Back From South
Dakota- Part 2
From Sturgis, S.D.
back to Los Angeles
(Edited by Ron Branson)
In part 1 we ended with describing our
signature gathering in Sturgis, S.D., and of the happenstance of knocking
on the door of 31-year, now retired Sheriff John Eggers, who stated that he was
well acquainted with the judges in South Dakota, and that J.A.I.L. was a very
needful in that state. We left Deadwood
early Monday morning, August 15th, and traveled on to the State
Capitol, (Pierre - pronounced "Peer" in S.D.) where we also collected
I took a lot of pictures of the Capitol
Building, inside and out, including the rotunda. The State Supreme Court is
located in the Capitol building and I took pictures of Ron wearing the South
Dakota T-shirt and his J.A.I.L. cap, carrying several clipboards with petitions,
walking up the stairs outside the Supreme Court location. It will be on the
courthouse steps where we plan to hold the victory celebration when
South Dakota J.A.I.L. passes in 2006.
Just inside the doors above those
steps to the right reads "Supreme Court." I took a picture of Ron
entering the access door to the Supreme Court, and I took a picture
through the glass portion of the door, into the courtroom showing
five chairs behind the large bench up front where the justices would sit.
A few feet from the courtroom was the Supreme Court
office, which was also closed. Ron placed the South Dakota materials we had
under the door. So now the South Dakota Supreme Court is aware of South Dakota
We then went to the Governor's Office. We
met the secretary seated at a desk in an elaborate reception room and she told
us the Governor wasn't in. Ron told her about the South Dakota J.A.I.L. campaign
and left a couple sets of the paperwork we had and asked her to be sure to give
one set to the Governor. She said she would and thanked us. Ron retrieved
the receptionist's personal business as we left. She could see the back of
the T-shirts we were wearing that says "Member- South Dakota Judicial
Accountability Team." So now the South Dakota
Governor is aware of South Dakota J.A.I.L.
I suggested that we look up James Fry, the
Director of the Legislative Research Council who examined our proposed
initiative when it was filed. However Ron said "Not at this time-- perhaps when
we come back for the victory celebration." Also, Ron discussed J.A.I.L.
with two uniformed information officers at the Capitol and gave them each the
SDJA card and told them to look at the website. They said they
After covering the Capitol Building
pretty well, we drove to the Governor's Mansion which was under renovation.
I took pictures of it and the large pond in front with a swan and several other
large birds on the lawn. daylight begin to wane, and we then drove along the Missouri River by moonlight. Ron wanted to visit
the Big Ben Dam near Ft. Thompson and so we spent the night in a small town in
The next morning we drove to the Dam and
looked for the visitor center conducting tours. We asked a worker for help and
he took us to a main gate where there was a red sign posted "All tours are
suspended until further notice." We asked why that was, and he said "Didn't you
hear the news?" We told him we hadn't heard any news since we left home
three weeks ago, and he told us that on Saturday, the 13th, there was some
people who looked Arab taking pictures of the dam, and
so all dams were ordered closed to the public by the federal government. Ron
questioned on what happened to the government's well-established
policy of not discriminating against individuals based upon their
culture or nationality, wondering if we have now completely shifted from that
policy. The worker apologized, and we thanked him. He was very
courteous and accommodating to us and Ron discussed J.A.I.L. with him for quite
a while. Although he was a South Dakota registered voter, he said he was not
permitted to sign the petition because he's a government employee. We've
come a long way in America to find that government employees are now afraid to
use the voting process to change things. He was aware of government
corruption and said they needed such accountability greatly.
From that point, Ron's main concern was
getting to Sioux Falls as soon as possible to meet with the people in charge of
the signature gathering company and find out the status and strategy planned.
However, we had a few more stops to make before getting to S.F. The next stop
definitely on our agenda was Bill's, what he calls "cabin" on the lake. He said
the "cabin" was ours for as long as we were there! Bill drove up from S.F. (90 miles) that evening just to meet us
and again take us out to dinner at a restaurant across the lake, and again he
couldn't spend the night because he had to get back to the shop. Driving miles
in one day for Bill is "standard operating procedure."
That was certainly a relaxing, quiet time for us-- a rest we
really needed since our stay in Rapid City. Ron enjoyed a hot shower and I was
able to give him a much-needed haircut while there. I particularly enjoyed the
full moon reflecting on the water in the evening as Ron continued watching the
outer-space video on the big-screen TV while seated in a large comfortable
rocking-swivel easy chair-- not what one would typically find in a "cabin."
Ron still had his sites set on getting to Sioux Falls, but we
had yet one more stop to make before that. The couple who came to help us
collect signatures in Sturgis invited us to visit them in Brookings when we got
in that area. So that's where we headed from the "cabin." It was interesting to
see the same folks we were with on the west end of the state, here on the
extreme eastern end. We again were treated with the utmost cordiality and
hospitality! Not only did they insist we stay in their house, but they even
gave up their bedroom to us and they stayed downstairs in the basement! They
would have it no other way! As we got ready to leave, they helped us load our
stuff in the van and we hugged good-bye. As we drove off, they both stood in
front of their house giving us big waves good-bye --another marvelous couple on
our trip! I sensed tears welling up in my eyes as we left.
NOW-- we headed south to Sioux Falls. We finally made it to
Bill's shop which was in full operation. Ron and I were fascinated with all the
large complex machines.
Then came the time Ron was waiting for-- going to meet the
people running the signature gathering program for South Dakota. They had set up
an office in Sioux Falls and Bill took us there with Emilee and Jenny on his
staff, in a beautiful new-looking shiny immaculate evergreen color van with a
soft dove-grey interior, which Bill calls the "J.A.I.L.-mobile." WOW!
J.A.I.L. goes in style in South Dakota!
We met the main "honcho" by the name of Susan and her
assistant, John. Susan is an aggressive, self-confident
"take-the-bull-by-the-horns" type of leader who assures us in no uncertain terms
that they WILL accomplish the goal of gathering the required signatures for
South Dakota J.A.I.L. by the deadline. She told us she has been in this business
since 1979 and has NEVER failed a petition drive. She understands that J.A.I.L.
is not "just another" petition drive, but that J.A.I.L. is an issue standing
heads and shoulders above other issues. Susan said she personally understands
the need and importance of J.A.I.L., unlike other issues she has handled. So
there is absolutely no doubt in her mind that they'll get the signatures and
that it will pass in 2006.
Ron said to her "I realize that you are working for J.A.I.L.,
but I want to make you a JAILer anyway." She said "Absolutely!"
Susan treated all of us to lunch and assured us that the job will be done. She's
a very "gung-ho" type of person and won't let anything get in her way.
Ron wanted to teach the team from Bill's staff to go
door-to-door, what to say and how to handle it. So the next morning we met them.
There were five staff people plus Ron, making six (3 teams of two). When we got
to the selected neighborhood, I drove the J.A.I.L.-mobile, dropped off two at a
time at various blocks and then drove to the ending point of the first team and
took them on to the next portion, then met the second team and did the same
That evening Ron and I met with Bill for an appointment with Dr.
Allan Unruh, who has signed on to use his influence in getting J.A.I.L.
going in South Dakota. Dr. Unruh is a well-connected community activist. He
knows Dr. Roy Moore personally and other notables. He's aware of several
up-coming events that will be good places to advertise J.A.I.L. and he said he
will make arrangements for that. In our discussion, Dr. Unruh listened intently
to what Ron had to say and took several pages of notes, often making the comment
"Good point! Very good point!" He would ask Ron very intelligent
questions, and he liked Ron's responses. You could tell that the doctor was a
brilliant thinker and he covered many bases with his questioning. Ron was quite
pleased that the doctor was well beyond just idle rhetoric. He'll make a great
spokesman for J.A.I.L. right there in Sioux Falls. He's a good speaker anyway
and he'll be a great asset for J.A.I.L. He's in good contact with Bill.
That meeting was probably the most profitable event of our visit
to Sioux Falls, other than the signature collection of course and meeting Susan.
You could sense the anger about the corruption in Dr. Unruh's voice as he
spoke-- he is well motivated to promote J.A.I.L. He spoke with outrage regarding
the judicial corruption he has seen. He is exactly the kind of person we need
for South Dakota J.A.I.L. I highly recommend that as many of you as can, contact
Dr. Allen Unruh by email at allen@...
. Tell him we appreciate
what he is willing to do for J.A.I.L. in South Dakota, and what a wonderful
meeting we had with him last week. Give him your encouragement!
Thereafter, we met with Scott Bartlett, the Chairman of the
Constitutional Party in South Dakota, who treated us out to dinner. Scott
made a recommendation for Ron to appear on a certain radio program, however we
would have to wait until Monday to make arrangements (this was on Friday), and
we weren't able to stay since the outcome was uncertain. It was nice to be able
to meet Scott as well and we appreciated the opportunity. He will do what
he can to spread the word about South Dakota J.A.I.L. and will remain in touch
That evening we spent our last night in Sioux Falls.
We stopped by the shop on Saturday morning to say good-bye to Bill and
thank him for everything. There was no FreedomRoast this year because of the
South Dakota J.A.I.L. campaign taking up Bill's time and resources. I said to
Bill, "I hope we see you again soon" and he said "You will, for the Victory
Celebration!" So off we were, saying good-bye to South Dakota after a successful
trip. Tuesday evening, the 23rd we got home and then collapsed!
The next day we turned on the computer to be greeting with four thousand emails
awaiting our attention. To date, we have not even made a dent in them.
Thanks to everyone on our trip for everything they have done for
us, and for South Dakota J.A.I.L. We are truly grateful for each one of you! We
come home assured of VICTORY IN 2006 in South
GO, SOUTH DAKOTA,
-Ron & Barbie
PS - Once J.A.I.L. passes in South Dakota we anticipate a
financial support base like we have never seen before in which we can set our
cross-hairs on our second or third state.