Entries Tagged 'Minnehaha County' ↓

This should never happen in the World’s greatest democracy

This was the scene about 4:30 yesterday at the election center in Downtown Sioux Falls (photos by Theresa Stehly) the line was several blocks long.

This of course could have been avoided a couple of different ways;

• Do what I have done for almost a decade, vote as soon as early voting starts. I believe I voted about a week after it started and there was about 3 people voting when I walked in. I have done this for a long time because I got tired of the musical precincts in every local election (something else that should end, another form of vote suppression).

• We should mail every registered voter a ballot, NOT an application, in at least state and national elections.

• We should have dozens of drop boxes available throughout the county at city and county properties (this of course would be possible if we didn’t have a political hack as the mayor of Sioux Falls who belongs to a party that promotes voter suppression).

What is crazy is that while we hand out $20 million dollar TIF’s and build $26 million dollar mural substrates, we can surely afford to make voting easier.

We live in a great country that allows us to choose our officials, but we make it really f’ing hard, even right here in South Dakota. I never thought I would see the day that people had to stand in this long of a line in Sioux Falls to vote. These pictures made me very sad.

****Note; if you have not mailed your ballot in yet DO NOT! I won’t make it to the election center by Tuesday. Drop it off in person or have a friend do it for you!

SD GOP lies about Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr are not about the law, they are about Voter Suppression

Councilor Starr is responding in a press release below about the rabid right’s attempt to smear him for calling voters in a public service announcement about absentee voting during the middle of a pandemic emergency in our state, county and city. FCC law allows public officials to call citizens in emergencies and what Pat did was far from being against the law.

In fact this smear job isn’t about the law to the SD GOP it is about blatant voter suppression, something they strive at every day.

I have listened to the call several times, and Pat never mentions once that he is running for Minnehaha Treasurer, he also paid for the call himself and not a campaign expense.

In the call Pat asks voters to vote ASAP to protect themselves from a deadly virus that both Mayor TenHaken and Governor Noem have warned us about in Emergency Declarations.

In fact since the call has gone out Pat has received mostly praise from people for alerting them on how to vote safely. Some didn’t even know he was running for treasurer. I have heard some of the voicemails he received and they are absolutely glowing. Of course the right wing dingbats and their minions think that telling people how to vote safely is some violation of a law that is meant to protect consumers from SALESMEN, ironically one of the biggest complainers was using his position as a state official to SELL more from his private business, but AG Jackboots let him off because he didn’t ‘STEAL’ anything. LOL.

As for some of the calls going to voters out of Minnehaha County, as Pat explained it is because voter lists are not current and up to date. But does it really matter? Especially since the message is important to ALL voters across the state.

Once again, the SD GOP ran by an Iowa Bail Bondsmen cries wolf because they really don’t want you to vote. I’m sure the Whaaaaabulance will be showing up shortly in Dakota Dunes.

PRESS RELEASE from Councilor Pat Starr (605) 321-9680

LEGAL USE OF AUTOMATED CALLING

“I am not going to apologize for doing the right thing” Pat Starr said today, “Making it easier and safer for people to vote, is my number one priority.”

“In the face of a declared emergency, a public official is duty bound to use all means to give proper instructions to the public for their safety.” Starr added saying “I saw the public’s confusion being created by misstatements in the media by many officials.”

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has issued regulations governing the use by duly elected and appointed officials to issue statements in the public good.

Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz informed the county commission and public recently when saying the anticipated problems with mail deliveries and duplicate ballot issues, “If you are within ten days of the election, and you have something you’ve got to get to us, you better use the Pony Express, or come on down here, or do something besides the mail.”

Many elected officials including Governor Noem, Minnehaha County Commissioners and Mayor Paul TenHaken have been declaring various “States of Emergency” this year causing great confusion and health fears. The issued Executive Orders are in effect until at least December 31st, 2020 or until rescinded.

Gov. Kristi Noem didn’t take any chances and declared on April 11th and then again on May 26th, 2020 when she extended South Dakota’s “State of Emergency” declaration regarding COVID-19 through Dec. 30, 2020.

“I do hereby declare that a state of emergency continues to exist in all counties in the state of South Dakota, and I direct the plans and procedures of the State of Emergency Operations Plan continue to be implemented,”

References:

Federal Communication Commission Regulation:

“Prerecorded Voice Messages and Autodialed Calls to Cell Phones and Other Mobile Services. Prerecorded voice messages and autodialed calls (including autodialed live calls, prerecorded or artificial voice messages, and text messages) to cell phones and other mobile services such as paging systems are prohibited, subject to only two exceptions: 1) calls made for emergency purposes, and 2) calls made with the prior express consent of the called party.”

Governor Kristi Noem Emergency Declaration: https://www.capjournal.com/news/coronavirus/state-of-emergency-noem-declares-south-dakota-will-maintain-designation-for-rest-of-year/article_bcb2166a-9f98-11ea-bf41-1feea4e7c37f.html

Sioux Falls Executive Order 218: Subject: Declaration of Emergency to Address the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Given that time is of the essence, pursuant to Section 33.025 of the Code of Ordinances of Sioux Falls, SD, I hereby declare there exists a threat to the public’s health, safety and welfare necessitating immediate measures to prevent the spread and potential effects of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Upon the declaration of an emergency, the Mayor shall have all powers as set forth in Sections 33.026-33.028 of the Code of Ordinances of Sioux Falls, SD.

County Treasurer Candidate calls Residents Erections

This is why I often tell people running for local office to have someone proofread their campaign materials before releasing them. Besides the fact that the first two sentences were incoherent, I’m sure she meant to say we are ‘Hardy’ in Minnehaha County, but I’m not sure what that has to do with the treasurer’s office? Maybe it means we can tolerate standing in long lines for hours?

Pat Starr is the perfect replacement of Pam Nelson

I don’t say this simply because I consider Pat a good friend and stalwart of open and transparent government. I say it because he is uniquely qualified for the position of Minnehaha County Treasurer. Pat has been one of the few Sioux Falls City Councilors under the Home Rule Charter to vote against tax and fee increases on a regular basis. Only two councilors come to mind Staggers and Stehly who have done it in the past, yeah the ‘St’ has a ring to it.

As county treasurer he will hold those purse strings tight and do everything in his power to make sure what you pay is fair as Pam has done.

Pat has also told me personally he will try to go above and beyond the incredible customer service Nelson has provided. Making it even easier for taxpayers to have access to services through a wide variety of technological advances.

I don’t know much about Starr’s opponent, heck I’m not even sure how to spell their name. But it is pretty clear that Pat has the track record to lead the Treasurer’s office for years to come.

I encourage everyone to vote early at the election center, and cast your vote for Pat.

Disclosure; Pat has not paid me to write this endorsement and has not seen it in advance.

TenHaken’s Mayoral Poll reveals Biden leads in Sioux Falls

One of the more revealing parts of TenHaken’s poll is the presidential race. Even if Trump got all 6% of the undecided it would be a tie.

As of October 1, 2020 there is 121K total active voters in Minnehaha County (I believe in the City of Sioux Falls there is about 80-90K registered voters). In the county about 50K are Rep, 36K are Dem and 34K are Indy. About 17K are inactive. This tells me that not only are indies leaning Biden I’m guessing there is a ton of Republicans leaning Biden.

None of this is surprising. Even if you are a hardcore Republican who usually leans always Republican, there are some disturbing things about Trump that would scare off a lot of Republicans. His lack of morality sticks out the most for me. I think Biden will take Sioux Falls with well over 50% and probably even win Minnehaha County. Of course the rest of the state will lean Trump and ultimately he will get our 3 electoral votes from AG Speedracer and the gang.

Minnehaha County Commissioner Jeff Barth calls out TenHaken’s Partisan Voter Suppression Bullsh*t

(Start video at 1:23:00)

I got a ‘friendly’ call from Jeff last night about his performance at the meeting;

“In Mayor TenHaken’s letter, when he talks about the integrity of the election, I have to question his integrity,” Barth said during the Minnehaha County Commission meeting.

This appears to be what I have said it was from the beginning, blatant partisan voter suppression by Mayor Stoneless, and Jeff reiterated that at the meeting. Just look at how he has moved the goal posts in just a few days, first it was about ‘Security’ and when he couldn’t get any traction on that he said it was about ‘State Law’ than when that didn’t stick he said it was about what they do in Iowa.

I will have to agree with Barth, it’s not about any of those things, it’s just plain Bullsh*t coming from a very weak individual who continues to fail at leadership. If Paul had any stones at all, he would come in front of the County Commission and explain to them in person why he won’t do it, or at least send the person who is really running the city, COS Beck, to explain it.

When Paul was elected he had a long history of making a living at being a partisan hack, so I had no question in my mind he would continue that tradition as mayor, and he hasn’t disappointed in that respect. Just like the last guy who made a living from being a salesman, he continued that tradition as mayor.

Folks, in Sioux Falls, Covid is not what ails us, it’s our government.

Mayor TenHaken is promoting voter suppression

Not only does our Mayor HATE transparency and openness in local government, but now he is actively supporting voter suppression.

Trust me, I was pretty shocked that the SD ACLU got involved, when we pointed out the irregularities in the School Bond vote (super precincts in only the southern part of town and hand counting by finance staff) they virtually ignored us. This time thankfully they are stepping up;

The government should never require citizens to play roulette with their health in order to vote. That’s why we’re pushing Mayor TenHaken to think creatively and work with County Auditor Bob Litz to install additional ballot drop boxes ahead of the November Election

BACKGROUND: Recently, the city of Sioux Falls denied Minnehaha County Auditor Bob Litz’ request to place absentee ballot drop boxes at five Sioux Falls libraries. While Siouxland Libraries is jointly operated between the city and the county, Sioux Falls City Hall has authority of the libraries located within city limits.

TenHaken’s reasoning for the denial was a lack of time to iron out the necessary security details. The Mayor and his team can do better. 

Defenders of the mayor have said that ‘He actually has utterly nothing to do with the November election.’ They are correct on that point, and I have told Auditor Litz in person that he is in charge of the election and has wide authority. The problem? He has to have permission from the city’s top executive to place the drop boxes on city owned property. Despite what others are saying, Bob did ‘ask’ the city for that permission. I asked Bob, “Why is the mayor so against your proposal?” Bob figures he was mad because he wasn’t included in the plan. But this is where Bob made a great point, and I am paraphrasing, “If I would have asked permission from the city before putting together a plan, they would have said to me, come back with a plan. So I did the legwork and worked up a plan before I asked.” You would have thought the mayor would have been appreciative. Nope. When Bob said the city doesn’t have the ‘stones’ to move forward, I’m guessing he was talking about the chief executive, who I have argued does have ‘stones’ mostly in his head. The mayor didn’t even have the leadership and courage to contact Bob himself in an email or phone call, he had one of his communications minions tell Bob NO.

As for the security issues, first off, they could have had a couple hour meeting with the chief of police, the sheriff and the risk manager and worked out those details. As for people stealing a drop box, highly unlikely. They would have been secured to the ground and under 24/7 camera and light surveillance and most likely emptied each day. Also, take into account that stealing ballots is a crime that has some hefty penalties. And even then, what would be the point? You would be stealing ballots from both sides, so it would serve no nefarious purpose.

This is just part of a larger right-wing wacko conspiracy theory that drop boxes and voting by mail is riddled with fraud. This has been proven to not be the case.

I encourage the city council to put a resolution together to make it happen, we still have almost 20 days to get it done.

I don’t know if I am more disappointed in the mayor for believing such nutty theories or that he supports blatant voter suppression. Auditor Litz is right, grow a pair and while your are at it, a brain.

Property Tax Data from Sioux Falls School District

Notice in the 2nd graphic that while mil rate went down for the District, the county and city went up.

Minnehaha County State’s Attorney office to become a very, very, very Dark Place

The scariest news from yesterday’s election is the installation of another ‘Haggar’ in our local government. How do these right-wing whackos from the same family keep getting elected? I’m baffled by the ignorance. Both kids have played games with residency and dear old dad runs the SD chap

It’s unfortunate that the Dems didn’t put up a candidate to run against him in the fall.

If you think a ‘conservative Republican’ is going to give two-sh*ts about social and criminal justice, you are sadly mistaken. People like this in our justice system are the exact reason we have so much turmoil right now with equality in our country.

UPDATE: Minnehaha State’s Attorney Candidate Bengford seems to be concerned about residency

I had to chuckle a little bit about Paul’s concern;

A candidate for State’s Attorney is accusing his competitors of violating residency requirements for living outside of Minnehaha County.

Paul Bengford, an assistant city attorney for the city of Sioux Falls pursuing the county’s top prosecutor’s job, this week took to radio airwaves and reporters’ inboxes calling on two others in the race to suspend their campaigns because they have residences in Lincoln County.

“Crystal Johnson and Daniel Haggar have broken faith with voters by filing petitions falsely claiming each has a primary residence in Minnehaha County,” Bengford said in a news release Wednesday.

UPDATE: First of all, it is completely legal to be a State’s Attorney and live in another ‘adjoining’ county. Marty Jackley served in a county he did not live in. If it is a small county. It doesn’t apply in Minnehaha;

7-16-31. Residency requirements for state’s attorney in counties with low population. In any county with a population of less than five thousand persons, no state’s attorney is disqualified from holding office for failure to be a resident of that county if the state’s attorney is a resident of a county which is contiguous to the county in which the state’s attorney holds such office.
Source: SL 2004, ch 69, § 1.

But the concern really made me chuckle, because Bengford has been an attorney with the City of Sioux Falls for several years and has never said anything about the massive amount of city employees who don’t live in Sioux Falls or pay property taxes here. For example one of the city attorneys lives in Madison, our Fire Chief lives in Canton (he told councilors when he was appointed to the job that SF wasn’t a safe place to raise kids) and our Library Director lives in Minnesota. I think I was told once about a third of the city’s employees don’t live in Sioux Falls. I have often recommended that at least management and directors have a requirement to live in the city they serve, especially someone who works in public safety like our Fire Chief. Many councilors have told me they were not really concerned about it, so no ordinances have been proposed. It is pretty obvious Bengford is just trying to make this into a political football. Remember, Paul was the city attorney who went after Cameraman Bruce for a raspberry bush in his fenced off back yard as a public nuance. Bengford lost that case and many other code enforcement cases. Not only is Paul not qualified to be State’s Attorney, he barely is qualified to be a city attorney.

Vote for Crystal Johnson.

I also chuckled about Daniel Haggar defending his residency. His sister Jenna was rumored to be living out of state with her husband while serving her last year in the legislature. The legislature was asked to investigate the claims, but nothing was ever done about it. She resigned after the session was over.