Archive for May, 2008

by jhwygirl

Gotta give credit to Pete for that title…he thought it up quite a while back when we were doing other pieces on Stimson Lumber. I’d asked him about using it and he had given me the go ahead. Given yesterday’s development, it’s hard to resist. Thanks Pete.

Stimson is disconnecting the Bonner Post Office from its septic system.

Nice.

As the story goes, as part of the processing of shutting down the mill, Stimson is disconnecting the Bonner Post Office from company’s septic system. It’s been connected for something like 100 years.

Scott Cooney, the developer who had a deal with Stimson to buy the entire site before it fell through earlier this month, is dismayed. He currently owns most of the old home sites in the town – including the Post Office and will, because of his lease with the USPS that requires the building to have a bathroom, have to install a temporary tank until he can install the community system he is planning for all of his new ownership.

Cooney is dismayed. I’m not. Are you?

On another note – given all my past criticism of Stimson lying about “not having any logs” (try this post) – Stimson is keeping its “White House” open to maintain logging operations on its land holdings in southwest Montana. They have logging sales in progress, planned, and in the planning process. Stimson is also continuing to look for forested property to purchase, and maintains that it will continue to manage its holdings and timber sales in the area.

And that is straight from the horse’s mouth, folks.

by jhwygirl

On the heels of recent District Court rulings from Judge Jeffrey Sherlock and Judge Dorothy McCarter, which require DEQ to issue open-cut mining (i.e., gravel pit) permits without the constitutionally required environmental (MEPA) review, Missoula County Commissioners – sounding somewhat reluctant – emergency zoned an area south of Lolo for only residential uses.

For example, regarding my “reluctant” assessment of their vote, there was this lovely quote from Bill Carey, one of our County Commissioners:

“It’s unfortunate that JTL has had to go through this,” said Commissioner Bill Carey. “It is a vital product and they’re good corporate citizen and they have a legitimate grievance.”

At the same time, Carey went on to say that, “we have to protect the public’s health, welfare and safety.”

Good corporate citizens Bill? What about those other regular ole’ citizens living next door? What are they? Chicken feed?

Then there was a quote from Commissioner Jean Curtiss, saying that Friday’s action “puts us in a bad position.” The Missoulian goes on further with that citation, saying that commissioners said they felt they had to act quickly, because Knife River is going to court Monday to seek permission to force the state Department of Environmental Quality to issue a permit for the plant.

And – just who’s role is it to protect Missoula County’s health, welfare and safety? That, Missoula County Commissioners, is delegated from the state to local government. Just so you know

Now I find myself digressing to a lecture on our local government’s role in protecting our rights, and my disgust with our local government in passing-the-buck to the State which results, frankly, in bigger government for everyone in the state when our problems should be kept here in Missoula.

While DEQ, yes, should be doing its MEPA reviews and DEQ, yes, should be staffed and funded adequately – it’s Missoula County’s tendency to play the victim (Plum Creek Timber? Oh, I forgot, that’s the USFS’ fault. Exempt wells and well seepage zones? Oh, I forgot, that’s DEQ’s fault.) that drives me nuts.

Are Missoulians supposed to wait around for the state to solve our health, safety and welfare problems? Apparently, according to our county commissioners.

Does the state have a role here, too, to protect our rights? Absolutely. But – a big BUT, I guess – given the circus that is our state legislature, and the competing politics and the role that lobbyists play in our laws, Missoula can’t afford to sit around and wait for the eons it will take to get legislation to the legislature, yet along put into action. If other areas of the state want to sit around and wait – and this, apparently, isn’t what Lewis & Clark and Gallatin counties are doing – then by all means, go ahead. Missoulians, I suggest, demand action now.

Just one more, before I walk away from this for now, lest I regress further – A short comment on a statement made yesterday by David Zinke, vice president and general manager of Knife River Corp., the subsidiary of JTL Group Inc. Zinke is bringing his call to the courts this upcoming Monday to force DEQ to issue his open cut mining permit ASAP, on the heels of those recent court ruling (story linked to above).

Zinke lamented yesterday “It’s sad for business and land-use rights.”

No, Mr. Zinke, it’s a triumph for citizens and private property rights.

{addendum: There’s been a ton of posts in this blog regarding this issue, and the broader issue of zoning. Too many to link to in this post, but if you have time, I suggest using our nifty search engine there on the upper right and entering either ‘zoning’ or ‘gravel’ or ‘lolo’ or ‘DEQ’ and you’ll come up with a bunch of older posts on the subject of zoning and/or gravel pits and/or DEQ.}

by jhwygirl

Scotty McClellan has raised his ire – as he has mine. I was kinda harsh on Shakespeare yesterday, and felt bad about it. After all, it isn’t his fault that Scotty is a MF’n liar (and for me, that’s putting it mildly).

Well, today he posts up another bit on the liar dude, and it calmed me, somehow. It was these two paragraphs, from Cintra Wilson writing in Salon, that he put up:

But the bottom line is, Scott is telling the truth: The truth is dead. And you’re never going to see it again. It’s in heaven now, with Chandra Levy and JonBenet Ramsey and Nicole Brown Simpson. He understands your grief, but getting angry won’t bring it back.

Worst of all, where to put the blame in Washington is never entirely clear — all the alleys are big and dark, and everyone knows that if blame is ever placed anywhere higher than the collective navel, it will only get deflected.

It doesn’t make sense to try and make sense of something that isn’t going to make sense.

Sometimes you have to accept exactly that.

Thanks Shakespeare.

by Jay Stevens

The Missoula YWCA is hosting a panel today from noon to 1:30pm on the impact of racism and sexism in this year’s presidential campaign. For some reason, the YWCA director saw fit to invite me to sit on the panel along with local luminaries, Representative Diane Sands and the MHRN’s Kim Abbot.

Should be fun. Here are the details from the YWCA website:

YWCA Missoula invites you discover the impact of “Racism and Sexism in the 2008 Presidential Campaign” through a panel discussion and brownbag lunch on Thursday, May 29, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the YWCA, 1130 W. Broadway. Call 543.6691 for info.

Come on down and watch me embarrass myself. Heck, you can pitch in with some biting questions of your own!

by Jay Stevens

Got this announcement in my email box from Missoula County Elections Office’s Vickie Zeier:

There are only four days left avoid the rush and cast an absentee ballot. Otherwise, you’ll need to visit your polling place on Primary Election Day, June 3rd. To accommodate as many voters as possible Vickie Zeier, Missoula County Elections Administrator has extended the elections’ office hours from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the end of this week. Next Monday, June 2nd, you can cast an absentee ballot from 7:30 a.m. to 12 noon. Zeier expects record turnout for this year’s primary, which means polling places will be busy.

Contact the Missoula County Elections office, 258-4751 to learn more about voting absentee.

Absentee ballot

by jhwygirl

Gifford Pinchot was the first chief of the United State Forest Service. While the below rules were brought forward during his time of teaching at the Yale School of Forestry (from 1920 to 1920), there is a world of truth to them even today.

They illustrate, to me, one of the basic causes of mistrust with government, and today’s chaos and partisanship. It isn’t disagreement with policies or philosophies – it is the failure to tell the truth that leads to an inherent mistrust which is much harder to get back than it is to keep.

In other words, once the damage to trust has been done, it’s a really steep hill to climb back up and re-establish.

Elected officials, too, would do well to take notice. Sometimes, theirs is the hard decision to make, but way too many people have Drive FastTakeChances’ opinion of how government works – in this case, local government. DriveFast’s opinion isn’t rare – I suggest that locally it is all too common – and, frankly, there is a whole hell of a lot of truth to it.

~~~
Like all good rule makers, Pinchot violated at least one his maxims – number 7 – and he paid the price. Perhaps that is why it appears on this list – a lesson learned.

Pinchot’s 11 Maxims for Foresters:


1. A public official is there to serve the public and not run them.

2. Public support of acts affecting public rights, is absolutely required.

3. It is more trouble to consult the public than to ignore them, but that is what you are hired for.

4. Find out in advance what the public will stand for. If it is right and they won’t stand for it, postpone action and educate them.

5. Use the press first, last, and all the time if you want to reach the public.

6. Get rid of attitude of personal arrogance or pride of attainment or superior knowledge.

7. Don’t try any sly or foxy politics. A forester is not a politician.

8. Learn tact simply by being absolutely honest and sincere, and by learning to recognize the point of view of the other man and meet him with arguments he will understand.

9. Don’t be afraid to give credit to someone else even when it belongs to you. This is the mark of a weak man, but is the hardest lesson to learn. Encourage others to do things. You may accomplish many things through others that you can’t get done on your single initiative.

10. Don’t be a knocker. Use persuasion rather than force, when possible. [There are] plenty of knockers to be had. Your job is to promote unity.

11. Don’t make enemies unnecessarily and for trivial reasons. If you are any good you will make plenty of them on matters of straight honesty and public policy and will need all the support you can get.

a guestpost by Dustin Hankinson

Dustin Hankinson has graciously provided us with guest post, telling us a little about him and explaining his reasons for running for the Representative for State House District 91. Dustin Hankinson’s website can be found here. ~~Thanks Dustin…by jhwygirl

On this Memorial Day, I’d like to begin by saying that we are fortunate to have men and women committed to fighting for our freedoms. They are not free and those in uniform pay that price voluntarily. To them, I want to wish safety and the chance to come home to stay.

I was born in Superior where my family settled around a century or so. My grandma on the Hankinson side served as Mineral County Clerk of District Court for years before retiring in the 1990’s. My Aunt on the Hankinson side is a sitting Judge in Colorado. Civil service is a family tradition, one which we do not take lightly. Responsibility and accountability are foremost in our value set. If elected, I promise to be responsible with the trust of the people of House District 91, but I also promise to be accountable for every decision I make. Legislators should be available to everyone to explain why they voted a certain way or made a certain decision. The people should be foremost in all legislative work.

One of my main motivations for running for HD 91 is to return a certain set of principles to the Montana Legislature. I was principally raised by my grandma on my mother’s side. She was from a different era and she instilled an old-fashioned philosophy in me. First, speak honestly. Second, respect everyone, even people you disagree with. Third, be mindful and responsible. Admit when you’re wrong and be humble when right. These principles are my guides in life and this campaign.

I could lay out my entire resume here but ultimately what matters is whether I will do what’s right. Have I advocated before the Legislature for ten years? Yes. Have I written a bill and followed it through process? Yes. Have I always advocated for the rights of Montanans, even those who have
been trampled and minimized? Yes. The most important question of all to the people in HD 91 is will I do the same for you? Yes, I will. Even if I were the only person in the Capitol to take a certain position, if it was right for the people, I would stand and speak regardless of the consequences. It’s
what citizens of this place we all treasure deserve.

Before I end this, I want to give you some specific positions on issues. I think Montana should become a center for clean energy research and production. I did send a position letter out with the idea of a ban on all construction of new coal fired power plants. Just to clarify, there would be
exceptions in this bill but only for those proposals that could PROVE their plant would have negligible emissions and environmental impact. I think we need new revenue allocated to education every session until Montana students are among the best in the world. I think Montana needs to come up with new ways to generate revenue besides raising taxes on someone every two years and that revenue should then be leveraged to cover as many people with medical insurance as possible. Finally, I think our freedoms and civil liberties need protected more intensely than ever so that the independence that’s characteristic of Montanans can continue against the Federal tightening of policy that has been occurring.

Well, this is Dustin Hankinson as Democratic Candidate for HD 91. If you want Montana moving forward, if you want accountability from those you elect, if you want someone to begin to reverse the corporate coddling that’s wormed its way into Montana, then you want Dustin Hankinson as your
Representative in Helena. Finally, I would ask, no matter what your opinion or position is, that you please vote on Tuesday, June 3 and in the General Election in November. It’s our government so use the ballot to say your piece.

Thank you kindly.

by jhwygirl

I caught this on KECI news last night, but there still isn’t any link to provide. If one does show up, I’ll update.

But people – please! – leash those dogs when you hiking Mt. Jumbo or Mt. Sentinel or the Waterworks Hill.

2 sheep were killed recently when dogs were left to roam unleashed on Mt. Jumbo (pretty sure it was Jumbo). Sheep are used every year by local officials – who lease the sheep and their herder – to help manage weeds in the open space that surrounds this city.

For those of you who don’t know, sheep can – literally – be scared to death. They’re pretty fragile animals, even the domestic ones.

Lending leashes are available at the trailheads. USE THEM. While there aren’t any rules (this was said in the newstory) requiring people to leash their dogs in the open space, owners whose dogs that can’t stay under voice command are asked to leash their animals. Better safe than sorry – as unless your pooch is used to being around farm animals, you really should be leashing your pet.

Like I said – it doesn’t take much to kill a sheep. It’s unnecessary, really, considering that not only are there lending leashes available, there are other local options for walking the dog.

If you don’t like to leash your dog, head to Jacob’s Island dog park at 5th and Van Buren or go down to the state’s Forestry Division Nursery off of Spurgin – hell, there your dog can take a dip in the irrigation ditch. There’s plenty of other places too – another one that comes to mind is the open space down off of Tower, next to the river. Lots of place to run your pooch out there.

by jhwygirl

Boy, the events keep coming! One week before our primary, I hope we can keep up with them all!

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has announced visits to Pablo and Billings for Tuesday, May 27th. First, Clinton will speak at the Salish Kootenai College in Pablo. Doors open at 1:30 p.m., and the Senator is expected to speak sometime around 3:30 p.m. The event is entitled “Solutions for America”, and the town hall-style meeting will be held in front of Darcy McNickle Library, at the intersection of Division Street and U.S. Highway 93 North.

Later, in Billings, Clinton will speak in The Magic City at the Heritage Building in Metra Park. Doors open at 6 p.m.

by jhwygirl

Two events are planned for here in Missoula for Wednesday for the Obama campaign.

First, Jean Carnahan, former Senator from Missouri and Betsy Myers, Nation Chair of Women for Obama will be in town this Wednesday for a special discussion over coffee, titled Women for Obama.

The event is being held at the Florence Hotel, starting at 9:30 a.m.

Carnahan was the first woman from Missouri to serve in the Senate, taking the seat from 2001 to 2002 after her husband won the 2000 election posthumously. She is an advocate for on-site daycare centers for working families and Habitat for Humanity. Her son is two-term (seeking his third) Congressman John Russell Carnahan, of St. Louis.

Meyers joined the Obama campaign in January 2007. She is the former White House Director of Women’s Initiative’s under the Clinton Administration.

Second, Joan Ellen Davis, a republican, is hosting a Republicans for Obama event here in Missoula at the campaign headquarters on Front Street. The event begins at 5:45 p.m.

Yes – Montana is actually going to experience a real presidential election cycle, folks. Very exciting. Former President Clinton’s been here a couple of times already, and Obama was in Bozeman and at the Crow Agency last week. Rumors abound, too, last week, that Chelsea was going to be here too.

Very very exciting.

by jhwygirl

All who serve in the military do it.

Gone but not forgotten, these Montanans gave their lives.

Killed in Iraq:

Cpt. Andrew R. Pearson, 32 – Billings (April 30, 2008 )

Pvt. Daren A. Smith, 19 – Helena (December 13, 2007)

Staff Sgt. Yance T. Gray, 26- Ismay (September 10, 2007)

Spc. Donald M. Young, 19 – Helena (August 8, 2007)

Staff Sgt. Travis W. Atkins, 31 – Bozeman (June 1, 2007)

Cpl. Chris Dana, 23 – Helena (March 4, 2007)

Pfc. Kyle G Bohrnsen, 22 – Philipsburg (April 10, 2007)

Staff Sgt. Shane Becker, 35 – Helena (April 3,2007)

Pvt. Matthew T. Zeimer, 18 (February 2, 2007)

Army Pfc. Shawn Murphy, 24 – Butte (December 10, 2006)

Marine Lance Cpl. Nick Palmer, 19 – Great Falls (December 16, 2006)

Sgt. Travis M. Arndt, 23 – Bozeman (September 21, 2005)

Pfc. Andrew D. Bedard, 19 – Missoula (October 4,2005)

Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, 26 – Glasgow (August 20,2004)

Capt. Michael J. MacKinnon, 30 – Helena (October 27, 2005)

Cpl. Dean P. Pratt, 22 – Stevensville (August 2, 2004)

Lance Cpl. Jeremy S. Sandvick Monroe, 20 – Chinook (October 8,2006)

Cpl. Phillip E. Baucus, 28 – Wolf Creek (July 29,2006)

Lance Cpl. Nicholas William B. Bloem, 20 – Belgrade (August 3, 2005)

Petty Officer 2nd Class Charles V. Komppa, 35 – Belgrade (October 25, 2006)

Sgt. 1st Class Robbie D. McNary, 42 – Lewistown (March 31, 2005)

1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, 27 – Bigfork (December 22, 2003)

Cpl. Raleigh C. Smith, 21 – Troy (December 23, 2004)

Pfc. Owen D. Witt, 20 – Sand Springs (May 24, 2004)

Killed in Afghanistan:

Pfc. Kristofor T. Stonesifer, 28 – Missoula (October 19, 2001)

Joshua Michael Hyland, 31 – Missoula (August 21,2005)

by Jay Stevens

I’m thrilled to say that 4&20 blackbirds is a well-known and appreciated right-wing blog!

Jeez, I wonder what posts the dude read?

by jhwygirl

Wulfgar! tells us the real definition of a maverick.

I’m sure the rest of America will know it, too, immediately after the very first presidential debate.

by jhwygirl

I’m sure that is on at least one organization’s mind. Matt Koehler, Executive Director of the WildWest Institute submitted a request for documents associated with the Plum Creek-USFS easement negotiations under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) back on May 13rd. That clock is ticking nearer – meanwhile, in today’s Missoulian, Rey is quoted as saying that Missoula County’s request for copies of the old easements and the proposed easements is “still under consideration,” but that expecting him to provide that amount of paperwork is “unrealistic.”

Really?

In order to meet the 20-day deadline under the FOIA, Rey and the USFS would have to provide the documents requested by the WildWest Institute by Monday, June 2nd.

Below is the content of the FOIA request by the WildWest Instutute, sent May 13th to the USFS FOIA division.: Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Oops. using the JH News & Guide article, dated Friday, I assumed from its wording that the dinner had already passed…so instead of this article reading “gave the keynote address” it has been changed to read “will give the keynote address. No wonder the state paper’s haven’t covered it yet!

Governor Brian Schweitzer and Wyoming’s Governor Freudenthal will give the keynote addresses at Saturday’s dinner, which is the closing event for Wyoming’s State Democratic Convention.

Wyoming as 6 superdelegates, only one of which has committed to a presidential candidate. Pete Jorgensen (of Jackson Wyoming) has committed to Barack Obama – the other 5 remain uncommitted. Wyoming also has 12 delegates to the Democratic National Convention, and those delegates will be chosen during this weekend’s convention.

It will be a busy weekend with plenty of fun at The Cowboy Bar and The Silver Dollar, undoubtedly. Michael Shay, of hummingbirdminds, is there. Shay, an Obama delegate, and will also be blogging the DNC convention with Jay, Matt and I (and a whole bunch of others).

It looks like we’re going to have to wait for Michael’s report once he gets back home – Wyoming papers don’t seem to have any coverage up (yet) of the gathering.

Meanwhile, up the road at Jenny Lake Lodge in Grand Teton Park (maybe a 20 minute drive) is the Responsible Energy Development Symposium, sponsored by Trout Unlimited and being attended by more than 180 people. Sounds like something our Good Governor might be interested in – I wonder if he slipped in on that one too.

a guestpost by Gary Brown

Gary’s graciously given us a guestpost ~~Jason Wiener

Democrats in HD 100 have two options in the primary. I, Gary Brown, bring progressive social policy and hard-headed conservation positions formed by decades of service to the state and nation, both in the armed forces and managing Montana’s bountiful natural resources–commitments demonstrated by endorsements of my candidacy from NARAL Pro-Choice Montana and Montana Conservation Voters.

I discovered Missoula while attending the University of Montana, Missoula, where I received a Bachelor of Science in Forestry in 1960 and completed Administrative Leadership Training. I also served four years in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. After 20 years as a forester for the state of Montana, Gary (Garth) Moon, State Land Commissioner, and Governor Ted Schwinden appointed me as Montana’s State Forester (Chief Executive Officer) in 1981.

The State Forester’s position was directly responsible for planning and directing the development, use, protection, and conservation of the State’s forest and non-forest watershed resources. Products and services were provided statewide, and received by forest industry, forest and range landowners, government agencies (federal, state and local), and a large segment of the general public. The primary mission of this State Forestry organization is to provide revenues to the educational Trust Funds of Montana in perpetuity.

I retired from public office in 1992 after 31 years as a forester for the State of Montana, 11 years as its State Forester. My other public service has included a stint as chair of the Montana Association of Churches (MAC) Commission on Church and Society and a two-year term on MAC’s board of directors. I was also president of the National Museum of Forest Service History for 14 years and still participate as a member of the board of directors and as its treasurer.

Observing the Montana House of Representatives during the 2007 session was frustrating. I pledge to do everything within my power to bring a spirit of civility and constructive bipartisan engagement to this campaign and the up-coming legislative session.

I will work to make our state a better place for our kids to grow up, for working parents to support their families, and for elders to age with dignity. I will advance the progressive spirit at the state level, where so many decisions are made that affect our neighborhoods. I can be an effective champion on such issues such as health care, quality education, livable communities, concern for the environment, and social justice.

But my particular passion lies with addressing the threat of global warming. Here in Montana, across the country and around the world, our focus should now be to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Montana must do its part.

The Constitution of the State of Montana guarantees inalienable rights. These rights include the right to a clean and healthy environment and the right to pursue life’s basic necessities. With your vote and your trust, I can protect these rights during the next two years.

by jhwygirl

This is really a non-post. I’m feeling guilty, as I won’t be getting anything up – other than this, I guess.

Spent the whole day and better part of the early evening making a tour of the rivers. Rising waters – some impressive show mother nature is putting on in the Bitterroot. An amazing difference just 24 hours makes – and now thunder and lightening and rains so hard that I had to slow down to 30 mph – so the next 24 (peak was expected at midnight) will be all the more interesting.

One property that I’ve been watching, I couldn’t get within 1/4 mile of the river – and I’ve got a pretty big truck. Up to the axles. Couldn’t risk it, too much water moving. Not puddling, but moving. Two bridges, and I’ve serious concern that neither will be there tomorrow. One is practically an absolute – it’s a old lumber and cribbing thing. I fully expect a good bit of the road to be gone too – but it really shouldn’t have been there anyways. Good riddance.

Both Victor and Bell Crossing were so swollen, it looked like a Louisiana swamp. Water as far as you could see – water with trees growing out of it. No dirt.

I was impressed with the show two years ago. Today I was out with some old timers, and we were all in awe.

Anyways – sure wish I had the awakeness to post some pics – or a video or two. I’m tired. Tomorrow, I promise.

Add floods, I guess, to that other list of volcanoes and earthquakes.

by jhwgirl

A coalition of neighborhoods, along with a grant by the Office of Neighborhoods coalition of neighborhoods, along with a grant by the Office of Neighborhoods is helping fund a visit by Eben Fodor, author of Better, Not Bigger: How To Take Control of Urban Growth and Improve Your Community tonight in the community room at the Missoula Children’s Theater. This is a review of his book.

The talk begins at 7 p.m.

Fodor will be discussing urban growth and community planning, in a discussion designed to help facilitate discussion with the city’s transportation and growth study, Envision Missoula, the Urban Fringe Development Area project (UFDA) (blogged about here), the Downtown Master Plan, and the two-year rewrite of zoning and subdivision regulations.

Here’s another of a dozen or more opportunities to participate in a discussion, to hear an expert, and to help inform yourself on planning issues from an expert who sees the kinds of things that we face here in Missoula in places all over the U.S. – a guy who might be able to provide us with some insight as to what has been successful in other places, and what things may have not been so successful.

It always amazes me how Missoulian’s seem to reinvent the wheel – and I’m not saying that we should be a version of some other fabulous place (like Seattle or Portland or Tacoma or Bozeman) – but it sure is smart, if you ask me, to inform yourself on how it is done in other places. Doesn’t it?

by jhwygirl

I guess this would be an official endorsement, folks.

I think E. Willis Curdy is the best candidate to oust Bill Nooney (who doesn’t even live in HD-100) from his seat as representative for HD-100.

House District 100

Curdy is also the best person to bring some logic back to the state house, with his 30 years of experience as a high school teacher (talk about herding cats!). He’s been a Bitterroot Hotshot and a Missoula Smokejumper – both jobs that require strong leadership and teamwork to work successfully, and he’s also been a USFS pilot (6 years) – again, another example of working well with leadership and teams.

For flat-out political experience, Curdy has served as trustee for the Missoula Rural Fire District for 4 years and also as a trustee for Big Flat Irrigation District for 6 years.

Nooney has voted against K-12 school funding, while Curdy not only has a background in education, but he also has a strong platform of supporting K-12 education. Education is important, and investing in Montana’s kids – our future – is part of that picture.

Curdy believes in small government – in the ability of local governments to control its local issues. Nooney, on the other hand, would prefer to have Helena regulating gravel pits and other development issues that arise in your back yard. Tell me – which perspective is smaller government?

Maybe Nooney’s support of gravel pits and less local control is due to his love for real estate $ to help support his last election bid. I also notice he’s taken some $ from self-professed lobbyists and the Montana Petroleum Marketers Association. Check it out.

I guess if you’re going to outspend your opponent 3-1, like he did in 2006, you’re going to have to take cash from developers and lobbyists.

Here’s Curdy’s top priorities:

My first priority is to increase funding for our public schools and freeze postsecondary tuition for Montana residents for the next two years. I will work to strengthen the role of county governments to work with property owners to protect their property, property values, and their health and livelihoods when developers seek to locate gravel pits and cement and asphalt plant operations in residential areas. I will work to protect property owners against higher property taxes resulting from increased value of their property brought by reappraisal.

How, think about Nooney’s, which are to weaken K-12 and weaken local government through heavier state regulation. Nooney’s against higher taxes – I’m sure he’d tell you that – but consider that he’s more supportive of state regulation of development issues than having local governments do it and I think you’ll understand that Nooney is a hypocrite. Nooney voted against the state’s CHIP program and he’s voted against funding Montana Aging Services.

Nooney’s got to go. Missoula needs someone in the legislature that can work with people and get stuff done. Curdy has the resume to do just that.

Vote E. Willis Curdy in the June 3rd primary for HD-100.

~~footnote: The Missoulian has a piece overviewing both Democratic candidates for HD-100. Check it out.

by jhwygirl

Andrea Palm, Senior Health Policy Advisor to Senator Hillary Clinton is coming to town for a special Progressive Happy Hour, sponsored by Forward Montana.

Reforming our Health Care System is this coming Thursday at the Badlander. The event is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5, and the presentation by Ms. Palm begins at 5:30.

Palm serves on Clinton’s senate staff, and Senator Clinton sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. Palm handles the Senator’s health committee work as well as her health agenda more broadly.

This is a pretty darn unique opportunity to discuss reforming our healthcare system with a top political expert in the field.

For more information on the event, click on the Forward Montana link, above. For more specifics on Clinton’s healthcare proposal, click this.

by jhwygirl

The Missoulian has a common-sense editorial in Sunday’s paper, chastising Bonner Milltown Community Council (BMCC) for turning down a $75,000 grant for smart growth the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Earlier this month, the BMCC withdrew its support of application for the grant – while refusing to take public comment from the 40+ people present, including Director of Missoula Office of Planning & Grants’ Roger Millar. One member, Gary Matson, resigned.

Withdrawal was based on a BMCC subcommittee’s recommendation.

Jeff Patterson, candidate for Missoula County Board of County Commission and member of the BMCC submcommittee, described Roger Millar and the group of 40+ people that attended the meeting as “mob of people” solicited by Matson “who have not been educated on what it is we are pursuing.”

Yeah, if Planning Director Roger Millar hasn’t been edumicated yet, he sure has been now, right Jeff Patterson?

Jeff Patterson, you might recall, was on the short list of Republicans to replace Barbara Evans and has filed for the current county commission race as a Democrat. He’s also an often hypercritical participant in the Milltown Redevelopment Working Group.

Fellow Republican and candidate for HD-97 Carol Minjares jumped on that local republican anti-smart growth bandwagon immediately – calling Millar “disingenuous” and defining city planners as anti-property rights:

It is the passion of the city planners, the ones who restrict future property rights based on flawed models and faulty data.

uh-huh. Nice. Let’s just keep it growth as usual and see where that gets us in traffic and air quality and taxes for basic services. And if there are any perspective pig farmers out there, I highly recommend you propose moving your facilities next to her property and see where she lands on property rights then. If she’s really a hypocrite, she hates planners but lives in a zoned part of the county..

One wonders what point she was trying to make with this post, titled Downtown Planning: Geniuses at Work – because she quickly digresses into criticizing real estate investment downtown – investment is a bad thing? – and bemoaning the number of poorly run condo projects downtown – and poorly run condo associations are the blame of planners?

Yikes.

Gotta love those Missoula Republicans – at least they’re consistent.

by jhwygirl

Right now, you’ll only find news of this in the Canadian and UK press, but tucked away in what is being touted as the veto-proof Farm Bill, passed by both the House and Senate this week, is a late insertion by Senators Baucus, Snowe (R-Maine) and Chambiliss (R-GA) which ensures enforcement of the 2006 U.S.- Canada Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA).

SLA required Canadian exporters of softwood lumber to provide importers with proof that they have paid export taxes on their products. Canadians bemoan that it also includes enforcement measures like company audits, penalties, and fines.

In plain language, the U.S. Importer Declaration Program provision will require the U.S. government to verify compliance with the agreement and impose penalties on importers who knowingly violate trade rules.

It always amazes me that we need laws to enforce laws.

Now, the U.S. has initiated 4 trade actions in international courts against Canada over what we’ve said is subsidized timber. Baucus, on the other hand, has spearheaded actions since at least 2002 to stop this flooding of the U.S. market with cheap Canadian timber. Currently available data indicates that Canada to date has under-collected SLA export taxes by about $50 million.

The Canadian timber industry, on the other hand, is cutting its forests at an unsustainable rate.

~~~~
In other news, Stimson ushers out its last workers from the Bonner mill, all of whom face an uncertain future.

Now, that Missoulian article I link to above overlooks one glaring statement by logging trucker Leroy Christofferson (“It’s for internal reasons that we don’t really know about yet”), by quickly launching into solely market statements – the Missoulian has yet to look into internal causes and reasons such as poor management and a union contract that was set for renewal this year – but even I have to admit that market forces are at play. Any downturn in the housing market, with subsidized Canadian timber in the mix, is going to magnify the effects on the U.S. market.

But Baucus done good. It’s a shame that reform has to be tucked into these funding bills – remember, Baucus had unsuccessfully attempted to remove subsidies for big oil in the stimulus package, while moving that savings in subsidy over to tax credits for alternative energy – but if that’s the way it has to get done, then go ahead and get ‘er done, Max.

Apparently, you got to give a little cash to get a little reform.

by jhwygirl

Mt. St. Helen’s erupted 27 years ago today, back in 1980.

I wasn’t here, but anytime someone mentions it, you’ll find me asking 50 questions. Consider that a warning, I guess. I know there was a hell of lot of ash that fell.

On that note – I’d sure love to hear some stories, if any of our readers have ’em.

by jhwygirl

News of this comes to us via jockyoung of Daily Kos, who received a push-polling call yesterday from “Central Research” – a mysterious New York research firm.

Here’s his report:

With the Montana primary approaching, I just received an anti-Baucus push poll that was fairly well disguised as a legitimate poll. It wasn’t particularly nasty, but with standard push poll types of questions like “Would you be more or less likely to vote for Baucus if you knew he voted to raise your taxes over 200 times?” Has anyone else in Montana received this call yet?

All I could get from the questioner was that he was calling out of New York and worked for “Central Research.” I don’t know if the fact that he had trouble reading the questions had anything to do with the nature of the outfit. Has anyone heard about this? Is this sufficiently egregious that we should look into it, or has this become standard campaign fare?

The poll started off with a few minutes of various standard poll questions about voting preference, candidate favorability, and opinions on standard issues. They asked about all federal offices in Montana as well as Governor Schweitzer (which he couldn’t pronounce correctly). Although they tried to mix things up pretty well, it was clear they were focusing on Max Baucus (he even had trouble with that one).

After a couple of rounds of that, it went directly to the push poll, starting with “Would you be more or less likely to vote for Baucus if you knew the following statements to be true.” I refused to answer each one of these, but stayed for all 10-15 of them to see what was going on.

They were fairly standard loaded questions on hot button issues like ANWR, the “death tax,” gay marriage, and Congressional pay raises (e.g. “His salary has tripled while median income for Montanans has gone down.”)

They then of course ended with the classic question: “Knowing the above statement to be true, NOW would you be willing to vote for Baucus regardless of his opponent?”

Besides being a push poll, I assume this was an attempt to find out which attack ads would have the most effect with voters – the questions were worded as typical attack-ad rhetoric.

What do we do about these things? I don’t have time to go on a lone crusade to figure this out and complain, but I would certainly participate if others wanted to look into it.

Has anyone else in Montana received this call yet?

I’m wondering the same – has anyone gotten this call? – although they probably wasted little $ calling Missoula, I know we’ve got readers from other corners of the state.

by Pete Talbot

In Montana, the Clinton campaign coaches are doing a better job than Obama’s. This is not an endorsement, just a fact.

There are a number of reasons for this and I’ll mention a couple here.

1) Messaging. Now, I can’t remember hearing a more dynamic speaker than Sen. Obama (Bill Clinton is close) but when it comes to Montana-centric prose, both Clintons have Obama beat. Check this Bill Clinton snippet out, as reported by the Missoulian:

“When I was president in 1995, the University of Montana won a national football championship,” Clinton said. “And I called the team to congratulate them. And I thought you might be interested to know or remember that one was won with a fourth-quarter comeback engineered by a quarterback named Dave Dickenson – and the game was won in West Virginia.

“Hillary won last night in West Virginia by 41 points,” he said to a cheering crowd. “I think it’s worth noting that no one has won the White House without carrying West Virginia since 1916.”

Mention the Montana Grizzly football championship and Dave Dickenson to a Missoula crowd and then tie in the West Virginia primary win — sheer genius.

There’s also this account of Bill Clinton in Billings from Dave Crisp at the Billings Blog:

“The guy is a master. He started by talking about his last visit to Billings, including the name of the horse he rode when he was here (“Phirepower”) and his visit to the Kit-Kat Cafe. He even knew that the Kit-Kat was no longer around — a tribute to great staff work, or a great memory, or both.”

Obama’s main reference to Montana was that he might try a little fly fishing. Not a whole lot of research done there. Hillary, on the other hand, spoke of Jeanette Rankin and acknowledged current Montana women in politics, like Carol Williams and Dorothy Bradley and Carol Juneau, etc., etc.

And here’s an email I just received from the Clinton campaign:

“Team Hillary will pass out stickers and candy along the Bucking Horse Sale Parade in Miles City this weekend. All participants will go home with limited edition “Team Hillary” courtesy of the campaign.”

Now I don’t think “Team Hillary” actually includes Hillary but still, the Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City? Man, you can’t get much more Montanan than that.

2) The Williams family. There are few Democratic families in Montana that garner as much respect or are as well connected. Pat, Carol and daughters have all been active in the Clinton campaign, and they’ve brought a number of other influential folks into the fold. I have a feeling that the Williams’ insights into campaigning in Montana (and the insights from people that they brought to the campaign) have been picked up by the Clinton camp.

Is Barack slacking in Big Sky Country? Not really. Obama is starting to campaign as if the nomination is already his, which is good strategy.

The stakes are definitely higher for Ms. Clinton. There is no recent polling in Montana for the candidates but the pundits are giving the nod to Obama, so a win for Clinton would be huge. Our June 3 primary will tell us if Hillary’s messaging efforts pay off.

UPDATE: The above piece was edited substantially, by me, from the original post. The original headline was, “In Montana, Clinton is better organized” and the first sentence read, “Hillary Clinton’s field organization in Montana is doing a better job than Sen. Barack Obama’s.”

Well, I took some hits on this, and rightfully so — although I don’t agree with all the criticism and stand by my premise that the folks prepping the Clintons are doing a better job. But it was unfair of me to paint the entire Obama field organization as being behind the curve. I appreciate everyone’s comments.

by jhwygirl

Dave Crisp of Billings Blog has a nice synopsis of the doings at Yellowstone County Democrat’s annual Truman Dinner this past weekend.

Don’t miss it.

by jhwygirl

I try not to pimp this blog out too much for personal causes, but I’m going to openly depart from that now to ask our readers to take a moment here to sign a petition at Media Matters, calling on the major news networks to report on the symbiotic relationship between military analysts and the network news.

I’ve blogged about this issue here and here and here.

From Media Matters:

In the face of a largely silent media, members of Congress – including Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and Russ Feingold (D-WI), and Reps. Paul Hodes (D-NH), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ike Skelton (D-MO), Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and John Dingell (D-MI) – have taken prompt action by calling for congressional hearings and investigations by the Department of Defense, the Government Accountability Office, and the Federal Communications Commission.

Notice there is not one Republican on that list. I’ve also mentioned before that the right-wing blogosphere – including Montana’s conservative bloggers – have been silent on this too. How could they be silent to this in the face of this slap on the face of the troops? With so many Montanans serving?

Signing that petition shouldn’t take more than 20 seconds or so….and if you have maybe 5 minutes to spare, why not take time to draft a short email to send to the email addresses that are provided on the side of that page I link to with the petition?

Thanks.




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