Archive for April 1st, 2008

by jhwygirl

I mentioned in my earlier post where I tooted our own horn here at 4&20 that the Washington Post’s Best of State was missing at least one Montana blog…and any astute reader might have noticed I used the wording “has listed 4&20 blackbirds as one of Montanan’s entries…”

Well, apparently other reader’s of The Fix took notice, also. Added to the New & Improved list is Left in the West and Montana Headlines.

Also added was another favorite of mine, Michael Shay’s most excellent Wyoming blog, hummingbirdminds.

Congrats to all!

by jhwygirl

The Jeanette Rankin Peace Center is hosting Oscar-winning filmmaker Barbara Trent and her latest documentary Soldiers Speak Out at the Roxy Theater tomorrow.

A wine and cheese reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and a Q&A with the filmmaker follows the screening. Suggested donation is $10 ($5 for those living lightly). RSVP at543-3955, or via email at

A half-hour documentary, Soldiers Speak Out is told entirely from the mouths of American veterans who have been to the Iraqi war and are now opposing it. They discuss how they came to join the military, their experiences in training and in war, and what led them to the point where they decided they could no longer, in good conscience, participate in the war or keep silent.

The film provides a sobering view of the war in Iraq, and sheds light on the growing and anti-war and anti-occupation movement within the military and their families.

On Thursday, Ms. Trent will be at UM’s UC Theater for a presentation of her feature-length award-winning documentary COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair. Two screening are being held, one at 5:30, and another at 7:30 p.m. Both will be followed by a Q&A session. COVERUP is one of eleven films being brought to UM as part of the Montana Peace & Justice Film Series for Spring 2008.

COVERUP: Behind the Iran Contra Affair exposes several of the most disturbing chapters in the history of U.S. covert foreign policy, and presents a tale of politics, drugs, hostages, weapons, assassinations, covert operations and the ultimate plan to suspend the U.S. Constitution.

Trent’s film was the first to reveal the ‘October Surprise’ hostage deal (the Reagan/Bush campaign deal with Iran to delay the release of the 52 American hostages until after the 1980 election), and is the only film that presents a comprehensive overview of the most important stories suppressed during the Iran Contra hearings.

Ms. Trent’s visit to Missoula is sponsored by Students for Peace and Justice, Jeanette Rankin Peace Center, Associated Students of the University Montana, Film Studies, the History and English Departments, Environmental Studies Program, Women and Gender Studies Program, Davidson Honors College, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, and the Empowerment Project, and provide locals and students alike with an excellent opportunity to see some power films and Q&A a seasoned activist who has publically exposed criminal activities in the White House, Pentagon and the CIA.

Barbara Trent has been the target of at least three FBI counter-intelligence operations. Appointed as an Expert Senior Training Specialist for the VISTA Program under Jimmy Carter, Ms. Trent has been decorated with the Gasper Octavio Hernandez Award by the Journalist’s Union in Panama, and is a recipient of the American Humanist Association’s Arts Award for her “courageous advocacy of progressive ideas.”

by Pete Talbot

The Montana progressive blogosphere is abuzz with Obama/Clinton analysis, opinion and prophesy, and rightly so. Montana’s Democratic primary is the biggest political thing to happen in Big Sky Country since Sen. Jon Tester took out Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006, effectively putting the U.S. Senate in Democratic hands.

For the moment, though, I have just two questions: Where’s Barack, besides Butte on April 5, and why isn’t Billings on any of the candidates’ itineraries?

I’m sure Obama’s advisors have a strategy for Montana but they’re not tipping their hand. The Clintons, however, are taking Montana seriously — with Bill’s April Fools tour to Havre, Great Falls, Helena and Butte, and Hillary in Butte on April 5 and Missoula on April 6.

Some say that with a little over two months until our primary, there’s still plenty of time for Obama to tour Montana. You’d think, though, that since he’s already in Butte that a quick trip to Missoula or maybe the MSU campus in Bozeman or somewhere else …

Which brings me to the next question: Why aren’t either of the candidates hitting Billings? Left in the West’s Matt Singer, in a comment over at Montana Netroots, blames it on geography. Billings is just too far away from the I-15 Great Falls/Helena/Butte loop. Could be, but Billings seems like the perfect city for a Clinton visit with its more moderate Democratic base and blue-collar roots. And it is, after all, Montana’s largest city with the second highest number of voting Democrats, after Missoula. As a matter of fact, if you go by the Montana S.O.S. numbers for the 2006 primary, a mere 210 more Democrats voted in Missoula than in Billings.

So, you pundits and prognosticators, where’s Barack and why not Billings?

P.S. I linked to a couple of Obama/Clinton posts in a paragraph above. For more, you can go to the center column of this site and click on almost any of the Mountain Blogs listed for additional commentary, from both the left and the right. For April Fools’ Day, I particularly liked this post over at Piece of Mind.

by jhwygirl

corrected: I had the day wrong. The meeting is tonight, not Wednesday as I had originally posted. Thanks JG! The Staff report for Linda Vista is now online, too. Thanks Roger!

There are actually two scary applications before the Consolidated Planning Board tonight. One is an up-zoning in Linda Vista. It is a request to put 293 units on 93.6 acres (that’s 3.1 units per acre). The current zoning is 1 unit per 5. I’m sure it’s all in the name of “affordable housing” – but since the staff report and none of the supporting documentation is online, and since the staff recommendation is who-in-the-world-knows-what, I’ll move on to the even scarier rezoning.

Here is a link to the Linda Vista staff report. Staff is recommending a string of denials.

Lord knows a rezoning request like Linda Vista is enough to pack the halls of City Council to standing room only crowd. Gotta wonder what the White Pine Sash rezoning will do, with the Northside neighborhood within walking distance.

Even scary is the rezoning request for the former White Pine Sash site by Scott Street Partners. The current zoning is D (Industrial), and the request is to up-zone to I-1 (Industrial). D-zoning is a lighter industrial zoning designation because it allows for the same uses as I-1, but notably, D-zoning allows for residential uses. This is key to the whole story: residential uses.

The White Pine Sash site has been designated by the State as a Superfund Cleanup Site. The historic use of pentachlorophenol at this site has contaminated the site’s surface soils with pentachlorophenol (penta) and dioxin. Penta and dioxins were used on the site (from the 19330’s to 1987), in the form of a dipping tank, to soak window sashes and doors as a way of reducing the potential for mold and fungi infestations.

When White Pine Sash closed in 1996, it was owned by Huttig Building Products, a subsidiary of Crane Company – a multi-national business that has been the a principal in a number of other, much higher profile, environmental cleanup cases. It is no stranger to how superfund processes work. (I found one in New Jersey, and another in Phoenix.)

In 1989 DEQ discovered penta soaked soils while overseeing the removal of underground storage tanks. Removal of which was funded, BTW, with $450,000 from the Montana Petroleum Release and Compensation Fund. That fund gets its money from a state fuel tax.

In 1993, groundwater was sampled and found to contain contamination from petroleum products, penta and dioxins. Hutting, and by extension, Crane Co., has been named the responsible party and is liable, under the Montana’s Superfund Law, for testing and remediation costs.

But here’s the kicker: In 1999 Hutting sold the property in two parcels – one to Zip Beverages (12 acres) and 30 acres to Scott Street Partners. In 2000, the combined Zip and Scott Street Development group sold sold a combined 15.5 acres site to the City of Missoula for $1.5 million, and for all purposes recovered their original investment.

The City – in typical “build first, ask for forgiveness later” developer mode (or “do as I say, not as I do”) – rezoned its parcel and built its vehicle office and maintenance site, absent of the required DEQ remediation plan. Ultimately, they did submit a cleanup plan to residential standards for a playing field that they and the combined Zip Beverages/Scott Street Partners donated, and a commercial standard cleanup for the vehicle maintenance site.

And here we come to another key element: DEQ regulations for cleanup standards differ when the potential for residential development exists. This is why Scott Street Partners is requesting a rezoning to I-1 – they want to eliminate the potential for residential developement, thereby reducing the level of cleanup required by DEQ.

Let me be clear: This rezoning, if it happens, will leave penta, petroleum and dioxins – all known carcinogens – in the soils, mere inches above the Missoula aquifer.

Now, DEQ has been relatively mealy-mouthed on this – and their letter of comment, in and of its own, makes no specific mention of the ramifications to the citizens of Missoula should this rezoning occur. Shame on DEQ.

Here’s a red flag: When a bureaucrat starts using words like “policy” and “rules” and “regulation”, that usually means that they are bastardizing the law. Not all the time (I’m not that cynical), but usually. In this case, if you clicked on the link above, DEQ is bastardizing the same law at least twice: Once when they refer to policy which won’t let them comment on a city-action (but it let them declare the site a Superfund Site), which shirks their lawful responsibility to provide us with a “clean and healthful environment”, which is guaranteed to us by our Montana Constitution; and secondly when they, being DEQ, creates a rule that says that the clean and healthful environment guarantee to our aquifer (in this case) discerns itself between the zoning and whether residential uses are possible at the location. How the aquifer can do that is beyond me.

That being said, Missoulians and the MT DEQ (despite their less-than-honorable behavior thus far) should expect nothing less than a complete clean up of an aquifer being polluted with carcinogenics. In fact, I suggest an email not only to city council and the planning board, but also to DEQ, telling them to support the Missoula Office of Planning & Grants in its recommendation of denial to the rezoning application.

You can email the director of DEQ, Richard Opper, at
You can email the Planning Board at
You can email the City Council at


They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. I hope that Bob Oaks remembers that if he reads this, because he will know that I essentially plagiarized most of this information from him. Bob Oaks is Director of the North Missoula Community Development Corporation and he wrote an excellent piece that takes this whole issue to task quite a bit more thoroughly that that which I outlined above. If you aren’t outraged yet, you will be when you go over and read his piece.

  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,689,727 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,734 other followers

  • April 2008
    S M T W T F S
  • Categories