Showing posts from August 20, 2006

Volesky wins one for Marijuana

Represented by Democratic Attorney General Candidate Ron Volesky, the Medical Marijuana forces won a minor victory in forcing changes to the ballot explanation as formulated by the Attorney General's office. As reported by the Rapid City Journal:
A circuit judge told South Dakota officials Friday to make substantial changes in the language that will appear on the November ballot to explain a proposal that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Voters in November will decide whether to legalize marijuana for people who have certain medical conditions such as cancer, AIDS or chronic pain. The ballot explanation by Attorney General Larry Long will guide voters.

In a ruling issued Friday, Circuit Judge Max Gors of Pierre gave Long the option of either using a new explanation written by the judge or making substantial changes to the explanation Long had written.

Sponsors of the medical marijuana measure argued in an Aug. 17 hearing that Long’s explanation went too far be…

Called out and deservedly so on the Shaw matter

One of my anonymous commenters called me out and deservedly so. My mind was on other things lately, so I wasn't paying much attention. Here's where they gave me the business:
News flash: PP missed an easy one

Shaw keeps changing the story. In the Rapid City Journal it was:

"The lady driving it said, 'What are you doing?' " Shaw said. "I said 'I'm concerned about the safety of everyone here. What are you doing driving a car through here?' Ten seconds later the fair patrol grabs me."

Then a couple of days later he told the Argus Leader it was:

“I don’t remember having any conversation with her at all, I wouldn’t say I didn’t, but I don’t recall any conversation whatsoever."

Which is it?Good call on that one, anon. In the beginning, he says here to the Rapid City Journal in his press conference:
“Sort of like somebody herding cattle,” he said. “They weren’t running into anybody, but it was kind of like, ‘Get out of my way.’”

That didn’t …

Another candidate fundraising letter. This time, Tammy Weiss from District 15

Tammy Weiss, whose website I featured here a few days ago at, saw the feature I did on Frank Kloucek's fundraising letter, and offered her own letter up for abuse at the hands of the SDWC.

Before my fellow Republicans start giving me a hard time, as soon as it was mailed, the Dems had it too. So it's not like it's a secret.

(Click to Enlarge)

I have to say in comparison to Senator Frank Kloucek's letter this one is a breath of fresh air. It was very easily read. It has sentence and paragraph structure (and spaces between paragraphs, unlike Frank's). And it laid out a compelling argument why she needs to be in the legislature.

Like Frank's, it asked for the money. If you look at it, it talks about amounts of $100 and $250, and that's ok, although I would have wanted a harder sell, something to the effect of "Your donation of $250, 100 or $50....."

Yes, you see that phrase in most fundraising letters. Why? Because it works. P…

(Exclusive at SDWC ) A note from the daughter of the woman in the Shaw versus Car matter

This was under one of my posts on mayor Jim Shaw tonight. "KR," who identifies himself as the child of the woman driving the vehicle that Shaw tapped or allegedly punched (depending on the version of the tale).

It'a a close-up take from a side we're not hearing much about in SD. Here, much of the story is being spun according to the mayor. But from this posting, there's another side to the tale. One that's a bit darker:
I thought you might like to hear another side of the "Jim Shaw" "I'm Humiliated" story.

After reading an article in Friday, August 18th Des Moines Register Newspaper
about the "humiliated" Rapid City, SD mayor I figured out that the woman driving the SUV that was "barreling" through the crowd was my Mother. I remembered how shaken and distraught she was when she got back to my house that Friday night because of a "crazy man" (who we now know as Jim Shaw).

She is originally from Des Moines and …

A letter from Frank

A buddy of mine (here in Pierre) called me this AM.

"Who's Frank Kloucek?" he asked.

I informed him that Frank was a Democratic State Senator.

The reply? "How in the heck did I get on his mailing list?" Of course, that meant that the letter was mine. And because my mommy taught me to share, I'm bringing it to you as well.

Without further ado, the Frank Kloucek fundraising letter:
(Click to enlarge)

Well, ok. Yes it is a fundraising letter. I won't get down on it too hard, as it does have a couple of the elements of a good fundraising letter.

While I redacted it so you can't see it, it does have the recipient's name hand written at the top, so it's not just "dear friend." It shows "the need" to send him money, and it asks for the money in specific amounts. It even included a self addressed envelope.

What's wrong with it? The envelope should have been stamped for starters. Another big point - people like to see where their mone…

Dems replace another candidate

I can't get on the person who dropped out of this race, as they allegedly did it for health reasons. But Dems seem to be doing an awful lot of reshuffling this year as they try to find people for these races.

From the Rapid City Journal:
Pennington County Democrats have chosen Suzy Dennis of Rapid City to replace Courtney Clayborne as a candidate for a South Dakota House seat from District 34. Dennis, a certified drug and alcohol counselor, joins Justin Lena as the Democratic candidates for the district’s two House seats.

Clayborne withdrew for health reasons.

Dennis and her husband, Tom, a local independent contractor, live in southwestern Rapid City. They have three grown sons.

Dennis said she decided to get into the race to bring focus to issues that strengthen families and communities. She said more should be done to provide guidance and treatment for troubled adolescents before they become criminal adults.Read it all here.

Billion campaign reshuffles staff

From an announcement in my e-mail box tonight:


SIOUX FALLS--The Billion for Governor campaign today announces the hiring of Amy Pokela of Sioux Falls as campaign manager. Bob Stevens moves from campaign manager to senior campaign consultant. Pokela had been instate finance director with the campaign.

"This is a move we had been anticipating since the start of the campaign," said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion. "It was always my plan and Bob's that sometime after the primary, Bob would move to a more strategic role and we'd bring in someone to manage the campaign on a day to day basis."

Pokela has worked for a number of previous campaigns, including Senator Tim Johnson's 1996 and 2002 re-election campaigns and Senator Tom Daschle's 2004 re-election campaign.

Coming from a political family, Pokela says her parents, Tom and Darla Pokela of Sioux Falls, took her canvassing with them i…

Argus now accepting reader submitted cartoons

(What, do the others cost too much?) The Argus Leader is now accepting guest cartoons such as the one by Folkerts that appears in today's paper.

Apparently you can send them to

Witness: Rapid City Mayor's version of the story might not be entirely accurate

Rapid City Mayor Jim Shaw did everything but bring out the violins when he gave his tale of woe to the media over what happened at the Iowa State Fair. Now, in the Des Moines newspaper (and at, one of the other people involved gives her version of the story.

And at least according to her, it sounds like he was being kind of a dick.

After hearing about an Aug. 18 Des Moines Register article in which Shaw claimed fair patrol officers humiliated him and treated him unfairly, Marchack called a Register reporter to disagree.

“They were wonderful, they were so helpful and I was so glad they came when they did,” Marchack said. “They handled themselves perfectly.”

Marchack said she was driving slowly through the crowds when Shaw stopped a few feet ahead of her vehicle and intentionally blocked its path for about three or four minutes. She flashed her lights at Shaw, but he didn’t move, she said.

“He put his hands on his hips with his back to us and would just …

More on the Herseth Apology. Is there such a thing as a no win scenario?

I started to take the opportunity to address this in a comment reply, but then as I got long winded, I switched gears to turn this into a post. Haggs who has the Haggard News political blog opined the following on under the last post's comment sections with regards to Lee Breard's apology to Herseth for the homewrecker comment:
This was pretty much a no-win situation for Breard. If he doesn't appologize, the Herseth campaign will blast them about it. And if he does try to appologize, they can still blast him.It's a good point. But as I start to agree with Haggs on the no win part, I have second thoughts.

If I could draw a movie analogy, I find myself thinking of Star Trek II, "The Wrath of Khan." In that science fiction tale, they had a the test for commanders called the "Kobyashi Maru" test. The whole purpose was to test how commanders faced up in the midst of a no win scenario.

James T. Kirk himself never faced it because he changed the rules - he di…

Should they have extended the hand that was bitten in return?

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this morning that Whalen Campaign manager Lee Breard has offered his apology to Congresswoman Herseth about the homewrecker comment. And the Herseth camp is accepting it about as I thought they would:
Lee Breard said he contacted Herseth’s South Dakota staff Monday to see if he could call her personally to apologize. But Herseth was busy with public engagements and couldn’t take the call, and staffers were hesitant to give Breard her cell-phone number, spokesman Russ Levsen said Tuesday.

“We appreciate his call and offered to pass along any message he may have by phone or e-mail,” Levsen said.

Breard said Tuesday that he preferred to make an apology directly to Herseth by telephone.

“I don’t think I’m going to e-mail. When you apologize to somebody, it shouldn’t be through e-mail or a letter. It should be one person talking to another,” Breard said. “I want to apologize personally for the comment I made. It was overzealous, just out of bounds.”



2 takes on Jodi Schwann: JRo and Rant-a-bit

I was asked below under a post's comment where my take on this was. Frankly, I'm kind of disinterested.

I travel between Pierre and Brookings weekly. Why does the SF chief of staff matter? It's not going to affect my travel plans to Sioux Falls, nor my usual avoidance of KELO news. And it's not as if Jodi is known as a force in politics.

Now, don't get me wrong. It's not because of any animosity, because I think Mayor Munson is one of the nicest politicians, and people, I've ever met. He's always remembered my name (a plus in my book) and without exception is as gracious as can be whether I've been just a low level political scut, or interacting with him as part of my job.

For this post, I'll just hit two opposing views and let the readers fill in the blanks.

First, Joel Rosenthal over at SD Straight Talk loves the reporters as administrators:
Ms. Schwan brings to the Chief of Staff’s job skills that may be overlooked in the hubbub of where is her a…

Here's the 8th Circuit Decision on the redistricting case

In case you want to read it for yourself, here's the 8th Circuit Redistricting case that was rejected on appeal setting the stage for this fall's elections as I described earlier:

Click here to download (.pdf alert)

Yes, this is a YouTube night. As the left like to point out those on the right with odd views... here's one back at them.

There are a few left-leaning South Dakota websites out there who take delight in pointing out the foibles and follies of my side of the aisle. Sometimes I'm forced to agree with them, more often I don't.

I ran across this one tonight when looking at SD related videos on YouTube. Let's just say I don't anticipate the Campaign for Healthy Families is going to ask this pair to come to SD and campaign with them on HB1215.

Internationally known psychic and kitchen worker from Bismarck, Gerald Polley, who channels information from Jesus and John Lennon has a few problems with HB 1215 and the people who voted for it.

Jesus channeled through Gerald Polley is who is speaking in this episode, and I believe that his wife (Gerald's, not Jesus') is addressing him as "Nazarene."

You really have to watch this one to believe it.

This is a couple of months old, but I just came across it.

Consider those districts done. The Judge has been upheld.

The Argus Leader was reporting this afternoon and tonight that the Legislative Districts as drawn by Judge Schreier have been upheld on appeal. What does this mean? Full speed ahead in campaigning in the new districts:
A federal appeals court has upheld a judge’s decision that redrew the boundaries of three legislative districts in an attempt to give American Indian voters a chance to elect more Indian candidates to the South Dakota Legislature.

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on today upheld U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier’s rulings in the case.

Schreier had ruled that the redistricting plan approved by the Legislature in 2001 illegally packed too many Indians in District 27, which for many years had included the Rosebud Reservation and the main part of the Pine Ridge Reservation.Read it all here. And from my prior post on the topic - here are the maps I did about a year ago:
Here's the maps of districts 21, 26 and 27 as they exist today.

The NEW distri…

And another shot at the Amendment E people. This time, California weirdness from Bonnie Russell

(From Calling In Sick: Policies Change Over Time 1/05, by Marilyn Gardner of the Christian Science Monitor)When she actually wasn't sick, Amendment E's Bonnie Russell would call in sick because she considered it a "well day" for her.

Oh, that California sensibility. When I was running a family business here in SD, if an employee would have done that to me, oddly enough, I would have simply called it lying, and that person would not be invited back to work. But in California-land, my simplistic South Dakota views probably wouldn't fly.

This incident is an interesting parallel for the Amendment E campaign, where they tell us what they think we want to hear, on things such as whether or not it applies to elected officials, such as school board members and city commissioners.

And as Judge Gors said yesterday, the measure the JAILers offer "is to destroy justice in South Dakota by harassment of public decisions makers with lawsuits."

So much for thier version of…

Nothing is as refreshing on the campaign trail as a cold one... Oh, Damn.

Check out the last name on this Magistrate court list from the April 6th edition of the Madison Daily newspaper:

Damn Judges, anyway.

Winning by attrition?

Here's a good one that was passed my way recently -
According to a Wall Street Journal column by Arthur C. Brooks, Democrats have a serious long-term political problem simply because they are not having enough babies:

“According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. …

A state that was split 50-50 between left and right in 2004 will tilt right by 2012, 54% to 46%. By 2020, it will be certifiably right-wing, 59% to 41%. A state that is currently 55-45 in favor of liberals (like California) will be 54-46 in favor of conservatives by 2020--and all … is up and running

It's been a while since I was back to check on the progress of the Koskan for PUC website. If you recall, it was under construction when I was there before.

It's certainly a good looking website and well laid out, and easily navigable.

Downsides? Not many. I'd personally like to see more information. A website shouldn't duplicate what's in a brochure, it should be where your brochure sends you to find out more. John has such a long and varied legislative history, I would hope this gets filled up soon.

Let us see newspaper clippings about his service of excellence from his early days in the legislature, and some stuff from his wife or kids about his character. Let's hear some more about his Republican philosophies.

In other words, he shouldn't be afraid to give us more and to make the website fun- that's why we looked on it. Yes, I understand that it's not September yet, so there's time in the campaign. And some of this is my own personal preference.…

"Stegmeier must have more confidence in the courts than he lets on..." The Honorable Max Gors

You've got to love it. The Decision of The Honorable Max Gors in the matter of Stegmeier v. Long. Sorry if it's a little wordy, but it's good. It's just too good:
[¶1.]This petition for a writ of certiorari was filed by Stegmeier on August 14, 2006, and was tried to the court on August 17, 2006, on an expedited basis due to the exigent nature of the impending election.[¶2.]The people have initiated a proposed constitutional amendment which has been placed on the ballot as Amendment E. Amendment E is popularly referred to as the JAIL amendment. The proponents say that JAIL is an acronym for Judicial Accountability Initiated Law. They also refer to it as JAIL for Judges. Generally the initiated amendment to the state constitution would eliminate judicial immunity and allow judges to be sued for civil damages and to be indicted by a special grand jury for crimes. In addition, if the special grand jury indicted a judge, a petit jury would be impaneled to try the judge. A co…