sioux Falls and Harrisburg school districts could have had their bond elections with the mid-term in November. It would have saved taxpayers money by holding it with the midterms. There would have been a larger voter turnout AND it would have been tabulated by a machine by an un-bias county auditor instead of having finance administrators count the votes by hand.

The results will be interesting.

Where does the GOP find these people?

Noem gets bailed out by the stinky rich

As we all suspected, Noem raised gobs of money when Trump came for his (private) visit in which SF taxpayers had to dole out $29K for security;

Kristi Noem’s fundraiser featuring President Donald Trump raked in $518,780, according to a new campaign finance report.

Quite the donor list. Number one donor, a person who has made millions from government subsidies and special exemptions to sell a fuel that takes food out of hungry mouths. A very ‘small investment’ for the returns he has been granted.

The four max contributors were Jeff Broin, of Dell Rapids, who is CEO and founder of Broin LLC; Thomas Everist, of the Everist Co. in Sioux Falls (Everist and Broin actually gave $25,000 and had to be issued $2,000 refunds); Michael Dalsin, of Sioux Falls, owner of Dalsin Inc.; and Eldon Roth, of Dakota Dunes, who is CEO of Beef Products Inc.

Jeff got a refund? LOL. Oh, that’s because of this little rule;

The use of a joint fundraising committee for the event allowed contributors to write one check for up to $23,000, even though state law caps individual contributions to statewide candidates at $4,000.

Poor Kristi, she had to form a PAC so she could get more than $4,000 in individual contributions. The next time you hear Kristi, or any Republican for that matter in this state running for office say they are looking out for you, just read the donor list attached to this story. That is who they are really looking out for.

SFSD uses mostly Finance Department District employees to count votes

I finally reviewed all the materials and will list my conclusions from the response of the SFSD to our documents request of the election below.

DOC PDF’s HERE:

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election Absentee Center Instructions

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election Amendment to Everyone Counts Inc Software License and Master Service Agreement

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election Instruction for Counting Board Workers

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election materials spreadsheet

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election Oaths

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election Tally Sheets

2018-10-05 SFSD Special Bond Election Todd Vik Letter

Many questions were not answered, such as;

• How did the E-Poll Book software work?

• After the votes were tabulated and written on a tally sheet, how did they get into the computer system? In other words, who entered those numbers?

• Why are we NOT allowed to look at the ballots until after 60 days?

• Why are we being charged to view or copy the ballots after the 60 days?

• Were the undervotes just provisional ballots that were no good? Were the actual undervotes counted or just discarded (unmarked ballots in the ballot box).

• We were also confused by the statement below that the county auditor had control of the E-Poll book data. As I understand it, the county auditor was NOT involved in the election whatsoever.

As you can see from the list below, the SFSD district mostly used district employees to count the votes, and most of them worked in the finance office. While this may not be illegal according to state law, it is certainly ethically questionable. The SFSD should have strived to find volunteers to count the votes that had ZERO ties to the SFSD. They really should have reached out to the major political parties and independents to count the votes and the ages should have ranged.

Absentee Precinct Workers

John Gauer, former Principal elementary school, 36 years SFSD

Dolores Gauer, John’s wife, also worked for school district, retired

Judy Sperling, Minnehaha County Republican Women (not sure if she has ties to the SFSD)

Sharon Redenius, IPC, Finance, SFSD

Counting Board

Anita Wheelhouse, IPC Finance, SFSD

Bert Keiser, IPC Finance, SFSD

Kayla Haines, IPC Finance, SFSD

Deb Muilenburg-Wilson, IPC Director of Special Services SFSD

Laura Raeder, Assistant Principal of Roosevelt HS, SFSD

Carly Uthe (Leither), – IPC Superintendent’s Office, SFSD

Joey Leither, – Carly Uthe’s husband

Elsa Johnson (Tabulating Superintendent), IPC, Curriculum Services, SFSD

Dustin Jansick, Works for Private video company  Could be relation to SE Tech Employee or Megan Jansick or both

Megan Jansick, Works for Sioux Falls Development Foundation – Could be relation to SE Tech Employee or Dustin Jansick or both

Joni DenHoed, IPC Finance, SFSD

Peter Poindexter, Works for Private company, Could be relation to Dawne Poindexter

Sarah Vanoverbeke, Could be relation to Lisa VanOverbeke

Lisa Vanoverbeke, IPC, Finance, SFSD

Ann Smith, IPC, Curriculum Services, SFSD

Michelle Bishop, IPC, Human Resources, SFSD

Maritza Carrizales, IPC, Superintendent’s office, SFSD

Dawne Poindexter (Tabulating Superintendent), IPC – Finance, SFSD

Some of the names listed in the SFSD election documents were either misspelled, mis-hyphenated or misrepresented (shortened/nick names or maiden names).

While we received the oath sheets that WERE signed, there was NO printed name next to the signature. Most of the signatures were unreadable. Not sure if this has any significance or NOT. Same goes for the TALLY sheets, while signed there was NO printed name.

The Everyone Counts contract only listed costs and services and did not really explain how the E-Poll Books work. But interestingly enough they plan to use the books again this Spring for the next school board election.

There was also a lot of ‘crossing out’ of numbers on the tally sheets with NO initials saying they were corrected or who corrected them. And the number of provisional ballots was completely crossed out on the main form. Not sure if this had to do with confusion or deception?

We will be responding to the SFSD in writing since many questions were unanswered and these documents presented even MORE questions.