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Mentele Catches Forgers, Keeps Petitions Clean

Pat Powers hates anything that challenges his Republican sponsors’ absolute control of South Dakota politics. Thus, Pat Powers hates ballot measures, in which the voters of South Dakota have frequently demonstrated their ability to see past party labels and put the kaibosh on bad Republican policy.

Thus, unsurprisingly, Powers trumpets ballot question sponsor extraordinaire Melissa Mentele’s mention on Facebook that she has caught some of her hired circulators forging petition signatures as a sign that every petition she’s circulating is bogus:

I mean dang… there are people who want to do illegal things who might be doing something illegal? Perish the thought.

If I was planning on challenging petitions this year, I’d be marking this one down as an exhibit #1 in my case [Pat Powers, “Head of New Approach SD Election Petition Effort Noting ‘Forgeries’ on Facebook,” Dakota War College, 2017.10.30].

Powers snidely dismisses ballot measures and popular democracy as an effort to “do illegal things.” But more importantly, he misses the point of Mentele’s transparency. Rather than hiding problems, the New Approach organizer exposes them upfront and makes clear to her circulators and potential signers that she won’t stand for misconduct. If anything, Mentele’s Facebook post is a sign that she is absolutely committed to not doing illegal things and insists on running her petition drives by the book.

New Approach is also breaking out the cookbook, hosting a Potluck and Petition Signing on Sunday, November 5, 4 p.m. for volunteers at its office at 2007 South Minnesota Avenue:

We invite ALL of the volunteers to come in & potluck with us this Sunday as we finish up the last day of counting, signing & packing up.

We will provide Pulled Pork Sandwiches, BBQs & some sides. We invite you all to bring a salad or dessert to share.

This is a great time to share stories, take photos and plan your trip to Pierre Monday.

This is an informal, very low key time to spend together before we all start our “Post petition season” lives [New Approach SD, Facebook event post, retrieved 2017.10.31].

Sunday is the last full day that anyone can sign an initiative petition; all petitions are due Monday, November 6, by the end of business at the Secretary of State’s office. Current forecast is partly sunny, no apparent precip to make the roads slick.


  1. Nick Nemec 2017-10-31 10:13

    This isn’t the first time powers has slandered Mentele. He will stop a nothing to protect the status quo.

  2. Foul Mouth Mentele 2017-10-31 11:21

    Powers is just jealous because the work we do is actually important and has value. His “work” is all slander, lies and starry eyed hero worship for people who use him to further their own agendas. Funniest thing I heard all summer was “If you want to ruin someone call PP and give him a tip” apparently he does 0 research on his stories and just runs with whatever politician he is brown nosing at the time says. I can’t help but feel sorry for him.

    Proudly Foul Mouthed Mentele-Guardian of Humaity & Speaker of Short Hairs….an equal opportunity offender of ladylike behavior.

  3. Donald Pay 2017-10-31 11:31

    Because Pitty Pat has a large amount of expertise in collecting petition signatures illegally, I’m tempted to bow to his vast experience. However, people who sponsor and collect initiative petitions generally do it the right way, unless they are Republican office holders (Mickelson) or stooges like Pitty Pat.

    In all the petition efforts I was involved in, we always checked to make sure it was done legally. If it wasn’t, which was rarely, we crossed out the signatures, or dumped the petition and didn’t allow that person to circulate anymore. Everyone wants good signatures, because every bad signature makes you look bad.

    Pitty Pat has a history that must be eating at him. Pitty Pat’s Daddy tried and failed at intimidating petition circulators and signers during the nuclear waste fight in the 1980s, and he’s never gotten over that family humiliation. Pitty Pat has a looooooong history of contempt for the people and their right to petition for redress of grievances. He hates the US Constitution and the SD Constitution, which gives people those rights. How this guy infiltrated the SOS office with this history of contempt for Constitutional rights still baffles me.

  4. Mary Perpich 2017-10-31 11:35

    I like the creative and collaborative way petition circulators are getting signatures this year. They show a team spirit that is uplifting and inspiring. Pot lucks and office open houses as well as drinks at a local bar illustrate the dedication these people have to the right of all to challenge government.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-31 12:39

    Powers père was a petition saboteur? Fascinating! Loathing of democracy baked into the DNA!

    Creative and collaborative—good words, Mary, for any campaign to live by. I’ll look forward to seeing how well the collaboration worked for the remaining petitioners. If it works, they could provide a good lesson for future campaigns.

  6. Jenny 2017-10-31 12:59

    Wow, such openess and honesty about some issues with her workers. No cover ups from Mentele. South Dakotans like Pat Powersare just not used to be hearing someone being so open. It goes against everything SD State GOP govt stand for.

  7. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-10-31 13:11

    Hmm… maybe we need to recruit Mentele for Secretary of State to show Pat how to do that job?

  8. Bob Newland 2017-10-31 14:20

    The Phat Phough is pathetic in his desire to get appreciation for his embarrassingly weak defense of all things Republican, not matter their self-evident weaknesses. Meanwhile, the folks for whom he flogs can’t stand him, except as a bridge to their mentally-challenged membership wing.

  9. Spencer 2017-10-31 22:53

    I would imagine this is why they are only at about the 15k mark for signatures for all three? I am presuming they are low-balling us on this to “shock” us with 20k or 30k apiece or more. I am assuming that the forgeries have something to do with Angela Albonico and the Pine Ridge drive. I noticed they are doing nearly the same schedule and stops this week, which only makes sense if you have to redo signatures or the ones collected were compromised. Mentele probably realized that the whole leg of the drive was compromised but could not remove a key sponsor of the suicide petition. One has to wonder how much of this has to do with the pervasive drug usage among these petitioners. It is like some unknown force is sapping them of their motivation, drive, and ability to get it together.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-01 05:54

    Spencer, errors are not the only way to make sense of multiple visits to Pine Ridge. The simpler explanation is that they are just getting more signatures and that the visits to Pine Ridge have been successful enough to make multiple trips worth the drive.

    That Mentele would give the 15K estimate to James Nord may also be read more simply than your spinfully negative assumption, Spencer. That may be the actual number, and Mentele may be practicing more transparency, in line with the thesis of this post.

    Mickelson claims 15K+ as well. Spencer, do you assume he’s lowballing us and that his lazy petitioners are on drugs?

    The accusation of pervasive drug use among petitioners is mere defamation.

  11. Melissa 2017-11-01 08:41

    It could also mean we are following the law when we register new voters and don’t let them sign until their forms have been submitted to their county auditors office. Hence the return trip to several locations over the next few days….plus who doesn’t like extra signatures?

  12. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-11-01 19:59

    Dang—logic, legality, and public service. Melissa, please track those new registrants and remind them to come vote for your measures (and maybe for a good candidate or three) next November!

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