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Yanktonians Against Opt-Out Hire Notorious Anti-Public School Propagandist

Various blog friends have told me yesterday's "100 Eyes on S.D. Politics" program, sponsored by that Sioux Falls paper, opined that the South Dakota blogosphere doesn't matter much.

Fourteen hours later, rising South Dakota blogospherian Displaced Plainsman breaks the story that opponents of the Yankton school opt-out have hired out-of-state consultant Paul Dorr to propagandize for a No vote. As DP thoroughly documents, Paul Dorr believes that public schools seek to destroy Christianity. Dorr wants to eliminate the public schools. As DP points out, Dorr's agenda contradicts claims of local opt-out opponents who say they aren't against public education.

The new Yankton Opt-Out Mythbusters will likely be busy in the coming two weeks. Dorr is well known for tying up school staff with enormous information requests, then spinning and twisting that information for his paying clients to sow mistrust in their school district. Mythbusters, be sure to review this brief on Dorr's campaign tactics.

DP labels Dorr's hiring by the opt-out opponents a "rumor." I have documents coming to confirm the rumor.

But you know what the real journalists say: it's just a blog story, so it probably doesn't matter. It's just a right-wing ideologue coming to Yankton to destroy public schools under the guise of prophetic piety. No big deal.

And now for some relevant observations on Paul Dorr's reputation and thinking:

  1. Dorr's local sheriff in Osceola County, Iowa, has testified that he has heard neighbors describe Dorr as "a whacko, delusional, a nut job, a spook, and narcissist." You might want to think twice about saying such things to Dorr's face, since Dorr is probably carrying a concealed weapon (something Yankton school officials might want to check the next time Dorr sets foot on school grounds).
  2. Dorr named his Copperhead Consulting Services for the Copperheads, Northerners who sympathized with the Rebel cause during the Civil War. Dorr seems to think God was on the South's side.
  3. Dorr clearly believes he is on a mission from God to "get God's children out of Pharaoh's schools." Dorr's certainty of divine rightness also helps him justify making a profit on his crusade. Come on, now, Paul: even the most fanatic crusader cannot serve both God and mammon, can he?
  4. Dorr seems to think that the DARE program is just a plot to increase illegal drug use and thus allow the state to expand its power.


  1. shane gerlach 2011.05.11

    I cannot believe the likes of Magnuson and Gilson are willing to bring this man into our community.

    The above is an absolutely petrifying story about the damage Dorr does. Wow!

    My town may not be the same after this. I hope our Governor and his lackeys are proud of what they have done.


  2. Sylvia Brandt 2011.05.21

    After reading about Mr. Dorr and all the adds in the papers by Yes For Kids about all the mudslinging and the editiorials about how he would destroy our town, etc., I read the mailing and kept waiting to read mud-slinging, hateful and whacky material. Instead, I read information taked directly from the school district's reports presented in a rather mundane way. Granted the antis put their spin on it, but it certainly wasn't infammatory, hateful or whacky, nor is one mailing a flood. Why would you slander Mr. Dorr and make such a big deal out of how he was going to flood our town with lies, mudslinging, and tear our community apart, before you knew for sure that that was what would happen? It made us look like vindictive, desperate, mean-spirited mudslingers. You should have kept your adds and opinions positive. I think you all have mud on your faces and have hurt our cause.

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.21

    Sylvia, I don't think the discussion of Mr. Dorr qualifies as "slander." Everything I've seen has been an accurate portrayal of his desire to destroy the public education system in what he sees as a mission from God.

  4. shane gerlach 2011.05.21

    Sylvia is it election day yet?

    Watch the Monday and Tuesday P and D. Have you been reading the P and D comment boards for stories about opt out and letters to the editor?

    Mr. Dorr is notorious for forcing (with legal backing) radio stations and Newspapers to allow him the last word so pro opts do not have time to respond. I hope that doesn't happen in our town.

    Also Cory has done no mudslinging, he has linked to legitimate sources as I have I. How does this hurt the pro opts in any way?

    Shane Gerlach

  5. shane gerlach 2011.05.21

    Sylvia please read this site for more news on the "information taked directly from the school district’s reports presented in a rather mundane way. Granted the antis put their spin on it, but it certainly wasn’t infammatory, hateful or whacky" mail out.

    The mail out is full of blatant lies.

    Thank you Sylvia

    Shane Gerlach

  6. Sylvia Brandt 2011.05.23

    I was upset by the postcard I received today regarding Mr. Gertsema's contract. I voiced this concern to a friend who called the State's Attorney and guess what? His contract is indeed a public record and should be given to any taxpayer who requests it. This does not look good.

  7. Rosie Girl 2011.05.23

    Ms. Brandt:
    Please cite the SD codified law or the legal court decision to verify your assertion "his contract is indeed a public record and should be given to any taxpayer who requests it". The SD Attorney General (SDAG) will be able to provide this information, if you wish to call his office. You might want to read this information from the SDAG's official website first though: "Please Note: State law prohibits the Attorney General or members of his staff from providing private legal advice to the general public. The Attorney General serves as legal advisor for the state officials and certain local officials. PLEASE CONTACT A PRIVATE ATTORNEY IF YOU NEED A LAWYER OR LEGAL ADVICE. Due to confidentiality and security concerns, this office will only respond to inquiries in writing or via email. Please include your name and mailing address in your email.
    E-Mail received through this website is not continuously monitored. E-Mail is reviewed and responded to as time and other duties allow. It may be several days before your e-mail message is read. It may take several days after your message is read before a response will be sent either by US Mail or via e-mail. IF YOU REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE OR YOUR REQUEST IS TIME SENSITIVE YOU SHOULD CONTACT THE OFFICE BY TELEPHONE AT 605-773-3215."

  8. Rosie Girl 2011.05.23

    Ms. Brandt:
    Continuing with my previous post (interrupted, sorry)...
    If you or your friend wish to contact Mr. Klimisch again regarding the assertion “his contract is indeed a public record and should be given to any taxpayer who requests it", please ask him to cite the SD codified law or the legal court decision to verify the statement.

  9. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.24

    My initial impression is that public school employees' contracts are matters of public record. Their salaries are published in the paper. If you want to see the contract, you can go to the business office and ask for it. After all, their contract is with you, the citizen.

    SDCL 1-27-1.1 says that all records and documents in the school district's hands are public unless another statute makes an exception. So the burden of proof falls on those who want to show a document is not public.

    SDCL 1-27-1.3 says material pertaining to contract negotiations is private, but that doesn't include the final contract.

    SDCL 1-27-1.5 lays out the exceptions. Clause 7 excepts "Personnel information other than salaries and routine directory information". Hmm... so would that include the contract itself and the conditions of employment laid out therein?

  10. Rosie Girl 2011.05.24

    Thank you for the references to support the statements made by Ms. Brandt. The laws you've cited do state the public has the right to access records of any public entity with some exceptions. Based on the information you've presented, personnel information of a public organization is private with the exception of "salary and routine directory information". This as you pointed out, is published in the paper.

    Given these laws, it appears public employees have the right to the same protections of any private, personal information in their contracts as anyone else. It is my impression that any taxpayer request to access the general contract for language stating conditions of employment is very reasonable, but that is much different than requesting a specific public employee's contract.

  11. shane gerlach 2011.05.24

    Sad times in Yankton Tonight...

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.24

    Indeed. Please accept my condolences. I hear Minnesota is hiring teachers.

  13. shane gerlach 2011.05.24 me understand this please...this is really weighing heavy on my heart...
    why would people turn on their neighbors like that? Why would people VOTE to get rid of 22 teachers and 39 positions taking money away from their businesses, putting more houses on an already glutted market. Why would people spend 15,000 dollars for a separationist but not a few dollars more on taxes?
    When did alienating 3000 people become good business?


  14. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.24

    Shane, I'm afraid I have no quick or soothing answers. The most generous thing we can say is that people simply have differing opinions about how much we can afford to spend on public education. But that generous statement is undermined by the no-campaign's willingness to involve the sociopathic (I mean that literally: a man whose attitudes are unhealthy for civil society) Paul Dorr. We have some hard thinking to do as we labor under the gloating of Mr. Dorr.

  15. shane gerlach 2011.05.24

    Corey I honestly for the first time in my 6 years here regret living here. How sad of a statement is that?
    I see some saying this is purely an economic decision. I'm not buying that at all. The men that brought in Mr. Dorr are all well to do business men. My wife, son and I survive on less than 26K on her salary and my disability and we were willing to pay our increased property taxes, raised food and goods bills and do what it took to help.
    I see some say it isn't anti kids. Tell my son who will have 30-35 kids in each class versus 20-25 and have no librarians or teachers aides that it's not anti kids. What if my son is a sports nut (God I hope so) and wants to participate? He is now 4 years behind all other kids in the area as all junior high activities are GONE.
    Some say it's not anti education yet they just fired 22 teachers, 39 positions and left us in an inescapable financial hole with their No vote.
    I say it's greed.
    I say it's fear.
    I say it's hatred.
    I say the bad guys won.


  16. Sylvia Brandt 2011.05.25

    I am disappointed too, but I will not call my neighbors and fellow citizens greedy, bad guys and child haters. Is this what we want our children to read and to learn? The school district faces a deficit. One side feels the answer is to raise revenue and the other feels the answer is to lower expenses. We feel that lowering expenses will impact education in a negative way, therefore not good for kids. They believe raising taxes will hurt families, therefore not good for kids. A difference in opionions. As for blaming Mr. Dorr----please, no matter what kind of person he is and what his tactics are, 6,000 voters were not all of a sudden mesmerized by him or were fooled by some data manipulation. The vast majority of voters do want their taxes raised, period. They are not against education or children or fooled by outside intervention.

  17. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.05.25

    Sylvia: on Dorr, please keep that sentiment in mind when Dorr adds Yankton to his advertisements as another place where he will claim his efforts won an election.

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