Entries Tagged 'Taxes' ↓

SFSD claims they only basically spent $7,000 on election

Just when you thought the 85% passage of the bond was a little questionable, the zingers keep coming from the district, this one is golden;

And the district used a new, computerized voter check-in system to verify registered voters and poll books throughout the day, which cost about $38,000 from a vendor called Everyone Counts. It was included in the overall $45,000 price of the election, Konrad said.

So what Konrad is basically saying is that after purchasing software for the E-Poll books from Everyone Counts, they only spent $7,000 on everything else. What is everything else?

  • Printing Ballots
  • Paying poll workers not just for the day of the election but training
  • Transporting Ballots
  • Rental fees associated with voting centers
  • Office supplies needed to run election

Either Konrad got the math wrong or they dipped into regular school budget, but there is NO way in Heckluva they ran an election, even with 13 precincts for $7,000.

Besides the supposed thrifty nature of the SFSD (they should really do seminars on how to save so much money running an election) they didn’t seem to think poll watchers were needed;

Poll watchers were the responsibility of the campaign parties if the district wasn’t going to employ them, but no one checked in at any voting location to say they were poll watchers on Election Day, district spokeswoman DeeAnn Konrad said.

Why on earth would the political parties send in poll watchers for a BOND (non-partisan) election?! YES, it was your responsibility to put a call out to the political parties to bring in these volunteers (paid or otherwise). Baffling.

We didn’t have any issues with it being hand counted (though machine tabulation would have been better) We have an issue with WHO counted it;

As far as district employees counting ballots goes, district spokeswoman and ballot counter Carly Uthe, acknowledged most counters were tied to the district with few volunteers.

Uthe also said each counter was required to go through training beforehand and to sign an oath ahead of time, swearing counters and election officials would abide by election laws.

Konrad presented copies of the signed oaths to the Argus Leader on Wednesday.

“The oath says,’I will abide by the Constitution of the United States,” Konrad said. “There’s no wiggle room there.”

It would have looked WAY more ethical if you would have used volunteers. Not sure what swearing on the US Constitution has to do with counting ballots, I guess I missed that part in Civics class. But even if they used district employees to count the ballots, it was the final step that concerned us. From watching Mallory’s video, it looks to me that after a stack is counted that number is written down on a piece of paper and given to 2 SFSD district administrators, Morrison and Kreiter. Were these pieces of paper saved so they could be audited?

Ultimately, there isn’t much legally we can do to investigate how they ran the election. They did follow state law(s). But if the SFSD really wants to put this to bed, they would allow an independent group to examine the ballots and recount them. It also would be helpful to get a demonstration on how the software worked. Until this election can be properly audited, any excuses the SFSD has doesn’t mean a hill of beans.

UPDATE II: How much money do you think ‘Vote Yes for Schools’ raised/spent?

UPDATE: My prediction as of 8 PM tonight is that there will be around 11,000 voters for the bond issue or around 12%. The school district is saying 30%. I also still think it will pass by 62%

UPDATE II: Super shady school district managers watching the vote counting. Notice Morrison and finance person in this video. I have NO confidence in this vote. More and more I think this is rigged. Why are we allowing SFSD employees to tabulate the vote into the system? There has to be some kind of election laws against this?

Look at what Mallory is saying, Morrison and Krieter are putting the vote count into the computer. WTF?!!!! Earlier Bev Chase (in charge of the election) said they will destroy the ballots after the election.

Video

While everyone got their panties in a bunch over the robocall yesterday from Citizens for Integrity, nobody has a clue how much money was spent by ‘Vote Yes’.

The robocall yesterday was the FIRST and ONLY call from Citizens for Integrity. I still have NO idea who was doing the live push poll to vote NO a few weeks earlier.

The little research I have done with school bond elections is that committees may not have to say how much money they raised or who gave it to them. But I also know that has to do with the size of the district. Hopefully with the size of our district there will be financial reports, but at this point I’m not sure.

My guess is that the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign probably raised between $60-100K. Wouldn’t it be interesting to know BEFORE the election how much money was raised/spent and who gave to the campaign. It would have been helpful information for voters before they voted no matter how the vote goes.

As I always say, “Follow the Money”. If this passes tonight, there will be a lot of people laughing all the way to the bank, and it won’t be teachers or parents of students, and certainly not the lowly tax payer like myself.

Did the Bond Election follow proper election protocol?

PRESS RELEASE from Citizens for Integrity

As a clean and open election advocate for 52 years I have made some observations concerning the September 18, 2018 Sioux Falls School Bond election. These observations are my opinions based on being part of the process from the 1960’s into the age of computer based elections. The insight I have gained into the deeper workings of modern elections was dealt with when I was Chairman of the Minnehaha County Election Review Committee in 2015.

In these years of observing and partaking in elections in South Dakota, I have seen some interesting election practices but I have never witnessed this elections poor practices. We must fight every day to keep elections fair to all participants, so we as citizens can accept the final outcomes as the voter’s choice.

This election may be the worst organized election I have witnessed in my life.

I have personally witnessed during absentee voting process:

1.       No South Dakota Secretary of State Office direct support or oversight of election process

2.       An unknown vendor support for computer based poll books

3.       No audit trail capability to verify the number of ballots issued and who voted absentee at IPC

4.       Single clerk voter check-in of voters

5.       No printed poll book at IPC absentee voting or any voting location to verify voter check-in

6.       Voter check-in process with no hard copy verification by secondary individual

7.       Voter check-in on a computer with the voter not able to verify data entered

8.       Poll workers admitted no previous experience working an election

9.       Voter check-in required voters to fill in absentee envelops with little guidance from inexperienced clerk

10.   No label printers used in previous elections to guarantee legibility for absentee voting audits

11.   Questionable ballot marking instructions

12.   The election polling locations are disproportionally located in the southern part of the Sioux Falls school district leaving citizens north of 6thstreet with no convenient polling place

13.   The Minnehaha County Election Review Committee recommendations for consistency in voting locations was ignored for election day

I am an advocate of hand counting and / or verifying ballot results when our election choices are controlled by machines. This election will be forever tainted no matter what the results are.

Bruce Danielson

Citizens for Integrity

PO Box 491

Sioux Falls, SD 57101

FAX: (605) 334-9511

Cell: (605) 376-8087

Email: bruce@citizens4integrity.org

VOTE ‘NO’ on School Bond Robo-Call

I guess this Robo-Call went out this afternoon. I guess better late than never.

A task force member also posted a video on FB today telling people to vote NO because of the bait and switch by the SFSD. I know exactly what she is talking about. In meeting #3 they told the Task Force they would have options to present in meeting #4 and when they got there those options were OFF the table and only one remained for $190 million.

Please remember the Sioux Falls School District already has two property tax opt outs.

Posted by Mary Scheel-Buysse on Monday, September 17, 2018

Bond election to use SCHOOLS as Precincts

Nothing controversial about that, schools have been traditionally used as precincts in multiple elections, not only in the Sioux Falls and Minnehaha county but across the nation.

The school bond election will use several schools and community centers attached to schools as precincts in Tuesday’s election.

So why point this out?

Because for the last couple of years the SFSD has refused to allow the County Auditor to use schools as precincts due to ‘safety’ concerns of the children.

So I guess ‘safety’ isn’t an issue when voters are approving a $300 million dollar tax increase. Just more irony and hypocrisy from the SFSD surrounding this election.

$300 Million Dollar School Bond will likely pass

I figured I would get a head of this before Tuesday. The writing is on the wall, the bond issue will likely pass with at least 62% of the vote.

There are a lot of factors, such as a special election in the middle of September, which will assure a low voter turnout with only those wanting this showing up to the polls. There is also the possibility of the E-Poll books and hand tabulation going awry, but even if it does, that won’t change many votes.

Yesterday the Chamber and other businesses endorsed the bond. One of them was Sanford. The Sanford endorsement made me chuckle considering the fact that Sanford got a $9 million dollar TIF for the sports complex (essentially money that will be rebated back to them instead of funding education). I guess it’s easy to endorse a $300 million dollar property tax increase when you don’t have to pay towards it.

One of the latest arguments from the Chamber Hob Knobbers is economic development and growth. “People won’t want to move here if we don’t have good schools.” Why is growth for growth sake a worthy cause? And with half the kids in the District on Free or Reduced lunches it is pretty obvious we are not exactly a high-wage community. I would think what a job pays would be more of concern to moving to Sioux Falls than good schools.

I have said a real economic impact on our city would be giving out FREE birth control instead of FREE lunches. You don’t have to educate or feed a kid that is never born.

So what is the real reason I think this will pass?

There is NO real organized opposition to this. While I am disappointed that the State’s Attorney, Secretary of State or Attorney General isn’t investigating possible violations of campaign rules or the shady ‘IN-HOUSE’ election, there isn’t much I can do to stop this steam roller. The ACLU was even asked to investigate the ‘super precincts’ to see if that was even Federally legal. No avail.

Sioux Falls is just going to get a little more expensive to live after Tuesday. With a $48 million dollar jail, $260 million dollar waste treatment plant and $300 million in schools, I have to think of the famous words of the Seattle band Mudhoney, time for leaving is now;

Food Tax Information

Click on below image to Enlarge

UPDATE: School District doesn’t want to release information that will show open enrollment has caused segregation

UPDATE: On September 4, the SFSD did a ‘partial’ presentation ABOVE on demographics. When it was asked if Super Maher has further numbers about open enrollment affects, he claimed that they have never put those numbers together, but could discuss doing it in the future. How convenient.

Shocker! A little over a month before a $300 million dollar bond vote and the School District doesn’t want to tell us their dirty little secret;

The Argus Leader submitted an open records request to the Sioux Falls School District for a demographic and socioeconomic breakdown of students by campus for the last 20 years — since the last bond election — to see how those numbers might have changed over time.

But the district said it will cost more than $1,200 to release the public information, stored in an electronic database. The Argus Leader had not pursued the request further as of Thursday.

I find it hard to believe it would cost $1,200 to email a data base. If that is the case, the school district needs to immediately fire their IT director for incredible incompetence.

I have said all along the School District needs to end open enrollment, redistrict and draw new boundaries BEFORE building new schools.

I have been told by several parents that they open enroll their kids in other schools besides the ones in their districts because they don’t want their kids going to ‘certain schools’ with ‘certain students’. While I would hope they are not talking about race, I do know they don’t want their kids going to the ‘poor schools.’

The Argus needs to shell out the $1,200 and demand the information before the vote, and they need to do it NOW before they have a chance to ‘fudge’ the numbers, because that is what they really mean by the $1,200 price tag.

This bond vote will go down in history as an incredible travesty, and I just hope at least 41% of the voters have the brains to see through this sham.

Even with record building permits, why can’t the school district trust capital outlay to fund new school construction?

First, the puzzling news today that the school district doesn’t have a Plan ‘B’ if the bond fails. I would think if it fails on September 18, they would quickly go back to the drawing board and present another bond to be on the ballot in November. Makes you wonder if they are just assuming they have it in the bag. Things that make you go ‘Hmm.’

But what is even more puzzling to me is that they don’t want to pay for these schools through the capital outlay by raising levees when we have had close to a decade of record building permits. With all this new commercial tax revenue coming in (and housing prices going through the roof) you would think it would be a cake walk to just borrow half now and pay down the rest through the levees?

This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Council to Dissolve TWO TIF’s on Tuesday

UPDATE: It seems they are moving forward with a ‘Market Rate’ apartment project and this is why the TIF is being dissolved. Funny how a TIF is now not needed since they are going to build apartments that they can charge whatever for rent. Further proof all TIFs are is developer welfare.

Many people have been asking about a supposed project North of Sunshine Grocery Downtown that received a TIF and why it hasn’t proceeded.

It seems that TenHaken administration is taking action by asking through resolution to have the council dissolve that TIF and the TIF that COSTCO never accepted. As I understand it, Norm Drake from Legacy is somehow involved with the Downtown TIF (part of it is where the current temporary dog park is located) and COSTCO opposed their TIF from the beginning because they don’t like how TIFs take from public education funding.

As I have been saying about the $190 million dollar bond issue, why are we borrowing so much on the backs of homeowners while wealthy developers are getting tax rebates? Just another reason why the Bond issue AND TIFs are flawed.

Council Agenda Items #46-47

Details Below;