Archive for October 28th, 2008

by jhwygirl

When they’re Sarah Palin and the voters are your supporters.

Now, Ashville North Carolina isn’t exactly redneck country…which might explain the (not) obvious excitement over a live performance of Redneck Woman by country star Gretchen Wilson.

by Pete Talbot

It’s the water

For years, I’ve suspected there was something in Ravalli County water. Those wacky Bitterrooters have been voting down school bonds, opposing planning and zoning, and muttering death threats against those who believe ATV’s shouldn’t roam everywhere on God’s green earth.

Montana’s Commissioner of Political Practices, Dennis Unsworth, confirms the funky water. He talked about the flurry of political complaints being filed at his office, half of them from Ravalli County:

“I don’t know if there’s something in the water here … ” he said, while visiting the county and adding that because of explosive growth in the valley, and the age-old Montana battle between private property rights and planning, complaints are flying.

The item on the ballot igniting this furor is the potential repeal of the county’s growth policy.

I thought that maybe they’d cleaned up the water after seeing a couple of sensible commissioners elected in the last go-around and then advancing a reasonable plan to mitigate growth. Guess I was wrong.


Are there really people out there who don’t know who they’re voting for, yet, for President? Maybe you’ve seen them interviewed on the TV news shows, and like me, shake your head in amazement.

Writer David Sedaris wonders about them, too, in this week’s New Yorker:

“I look at these people and can’t quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. “Can I interest you in the chicken?” she asks. “Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?”

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.”

The Gazette takes a stand

Jay over at LiTW has already noted the Billings Gazette editorial endorsing Obama. It got me wondering what the other newspapers in the state were doing, so I Googled them — except for Kalispell’s Daily Interlake, because I just don’t care. Helena did some statewide races. The Great Falls Tribune “went out on a limb” and endorsed Baucus and Rehberg. Otherwise, I can’t find a thing. I know the Missoulian quit doing endorsements nearly a decade ago and maybe the other papers are waiting until this Sunday or something.

The Missoula Independent will be endorsing in this Thursday’s edition but not the presidential race. Indy editor Skylar Browning explained that the paper likes to focus on statewide races, ballot initiatives, PSC, etc.

Any endorsements in the Montana press that you, faithful readers, are aware of? Please let me know. BTW, the Associated Press has a list, updated regularly, of what the national papers have been doing endorsement-wise.

(UPDATE: As of Tuesday, October 28, according to Editor and Publisher, 222 newspapers have endorsed Obama and 93 newspapers have endorsed McCain. Wow. No Ron Paul, Bob Barr or Ralph Nader endorsements that I could find.)

(UPDATE #2: Great Falls Tribune Managing Editor Gary Moseman called me back. He said the Trib won’t be endorsing in the presidential race but has been actively endorsing in statewide and local races. He said that the paper quit endorsing presidential candidates in 2000, mainly because it had little influence on how people voted but pissed off (I’m paraphrasing here) a lot of people. He added that the Trib only endorses in races where reporters and editors can interview the candidates.)

Via Missoula’s Choice 2008, the University of Montana School of Journalism online publication covering both local and statewide candidates.

by Will Melton

Michele Landquist is running for Missoula County commissioner because she has “witnessed citizens walking away after participating in the public process feeling distraught, as though their concerns, opinions and ideas were being heard by not listened to.”

She says that she will listen to the people of the county and feels that her experiences as a resident of Lolo, rather than Missoula, make her better attuned to the problems facing rural Montanans. She says her experiences as a farmer and her work on watershed and land-use planning issues will be a beneficial addition to the commission.

Her victory in the Democratic primary over much better-known candidate Dennis Daneke by 42 votes caught many political observers by surprise.

Landquist rejects the notion that her victory was a surprise and says she won by using her standing and popularity in Lolo and other rural areas along with a strong grassroots campaign to springboard her to victory.

Landquist said that her main priority is creating more affordable housing and that the key is to create more jobs that pay better.

In order to create more of these jobs, Landquist would create tax incentives for companies that pay more than the living wage and offer health care and other benefits.

Landuqist said now is not the time for the county to be asking for more bonds for anything, including the new 911 call center, a $16 million issue that is on the November ballot. While she doesn’t oppose the center, she doesn’t think taxpayers should have to pay more for it. When asked how she would pay for the center, she said that without delving into county budgets it’s difficult to say how to come up with the money.

Landquist also supports county-wide recycling, increased open space, improvements to watershed management and hiring an information officer for the county.

Landquist fits in a Schweitzer-esque mold of a rural famer with populist tendencies. Despite her insistence that she isn’t a political nobody, she knows how to play the outsider, populist card: “I don’t think you should try to be this well-known name out there to be a public servant and that you shouldn’t need to have some haughty-taughty education to serve the people.”

Via Missoula’s Choice 2008, the University of Montana School of Journalism online publication covering both local and statewide candidates.

by Collin Behan

It had been almost 20 years since Larry Anderson had lived in Missoula when he passed through on a road trip to visit in-laws in Butte. He stopped to visit an old college friend, who encouraged him to apply for a job as Missoula’s city administrator. That was in 1986 and the friend was the recently elected mayor of Missoula, Bob Lovegrove.

“I knew absolutely nothing about local government, so I thought I’d give it a try,” Anderson said. He got that job, served as city administrator for four years and has remained close to Missoula and local government ever since.

Anderson is now running for reelection after being appointed a Missoula County Commissioner in 2007. He was born in Omaha, Neb., and came to the University of Montana in 1963. After graduating with a degree in forestry and range management, Anderson entered the Army and served as an executive officer of an artillery unit in Vietnam. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Oregon State University in 1975.

In 1991, Anderson and his wife Linda, his college sweetheart, opened the Eastgate Rental and Party Center. They sold the company 11 years later and Anderson went to work as a Field Representative for former Sen. Conrad Burns and, later, Rep. Denny Rehberg.

County Commissioner Barbara Evens retired in 2007 after nearly 30 years as a county commissioner and Anderson was named to replace her for the final year of her term. Anderson said he has tried to maintain Evans’ policy of allowing people to drop in to visit with commissioners.

“Her motto, and I think it’s one that I carry on, was ‘Serve all the people,’” Anderson said.

Evans was well respected by the people of Missoula and replacing her was difficult, Anderson said. At the same time, Anderson thinks he brought a fresh perspective to the commissioner’s office as a former business owner and fiscal conservative. He was familiar with the people and workings of local government from his time as city administrator and having serving one term as a Missoula city councilman for Ward 4 in 1995.

As the only Republican on the board of commissioners, Anderson said he brings a crucial balance of perspectives to the county. His experience in city, county and federal government and business can help push Missoula through the current rough economic times, Anderson said.

If elected, he would like to continue working with outlying towns like Seeley Lake, Frenchtown and Bonner on their community plans.

“I think the majority of people (in those towns) want to see those communities maintain a personality and the uniqueness that they have,” Anderson said. Commissioners respond to a diverse range of needs, goals and opinions. The county’s constituents range from people living on country roads around Seeley Lake to students living in apartments in downtown Missoula to seniors in rapidly growing towns like Lolo or Frenchtown.

Land use planning and transportation are of key importance to the future of the county and his own plans for the commissioner’s office, Anderson said. Over a billion dollars in funding requests have been made for transportation projects in the next 20 years. Less than $480 million in federal and county funding is projected during that time, he said.

“So, as an elected official I’m going to have to try to find ways to compromise and get people to set aside their personal feelings and look at the larger picture,” he said.

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