Online Voters Guide for Missoula City Elections

by jhwygirl

Forward Montana brings Missoula citizens a most excellent voters guide.

It provides information on each candidate in the form of a short Q&A, along with links to the Missoulian interviews and a list of who is endorsing which candidate.

It also has information on the war referendum, and links to news sources on the Iraq war. AND it also includes a ward map – which will be helpful to oh-so-many people (I can’t believe how many people don’t know what ward they live in!)

Lots of great information, all in one place. I highly recommend that you check it out.

But you won’t be able to get much information on any candidate in Ward 4 – neither Jerry Ballas nor Lyn Hellegaard bothered to answer the questions. Neither.

Maybe they didn’t have any answers or thoughts to offer. One question probably presented them with real Catch 22 – “How do you plan on being effective in light of this divisive council?”

I can only surmise that neither just plain doesn’t have plans to be effective. I guess I can give ’em a pass on that one – but geez, they couldn’t even bother with “What is your ward’s biggest problem and how do you plan to tackle it?”

I hate to find myself saying this, but maybe Ballas is the best choice there – I mean, at least you know what your getting there…with Lyn, who in the hades knows?!

(There’s a shining endorsement….)

Ward 2’s Don Nicholson didn’t bother either – but he was probably getting some needed nap time in, so he gets a pass there too.

Ward 3’s Doug Harrison also didn’t bother…but he might have been caught in a Catch 22 with the “How do you plan to be effective” question.

Not bothering to participate in answering questions of a non-partisan group of young people who are showing interest in the political process is a real shame. Their lack of participation – the seemingly organized lack of participation among 4 Republican candidates – sends a bad message to some young people who are going to be voting for a long long time.

And in local elections, when there really are so few (compared to state-wide or federal elections) sources with which to get information on candidates, it is important to get information out there from as many sources as possible. It helps in the sense that it can smooth out any bias that come come from reading just one source for information.

Shame on Ballas, Hellegaard, Harrison and Nicholson.

  1. noodly appendage

    it’s and interesting decision, whether or not to reply to “forward montana”.

    What is there to gain by answering? Its doubtful any of “forward montana’s” young radicals would be swayed by the answers. It’s doubtful that the information will be read by the undecided, who aren’t cruising the blogs and the internet. So influencing the undecided or the decided against wouldn’t be gained.

    What is there to lose? Providing opponents, known opponents, with your positions and the ability to counterpunch your positions. You risk the idea that those who Forward Montana support will read your answers, get leaked those answers, and fashion their positions accordingly. You risk the snippets being used in their campaign ads against you.

    I don’t see that replying is the high percentage play.

    But it’s an interesting study.

  2. I don’t get why some are so assumptive that Forward Montana is some sort of liberal organization.

    As I know it, they are a group with one mission – to get young people interested in politics. They organize gatherings, designed mainly as networking and social situations, and make politics ‘fun’ – put the idea of politics and government into everyday life – and get them talking about that instead of maybe the newest video or what went on and last nights party. Or whatever it is that kids talk about these days.

    Now, if republicans or conservatives don’t participate, that’s their own problem. Within that organization itself, the members decide what projects they are going to do – be it a forum, etc. Aren’t there Young Republicans out there?

    I can not think of one event that was solely a ‘liberal’ or Democratic Party only event. They invite people from all sides of the spectrum – the problem is that the other side of the political coin isn’t participating. How can Forward Montana be blamed for that?

    What is it that they have to lose? I mean, even the recent candidate forum – that was live – what could have been orchestrated there? I even think questions came from the audience…

    Without opening up the discussion, ‘they’ (as in Ballas, Hellegaard, Nicholson or Harrison) allow no opportunity whatsoever to let people know that they ain’t that bad – that there might be something that they agree on.

    They are sending a message to a whole group of young people that they, the young voters, aren’t worth their (as in Ballas, Hellegaard, Nicholson or Harrison) time.

  3. It’s well known that Matt Singer is a progressive, but believe me, this organization isn’t about promoting liberals. It is really what it says it is. That conservatives are making hay about, and claiming it’s a partisan organization is actually hurting Forward Montana’s mission.

    You can scrutinize every public release or forum they’ve done and there not a single partisan statement. Voter registration? City council candidate forums? Q&A with city council candidates?

    And Matt’s made the info public, so Carol or Scoop are just as able to use the info there as Matt or me or alpha-girl or Pete or Rebecca. And as for “leaking” the candidates’ answers to others’ advantage…that’s just plain slander there, my friend.

  4. Ed Childers

    If the Pink Bunnies follow this, I read the Childers/Schneller stuff. When I got to Other Sources of Info, Endorsements, my screen says “Lewie Schneller Prescott Endorsements,” underneath which it says “Missoula Organization of Realtors.”
    Nah, the Realtors didn’t endorse Lewie.
    The Realtors endorsed me.
    For what it’s worth, the Chamber of Commerce’s 17 Members (just kidding, there’s more Members than that, but only 17 bothered to weigh in) found Lewie far more acceptable than me. But they didn’t actually endorse, they just distributed their survey results.
    So, everybody voted already?

  5. Ed Childers

    Oh, and I forgot: what’s with the Lewie Schneller Prescott bit? Maybe it’s must the way my screen’s working.

  6. “You risk the idea that those who Forward Montana support will read your answers, get leaked those answers, and fashion their positions accordingly.”

    There was no leaking of positions. The process was conducted with integrity.

    On a broader topic, possibly grumpies are so concerned about Forward Montana because the age group they seek to energize has been systematically alienated by the people so frightened of seeing them give a hoot.

  7. Ballas and Hellegaard didn’t respond probably for the same reason “nonpartisan” Forward MT doesn’t bother sending its invites out to the GOP.

    From: Missoula Democrats
    Date: Sat, 13 Oct 2007 13:22:43 -0700 (PDT)
    Subject: Knock the War

    This Sunday,October 14, dozens of volunteers are heading out in force to talk to Missoulians across town about the impending referendum calling for an exit from Iraq — we need your help on Sunday.

    Got Questions? or 406-542-8683

  8. looks to me like the Missoula Democrats were promoting Forward Montana, and not the other way around, Carol.

    Missoula GOP should be doing the same – maybe not for Knock the War – we know they love war – but for maybe registration of voters? The Pink Bunny?

  9. looks to me like the Missoula Democrats were promoting Forward Montana, and not the other way around, Carol.

    Bingo. Gotta love the logic behind Carol’s accusation. Because the GOP county party doesn’t work with Foward Montana, it must be Forward Montana’s fault.

    alpha-girl is spot on about Missoula Republicans, BTW. It would be smart for you all to give Fwd MT a hand registering voters. After all, doesn’t the party want to appear interested in young people’s votes?

  10. Carol — we have a public email sign-up. You can join our email list and forward them on to the Republican email list. We’d appreciate it if you did.

    As for the screw-ups in Ward 6 — that’s what I get for going ward by ward and copying and pasting. The corrected version is going up now.

    When we’ve made errors, let us know and we’ll move to correct. Our apologies for the screw-ups.

  11. Oh – and as for partisanship and radicalism, we engage in neither. We have Republican members, Democratic members, independent members, and people who typically don’t follow it all that closely.

    Despite that fact, 90% of what I see in the hard-line conservative circles is bizarre visceral pushback against everything we do.

    Young voters matter — you might want to stop ignoring us.

  12. noodly appendage

    “that’s just plain slander there, my friend.”

    Bullpucky. I presented you what a candidate’s view might be regarding responding to a survey from an organization run by a person with extreme views the opposite from his or her own.

    This is what I said, “You risk the idea that those who Forward Montana support will read your answers, get leaked those answers”.

    I contend that is a risk (I did not say it is a reality) to be evaluated by a moderate, centrist, or conservative candidate who looks at Matt Singer’s viewpoints on Left in the West and realizes the same person is responsible for Forward Montana.

    It’s not possible to separate LitW from FM. That is why, jhwygirl, the assumption is there. The same person’s running them both. The FM is constantly cross referenced perhaps even supported, on LEFT in the West. One of the issues constantly ranted about on LitW is highlighted on FM’s website. .

    Anyway, jay, coming unglued about my reasoned analysis of why a centrist, moderate or conservative wouldn’t respond is hardly conversation. Give it up, you all present better and make better arguments when you leave the huffy overreactions behind.

    Because otherwise, not to be too overtly gender biased, you understand, but the women here are interesting.

  13. WELL I just got back from the ConBloggers meetup..sorry I haven’t responded.

    Regarding FM and the Dems, frogive me if I liken the relationship to Pachyderm and the Reps. But we’re open about our affinity for the GOP. No big secret there.

    Yeah it’s nice to register voters, but I’ve looked through voter histories and it’s just appalling how how so many of them still don’t vote, even after being registered close to a hot election like the 2004 general. So no I don’t get excited about registering a demo that doesn’t seem all that interested yet. Maybe they will be someday.

    And I can’t get over the impression that FM is pandering to young voters, much like Rock the Vote, and dumbing the whole conversation down to a few lame themes like affordable housing (cheap rent) save the environment (ride a bike) blah blah blah.

    And there you have it!

  14. And I can’t get over the impression that FM is pandering to young voters, much like Rock the Vote, and dumbing the whole conversation down to a few lame themes like affordable housing (cheap rent) save the environment (ride a bike) blah blah blah.

    And with that statement, you’ve just – unapologetically – dismissed a whole group of “young voters”

    Really quite unbelievable, IMNSHO. Especially considering you are the Vice-Chair of the Missoula GOP.

    But whatever, right? (or wrong, as it were.)

  15. Dumbing down the conversation? This from someone officially affiliated with a political party that spent much of the 2004 presidential election demonizing gay marriage to bring in voters?

    Let me know when the Republicans stop comparing themselves to Jack Bauer and other fictional TV characters during the 2008 presidential debates and then we’ll talk about raising the intelligence level of the electorate, Carol.

  16. Anyway, jay, coming unglued about my reasoned analysis of why a centrist, moderate or conservative wouldn’t respond is hardly conversation.

    I would hardly call that unglued. You accused Matt Singer of violating his organization’s charter to use it for partisan purposes. You questioned his motives rather than his actions. That, my friend, is hardly a “reasoned analysis.” It is what it is: slander, “the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another’s reputation.”

    You have this ugly tendency to smear the character of those you don’t agree with, then accuse your victim of overreacting when they respond. You did it with the Pledge, and now this.

    Yes, I tout Foward Montana on LiTW and here. Why? Is it to put Democrats into office? If you read what I write, you’ll know that I’m firmly committed to a certain set of ideas; among them is the belief in universal suffrage, voter participation, and people-powered politics. I want people to get involved. Period.

    Do I think it will ultimately help achieve my political “goals”? Yes. Because I want to recruit young Democrats? No. Because I believe that, if we make the system more democratic and less about political machines or money, the political arena will become a marketplace of ideas instead of an auction block. And in a marketplace of ideas, I can’t help but think the message of good, responsive government will win the day. And even if it doesn’t, I’ll at least be assured in knowing that it’s my neighbors making policy.

  17. Jim Lang

    ‘Partisan’ vs ‘Non-Partisan’? a pointless dispute in this context, if you ask me… the unsophisticated nature of political discourse in our country that has caused people to forget that ‘non-partisan’ simply means ‘not affiliated with a party’. It doesn’t in any way imply ‘bi-partisan’, nor does it imply ‘unbiased’. NARAL and the NRA are both non-partisan organizations.

  18. I disagree, Jim. Accusing someone of “partisanship” is accusing them of counterfeit values — as evidenced by Noodly’s questioning Matt’s motivations.

    Forward Montana is willing to work with the GOP to register young voters, for example, or to have conservatives on the board. In the case of Fwd MT and Matt, the mission is paramount, not the political party. Ditto with NARAL and…oh, wait. The NRA actually is partisan.

  19. Jim Lang

    The misapplication of the word ‘partisanship’ as a pejorative in general is what I object to. There’s nothing wrong with being a partisan in a partisan context.

    However, accusing a person or organization who claims to be non-partisan, of ‘partisanship’ is, of course, an accusation of hypocrisy and dishonesty. But even when misdirected, as in this case, I find that usually it is made in good faith by someone who simply doesn’t understand what ‘non-partisan’ means — although I must admit that sometimes this is a feigned ignorance.

    As for the NRA, you are in error; just like NARAL, it is in actual fact a non-partisan organization. And just like NARAL, we all know with which party it will generally align.

  20. noodly appendage

    “You have this ugly tendency to smear the character of those you don’t agree with, then accuse your victim of overreacting when they respond. You did it with the Pledge, and now this.”

    I’ve smeared no one. No, the ugly smearing is all yours. My post tried put readers in the mind of a candidate considering whether or not to respond to a survey from an organization whose political affiliations are very different from his or her own.

    Imagine a pro life, lifestyle tolerant candidate’s thought processes about replying to a survey from Montana’s version of Focus on the Family. What are the reasons to do it? What are the risks in doing it, or the reasons not to? I think the analysis is the same. That analysis is not “smearing” anyone. It’s the reality of what a candidate goes through with campaign surveys. You risk the idea that those who Focus on the Family support will read your answers, get leaked those answers and be able to counterpunch in their reply.

    You’re the one with personal accusations, not me, as you have been in the past. And you’re right, it’s ugly. There’s no slander here, just what might be considered by a candidate before replying to an organization run by people with demonstrated goals and values different from his or her own.

    Nobody got “slandered” in the discussion about the pledge, and nobody got “slandered” here. I notice it’s your modus operandi, anyone with whom you disagree is an jerk, is slandering, or otherwise unethical, but your little ad hominem tactic won’t work with me, I just will call you out on your personal attacking.

  21. Jim Lang

    Didn’t anyone see Spiderman?

    “That’s slander! – It is not. I resent that. Slander is spoken. In print, it’s libel. “

  22. By the way, you should revist your original post on the matter. Maybe your intent was otherwise, but your original comments did not create a hypothetical conservative candidate, but used a vague “you,” thus implying that such feelings would be reasonable and universal, etc.

    Whatever, maybe you meant well when you wrote the comment.

  23. Okay. Thought a little while. I apologize if I’ve been too harsh to you. I understand that you weren’t impuging Matt’s character or anybody else’s. Maybe I just misread. Maybe I read into the posts. Whatever. Your frequent vists and comments — despite my existence — are appreciated. Do not let my thin skinned overreaction discourage you from dropping by.

    Good night and good luck.

  24. (by the way, I protest the term “young radicals.” that’s an unfair characterization.)

  25. noodly appendage

    That’s IT. I’m changing my posting name.

    I appreciate your latest posts, Jay. Thanks.

    Seriously. I’m gonna find another alter ego.

    One that won’t take it all so seriously.

    Sorry about the young radicals thing. It was a cryptical reference.

  26. *whew* I’d hate to alienate the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his acolytes…

  27. noodly appendage

    Seriously, thanks.

    But noodly’s gonna have to die, and rise again with a new name. I’ll take a break.

    Hopefully Bozeman will see something as good as this site, and the other two on the other side, scoop and carol, but the bloggers from Missoula get kudos for your attention to local government.

  28. Man, seriously, say it isn’t so.

    I’m gonna miss having you around. You provide a good moderation, noodly.

    Until we meet again (in the blogosphere, of course) – a toast to Noodly…


  29. noodly appendage

    PS. I like John (Muhlfeld?) for commission in Whitefish. He’s the quintessential young turk, but laid back and listening to everyone.

  1. 1 Jerry from the Block « 4&20 blackbirds

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