by Pete Talbot

A few updates on the local political scene:

First, kudos to Ross Best for requesting that the public be allowed to comment on Republican Commissioner Barbara Evans’ replacement. Just a few seconds before a vote on Monday to appoint Larry Anderson to the commission, Best, who was in the audience, suggested three days wasn’t adequate time to select a county commissioner. Ms. Evans was not happy at delaying the vote for her handpicked replacement, but Commissioner Bill Carey went along with Best’s request and Commissioner Jean Curtis voted with Carey to postpone the vote for a week. The three Republican candidates for the position are Anderson, Dave Mihalic and Jeff Patterson. But before Best put the skids on the process, Anderson got the nod from Curtis and it looked like he had the votes from the other two commissioners.

(Public comment will take place Wednesday, July 25, at 1:30 pm in Room 201 of the Missoula County Courthouse. Anderson, by the way, was a former staffer for Montana Senator Conrad Burns.)

Missoula Democrats may not endorse city council candidates after all. Local party leaders, Ron Erickson of the Montana House for one, have raised some concerns. So, the Missoula Democratic Central Committee’s Executive Board is revisiting endorsements. The board could choose to endorse, just make recommendations, or not endorse at all. Whatever the board’s decision, I do hope that the Democrats hold a forum for the candidates, as they had previously planned. Stay tuned.

There has been a flurry of emails on a city government website (set up by Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe, I believe) about turning 5th and 6th streets into major bicycle arterials. These one-way streets, if I understand it correctly, would change to one lane for cars and trucks, and one lane for bicycles. They would still remain one-way streets, though, with 5th going west and 6th going east. There are terms being bandied about, sharrows and bollards for example, that are foreign to me. Maybe some of the bike/ped folk can clue me in. It should be an interesting debate. Again, stay tuned.

(The website is if you want to be involved in this, and future city government conversations. Just email a request to be placed on the list.)

I’m sure there are more city/county issues to write about but my muse has left me for cooler climes.


  1. Brent Shultz

    A “sharrow” is an on road stencil of a bicycle topped with two chevrons (see: It was pioneered in Denver to show that the lane is to be shared between bicycles and automobiles. They’re usually used where creating a separate bike lane would be impractical due to space constraints.

  2. petetalbot

    I received this email from Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe about access to the city’s list serve:

    “Saw your 4&20 post where you mention my list. People can subscribe at That is easier to remember.”

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