Showing posts from September 17, 2006

Dave Kranz: A bump in the road for Dennis Schmidt

I missed this a couple of days ago. In the Argus Leader, Dave Kranz reported that Dennis Schmidt, who unseated Republican Senator J.P. Duniphan, has more problems with his candidacy than getting through the November race:
Republican Dennis Schmidt defeated incumbent Sen. J.P. Duniphan in the Republican primary and is on the ballot now being printed to run against Democrat Dennis Finch.

Secretary of State Chris Nelson says Schmidt's filings with the Secretary of State's office are all in order. He says they do not check back with the auditor's office to match things up with how the person was registered.

"But from what I have been told, records in the Pennington County Auditor's Office had him listed as an independent in January," Nelson said.

The problem is that the Pennington County Auditor's Office had Schmidt listed as an independent when he signed his declaration of candidacy, but then it was changed to Republican. It is not clear where this issue is head…

Bad Candidate. Bad, Bad Candidate. I think.

(Click to enlarge the article)

You've got me on this one.

Ron Jenkins, who is running as Maggie Gillespie's running mate in the legislative races this fall has apparently been reprimanded by his fellow city councilmen in North Sioux City.

Except, they aren't saying why. They're just publicly reprimanding him. Without disclosing it, it's about as stupid an action as it gets. I mean, if it rises to the level of a public spanking, shouldn't the public be informed what he's being spanked for?

It is for looking crosseyed at a puppy? Or is it for leering at a stripper? Who knows?

The only thing cited is SDCL 9-8-5 which states:
9-8-5. Power of council to judge members and govern proceedings--Bribery vacating office. The council shall be the judge of the election and qualification of its own members. It shall determine its own rules of procedure, punish its members for disorderly conduct, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the aldermen elected thereto, may ex…

SD GOP website updated

(Hat tip to the SDDP's Blue Note, believe it or not)

I see the State GOP has finally redesigned their website. It's much better organized than before, although, I see links for the SD Republican oriented bloggers are removed, while links for national talk radio shows are.

Just a hint: SD Republican oriented bloggers will tend to discuss SD politics more than Rush Limbaugh does.

That aside, except for some more information that needs to be added such as candidates, it looks good. When it's done, I'd recommend it highly. Even the SDDP admits it looks good. (better write that down, guys)

What's on my wish list for it? Links to SD Bloggers, and an RSS Feed. and that's it.

The redesigned SD GOP website - go check it out here.

More Roadsigns along highway 14

I took a day off because of a child's Dr. appointment (and a list of Brookings chores that is two weeks old since I was working the Vietnam Dedication last weekend), and despite the miserable weather, I managed to get a few pictures of signs along the way:

Outside of Arlington this is the only 4x8 for Amendment D I've seen.

Sorry for the fogginess of this photo, it was raining cats and dogs, and I also picked up a reflection from the junk on my dashboard. But Bruce is getting these put up along the highway. I see far more of these than any Herseth signs, which are limited to a few yard signs I've seen in Brookings so far.

John Koskan is also another one starting to get his signs up. I saw several along the route at the same time I only saw two for Steve Kolbeck.

And I'll complain again. Why do people think this is advantageous? Putting three signs together only makes them tough to read when you're going 70.... Er, sorry... When you're going 65 Miles per hour. You …

Too much information?

Rapid City Council President Tom Johnson is complaining that a couple of council people had the nerve and audacity to ask for information on the expenditure of public funds. (What were they thinking?)

Damn them. Just damn them for trying to figure out why the travel budget was exhausted in the middle of the year. What's going to come next - citizens actually asking for documentation? If left unchecked, this could possibly lead to officeholders being held to standards of accountability..

I'm sure the rest of the council (or at least Tom Johnson) hopes that never happens in this article from the Rapid City Journal:
Rapid City Council president Tom Johnson argued with Aldermen Sam Kooiker and Michael Schumacher on Monday in response to claims made by Kooiker and Schumacher in a Rapid City Weekly News story last week that they were being denied information. Johnson said their statements implied that something sneaky was going on and that the council had a hidden agenda.

"I …

Are there any Democrats involved in Heidepreim's campaign?

I'm noticing at the bottom of this ad that Scott Abdallah is Heidepreim's treasurer. And former Minnehaha County GOP Chair Dick Gregorson is his campaign chairman. Are there any Democrats supporting him, since he's their candidate?

At the very least, I hope the elephants have a long memory on who is lining up behind him.

Heidepreim is hitting the bricks and appears visible to people as far away as Pierre. At this point, we're less than 60 days out. It's time for campaigns to kick into gear. Up to this point, I haven't seen much from the incumbent he's challenging, Dick Kelly. (If someone has an update on that, let me know.)

Referring back to this ad, at first blush it looks like it could be a little wordy, but I have to admit it drew me in and got me to read it. It tries to paint Heidepreim as a regular dad, instead of a trial lawyer who vacations in the Hamptons with USD President Jim Abbott... (sorry, I'm feeling partisan tonight.)

At this point, Heidepr…

GOP (not) MIA (anymore) in Watertown

Shirley over at Ruminations is asking that question.

(Shirley, if all else fails, drop me a note, and I can get you hooked up with your GOP sign fix).

update - the GOP HQ in Watertown is just a half block west of the 212-81 Junction on the south side of the highway.

The recent Robinson Muenster polling on the telephone tax issue. Stick a fork in it. Because the phone tax is done in South Dakota

In what I was told was the last poll that Jim Robinson of Robinson Muenster Associates (RMA) performed before his untimely passing because of cancer, at the end of August, RMA polled 500 South Dakotans about how they would vote on the Gross Receipts tax on cell phone service.

And according to the executive summary, this tax is going down. Hard. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself from the executive summary:
The results of the survey were encouraging to opponents of the additional Gross Receipts Tax on cell phone services. The respondents were initially asked if they were in favor of repealing the additional Gross Receipts Tax or if they were opposed to repealing the additional tax. Initially, 55% percent said they would vote YES to repeal the tax, 25% percent said they would vote NO, and 19% were UNDECIDED on the issue.

In an effort to ensure the accuracy of the research and to track the movement based on the message, they were then given a series of statements regarding the pros …

Campaign Lit 101:Nancy Turbak for Senate.

I'm looking at Nancy Turbak's brochure which apparently went out in the mail in the past few days. And I want to find the photographer for these pictures and whoever came up with the concept for this brochure. And I want to stop them before they ever do this to a candidate ever again.

Why? Instead of her candidacy being highlighted, the only thing I can think about is "her head flopping around" because the pictures give the impression that she doesn't have the use of her neck muscles.

You look at one, and her head is flopped one way. You look at the other and... Oops. There must have been a breeze, because it's flopped the other way.

You know, everything I hear is that Nancy is one of, if not the best trial lawyer in the state and extremely intelligent. Does this brochure convey that? No.

Actually, I have to admit that for a while there, I was thinking she's going to be a tough candidate. It's what I heard from many a Republican. But with this dreck passi…

"Take it Back, Jack."

Jack Billion might have well have started referring to Republicans as infidel invaders and declared a jihad on them with the rhetoric he's starting to use in his press releases. In an unusually harsh move for South Dakota politics, he calls the Governor "a pawn of extremists" as reported by KSFY news:
The men who want to be South Dakota's next governor are squaring off on the abortion issue. Democrat Jack Billion is charging that Governor Mike Rounds changed his story about who will pay for a possible lawsuit over the state's abortion ban. Challenger Jack Billion says his opponent, Mike Rounds has changed positions on who will pay for the legal defense of a ban on most abortions. He distributed a DVD to reporters showing Rounds saying it would be the state's responsibility to pay the legal bill that could reach several million dollars.
At the press conference, a statement was also distributed on Billion for Governor letterhead, that called Rounds, "a …

It's time for another edition of: Mayors Gone WIld

Is it the water? Is it the South Dakota weather? It's something, because yet again, we have another example of a chief municipal elected official in the news for a criminal act.

What were the prior examples? First, back a while ago in Belle Fourche, one Mayor beats his wife. Next, in Onida, another one (allegedly) assaults a man in front of his daughter, and then works on the man's sister. Then, we had the Mayor of Brandon busted for DUI, and in the most public spectcle to date, Jim Shaw, the Mayor of Rapid City, had been supposedly banned for life from the Iowa State Fair.

Today, we have a return engagement of DWI. And the mayor who allegedly committed it is the mayor of South Dakota's newest city, Summerset. From the Rapid City Journal:
If convicted, it would be Shelly's second DUI offense. He is scheduled to make a first appearance on the charge Sept. 28 in 4th Circuit Court in Sturgis.

Contacted Tuesday, Shelly, 44, readily admitted to the arrest. "I made a mistak…

Boy, that makes me REALLY comfortable with electronic voting machines.

Comm 101: Letters to the Editor

There's a few basic rules to keep in mind when writing a letter to the editor. If you spend a little time formulating your thoughts and pay attention to details, there's no reason you can't write an effective letter. For these purposes, I am going to assume you want to influence policy of some sort.

If you're just writing to complain or praise, simply write as you would to a friend and fire it off. I say "as you would to a friend" because those words taste better when you have to eat them later.

One: Decide specifically what your goal is with the letter. Clarify what you want to accomplish in a single sentence and write it down. That way you can review your letter during the writing process to make sure that all of your words build towards a single goal.

Two: Identify the problem for the reader in clear, simple terms. If you can document instances of the problem do so and state your sources. In the September 19th issue of the Frankfurt Times, article such and su…

After work at the Jarrod Johnson fundraiser in Pierre

After work tonight, I had been invited by State Auditor Rich Sattgast to attend a Jarrod Johnson fundraiser in Steamboat park here in Pierre.

It was a nice turnout, although I keep wondering why people get nervous when I show up at places with a camera.

Several of the Constitutionals were there, along with a dozen or two of the local Republicans. I had an opportunity to chat with Jarrod, and listen to his speech, as well as catch up with several others there. It was a nice friendly atmosphere.

At one point I was chatting with former State CR Chair (and now Jarrod Johnson campaign staffer) Jen Giannonatti and PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson, and the conversation turned to getting carded for the purchase of adult beverages. Somehow, that hasn't happened to me for a very long time.

Dammit. I hate them both. Can you tell I'm turning 40 next month?

I'm just kidding on the hate thing, they're both young up and comers in the party and I think highly of both of them. It's not th…

Breaking News: After the television commercial salvo fired at them, Vote Yes For Life Fires back.

Campaign for Healthy Families - you're on notice. Vote Yes for Life is as mad as heck, and they're not going to take it anymore. In retaliation for your campaign ad now airing.... they're pulling out their lawyers.

(Click on images to enlarge)

(Click on images to enlarge)

The Vote Yes for Life campaign is putting television stations airing (or set to air) the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families new television ad which alludes to thier assertion that Referred law 6 does not provide for emergency contraception. If you can't tell from the above letter from attorney and former legislator Matt McCaulley, Vote Yes on Six disagrees:
Dear Station Manager:

This law firm represents, a South Dakota ballot question committee organized in support of Referred Law 6, which was passed by a bi-partisan majority of the South Dakota Legislature in 2006.

It is our understanding that the ballot question committee "South Dakota Campaign For Healthy Families" (S…

Whalen opens Rapid City Office, and never says die.

The Rapid City Weekly news has a story on Bruce Whalen's Rapid City office opening, and Bruce gives us a preview of how the last two months of the campaign are going to be fought:
Whalen said he expects to win congressional seat
Republican challenger opens campaign HQ, asks Herseth to debate
By Tom Lawrence
September 14, 2006

Republican Congressional candidate Bruce Whalen is running his first statewide race. Whalen is struggling to compete in polls, raise money and gain name recognition.

Sound challenging? He said he’s enjoying every minute of the race and still expecting to win.

“We wouldn’t be in this if we didn’t think we’d win,” Whalen said after a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at his campaign headquarters in Rapid City.

He’s running against Rep. Stephanie Herseth, who took office after a special election in June 2004 and was elected to a full two-year term in November 2004. The Democrat from Brookings is the odds-on favorite and has a family name that resonates with many South Dakot…

A sad passing.

The AP is reporting part of the story, but the Mitchell Daily Republic is reporting as close as you can find to the full story on the death of a Mitchell Judge as written by Sarah Dittmer:
Friends and family of Lee Anderson were saddened and shocked upon hearing the news of the local judge’s death Monday afternoon. Anderson, 54, was found dead of an apparent suicide at 1:45 p.m. outside his rural Mitchell home. He had served as a judge for nearly 15 years. Friend and state Rep. Mike Vehle, of Mitchell, said Anderson had a “zest for life.” “I loved him dearly,” said Vehle. “I think of all our trips and the things we did, and the things I would have never done if it wasn’t for Lee.” Word of Anderson’s death spread quickly Monday. Employees at the Davison County Courthouse were visibly shaken Monday afternoon. Colleagues around the state already had heard the news by late afternoon.“We were notified around 2 p.m. that Judge Lee Anderson had suddenly passed away,” said Judith Roberts…

Politicos talk about the youth vote this year.

In the Rapid City Journal this morning, the politicos are talking about youth voting trends. Of course, each one is pointing out how they are king of the hill when it comes to youth support:
Mark Lopez, CIRCLE's research director, said the youth vote in South Dakota always surpasses the national average.

The national average was 22 percent in 2002, and South Dakota's was 36 percent, he said.

Wetz said young people are becoming aware of politics and sometimes know more than some older voters.

Political operatives believe young voter turnout will affect results this year.

"From what I hear from (young voters), I think we will have a higher rate of their votes this year because the other parties have tended to disorient young voters," Andre Agar, chairman of the South Dakota Libertarian Party, said.

"And, I have noticed that inquiries from young voters have outpaced previous years for us as a party probably because our principles of less government are appealing, and the…

Die Prairie Dog, Die. The Forest Service decides to be a good neighbor.

They're pets in Japan.

And if you hadn't noticed, we're not in Japan. We're in South Dakota where the prairie dog is an unchecked pest which ravages the countryside with the full approval of conservationists who have never set foot on farms where a once productive field looks like the surface of the moon.

I had heard that this was coming a few days ago, but with this press release, it's now a fact. The U.S. Forest Service is actually going to start managing the prairie dogs on lands entrusted to it, as related in the Rapid City Journal:
After years of complaints from ranchers that prairie dogs were ruining federal grazing lands and encroaching onto their private land, the Forest Service late last year began poisoning prairie dogs in buffer zones between the national grasslands and adjacent private rangeland.

The Forest Service on Monday said its new effort is needed to further manage prairie-dog populations to protect soil, water and vegetation resources, which it said…

It's probably going to experience what us appraisers call a loss in value.

I might have mentioned once or twice that I was/am an auctioneer. I haven't called a sale in a while, and I really find myself wanting to get back in practice. I went to auction school in 1989 to take part in the family business, and while I might whine or groan about having to move furniture, I really can't complain about the experience.

In addition to the auction business, I used to assist with or do personal property appraisals. From well over a decade in the aution business, I could tell people what something would generally bring at sale in an auction. If I hadn't sold something like it myself, I could generally figure out the value an item. And I wasn't that bad at it.

Now, when something becomes damaged, it's going to be worth less than it might have been if it were in mint condition. That's a pretty basic principle of merchandise. What brings this up? Well, a news story tonight would seem to make me believe that someone over at the SDDP is going to experi…

2 more websites reviewed: Carol Pitts and Tom Dempster

I don't know what it is with this website. It's graphically pleasing, and has information at your fingertips about Carol. But for lack of a better word, it seems a bit "sterile."

Now, that's not meant as a harsh criticism but more of a verbalized request for what I'd like to see. I see all the text I could read about her, but there's nothing that makes an emotional connection for me. If I were to change one thing about this website, I'd add some pictures.

I have friends who speak very highly of Carol, and my problem is that I've got one picture to go by. I want some visual stimulation showing her talking and listening. I want to see her emote. One picture is not enough on a web page. It's a visual medium, so where it says Carol's family, lets see a picture of them. She was in the military and the legislature - let's see some pictures of it.

Bottom line: Add some pictures, and it will be perfect. Go check it out at http://www.carolpitts2…

"No, really. The boycott did something. I'm not kidding."

Remember the boycott that was supposedly going to occur over the South Dakota Legislature passing HB 1215? Me neither. But, according to this associated press article at, those promoting it state that it has to have done something...

A threatened tourism boycott of South Dakota over new state law that bans nearly all abortions has had little effect on travel, officials said.

"I think what we're seeing is that despite the worry people had about the boycott, we haven't seen that it's had an impact on travel in South Dakota," said the state's tourism director, Billie Jo Waara.

Tourism is the state's second largest industry, behind agriculture, as millions flock each year to see Mount Rushmore and the Badlands. It brought in an estimated $809 million last year.

Waara said revenues from the two main taxes used to measure travel activity were both substantially higher for June and July than they were last year. Revenues from a special tax on tourism att…

Gubernatorial candidates debate: In education, how much is enough?

The Argus Leader has a story this morning on the debate over education between Governor Mike Rounds and challenger Jack Billion, in the face of the adequacy study funded by a group of school districts, and the study commissioned by the legislature:
School funding has been a public policy debate since the days of school reorganization and the first education formula in the late 1960s, and the topic has been a fixture in each of the joint appearances by candidates during this year's governor's race between Republican Gov. Mike Rounds and Democratic challenger Jack Billion.

Rounds generally says the state is doing more than the law, or inflation, requires for K-12 schools, while Billion says South Dakota needs to put more money into schools just to match what neighboring states spend.

"In the last three years, inflation was about $349 per student," Rounds said during a recent forum. "We put in $126.33 more than that, making a total of $475.66 per student ongoing fundi…

If you didn't notice, I have a new contributor

If you missed it below, Irwin Fletcher (or fletch) is going to be starting to do a little writing from time to time on newswriting, and photography.

Jim Holbeck cries about abortion. That's after losing a race where he made it a major issue.

I read the guest editorial in the Argus Leader today by former State Senate Candidate Jim Holbeck, and as usual when I've read his material, I was left scratching my head.

It's no big secret where I came down on that primary election race. But I'm surprised to see a couple of things coming out of this article. First, Holbeck is coming back three months after the June primary to point out that he was a candidate in June. Of course, nobody but Holbeck cares.

Secondly, and more importantly, he's coming out and scolding the electorate after his loss because in his perception, people should concentrate on other issues than abortion.

Read some of what Holbeck had to say in the Argus article:
So here we go again, sending all of our office holders to Pierre based on one question and on one answer. After being elected to the Legislature in 2000, and then running an unsuccessful Senate campaign (make that a very unsuccessful campaign this year), I found that nothing has changed duri…

The New Guy

Hello everyone, I'm the New Guy at the War College.

After being hounded by PP for some time now, I've finally relented and decided to add to the SDWC content. My initial intent is to provide some very basic 101-level classes on various media issues. It's not intended to provide a comprehensive study of the subject, but rather a beginning primer for a potential candidate or budding activist.

If you have a subject you'd like covered or need help with something, I'll try my best to answer or find the answers for you.

My thoughts on initial post subjects are:
-writing a press release
-basic photography
-writing a letter to the editor
-media relations

Post a comment with any suggestions you might have for subjects. Thanks!


Todd Epp anounces he's out from Billion campaign

Without a lot of details, Todd Epp announced over at his weblog SD Watch that he's no longer associated with the Billion campaign.

It's certainly their loss, as I've considered Todd to be honest and amiable, as well as having the courage of his convictions. That, and he knows that the campaign is as every bit as important as the message. And the Dems have too few people that recognize that truth.

It's like the story that was told of Judge Patrick McKeever. when his appointment for that or some other office was up in the Republican controlled State Senate during the Kneip years. It was a hotly contested appointment which caused consternation on both sides of the aisle. That is, until Clint Roberts was asked for his opiniopn on the appointment.

His reply? "I'd let him ride my ride my horse." The debate was over. And the appointment, approved.

So Todd, you might not be with the Billion campaign anymore. But if I had a horse, I'd let you take it for a spin.

Thanks to the Veterans, as the dedication winds down.