Thanks for Nothing, Missoula Democrats
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.