I think Pam had an inkling that there was going to be an angry mob waiting for her at the forum today (even though there was just a bunch of old Democrats).

With props from State Dem Chair Nesselhuf, she was able to get out a heartwarming story about their relationship, the adoption of her son and his service in the military. School Board member, Kent Alberty (and Homan body guard) was also stationed conveniently in the middle of the room to make sure nothing happend to the Dictator. She supposedly changed her presentation for the event several times. She decided to go with a presentation she made back in October, and I believe a couple of times since. It was about the demographics of the school district. Here are some finer points;

• 58% of the school budget is spent on teachers

• Over 40% of school district kids are on FREE or reduced lunches

• 30% of the school district’s students are NOT white.

She was kind enough to allow some questions (when there was only about 20 minutes left).

Homan gave us a sob story about in the hundred or so exit interviews she has done with teachers,  they basically tell her the pay is why they are leaving.

I wanted to ask her why we are so top heavy with overpaid admins then?

A well-known homeless advocate asked Homan what they are doing to help homeless and poverty stricken students, and she also got a zinger question off about the relationship between the current school board and Homan and past superintendent and school boards, too which Homan answered, after trying to avoid the question, “Not sure how my relationship compares to the past, I don’t know much about what happened in the past.” (sic) Those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it, I guess. I got the feeling that Homan and Mrs. Bliss don’t see eye to eye too often.

Another person asked about the feasability of consolidation. I will give Homan credit, she explained that they were bussing kids from other parts of town to fill these schools and it didn’t really make sense to do so. While I do partially agree with her on that, her statement about saving $800,000 a year still rings hollow. I would have liked to ask a followup, “Doesn’t the interest and principal payments on bonding a new school negate any savings?” But there wasn’t enough time. Guest Poster did try to get a question off about the possible sale of the soon to be closed schools, but Pammy looked right over his head and called on someone else for the final question. Which was unmemorable.

There is one thing I did take away from the Q & A session. Homan has a sense of arrogance about her that is astounding. She seems to think her doctorate somehow makes her smarter then the rest of us, and in some respects she may be, but she takes it a step forward in her condescending tone. A regular at the forums, Roger (who for the record attends several council meetings and has a beard like father time) asked a great question, too which I snickered out loud at, (responding to the presentation) “You say we perform better on a National level in Sioux Falls then other parts of the country when compared to the amount of poor people we have in the district. Are you saying that there is a different ratio (or different kind) of poor people here then other parts of the country?” (sic).

This is where Homan told Roger that she didn’t have time to teach him statistics and kind of looked at him like “You are a dumbass.” (and Roger really isn’t). I have never cared too much for Homan’s ‘Nanner, Nanner, Nanner, I’m smarter then you.’ tone. She has displayed it many times in public. I happen to know someone with a doctorate, Dr. Staggers, and in his capacity as a public servant, he has never held this over his constituent’s heads. He may have beat the crap out of his fellow councilors and city directors, but I applaud him for those actions.

I didn’t expect any fireworks today, though as I looked around the room, I could tell there is still some people seething about the consolidation.

This Ellis rant has me going and I wanted to keep it handy for the future.  The lawyers do not like this decision by the public.  The governor does not like his pet projects failing. How dare the public tell the government what to do.  If we the public, to do not vote the way the vested interests or their protégés in positions of power want or get swatted down by the public, we are uninformed or worse, dumb.  If the people in power or money do not want us to vote down their pet projects, they better get out their voters and not just rely on the paid advertising to coerce us.

We had the chance on election day 2012 to let 7 ill-conceived issues become the law of the land.  The people of South Dakota even surprised me with the votes recorded.  The worst of the worst went down to defeat.  As Lewis responded, my faith has also been restored.  These were primarily ALEC model legislation items defeated, excellent!

Now consider the failure of most of the Democrats.  It was not a failure of the candidates by and large.  It was a failure of the process the Dems have been using for many years.  Believe or not, the deficit of registered Dems is not a big deal.  The problem is the losing process the Dems have been pursuing.  The lack of a long range cohesive vision to present the voters is showing.  At some point the Dems have to quit being GOP-Lite and actually stand for something.  The voters want and crave some vision to vote for and not just be against everything the MSM ‘reports’ out of Pierre and Washington.  The voters want to be guided to the polls and they want to vote for something.  How sad it is the Democrats did not even try to get out the vote with carpooling on the reservations.  What a waste of great issues and great candidates by not physically supporting them.

So now we political geeks look forward to 2014.  Do the Democrats look forward with trepidation or excitement?  The party does not want to look to the past for inspiration on how to win in the future.  The cool things like social media are not ever going to win elections.  Social media is only for keeping your troops going, it will never win new converts.  New converts only come by pressing the flesh in person.  It has been proven by results for the last 34+ years of Democratic defeats, cool modern media processes do not win in a small vote state like South Dakota.  When was the last time you saw a major grassroots, get out the vote effort in South Dakota run by the Democratic State Party office?  Maybe 1974, probably 1972.  We old-timers who know what it feels like to have a real Democratic Party in action are disgusted by the way the party was taken over by consultants and political hacks who pack up their ditty bags when they lose.  They pack up the voter lists, the organization and the money as they leave the state.  Look at the wasted effort spent on Obama for America.  When they left the state to more fertile pastures, we in South Dakota no longer had any organization to continue the effort to identify, then get out the vote.

Look at the undercurrent of dissatisfaction presented by the voters of South Dakota.  These voters could be educated and organized by the Democratic Party for a lot less than the ad buys recently made.  These voters will turn out to the polls because the party kept track and helped them feel vested in the process.  The SD Dems do not even try.  When will they try?  The cute saying Will Rogers was fond of “I don’t belong to an organized political party; I am a Democrat” doesn’t mean Democrats should not organize.  It means Democrats are a coalition of many groups who are striving to be better.  In my experience, Democrats by and large are not Kool-Aid drinkers, but people looking for the positive vision.  The state party needs to quit wasting candidates, money and voters playing games.

Richard Schriever filed today at the State Democratic HQ to run for SD Senate District 6. Richard’s motto will be “A Balanced Perspective.” Richard comes from one of the founding families of the area, having lived and worked in every community in the district, having been both employed and an employer, having done the hard manual work of farming and construction as well as holding advanced degrees and working with the highest level executives at major multi-national corporations.

Richard says this;

I am a native of Tea, grew up in Tea, Sioux Falls and rural Harrisburg and am a graduate of Lennox High School.  I am an alumni of USD and Augustana College, and hold an advanced degree from a California School. I have been a small business owner and manager both in South Dakota and California and have consulted to major US and international companies, but I have also been a farmer, a welder and a bricklayer.  I currently live in Lennox, SD, where I have chaired the Planning Commission for 5 years.

I believe I will bring a well-rounded and balanced perspective to Pierre as your senator from District 6.  My goals in Pierre would be to assure that the people come first, and not just one point of view or another, but that everyone is equally considered. We need to move the state forward in a fair and transparent way.