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:
It is attracting attention from unsavory quarters. There is more to come.
“His clipboard for hire meets the calling wind.”