Archive for June 4th, 2009

by jhwygirl

Let me first say I really enjoy Perry Backus’ writing style. Very straightforward. Some readers of the Ravalli Republic don’t like it, which is exhibited sometimes in the comments – but because someone doesn’t like the facts doesn’t make him wrong for writing them. This piece doesn’t show that – wife-beaters rarely get people defending them, at least in public – but I read his other stuff (particularly zoning stuff) and boy do people hate the facts when they don’t like the facts.

Read the piece. The guy is – I’m going to be economic with my words here – an asshole. He’s been convicted SIX times for domestic abuse. He doesn’t pay his child support. He’s a drunk. He has a long criminal history.

On Wednesday, Judge Langton sentenced asshole Ronald G. Moore to 5 years with 2 suspended and then proceeded to lament about the shortness of the sentence, noting that state law maximum for the crime was 5 years.

Warning: I’m going to yell…

YOU SUSPENDED NEARLY HALF OF HIS SENTENCE, JUDGE. YOU DIDN’T HAVE TO DO THAT. IT’S YOUR COURT.

Now – the story mentions a plea bargain, and goes on to interview Ravalli County Prosecutor Bill Fulbright who, too, said he ‘wishes the county could have asked for more.’

Huh?

Plea the case – no reason is noted in the story – to maximum sentence with 2 years suspended, and then complain about the sentence?

YOU RECOMMENDED THE SENTENCE, PROSECUTOR FULBRIGHT.

Now – clearly there is an issue with the sentencing maximums of 5 years for domestic abuse….but why in the hell would both the prosecutor and the judge – both of whom had a certain level of control over the sentencing – suspend the 2 years?

Judge Langton is not bound to take any plea agreement. It’s his courtroom. Hell – he could have not only sentenced the guy to 5 years, he could have chastised the county prosecutor for recommending that 2 of ’em be suspended.

The guy beat her. Bit her bad enough to draw blood, and then sliced up the mattress she was laying on with a knife. And he did something like it 5 times before. He’s only 33.

Yeah – just the type of guy you wanna get back out on the streets just a little bit sooner.

Langton does have a pretty good track record of light sentences, especially for repeat offenders, along with suspension of portions of those light sentences.

Hopefully Ravalli County residents remember that the next time Langton is on the ballot.

~~~~~~
The Missoulian reprinted the story. Both the RR and the M have a decent number of comments. I’m noticing more comments on the Missoulian, which is nice.

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by Pete Talbot

The Salcido Center — a downtown daytime hangout for the homeless — was up for a hearing in a city government committee meeting. Apparently, it’s running short on funding and could use some help.  Salcido Center staff was asking the council to sign a letter asking the state for a grant.

First, kudos to the Baptists. They allow their facility at 308 W. Pine St. to be used for the daytime drop-in center. Dare I say it? It’s very Christian of them.

On the flip side of the coin is Councilwoman Renee Mitchell, Ward 5.  According to her, the folks using the Salcido Center want to be homeless and this place enables them.  Yup.  The homeless enjoy their addictions and dysfunctions and the traumas in their lives that have put them in their situations. And they love sleeping on the street. 

I’ve walked by the center a few times and I’m impressed.  On nice days, there are a few individuals outside catching a smoke. Otherwise, they’re inside: reading, resting, chatting with one another.  This place must make downtown business owners happy — fewer homeless hanging out in front of their shops, or in the alleys, or various parks and green spaces around the downtown area.  I imagine it makes the cops happy, too.  Plus, as I said earlier, it’s the Christian thing to do,

It should be noted that Ms. Mitchell was the only council member to NOT sign the letter.  (Councilwoman Hellegaard was absent.)  

Unfortunately, Ms. Mitchell isn’t up for election this year.

By the way, I got this news from the city’s listserve, produced by Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe.  It’s an invaluable site.

by jhwygirl

It’s worthy to note the President Obama did not campaign on single-payer. He did, in fact, campaign on health care geared towards a public option.

From his letter to Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator Max Baucus:

The plans you are discussing embody my core belief that Americans should have better choices for health insurance, building on the principle that if they like the coverage they have now, they can keep it, while seeing their costs lowered as our reforms take hold. But for those who don’t have such options, I agree that we should create a health insurance exchange — a market where Americans can one-stop shop for a health care plan, compare benefits and prices, and choose the plan that’s best for them, in the same way that Members of Congress and their families can. None of these plans should deny coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition, and all of these plans should include an affordable basic benefit package that includes prevention, and protection against catastrophic costs. I strongly believe that Americans should have the choice of a public health insurance option operating alongside private plans. This will give them a better range of choices, make the health care market more competitive, and keep insurance companies honest.

The writing is on the wall – and it’s been on the wall since Obama was chosen as the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party.

We all know where Baucus has taken the Senate Finance Committee, Kennedy’s plan is similar, only that his public option is described as more “robust” and would be available to households of up to $110,000.

These bills are moving now – The Hill is reporting that legislation will begin rolling through congress sometime in mid-June.

Sharpen your pencils people – think it’s been interesting so far? Once it hits the floor – and with that schedule, D.C.’s Starbucks and Domino’s are going to be real busy – it’s going to be prime-time viewing material.

Anyone say Summer Blockbuster? Health Care Showdown in D.C.: Healthcare CEOs, worried about profits and dividends, head to Washington to try and stop Americans from gaining access to health care.

(Wherein I find myself shaking my head…)




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