Missoula’s Rep. Bill Nooney (HD-100) on Open Pit Mining in Your Back Yard

by Bill Vaughn

Bill Vaughn is a contributing editor to Outside Magazine, and has written articles for a number of national publications including Men’s Journal, Ski, and Salon. He has graciously allowed me to repost some of his political thoughts, including those on Rep. Bill Nooney. Nooney, a Republican, represents the Grass Valley/Mullan Road area of Missoula, and is challenged by Democrats Willis Curdy and Gary Brown. He aptly titled these thoughts “Dump Nooney.” ~Thanks Bill.

The main reason I want Nooney thrown out of office is because he voted for HB557. This scheme, which the Missoula County Attorney’s Office called “pernicious,” would have stripped Montana’s County Commissioners of the power to regulate where gravel pits, asphalt plants and cement factories could be sited. Nooney was the only one of eight Missoula County representatives to vote for this cynical piece of corporate welfare.

HB555 was written by the Montana Contractor’s Association after Riverside Contracting, one of its corporate members, failed to coerce the Missoula County Commissioners into rezoning a parcel of land on the Trout Meadows Ranch downstream from the city—and next door to Dark Acres. Riverside yearned to build a massive industrial park there that would ruin our rural residential neighborhood with at least a decade of air and water pollution, noise, and massive dump trucks clogging narrow country lanes. The values of our properties would plummet.

This land belongs to a local grocer, attempted real estate developer, and failed GOP candidate for Missoula County Commissioner named Jim Edwards. But people in HD100 organized against Riverside and Edwards. A petition with more than 2,000 names was submitted to the Commissioners, who ruled in December, 2006 against the scheme.

Nooney knew full well what was at stake, and voted for the bill anyway. Of course, he’d taken campaign money from the Montana Contractor’s Association (and the Montana Petroleum Association, as well). Although HB557 passed the House by a narrow margin, it died a lingering death in a Senate committee dominated by Missoula lawmakers.

After the Legislature adjourned I sent Nooney this message: “What do have to say in your defense after voting for HB557 against the wishes of the majority of your constituents? Did you push the wrong button? Did you misunderstand the bill?”

Here was his reply: “You seem to be looking at the dark side of HB557. As I remember Edwards was not allowed to continue with his idea based on a county commissioner actions. Is that correct?”

Huh?

In another email to me Nooney responded again to charges that he ignored the wishes of his constituents. “Let me ask you a few questions,” he wrote back. “Do you believe that government should grow bigger or be reduced? Do you believe in individual property rights as is stated in our constitution? Why do you think that Mr. Edwards did not get his deal done? Do you think that the fact that the bill was tabled stopped Mr. Edwards or was it some other factor? Do you think that this bill would have affected others in Montana and not just your situation? What is your definition [of] ‘reasonably condition’? What do you think this part of the bill means ‘as defined by the board of county commissioners?’”

Huh?

Like lots of Republicans, Nooney is fond of pontificating about the venality of “big government.” But what he really means is that he wants to strip local governments of their minimal power over corporations so corporations can prey on people who have no one except their local governments to defend them. In the case of HB557 Nooney believes the property rights of big landowners and contracting firms are more important than the property rights of the neighbors such as Dark Acres, where everything we own is tied up in our house and our ten acres of land.

But not everyone thinks Nooney’s job performance sucks. He was awarded an A+ by Montana Family Action, a marginal organization of religious extremists based in Laurel, Montana, that refuses to reveal the size of its membership. Among the eight bills they supported, only one of which became law, was HB597, a measure to toughen obscenity laws (although unconstitutional, maybe it would have put the muzzle on Mike Lang). HB312, the so-called “Parental Bill of Rights” would have made parents, and not the state’s schools, responsible for the education of children. And HB403 would have coerced the government into “recognizing” that human life begins at conception. (Nooney and the religious right like to complain about the intervention of government into the private affairs of citizens, unless it’s telling women what to do with their bodies, or couples what to do in the bedroom.

So in the end what did Bill Nooney think about his freshman term in the Montana Legislature? “I lose money being here,” he wrote me. “Maybe you should try it sometime.”


  1. Ayn Rand

    aha William and Catherine Vaughn late on their taxes 1998, Willis Curdy, late on his taxes 1999, 2000, and 2001. Gary Brown late in 2000, and 2001. Teresa Henry late 1998. Rep McAplin late 1992, 2000, 2001. Dick Barrett late 1997 and 2001. Robin Hamilton late 1993 and 1996.The point is this happens to almost everyone once in a while. One would hope that those that proclaim others are not as pure as the driven snow should check their own background. I also wonder if Bill Nooney owned the parcel in question when the taxes were paid late. Word is he didn’t!!

  2. tsk, tsk, tsk, Ayn – and I never took you to be foolish…apparently I can be wrong every once in a while.

    For those of you who haven’t seen it – I was saving it for a better time – Bill Vaughn of Dark Acres posted about Bill Nooney’s affinity for paying his taxes late. Taxes are due twice a year, and Rep. Nooney (HD-100) has made late payments for both semi-annual payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 – AND – one late payment in 2001 – AND – both payments in 2000 – AND – one late payment in 1998 – AND – both payments in 1997, 1996 and 1995. And that’s as far back as the tax assessors report goes.

    One only wonders what you’d find if you actually hopped over to the courthouse and looked further.

    I don’t really find that kind of record to be “every once in a while,” but maybe you do….

    A bigger point about paying those taxes late, is that it is awfully hard to complain about big government when the mere act of paying those taxes late actually contributes to bigger government. Bigger government to try and track down tax scofflaws.

    But, hey – don’t worry. We’ll revisit this one, I’m sure, before November.

  3. Ayn Rand? Are you serious? This is your nom de guerre, the worst novelist in American literary history? Geez, what a failure of imagination on your part. Anyway, you reactionary coward, why don’t you use your real name?

  4. It’s probably not quality of writing that Ayn is championing by choosing that name – it’s the pro-corporate fascism-like worship that he/she loves best.

    I go back and forth between Ayn being a he or a she.

  5. Ayn Rand

    Wow I certainly have been put in place. Lets see Nome de whatever, Mr Bill says I am the cowardly lion, like jhwygirl, cece, Wulfgar, and any number of your friends. You probably just overlooked them in your research. But then your research is already suspect. Had you been thorough in your research, you would have FOUND that Rep. Nooney didn’t live in the home till the early 2000s. But, hey, why let facts get in the way of a good story. Was he late? Yes and so have you been. But in credit to both of you, you both paid the tax and the penalty. That’s more tax revenue for the county. Maybe everyone should pay their taxes late like you, Nooney and many of your liberal friends including your patron saint Pat Williams. You are, at best, a poor researcher, or at the very a libelous bomb thrower, who has, apparently, has lost all perception of reality. I leave others to decide where you sit in that continuum.

  6. goof houlihan

    So true, Ayn. It’s also against the law to publish a person’s tax status “in order to embarass them”.

    Interesting eh?

  7. goof houlihan

    Ayn was an atheist slut, and one that knew the horrors of socialism and communism and collectivism first hand. I loved the fountainhead and it’s ideas of first raters and second raters. Ellsworth Toohey’s of the left and their arguments and tactics became easy pickins.

    He novels were great learning tools on the road to becoming self aware. Those who haven’t made that journey and only parrot what they hear from the groupthink are so easy to pick out, and pick on, now.

  8. goof houlihan

    As for being a “coward” for not using a real name, that’s pretty ironic here at the home of jhwygirl, eh? I think she would admit, as I would that there are good reasons for remaining anonymous on the internet, and it’s a respectable and respected situation.

    As long as a person isn’t a sock puppet arguing for his/her real world character.

    Calling a person a coward over the internet is, well, doubly ironic.

  9. Lots of ironies there.

    Wulfgar and CeCe are far from anonymous. Me, on the other hand…well, I guess it’s all relative. At the least I can say that I’m out there – over and over. I don’t swoop in for some quick swipe and disappear.

    And yet again – what is this, twice in one day? – I find myself agreeing with goof.

    Yet another irony.

  1. 1 Sell Out Your Constituents At Hi-Noon

    […] Bill Vaughn has a great piece on the black sheep of the Missoula legislative delegation, Bill Nooney…. It’s a maddening story of Nooney’s willingness to knife his neighbors in the back at the behest of his corporate keepers. It worth a read, even if you don’t live in the district with the great options of Willis Curdy and Gary Brown on June 3rd. […]

  2. 2 Paul Clark Wins & Other Post Mortem

    […] Looks like the Montana Contractors Association and Montana GOP’s gambit in SD7 didn’t pay off, as Paul Clark now leads his opponent Judy Stang by 115 votes as of this morning. I still think most of this energy coming from the right has to do with the MCA getting a taste of being bad corporate citizens, and deciding to run with it. This should be an issue in the HD__ race between Bill Nooney and Gary Brown this fall, as Nooney never met a gravel pit he didn’t like. […]




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