John Walsh Takes Easy Way Out, Adam Hertz Doesn’t

by lizard

John Walsh must have learned from Jon Tester that it’s much more politically advantageous to do things like kill the dreams of immigrant children than risk losing a few ignorant voters they probably weren’t going to get anyway. That’s how I read the disappointing actions John Walsh took when he joined 6 of his fellow Democrats in killing the nomination of Debo P. Adegbile to head the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. From the link:

Seven Democrats joined with Republicans in blocking a final vote on the nomination, the largest number of Democrats to vote against an Obama nominee, according to Senate aides. Adegbile’s ties to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal, an internationally known prisoner convicted of the 1981 murder of Officer Daniel Faulk­ner, had become the focus of a conservative crusade that boiled over in recent weeks.

A senior aide to one of the senators who voted against the nominee said several senators’ offices were “very angry” at the White House for moving ahead with the nomination even though it could leave Democrats who are facing tough reelection races vulnerable to attack ads.

“It’s a vote you didn’t have to take. It’s a 30-second ad that writes itself,” said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to speak frankly.

On Monday, Missoula’s City Council took a hard vote that I’m sure no one was looking forward to taking. Several people on council described the difficulty they had making their decision, including Adam Hertz. The vote on whether or not to include “sitting” in the updated ordinances was very close. If Hertz had voted for the amendment to include sitting, it would have been tied 6-6, and the mayor would have voted yea. But he didn’t, and an almost guaranteed lawsuit the city would fight and probably loose was (hopefully) avoided.

This whole ordinance fiasco led me to a realization that I was wrong 3 years ago when I criticized the Indy’s endorsement of Adam Hertz in this post. Here is the part from the Indy piece I quoted (October, 2011):

The way we’re reading the wind, the conservative bloc should expect to lose two seats. Meanwhile, a Copple victory would give progressives unprecedented control of city government. For some, that’s an exciting prospect. But perhaps they should be concerned. The last time the left had the Missoula Council locked down, back in the mid-’90s under the banner of the New Party, they handled it so badly that within a few short years the group’s label had become political poison and it disbanded.

The ordinance issue was handled very badly, and if it wasn’t for the vote of a young conservative, it would have been even worse. Hopefully Missoula doesn’t still get sued because the city is already singing the union scape-goating blues.

Going back to John Walsh, his campaign is hoping you don’t pay too much attention to his cowardly political pandering by quickly reloading the 24 hour news cycle with this: Senator Walsh introduced Bill to restrict NSA and FBI snooping:

Sen. John Walsh, D-Mont., introduced his first bill Thursday, to restrict the ability of federal security agencies to secretly collect phone records and other personal data on U.S. citizens.

Walsh’s bill, titled the Civil Liberties Defense Act, also would require the National Security Agency to purge records of already collected data that don’t comply with standards established by the act.

“As I’ve been traveling around the state … this is an issue that I’m hearing about from Montanans, about the government trampling on our civil liberties,” he said in an interview. “I said that when I came here, I wanted to identify problems, find a fix for the problem and solve that problem.”

John Walsh want see problem. Then John Walsh want find fix for problem. Then John Walsh solve problem.

Go get ’em Tiger!

If John Walsh is concerned about civil liberties, all he has to do is look at Missoula, where sitting on a public sidewalk downtown nearly became a criminal act.

I read something earlier today (h/t ‏@Schwad4HD14 ) that I’m having a hard time believing, because it’s just too perfect to be true. It’s a story about what happens when an ordinance intended for “those” people is equally enforced:

FORT WALTON BEACH —A local family says their afternoon at a local park was ruined after a homeless person complained to police that they were lying down.

Under the city code, visitors to parks cannot “sleep or protractedly lounge” on seats, benches or other areas.

Michelle McCormick said she and her husband were at Fort Walton Landing Saturday with two young children. She said her husband was wrestling with them when a police officer approached.

“She walked up to us and said, ‘Sir, I’m going to have to tell you to get up. There’s an ordinance against lying down in the park,’ ” McCormick said.

“My husband was just incredulous.”

Police Sgt. Bill Royal said the officer was responding to a complaint from a park visitor.

“We received a phone call, and it was a homeless person,” he said. “He was complaining about individuals lying on blankets near the gazebo.”

The call log indicates the officer made the family aware of the city ordinance that prohibits lying down in the park.

McCormick said the officer was “pleasant enough” but firm about what the ordinance allows.

“My husband sat up and by this time, he was fuming and we packed up to go,” she said. “… (The day) was so spoiled at that point, we didn’t want to stay.”

Police officials said the ordinance is intended to keep people from sleeping in the park and interfering with the use of local parks.

“There’s a safety factor,” Royal said. “You may trip someone.”

City Manager Michael Beedie said he wasn’t sure when the ordinance was enacted but that it was designed to keep vagrants and others from sleeping in the park.

Capt. Tom Matz said the police department cannot discriminate against vagrants and must treat all park visitors equally.

McCormick said the city should not use the ordinance to keep parents from relaxing with their children in a park on a sunny day.

“It’s taking a really big brush to a small problem,” she said. “It’s like they didn’t think about the ramifications.”

A cautionary tale, indeed.

  1. I was disappointed in that vote, despite my phappiness that it didn’t pass – it meant that there are people on council that will vote knowing something is unconstitutional – meaning they’d rather place the burden on the public to sue them. Because they’ve got the attorney on staff and the big funding…the old adage “you can’t fight city hall.”

    I’ve been pleasantly happy with Adam. He voted against selling our water, didn’t want to bail out any of the bail outs that have been pushed through council, and he wants to form a co-op to buy Mountain Water, instead of pushing the entire burden on what will be a tax increase.

    He and Schwad and Nick Zolnikov are part of an new breed of old school style conservatism – with a touch of libertarian with regards to social issues and personal freedoms.

    We need to find a few more like ’em for city council.

  2. I’m glad to know I’m not the only blogger in Montana who thinks Walsh’s vote on Adegbile doesn’t qualify as a profile in courage.

  3. JC

    Wonder how Liquid Planet, Wordens, and a few other downtown establishments are going to feel when complaints start coming in about their business’ tables and chairs being inside the 10′ zone?

  4. evdebs

    That was a slimy move by Walsh. He doesn’t have the courage to accept the fact that criminal defendants are entitled to counsel?

    Mumia is clearly a murderer, but as with the rest of the Constitution, you can’t exclude rights from those of whom you don’t approve.

  5. steve kelly

    Is Walsh Montana’s McConnell? Should give Native Americans something to think about. Maybe he just does as he’s told during this probationary period. All-white, male, Wall Street funders and K Street bagmen are watching.

  6. It’s simple really. The message came down from the (dark money) Hilltop (Public Relations), so Walsh voted against Adegbile and the U.S Constitution.

    But hey, in the same week Hilltop had Walsh “take the lead” on Baucus’ mandated public lands grazing bill, known as the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act. See some substantive concerns and issues about that bill from a hunter-conservationist perspective here:

    It’s not like this is all being coordinated back up on the dark money Hilltop or anything, but if it were look for Walsh to co-sponsor Tester’s mandated logging bill, the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act, but largely stay out of that debate and let Tester take the lead.

    Meanwhile, Lewis will soon get a message from the (dark money) Hilltop that he needs to announce that he’d introduce Tester’s mandated logging bill into the House, if elected.

    And, don’t forget, there will be some big campaign news next week as Montana Conservation Voters will announce who they are endorsing in the Montana Senator election.

    It should come as no surprise, so I hope I’m not spoiling the secret here, but obviously Montana Conservation Voters is going to endorse the guy in the Montana Senate race who has come out strongly against Keystone XL, against Otter Creek and against coal exports by declaring that “Coal is Dead.” Right….Right? I mean it’s all so obvious.

    • Turner

      I know Walsh is the anointed one, but I’m supporting Dirk Adams. He’s the only halfway prominent D who’s come out against the XL pipeline. And he’s OK on the other issues.

      Walsh’s vote against Adegbile was the last straw for me.

  7. Big Swede

    I know you all are a little depressed about Walsh’s vote.

    But hey, buck up. There’s hope on the horizon.

    “Bernie Sanders says he is “prepared to run for president of the United States.” That’s not a formal announcement. A lot can change between now and 2016, and the populist senator from Vermont bristles at the whole notion of a permanent campaign. But Sanders has begun talking with savvy progressive political strategists, traveling to unexpected locations such as Alabama and entertaining the process questions that this most issue-focused member of the Senate has traditionally avoided.”-The Nation.

    • Steve W

      I’d seriously consider voting for Sanders, Swede. He’s a smart guy who has avoided getting bought off.

      How about you, are you supporting Sanders? He will get much farther than Newt did (if he runs) and he makes a lot more sense your other flavors, Bachmann, Rick Santorum, or Herman Cain? He’s far more electable than your man Mitt.

      And he isn’t a Democrat, one of your prerequisites.

      His non-party affiliation puts him squarely in step with the largest plurality and the largest growing group of American voters, unaffiliated.

      Just think, how would it feel to back a winner? (I mean one smarter than your man, spend-happy George Bush)

  8. evdebs

    Sanders is likely the most open Senator to have held the post in decades, regularly appearing on programs where he gives actual answers to legitimate questions.

    If he’s running for president, that’s another way of saying he’s going to retire. He’s been in congress for 24 years and was mayor of Burlington before that.

    Walsh at least voted with Gillibrand on her military sexual abuse bill, rather than with his former fellow flag ranks.

  1. 1 Harlan Wells Shows How Not to Run for Mayor of Missoula | Reptile Dysfunction

    […] himself while on council, conduct even I felt compelled to commend him for 2 years ago for making a tough vote that probably saved Missoula from being sued by the […]

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