In 1828 Andrew Jackson ran against John Quincy Adams, then the nation's sixth president and son of John Adams, the nation's second president. Adams and his supporters called Jackson's wife an adulteress and bigamist while Jackson's camp replied that Adams sold his wife's maid into sexual bondage to the Czar of Russia.
Whoa! Talk about mudslinging. Who would even think about trying something like that today?
Those races, however, aren't unique. Dirty tricks and negative tactics have been part of almost every presidential race in history. Even George Washington was a victim as his foes said he had a secret desire to be crowned king.
With the long history of negative ads and dirty tricks involved in our election process, it's hard to believe that somehow, even with all that's wrong with our political system, it still seems to work; almost in spite of itself. That's a pretty amazing thing when you think about it. Despite all the special interest groups, malcontents and would-be power brokers spending millions of dollars telling us what's wrong with this person or that we still, one way or another, have a system that, warts and all, manages to work.
Given the long history of dirty tricks and negative ads at top-of-the-ticket American political campaigns, perhaps we shouldn't be surprised they eventually filtered their way down to other levels. Please put those aside if you haven't yet voted. Forget about all the negative ads and outside influences and concentrate on what you believe is right for you, your community, state and nation and then please, vote accordingly. In the final analysis, you are the deciding factor. Remember, the special interest groups, malcontents and would-be power brokers spending millions of dollars don't determine the outcome of this election; you do.
Oh, and just in case you've got room for one more negative ad, this one is a doozy. In 1928 Republican Herbert Hoover was running against Democrat Al Smith for president of the United States. Smith was the first Catholic candidate of a major political party and his foes warned that if he won, he'd have a secret tunnel built from the United States to Vatican City in Rome and the pope would be calling all the shots in Washington.
Too bad he didn't win. It would have been interesting to see how that one played out.
Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, Sept. 27, 2014
Cities, counties need tax flexibility
Sometimes a good idea just runs into poor timing.
Let's hope that's true with a proposal that was shot down by the South Dakota Legislature in 2010, but just might get another hearing.
The idea is to empower local governments to raise or add a sales tax for a special purpose. The proposal in 2010 would have allowed for a temporary city sales tax as a funding mechanism for a new Sioux Falls event center.
Mayor Dave Munson and others proposed the legislation and a total of 92 cities and towns supported the bill, saying the power to add a temporary tax would help them with the multitude of building and infrastructure needs they face.
They argued that residents would be able to put such measures to a local vote, assuring that the ultimate control over raising taxes would rest with the taxpayers of the communities.
The proposal never made it out of legislative committee. The House Local Government Committee killed the bill on a 10-3 vote.
Legislators and state revenue department officials argued that such a law could hinder the state's ability to raise its sales tax if needed.
Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether brought the subject back to the forefront recently, after returning from a trip to Williston, ND. Huether said that community, which is wrestling with phenomenal growth brought on by the oil boom, was adding a half-cent sales tax to build a recreation center and acquire land for more parks. North Dakota state law allows that.
In addition, he said the North Dakota State Legislature was considering a separate sales tax measure that would provide funding to cities and counties affected by the rapid growth in those areas.
He pointed to those funding sources as possible solutions to ongoing problems in Minnehaha County caused by rapid growth. The county has no ability to add a sales tax and is struggling with overcrowding and pressures on its jail and court system. County officials have pushed unsuccessfully over the years for legislation to allow taxes on drinks to raise funds to deal with continuous growth.
Huether isn't pushing the measure, just pointing it out as a solution in a similar situation. We applaud him for raising the issue.
Maybe it's time to try again to get similar enabling legislation passed in our state.
At the very least, the discussion should be restarted in Pierre.