Get out the wrecking ball! While an interim committee gets ready to discuss how to expand workforce housing, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development plans to knock down a few thousand crummy houses:
Scott Stern, the governor’s commissioner of economic development, told the board that his office has identified about 3,800 dilapidated houses throughout South Dakota.
GOED would spend about $2 million per year taking down houses, based on a 50-50 split between federal funds and local funds, according to Stern.
He said South Dakota has preliminary approval from the federal housing program for $1 million annually in aid. State government won’t have any money in the project, according to Stern [Bob Mercer, “Plan to Study Workforce Housing in Small Communities,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.05.16].
If you see Scott Stern coming toward your place with a sledgehammer and a wrecking crew, tell him to hold his horses, that you’re on your way to get some paint and lumber right now!
So for the five of you readers who care about this tiff, let us turn to Powers’s Wednesday post (the only thing he wrote that day) responding to my analysis of the McGovern Day muddle and my recommendation that South Dakota Democrats focus on grassroots activism rather than further internal power struggles. What you’ll find, if you bother (and I really don’t recommend bothering, even though I’m about to), is that, much like what happens when Trump opens his mouth, Powers’s critiques of me are really exercises in Republican projection of their own insecurity and shame.
First, pictures. Powers keeps running a picture of me borrowed from KELO-TV in 2001. Powers seems to find this photo unflattering. He could more accurately portray my fall from youthful beauty by updating his photo box with any number of recent, publicly available photos:
Heck, even the fall 2016 photo he ran of me on my campaign bike to great chortlage and mockery more accurately depicts me in my current state than his old TV file photo:
But old photos are par for the course for Pat and his GOP pals. How old is Senator Mike Rounds’s Twitter profile photo?
Now to the headline: “Democrat Mouthpiece Finally Breaks News Blackout on Failed Democrat Party Revolt.”
The adjective is Democratic. Responsible writers do not write Democrat Party any more than they would Republic Party.
“News Blackout”? This from a Republican political blogger who, according to his own search engine, hasn’t mentioned the Republican President since March 20. When information about the snap election push became public, I discussed it a fair amount on these pages, because I wanted to offer analysis that people on all sides of the tussle could use to make their decisions. When that push failed, I took eleven days to talk to Democrats who attended McGovern Day, to read other responses, and to think about the next best course of action for the party. That’s not a news blackout; that’s thoughtful deliberation.
For someone who pretends to understand me, Pat Powers really doesn’t know me at all. Ann Tornberg has known me for 30 years. If she has an “inner circle”, she has yet to place me in it. But Ann can tell you, as can anyone else who knows me, that I have never really given a hoot about getting into anyone’s “inner circle”. Unlike Pat Powers, whose entire blogging career reads like one long fawning to atone for his past political gaffes and get back into the good graces of the Republican rich and powerful, I am my own man. I appreciate my friends, I respect their trust, but I do not chase favor. I report facts, I analyze and opine, and I let others throw whichever chips, poker or buffalo, they see fit.
Their new postcard shows a fuzzy image of the Brown County Courthouse. Now I agree that the Brown County Courthouse is one of the most photogenic buildings in Aberdeen. But (a) it doesn’t make sense to take a building that impressive and blur it out, and (b) Prater and Weis are running for City Council, which meets in City Hall, a block south of the courthouse.
Perhaps the card is meant to represent the view one gets from City Hall, looking north to our grand courthouse (and blotting out the blocky, characterless annexes that have accreted like barnacles around the classic architecture). But even if we reach for that graphic assumption, we must conclude that our candidates have weak vision and aren’t paying attention to what they’re being elected to attend.
I don’t mind aspirations to higher office; I just have a thing for integrity in graphic messaging.
Speaker of the House G. Mark Mickelson (R-13/Sioux Falls) is a funny guy. The Legislature’s 2017 Interim Study Survey included a comment section where Speaker Mickelson submitted this important guidance for his colleagues’ consideration:
The non-meandered waters issue will take some serious thinking… or maybe just a new survey and a big round of eminent domain (because ultimately, that’s what the fishing advocates are after, the state finishing the taking that the rain gods started). But workforce housing? Come on, G. Mark—that’s just another issue where Republicans and business owners are going to ignore the obvious solution: raise wages, and workers can afford to fix up or buy houses. (There, done, saved you three meetings.)
76 of our 105 legislators* responded to the interim study survey by April 12. Summing their rankings produces this list of preferred topics:
Legislators came nowhere near taking my dare to put refugees on the interim agenda: the three refugee-related topics finished 14th, 19th, and dead-last 22nd. Adding those three topics’ rank points still wouldn’t have beat non-meandered waters or workforce housing (or #3, issues facing the new Government Accountability Task Force). The least popular of those three refugee study proposals, Study “K”, came from Democratic Senator Reynold Nesiba, whose District 15 includes a lot of refugees have settled in Sioux Falls. His proposal was phrased favorably toward refugees, immigrants, and religious minorities, seeking study of these questions:
How do we ameliorate differences and better facilitate cross-cultural understanding to more quickly and effectively integrate new South Dakotans into our workplaces?
What is already working at firms with diverse workforces?
What obstacles exist to further integration? How do we overcome these?
What? Senator Nesiba wanted to get rid of obstacles to making new people part of South Dakota? No wonder it came in last: the only other legislator to express interest in Senator Nesiba’s positive refugee proposal was fellow freshman Rep. Bob Glanzer, Republican from Huron, where a number of Karen refugees have settled to work at the turkey plant.
*p.s.:Legislators not responding by April 12 and not listed on survey tally:
Reps. Anderson, Bartling, Bordeaux, Brunner, Conzet, DiSanto (no guns on topic list, so boring!), Frye-Mueller, Goodwin, Hunhoff, Johns, Kaiser, Latterell, Marty, McCleery, McPherson, Kent Peterson (hey! Mr. Assistant Majority Leader! How about leading?), Qualm (hey! Mr. Majority Leader! Ditto!), Ring, Rozum, Smith, Wiese, and York;
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is raising money for her U.S. House campaign with an e-mail spotlighting her 22-point lead over fellow Republican Dusty Johnson in an online survey conducted by my local paper. “Can you believe the results?” reads the subject line of her e-mail:
Of course you can’t believe it, because the poll isn’t just “unofficial,” as the teeny-tiny print below Shantel’s pie says, but unscientific, as the Aberdeen American News points out in its March 18 report. We must assign to such casual online polls a margin of error at least the size of the broad side of Shantel’s horse barn. This open online poll had just 98 respondents… which makes me want to believe that thousands of AAN online readers are just waiting for a brave Democrat to declare her intentions to go to Washington and stand up to Trump!
I do like Shantel’s font perspective, making her name larger, emphasizing her big red Ms. Pac-Man gobbling up Dusty’s poor blue pie. The Aberdeen American News graphic is not quite as flashy:
As exhausting as it is having an idiot in charge of the country, it’s an immense relief to have a master of comic understatement representing our fair state in the Senate. KSOO’s Rick Knobe elicited these two musings from Senator M. Michael Rounds this afternoon on Viewpoint University:
Rounds: It wasn’t very good for the President with the absence of evidence of wiretapping.
Early in the 18-hour hearing, South Dakota’s lone Congresswoman, Kristi Noem, tweeted a picture of her fancy cowboy boots beneath her Ways and Means desk. I retweeted, asking what percentage of a monthly health insurance premium those boots could pay for. I received no reply, and Noem subsequently took her boots off Twitter.
Banana, snack bar… Rep. Noem worked hard to keep up her calorie intake, even though she didn’t appear to need it. My quick scan of the C-SPAN video and transcript of the hearing indicates she did not speak once during the 18-hour hearing.
In trivia from yesterday’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel…
Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) compared his anti-refugee bill to his mom’s anti-nuclear waste bill, saying both are simply measures to expand the Legislature’s oversight. It’s funny that Republicans are working hard to expand government power. It’s not funny that Senator Greenfield views refugees the same way he views nuclear waste.
Best friends against the Muslim ban in West Palm Beach.
Senator Greenfield boasted that legislators don’t attack each other, then noted wryly that a couple of his Republican colleagues may try to prove him wrong. Brock didn’t say names, but we know who he meant, don’t we, Stace and Lance?
Addressing a questioner’s concern with transparency, accountability, and Joop Bollen’s big smile, rookie Representative Drew Dennert (R-3/Aberdeen) said the root of the corruption problem with EB-5 and GEAR UP was federal money. Hmmm… that’s like saying the root of South Dakota’s meth problem is acetone manufacturers.
Since Republicans struggle with simile and subtlety, let’s just say it: No, Drew, the root of EB-5 and GEAR UP corruption was corrupt friends of friends who thought they could take money from the till because nobody in Pierre was watching.
And in participation awards:
Representative Burt Tulson drove 120 miles to get 85 characters, including spaces.
Hmmm… 75 characters, 10 empty spaces… that’s darn near a description of the Republican caucus in Pierre.