Thanks for Nothing, Missoula Democrats

by lizard

Missoula Democrats, man, you gotta love ’em. While “progressive” Caitlin Copple was busy conflating women’s safety with the ordinance amendments she sponsored, criminalizing sitting on downtown sidewalks, Fred Van Valkenburg was busy preparing to go after the Department of Justice to keep Federal scrutiny from uncovering the pattern of awfulness regarding his office’s handling of sexual assaults. It’s no coincidence that just 3 days after Fred filed a motion in district court, the DoJ released their 20 page report citing examples of “terrible things” prosecutors said to sexual assault victims:

Missoula County prosecutors said “terrible things” to victims of sexual assault, told a mother whose 5-year-old daughter had been assaulted by an adolescent that “boys will be boys,” and told another woman “all you want is revenge,” in discussing a decision not to prosecute her sexual assault.

Those were all part of a “disturbing pattern” of deficiencies in the handling of sexual assault cases by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office that place the safety of all women in Missoula at risk, a strongly worded statement from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division said.

Reacting to this news, Van Valkenburg threw a little tantrum:

Later Friday evening, Van Valkenburg received word of the DOJ’s action and called the Missoulian with his response. He was incensed at the federal government’s “totally irresponsible” behavior.

“First and foremost, I think that this is one of the most unfair, unethical things that I have witnessed in 35 years of public life,” Van Valkenburg said. “For the DOJ to dump this report on the news media at virtually 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, three days after we have filed a complaint for judicial relief, is totally irresponsible.

“They are trying to manipulate the news in a very, very unfair fashion.”

When I hear Fred whining about ethics and fairness, I think back to how Van Valkenburg crusaded against Missoula voters after we voted to place prosecution of Marijuana offenses at a low priority. In order to circumvent Missoula voters, Fred asked for some help from a state Republican to get legislation passed. Fred got his way:

Marijuana once again is a priority for law enforcement in Missoula County.

So says Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg, who issued a reminder Friday about a new law that takes effect Saturday.

“We’ll be prosecuting the misdemeanor marijuana cases that we have not been doing for the last 4 1/2 years,” he said.

Under the new law, sponsored by Republican Rep. Tom Berry of Roundup at Van Valkenburg’s request, “the power of initiative does not extend to the prioritization of the enforcement of any state law by a unit of local government.”

The law applies only to Missoula County, where in 2006, 55 percent of those voting approved Initiative 2 recommending that crimes related to marijuana be the lowest priority for law enforcement.

It didn’t matter to Fred that the legislation was retroactive. Here’s more from the article:

“Since no other community in Montana can adopt such an initiative and, I’m the person who sought the adoption of this law, it would be hypocritical on my part to continue to follow the lowest priority of enforcement policy in Missoula County,” Van Valkenburg’s announcement said. It asked that Missoula County Sheriff Carl Ibsen and Montana Highway Patrol Captain Greg Watson pass the message along to their deputies and troopers.

Not so fast, said Cynthia Wolken of Missoula, who lobbied for NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, at the Legislature.

“It’s not retroactive,” she said, suggesting that the new law applies only to any future such initiatives that might be passed. ” … It troubles me that we have elected officials ignoring the will of the people.”

Wolken, now a Missoula City Council member, said that “I don’t like to see city resources put into going after people for something we said is the lowest priority. I’m troubled that (Van Valkenburg) is over and over attacking what the large majority of Missoulians have sent as a message, loud and clear.”

It looks like 2014 is going to be a great year for lawyers, not so great for Missoula taxpayers, and we have Missoula Democrats to thank. Caitlin Copple has positioned Missoula to get sued by the ACLU, Fred Van Valkenburg has filed suit against the DoJ, and John Engen will be trying to legally wrestle our water from the deep (and evil) pockets of the Carlyle Group.

I am so damn tired of Democrats in this state. Their disturbing pattern of arrogant disregard for their constituents stems from an utter lack of alternatives. There seems to be a prevalent assumption among Montana Democrats that all they need to do is say BOO, THE TEA PARTY!!! and then they can just go along and do whatever they want.

Ethics? Fairness? That’s rich. Missoula Democrats, get your shit together. The cost of your arrogance is not a cost Missoulians can afford.

  1. Just disgusting. It would be very interesting to see how this all would be playing out politically and socially in Missoula if the County Attorney and the Missoula County Commissions all had “R’s” after their names.

    Seems that instead of pimping for politicians to dramatically increase logging in our public forests (and complaining about an enviro lawsuit to protect forests, lynx and grizzly bears up in the Seeley/Swan) that Commissioner Jean Curtiss – and Carey and Landquist – should take steps to insure that the civil rights of women aren’t violated, instead of giving our County (or is that Country?) Attorney $50,000 in taxpayer funds to sue U.S. DOJ.

    • lizard19

      we have the leadership of Bullock suppressing the Lake County Sheriff’s scandal for his political aspirations, the leadership of Walsh misusing his position, and the hypocrisy of partisan dark money criticism. it stinks from top to bottom. fucking politics.

  2. I can’t wait until Valkenburg is fished. Here’s someone who doesn’t have Missioula’s long-term interests at heart, at all!

    First he rolls right over the democratic process with his unfounded fears about a drug he knows nothing about, and now he’s ensuring Missoula residents will be paying higher taxes for years, simply because his cute ego was damaged when the DOJ told him he didn’t know how to do his job.

    Missoula, join me in condemning this fool and ensuring he does not get into office again. That huge deficit at the U and the drop in enrollment is directly related to what he and his office are doing. His actions are going to hurt the community for years to come, and in more ways than one.

    • JC

      “That huge deficit at the U and the drop in enrollment is directly related to what he and his office are doing. His actions are going to hurt the community for years to come, and in more ways than one.”

      Glad to hear someone finally talk about the elephant in the room re: UM enrollment.

  3. One thing I think you’ll see more democrats do this session is get rid of the power people have to use the courts.

    Businesses can’t do business here because of the liabilities they’ll face. Worker’s comp is an issue. The Marginal income tax. These are all issues many people in Missoula have no clue about.

    Joining together with some of those Tea Party folks in Helena to give them some of what they want so we can get some of what we want is the only way to go. That legislature will be republican with a hint of Tea Party and we know it. The democrats probably won’t get much done.

    But from what I’ve seen trying to run on their ticket, they’re not too concerned. From what I’ve seen I don’t think the democrats are really too concerned about taking the legislature. This mainly stems from my own problems getting the democrats to take me seriously, and to even get printing done for me.

    All in all, they’re quite incompetent. If I ran my business like the democrats are running their attempt to get that capitol back, well, I’d be out of business.

  4. I fail to see what partisan politics has to do with what is going on in the County Attorney’s Office or in regard to the panhandling ordinances. It seems to me that there are many “Missoula Democrats” working on opposing sides of both issues. The panhandling ordinance didn’t get sent back to committee because Will Deschamps was looking out for equal protection and civil rights.

    And Greg, I am sure your colleagues who are spending time and money also running for office– fighting to ensure some semblance of Democratic values are represented against great adversity and sometimes bigoted ignorance in the Montana Capitol– will be interested to hear that you feel they “won’t get much done” next session. Speaking from experience, I know our friends in choice, conservation, equality, and education feel much, much differently.

    Also, if you’re having difficulty getting something printed, please feel free to give me a call and I am happy to do whatever I can to be a squeaky wheel. Your voice is important and I am glad you’re running.

    • Like the guy I got a campaign mailing from? Boy, I’m not even on the democratic rolls in Missoula, so those leaflets probably went out to thousands of households. That’s a lot of money, and largely a waste in my opinion. It would have been far effective to just knock on my door.

      Time vs. money is something many democrats should think about. I think they go at it wrong, using money to save time, like with that leaflet that appeared in my box. Well, what do you do with all that extra time?

      Studies have shown that face-to-face contact is the most effective. I don’t know, for a citizen legislature, I just think some of these sums we’re throwing around to get elected are kind of insulting to average people scrapin’ by. Maybe that’s why it’s easier to send things in the mail instead of talking to someone.

      One thing I really don’t like is this idea of only knocking on certain doors. How does that woman looking out her window feel when I skip her house? Well, I guess she should have registered as a democrat, huh? Just seems to me like too many people are being discounted.

      I think there’s a lot of people in my district that would like to have someone knock on their door – it probably hasn’t happened in years. But since they’re not on my list, that won’t happen.

      This is something I’m thinking about as I’m making up these maps with just a couple houses on a block. It just doesn’t feel right to skip those people, especially when (as of now) no republicans are in that race. So really, no one will be representing these people.

      Will that just be a waste of my time? Maybe those leaflets would be better? I don’t know, but I’ve got to scrounge for votes, and I’ve got a lot more time than money.

      I can’t help think Montana politics would be a little better if more people were in the same boat.

    • lizard19

      partisan politics? I’m not a Republican pointing out that Fred Van Valkenberg and Caitlin Copple are Democrats to score political points, I’m pointing out their party affiliation because I think it’s relevant in a liberal town like Missoula. if Democrats want to have any credibility when they talk about the GOP war against women or attacks on civil liberties, it might be helpful if they cleaned up their own backyard first.

      you were a vocal critic of the panhandling ordinances 4 years ago, Ellie. have you talked to Caitlin about the huge mistake she made?

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