Senator Marion Michael Rounds has a good excuse for missing the March for Healthcare in Aberdeen tomorrow: he’s actually holding a public meeting in Rapid City Friday! Friends transmit this invitation from Senator Rounds to coffee and conversation at Western Dakota Tech tomorrow morning:
I would like to invite you for coffee and conversation in Rapid City on Friday, May 19, 2017. I will be hosting a coffee at Western Dakota Technical Institute’s library to give a short update on what is happening in Washington, take your questions and hear about the issues important to South Dakotans. I hope to see you there!
May 19, 2017
9:30 a.m. MT
Western Dakota Technical Institute, Library, 800 Mickelson Drive, Rapid City, SD 57703 [email from Senator Rounds, 2017.05.17]
Of course you know, if Senator Rounds goes long and visits with interested Rapid City constituents until noon Mountain, he could still hop in his plane and buzz here to Aberdeen in plenty of time for our 5 p.m. Central march!
On Saturday, April 22, believers in science, logic, and facts (that should be all of us) and the foundational role of reason in democracy will rally in Washington, D.C., and around the world to protest the anti-science attitude of the Trump Administration.
Four marches are in the works here in South Dakota:
Rapid City: 9:00 a.m. MDT, starting at School of Mines Surbeck Building
Pierre: 2:00 p.m. CDT, starting at federal building/U.S. Courthouse, 225 S. Pierre St.
Sioux Falls: 10:00 a.m. CDT, starting at Carnegie Town Hall, 235, W 10th St.
Aberdeen: 1:00 p.m. CDT, starting at Central Park, across from the ARCC.
If you join me here at the Aberdeen march, we’ll walk a square through the heart of Aberdeen: Central Park to the public library, then over to Main, up to red Rooster, and back to Central Park, where we will find the Green Aberdeen Earth Day Fair in full swing at the Briscoe Building.
Got some political ants in your pants? Three events this week offer you a chance to scratch that itch.
Tomorrow (Monday!) at noon to 1 p.m.Mountain, Joyce Patton is hosting a “Not My President’s Day” Rally at 8th and Omaha, south side of Memorial Park in Rapid City. The event Facebook page says the rally “welcomes songs, signs and statements that support American values such as freedom of speech, freedom from religious discrimination, equal opportunity, gender equality, and environmental stewardship.”
Then Thursday evening, 5:30–7:00 Central, a bunch of our Minnehaha neighbors calling themselves Indivisible 605 are hosting the first Indivisible 605 Town Hall at the Icon Lounge Event Hall at 402 North Main Avenue in Sioux Falls. Congress is taking the week off from D.C. to get in touch with constituents. While Senators Thune and Rounds and Representative Noem have yet to announce any open meetings of their own, Indivisible 605 has invited all three to Thursday’s event. How thoughtful! Indivisible lines up the space, chairs, sound equipment, even some musical guests—all our busy elected officials have to do is show up!
If that Town Hall doesn’t dully scratch your itch, or if it gets you itching to do more to make your country great again, the South Dakota Democratic Party is hosting Activist Training 101 right afterwards, Thursday, 7:30–9:00 p.m., at the Prairie West Library, 7630 West 26th Street in Sioux Falls. They won’t cover anything too complicated, just the basics of getting involved, contacting elected officials, and effectively raising heck.
All three of these events will be great opportunities to start making a difference (if you haven’t already!) and to meet other people with similar goals.
Chicago’s population is around 2.7 million. 42 killings this month means one killing per 65,000 people, or 1.5 per 100K.
Rapid City’s population is around 74,000. Three killings this month means one killing per 25,000 people, or 4.1 per 100K.
Rapid City’s murder rate this month is 2.6 times greater than Chicago’s.
If Donald Trump thinks the current “carnage” in Chicago warrants some unspecified deployment of federal forces, then he should find it even more urgent to direct federal forces to intervene in the approaching-treble “carnage” in Rapid City. The South Dakota Senate just invited Trump to visit, so why not ride in with a column of tanks and a brigade of Marines to bring safety and order to Rapid City?
Or does this President only threaten Presidential intervention in law enforcement in places where the majority voted for someone else?
Why do thousands of South Dakotans go outside to holler in January?
“I am worried about Trump’s negative behaviors. It’s like he’s endorsing male power and control, and that scares me,” [Lisa Ricci] said. “I wonder how many women in our community are going to be affected specifically by intimate partner violence, especially when our leader is misogynistic” [Kelsey Sinclair, “Rapid City Joins in March for Women’s Rights,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.01.22].
I realized today that I have censored myself for years on end because of living in a very red South Dakota confrontational place where fear of your [employer retaliating] against you for your views are very real and do regularly occur, for fear of friends misunderstanding my drive and need to speak up for others and myself, and for fear not being supported in using my voice.
I realized I did this to protect myself, my career and my family and to respect my friends and community who I know many think and hold very different political views from myself.
But, I understand now that by me not using my voice, allowed my community, neighbors, state and country to believe that people like me are in the few. I discovered that I have been disrespecting my own soul and spirit in my own fear of causing a scene or having some family feel that I am too strong in my stances.
I have been reminded that even as a child I stood up for others fiercely. I followed the wind into the woods on my own and discovered mountain tops with no fear of being lost. I fought with the teachers for picking on students and yet I became mostly silent over all these years.
I made my voice heard these last two years in standing up for the rights of Native Americans, for the rights of disabled children, and the rights of those who have less than ourselves and it did not go well. It strengthened my belief in my fear of speaking up.
But, I have discovered that because of me not doing this there have been over a million of us doing this same thing all this time. Taking it in the chin, dusting ourselves off, getting up and taking it in the chin again.
I don’t believe this is political because I believe our human, civil rights and earth rights are at the foundation of our survival. I believe saving a buck on the back of your neighbor who is struggling is harmful, hurtful and disrespectful to our human spirit.
I stood up and marched today because I have witnessed the shattering of my heart and my family’s hearts because of a hateful crime. A crime only action, courage and love, tremendous love can cure. I am reminded who I am today because I stood up for others and myself today. Fear and hate will not prevail without my voice and many others respectfully fighting against HATE [Melanie Hurley, Facebook post: Women’s March on Washington—Black Hills, 2017.01.21].
It’s easy for Trumpists and other bullies to marginalize and silence one opponent at a time. But when thousands of good people link arms and march and speak together, they can beat the bullies. In numbers, we find strength and victory.
We are standing up in our Sioux Falls community as defenders of human rights. We are standing in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington, on January 21, 2017. We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.
The Women’s March Sioux Falls mission statement is as follows:
“We are peacefully marching to show our strength, courage, and solidarity with WOMEN and South Dakotans, including the LGBTQ community, people of all faiths, people of color, immigrants, disabled citizens, and people of all genders. We stand united for equal human rights” [Women’s March on Sioux Falls, Facebook page, retrieved 2017.01.07].
Women’s Marchers gather at Calvary Episcopal Cathedral, 500 S. Main, at 9 a.m. They’ll march up Phillips Avenue to City Hall at 10 a.m., then head for coffee and conversation at 11 a.m.
South Dakota Democratic Party leadership is back on the road with its listening tour. Party leaders and staff are coming to hear your questions and comments in Rapid City on Sunday afternoon and Fort Pierre on Monday evening:
Registered Democrats in South Dakota are still up 1.97% over where we were at the beginning of 2016. For the year, Independents are up 10.98%, the GOP is up 6.73%, and total voter registration is up 6.65%.
The Department of Veterans Affairs has released its Final Environmental Impact Statement for its plan to move its main Black Hills Health Care System facility from Hot Springs to Rapid City. The VA offers the following rationale for its project:
The purpose of VA’s proposal to reconfigure health care services in the BHHCS is to provide high-quality, safe, and accessible health care for Veterans well into the twenty-first century by:
Providing locations and facilities that support VA’s efforts to enhance and maintain quality and safety of care in the 100,000-square-mile catchment area.
Ensuring facilities for Veterans receiving any services comply with accessibility requirements for handicapped individuals, support current standards of care, and can be well-maintained within available budgets and resources
Increasing access to care closer to where Veterans reside
Reducing out-of-pocket expenses for Veterans’ travel
VA has identified a need to reconfigure health care services in the BHHCS catchment area because:
VA has difficulty maintaining high-quality, safe, and accessible care at the Hot Springs Campus.
Existing locations and facilities constrain the care, range of services, and access to care VA offers to Veterans in the catchment area [Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Black Hills Health Care System, Final Environmental Impact Statement, November 2016, p. xix].
The VA says the best option is to build a new multi-specialty outpatient clinic and a 100-bed residential rehabilitation treatment program in Rapid City while converting Building 12 on the Hot Springs campus to a community-based outpatient clinic. VA estimates the cost of that plan at $217.1 million. That’s only a couple million more expensive than taking no action—i.e., keeping all current functions at the Hot Springs campus—but $68.5 million more expensive than moving the big functions to Rapid City and building a new, cheaper clinic in Hot Springs.
But money will be no object under the new fact-free fascist who will occupy the White House come January 20. Trumpist policy, to the extent that such policy exists, appears ready to explode our deficit thanks to a combination warface/veteran sloganology and fiscal cluelessness. If our Congressional delegation is nervous about the VA’s move taking pork away from Hot Springs (and the VA acknowledges that its preferred option will have “Adverse minor to moderate impact to housing and employment” and “adverse major impact to wages” in Hot Springs while having “beneficial negligible impact to housing, employment, and wages” in Rapid City), they should be able to wave a banner reading “Veterans!” under the Führer’s nose and get him to write a billion-dollar check and come for the grand opening of two new Black Hills VA hospitals linked by a new federally-subsidized railroad running coal-fired trains.
The VA EIS notes that the new VHA national pharmacy call center is bringing 120 new jobs to Hot Springs and using “underutilized or vacant” space on the historic VA campus. In bringing this call center to Hot Springs and keeping a clinic on the historic Southern Hills campus, the VA seems to be making an extra effort to include local economic preservation goals with the main mission of providing the best care anywhere. It remains to be seen whether that accommodation will satisfy our Congressional delegation or whether they will stick their buckets in for more of the new reckless deficit spending likely to flow from the new White House.