Archive for January 3rd, 2010

by jhwygirl

Late Friday I received an email from Bozeman’s current Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss regarding a recent post here concerning Governor Schweitzer’s call to cut some stimulus funds from the City of Bozeman. Krauss, it appears – as he puts forth in his letter – won’t be catering to the Fox News crowd as he defends his city’s (and eleven other Montana cities, including Missoula’s) use of stimulus funds for park and recreational infrastructure.

Let me be clear here in my position: The law, HB645, specifically places “recreational facilities” into criteria for use of stimulus funds. This was approved by a majority in both houses. The Governor had veto power over this bill. He did not exercise it. If a Republican Governor were to come by after-the-fact and start slashing stuff out of legislatively approved budgets, Democrats would be in an uproar. We’ve got laws to follow, and less than that we’re working on anarchy.

From Bozeman Deputy Mayor Jeff Krauss:

Thank you for your entry in 4&20 blackbirds. I will be appearing on Fox & Friends at 6:20 5:30 am MST Monday morning to defend those people of Montana in the eleven cities and towns who are spending stimulus funds on parks and recreation, not just from the national critics but from their own Governor as well. Chinook’s putting in improvements to their baseball field, lights and an outfield fence, Helena’s spending $498k on two different parks, Livingston, Ryegate, Superior, Dutton, and others, including Missoula, are spending money on parks and recreation projects out of federal stimulus dollars. A Governor who was paying attention to the Executive branch would know this.

Bozeman’s general fund budget dedicates an average of about 9% each year to parks and recreation. We have two swimming pools, many parks, baseball and soccer fields, tennis courts, ice skating and hockey rinks and miles of trails and bike lanes. Opposing spending on parks and recreation is no different in my opinion than opposing spending on libraries –it’s a hallmark of ignorance. Who wants to live in a city without parks and recreation and libraries and trails? Well I can tell you, nobody that elected me does. Our spending of some portion of federal stimulus dollars on recreation is completely in line with our spending of the local taxpayer dollar, and the values of those Montana citizens who live in Bozeman.

Cities and towns all over the country, and not just in Montana, spend money on parks and recreation. Back in the middle of last century there was a six year old who learned to play tennis on the municipal tennis courts, the city funded tennis courts, of Richmond Virginia. That six year old grew up to be a champion, and an inspiration to hundreds of thousands. I’m inspired by his story, inspired enough to spend money on municipal recreation opportunities. I’ll bet you President Barack Obama is inspired by the story of that six year old and what he made of the opportunity that started with his city’s recreation facilities. It seems the only people NOT inspired by the story of Arthur Ashe is some jerk on Fox News from the Wall Street Journal, and the Governor of the State of Montana.

The Bozeman Commission approved projects that were specifically allowed by a bill passed by the legislature, signed by the Governor, specifically awarded by the governor in a letter with his face at the top and his name and title at the bottom, and supported by the people of the city of Bozeman. We picked these projects right out of the capital projects we knew we had to address with Bozeman taxpayer dollars. Cities and towns in Montana have to balance their budget every year. The day that the President and the Congress present a federal balanced budget amendment for ratification to the states, I’ll be out going door to door in support of that amendment. But, for now, we followed the federal and the state guidelines and the exact bill the governor signed. Nobody from Bozeman is stepping outside the rules or playing cheap partisan political games. I’m here to support Montanans, and our values, and our city, in response to a self serving political stunt. And I’m proud to say, we in Bozeman believe in healthy minds, healthy bodies, and a healthy democracy.

Jeff Krauss

Deputy Mayor, City of Bozeman

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