Just for the record, Mark Sennet’s comments lately in the Pulse Journal do not reflect my involvement with No Lakota Levy. While it was true that many of the members of that levy fighting group were developers—which I support to a certain extent because they make things that do not exist before their efforts—there were some major philosophic differences between us. The pro tax people realized this when Mark went behind enemy lines looking to mend fences while we were in the middle of the fight, and the public school of Lakota exploited that in their strategy which I have blamed Mark for over the last 3 years. If he had kept quiet and done what I told him, Lakota would still be looking for their first levy passage. But, Mark as a former postal office employee was sympathetic to government employment and like an abused wife came back to them under crises. The type of developer that Mark is forces him to build alliances with the government school—so his involvement in a levy fighting group was unusual. That is the reason I found his comments just as ridiculous as others reading about his new development of Bethany Station.
“The Steiner development is a regional destination shopping center. Bethany Station will be a neighborhood shopping center (at an) obviously excellent location due to the schools and events at school and its convenient and easy access,” he (Sennet) said.
When I came into the picture Mark was the leader of an anti-tax fighting group called Citizens Against Lakota Levy. He and I had a rivalry from the past but he invited me anyway to work with their group to help defeat the Lakota Levy attempts. At that time Mark was already feeling the stress of working against the school instead of with them. He craved being on good terms with the administration leaders and other public officials because in a lot of ways he was at their mercy during zoning hearings for his properties. In a simplified explanation the Chamber Alliance has great input into zoning approvals and school boards because they involve politics and children heavily shape the opinion of the Chamber. If he doesn’t fall in line within reason to the political machine of the area, things likely won’t go so smoothly for him during future land use hearings.
When I arrived it was to bring fresh ammunition to the fight because as a tax fighting group they were already wavering under the constant pressure. Mark as a person had a lot more in common with Joan Powell than he did me, so I knew that would be a problem eventually. I convinced the other members to repackage themselves and form No Lakota Levy. I became the spokesman as Mark drifted willingly into the shadows eventually not showing up for the meetings at all. After a few years some people forgot that he had even been involved with an anti-tax group.
During 2011 Mark and I had an obvious rift which forced the other members to choose between us. He came out at a school board meeting in favor of a levy increase if certain conditions were met. I didn’t like that he was negotiating with the government school when we obviously held the high ground and could hold it. But his attachments to the school and desire to attach his business interests to a tax payer funded entity proved too much, so he gradually withdrew all together.
The split that eventually happened between me and the rest of the No Lakota Levy members is of this nature. Since many of them had businesses that were under threat from school levy radicals, they were worried about a sustained fight and the school knew it. The rest has been documented extensively. I will forever look on that time and those people as wimps for cowering to the pressure of those who had the weaker hand. When the goal was always to leech off those weakened entities—then breaks in ranks were bound to occur.
People who have supported No Lakota Levy all this time don’t need to feel that you have been sold out by alliance. When the situation required a dirtier and more aggressive campaign most of the members simply weren’t up for the fight and that’s pretty much the gist of it. But at least they lasted longer than Mark did which led to these comments in the recent Pulse article.
Posted by DavidThorough at 11:11 a.m. Oct. 28, 2014
Posted by JohnnyArmco at 11:33 a.m. Oct. 28, 2014
I hope this project goes belly up…..just like all the school levies that he wanted to fail…..all about the might dollar for him!
Obviously over time I developed an increasing hatred for the whole government school system and think that it should be reinvented. Mark wanted to make money off it in an alliance and those really aren’t compatible positions. I was not kicked out of a group that I started, but I was left as one of the few standing on the field of engagement by people like Mark. If Mark held strong and others like him, there would still be a resilient group against Lakota’s ridiculous spending. There would have likely been 3 out of 5 pro business people on the school board—but that was too much for most as they simply wanted to repair their relationships with the government school so that other aspects of their lives could return to normal—especially during zoning hearings.
So when he says things like he did in the paper, I don’t want my name associated with such weakness. I’m happy to call levy supporters whores and fat-assed despots all day long, but being a sell-out is not something I conduct my life with. He is free to make money and cut deals with whoever he wants—but it is important to know that he and I were not on the same page and when he stepped away from the picture and kept his hands out of the situation—we won handedly.