Even supervillain Felonious Gru has the good sense to wear a lighter top and smile a bit with his friends in a publicity photo. Kaleb Weis is still campaigning with grim photo of himself in his dark sweater, looming smilelessly, like that dark, ominous cross, over his innocent children.
But on September 10, he launched that new, bang-up warbird logo under his rechristened “Weisforsdhouse” campaign page. He hasn’t updated his campaign webpage, but stay tuned.
Weis’s update came five days before Rep. Dan Kaiser announced he’ll stand down from the Legislative race in favor of running for sheriff. We could really go bonkers and speculate that Weis’s rebranding scared Kaiser out of the House race, but the fact that Kaiser is taking on an arguably more difficult race against a popular Republican incumbent who has gone unchallenged in his office since 1998 tells me there’s no way Rep. Kaiser would be scared off by a much weaker candidate like Weis.
Kaiser’s leaving an open seat in District 3 offers Democrats another opportunity to win back some Legislative registration. The entry of an inferior candidate like Kaleb Weis further improves Democrats’ chances of winning next November.
Aberdeen is apparently satisfied with the local status quo. Every incumbent on our local ballots won last night, and 90% of my neighbors are not concerned enough about the state of affairs to bother voting.
The greater disappointment than Lunzman’s election is the failure of most voters to participate. With five candidates for school board and ten candidates hotly competing for city council, turnout remained typically abysmal:
School board Burckhard/Schultz/Sharp/Wise/Santema: 1,867 voters out of 19,597 eligible = 9.5% turnout.
City council northwest Lunzman v. Black v. Jones: 437/3,987 = 11.0%.
City council northeast Remily v. Washnok v. Bunke: 548/4,631 = 11.8%.
City council southeast Olson v. Prater: 525/4,230 = 12.4%.
City council southeast Rux v. Weis: 539/4,230 = 12.7%.
Even when things are going fine, as Aberdeen voters signaled yesterday, we should still see better than one in ten citizens voting. We dodged the bullet this time, but the majority sitting home makes it possible for a tiny disgruntled minority driven by a destructive agenda to take over the government.
Whenever I give students tests, I tell them not to cheat, “because the person sitting next to you is dumber than you are.” Don’t let the dummies next door make your decisions for you. Get out and vote, every time.
The radical xenophobes of Aberdeen’s absurdly commafied “Americans First, Task Force” continue to stroke their anti-Muslim bigotry. Under a post about the London van/knife attack last Saturday, AF,TF writes (with more inept puncutation), “This attack is sad. However, what is equally said is the grave narrative: Islam is a religion of peace, will continue to to be sold to the public, as the blood of the Islamic terrorist victims still wets the ground.”
Panic and hatred flow forth in the comments, with just a couple glimmers of hope and patriotic rejection of stereotyping:
Some neighbors try to call out the xenophobes but are met with paranoia impervious to reason… and a call to deport all Muslims:
Aberdeen City Council candidate Kaleb Weis posts a slogan blurb on his campaign Facebook page about needing to “find ways to help out newest citizens acclimate to our culture while learning and understanding the laws that keep us all safe and living harmoniously…” a funny thing for a city council candidate to talk about, since such education is the purview of the school board, an office for which he did not run. This comment draws out more xenophobia which he lets stand with correction on his campaign page:
“Remove all refugees… deport them”—how cowardly, un-American, and un-Christian.
I’m pleased to see at least a few of my neighbors trying to fight back against the ignorance and hatred in our midst.
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.
Absent are Weis’s annoying appeals to religion. Instead we get the standard, fuzzy lines about creating jobs and supporting small business, plus some Republican-y pap about wanting to “strive for fewer regulations” and “keep your taxes low.”
The distinguishing mark of this flyer is the team approach. Voters get to choose between Weis and incumbent councilman Clint Rux for the five-year term in the southeast district, while Prater is challenging incumbent appointee Dennis “Mike” Olson for the three-year term in the southeast district. Teaming up saves money and campaign time. It also builds a brand, inclining folks who know one of the candidates to cast their votes for the candidate’s teammate. Councilmen Rux and Olson might want to consider a similar joint campaign to challenge this team approach.
Key words to which we should hold these candidates: Prater says his priorities include “welcoming other’s [sic—lose that apostrophe, Tim!] to move and or retire in Aberdeen…,” while Weis speaks of listening to “residents from every walk of life” and working for “everyone.” It seems fair to take those words as signals that Prater and Weis recognize the importance of welcoming and working for immigrants in Aberdeen, as a matter of human decency and economic development.
And in Aberdeen, such declarations of piety do not distinguish the candidate in the marketplace. It’s a fair bet that every person running for Aberdeen City Council is a believer. Trumpeting that believer status is thus about as useful as noting the fact that a candidate is human.
Most city council candidates appear not to be advertising their religion. Weis’s opponent Clint Rux, Tim Prater in the other southeast race, Luke Bunke and James Washnok in the northeast, Tom Black and Dave Lunzman in the northwest—none of those candidates are spotlighting their churchgoing in their official campaign pages yet. In that regard, maybe Weis is finding a way to distinguish himself… but only by doing something that candidates for public office should not do.
Prayer doesn’t pump gas or fill potholes. You’re running for city council, Kaleb, not church council. If you want to work for the taxpayers, start telling taxpayers what you’re going to do about streets, sewers, cops, and sales tax.
Unfortunately, that subtle message may be outshouted by his family’s support for Donald Trump and Lora Hubbel. Last September his wife Kayla (proudly displayed in Kaleb’s campaign photo, so we can only assume he welcomes her as a partner in his campaign) added a photo of herself proudly sporting a Trump sticker as her Facebook profile pic:
At 10 am tomorrow (March 24) at Zion Luthern Church in Aberdeen there will be a meeting with a US Attorney and a “Loretta Lynch appointed” Civil Rights Attorney.
How is it that citizens in Aberdeen concerned about the status of refugees and the identification of illegals in their midst are left out of this meeting? Yet those who are opposed to the failures and negative incidents that have happened in Aberdeen do NOT get an invitation to be there?
Where are the statistics and media reporting about the crimes committed in their city by those brought in as refugees/illegals/secondary migration? Will anyone come forward to help Aberdeen and listen to the people? Will our Governor’s office or Attorney General’s office come to the aid of Aberdeen’s concerned citizens, who have had legitimate negative encounters and hence feel unsafe in their own community? Has someone turned the lights out in South Dakota and now everyone must run around in the dark on the issue of refugee resettlement and illegals in our cities and towns? We have a responsibility to our South Dakota families and especially Aberdeen to fully vet every refugee and immigrant we place in our great state.
Of special note: There is a tape of a high ranking LSS official stating she does NOT and CANNOT currently vet all these people coming in because for some there is no government in place from which to retrieve documents. In that case “vetting” is based solely on the word of those wanting to come into our country. We need to stand behind President Trump in his efforts to keep America Safe. Let us pray that this is not “human trafficking” of a different sort by placing displaced people in South Dakota where some do not want to assimilate [Kayla Weis, posted to Aberdeen Online Rummage Sale Facebook group, 2017.03.23; adapted from Lora Hubbel, public Facebook post, 2017.03.23].
Hmm… your spouse criticizes local institutions by implicating them in some vast “human trafficking” conspiracy, and then you feature that spouse in your campaign materials as you run for city office? I hope Kaleb Weis will explain that on his “Learn More” page… when he gets around to posting it.