Entries Tagged 'State Legislature' ↓

The South DaCola Voter Guide, kind of

I won’t touch on every race or issue, but on the ones I think are important. Let’s Go!

Re-Elect Pam Nelson for County Treasurer. To tell you the truth, I don’t even know who is running against Pam, doesn’t matter. Nelson has proved she is a strong advocate for citizens and tax payers.

Bonilla and Feinstein for County Commission. That is who I voted for, but I also don’t have an issue with Jean Bender. She has actually surprised me on commission and has been a great legal voice for the commission. Just don’t vote for Karsky. This insurance salesman has more conflicts of interest then you can shake a stick at. Time to retire Dean from local government so he has more time to dig holes at ground breaking ceremonies with the Chamber, his true love and boss.

Mike Saba and Jeff Barth for state legislature.

Yes on Amendment R. This is extremely past due. Technical schools should have had their own board 20 years ago.

No on Amendment S. Also referred to as Marsy’s Law. It is unneeded. Laws are already in place to protect victims.

Yes on Amendment T. There has been too much gerrymandering going on in our state and it is time to make the board that decides redistricting more fair.

No on Amendment U. This is a fake interest rate cap created by the payday lenders.

Yes on Amendment V. This is the most important Amendment on the ballot this year. By passing the non-partisan election amendment we will change the face of the legislature over the next 5 years, and hopefully we will have less amendments and initiatives in the future once we get better representative officials in Pierre.

NO on Ref 20. This will eliminate the youth minimum wage.

Yes on Measure 21. It will cap payday lending at 36%, and hopefully put them out of business.

Yes on Measure 22. I have said an ethics commission and publicly funded campaigns in SD is way past due.

I have no opinion on Ref 19 & 23.

I highly suggest you vote early, because the lines are going to be very, very, very long.

Jeff Barth, District 25, Senate Candidate

Eric Leggett, District 15, House Candidate

Hildebrand smart to get ahead of the ‘NO on everything’ campaign

steve hildebrand

If there is one thing I have learned about Steve over the years, he is no dummy, and he certainly doesn’t jump to conclusions without evidence. He is very seasoned at running campaigns, and he holds no punches back. Whether you believe Steve or not about the ‘No on everything’ campaign, he would not have gotten ahead of this if he didn’t have solid information;

Hildebrand would not say who told him the party is planning the ad campaign.

Of course Steve isn’t going to release his sources. If I told everyone on this site where I get some of my information, I wouldn’t have a site, because I no longer would have sources. As if Steve was going to give them those sources because a couple of green horn TV reporters asked him for it. LOL.

Either way, the idea in itself isn’t too far fetched. The Republicans know they have a pretty good chance of defeating 22 but ‘V’ will probably pass easily. That’s the one they fear the most. So grouping all the amendments as trouble is an easier way for them to get people to vote against ‘V’. They could care less if the technical schools get it’s own board or if Marsy’s Law fails. Amendment ‘V’ scares the living dog crap out of them, because they know it will change the makeup of the state legislature virtually overnight, and their over 40 years of a fascist grip on lawmaking in this state will finally end.

AgUnited Legislative Forum, September 21, 2016

Ag United for South Dakota hosted a legislative candidate forum for Districts 9, 10, and 25 at the new Hefty Seed Morton Hall north of Sioux Falls on September 21, 2016.

South Dakota State Senate candidates in attendance were John Koch, Deb Peters, Jim Powers and Jeff Barth.

South Dakota State House candidates were Michael Saba, Michael Clark, Wayne Steinhauer, Steve Haugaard, Dan Ahlers and David Haagenson and Tom Pischke.

Does resigned Dell Rapids mayor, Scott Fiegen have other political aspirations?


Last year, then Dell Rapids mayor Scott Fiegen, was appointed to the state legislature in District 25 (which stretches into Sioux Falls).

I’m not sure if Scott has plans to run for office in Sioux Falls, or to continue to serve on the legislature, but doesn’t it seem odd that someone would serve as a mayor of a community for seven years, then just split. And it’s not like he is moving to Florida or California to retire, he is moving a few miles away to Sioux Falls. ‘Hey folks, it’s been fun, but your town isn’t big enough for me, see yah later.’

Recently, Scott’s daughter was appointed to the Sioux Falls planning commission. He was in attendance at the meeting when her appointment was approved by the city council.

We’ll be watching.

Three Democratic candidates for the State Legislature will hold a press conference Thursday afternoon

South Dakota’s growing diversity, how this growing diversity has benefited and will continue to benefit South Dakota, and the need for the State Legislature to reflect this growing diversity both in its membership and in its legislation. Unlike the Republican Party, which has made clear how it feels about diversity through its fear-mongering and scapegoating at its National Convention, Democrats in South Dakota and around the country think our growing diversity is a source of strength, innovation, and entrepreneurship.  

WHO: Michael Saba, District 9 House candidate, JR LaPlante, District 14 House candidate, and Clara Hart, District 6 House candidate

WHEN: Thursday, July 21 at 3:00 p.m.

WHERE: The Prairie West Branch of the Siouxland Libraries, 7630 W. 26th St., Sioux Falls, SD 

A hard (tues)days night

I won’t ramble about Hillary vs. Trump, that will just make my head spin, but some interesting things did happen last night locally in the primary races.

For the first time since she was elected 12 years ago, Minnehaha County Treasurer, Pam Nelson will have a challenger in November. Kris Swanson won the Republican nomination against Pam’s Nephew in-law, Marlin something or another, even though Marlin didn’t live in Minnehaha county.

Pam has proven to be an advocate her 12 years as treasurer for the low-income elderly trying to stay in their homes and not being over burdened with the atrocious property tax increases over the last decade. Pam will also help anyone else who needs it, Pam has a couple of rules though, follow the law and don’t lie to her.

Speaking of people who don’t seem to know what county they live in, Dick Kelly lost by 13 votes to Dean Karsky in the Republican primary for Minnehaha county commission. This means Dick will not be up for re-election this November. I could go on a monster rant about how it is time for Dick to retire, but I will let his fellow county commissioners tell you their feelings on that. Besides Dick suffering through a heart transplant and being hard of hearing, it seems his time has come. It is also rumored he spends a majority of his time in his retirement residence in rural Spink county and not his voter registration residence in Sioux Falls. Maybe it’s time to say good bye to Mr. Kelly, it’s just unfortunate that he may be replaced by Dean Karsky, the do nothing city councilor, who I will predict will do the same nothingness on the county commission. Dean and Jean Bender will be up against Democrats Feinstein and Rust in November. The top two vote getters when the two open commission seats.

And something I refrained from talking about until after the election was the battle royale in District 15 between democrats Nesiba and Kirschman (Nesiba won). The Democratic party in SD can hardly get enough people together to play a game of solitaire let alone two challengers in a the same district for a primary. Instead settling this over a cup of coffee and a donut and saving funds for a November run they decided to hack it out in a primary.

Don’t get me wrong, I like both guys. Patrick has been an advocate for labor, and Reynold has been a strong advocate against government corruption (Round’s airplane kerfuffle) and pay day lending.

But it wasn’t about their common threads that had these two at each other. It was about abortion and gay rights. Ironic really, considering neither of them could choose to have an abortion, or are gay.

Strange indeed.

I wish Nesiba luck in November.

State Legislator Tom Holmes reviews the 2015-16 session

Tom Holmes spoke to the Minnehaha – Lincoln Republican Women’s luncheon on March 31, 2016. The assembled group heard Holmes discuss the events of the 2015-2016 South Dakota legislative term.

Why can’t the hospitality industry in Sioux Falls retain good workers? Greed.


You get what you pay for

I will say it, the honeymoon is over. I knew there would come a day that we couldn’t keep building a restaurant on every street corner of this town and expect them to make a profit and last. Some would blame a worker shortage on the problem, I blame something else, a wage shortage.

It used to be easy to gather a group of unexperienced employees to run a restaurant in Sioux Falls, make huge profits, and leave those workers behind. Not anymore. There needs to be a change in philosophy, something I have often suggested in public employees. Hire quality employees, and pay them well, and they will do the work of 2-3 unexperienced employees that you pay half the wage to.

Don’t believe me? Well, I may not have owned a restaurant in my lifetime, but I have been working in them since I was 17 years old (almost 27 years). Over those years I have done it all, dishwasher, pasta maker, bus boy, line cook, fry cook, host and server. I even worked as a maintenance man. I’ve seen a lot, but the one thing that has always been a constant is that good employees who are paid well in the industry stick around, are usually never late and have great attendance. Money may not be the secret to happiness, but working in a customer service industry like food service is very demanding, but can be very rewarding if you are willing to do the job right.

About 5 years ago when I was in between full-time employment in the printing industry, I worked full-time as a server for 2 years. It wasn’t pleasant. It wasn’t the duties of the job that were hard, it was the way the employer treated me (a corporate franchise). Though I was the top earning hourly tipped out server and had $125K a year in sales, not only did my employer not give me a raise, they actually took almost 20% of my tips in a thing they call ‘tip share’. It is a scam that has been getting legal challenges across the country that forces tipped employees to subsidize non-tipped employees (like hosts, bussers and cooks). It saves these companies millions in wages, while killing the morality of their tipped employees who ironically are the front line of customer service for their business. Wouldn’t you want to be paying these people the best instead of robbing them of 20% of their income a year? It goes back to a change in philosophy.

The days where restaurants in Sioux Falls and across the nation can get away with poor pay, virtually no benefits and quite frankly abuse is coming to a close.

My advice is simple to anyone who wants to run a successful restaurant.

• Target your marketing to the customer base you want. Not only are good employees valuable, but so are good customers.

• Treat your employees like you would treat your customers. This one is important. Over the years I have seen good workers with good intentions get thrown under the bus because of a bad customer. In fact I quit my last serving job because of it. I don’t believe in the mantra that the ‘customer is always right’. In fact, 90% of the time, they are completely wrong. When I have been asked what to do with a bad customer, my answer is the same. Apologize to them, thank them for trying your place out, refund their money fully, then ask them to NOT return. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen good employees get fired because a restaurant owner wants to save a BAD customer. Think about how senseless that is? Not only are bad customers bad for your bottom line, they affect the morality of your employees, and whether you ask them to return or not, they won’t anyway, and they will still talk smack about you either way. Asking them to not return is the smartest move.

• Pay all of your employees well, but also hire quality (experienced) people. I’m not just talking about front of the house, but I am also talking about hosts and dishwashers. Putting your employees on an even keel is the best way to keep peace in an industry known for unrest. There is nothing more frustrating for experienced employees who work their tail off getting paid the same as slackers they always have to carry the water for. Trust me, I believe in the team mentality, but that whole team has to be strong. It’s like links on a chain. Don’t coddle the slackers and reward the hard workers.

• Give customers something they will come back for. This one is very simple, give good service, provide a great product, and have a great ambiance and do it 110% of the time. With the saturation of restaurants in town, let’s face it, their are only so many customers to go around. And if they have one or two bad experiences, they may never return. This goes to how you run your operation. You wouldn’t hire a fisherman to run a battleship and vice versa. I have often joked with people for years, “500 restaurants in Sioux Falls, but not 1 decent place to eat.” Think about that for just a moment. Could you name 4-5 restaurants you have eaten in Sioux Falls where the food and service has been consistent 90% percent of the time? I can’t. And eliminate the price point. If I am going to eat out, price is not a factor, if I get something good in return. Put value in what you are putting out there, that means valuing your employees along with your product.

• Trust your employees. This one is huge. Never take the word of a stranger (your customers) over your employees, unless it is blatant they are lying. We all have bad days, that doesn’t make them bad employees. But there should also be REAL consequences to employees who screw up, which brings me to favoritism and nepotism. I see this all to often in the industry, in Sioux Falls it is like the Black Plague. Treat all of your employees the same while on the clock. There is nothing wrong with management being friends with their employees, but keep your love fest for each other off the clock.

The restaurant industry in Sioux Falls is on the cusp of collapse, I really believe that. My last job certainly proved that. This saturation of bad food and service cannot last and can only be tackled by higher wages to better employees. The industry doesn’t want to admit it, but they know eventually they are going to have to change. Quality people are available to work in the industry in Sioux Falls, I have worked with many of them throughout the years, but with quality people has to come quality wages.

But this isn’t just up to the industry, the legislature and the city council need to make some changes to the laws on the books. Years ago a team of well intentioned restauranteurs made their way to Pierre to change how employees in the industry get paid. Those guys are about ready to retire, and you can probably guess who they are. They have made millions on the backs of their employees by suckering the state legislature over the years. And they have strong allies that need to be persuaded to make changes to, like the Retailers Association and the Chamber of Commerce who are consistently anti-hospitality worker.

Here’s some quick changes that could be made;

• Eliminate the tipped employee minimum wage. It should be identical to all minimum wage earners. A tip should be an ‘extra’ a server or bartender gets for good service, it shouldn’t be 90% of their overall wages. Tips are too volatile.

• Eliminate the ‘tip share’. Allow tipped employees to keep 100% of their tips.

• Pay your front of the house employees the same as the back of the house. Harmony is a good thing.

• Hire more full-time employees, provide them benefits and PTO. A consistent workforce equals a consistent product. Keep hiring low-wage, part-time alcoholic stoners and you reap what you sow. By law, require restaurants to have a certain percentage of their workforce to be full-time.

I know, I have worked in a lot of places, and I can truly admit, not every restaurant runs perfectly. But blatantly ignoring the 700 pound gorilla in the room will only doom the industry in Sioux Falls eventually.

Pay better and hire better employees. It really is that simple.