Democrats should squirm at this shot from Mayor Jerry Krambeck criticizing his opponent Dana Boke's vague vanilla promises of change and new perspective if she's elected mayor of Spearfish. But since Democrats aren't all that active in Lawrence County, Krambeck throws the punch anyway in his closing statement at last night's candidates forum:

The last time I heard the phrase "Hope and change" I was unemployed about 12 months later with 350 of my coworkers. Unknown change just doesn't go with me. It scares me [Jerry Krambeck, candidates forum, Matthews Opera House, Spearfish, SD 2013.03.27].

Ah, that would have been more like 30 months later, Jerry... but who's counting?

Likening Dana Boke to Barack Obama can't sit well with Boke's Christian conservative friends. But however it played, Boke herself offered no direct response... just more of the same empty platitudes that drew Krambeck's fire.


Here's the full video from the mayoral half of tonight's Spearfish candidates forum, held in the stately Matthews Opera House. Eleven clips total, with challenger Dana Boke and Mayor Jerry Krambeck each making their best pitch for three years at the helm of the Queen City of the Black Hills.

Contents of this playlist:

  1. Openers: Mayor Jerry Krambeck and challenger Dana Boke introduce themselves.
  2. Boke and Krambeck talk about the skills that would make each a good mayor.
  3. Krambeck and Boke respond to a question about challenges and opportunities facing Spearfish.
  4. Boke and Krambeck explain their vision of the role of the mayor in governance of the city.
  5. Krambeck and Boke explain why they support annexing the Lower Valley on the northwest edge of Spearfish.
  6. Boke and Krambeck address a question about how the city might improve cooperation with Black Hills State University.
  7. Krambeck and Boke talk about the city rec center, the center's $500,000 shortfall last year, and how the city should support this facility.
  8. Boke and Krambeck discuss how the city can promote affordable housing.
  9. Krambeck and Boke explain their position on fighting the pine beetle.
  10. Boke and Krambeck how they would promote Spearfish's role as a leader in regional issues.
  11. Krambeck and Boke offer their closing statements, including Mayor Krambeck's response to Boke's charge of oligarchy with his sockdolager use of snollygoster.
Comments Off on Video: Spearfish Mayoral Candidates Forum!

Tonight's mayor and council candidates' forum here in Spearfish was mostly what you'd expect from a local political event: mostly gentle questions, mostly general answers, mostly nice things said about Spearfish and Spearfish people.

And then Mayor Jerry Krambeck called candidate Dana Boke a "snollygoster":

I need to share with you that my opposition shot the first bow across the boat. I can hardly even pronounce it, Dana. "Ollie-garchie"? I'm not certain what it is, I had to look it up. And it says "a government in which a small group exercises control, especially for corrupt and selfish purposes." Dana, I'm offended with that comment. You've got it on your website, and you've mentioned it many times.

If you truly believe this, you need to look up something. It's called a "snollygoster," because I think this describes what type of government that we're going to have if you're the mayor of the city of Spearfish [Mayor Jerry Krambeck, candidates forum, Spearfish, SD, 2013.03.27].

Snollygoster. Snollygoster.

I welcome my longer-memoried readers to submit their examples, but this is the first time I've heard anyone call anyone a snollygoster in South Dakota. What did Krambeck just call Boke?

A politician who will go to any lengths to win public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

One of the earliest references comes from the Columbus Dispatch in October 28, 1895 which defined the term as "a fellow who wants office, regardless of party, platform, or principles, and who… gets there by sheer force of monumental talknophical asumnancy" [Teagan Goddard's Political Dictionary].

Various sources note snollygoster may originate from the German schnell (fast) and geist (ghost). Hmm... John Kerry got swiftboated... did Dana Boke just get swiftghosted?

And if Boke beats Krambeck, will we replace oligarchy with snollygarchy?

I'll have videos of the complete forum, mayoral and council candidates, up later tonight for your enjoyment. I'll embed the snollygoster video here.

Snollygoster. Snollygoster.

Update 22:40 MDT: Here's that video! After finding his closing statement, Mayor Krambeck says the magic word at 1:17.


On March 4, I read Spearfish mayoral candidate Dana Boke's website and asked where the specifics were. (I also noted that the man she wants to fire, Mayor Jerry Krambeck, didn't have any online presence... and by the end of that business day, he'd hired me to whip up a campaign website for him. Go figure.)

Various citizens took to Boke's Facebook campaign page to ask similar questions about specific action plans (March 8) and specific Mayor Krambeck policies that a Mayor Boke would do differently (March 11). Those questions went unanswered for days...

...until March 16, when Boke, disproving the South Dakota Legislature's contention that women can't think on weekends, directed her Facebook followers to check out her new blog, wherein she promises to discuss specifics.

In "Perspective," Boke declares that "Spearfish has functioned as an oligarchy for too long." She insists that she will listen where others (we can assume she means Mayor Krambeck, although she mentions no specific city official) have not. But she still lays out no specific policy actions needed by the city. The "Perspective" seems to inch toward the bothersome position that having specific policy positions is really just a sign of dictating or forcing one's "personal opinions" on others.

In "Chamber Presentation," Boke comes a little closer to specifics. She says the city needs to "increase collaboration and communication with the business community"... and then cites an example of the current city government seeking to involve neighborhoods in decisions. She says the City of Spearfish needs to do more to partner with Black Hills State University... but she offers to details of how current collaboration is lacking or what specific actions the city could take to increase the town-gown partnership. She says the city must do more to encourage BHSU graduates to stay and work here... but she does not identify specific actions the city can take to make that happen more than it already does.

What actions does Boke want the city to take? Does she want Spearfish to give her business a subsidy or tax break for each of the three BHSU interns her business has hired? Does she want the city to increase funding for BHSU programs or create a seat on the city council specifically for a BHSU student? Does she want to create a business planning committee to advise the city council on zoning and incentives?

Mayor Krambeck's Priorities page doesn't get much more specific than Boke's two blog posts. But he talks about listening and promoting business, just like Boke. He also talks about land stewardship and public safety. And on his Facebook page, he offers what may be the only specific policy idea I've heard yet in the mayoral race: public toilets on Main Street! (I'm feeling a new slogan coming on: "Give a s#*@ downtown!")

There is an argument to be made that 13 years in office is plenty for any mayor. If Dana Boke wants to run on a simple, "I'm not Jerry; it's time for change" platform, that's fine. In Spearfish, that line may tap enough frustration to get her elected.

But it would be nice to get beyond the typical reformulations of the "Change for change's sake" line and hear specifically what's wrong with Spearfish and how we can free Spearfish from the oligarchic oppression under which Dana Boke says we currently suffer.


Spearfish has a race for mayor! Real estate agent Dana Boke has decided to challenge TMOne facility manager and incumbent mayor Jerry Krambeck to rule the Queen City. Krambeck has held the mayor's job since 2000, making him Spearfish's longest serving mayor. Spearfishers decide whether to keep Krambeck or let Boke break his streak on April 9.

Dana Boke campaigns at the Spearfish Home Show Saturday, March 2, 2013. Photo from Dana Boke for Mayor Facebook page.

Dana Boke campaigns at the Spearfish Home Show Saturday, March 2, 2013. Photo from Dana Boke for Mayor Facebook page.

Boke was out campaigning at the local Home Show Saturday and Sunday. She's got yard signs and everything! She has also jumped out with the standard Web presence: campaign website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Mayor Krambeck says "Hi!" on his official mayoral page, but I'm not seeing any real social media presence.

Reviewing Boke's current Web content reveals little of substance. Her message boils down to change (an obvious tack against a guy whose held the job for 13 years) and listen, a straightforward appeal for the votes of anyone feeling shut out of current city government. But online, Boke provides no examples of the current mayor or city council not listening. Boke provides no examples of policies pursued by the Krambeck administration that she would change.

What Boke does smells mostly like the kind of upper-middle-class marketing-speak I could pen in my sleep. Her stock phrases are as generic as the stock images with which she sprinkles every Web page:

Dana Boke - progression imageI believe that effective leadership means always evaluating how things are being done and at the same time seeking areas of improvement. While we are able to learn from the past and those that have gone before, we cannot assume that today’s challenges can be met with yesterday’s solutions ["Reasons for Running"].

Dana Boke - light bulbAs your mayor, I will seek to help our leadership understand the importance of listening to these ideas, weighing their value, examining their costs, and helping ensure the decisions made are the best for us all ["Looking Forward"].

Blah blah, blah—tell us whether you're going to plow the streets!

Boke says she is a conservative Republican. She sprinkles her text with references that ping my fundie radar:

In the news we are reminded of the challenges that our country faces as it works to right itself economically, socially and spiritually ["Looking Forward"].

I believe it is the responsibility of every citizen to serve – whether it is one’s family, their community, or their God....

I believe that our city needs to be traditional in its values, expansive in its vision and unified as we grow [emphasis original, "I Believe"].

I can't speak with certainty about either Boke's or Krambeck's feelings about theocracy, but I have gotten the impression that, whatever church Krambeck attends, his governance is more about pragmatism than piety.

But let's have some public forums! I look forward to weighing the candidates' positions on real policy issues, hearing Boke's substantive indictment of the Krambeck adminstration, and seeing whether Spearfishers can see any difference between their choices for mayor.

Related: Also taking the local campaign online: Spearfish Ward 2 (hey! that's my neighborhood!) candidate Mitch Moe, with Facebook and Twitter campaign accounts. His opponent, sitting councilman Paul Young, is online with his own website... and mentions specific issues!


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