Archive for October 8th, 2007

by Jay Stevens

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you know there’s some serious rifts on the Missoula city council. The latest hubbub has been about city council members emailing during meetings and discussing city business in those emails. The emails have since been made public, but that doesn’t mitigate the underlying tensions, which find their true home in vastly different philosophies on the council surrounding development, taxation, fees, and the future of the city. H*ll, the email brouhaha was likely initiated as just another blow in an ongoing war.

The Missoula Independent:

With elections on the horizon and some members struggling to keep their seats, it may seem excusable that civil discourse has suffered. The problem is that there are serious issues facing council—the Hillview Way SID, impact fee increases, growth, inadequate facilities for the police, and the Riverfront Triangle—not to mention the routinely demanding business of running the city.

Jack Reidy of Ward 5 used his comment time on Monday to voice concern for the institution he’s been a part of for more than 20 years.

“It used to be fun to come here on a Monday night, but not anymore; not with things the way they are,” he said. “We’re the laughing stock of city.”

There are certainly few chuckles to be had at the council’s expense this week, and we suspect that most voters feel an exasperating mix of disappointment and amusement. That’s too bad, because the council members put in too much time and effort for any of us to enjoy watching them fall on their faces.

The Indy also caught whiff of the Schneller party affiliation controversy, in part stoked by this very blog. To get an idea of the type of vitriol thrown around by some candidates, see this quote from Schneller:

“I call myself a democrat but I’m not in with the democrats in Missoula. I wouldn’t want to be,” he says.

Yeah, f*ck you, too, Lewie.

Enter Forward Montana’s “Candidates Gone Wild” event last week:

Veronica Asmus, a Forward Montana intern, said the forum was a refreshing change from other political events.

“They’ve always been really dry,” Asmus said. “It’s like a class lecture.”

Not Wednesday night’s session – a chicken-cheering, President Bush-booing extravaganza with Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” bumping in the background. Ward 1 candidates Jason Wiener and Justin Armintrout both attended. From Ward 2, Pam Walzer showed, and from Ward 3, incumbent Stacy Rye appeared. Ward 5 brought Christine Prescott. From Ward 6, incumbent Ed Childers showed as did challenger Lewie Schneller. And they all danced on stage.

That’s right. As Ed Kemmick noted, people paid to attend a candidate forum.

They got the pizzazz and they got the crowd. Diaz told me Friday that 140 mostly young people paid $5 to attend the event. That’s right, 140 people paid money to learn more about City Council candidates.

If you read local rightie blogs, you’ll know that Matt Singer and Forward Montana are being painted as the next George Soros and, and “Candidates Gone Wild” as superficial.

In reality, though, Forward Montana’s mission isn’t partisan, its mission is to get more young people excited by and involved in politics. Period.

Mission accomplished. (It’s nice to see that phrase used accurately for a change, eh?)

And the event coincided nicely with the email brouhaha. Just when you thought the city council was doomed to overserious and self-important gridlock, Ed Childers and Lewie Schneller were chicken dancing together on stage.

Now that’s the spirit! Forget the “Pledge of Allegiance” – that old limerick is being used to poison the council and the city. Let’s start off every city council meeting with the chicken dance instead!

by Jay Stevens


Watch out! He might be dreaming about city business!

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