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Archive for October, 2016

A pretty good video explaining why Amendment V is potentially bad

October 31, 2016 2 comments
Jeff 4 Justice graphic showing what Amendment V could do to SD elections.

Jeff 4 Justice graphic showing what Amendment V could do to SD elections.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak with Jeff Justice about Amendment V. Jeff Justice is the person behind the Jeff 4 Justice YouTube channel.  Amendment V is on the South Dakota ballot this fall and aims to get all voters to participate in the primary election process by removing party labels and having one large primary followed by a top two general election. Justice happens to be from California, which has already implemented a system similar to that being proposed in South Dakota with Amendment V. To that end, Justice created a great video explaining why he believes South Dakota should vote down Amendment V. Justice drew upon experiences in California to make his case.

When I looked at Amendment V back in August I was a tentative yes, but that was a very weak yes. Actually even at that time I felt Amendment V would not do what proponents think it would do. Now after spending more time reading through Amendment V and speaking with Justice I am leaning towards a no vote on Amendment V. It really does seem that Amendment V could end up reducing voter choice in South Dakota; which is odd because we already have too many races with no choices.

I would urge anyone that wants to learn more about Amendment V to watch the Jeff 4 Justice video embedded below. The video is about twenty-five minutes long and is well worth watching.

 

Pictures from #NoDAPL rally in Bismarck on Saturday

October 31, 2016 Comments off

On Saturday, October 29, there was a rally in front of the North Dakota State Capital in Bismarck to show support and solidarity for the water protectors in Standing Rock. For those unfamiliar with the term “water protectors”, it is the term the opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) us to show they do not consider themselves to be protesters. Rather the water protectors feel it is important to stand up to DAPL in order to protect the water. This particular rally was co-hosted by Dakota Resource Council and activists Kirsten Kelsch and Caro Gonzales. For those of us in South Dakota, Dakota Resource Council is a North Dakota organization very similar to South Dakota’s Dakota Rural Action.

I have video footage of the rally, which I hope to get posted some time in the next day. This post however will focus on pictures I had taken at the rally.

ND State Patrol handled security for the rally. For the most part it seemed they were there to direct traffic. In the left hand side of the photo below there were two people making signs for the rally.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

The state troopers in attendance were very friendly and professional. They stayed well away from the actual rally.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

The picture below was taken towards the beginning of the rally. Notice the signs all say #WaterIsLife and Respect Existence or Expect Resistance.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Protest sign: One Wind, One Earth, One Water, Standing with the Rock.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

The crowd grew as time went on. The rally members were focused on the traffic going by.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Just to the side of the rally members was this lady holding a black/white American flag with a blue stripe going through it. I’ve seen more of these flags over the last few years, especially after the #BlueLivesMatters movement started in response to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As I understand it, the blue line is to stand in solidarity with members of law enforcement that have given their lives in the line of duty; and also shows support for law enforcement officers that are still putting their lives on the line.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

NO DAPL coats.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

I believe this was taken when the crowd was at its maximum size.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Two rally attendees. Sign with Standing on the Side of Love!

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

There were quite a few members who were part of the Unitarian Universalists.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

The Black Hills Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was in attendance.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Greed Kills sign along with a native image on the American flag.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

There was actually a pretty good media turnout for this rally.

bisrally_15

Group photo time.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Unitarian Universalists group photo.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Honk if you love water. There were quite a few people who honked as going by. Very few cars going by said anything disparaging towards the rally.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Don Morrison, Executive Directors of Dakota Resource Council, working the bullhorn towards the end of the rally.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Bismarck water protectors rally. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

DAPL protest pictures and video will be available in a few days

October 29, 2016 Comments off

I am currently in North Dakota conducting interviews for another media site in regards to the Dakota Access PipeLine protests going on in Cannon Ball. Because of the interviews I am doing for that other publisher, I probably won’t blog about the topic here on SoDakLiberty. But I will have pictures and videos from the #NoDAPL protest today in Bismarck and from the Cannon Ball camp. I will post various pictures and video to this blog as I find time to sort through the files and get them uploaded.

As a sneak preview, here is a picture taken towards the beginning of the protest in Bismarck today:

#NoDAPL protesters in Bismarck. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

#NoDAPL protesters in Bismarck. Photo by Ken Santema 10/29/16.

Categories: Uncategorized

Legislative Planning and Special Legislative Task Force meetings on Mon Oct 31

October 29, 2016 Comments off

On Monday, October 29, at 9:00 am the Legislative Planning committee will meet in Room 413 of the State Capitol building. Following that meeting the Legislative Planning committee will convene as the Special Legislative Task Force at 12:15 PM in the same room. SDPB will provide live audio for anyone wishing to listen in on the meeting; an archive of the audio will also be available there after the meeting.

The previous Legislative Planning meeting was held on September 19. The minutes from that meeting can be viewed here, and the documents from that meeting can be viewed here. It is a meeting I have in my “possible future blog posts” due to the amount of information about Research Parks included in the meeting.

The agenda for the October 31 Legislative Planning committee can be viewed here. This meeting seems focused on finalizing the Performance Management Review Process for the following state departments:

  • Governor’s Office of Economic Development
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Tourism
  • Department of Game, Fish & Parks
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Environment & Natural Resources

The Special Legislative Task Force last met on September 19 as well. The minutes from that meeting can be viewed here, and my post looking briefly at the Special Legislative Task Force can be viewed here. This was an interesting meeting to listen to, mostly because I really didn’t know anything about the University Centers, or that SD had three of them.

Here is a potential bill to possibly come out of this committee mentioned in the Sept 19 minutes:

Senator Vehle stated that he has draft legislation that would decrease the review period from ten years to every three years to coincide with the Board of Regents reports to the Legislative Planning Committee, and would transfer the responsibilities of this task force to the Legislative Planning Committee.

The second part of Vehle’s bill would get rid of the requirement for the Legislative Planning committee to end its meeting and reform as the Special Legislative Task Force.

The main part of the agenda for the October 31 Special Legislative Task Force meeting seems to revolve around information provided relative to the university centers by the following:

  • Michael Rush, Executive Director and CEO, SD Board of Regents
  • James W. Abbott, President, University of South Dakota Mr.
  • Harvey Jewett, Member of the SD Board of Regents Paul Turman,
  • System Vice President for Academic Affairs, SD BOR Monte
  • Kramer, System Vice President of Finance and Admin, SD BOR
  • Janelle Toman, Director, Capital University Center Craig
  • Johnson, Executive Dean, University Center-Sioux Falls

These might be a pair of meetings worth paying attention to for possible legislation to be brought forth.

Thune and Williams talking TPP, GMO, and COOL in Rotary Club debate

October 27, 2016 Comments off
Screenshot form KSFY video of the John Thune and Jay Williams US Senate Debate.

Screenshot form KSFY video of the John Thune and Jay Williams US Senate Debate.

On Monday, October 24, the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Club hosted a US Senate debate between incumbent Republican John Thune and Democrat challenger Jay Williams.. One of the topic areas for this debate was agricultural trade policy. The two really don’t have a lot of disagreement on the topic, but I think it is worth looking at briefly.

Thune and Williams were asked about their thoughts regarding international trade agreements. Specifically mentioned in the question was the  North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). About a year ago I looked at Thune’s stances in regards to TPP. He has not only been supportive of TPP, but has tried to get Democrats to support it as well.

Thune really didn’t say much about NAFTA. Instead he said

Trade deals that have been negotiated in the past, we can re-litigate those, and maybe there is some bad deals negotiated in the past. But we need to make sure going into the future, that when we negotiate these deals, that agriculture has a seat at the table.

Thune goes on to say that the ag market has to be opened up. He didn’t say it directly, but Thune made it sound like the country would be disengaging from international trade if the US didn’t sign on to TPP.

Williams was in agreement with Thune, saying this:

You know, I agree with Senator Thune on this. I believe that the TPP is good for South Dakota.

Williams believes it will help our agricultural exports and says he in general believes in free trade. He says current trade policy has decreased global poverty internationally.

This is one of the times I wish there was someone in the debate with a different point of view. Both candidates support TPP. Neither candidate mention how widely encompassing TPP is, and that it deals with much more than trade policies. There are many good areas for the US in TPP, but I have concerns about other non-trade portions of TPP that might be very bad for the US.

Then Williams takes this odd shot at Republicans, and Thune:

The question I have is if President Obama went out and negotiated this TPP deal, and the Republicans control both houses of Congress, why is it that it hasn’t been approved? And I think the reason for it is because we have a dysfunctional Congress that won’t get along.

Thune did reply to say Obama has never sent TPP to Congress.

I think Williams little attack on Thune was odd. I don’t really care if he attacks Thune. But in this case Thune is correct that Obama had not yet officially sent TPP to Congress. The Obama administration has held onto TPP for months, and only earlier this month notified Congress he will be sending TPP to them.  By law that leaves at least thirty days before Congress can address TPP. The reason for that is now Congress must wait to take up TPP until after the election. This was a clear move by the Obama administration to shield TPP from being voted down by Congress at a time when many voters believe trade deals kill domestic jobs. After the election I have no doubt TPP will pass with bipartisan support and be signed into law by Obama.

On the next question Thune noted there are other trade barriers that are not tariff related which must be dealt with. One of those barriers is Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) trade policies. Thune notes 90% of the corn and soybeans grown in South Dakota come from GMO seed. He goes on to note many countries in Europe and Asia block American ag exports because of GMO crops. Thune notes there is no scientific basis for those countries to block imports of GMO products.

Williams noted there is no longer Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in the United States. I looked briefly at COOL last year. Williams believes South Dakota residents will buy beef made in South Dakota over beef made in Brazil, and that consumers should be able to know where that beef came from. I wish Williams had said whether he supports the World Trade Organization (WTO) policy that basically caused the US to switch the law on COOl.

TPP, GMO, and COOL are likely to be huge issues for the next Congressional session; at least in regards to the agricultural industry. I wish both candidates had spoken further about GMOs and COOL. I don’t think these are topics that will sway this election in any manner, but I do think these topics are important for South Dakota voters to understand.

Video available for the final two Thune/Williams debates

October 27, 2016 Comments off
Screenshot form KSFY video of the John Thune and Jay Williams US Senate Debate.

Screenshot form KSFY video of the John Thune and Jay Williams US Senate Debate.

There have been four US Senate debates between incumbent Republican John Thune and Democrat challenger Jay Williams. Previously I posted my notes from the October 14 KELO US Senate debate and I posted my notes from the October 13 SDPB debate. The other two debates happened on Monday, October 24. In this post I will embed the video from those debates. If I find anything of value to blog about from those debates I will do it in a separate post.

On Monday, October 24, the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Club hosted a US Senate debate. The event was broadcast on CSPAN, but it doesn’t appear to be in their video archive yet. The Argus Leader does have video of the event, which I have embedded below.

http://www.argusleader.com/videos/embed/92685242/?fullsite=true

Also on Monday, October 24, KSFY hosted a US Senate debate. This debate was about a half hour long. The debate can be viewed on the KSFY website, or I have also embedded the video below.

http://www.ksfy.com/includes/2015_jwplayer.js jwplayer.key=”Xb4pq7jNsbZ4Vfx+msWU558xEnsZPO4TpfmMIQ==”;

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Video of the LSS community public meeting on immigration and refugees

October 26, 2016 Comments off

Yesterday Lutheran Social Services (LSS) held a community public meeting to speak about the organizations activities regarding refugee resettlement. The meetings goal seemed to be aimed at communicating with the Aberdeen community as to what LSS does or doesn’t do in regards to refugee resettlement.

The two speakers from LSS were:

  • Betty Oldenkamp, President & CEO
  • Tim Jurgens, Director & State Refugee Coordinator

This is an issue getting a lot of attention in the community. Jurgens and Oldenkamp were not exactly in friendly territory. Many people in the community have questions about refugees and want answers to a variety of issues regarding refugees. In this meeting Jurgens really took a lot of heat from community members. After the election when I have more time I’ll probably come back and blog about some portions of this particular meeting.

Here is the video of the event. I haven’t had time to clean up the audio yet, so there are some portions that are somewhat hard to hear. Hopefully this weekend I can find time to clean the audio up a bit.

Categories: Aberdeen Tags: , ,
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