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Guest Column: Newland Discusses Silliness of Recruitment Pitch Necessitated by SD Circulator Pay Restriction

Have Clipboard, Will Travel—Installment V
by Bob Newland

Imagine you are a Cadillac dealer. Your median product sells for $100k. You want to hire someone to sell your Cadillacs. You advertise for help. People call. They want to get paid for selling Cadillacs. “How much do I get paid for selling Cadillacs?”

You tell them, “I will pay you $20 an hour to tell people Cadillacs are good cars. I will pay you substantial bonuses if you actually sell any Cadillacs. These bonuses will take into account your reliability, your longevity, and your productivity.”

Applicant: “Yeah. Aaaannnd how much are the bonuses?”

You: “Well, I can tell you that your reliability will be self-evident if you even show up once, and that your longevity will be predicated on productivity, but the State of South Dakota will not allow me to define productivity in terms which could make you think it’s worthwhile to you. In other words, I can’t tell you how much money you will earn at this job. Yes, I’ll pay you $20 for showing up once. If you actually do any work, I will pay you a lot more, but South Dakota tells me I can’t tell you how much that is. It would charge me with a Class 2 misdemeanor (possibility of 30 days in jail, $500 fine plus lawyer fees if you go that way) and disallow your work product. However, even if I told you that I would pay you a $1000 bonus for selling one Cadillac, and a DCI agent talked to you, he’d be unlikely to charge you with selling a Cadillac. When would you like to start?”

When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

—Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72

The delivery of voters’ signatures in the service of redressing grievances is sacrosanct in a civilized society, even in South Dakota, as the recent vote on Amendment C illustrated. I am the field commander of a citizen action to expose and reverse a wrong created by a bad law (a different bad law from the law I parodied above).

In a recent establishment of law, Meade County Ordinance 53 prohibited more than one medical cannabis dispensary in the county. Municipalities within the county, such as Sturgis, Faith, etc., are allowed to regulate much of the business within their boundaries, so, in reality there will be more cannabis businesses in Meade County than just one, but there is a lot of country in Meade County outside of municipalities, and it is just wrong for the county commission to allocate the monopoly of medical cannabis sales on county jusrisdiction to a handpicked partner.

This… uh… situation intrigued me from the time I was offered the field marshal position. My assignment was to assemble a group of specialists, people who could knock on doors tirelessly and who would be paid more per hour than they could make anywhere else, albeit for only a few weeks or days. Their job would be to offer to share the voices of the willing to ask for a vote on whether the Meade County Commission’s allocation of a retail license to a particular entity while prohibiting any competition to that entity should be allowed to remain in effect.

The people I hire ask people they meet if they’d like to put that question on the ballot for the next election.

You want to see Cadillacs being driven off the lot by new owners. You, a Cadillac dealer, are not barred from telling your salesmen what they will earn if they sell one, five or 20 Cadillacs in a day or a month or a year.

I want to see signatures of people registered to vote in Meade County, South Dakota, on a petition establishing a public vote on whether the Meade County Commission gets to pick a winner before the game starts.

I am barred from telling potential petition circulators what, exactly, they will earn for giving away 100 Cadillacs. They are walking door-to-door in miserable June heat in late afternoons, which is the only time they can find people home. They are there to present the opportunity to folks to register their discomfort over the Meade County Commission’s allocation of a monopoly. This is one of the most sacred of all civil rights. I am not allowed to tell them how much I can pay them for doing that.

Me: “I am pretty sure that even if I told you that I’m paying $15 per valid Meade County signature, and even if you got called in front of a DCI agent, it would be unlikely they’d actually charge you with a crime if you told them, ‘Yes, I took money from a dude for asking people if they wanted to help right a wrong. He wouldn’t tell me how much he was gonna pay me until he actually paid me. When I saw it, I thought, ‘This ain’t half-bad.’’

Potential circulator: “Yeah, I’d like an opportunity to put myself on the DCI’s radar.”

Me: “When can you start?”

That is exactly what South Dakota Codified Law 12-13-28 does.

I work for an out-of-state, apparently well-funded legal cannabis distribution conglomerate. They want a Meade County license. They presented the ordinance as self-evidence of bullshit. I agreed in principle. Turned out we agreed in principal as well. (Y’know, like principal and interest.)

It’s part of the product of the black mold that G. Marky Mickelson and cronies started spreading on the right to redress grievances in SoDak when we dared to suggest they should be subject to ethics boundaries back in ’16. I am working for the out-of-state interests they claimed to be fighting when they made it so that no one except out-of-state interests can afford to fight the scurrilous asses of the G. Markys, the Lee Schoenbecks, the Brock Greenfields, the Marty Jackleys, the Kristi Noems, ad nauseum.

I find myself in the midst of so much irony that I am turning the color of a radish.

This is an ad I am running in a Meade County publication:

Bob Newland, help wanted ad for petition circulators in Meade County, June 2022.
Bob Newland, help wanted ad for petition circulators in Meade County, June 2022.

It is attracting attention from unsavory quarters. There is more to come.

Bob Newland
“His clipboard for hire meets the calling wind.”


  1. Bob Newland 2022-06-14 10:26

    I have been stung!

    Yes, undercover cops are applying for the job. See Installment VI, coming soon.

  2. All Mammal 2022-06-14 14:04

    Not surprising when the new sheriff of Meade Co boasts during the debates he has, “bought and sold dope on the streets for years.”
    Who goes to their job interview for a janitorial career and tells his potential boss, “I been making messes all my life. Never push in my chair, leave crumbs everywhere and smear jelly on the light switch. I’m the best choice for cleaning places because I’m a slob”?

    I have gotten 2 signatures from law enforcement. I target mayors, police, any person who thinks I will apologize and scamper away once they reveal their important, prestigious job. Hence, I say, “Great! Your signature would be the ultimate gesture of your commitment to the law and the citizens it protects.” It stays interesting schmoozing with people I usually avoid like a feed lot in August. Especially when we both recognize the absurdity of the whole show.

    It isn’t the law-abiding entrepreneurs or even the self-medicators that do harm to the community and threaten democracy. Undercover, paid lawmen should actually protect a bunch of citizens by entrapping criminals actively disposing illegal toxic wastes onto the ground and into the water. That would actually matter.

  3. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-14 22:08

    Well, Bob, you are attempting to interfere with the essential ebb and flow of dollars…this is to be dictated by existing powers and the Republican Party takes the proper dispensation of dollars to only those worthy to receive them as their sacred duty. Good Luck.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-06-14 22:15

    Bless your heart, Bob. May your clipboard never be trumped by a pocket ten eight.

  5. Bob Newland 2022-06-14 22:28

    Yes, Arlo. I am aware that writing parody and satire is satisfying only to the woke. It will not awaken the unwoke.

  6. Bob Newland 2022-06-15 19:28

    Mammal, nice analysis of Pat the Punk’s self-praise.

  7. John Dale 2022-06-27 08:34

    “Yeah, I’d like an opportunity to put myself on the DCI’s radar.”

    +1 for privacy.

  8. larry kurtz 2022-06-27 11:07

    10-8 is a Deadwood inside joke.

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