City zoning myths and some endorsements

by Pete Talbot

Zoning Rewrite

University-area homeowner Ian Lange had an erroneous op-ed in Sunday’s Missoulian. Fortunately, Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe debunks Lange’s misinformation, point-by-point.

The short version is that Lange thinks Missoula’s zoning rewrite will stifle economic growth by turning established neighborhoods into ghettos (by allowing more density). Lange suggests that ADUs — little apartments in backyards or over garages — will chase businesses away. He believes that more density in the urban core is a bad thing, and favors suburban sprawl and long commutes.

IMHO the zoning rewrite doesn’t go far enough in allowing infill in Missoula, but the majority on city council felt it had to compromise with the noisy zoning naysayers, and lawsuit-happy minority on council. Still, Lange and his cadre continue to spread half-truths and fear.


These endorsements have been out for awhile but I thought I’d recap. First, Montana Conservation Voters have endorsed the following candidates for Missoula City Council:

Mayor – John Engen

Ward 1 -Dave Strohmaeir

Ward 2 – Roy Houseman

Ward 3 – Bob Jaffe

Ward 5 – Mike O’Herron

Ward 6 – Marilyn Marler

The Missoula County Democrats also endorsed. Same as the list above, with two exceptions: the Dems didn’t endorse the mayor, which I’m assuming was just an oversight, but they did endorse Ward 4’s Jon Wilkins. The Wilkins’ endorsement surprised me because as often as not, he votes with the conservatives on council. I guess they figured that because he’s running unopposed, they might as well — no reason to go out of their way to piss him off. On the other hand, the mayor is running unopposed, too, so why not endorse him? Hmmm.


  1. Jason Wiener

    Missoula County Democrats endorsed Jon Wilkins because the Central Committee voted to do so after hearing him speak at the July Central Committee meeting. I can’t speak to the logic of the group but I did voted to endorse Jon because he is a Democrat, even if we disagree about some of the more contentious issues on City Council. The expression on Jon’s face the morning after President Obama won the election sticks with me as particularly telling.

    Mayor Engen opted not to participate in the forum to which City Council candidates were invited because the job of mayor is quite different from the job of a person on council. Since he is unopposed, we didn’t rush to schedule another forum to endorse him. However, Mayor Engen will be appearing at the October 13th Central Committee meeting, taking place at 7pm in City Council chambers, 140 W. Pine St. and the municipal elections will be the topic.

    Thanks for your interest.

  2. Thomas Kent

    Off toic, but I REALLY HATE reading Bob Jaffe’s posts. I HATE having to scroll left-top-right. I wish he would reformat his posts so one would only have to scroll down to read it!

  3. Thomas Kent

    Woops! A few typos – toic=topic; left-top-right=left-to-right!

  4. bob jaffe

    we fixed the line wrap thing in the archive. Should be better now.

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