Entries Tagged 'Taxes' ↓

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;

Should the Sioux Falls School District have an independent audit before they borrow money?

A SouthDaCola foot soldier informed me today that my letter made the dead tree version of our local paper (but I can’t find it online) so I have it below. But he told me that after working for the SFSD that their is incredible administrative waste and there should be an audit.

I wonder when the last time the School District was externally audited?

My letter;

We have NO choice but to build new schools. But if we borrow the entire $190 million we will pay up to $110 million in interest over the life of the loan. That is $110 Million to bond investors, NOT education.

The school district has presented NO plan on early payoff and no fiscal plan on staffing the new schools. They also have NO plan to end open enrollment which has created segregation, NO plan for redistricting until after the new facilities are built and NO idea where the new schools will be located.

Some members of the Envision task force that organized this bond vote have significant conflicts of interest in financial and technical contracts with the District.

The District has already spent thousands on a push poll survey postcard and Ignite Newsletter. It is a possible violation of state campaign rules using tax dollars to promote a bond issue.

The 13 precinct vote centers election mostly in the southern part of the district is also troublesome. The election should be held with the general in November. Not only would it make it more convenient, cost less, have a higher voter turnout and use all the precincts it would also be electronically documented. The E-Poll books being used for the vote center special election failed during the statewide primaries. If not working properly there could be repeat votes and NO way of tracking them since we are hand tabulating the vote.

There is a better way.

I suggest we borrow only $100 million and pay for the future facilities through the capital outlay over time. The District’s finance department said they couldn’t ‘trust’ Pierre regulating levees. The Sioux Falls School district spends thousands lobbying our State Legislature. They need to do a better job. Either plan will raise our taxes, but I believe this alternative plan will put more of our tax dollars towards the projects and less to bond investors. VOTE NO on September 18 and tell the school district to go back to the drawing board with a fiscally responsible plan.

Vote NO on School Bond ‘Mystery’ group making Robocalls

I have been trying to figure out who the group is behind a ‘VOTE NO’ robocalls on the school bond issue.

I have no idea.

My guess is it is a anti-tax group with possible ties to Americans for Prosperity.

If anyone can put me in touch with them that would be great. I would like to help them anyway possible (unless of course they are an anti-public education group).