Missoula gets it right

By Pete Talbot

Topsy-turvey city council election. Disappointed by the Ward 2 Walzer/Hertz results but I’ll wait for the recount.

More on the council races later. Right now, I’m celebrating the landslide referendum outcome. Seventy-five freakin’ percent! Reminds me why I live here.


  1. JC

    Amen, Pete! Let’s hope that recount flips two votes. And then we can celebrate a real landslide!

  2. Pogo Possum

    And other than a warm glow of happiness…….just what will the passage of this referendum accomplish, Pete? Nada

    • petetalbot

      You could be right, Pogo. On the other hand, maybe some other Montana cities will put a similar referendum on their ballots … legislators and maybe even members of congress will start paying attention … it could be a momentum thing. You never know.

      • JC

        We only need one more state to ratify a call for a constitutional convention. Maybe that state could be Montana?

        Here, check out this article from the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy:

        How To Count to Thirty Four: The Constitutional Case for a Constitutional Convention — Michael Stokes Paulsen

        33 states have already called for a concon. While Congress never called one when it could have, these calls remain in perpetuity–i.e they don’t time out until a state legislature passes a bill to expire a call.

        So maybe Missoula’s referendum is the straw that is going to break the camel’s back?

        • Pogo Possum

          What ballot did you get JC? Mine had a referendum/poll calling for an amendment to the constitution. Didn’t see anything about a call for a Constitutional Convention. Completely different issue.

          • JC

            No, its. not. Congress will not do a CA on its own because it is corrupt. The states need to use the other mechanism in the constitution to force Congress to call a ConCon so the people can do the work themselves. A ConCon will write amendments to send back to the states for ratification.

            The referendum in MIssoula is just a gauge of sentiment. The mechanism as to how it happens is moot, at the local referendum level. Just because there is a ConCon in the middle of a CA process doesn’t make it a different issue. As much as you would like.

        • I wouldn’t vote for a constitutional convention here for Montana, I sure as hell ain’t gonna vote for one for the US.

          It’d be nuts to open up that can of worms. Once that gate’s open, who in the hell knows what would happen.

          It’s not like you can narrow it to one issue. Anything’s game.

          That’s crazy talk as far as I’m concerned.

          • JC

            We might not have a choice in this. Maybe the threat of an open ConCon is enough to get Congress to propose the right thing, an anti corporate personhood CA?

            • Open that up and who in the hell knows what else they propose.

              They could ban abortion. They could define a person as a zygote. They could define marriage as only between a man and a woman. It’d be a circus of amendments.

              If anything, I’ll be working against any constitutional convention.

              What states are on board? Let me guess – Texas, Arizona, Alabama, North Carolina…..

  3. d.g.

    A celebration will be held (for those living above the poverty line) at the newly-purchased Osprey Baseball Stadium. Peter and Wes Spiker will reprise their existential hit “Why I Freakin’ Live In Missoula”. (Poor people may gather on the north side of the river….that spot where the guy with no legs feeds the ducks. Binoculars will be provided, courtesy of First Interstate Bank.

    • Buzz Feedback

      Instant Classic.

    • Ryan Emmett Morton

      Yeah, there’s nothing Democrats despise more than poor people…

      • Buzz Feedback

        $4 million to bail out a bank and a pro baseball team isn’t doing much for poor people.

        • Ryan Emmett Morton

          Thanks for the fine false dichotomy: bank bailouts and baseball OR poor people. Really?!?

        • petetalbot

          Yo, Buzz: care to enlighten me about the $4 million bank bailout? When, where and who?

          • Pogo Possum

            Pete,
            I think he is referring to the loans the Osprey owners (Mountain Baseball) owed local Missoula banks on the ballpark. He is saying the city’s bailout of the ballpark is also a bailout for some local Missoula banks.

            http://www.ballparkdigest.com/201108174124/at-the-ballpark/the-front-office/missoula-closes-on-purchase-of-osprey-home

            “The city is using $2 million in city redevelopment funds and issuing $1.55 million in new bonds to buy the ballpark — quite a discount from the original construction price — and entering into a new lease with Mountain Baseball (the Osprey owners) to lease the ballpark for $120,000 annually, a payment that should cover debt service. It’s a complicated financial maneuver that involves paying down about $5 million in secured debt using the city funds, with local banks retiring Play Ball Missoula debt in exchange for the privilege of issuing the bonds. The move also avoids any potential foreclosure on the ballpark.”

            • Pogo Possum

              Not certain where the $4 Million number comes from though.

              “Lenders involved in the deal will forgive about $1.45 million of Play Ball’s debt, and the Missoula Redevelopment Agency will issue $1.55 million revenue bonds, which Missoula Federal Credit Union and Missoula Community Development Corp. have agreed to accept in exchange for the debt owed to them.”

              http://www.ravallirepublic.com/news/state-and-regional/article_52d95246-04a8-563a-bed4-0e7db4ab17b7.html#ixzz1dMjlTArN

            • word it however you want – local banks were bailed out with $2 million buckaroos in direct payments to forgive secured loan debt.

              Banks made a bad investment and tax dollars via MRA bailed them out.

              • Pogo Possum

                Again, we are in agreement jhwygirl.

                Does this mean the Occupy Missoula group will be in front of Missoula Federal Credit Union with their bull horns on Friday afternoon and closing their accounts?

              • asdfjkl;

                Having a case of identity crisis? This is socialism, the same socialism you adore. The government picking winners and losers (I’ll give you a hint…the winners are the same people who have donated to their campaigns and helped further their political agendas).

                What a shame. This money could have built a youth center to keep poor kids off the streets and out of bad situations. It could have gone to job creation and helped pull families out of poverty. It could have been used for “urban renewal” in an area that needs plenty of it. But the “progressive” majority and the mayor made their own miniature TARP for their buddies. It’s only going to get worse.

              • who having an identity crisis asdfjkl;? Me?

                You’re clueless. Don’t comment if you don’t know what you are talking about. And quit making assumptions. You look foolish.

  4. Ingemar Johansson

    On a related note Occupy Denver elects a dog because it’s more of person than a corporation.

    Repeat after me…..

  5. mr benson

    A couple of things come to mind reading this thread. First, city government’s obsessions with spending for frivolities like performing arts centers and baseball fields and old frat houses is the reason people won’t vote for and resent tax increases for the police and fire and water/sewer necessities. I’ve seen jhwygirl talk against the performing arts center and she’s clear about the baseball bailout too.

    Banks got bailed out by govts for loans to unqualified homebuyers in the name of affordable housing and social justice programs, too. And banks and “wall street” loans to government for necessities may need to be “bailed out” as local govts go bankrupt, see alabama’s local govt bankruptcy.

    Unrelated to the above, but within the thread, the Con Con would inevitably focus on limiting the founders’ enlightenment emphasis on individual rights, something both liberals and conservatives agree on is that there is just too much individual freedom. Here in the post enlightenment “second awakening” era, there is too much talk of religious establishment to risk a convention. And the liberals would be all too willing to jump in and take away energy, transportation, housing, speech, and other choices. Nobody in power supports individual pro-choice in the general non specific meaning of the term. The horsetrading between the authoritarians would result in us all losing liberty.

    • petetalbot

      I appreciate your perspective, Mr. B.

      You refer to, “city government’s obsessions with spending for frivolities like performing arts centers and baseball fields and old frat houses.”

      City government is us — the people we’ve elected to represent us. When times are flush we perhaps overreach on our amenities. We do it for personal and economic reasons; that quality of life that keeps us here, nurtures our kids and draws others.

      Montana’s councils and commissions are as democratic as we see anymore and represent their constituencies.

      Times are tough now. We scale back. We continue to support our core concerns: fire, police, education, infrastructure …

      It should be noted that in Missoula, the Osprey baseball field started out as a bond issue that was passed by the voters. I didn’t vote for it — I’m not that big of a baseball fan — but more people voted for it than not, so there you have it. I wasn’t keen on the subsequent bailouts, but again, I guess I’m in the minority.

      And your analysis of the economic collapse and subsequent bailouts blames government programs more than the deregulation, mismanagement and avarice of the banking and investment industry. I have to disagree.

      Couldn’t quite follow your Con Con comment. Were you serious about “too much individual freedom?” I agree that a general, national Constitutional Convention could be dangerous. I’m not opposed to a specific, Congressional, constitutional amendment on say, repealing corporate personhood. I’m still researching this, though.

      UPDATE: I was wrong about the baseball bond passing — early onset of dementia. There was initially private money raised for the project followed by some MRA tax increment money. Here’s a good recap.

  1. 1 Good Job, Missoula! “Corporations are not people!” | VoteCherylWolfe

    […] And good on 4&20 for their good work getting the issues out there! […]

  2. 2 Plan B? Cheerleading and Boosterism Fail… « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] Dems ready for 4 more years… of republican rule? Or are they ready to get a backbone and get to work on things like this? Political salvation lies only in constructing the 4th separation of powers. Of course, the man at the top would have to renounce his unholy corporate alliance to Wall Street, and start doing the people’s work. “Poll after poll has shown that Americans oppose Citizens United by about 4 to 1″ (as Missoula’s referendum on Corporate Personhood recently showed) […]




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