Vargo Challenges Paid Amendment S Speaker with Cost Warning

In conjunction with his new article on “Marsy’s Law”, AP’s James Nord tweets two videos on Amendment S, California billionaire Henry T. Nicholas’s vanity bill. Nord offers this canned speech from Tami Haug-Davis, who is paid to say nice things about Amendment S:

Counter that with this sharp evaluation from Pennington County States Attorney Mark Vargo, who gets not one penny for speaking on Amendment S but who sounds convinced that he’ll be able to use our tax dollars more effectively without S:

The Minnehaha County Commission buys Vargo’s cost argument. So do most South Dakota prosecutors and defense attorneys, who are nearly unanimous in their opposition to Amendment S.

Even our richest lawyers won’t have the idle cash to mount a proportionate response to an obsessed and reckless Henry T. Nicholas’s boundless spending on his vanity project. But our legal community has launched a low-cost website (—that’s “No On Amend S,” not “Noon Amends”) and a Facebook page boosted with a little ad spending (that’s how I found it… and it’s “SD Voting No On S,” not “SD Voting Noons”). I feel funny viewing well-to-do lawyers as David, but in this case, they are the underdogs against an out-of-state Goliath who didn’t bother to read South Dakota law before floating his Amendment S here… and whose only supporters in South Dakota appear to be people he pays.

10 Responses to Vargo Challenges Paid Amendment S Speaker with Cost Warning

  1. Nick Nemec

    I suspect Amendment S stands a good chance of passing. My wife and I have each been getting 2-3 glossy 4 color postcards a week, every card telling some horrible story and urging the passage of S to end the present horrible situation. Meanwhile the opposition is nearly nonexistent.

  2. Vote NO on everything.
    There are just too many confusing and misrepresented issues out there for me to sort out. I’ll be voting NO on everything. You should too.

  3. Darin Larson

    I’ll make it easy for you Grudznick. If she is 21 or over, vote for her along with RTV.

  4. Mr. Larson, that doesn’t make it easy for me. It confuses me. Vote for young women, like that Ms. Bootz lady, and RTV music shows?

    I will just vote NO on everything. BAH! NO!

  5. Nick, is there any solution to that problem of one rich, committed campaigner having a lot more time and money on his hands to throw at a ballot measure than a whole bunch of South Dakotans who recognize the measure is garbage but don’t have the same spare time to devote to fighting it?

  6. Thank you for posting this Cory. We all have sympathy for crime victims but Marsy’s Law isn’t the answer for South Dakota. We don’t need to import cookie cutter laws. We can design our own to fit South Dakota’s specific needs.

  7. Nick Nemec

    Cory, some would say the process of initiative and referendum needs to be curtailed or ended. I disagree with that proposition. I am not enough of a Constitutional scholar to know if there is a way, within the bounds of the First Amendment, to curtail abuse of our system. Tighter restrictions on who can circulate a petition may help, although the antics we saw last spring where paid petition “circulators” supervised multiple individuals doing the actual solicitation indicate that those pushing self dealing legislation or having an ax to grind are very creative when it comes to walking the tightrope of legal behavior.

    I reject the vote no on everything position. That is a know nothing, head in the sand attitude that ignores the realities of individual ballot measures. I for one am willing to learn at least a small bit about each ballot measure.

  8. Nick Nemec

    But sadly I am afraid many of my fellow citizens will not do even a small bit of research and will follow grudz’s example, or will be swayed by the deluge of misleading, self dealing propaganda.

  9. Grudz-you take the very position of Republican obstructionists everywhere! (If that black interloper defiling our white house has anything to do with it or the Democrats in SD I’m against it.

  10. Oh, that darned First Amendment! ;-)

    The real solution is an educated and engaged electorate. If the media cover petition drives and ballot measures properly, and if citizens pay attention, no petition antics or propaganda from payday lenders or Koch brothers will foil the will of the people.