Archive for June, 2008

by jhwygirl

Local bookstore Fact & Fiction will be hosting a release of author Greg Lemon’s biography of Governor Brian Schweitzer on July 1st.

Pat Williams, who wrote the forward, will be hosting the event.

I’m wondering if the author is the Greg Lemon of Newwest?

This is the first I’ve heard about the book, unless I’ve missed something.

by Pete Talbot

Odds-on favorite Dennis Daneke lost to political neophyte Michele Landquist in the race for Missoula County Commissioner. Albeit by only 42 votes, but that’s all it takes.

Daneke ran a strong campaign with direct mail, voter ID, fund raisers, phone banks, etc. I didn’t see much out of the Landquist camp.

So, armchair analysis abounds. Some say it was Landquist’s staunch opposition to the proposed gravel pit just north of Lolo. Daneke was lukewarm in his opposition and that cost him votes in that area of the county.

Others say it was all the newly registered voters who came out to vote for Obama but had no idea who the players were in the commissioner race, and casting a vote for Michele Landquist because the name had a nice ring to it.

A few folks said that having Mayor John Engen as treasurer and advisor to the Daneke campaign could have cost some votes. While Engen is popular in many Missoula circles, outside the city limits the last thing the majority of voters want is the progressive (I use that word loosely) politics that they seem to think rule the city of Missoula.

I’m guessing it was a combination of all three of the above scenarios.

Finally, there was a conversation overheard by two Republican voters on election night at an unnamed watering hole. They were saying that they crossed over to the Democratic ballot to vote against Daneke because they felt he would be the strongest candidate to go against incumbent Republican candidate Larry Anderson in the general election.

This last reason (cross over voting) is a little hard to prove. One could go to a strong Republican precinct and see if there were an abnormally high number of Democratic ballots cast but since Republicans stayed away from the polls in droves this primary, it’s hard to tell.

I also have to wonder if Larry Anderson supporters were really that well organized to swing an election. And if so, why not cross over for the other Democratic primary candidate, Jeff Patterson? That way, they’d have a win-win situation going into the November election.

Patterson, the third candidate for the commission in the primary, came in, well, third. Thank God. After reading his guest column in the Missoulian about his distaste for “Smart Growth,” I am eternally grateful.

In Patterson’s column, he quotes often from the Montana Policy Institute – a Libertarian “think tank” out of Bozeman. Funding for the institute comes from big bucks ‘free marketeers,” the far, far right and their ilk.

Now it’s time to learn about Michele Landquist, her isssues and campaign. You’ll definitely be reading more about her here at 4&20.

by jhwygirl

Live, on C-Span, right now, he’s reading his 35 count resolution of impeachment.

I had to commemorate this with a post.

It’s about time.

Go Dennis!

UPDATE: Apparently a lively beginning – upon initiating his floor speech this evening, Kucinich turned to Speaker Nancy Pelosi and said “The House is not in order,” to which Ms. Pelosis pounded her gavel, and Kucinich then continued with his resolution. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said numerous times that impeachment is “not on the table.”

by jhwygirl

A second cow in Montana has tested positive for brucellosis, resulting in what will likely be a loss of the brucellosis-free status for the state’s livestock.

The first cow that tested positive had been found in May 2007 in the Morgan Ranch herd, which had wintered in Bridger. That herd had to be destroyed. In that situation, the likely source of the transmission was elk.

Governor Schweitzer has been an advocate for a split-state status for the state’s livestock. The Montana Cattleman’s Association has supported that initiative – while the Montana Stockgrower’s Association has not.

(UPDATE: The Missoulian has a story on this which states that had the split-state status been adopted, less than 5% of the state’s cattle would have been affected by the additional testing required. Now, all of the state’s cattle is affected. Wonder what the Cattleman’s Association has to say about that?)

I’ve had interest in the hysterics of the pseudo-brucellosis/bison threat for years – more than a decade, actually. It’s interesting that bison have been hazed back into the park from this area, yet elk roam freely. Paradise Valley, to note, is a bit of a distance from the area where bison typically leave the park.

Wyoming had previously lost its brucellosis-free status due to the transmission of elk to domesticated animals – which experts largely agree is due to its widespread use of elk feedgrounds (both the National Elk Refuge in Jackson, Wyoming, and the numerous state-run feedgrounds in the surrounding area).

But for the first time in 74 years, in February, the US Dept. of Agriculture had declared all 50 states to be brucellosis-free.

Loss of the brucellosis-free status means that all cattle will have to undergo a testing and vaccination program prior to sale or transfer.

by Jason Wiener

With provisionally cast ballots and hand-counted ballots, the final unofficial totals in the Democratic primary for Missoula County Commissioner are as follows:

Michele Landquist 6,943 (129)
Dennis Daneke 6,901 (83)
Jeff Patterson 4,232 (41)
Write-in 141 (4)

The number in parentheses is the number of votes picked up from provisional and hand-count ballots. Still, more than 7,000 ballots had no vote in this race.

Congratulations Michele. Best wishes to Dennis and Jeff.

by jhwygirl

The NYTimes has an interesting interactive map showing the contribution dollars for each presidential candidate, by state.

Obama out raised Clinton in Montana – and both Obama and Clinton out raised McBushCain.

McCain was even out raised by another Republican candidate – Ron Paul.

It’s no surprise, then, that Obama is targeting Montana as one of the states to help usher him into the Whitehouse this November.

by jhwygirl

Caught this yesterday in the Montana Standard. (I searched for it in the Missoulian, but apparently, it wasn’t news worthy.)

At a school board committee meeting on Monday, Jim Caron, founder of the Missoula Children’s Theater (MCT), proposed a performing arts high school that would be a partnership between the school district and MCT.

Students would live in a dorm and spend half a day with core curriculum and the other half of the day studying music, drama and dance.

Caron said that they are working on the idea and are “at least a year and a half out.” The kids would pay tuition, and he expects that they could have 5-600 students in just a few years. The first class of freshmen and sophomore performing arts students would number around 50, with tuition plus room and board estimated at $25,000 a year. That number would grow as staff and housing were able to absorb them.

The idea was well received by trustee Jim Sadler: “This is an absolutely fabulous idea. I’m blown away by the concept. Of all the towns in Montana, we’re the only one that would be even close to considering it. There are a lot of things that have to be accommodated, but nothing that’s insurmountable.”

by Pete Talbot

One woman showed up sporting a newly inked Obama tattoo on her arm. She was one of many folks running for a delegate slot at the Missoula County Democratic Convention on Thursday night. Those who were elected at the county convention will be in Helena on Sunday to decide delegates for the national convention in Denver.

It used to be that Missoula couldn’t field enough delegates to go to the state convention. The local party could muster maybe nine or ten out of the twenty or so positions allocated to the county. Last night, roughly forty people battled for twenty spots to represent Barack Obama in Helena.

Hillary Clinton supporters were there, too. Ten delegates from Missoula will represent Clinton at the state convention.

Seventeen seats are up for grabs at the convention in Helena. (Montana will be sending a total of 25 delegates to Denver but eight are super delegates — folks like Schweitzer, Baucus, Melcher, etc.).

There wasn’t any media there last night that I noticed, which is too bad because it was a raucous caucus. All kinds of people were there pitching themselves for a chance to go to Helena and then, maybe, Denver.

I haven’t seen this kind of energy in the Montana Democratic Party in the nearly 20 years that I’ve been active in this state’s political scene.

by jhwygirl

Missoula Urban Demonstration Project (MUD) is having its annual really cool yard sale this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at 629 Phillips.

Don’t miss it. Who knows what treasures you’ll find.

MUD, headed up by Lou Ann Crowley, is a wonderful nonprofit focused on community involvement and sustainability. They’ve got a great lending library for tools – and I’m pretty sure they recently added a truck. It’s a great resource for all kinds of stuff, and the people there are fabulous.

Their website is in a funk…so if that link doesn’t work now, maybe it will later.

by Pete Talbot

It is sad to see the Missoulian, and other Lee newspapers in Montana and Wyoming, lose Washington, D.C. correspondent Noelle Straub.

I read about her downsizing on the Billings Outpost site, which linked to a Billings Gazette story. It wasn’t in the Missoulian.

It took me a while to warm to Noelle’s stories but she learned about Montana issues and politics, and as of late, was writing important pieces.

This is a huge journalistic mistake. Who’s going to keep an eye on our elected D.C. folks? I appreciate Lee’s efforts in Helena’s Capital Bureau but we need info from the nation’s capital, too. This does not bode well for the newspaper reading public.

And the mainstream media wonder why we go to the Internet for our news.

(CORRECTION: In the comments section, Matthew Koehler states that the Missoulian DID run the Noelle Straub story. I couldn’t find it when I searched the paper’s online archives but I trust Koehler on this. My apologies.)

by jhwygirl

A bill (HR 3058) that would have extended payments for 4 more years to rural communities throughout the west via the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 (SRS) failed in a largely party-line vote today in Congress. Rehberg voted against extending it.

For some background on this, check this piece that I did back in January.

SRS is funded by timber sales on federal lands, and helps rural communities – based on the amount of untaxed federal lands – pay for services such as police, fire, teachers, roads and emergency services.

174 Republicans and 19 Democrats – Dennis Rehberg amongst them – objected to the inclusion of provisions for the establishment of conservation of resources fees for federal oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Rehberg and friends also objected to the requirement that the Secretary of the Interior incorporate price thresholds applicable to royalty suspension provisions, or amend existing price thresholds, of a specified amount per barrel for oil and per million Btu for natural gas for any lease for Central and Western Gulf of Mexico tracts issued during the period of January 1, 1998, through December 31, 1999.

In other words, Rehberg chose Big Oil over Montana’s rural communities.

Way to go there, Lap Dog!

by jhwygirl

Bob Jaffe reports today from his MissoulaGov listserv that in a discussion regarding West Broadway and the traffic diet and accident data, Ward 5’s Renee Mitchell closed out the Public Safety committee meeting today by rehashing the worn suggestion that a pedestrian activated light at Burton would have solved the (serious) accident problem – there were how many deaths there too? – and that (this is paraphrased from Jaffe’s post) “the people getting killed were just drunks anyway.”

Lovely.

And this is a woman who campaigned, if I recall correctly, on transportation issues?

If she says this kind of stuff out loud, one can only wonder what goes banging around that pretty little head of hers.

by Jay Stevens

As always, Digby nails it:

As to what happens next, you all know that I believe this is the Democrats’ year and I think that as soon as everyone licks their wounds and takes a little rest and, more importantly, sees what the Republicans are going to unleash on Obama and the Democratic party, we will all make our way back together. As I wrote the other night, I think both of the leaders need to do their part to make that happen, and I expect they will, for both personal and political reasons.

Finally, whoever you supported in this race and however your feel about the candidates, there still remains the problem of our sick, sick political media and that’s something that the blogosphere — as alternative media — need to sort through. I know that many of you have felt that this campaign’s coverage wasn’t as bad as I have painted it. But I think that when we look back on this we will see that it was yet another disgraceful performance on the part of our mainstream media (and, alas, our “liberal” media as well.) There is a lot to be written about that and I’m hopeful we can all look at this with clear eyes once we take a breather.

Clinton will officially suspend the campaign on Friday, (which is perfectly in keeping with the usual timing of these things contrary to the gasbags’ ahistorical and overwrought blathering of last night.) We will see what the Republicans have in store for us. And maybe we can start behaving like ourselves again. Family fights are always painful, but they are usually easily healed as well. Here’s to the end of the Long March of 2008. It’s been real.

by Pete Talbot

Here’s a new election strategy: don’t campaign. It worked for John Driscoll, who raised no money and did no campaigning and beat odds-on favorite Jim Hunt in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House.

Then there’s the Bob Kelleher win in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. Granted, Kelleher did some campaigning (I saw a couple newspaper ads) but still, that had to send shock waves through the Montana Republican establishment. Bob Kelleher! He has run for almost every elected office under almost every conceivable party banner. And check out those eyebrows.

Closer to home, the Missoula County Commissioner race isn’t over yet. Dennis Daneke is ahead by four votes. He campaigned hard. The third place finisher, Jeff Patterson, also campaigned. But I saw nothing from the second place finisher, Michele Landquist — and she could be the winner after the final canvass next Tuesday.

You can go here for Missoula County results and here for the statewide totals.

A couple of other surprises, for me anyway: I thought Mike Wheat would take the attorney general Democratic primary. But Steve Bullock won it with around 9000 more votes, statewide.

In Senate District 7, Democratic candidate Paul Clark went to bed trailing Judy Stang. In the morning, though, he was up by 166 votes and will face Greg Hinkle in the general.

Some folks were surprised that Willis Curdy, a high school teacher and Democratic candidate in House District 100, lost to Gary Brown. Brown did a serious get-out-the-vote effort in the final days of the campaign to win 722-654.

Not as surprising was Denise Juneau’s strong finish. She beat her closest rival, Holly Raser, in Raser’s home county of Missoula (by only 140 votes, but still … ). Statewide Juneau received 18,130 more votes than Raser.

The Republicans stayed away in droves. My unofficial statewide count is 181,906 Democrats casting ballots and 95,252 Republicans.

Did Republicans cross over to vote in the Democratic primary? Local blogger Andy Hammond, at Rush Limbaugh’s request, was urging Republicans to do just that and to vote to keep Hillary Clinton running as long as possible so the the Democratic Party would stay splintered and in disarray. Since Barack Obama beat Clinton 102,544 to 75,053 statewide (16,423 to 8084 in Missoula County), I guess that strategy didn’t work.

by Jason Wiener

From the final posting (102 of 102 precincts reporting) at the County Courthouse, checked this morning:

Daneke 6,818

Landquist 6,814

Patterson 4,191

Write-in 137

Undervote 7,137*

*based on 25,097 total Democratic ballots cast

Provisional and hand count ballots have yet to be counted so this is a toss-up until the final canvass.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Has got to be Bob Kelleher’s win in the U.S. Senate race on the other side of the aisle. Republicans across the state are probably utterly dismayed this morning, but I gotta hand it to the guy. I mean, hell, he’s only been running for office since the Vigilantes were riding from Virginia City to Bannack and back. It wouldn’t be a proper Montana election without Kelleher’s name on the ballot.

Max Baucus didn’t deserve my vote in the primary (for so many reasons; his vote to authorize the Iraq War is just the proverbial tip of the iceberg), and he won’t get it in the general election. I’m voting for Bob.

Here are the latest numbers from Missoula County, with about 90% reporting:

Obama 16,035
Clinton 7,949

Schweitzer/Bohlinger 21,683
Pogreba/Neifer 926 545
Fisher/White 545 926

Jim Hunt 7,028
Robert Candee 1,021
John Driscoll 7,365

Mike Wheat 8,124
Steve Bullock 8,574
John Parker 2,69

Denise Juneau 7,835

Holly Raser 7,786
Claudette Morton 1,515
Sam Kitzenberg 2,298

Dennis Daneke 6,660
Jeff Patterson 4,118
Michele Landquist 6,670

Ron Erickson 3,130
Rosie Buzzas1,503

Gary Brown 709
Willis Curdy 634

Michele Reinhart 1,456
James Boone 390

Tim Furey 1,240
Dustin Harkinson 264

Paul Clark 293
Judy Stang 344

Dave McAlpin 1,379
Gary Stein 744

Chris Kaufman

Hal Jacobson
Mill Levy: Prevention
For:
Against:

by Rebecca Schmitz

When you have this on a mountainside? Courtesy of Barack Obama, one of my contacts on Flickr (don’t be too impressed; anyone can be his friend on the site), is a picture of someone’s tribute to the candidate here in Montana.

Does anyone know where it’s located?

Update: Never mind. Apparently it’s on Mount Helena.

by Pete Talbot

The polls close in South Dakota at 7 p.m. (that’s 6 p.m. Montana time). Our polls stay open until 8 p.m.

Montana has the final word in this country’s presidential primary election season.

Montana is rivaled only by Iowa and New Hampshire in the number of visits by presidential candidates and their retinues. Are we becoming jaded?

Overheard at the Missoula Club Saturday night:

“Who’s that guy down at the end of the bar?”

“Oh, that’s just Bill Clinton.”

Not really but you get my drift. In all seriousness, this is Montana politics at its best. Bill really was at the Club, as reported in the Missoulian, and it was good old-fashioned Butte politics — he bought a round of shots for the bar.*

Montana, which is usually considered a wasteland on the national political scene, will be sending a final message to the rest of the country: here’s who we think will be the best (Democratic) presidential candidate.

If Obama beats Clinton by 20 points, as predicted, it sort of puts the race issue to bed. I mean, it doesn’t get much whiter than Montana.

(The exception to this is the Montana Indian vote and both campaigns have worked Indian Country. Obama has the edge with Indian leadership, but Clinton has some strong support from a few influential, elected Indian officials. Reservation numbers will be worth watching.)

If Hillary can make a run at Barack’s lead and pick up more delegates than expected here in Montana, she’ll have additional ammunition to keep her plugging away right up to the convention.

All eyes are on Montana.

State and county

There are some great Democratic primary contests in Montana and Missoula. Statewide, there’s a race for Montana’s lone U.S. House of Representatives seat, a contested governors race, a three-way attorney general race, four-way superintendent of public instruction contest, a PSC race in Eastern Montana, and a herd of legislative contests.

In Missoula of interest: the Rosie Buzzas/Ron Erickson Senate District 47 race, the House District 100 primary between Gary Brown and Willis Curdy, and a couple of races where sitting legislators are being challenged (incumbent Michele Reinhart v. James Boone in HD 97, and incumbent Tim Furey against Dustin Hankinson in HD 91).

And we have an important Missoula County Commissioner race with three in the Democratic primary: Dennis Daneke, Jeff Patterson and Michele Landquist.

Out of the area but close to our hearts is the Helena primary between Christine Kaufmann and Hal Jacobson (SD 41), and Paul Clark and Judy Stang (SD 7, which is made up of a huge slice of Western Montana).

We’ll be there

I, and I hope, others will be posting returns and comments on election night. There are events planned for Obama (the Wilma Theater), a Forward Montana gig at the Badlander, election returns at the courthouse, happenings at the Union and Missoula Clubs, and the Clinton camp is doing something at the Shack.  Not sure where the Republicans are gathering (yawn).

New voters will be turning out in huge numbers. On the coattails of the presidential primary, and with the incumbent governor and senator looking unbeatable, and with many strong down-ticket races — it doesn’t get much better than this for Montana Democrats.

*(A correction on Page Two of Tuesday’s Missoulian has the Mo’ Club picking up the round, not Bill Clinton. Darn.)

by Rebecca Schmitz

NOT!

When I turned on my computer 30 minutes ago, I was greeted with this:

Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president.

Somehow, even in my bleary-eyed just-woken-up state of being, I didn’t think it would be that simple.

by Jay Stevens

 Update: The short story. The Missoula County Republicans did not write a check to Jeff Patterson; and Jeff Patterson did not report a contribution from the Missoula County Republicans.

The long story. Just wanting to check up on my source, I went over to the County Elections office and looked at Jeff’s C-5. The donation from the Missoula County Republican part was filed in Patterson’s report.

About ten minutes after verifying the donation, I got a call from a friend who told me there had been a mix-up. The donation was actually for HD96 Republican candidate, Steve Eschenbacher, Mr. Rabid Insanity. (While not the best candidate, IMHO, he is a Republican.)

Apparently the donation slip had been mistakenly placed in Patterson’s report.

My apologies to Jeff and the Missoula County Republican party. I take back everything I said about spines and skulking! (Beyond the usual stuff, I mean…ha ha.) Pass the word on to anyone who might have seen this…let’s hope there’s time to undo the damage…
 
* * *

What’s up with state Republicans this primary season? First it’s a Chuck Denowh PAC playing in a Democratic state senate primary, now it’s the Missoula County Republicans…

A little birdie told me that on the C-5 campaign finance filing for “Democratic” county commissioner candidate, Jeff Patterson, there’s a $650 donation from a certain, “Missoula County Central Committee,” listing its address as “P.O. Box 2082” in Missoula’s 59806 area code.

Do a quick Google search on that address, and what organization comes up?

The Missoula County Republicans.

Reminds of the central committee’s hijinx during the last municipal elections, when much fuss was made by conservatives over the county Democrats’ endorsement of city council candidates, while county Republicans made surreptitious donations to candidates claiming they were Democrats.

Look, I realize Missoula is a tough place to be a Republican, but backing a Democrat in a primary? And cutting out the word, “Republican,” on your filing? Classy.

Missoula’s central committee could learn a thing or two from the troika of College Republicans running for local legislative seats. They, at least, have the courage to proclaim their affiliation up front, and promise to make the races spirited and concentrate on issues that affect students. Maybe they won’t win the race, but at least we’ll have a discussion.

Consider this an anti-endorsement for Jeff Patterson and a challenge to county Republicans to stop their skulking and grow some spine.




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