Archive for June, 2009

by Pete Talbot

Following on the heels of a New Yorker article I read on global warming, I saw that Rep. Denny Rehberg joined just about every Republican in the U.S House to vote against the modest cap-and-trade, energy and environment bill.

I’m guessing Denny doesn’t read the New Yorker. He’d rather get his info from the Heritage Foundation … or somewhere. Too bad, because James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and other climate experts, paint a dismal picture.

In a Lee newspaper article, Rehberg called the bill “destructive.” He obviously doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “destructive.”

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has some insights into this congressional malfeasance (via Jay at LiTW).

The Congressional Budget Office says, that over a few years, the bill will likely cost the average American family $175 a year. About what I pay yearly for DVD rentals. So it’s $175 a year for awhile or trillions of dollars much later to mitigate environmental degradation we can’t even imagine.

Isn’t it funny how right-wingers bring up deficit spending as a burden to future generations but they ignore global warming?  Not really.

by jhwygirl

Boy, I gotta say, I’m a little bummed that Missoulians haven’t been able to push 1,000 New Gardens, Missoula to the top vote getter at Idea Blob….

Voting ends at 10 p.m. tonight folks – so if you’ve been putting it off or whatever, time is a wastin’ (as I say sometimes), so please take the time to give these guys a vote.

I know it requires you to register. Big hassle (wah-wah). I did it. It isn’t like changing a tire or digging a new garden. Jeez.

The big prize is $10,000 – and honestly, they just need a little over 300 votes to get them there.

by jhwygirl

A week ago I blogged about some of the awards awarded to local Montana print journalists by the Montana Newspaper Association. I didn’t know it (because the MNA doesn’t seem too interested in putting a full listing up on its website), but there were more.

The Missoula Independent took home four awards at the MNA’s, with former reporter Patrick Klemz taking home two of ’em. Here they are:
First for In-Depth Investigative Reporting, “Saving Grace,” Patrick M. Klemz
First in Biz Reporting, “Black Gold,” Zach Dundas
Third in Agriculture Reporting, “Time to CUT a Deal,” Patrick M. Klemz
Third for Feature Story, “Reservation Rock,” Erika Fredrickson

I want to note that Klemz did two feature-length pieces that I can remember on brucellosis – I’m sure he’ll correct me if I’m wrong – the other being “Bigger Game,” which bravely put an elk on the front cover, right next to the word “brucellosis”. The Indy was probably the first media outlet anywhere to so visually and verbally connect elk with the spread of brucellosis. That was a very fine piece.

Not bad, huh?

What about 4&20 favorite Jesse Froehling? Well – he garnered two awards from the Society of Professional Journalist’s Northwest Excellence in Journalism awards. Froehling came to the Indy from the Seattle Weekly early last fall. His awards were for his work at the Seattle Weekly, and came for “Kicking the Juans Out of the San Juans,” in the Social Issues category for alternative weeklies (a second place) and another second in the category of Sports for “Tailpipe Dream“. And if you go do a search at the Seattle Weekly for all of Froehling’s work, Missoula Independent fans will know we’ve got plenty to look forward to if his body of work there is any indicator.

Was there more in the SPJ’s awards for the Indy? Yep:
First place for Patrick Klemz in the category of Consumer/Environmental Affairs, “Superfraud”
First place for Andy Smetanka in the category of Lifestyle, “Home in the Hills”
Third place for Skylar Browning in the Sports category for “Time Trial”

The Missoulian also took home eight awards at the SPJ’s, including three for Michael Moore (including a first for Best Column); a first for Chelsi Moy in the category of Personalities; and a second for Tristan Scott (for Social Issues, his piece “Prescription for Addiction”).

A full list of the SPJ’s Northwest awards can be found here.

I also caught last night on KECI a congratulations for Heidi Meili who took home Montana Broadcaster’s Association and the Greater Montana Foundation award for Montana’s On Air Broadcaster of the Year for 2009.

More congrats for all!

by jhwygirl

With nary an official announcement, I, too, noticed Mike Mansfield’s name at the bottom of one of my more recent emailings from Democratic congressional candidate Tyler Gernant – as did Missoulian reporter Chelsi Moy. She was perplexed – I was pleasantly surprised.

Having the nephew of Montana’s former Senator Mike Mansfield heading up the treasurer position for Gernant’s campaign certainly came as a good signal to me that not only was Gernant very serious about his search for our lone congressional seat, but that he was deserving of the support of a political insider like Mike Mansfield.

There’s much ado being made over Dennis McDonald’s declaration today that he supports single payer. Me? I’m skeptical of candidates taking strong and hard positions on something they’ll not have to vote for or for things of which they have no standing to take credit.

Not that Dennis isn’t a nice guy. I found him genuinely pleasant when I met him at the Democratic National Convention, when one of the things I took notice of was that his cowboy hat was the real thing, dirt and all – not like that show hat Rehberg wears, with so perfect a rim. It’s just that I view any and all show-boating during a primary with a significantly skeptical eye. Regardless of who it is from.

That cowboy hat thing might seem a little weird – but it’s the small things like the handshake and the eye contact, and yes, the cowboy hat, that can tell a whole lot about the person.

I’d much rather hear from both of these candidates regarding what changes they’d want to see to prevent the near collapse we’ve seen of our financial system. Or, regarding a position on health care, something specific as to how it can be paid for – rather than an elementary “I support single-payer.”

Frankly, with regards to McDonald’s recent declaration regarding single-payer, I DO have to ask: Where were you three months ago? Two months ago? Last month? That bus has kinda left the building, no? Single-payer? Call me crazy, but I can compare taking McDonald taking this position now to Rehberg running around taking credit for stimulus funding he didn’t vote for.

Of course, when am I ever not the cynic?

Gernant out raised McDonald last quarter, and this current quarter closes Tuesday. Think about stopping by his Act Blue page and dropping him a donation of a few bucks.

by jhwygirl

Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Kinda hard to remove it.

by jhwygirl

If you watched the video my last post, you found out that what birthed 1,000 New Gardens, Missoula was a dinner meeting between Max Smith, a UM student and Geoff Badenoch (Missoula’s perennial board member of just about everything) where the topic of discussion was preservation of agricultural lands out in the county. A simple question “What about looking inward?” – in February of this year – turned into a collaborative effort between a number of eager and willing volunteers and 10 test plots.

Starting a garden is the hardest part. Ripping out sod, removing large rocks, preparing the soil…lots of work, and way to much for many to take on solely by themselves.

joel's garden midday

Think about it: How many good ideas have you had over dinner with friends? And how many of them actually result in something real, on the ground?

No wonder Badenoch looks so satisfied. Good hard work is especially satisfying:


1,000 New Gardens, Missoula is partnered up with two other sustainability superstars: MUD (the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project) and Home Resource. MUD is an excellent local resource for all things sustainable – their tool-lending program is gold. Pure gold.

Home Resources takes building materials and recycles them by resale. Another awesome resource – I know many friends who own their own homes who always look there first for many of their home projects.

These guys and gals are already planning gardens for next year. I bet the fall dinner party is going to be fabulous.

As I asked yesterday – if this project was able to fly with less than $150 bucks, imagine what they could do with the $10,000 prize from Advanta?

Weekends are pretty slow around here – especially when the weather is great. Surely 4&20 readers can help get this project over the top. Email a link to this post around, too. There are just two days left to vote, people – please take the time to register at Idea Blob and then vote for 1,000 New Gardens, Missoula to help them get this sustainability project the solid-footing that it deserves to keep The Garden City truly The Garden City.

by jhwygirl

Arriving to my inbox on Thursday was information on a new, unknown-to-me project in Missoula called “1,000 New Gardens, Missoula“.

As I watched the video that a link (included in the email), I think I absolutely fell in love! There are so many good things about this project – the list that bounces around in my head keeps growing – that, for today I’ll ask you all to watch this video and ponder for yourself “If these guys and gals can do this much with 150 bucks, think of what they’d do with $10,000?”

And as you ponder that, head on over to Idea Blob and register and vote. 1,000 New Gardens, Missoula is one of 8 finalists in line for the $10,000 prize. Voting closes June 31 – which is Tuesday.

Have a garden? Have pics? Take one or two, then, and email them my way (“me” at hotmail) and I’ll post ’em up – because even if you have a garden like mine, you are surely proud of it.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you all just how this got started. What I can tell you now is that some of you will, no doubt, think twice about all the ideas you’ve bounced around with friends.


by problembear

George Hanson: You know, this used to be a helluva good country. I can’t understand what’s gone wrong with it.
Billy: Man, everybody got chicken, that’s what happened


just gotta quit this cold turkey or i won’t ever be able to quit….this blogging is a serious drug, man….it can be too satisfying and i’ve neglected my many writing projects for too long now…

this ride has been an easy one thanks to wonderful companions and the great commenters here at 4 & 20. J-girl – you rock! and i mean that. if you are searching for a replacement may i suggest jc? he has excellent real world publishing experience. also, i would love to hear what ellie hill  or lizard can bring to the mix…well, it’s time to saddle up this old bear hide and get on down the road. i will occasionally place excerpts of what i am working on at problembear’s weblog of course, but i won’t be commenting any more so goof can come back more often. he definitely always made  me think more than anyone else and competition is never a bad thing…it sharpens the  skills. 

thanks you guys and especially you for your kind invitation to join in, j-girl. i never met anyone in person here but enjoyed every minute of it- even the exhilarating and thrilling sword fights with wulfgar. good luck to all of you and keep up the good work. good luck and health and happiness to the bad guys too but…..

may the good guys always win…..

(sure hope i didn’t capitalize anything here…)

by problembear

Senator Jay Rockefeller from West Virginia, chair of the us commerce committee, seems to understand the real issue with health care:

“To me, there is nothing that ultimately makes more difference to Americans than health care.

“People often talk about 45 million uninsured Americans, but rarely mention the 25 million Americans who are underinsured.”

Rockefeller estimates at least 100 million Americans face major problems paying for health care today.

“We can’t count on insurance companies. They are just maximizing their profits. They are sticking it to consumers.

“I am all for letting insurance companies compete. But I want them to compete in a system that offers real health-care insurance. I call it a public plan,” Rockefeller said….

Government-backed programs are big enough to bring medical costs down, Rockefeller believes.

“Back in 1993, all our Veterans Administration hospitals got together and agreed to buy prescription drugs as a group. The next week, the costs of those drugs went down by 50 percent.

“Today, the insurance industry runs this whole deal, spending $1.4 million every day to fight health-insurance reform. The government has a lot of power to lower prices,” Rockefeller said….

“We have a moral choice. This is a classic case of the good guys versus the bad guys. I know it is not political for me to say that,” Rockefeller added.

“But do you want to be non-partisan and get nothing? Or do you want to be partisan and end up with a good health- care plan? That is the choice.”

passed along by problembear:

(sure is nice to have a president who not only listens to folks who need help but to provide a site telling their stories) by the way….if you have a health care story to share with us please feel free to do so….



Austin, TX
Maggiereid2_medium I have a lifelong friend (pictured) who has Stage 4 uterine cancer with little hope of remission. We have been friends since we met in 7th grade band class — 50 years ago. The sad part of possibly losing her is that THIS COULD HAVE BEEN PREVENTED!! She lives on a small farm, in a small Texas town and supports herself by running a flower shop. The business barely meets her house note and feeds her and leaves no room for extras — like health insurance. She knew something was wrong but could not afford to go to the doctor. Finally, another friend found a doctor that agreed to examine her and she then found someone that agreed to operate. This took over two years to accomplish. In the end, she received over 90K in medical bills anyway but it was too late as the uterine cancer had already spread into her bones and lymph nodes. We finally got MD Anderson to agree to treat her. Radiation and two rounds of chemo has not stopped it and about all they can do for her now is pain management. The cancer has gone too far to be treatable. This is the United States of America and the year is 2009. This should never have been allowed to happen and the sad part is that this is not an isolated or unusual case. On another note, I DO have health insurance. It costs me a fortune and even then, when I go to the doctor I receive bills from people I never heard of and certainly never saw. I believe the medical profession is ripping us and the insurance companies off. Good medical care should not be a privilege of the wealthy. We need healthcare for ALL Americans, NOW.

people should hear this

by the way…if you have a health care story to share with us please do feel free to do so…

by jhwygirl

About a month ago, Rep. Joel Boniek (R-Livingston) brought Montana into nationwide attention when he attended a town hall-style meeting hosted by FoxNews on state’s rights. He was there – along with gun lobbyist and friend Gary Marbut, of the Montana Shooting Sports Association – to brag about HD228 which was signed into law by Governor Schweitzer after this last legislative session. The video is great insight into the mind of right-wing Republicans of Montana:

NOW Rep. Joel Boniek brings Montana into the national spotlight again with an interview with the LATimes where he compared Obama to some of the world’s best known fascists:

For his part, Boniek at one point equated Obama with Hitler, Mao and Stalin, saying each loved his country in his fashion but proved disastrous as a leader. “He’s ruining the country I love,” Boniek said of Obama, his soft tone belying the harsh comparison. “He doesn’t know what freedom is.”

Beyond wondering if Boniek even knows what a fascist is, given the last 8 years and his silence over those events, his willingness to use whatever he has to to get his right-wing agenda through is scary:

“It’s about states’ rights,” said state Rep. Joel Boniek, an independent-turned-Republican from nearby Livingston, who introduced the bill. “Guns are just the vehicle.”

I’m sure Rep. Boniek is civil and soft spoken and all, and as the LATimes notes, it belies the garbage that he spouts – but this is just the kind of garbage that breeds and feeds people like the Timothy McVeigh’s of the world.

Yep. I said it. Rep. Boniek is watering the sprouts of domestic terrorists.

With that kind of attention – the Wall Street Journal did a piece too – one has to wonder how many “sprouts” have been watered out there.

And what ever happened to patriotism? The patriotism these right-wingers spouted off about over and over when President George Bush Jr. was criticized for his war policies?

OH – gun lobbyist Gary Marbut got a piece of the LATimes action too –

“No federal employee in a black robe is going to roll back the power of the federal government,” said Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Assn., who wrote the bill. “But we want to make a statement, get the legal arguments on the record and get people active.”

Seems Marbut and Boniek are attached at the hip – first the legislative session, then FoxNews – and now and LATimes interview. How cozy.

I wonder if they mentioned the recent shooting in Helena.

by jhwygirl

For those of you who haven’t heard, Dick Cheney’s gotten an advance to write a biography. Who better to hear it from than someone in Wyoming? Michael Shay, of Wyoming’s premier progressive blog hummingbirds, has the news.

I love his suggested titles. Too funny.

by jhwygirl

You should stop and turn on the television and watch ABC’s Primetime special “Questions for the President: On Healthcare”

by jhwygirl

Just in case you didn’t get this on Bob Jeffe’s listserve, Rocky Sehnert, former planner for both Missoula County Office of Planning & Grants and the Ravalli County Planning Department, wrote a letter. I’ll take out his email address because of the public nature of this blog, but here is the rest, in its entirety:

From: Rocky Sehnert
Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 5:19 PM
To: Bob Jaffe
Subject: Go ahead–finish killing off downtown shopping- there is not much there that just regular folks want anyway.

Dear Bob,

When you choke off the arteries to some part of the body it will die from lack of flow of nutrients and oxygen. Choking off yet another access route for motor vehicles to downtown will pretty much finish off the viability of that part of the city for meaningful commerce especially from persons such as myself who live a short distance out of town and use our vehicles, at our expense, to do business in Missoula. Your ideas are short sighted and childish in regard to Missoula’s role as a regional trade center. What is needed is more parking if you want to save downtown. North Reserve shopping is clearly more attractive to most people in this area. Downtown is full of over priced boutiques and bars that cater to minors and bums. The panhandlers and vagrants are enough already to keep me and my wife from going downtown after hours.

Why don’t you try getting a real 40 hours job in Missoula, give up your trust fund, and see how regular people live. You might gain a whole new perspective on real life in Missoula instead of living in your fantasy bubble of bike, buses, and bullshit.

Rocky Sehnert

Lovely, huh?

From a guy who’s worked in the public sector.

Rocky’s been pretty outspoken about the zoning ordinance rewrite. Now – keeping in mind that virtually all of the working professionals that have to work with the current document support it because the current document is so horribly written – Rocky Sehnert doesn’t even think it needs to be done. Guess that explains why he didn’t stick around at OPG very long. I asked around down at the Ravalli County Planning Department too – I know a couple people down that way – and no one seemed to remember him either.

Of course – this is the guy, too, who is doing zoning presentations for the local Packyderms. While I usually just sum it up for you, going there so you don’t have to – here’s a link so you can read all about it yourself.

Before I cut out – I’m going to reprint a comment from the Missoulian’s Keila Spzaller’s blog Red Tape (which readers, I hope, have been reading):

Dear Mr. Sehnert:

It has come to our attention that you have found “overpriced boutiques” downtown that cater to “minors and bums.” We’re delighted at this development, as we’ve found it extremely difficult in the past to locate expensive merchandise marketed towards the underage and the destitute. If you could pass the names of said establishments to us, we’d be thrilled!

Your letter also mentions “real life,” which, apparently, we’re not privy to unless we own an automobile and live in the South Hills. By this logic, perhaps 10 percent of Missoulians ever attain this mythical “real life.” This makes us sad. Maybe someday, after our bosses give all of us raises we can experience “real life” too! But for now, we’ll stick to our buses and bikes until we own the automobile necessary to experience the thrill of shopping on reserve street.

Lastly, we understand that parking your automobile and shopping at box stores is clearly more desirable to you. And although we’ll miss your delightful, eloquent comments, we’re glad you’ve found tranquility at Wal Mart away from downtown. God Bless!


The Minors and the Bums




by problembear

 is that wily max baucus really after bipartisianship with those no good republicants on health care reform? or is he just setting a screen for barry to go hard to the basket?…..maybe there is hope of getting a decent public option in this bill after all. jay over at litw says it better than me though…

by jhwygirl

I’m actually going to pull this directly out of comments on my recent post titled Self-Insured Employee Health Care is a Disaster-in-Waiting. Ward 2’s Pam Walzer – who sits on a city/employee committee that regularly discusses health care insurance policy issues – has written a clarification to my previous post. I want to make sure that everyone gets to see it.

Reposted directly from Pam’s comment:

It’s taken me time to get back to this topic as I left town shortly after this was blogged and did not have the time to write an detailed response. There are several errors in the blog that I would like to correct about the City’s self-insurance plan.

1.) The city’s plan is a qualified health plan, administrated by Allegiance, that meets all requirements for “credible coverage.” When an employee or covered family member leaves the plan, they are provided with a letter indicating that they have had continuous credible coverage. In addition, the city offers COBRA for participants exiting the program.

2.) The total contribution from the city ($670) and employee ($10) of current $680/month, to be reduced to $580/month, for individual coverage is for more than health insurance. It also provides for life insurance and a wellness plan that many call to as to why the claims have been so low and the fund balance has been growing. Employees are encouraged to exercise, eat right, deal with stress, lose weight, have annual blood screenings, etc.

3.) You have said that by being self-insured, that the city is setting itself up to serious financial peril in the event of a catastrophic illness or injury. That is a valid concern and that is why the city also purchases “stop-loss insurance.” In the event a covered member has over $130,000 in expenses per year, the costs are picked up by a separated insurer. If a covered person has a $1,000,000 year, the city’s plan only pays the first $130,000 (after deductible, etc). The cost of this stop-loss insurance is included in “The Plan’s” costs.

4.) Why not join a larger group to get better rates?The city has the option to join the health insurance benefit plans through the Montana Municipal Insurance Authority (MMIA), which covers several other cities throughout the state. If we did, we would see an INCREASE in our rates as we are the big fish in the pond. As bad as our health care costs are in Missoula, they are less than those around the state. In fact one city (I can’t remember now if was Bozeman, Helena, or Kalispell) just dropped their self-insurance option and joined the MMIA with an increase of around 17% in cost. If we joined the MMIA pool, the other cities woudl see a decrease in their rates and we would see an increase in ours.

5.) I think that it is worth while to see if the city and county can join plans. I will be working on seeing what would be the up/downsides of this idea. We do have different plans and cost breakdowns, different contribution levels for single, partner, child, family options. My first look kind of pencils out to be about equivalent – but it is worth checking into and I will.

6.) You’ve said that you think that the current costs, whether $680/ month or $580/month are excessive and that employees would do better on the open market. That might be true for young, health men, but not so much so for the entire work force. My sister works for an insurance services company in Baltimore County that provides insurance products for small companies and individuals. She has the resources to find the very best rates and plans and for her 4 person family has to pay $1400/month! That does not include life insurance or a wellness advocacy program. She thinks that $680 is a steal! Of course, I misplaced the costs that city employees pay to cover spouse/domestic partner and children, but I believe that is much less than $100/month.

7.) And maybe one of the best reasons to be self-insured is that the city is in a better position to show compassion. Those who have fought with insurance companies can vouch for the battle to resolve issues. News articles have “blown the cover” on insurance companies who pay staff bonuses to find loopholes to NOT approve benefits. The city has its own conflict resolution process to allow for benefits/bills to be covered/paid when private, for profit, insurance companies would just continue to say no.

Hope this clears up the misconceptions and misinformation about the city’s health plan.

by jhwygirl


Obama is live in a White House press conference. This isn’t a one-subject press conference, he’s taking questions. I missed the first few minutes (maybe 4?), but he has quite clearly said that a “public option is non-negotiable.” He’s taken other questions concerning Iran, but the declaration on a public option is centerpiece.

I’ll get the statements once this is done….

OK – I picked it up with him answering a question. Somewhere there will be a full transcript of his 50 minute press conference Q&A with the press corps…but for now, here is what I got:

Obama: “….in the process of dealing with a cost issue, I think it is a wise policy and also the right thing to do to start providing coverage for people who don’t have health insurance or are under-insured. Are paying a lot of money for high deductibles – I get letters two, three times a day that I read – of families who don’t have health insurance; who are going bankrupt; are on the brink of losing their own insurance; have deductibles that are so high that even with insurance they end up with 50 or even $100,000 in debt, are at risk of losing their homes – and that has to be part of reform. Making sure that, even if you have health insurance now, you are not worried that when you lose your job, or your employer decides to change policies that somehow you are going to be out of luck.
“I think about the woman who was in Wisconsin that I was with, who introduced me up in Green Bay: 36 years old, double mastectomy – breast cancer has now moved to her bones, and she’s got two little kids – a husband with a job. They had health insurance but they’re still $50,000 in debt. And she’s thinking my main legacy, if I don’t survive this thing is gonna be leaving a $100,000 worth of debt. So those are the things I’m prioritizing.
“Now – the public plan, I think, is an important tool to discipline insurance companies. What we’ve said is: Under our proposal, let’s have a system the same way that federal employees do, same way that members of congress do – where we call it an exchange – you can call it a marketplace – where essentially you’ve got a whole lot of different plans. If you like your plan and you like your doctor, you won’t have to do a thing. You keep your plan You keep your doctor. If your employer’s providing you good health care insurance, terrific. We’re not going to mess with it. But – if you are a small business person – if the insurance that is being offered is something you can’t afford? If you want to shop for a better price? Then you can go to this exchange, this marketplace, and you can look: Ok, this is how much this plan cost, this is how much that plan costs. This is what the coverage is like. This is what fits for my family. As one of those options, for us to be able to say ‘Here’s a public option that’s not profit-driven; that can keep down administrative costs..and that provides you with good quality care for a reasonable price as one of the options for you to chose,’ I think that makes sense.

(Unknown press corp): Won’t that drive insurance out of business?
Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Aww, what the hay, right? I’ll go live here when they start public comment. I expect this will be a long meeting, and probably with little council discussion with this meeting with regards to the zoning rewrite (unless they’re all willing to go home after midnight – if they’re luck!). That means most of this will be the public comment.

I’ll update as they get to it….

Roger Millar, Director of Planning & Grants, begins with a “I’ve been advised to be short and then duck,” and a powerpoint. I’m sure that’ll be available for a link…so I’m gonna save my energy.

Mayor Engen offers some information and advice on public comment. Lots of people. Gonna take a while. Hopefully he polls those in support and those not – those not wishing to, per se, speak…and clear that room out a little. I’m sure there’s scores in there that would want to just raise their hands “yea” or “nay” and head on out for dinner….

Public comment opens:
Ross Best – comments on state law and how it applies to the ordinance. Best notes that the ordinance needs to be adopted twice, per state law. It needs to be the exact same document. Can’t be changed between the first preliminary adoption and the final adoption.
Don Simmons – He and his wife in support. “What is going on is good.”
Nancy Wilson – representing ASUM Transportation. ASUM T supports the ordinance. Policy changes support more transit-oriented development and a walkable community. We can’t afford more roads and infrastructure. We need to be as efficient as possible.
Alex Taft – lives in University district. Supports new code.
Olivia Reutia – Director of ASUM off-campus renter center. Supports the ordinance. Believes that the ordinance creates baseline solutions that work for renters, students and homeowners.
Brent Campbell – President of WGM. Urges support of new ordinance. Existing ordinance is broken. New one is long overdue. Will make business environment more predictable with a better code. He hears constantly peoples concerns about weighing through the quagmire that is our zoning code. He makes money doing that for clients, but that isn’t right.
Emily May – VP of the Associated Students of the University of Montana. There to support the changes. Students do lots of good things for Missoula. Wants to encourage the city to do something that brings more affordable housing.
Jay Krielick – Board President of FireSafe Montana. Working to form a FireSafe Council. Urges the council to support the Natural Resource/Wildland Fire portion of the ordinance. Fire threat is real, and education and support is needed. Integrating social issues into resource management needs to be done to save lives and protect private property rights.
Janet Scott – Lives on S 4th St. West. City needs more smaller houses on smaller lots. Many single and childless people. Small houses use less energy and provide affordable housing. Can be very attractive. We also need more ADU’s. They help meet the demand for affordable housing – both for renters and owners. It would help me, for example, stay in my home. Helps prevent those “bad renters.” The regs are written well. Less traffic and air pollution. Less cost for services. Easier use of public transportation.
Lori Davidson – Missoula Housing Authority. Access to affordable housing is a community-wide responsibility. Stable affordable housing is the basis for a stable community. Speaking on behalf of renters. Lots of ’em out there. Most of them dream of ownership. Housing prices are still high, even in the economic downturn. Still an unrealistic dream. Need to start thinking differently. Need to welcome all kinds of homes. We’re spoiled in the west to think that we can go out forever – that there will be land forever. Need to focus our efforts on the future. Zoning rewrite gives us the opportunity to address these issues. It doesn’t have everything I wanted. I live in the B zone – and I call that the perfect zone. ADUs are common place. It’s a healthy mix of housing options. I’m willing to compromise because doing nothing is not an option.
Jan Holm – Was on advisory group that worked on this. Some of the things she recommended are in this document. Her view is different than that which has been heard. Wants to talk about ADUs. These are controversial. Many people fear things: neighborhood council meetings – planning board meetings. People are concerned about ADUs becoming a replacement for PNCs. Alley houses. More rentals. No limit to number of occupants. No owner-occupied stipulation. Have been put only in single-family neighborhoods. People are overwhelmingly against ADUs and asks that they be removed from the table for 2 years.
Lane Cottington – Board member of SAVE. Here to comment on sign portion of ordinance. Has 6 suggestions – all illuminated signs be turned off at night. Small loophole about window signs about measurement. Section on variances needs to be strengthened and clarified. Mini billboards should be banned. Billboard section is confusing and poorly written. Should make it clear that they are banned. Electronic signs – dynamic displays – this new tech has been creeping in – in proposed ordinance, flashing and blinking is prohibited, except for dynamic displays. Doesn’t make sense. Enforcement is going to grow to be a nightmare. Ban new electronic signs and restrict current ones to static images. There’s a message about a 8-second message. Proposes a 60-second static image. Sign ordinance ensures a level playing field.
Fern Hart Lives up the Rattlesnake. We need to appreciate the planning board. This is long hard uninteresting work (draws laughter). We might have some mistakes in this, and I’ve made mistakes, and they will be corrected. This is an excellent piece of work. I support this.
Tim Scheuwieleller – doesn’t know his zone. Supports new ordinance and clarifying the way for us to plan. Understands the concern and is happy about the platform of the new ordinance that is easy to use and understand where we are going and how we are going to plan.
Jim Parker – RLD4 zone. Looks forward to becoming a RT10. Supports new ordinance. Outreach and public investment has been magnificent. Credits OPG. Citizens have been made aware of the process. Can’t please everyone but everyone has had a chance to be pleased. Approachable document and forward thinking. Builds in flexibility and allows for predictability. Speaks to affordability and environment. Asks that wind energy options be put back into the document. Design standards are overdue. Need to put back in ADUs. Used to be a right. Seniors can stay in their homes. Or they can live closer to their own families in their back yards. Pedestrian overlays are good. Appreciates the clustering and conservations portions. Will protect water and air quality.
Dick Barrett – HD93 Appearing as board member for SAVE. Wants to address one aspect of controlling signs. For 39 years was an professor of economics at UM. Understands concerns that restricting signs discourages business – at the same time, he suggests looking at other communities around the U.S. that have banned electronic signs and you will not see a negative effect on the business community. The reason is that we are playing a zero-sum game. There’s a certain amount of business that’s going to be done – but if a sign gets someone new business it’s simply because it’s taking business away from another. We’re just passing the pie around – a zero-sum game. In pure self-defense, the people that don’t have an electronic sign are going to have to get one and the rest of us are going to have to live with it. It is a cost to the local economy as a result of this escalation.
Heather McMillan – Here to support and sat on citizen advisory committee. While not all of the tools she wanted to see are included, she supports it.
Linda Frey – Ordinance violates the most basic tenant. Imposed by social engineering. We’ve asked the wrong questions. Kept from public at large. Not driven by beautifying the city, nor of safeguarding property values. All about increasing density. Admittedly there are problems with the current. We have given too many exemptions. Has there been adequate public input. The presentations were misleating, and orwellian overtoned. Most council didn’t attend…”and on other occasions some listened to the public with the same air as that of a psychiatric nurse tolerating a rambunctious patient.” Says language is confusing. Doesn’t like overlay. Always thought carte blanche was always interesting when given to a women – but not to a city. This is a rezoning. Beware the law of unintended consequences. Will expedite urban sprawl. Smart growth is anything but. “It violates the tacit agreement between those who bought in this area and expected the neighborhood to look somewhat as it did. Many who chose to live in Missoula do NOT want to reach out and touch someone, except, as the Mayor knows, via cell phones. If this passes, goodbye Garden City, for the gardens will be lost.” We will cry “foul” as well as f-o-w-l, for all the chickens will be packing up. Let everyone vote on it.
Continue Reading »

very interesting…..

by problembear

john adams posted something very interesting a few days ago.  of course, i suspected as much.

if it is what you want matt, i wish you well. you have worked hard to earn it. i differ with you on nuances of some matters regarding health reform and max baucus, but believe you could do the job well.

by jhwygirl

Thought I’d post this – I know there are people who have been wondering if there would be a national rally in Washington D.C. It’s short notice, I know. First I heard (sorry). is calling for The Great American Sickout, a National Rally for Health Care For All Now for Thursday, June 25th.

Here is a flyer with information – here is an online registration form.

by jhwygirl

The Montana Newspaper Association gave out its awards last night – and here’s a list of those north of the line on the various categories. No direct link to the list, yet, on the MWA site, so this is pieced together from the various state newspapers.

The Great Falls Tribune raked in 24 awards at last night’s dinner. Among them were:
~Také Uda for FRONT PAGE (“”Visually arresting, strong to the point heds. Solid news judgment.”)
~Kim Skornogoski for EDUCATIONAL REPORTING (“The submitted body of work is exemplary when it comes to education reporting,” judges wrote. “This is about real people … a homecoming king candidate with Down syndrome; the voice of a teen editorial opinion piece and its controversy, and an outdoor camp that changed people’s lives.”)
~Zachary Franz for several pieces in JUSTICE SYSTEM REPORTING (“Consistent strong coverage separates this entry from the rest.”)
~Gary Moseman for EDITORIAL WRITING (for several pieces, including “Verdicts from commission leave few happy.”)

The Billings Gazette was picked as the state’s best newspaper in the category of large dailies. The Dillon Tribune won as the top weekly or small daily. The Billings Gazette also garnered 12 first place awards, including the following:
~James Woodcock PHOTO OF THE YEAR (& BEST NATURE PHOTO) for for a dog-chases-ducklings image. (OK – I don’t know about the judgment on that one for ‘Best Nature Photo…)
~Ed Kemmick BEST COLUMN WRITING for a selection of City Lights commentaries.
~Matt Hagengruber BEST GOVERNMENT REPORTING for a package on drilling for methane gas at the city landfill.
~Greg Rachac BEST SPORTS EVENT COVERAGE for his story on the 2008 Cat-Griz football game.

The Missoulian didn’t walk away empty handed:
~Written by Michael Jamison and Vince Devlin and photographed by Michael Gallacher and Tom Bauer, BEST ENVIRONMENTAL/NATURAL RESOURCES REPORTING for their four-part “Glacier Park: The Next Century”.
~Betsy Cohen BEST AGRICULTURAL REPORTING for “Horses with no home,” about how the animals are suffering from neglect as the economy falters.

The Daily Interlake, Kalispell’s paper, took a very well deserved HONORABLE MENTION for GENERAL EXCELLENCE, with the judges saying that the Interlake was “more newspaper than a town of its size should expect.” There’s a long list, too, of other honorable mentions – but here’s some bigger ones:
~Managing Editor Frank Miele BEST EDITORIAL PAGE (“sheer volume and differing opinions makes [the Inter Lake] a hands-down winner”)
~Frank Miele also took second-place for Best Editorial Writing (behind the Tribunes Gary Moseman)

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle didn’t do any bragging in today’s edition, but the Missoulian makes mention of their community service award for “Homeless Teens.” (No author attribution, sorry.)

Same with the Helena Independent Record – no bragging over there today, but the Missoulian mentions their BEST ONLINE NEWS PRODUCT for “”

There are some surprises in there for me, for those who are missing – reporters like the Missoulian’s Tristan Scott (the trial for the murder of Forrest Clayton Salcido? the W.R. Grace trial? hello?!) and Great Falls Tribune’s John S. Adams (legislative coverage? hello?!) But enough about that –

Congrats to all!

by jhwygirl

Maher nailed it last week when he openly criticized Obama for not doing more to push forward a public option. This week he takes on Democrats. It starts at the 2 minute mark:

“We have met the enemy and he is us” Pogo Possum


by problembear

is it still Senator William A. Clark?, copper king of Butte- a man so crooked and corrupt that mark twain actually wrote this:

“He is said to have bought legislatures and judges as other men buy food and raiment. By his example he has so excused and so sweetened corruption that in Montana it no longer has has an offensive smell. His history is known to everybody; he is as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag; he is a shame to the American nation, and no one has helped to send him to the Senate who did not know that his proper place was the penitentiary, with a ball and chain on his legs. To my mind he is the most disgusting creature that the republic has produced since Tweed’s time.” – samuel clemens (1907)

FILE - In this April 2, 2009 file photo, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen.

or is max baucus going to give old will a run for his money??? the competition appears pretty stiff but i have confidence that max is well on his way to earning a reputation that may bring him within at least rifle shot of toppling the old copper king himself...and by listening to his biggest contributors in the health insurance industry who are spending millions to block meaningful health care for working class and middle class americans, max just might get a place in history after all.

update: in the interest of fairness i thought it would be a good idea to include conrad burns but as you can see, conrad is no match for max when it comes to raising cash….

by Pete Talbot

I read the obit of a distant acquaintance in today’s Missoulian. She was six months younger than me.  Cancer took her way too early, at 54-years-old. 

I know Marcia Trotter’s sisters and brother better than I knew Marcia.  It’s a large, well-known Missoula Family.

It’s sad news but the final line in the obit really caught my eye:

To honor Marcia’s memory, her family requests that you support universal health care.

Got that Denny, Max and Jon?

by Pete Talbot

Rep. Rehberg lists funding for the Watson’s Children Shelter in Missoula as one of his accomplishments.  Problem is he voted against the appropriation.

Rehberg said “nay” on HB HR 2847, but the bill still passed.  The shelter should reap $500,000 to expand its much needed facilities.  Denny’s taking credit, though:

“The Watson’s Children Shelter fills a critical need in Western Montana, and I’m pleased I was able to secure this crucial funding to help make a real difference in the lives of Montana children.”

But then he voted against the shelter.  In Dennyland, no means yes, and yes means no.

by jhwygirl

King George is at it again – creating a new Vice President administrative position while hiking tuition and laying off and drastically reducing hours on 24 of the lowest wage earners in the university system.

Somewhere I hear blueprints being rolled out onto a heavy antique oak table as a golf course fades quietly into the bulldozers….

Does anyone have a spare effigy out there in the garage? It might come in handy – looks like it’s going to be chilly this weekend…..

This is one of those times I really wish I was skilled at photoshop.

by jhwygirl

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