Archive for October 4th, 2006

Guest Post by Jaime from Cece in MT. 

Alrighty then.  As we know, yesterday in Cascade County a new local group called Montanans for Equal Application of Initiative Laws filed a complaint against the State of Montana, via the Secretary of State; Raise Montana (I-151); and Montanans for Clean Government (I-153).

 A quick brush up.

 I-153, Montanans for Clean Government is a proposed initiative, which would change the Constitution of Montana, to mandate a two year cooling off period for some elected officials (the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and auditor) and some of their personal staff; prior to allowing them to apply for a lobbying permit, and to becoming licensed lobbyists.  This initiative was proposed by Governor Schweitzer. 

I-151, Raise Montana is a proposed initiative, which would change the Constitution of Montana, and mandate a raise in the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.15 per hour, along with an annual cost of living adjustment. 

So now, the attorney who was hired to defend the Trio of Doom, (CI-97, CI-98 and I-154) has been hired to represent Montanans for Equal Application of Initiative Laws.

It appears that the meat of their complaint lies in attempting (or in not attempting) to invalidate the signatures gathered by certain people associated in the promotion of each campaign during the signature gathering phase.  And, Mr. Gallus, being inventive, chose to go along the exact same lines as Mr. Meloy did in calling into question a specific group of signature gatherers, and called into question their ability to certify a number of signatures on a certain day.

I have no doubt that these campaigns will not only be able to produce the actual signature gatherers themselves, to testify as to what occurred, unlike Montanans in Action and their Trio of Doom.  And I suspect most people know this as well.

So why file a complaint?  I mean there are only 34 (quickly approaching 33 days) left until election day.  What could the possible motive be?  Hmmmm . . .

Just speculating here, but could it possibly be a smear campaign?  *Thinking out-loud* Maybe some sort of an eye for an eye tactic?  Who knows, no one I know can say for certain. 

I do however know someone who has dealt with these types of tactics in the past, from the very same attorney.  And I would be willing to bet that my source wouldn’t be surprised in the least if that were the case here.

Wait and watch, this should be interesting.

P.S.  I just have to say it.  It cracks me up that Montanans in Action and the Trio of Doom is currently telling the Supreme Court that they didn’t have enough time to respond to the complaints about their signature gathering practices filed back on August 16, 2006.  And whining about being denied their right to due process of law (which they didn’t bother to argue in District Court).  Seems to me that they are trying the same thing here.  More on that in my blog later.

Ta ta for now, its been fun over here at 4&20.

Guest Post by Jaime from Cece in MT

Apparently I was a little slow on the uptake on this one.

I was driving down 11th Avenue at lunch, and almost got into a fender bender with none other than Trevis Butcher sans pig (that would have been an interesting confrontation wouldn’t it?), who was trying to get into my lane without rear ending me.

As I pulled away from Trevis, a report came on Yellowstone Public Radio, that a new group called Montana for Equal Application of Initiative Laws, filed suit yesterday in Great Falls that illegal signature gathering went on during the petition drive for I-151 (Raise Montana) and I-153 (Montanans for Clean Government, Lobbying cooling off period).

The complaint was filed through attorney Chris Gallus, who I have been told has filed complaints in a retaliatory manner in the past, more information as I gather it. I have also been told that this complaint was filed by someone or someones close to or connected with the Burns campaign . . . interesting.

As soon as I can get my hands on the complaint, I will get the info to you all.

For now, here is a link to the article in the Great Falls Tribune.

Guest Post by Jaime of Cece in MT

I am still getting used to wordpress, and I hope this all comes across well.

I have exciting news for the followers of the Initiatives here, and all over the west. This morning The Center For Public Integrity unveiled their “Takings Initiatives Accountablity Project”. Available to you at www.takingsinitiatives.org .

For months now, the investigative journalists over at The Center For Public Integrity have been researching, compiling, asking questions and getting this site put together. From their Media release:

WASHINGTON, October 3 – Ballot initiatives that seek to restrict “regulatory takings” will be put to voters in at least four Western states — Arizona, California, Idaho, and Washington — on November 7, 2006.

Although the potential impact of these initiatives is far-reaching — all would generally require landowners to be compensated for government regulations that reduce property value – citizens and journalists in these four states have had little way of determining who’s underwriting the multimillion-dollar campaigns to amend their state constitutions.

In November 2004, Oregon voters approved a takings initiative known as Measure 37, which has resulted in more than 3,000 claims for compensation — totaling more than $5.6 billion — being lodged with state and local governments.

The Center for Public Integrity’s Takings Initiatives Accountability Project aims to exhaustively investigate the ideological and financial interests behind these ballot measures and to make the findings of its research and reporting available, as soon as is practicable, at http://www.takingsinitiatives.org.

Today, for example, the Center reports that organizations controlled or funded by Howard Rich, a wealthy New York real estate investor and libertarian activist, account for 85 percent of reported pro-initiative contributions in the four states.

As of September 21, the Center reports, Rich-connected groups had spent nearly $5 million — including more than $3.3 million in California alone – to push the takings initiatives.

The Center’s new website will be updated several times daily through Election Day.

Well I hope everyone enjoys the site, I know I will be digesting it all day.




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