by Pete Talbot

Gov. Schweitzer: crazy like a fox?

At first I was shocked to see the Good Gov telling the NRA-loving gun crowd to vote for Libertarian Bob Barr in the presidential election. Has Schweitzer lost his marbles? But strategically, I guess it makes sense. If one assumes that the folks who make gun rights their number one issue would probably vote for McCain over Obama, then pushing those voters into the Barr camp is a shrewd move.

It’s a bit of a gamble but the governor isn’t known as much of a gambler when it comes to electoral politics. He might even have a poll out there that indicates how gun fanatics are going to vote in November. So, I’m with the governor on this one: if nothing is more important to you than gun rights, and you’re leaning McCain, you should really vote for Barr.

Curdy to run against Nooney in House District 100

Bill Vaughn, Dark Acres author and perhaps incumbent Bill Nooney’s biggest detractor, has the story on last night’s Missoula Democratic Central Committee vote.

Vaughn doesn’t mince words when it comes to describing Nooney. Here’s an excerpt:

“Nooney has proudly accepted campaign cash from the Montana Contractor’s Association, the wood products industry and the petroleum industry, among many other corporate special interests. Owner of Missoula-based Hi Noon Petroleum, and a string of non-union quicky-marts, he voted against increasing the fuel efficiency of Montana ’s state-owned vehicles during an era of rising prices at the pump.”

And that’s the nice stuff. You’ll have to scroll down past the first piece at Vaughn’s site to find the whole post on Curdy and Nooney.

And over in House District 98

A couple of folks emailed to say that Holly Raser’s letter to the Missoulian about Republican candidate Will Deschamps was right on. They hoped that everyone had read it. Maybe I can help. It’s reprinted below the fold.

Homeowners shouldn’t foot bill for new subdivisions’ roads

There’s no such thing as a free road.

In a letter to the editor printed Aug. 4, Missoula County Republican Chair and legislative candidate Will Deschamps bemoans the fact that local government requires developers to pay for the road construction required to serve their subdivisions, saying, “Forget the fact that developers pay all road costs within their subdivision and most times are saddled with impact fees outside their projects.”

Yes, developers pay all road costs within their subdivisions. There’s no good reason for owners of existing homes to foot the bill for roads to new properties someone else wants to sell. Further, it is not true that developers are “saddled with impact fees outside their projects.” According to law, impact fees “must reasonably reflect the expected impacts directly attributable to the subdivision,” (76-3-510, MCA), and “may not exceed a proportionate share of the costs incurred or to be incurred by the governmental entity in accommodating the development” (7-6-1602, MCA). Does Deschamps prefer that you and I relieve developers from paying their way, adding to their profit margin because the rest of us pick up the tab?

In his letter, Deschamps continues, “(Developers) then turn the road over to the appropriate government agency. What a deal, a free road.” He ignores the ongoing costs of maintenance as well as the additional burden placed on surrounding existing roads.

Helena already has too many legislators who consistently vote with special interest groups to bolster short-term profits at the expense of the long-term public good. Please vote for Sue Malek for House District 98 and select a representative with enough judgment to keep from delivering us a raw deal.

Holly Raser, Representative, House District 98, Missoula

  1. Fionn

    I have been a faithful through silent observer of 4 & 20 Blackbirds for sometime. With a few exceptions, the political commentary from most participants is well considered, relevant and usually fair.

    While Pete Talbot is one of my favorite contributors, I must object to his apparent endorsement of Bill Vaughn’s recent political rant on the HD 100 race that includes an attack on a local charitable foundation. After waiting several days for someone else to protest, I feel compelled comment. I am saddened to think that charities are now fair game in political wars.

    Blindly assailing the purpose and reputation of the Hi-Noon Foundation, or any charitable organization, without evidence, as “just another scheme” to score hits in a political attack is reprehensible. That is true whether the political target is a Democrat, Republican or Independent.

    I have worked with many Missoula area charitable organizations for many years and strongly resent the implications of Mr. Vaughn’s attack. I have also been a volunteer for some of the charitable organizations who graciously received grants from the Hi-Noon Foundation. Although I have never been directly involved with the Hi-Noon Foundation or any of the Hi-Noon businesses, I know many of the trustees who sit on its board through community contacts. I have served on boards with several of these people. Their reputations do not deserve Mr. Vaughn’s unsupported and irresponsible attacks.

    As usual, Mr. Vaughn is using obfuscation and feigned ignorance to lob dirt at anyone in his crosshairs and doesn’t care that innocent bystanders are equally tarnished.

    Vaughn states the Hi-Noon Foundation violated federal law by failing to mail him a copy of the Foundation’s tax return. Mr. Vaughn is either ignorant of the law or is intentionally deceiving the reader.

    Yes, Foundations must make public the three most recently filed annual Form 990s. However, despite Mr. Vaughn’s ignorant rant, Foundations are not required to mail annual information to individual requests if it makes these documents “widely available” to the public such as by posting said documents on the internet either on their own web page or on another public data base.

    It took me less than two minutes to Google and then download from a public web site copies of the Foundation’s Form 990PF for 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. It took me another two minutes to find the IRS Tax Code. And before Vaughn jumps in yelling about the requested 2007 tax return, that one isn’t due until “…the 15th day of the 5th month after the organization’s accounting period ends” plus any extensions. Based on the filing dates stamped on previous returns, I project the Trustees will file the 2007 990PF sometime in October or November of 2008. The IRS should have it scanned into the system within the following thirty days.

    And what deep dark secrets did these 990PFs expose? First, they revealed that one of the Trustees on the Foundation that Vaughn describes as “just another scheme” is Tom Boone, one of the most loyal Democrats and charitable people I have ever had the privilege of working with in Missoula. I have known Tom for over twenty five years. He is a dedicated honorable man who deserves better than to be impugned by a political hack like Vaughn.
    Tom has served on many boards and foundations with Pete’s parents for over 30 years. Neither Tom Boone nor Pete’s parents would participate in a charity “scheme.”

    Despite the sinister motives Vaughn may be implying, the 990PFs reveal that none of the Trustees received any compensation or expense allowances. The Foundation made annual charitable contributions of $18,290, $23,306, $27,570, $26,293 and $18,390 respectively from 2002 through 2006. According to the 990PFs, these annual distributions represent between 5% to 7% of the Foundation’s book value. The IRS requires minimal annual distributions of 5%. A few of the grant recipients listed include the University of Montana, Boy Scouts of America, St. Josephs Catholic Church, Glacier Ice Rink, Nature Conservatory of Montana, UM Rodeo Team, American Heart Institute, Red Cross, Big Sky High School and Western Montana Fair. Missoula could benefit from a few more of these charitable “schemes.”

    Pete, please don’t sacrifice your standards to participate in a political hit job on a charitable organization just because you don’t like the politician sitting on the Board. Criticize the opponent’s stand on the issues that matter. Don’t lower yourself to Vaughn’s sad level.

    It is unfortunate that Gary Brown had to withdraw from the race in HD100. I lost a mother and several close friends to cancer. I have great empathy for Gary and his family. He is a true gentleman who would not condone these types of reckless attacks Mr. Vaughn is using.

    I have not met Mr. Curdy. I can only suggest that if he and other Democrats are serious about mounting an effective political campaign, they should stop cheering on Mr. Vaughn, stick to real political issues and immediately condemn these types of personal and unethical attacks that only cause collateral damage to innocent bystanders.

  2. So we’re apparently to sell our respect for a paltry $20,000 or so? There are lots of struggling non-profits out there doing important work, hell, I’ve worked for ’em, but I’m sure as hell not going to throw my morals out the window because someone kicks a donation my way.

    Mr. Vaughn can be a little prickly (4&20 even found this out once), but he can hardly be considered synonymous with Democrats chances this fall–nor should the important concerns he has fall upon deaf ears. Mr. Nooney has been deceiving and misrepresenting his constituents for far too long for me to worry about the Fair having another $1,000 in the bank to pay some crappy inspiration rock band.

  3. Pronghorn

    Not defending Vaughn, not supporting Fionn. But there’s this:

    “I am saddened to think that charities are now fair game in political wars.”

    See Geo.W. Bush, faith-based initiatives:

  4. i always have a problem with personal attacks that smack of vendetta and Bill Vaugn’s credibility seems to suffer from a very personal axe to grind. when people act like this it often backfires and is counterproductive to seeking real change.

  5. petetalbot

    I appreciate Fionn’s comprehensive rebuttal of Vaughn’s accusation that the High Noon Foundation is “a scheme.” Thanks for weighing in and it certainly wasn’t my intent to impugn the board members of that foundation.

    As problembear points out, Vaughn has an ax to grind. I link to the Dark Acres site because, frankly, I like Vaughn’s writing — it’s a no-holds-barred style and not to be confused with objective journalism.

    I’ll continue to link to his site but will also search out more balanced pieces on the candidates and the issues facing House District 100. Also, please consider 4&20 a forum for all points of view concerning Nooney, Curdy and the H. D. 100 contest. This is an extremely important legislative race and every legitimate comment will receive fair play.

  6. Lamnidae, did you think Fionn’s post was an endorsement of Nooney? I didn’t read it that way; it seemed like maybe Vaughn went a little far with his attack? I wonder — ironically — if it’s the kind of thing you could get sued for…

  7. Bobonbeckwith

    Yeah, Fionn, but I wonder if that politician every used donor lists from the Foundation fundraising efforts for any kind of political gain?

    Not in our back yard. I won’t stand for it.

    No political gamesmanship in non-profits that I have to read about on the internet near MY BACK YARD.

    You know FIONN, I just sat down on my roof, to watch the Missoula sunset with my bino’s and I looked over toward Nooney’s district, and I could see trouble brewing.

    Your misinformation about those tax records won’t stand! Not in our Back Yard!

    There’s foul play afoot, and I don’t need my Nikons to see it!

  8. Fionn

    Again, Bobonbeckwith, more unsubstantiated mud being thrown without any attempt at verification.

    You may want to take the two minutes I invested in finding the last five years of the Foundation’s 990PFs to see that it reported it did not receive any “gifts, grants and contributions” (i.e., there were no donors in those years). Private Foundations are normally funded through the contributions of the family or company that set them up, often at their inception.

    “Private foundations receive the majority of their support from a limited number of donors, often members of one family – and from investment income.”

    And by the way, what “misinformation” did I submit? Is this a real criticism or just a standard toss away line you use?

    Laminade, I don’t completely understand everything you are saying in your post. I would advise you, however, that insulting the Missoula Fair and the many thousands of voters who attend those “crappy inspiration rock bands” is not the best way to help Mr. Curdy garner their votes.

    Perhaps we have differences in opinion because I come from an older generation that believes you need to take a higher moral ground to give you credibility when making political arguments.

    Obama has fared well, in large part, because he and his campaign have stayed positive and refused to “swift boat” his opponents. He keeps voters focused on issues and criticizes policies he opposes. He does not make petty personal attacks on people. This makes him a more credible trustworthy candidate and leader.

    To put it another way, it is difficult to criticize other people’s unscrupulous campaign tactics or to appear ethical and have leadership qualities when you or your supporters (e.g., Bill Vaughn) are telling voters the opponent is “…a bloated fat cat Mormon who’s been married three times.”

    It is acceptable political practice to insult people’s religious beliefs now? How does this type of language enable anyone to go to the legislature and discuss hate crimes or discrimination? Surely, there must be more relevant issues to discuss.

    Bill Vaughn, Bobonbeckwith and Laminade might want to take the lead of such commentators as Pete Talbot or jhwygirl who’s political commentary is more in line with being “considered, relevant and usually fair” that I mentioned in my original post.

  9. when you or your supporters

    That’s just kind of twisted. Republicant, one might think.

    It is acceptable political practice to insult people’s religious beliefs now?

    Hypocrisy is what is is. Why is it bad to point that out? Is it ‘reeeligeeous’? No. It’s just stupid. Why should one be ashamed to point that out?

  10. And just for the record, few things are more annoying than Concern Trolls.

  11. Fionn

    Wulfgar, let me amend part of my previous post.

    “WOLFGAR, Bill Vaughn, Bobonbeckwith and Laminade might want to take the lead of such commentators as Pete Talbot or jhwygirl who’s political commentary is more in line with being “considered, relevant and usually fair” that I mentioned in my original post.”

  12. Bobonbeckwith

    When white people stop using religion to bomb and subjugate minorities, then Religion will stop being a legitimate target of attack.

    Stop naming missles “crusader” and so forth, and it might help. Framing a religious war as one of good and evil also hurt. That should be undone.

    Truth is, republicans have mixed religion with politics, and it has had a bad effect –one the founders didn’t want in OUR back yards, which at the time included what would become Montana.

    So yes, religion can be an item of attack, if it has to do with OUR back yards. Christians care so much about having a good yard in the after life, so they’ll let all the backyards they can actually save go to waste why they’re busy praying and singing and doing all that fancy close-eyed-hand-waiving stuff.

    No more of that in OUR back yards.

    That’s right.

    Keep your religion in your back yard, and I’ll keep mine in mine.


  13. Bobonbeckwith

    And since when to a bunch of hack bloggers get to define what’s legit and not-legit commentary?

    Seems if stuff isn’t consistent with the accepted sheltered view of the western Montana blogger, then it must be different and therefore bullshit. You guys just don’t know the importance of our back yards, and about how precious they are. Have you guys ever been to a Home Depot. Yeah.

    You idiots also, like Wulfgar, think because a handful of bloggers who happen to slam the same kinds of things and blog on the same site ( that we’re all out “Trolling” whenever we express an opinion somewhere else. Wulfgar’s tripping over himself trying to call the kettle black here.

    Seems like Wulfgar doesn’t like new viewpoints on the scene, even when they’re delivered with some irreverence and whit that someone who takes himself –and that small wanker– way more seriously than he should.

    In any event, Fionn is hiding behind some kind of “assumed” coolness standard. If anyone tosses some sarcasim or tude, she shuts down and doesn’t have to explain her anti-backyard views.

    Why do hate our back yards Fion? That’s what this is really about.

    Well not me. No no. I take a stand for our back yard.

    That’s right.

    OUR back yards.

  14. Do you even read this blog bobonbeckwith? I mean, really read it? It’s all about zoning and growth issues, affordable housing…and then we even hit on statewide issues of the same.

    And before you start asking troll bombs like “since when to a bunch of hack bloggers get to define what’s legit and not-legit commentary?” take a look at yourself. Your my-way-or-the-highway approach to blogging is what is making me and a whole bunch of others ignore you. Nasty nasty criticism, barely a description of the problem, no offer of solution at all, and ghosting comments (and other blogs) to make it look like someone is reading and commenting.

    Seriously: Are you that desperate for attention?

    You hate blogs. I get it. You and your friends (and I’ll leave that comment at that) hate blogs. But you blog, and your ‘friends’ blog. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    You also have no right to start anything about “assumed coolness standard” – I can’t even fathom what in the hell you trying to say there, what with all your pseudo I’m-trying-to-be-cool talk. It’s beyond insulting to a whole bunch of people – black and white.

    Finally – I GET that you got a blog. So do lots of others. Don’t expect it to show up on this blogroll here. It didn’t even deserve this mention here – but there you go.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath about the 4&20 “bounce,” though – you gotta earn that on your own.

  15. Bobonbeckwith

    Deep blow to our back yards here jhwygirl. Humorless deep blow.

    You are right though. And I won’t dispute your claim that I do have a my-way-or-the-highway approach sometimes. I care about our backyards, and I won’t back down. When it comes to issues I’ve perceived as encroaching –or potentially possibly encroaching– on our backyards, I’ve been stalwart. I take stands for backyards. That’s right. Stands.

    I also won’t dispute that many posts from several different blogger handles appear on this site and come frequently from the same either IP addresses, or servers. We also frequently comment on each others posts, and even shamelessly plug our own:, and my own Other bloggers on that site have individual sites, and anyone’s welcome to check them out. I don’t need to list them.

    I cannot claim responsibility for the, I agree, totally hostile things that come from a couple bloggers in particular from that site, and we are agreed on that. If you read back through past columns there, you’ll see that they’ve thrown quite a bit of mud at me in the past as well, and I took issue with it. But there are occaisions where I agree with a couple of them, especially when they caught Newwest censoring feedback columns, and I haven’t been afraid to link my comments to their posts on the site because I’ve felt it was important to promote their view on that particular issue. You’ll continue to see that on our site, becaue we frequently agree or support posts on certain issues that really resonate. So if you interpret it as trolling, or being self-promoting, then perhaps these are your more general compaints of conventional blogging, not of us. We are but silly metaphors to someone like you. Seriousite.

    And, for everyone’s information, no one has approached you about putting links to our blog on your website. To my knowledge, none of the other bloggers have even been in any contact with you. We’re not seeking attention on your site. Your raising the issue here is a little misleading, because it’s not something any of us want. If you link us, then people will affiliate us with you, and we don’t want that, it makes us look mainstream, at least in my opinion. That’s not the audience we’re trying to reach. Humorless seriousites; they don’t give a shit about our message.

    But I find it disconcerting that the people who don’t jive with your viewpoint are labelled as discreditable and self-promoting as a result. This type of rhetoric came with the Nazis, and I won’t have it in my back yard. Backyard Nazis, not here.

    Makes me want to take a stand is what it does. A sopebox stand.

    You are a most elusive critic consonant girl, for I am unable to see the trouble you bring from my rooftop-rangefinder sessions. I admit, you alude me and my Nikons. That’s right, I can admit that. That doesn’t hurt my masculinity. Much.

    But your mis-framing of my point of view, and your attempts to discredit me because of your narrow interpretation of normally accepted online behavior, make me realize you are a hater of our backyards. These things I can see because they appear in words. Yes.

    I do not need rangefinders to read words.

    I have read your blog alot. You tackle backyard issues, but you don’t really allow for a full-fledged defense of the backyard. That’s right. No full-fledged defense. This bothers me, and seems a little forgetful of us pro-backyarders out there. We take stands too you know.

    [PS just admit it’s the comments about religion that prompted your departure from reason, and I’ll admit, sometimes you stick up for the back yard. Sometimes.]

  16. “in the past”???? You’ve been around for like 50 seconds.

    “We’re not seeking attention on your site. Your raising the issue here is a little misleading, because it’s not something any of us want.” Bullshit.

    I “don’t allow for a full-fledged defense of the backyard”? Seriously? How can you say that? Unless you’ve called someone a name, you haven’t been censored. NO ONE has been censored around here for about a year. The last person banned continue to call me names, and was warned repeatedly. You are a liar when you say that.

    And regarding “comments about religion”? I can’t even read through your stuff…if you said something above about religion, I missed it.

    You are clearly beyond reason.

  17. Mr. Bob, I’m worried that you may be dealing with a Republican here. Did you ever think of that?

    Maybe you should have.

    You said very mean things about the Republicans Bob. And we all know that saying mean things doesn’t make friends.

    I’m a concerned Mom, and I vote Republican sometimes when my husband decides I should vote that way. Why are you being mean to me Bob?

    Why do you, Mr. Bob hate Moms just for being Republican?

    You can’t just hate Moms Mr. Beckwith. Even you had one, and so did I. That does hurt your masculinity.

    I’m so worried that you’re becoming a Mom-hater Bob.

    You think I like to bomb brown people? This really concerns me. I don’t even know how to fly an airplane, and the Military would never accept me, what with my asthma and overweightness.

    But you still hate me for being republican, and that’s not nice.

    You’re about to make a concerned mother cry.

    [Concerned mother goes and cries, and Bobonbeckwith should feel like a real tool now for making somebody’s momma cry. Really, only a total jerk would do that.]

  18. nancy1956

    Well, it’s good to see liberals bickering over nothing while war continues in Iraq. Very progressive, folks.

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