Archive for the ‘2009 Local Election’ Category

by jhwygirl

I’m going to give it to the House again today.

In a 57-43 vote on third reading, HB309 passed the House.

HB309 will effectively cut off public access to more than 6,000 public rivers and streams carrying public water across the state. As this commenter put it in the Ravalli Republic – I’ll drop my diversion in the water, and then it’s “get the heck off my property.”

Any legislator that tries to say anything else is either an idiot or a liar. That’s harsh, but I can’t say it any other way. Read the law.

Please note – that was a 57-43 vote – upped from the 55-44 second reading vote. If anyone wants to check out the party break down on that, I’d sure appreciate it.

As an aside, all the committee members have a party ID and the legislative roster shows party ID – why doesn’t the vote tally?

The House eeked out another fretful bill today, HB384 will effectively remove the need to obtain a concealed weapons permit. It will bring concealed weapons into bars and restaurants. It’s another one of those crazy Rep. Krayton Kerns gun bills with Gary Marbut – a gun advocate so loony that even the sheriff and law enforcement organizations..and the NRA, as I hear it, can’t cozy up to him – thrown in as an expert witness.

I watched this bill in hearing – and this was a hearing where Missoula’s Rep. Ellie Boldman Hill shined. That’s because as questions concerning how the bill would effect current law and law enforcement went to Gary Marbut (Montana Shooting Sports Association lobbyist) from the Republican members on the committee…Rep. Hill was smart enough to ask those same questions of actual law enforcement officers.

It was at this hearing, also, that Rep. Krayton Kerns, in closing as sponsor on the bill, tried to mitigate law enforcement opposition to the bill by saying (paraphrase) ‘it’s not that we’re eliminating the concealed weapons permit – you can still go get a permit if you want one…you just won’t have to.’

So hows that for a law that (first of all) made it out of committee and (secondly) passed the House 52-47?

The votes shifted on this bill to from a second reading vote of 59-40.

addendum: A second reading of a bill to abolish medical marijuana passed the House today too. In this case I’m going to say that the GOP is a damned lazy bunch. Rather than fix the thing – and they’ve had years of opportunity to do so, even and the behest of the industry and towns and citizens last session – they’re throwing out an initiative that was approved by 78% of the voters. You might want to call or email your legislators on that one and at least let ’em know how foolish they are.

by Pete Talbot

Congratulations to Roy Houseman, who defeated incumbent John Hendrickson by 162 votes in the Ward 2 race. Condolences to Mike O’Herron, who almost took out incumbent Dick Haines in Ward 5: 1,398 – 1,328.

And with all the other Missoula Democratic Party-endorsed incumbents winning their seats, it looks like President Barack Obama has the support of all America — at least if you follow the thinking of the mainstream media.

You see, this off-year election was supposed to be an indicator of support for Obama, the Democrats, and their policies.

According to the AP, two GOP gubernatorial victories (New Jersey and Virginia) are “a troubling sign for the president and his party heading into an important midterm election year.”


Apply this reasoning to our city council races and the country overwhelming supports Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. It’s a litmus test confirming the national mood: a referendum on health care legislation, and the handling of the economy and the war in Afghanistan, and is a precursor to the 2010 elections … yeah, right.

First, the fact that a Democrat took the vacant GOP seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and a Democrat won a special election for a congressional seat in California are strong indicators that Democrats are holding their own — certainly as strong as looking at any gubernatorial races. People don’t vote for governors the same way they vote for U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Second, on the governor races, New Jersey is awash with corruption scandals (Really? New Jersey you say? What a surprise!). So, the voters are going to throw the bums out, doesn’t matter what party is at the helm. And Virginia has always been a conservative, southern state. I was surprised it had a Democrat as the incumbent. No big shocker there.

Seems that the mainstream media and the political pundits are reaching a bit so they can make interesting banter and exciting headlines.

by jhwygirl

I expect negative stuff from this crew during an election, but John Hendrickson has sunk to new lows with a radio spot done in such a way that most listeners would be left to believe Mayor John Engen has endorsed the guy. The Missoula Independent’s Skylar Browning was first on the story, in its must-read-daily blog.

Hendrickson has been so ineffective in his last 4 years on council that he can not find anyone or anything to say something positive about himself that he had to plagiarize Mayor John Engen’s endorsement of his opponent Roy Houseman?

How amazing low is that? Really?

And you know he was thinking he was being oh-so-smart…

As for trying to claim Engen’s endorsement? Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Roy Houseman 2009

See that paragraph up there on the top of the page? Now listen to that radio spot again. Unbelievable.

Ineffective has been my favorite word for both Hendrickson and Haines lately. Both of these guys are campaigning, essentially, on the same issues they campaigned on 4 years ago. Haines on his $50,000,000 bridge over the Bitterroot and Hendrickson with his not-quite-as-costly (unless you consider the rise in pedestrian and biker related deaths) recall of the W. Broadway diet.

I mean – even if you are on board with both or either of these issues, Hendrickson and Haines clearly aren’t your guys. Think about that. Not if you want to get something done.

Both of these guys claim to be fiscally conservative, yet both of their pet issues are costly costly changes to and issues that have been decided because of other factors beyond their control. Hell-be-damned, they want what they want regardless of what it’s going to cost – and in the meantime, neither one of them will work towards other solutions in the interim.

I can give Haines credit for at least admitting his involvement in suing the City – Hendrickson, on the other hand, didn’t have the guts to admit his involvement, even after Haines had ‘let ‘er slip.’

Haines compounds on his false claims to fiscal conservatism by deceptively suggesting that “(O’Herron) has said city council members should not sue their employers. Will he go along to get along?

First off – Haines has been chasing O’Herron since the start of this election on this “suing his employer” statement of O’Herron’s. I find that funny.

Secondly – and you gotta love darthvadardemocrat* Lee Clemenson’s word choice – “Will he go along to get along?” ??? What? Will O’Herron work together to make sure something gets done? Will O’Herron (the horror) cooperate? Is that a bad thing?

On the other end of that ridiculous (think Jaws music in the background) suggestion that O’Herron will “go along to get along” as if it is something absolutely sinister, Haines did go along to get along on the vote to fund the separate analysis of the MDOT draft EIS for Russell Street. That cost the city some $85,000 I believe – feel free, anyone to correct me – and Haines went along and provided a crucial vote to move that alternative study forward all because he eventually wanted the same votes in return when and if his bridge-over-the-Bitterroot ever surfaced again.

So when, exactly, Ms. Clemenson, Mr. Haines, is it OK to go along to get along? Apparently it’s OK some of the time.

Ahh…the drama that is these Haines and Hendrickson. Vote the bums out. Houseman and O’Herron will get things done.

For his part, Engen has now recorded his own radio spot endorsing Houseman. Funny. It uses the same words.

Missoula County Democrats have filed a complaint against Hendrickson with the Office of Political Practices. As Keila points out – don’t hold your breath, anyone….the players in this could be long on social security before OPP ever gets to it. Ward 6 Councilperson Ed Childers is still waiting out on his complaint against Lewie Schneller from the 2007 elections.

Which is another problem all unto itself now, isn’t it?

*With a wink to klemz on that one…

by jhwygirl

Ward 5 candidate Mike O’Herron scored a major endorsement with former Republican county commissioner Barbara Evans and community activist and past president of the Upper Linda Vista Homeowners Association Charlie Brown telling voters to vote O’Herron:

As Miller Creek residents, we need a representative from Ward 5 who has common sense, works with others in a collaborative manner, calmly listens to our concerns, and who can provide a realistic perspective to our problems and our future. For that reason, we ask for your support for Mike O’Herron for City Council, Ward 5.

Oh no they didn’t!

Did Queen Missoula Republican just say that Dick Haines was obstructive and unrealistic? The duly-signed letter details a short history of “the bridge” that Dick Haines has dithered about for nearly 5 years now, and the support it now has (or doesn’t) despite the rhetoric being put out by Dick Haines as of late.

In other words – misrepresenting an issue and the support it has isn’t really a nice thing to do.

Haines’ pet project has been that bridge. He ran on the issue back in 2005. He claims to be a fiscally responsible guy yet he continues to advocate for a bridge that would cost upward of $30 million dollars. The double-talk is worthy to point out.

What Evans and Brown were really saying – or asking – was this: Do you want solutions, or do you want someone who is going to continue to make unrealistic promises?

Here’s a link to Mike O’Herron for Ward 5 website. The main thing I see in O’Herron is that he shows a strong desire to move forward – to find solutions. Inaction does not appear to be an option for him. That is a good thing.

Voters in Ward 5 should take note of that endorsement. Barbara has been long active in local Republican politics, and Charlie has a long history of supporting Democratic party causes, while working bipartisan-style on many issues with Barbara Evans….endorsing O’Herron should give even the most diehard Republicans good reason to cast that vote for Mike O’Herron.

Charlie Brown is Mike O’Herron’s treasurer.

by jhwygirl

Have you filled out your ballot yet? Get ‘er done. Why wait until tomorrow? Or next week.

The Missoula Independent has its endorsements out today – and (as usual) I am in full agreement.

Dave Strohmaier for Ward 1
Roy Houseman for Ward 2
Bob Jaffe for Ward 3
Jon Wilkins for Ward 4
Mike O’Herron for Ward 5
Marilyn Marler for Ward 6
John Engen for Mayor

Both John Engen and Jon Wilkins are unchallenged. Far as I can tell, Wilkins doesn’t have a website.

If you haven’t gotten your ballot yet (this is a mail-in only election), you might want to contact the County Elections Office at 258-4751 to verify your address. If you are at a different address from your registration or if you haven’t registered to vote yet, you’ll have to be heading to the fairgrounds to vote.

That’s why it’s important to vote early and get it done. If you wait until election day and can’t find your ballot or you find out your not registered, you’ll be having to venture down to the fairgrounds.


Anyone not able to get what I’m trying to convey about the voting-at-the-fairgrounds thing?

by jhwygirl

First the Ward 3’s Vote for Bob Jaffe video, which comes to 4&20, not by Bob Jaffee, but via Skylar Browning’s Indy Blog post:

Browning’s brief remarks are funny, and I agree. I also think that Badenoch was funny, saying “I think Bob Jaffe represents a lot of things I support. He’s progressive…but at the same time (my emphasis), he’s reasonable. I can tell that thinks about issues very seriously. He’s not a knee-jerk kind of guy. He’s thoughtful and I appreciate that.”

Council goddess Rye is hilarious, and so is Bob Clark, Missoula citizen.

Oh – and credit definitely has to go to “Bob Jaffe fan” Paul Wheaton – at minimum, he has a future in campaign election videos, for sure.

On the other topic…

Some HOW TO VOTE information…

Deadline is past for voter’s (pre)registration. If you want to vote now and haven’t registered, you have to head down to the fairgrounds, where the County Election’s Office has set up (due to high turnout in previous elections, and limited facilities/crowded halls).

This move has few, happy (maybe the county elections staff). Even Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller lamented the move in a tweet.

Even the results. {sigh}

Can we maintain no tradition?

City elections are mail-in only. No polling stations will be open.

Mail-in ballots are coming out in a few days. There’s Mayor (unchallenged), the Municipal Judge (unchallenged), then your councilperson vote (of which Ward 4 is unchallenged too). It looks like if you live in Seeley Lake, there’s an election there, and another in the Evaro/Finley/O’Keefe area to form a community council – at least what I can see of the sample ballot.

So when you get that ballot, fill it in ENGEN LOUDEN and, depending on which ward, STROHMAEIR or HOUSEMAN or JAFFE or WILKINS or O’HERRON or MARLER and get it back in the mail.

Voting early helps all the candidates, no matter who they are. Their effort will be to get you to vote – if you get it done early, you allow your candidate the potential to round themselves up even more votes.

by jhwygirl

Don’t miss Bunk the West’s review of Tuesday’s candidate forum held by the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce, the Missoula Organization of Realtors and the Missoula Building Industry Association at the Broadway Inn.

Ward 1 challenger Ryan Morton takes Bunk to task for restating that which the Missoulian reported. I suppose that means he’s requested a correction from the paper?

I do, though, especially love Ward 3 candidate John Quandt’s suggestion (as taken from the Missoulian) for maintaining our neglected city park system:

‘Community members who care about their neighborhood can volunteer to mow the lawn, for instance.’

I guess that means if you won’t (or can’t) mow the lawn of your neighborhood park, you just don’t care.

Bunk’s last paragraph is fab. Go read it.

by jhwygirl

We have a fancy-schmancy statistics page that tells us (it isn’t too scientific or anything) who is reading what, where they’re linking in here from, and what they are searching on search engines to get to 4&20’s stuff.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or anything, but “satan” has been running pretty high on the list lately, as has “John Hendrickson”.

I am not joking.

So in an effort to save what may be some newer locals (hopefully they are registered voters in Ward 2), I thought I’d recap some of the best of Councilperson John Hendrickson over the last couple years:

Missoula Councilman Hendrickson Doesn’t Just Quash Public Comment, He Ignores It

Another City Council Resolution

More Back-Peddling on Roundabouts from Ballas, Hendrickson, Nicholson, Wilkins and Haines

Council Antics Buried in the Financial Folly of this Past Monday

Great Minds Think Alike

John Hendrickson’s Budget Cuts or the Other Names to Remember

The Lunacy that is John Hendrickson (Live Blogging) That one was a good one, if I don’t say so myself

Hendrickson Hates Seniors

The Not So Anonymous Zoning Petition and the Yellow-Bellied Rants of John Hendrickson

Live Blogging City Council Zoning Rewrite

What Murky Mess the City Council Curmudgeons Have Weaved for Themselves

Do These People Not Resemble Brown Shirts?

and finally?

The Tomfoolery, Shenanigans of Councilpersons John Hendrickson, Renee Mitchell, Lyn Hellegaard and Ward 3 Candidate John Quandt

Anyways…just trying to make it easier on the voters, don’tcha know….

by jhwygirl

Tuesday night is an opportunity to meet Ward 2 candidate Roy Houseman, Jr. – if you haven’t already.

I can say enough about how much I really like this guy. He’s wise beyond his late-20something years, is union representative for Smurfit-Stone, married and owner of his first home with his lovely wife Andrea.

We’ve mentioned him ’round these parts at least 4 times, including this piece and another one which linked to The Independent’s profile of Roy Houseman, done by Skylar Browning back in January.

Ward 2 is a funky ward – encompassing the Northside, the Westside, Grant Creek, and north of Wyoming Street and generally east of Reserve. It’s a tough ward – I mean – imagine door-knocking Grant Creek..but Roy’s been at it. So much so that I hear that his wife is calling herself an campaign widow.

Houseman is a great progressive candidate, focused on moving Missoula forward on the important issues of affordable housing, reasonable and bigger picture transportation solutions and managing Missoula’s growth with a vision towards the long-term,

Have I said how much I just absolutely adore Roy Houseman? ‘Cause I do…

Regardless of which ward you live in here in the City proper – you will be fortunate to have Roy Houseman sitting in Ward 2’s council seat..which leads me to the following:

Cynthia Wolken and LaNette Diaz are hosting a “Meet Roy Houseman” event. It’s at 1316B Cooper St (which is Ms. Wolken’s house), 6:30 to 9. This is, of course, a fundraiser – so any spare bucks you have would be a big help…but of course, offering up your time for calls or literature drops and door knocking would also be greatly appreciated.

For some additional information about Roy Houseman, check out his website


by Pete Talbot

Zoning Rewrite

University-area homeowner Ian Lange had an erroneous op-ed in Sunday’s Missoulian. Fortunately, Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe debunks Lange’s misinformation, point-by-point.

The short version is that Lange thinks Missoula’s zoning rewrite will stifle economic growth by turning established neighborhoods into ghettos (by allowing more density). Lange suggests that ADUs — little apartments in backyards or over garages — will chase businesses away. He believes that more density in the urban core is a bad thing, and favors suburban sprawl and long commutes.

IMHO the zoning rewrite doesn’t go far enough in allowing infill in Missoula, but the majority on city council felt it had to compromise with the noisy zoning naysayers, and lawsuit-happy minority on council. Still, Lange and his cadre continue to spread half-truths and fear.


These endorsements have been out for awhile but I thought I’d recap. First, Montana Conservation Voters have endorsed the following candidates for Missoula City Council:

Mayor – John Engen

Ward 1 -Dave Strohmaeir

Ward 2 – Roy Houseman

Ward 3 – Bob Jaffe

Ward 5 – Mike O’Herron

Ward 6 – Marilyn Marler

The Missoula County Democrats also endorsed. Same as the list above, with two exceptions: the Dems didn’t endorse the mayor, which I’m assuming was just an oversight, but they did endorse Ward 4’s Jon Wilkins. The Wilkins’ endorsement surprised me because as often as not, he votes with the conservatives on council. I guess they figured that because he’s running unopposed, they might as well — no reason to go out of their way to piss him off. On the other hand, the mayor is running unopposed, too, so why not endorse him? Hmmm.

by jhwygirl

Boy…where to go with this story, from Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller.

Ward 2 incumbent and candidate John Hendrickson apparently couldn’t make it to the city council meeting Monday night, but in his absence, he sent a letter, read by Lyn Hellegaard (who has a hard time attending committee meetings).

Quite a complimentary pair, those two.

Councilman John Hendrickson apparently has a problem with the 1st amendment. Free speech and all that. So much so that he had Lyn Hellegaard read a letter from him, to council, berating Ward 3 councilman (and candidate) Bob Jaffe for his lisserv MissoulaGov.

Was it really that important, John, that you had to send a letter? Your issue couldn’t wait until next week? Or next committee meeting? Really – if that’s your sense of urgency, get a blog and I’ll plug each and every post you do. Promise.

Wish you thought that way about affordable housing. Or mental health care. Or homelessness. Or potholes.

Jaffe’s liserve is open to everyone. Anyone can read it, and if you register, you can get the updates mailed directly to you, and you are also able to comment. No secrets.

It’s also done on Jaffe’s own server – or server space he’s paying for. Meaning – not city space/time/money.

Prior to that, the goings-on of committee meetings – most of which are held during the day – were unfamiliar to most, unless you have cable and the time to watch them rebroadcast on MCAT. Way back in my beginning posting days here at 4&20, I’m pretty sure I ranted about how difficult it was for the general public to find out what happened at committee meetings because the minutes didn’t accurately reflect what actually happened.

If you don’t like what Jaffe’s writing? Guess what? DON’T READ IT!

If you don’t like what Jaffe’s writing? Guess what? POST A COMMENT AND LET HIM KNOW!

Paul Sopko, former Planning Board member, does it all the time.

What Hendrickson and Hellegaard don’t like about Jaffe’s blog is that their whole world of uncivilized ill-informed behavior at committee meetings (well, maybe not Hellegaard, since she rarely attends) is exposed for everyone to see.

In Jaffe’s liserv, a reader can begin to understand that inaction is apparently an option with Hendrickson and Hellegaard and Mitchell.

With Jaffe’s liserv, a reader can realize how many gosh-darn times that Hendrickson brings up the Broadway Diet (something he campaigned on 4 years ago, in case anyone is looking to determine how effective he’s been on his own pet issues over these past 4 years).

with Jafee’s liserve, a reader can understand how many times, over and over, Ward 5’s Renee Mitchell will repeat the same questions over and over and over again.

Frankly, it becomes comical due to the sheer magnitude of personal agendas and uninformed repetition of (there’s no other way to say it, folks) lies regarding the zoning rewrite.

John Quandt, candidate for Ward 3, and Bob Jaffe’s opponent, got into the fray by demanding an apology of Jaffe for having made reference on his liserve to Quandt characterizing city employee’s as lazy. Quandt, at the recent Pachyderm candidates forum, made reference to what he termed as ‘city workers leaning on shovels,’ as he made his case for privatization of some city services

Jaffe, for his part, declined to apologize and instead publicly lamented that he wished that the forum had been recorded.

Quandt made his demand for an apology during Monday night’s council meeting. During the meeting. He demanded an apology for something wrote on a liserv operated by Councilperson Bob Jaffe on his own private time.

I mean – if Quandt or Hendrickson or Hellegaard or anyone ANYONE has problem with what is being said on that liserv, either make a comment or create your own liserv or blog and say what it is you need to say. Demand your apologies, call him a liar – whatever.

Blogs, for the most part, are free. WordPress offers them…and so does Blogspot.

In fact, I dare say ’cause I kinda know these things: Any jackass can get one, with minimal effort.

But for Quandt to insert his campaign onto the floor of city council…well, one can imagine what we’ll get if the guy were to get elected.

In other news, in other city council chambers, the City of Bozeman approved urban chickens, with nary an opposing public comment.

by JC

Well, it seems that Ryan Morton decided after “the birds at 4&20 paint[ed] me as some frivolous, MBIA automaton,” that he needed to shake up his campaign for City Council from Ward 1. So he up and quit his job (hat tip to Keila over at Montana Red Tape!). Dang, just when I thought we had the perfect argument going about conflict of interest and all, what with him working at the MBIA and lobbying Council on their behalf.

Of course Ryan, an occasional commenter here (especially when we got into his professional lobbying business, or his campaign), had to throw a couple of bricks our way, as we challenged his dubious claim that working for MBIA and lobbying Council (which means he would have to lobby himself, which sounds oh, so yucky) somehow didn’t represent a conflict of interest.

So I guess that’s gone by the wayside. But, he reminded me in his comments at Red Tape that he is still working on the campaign for Kathy Greathouse, who is on the MBIA’s Board of Directors, and is running for City Council in Ward 6. Ah, so incestuous these MBIA people are. She also is (unless she’s looking for a new coat of paint too…) the chair of the MBIA Government Affairs Committee–which technically made her a boss of the org’s lobbyist–which used to be Ryan.

Oh, and by the way, there is a real nice new job opening in town, which gives a real succinct definition of a lobbyist!

· Develops and maintains effective lines of communication with local and state public officials on issues that impact the industry and association members.

· Coordinates, promotes and participates in meetings held with government leaders and political candidates to advance the objectives of the association.

· Attends and participates in government and community meetings and regularly updates the members regarding any issues affecting the industry.

· Obtains proposed legislation and regulations for submission to committee for analysis and recommendations. Obtains relevant information on state and national issues and distributes to the committee and membership.

· Establishes and maintains a grassroots network of members to assist on critical legislative and regulatory issues.

–a lobbyist that Kathy Greathouse oversees in her duties on the MBIA Board, and maybe still as the head of its Government Affairs Committee. And maybe as a City Councilor. All in the family!


by JC

Tipped off by Keila over at MIssoula Red Tape, we come to find that MT Conservation Voters just released its first Missoula City Conservation Scorecard. Prefaced by the usual round of platitudes, we come to find that Councilors Jason Wiener and Dave Strohmaier scored a perfect 100, needing a vote for backyard chickens to get there!

Missoula is a special place with vibrant neighborhoods, three great rivers, neighboring wilderness, and abundant recreational opportunities. It is the economic center of western Montana. Our city faces a gamut of troubles that threaten our quality of life.

Missoulians expect clean air, water and access to open space. City Council shapes policy affecting bike and pedestrian transportation, local food production, and the acquisition and management of parkland and open space. We need to promote renewable energy and reduce our fuel consumption for our families’ economic security. We need to plan for growth in town and on our urban fringe, adequately funding the planning effort. All these needs are reflected in the past votes of our current City Council.

The Scorecard covered 10 local issues and you can download a pdf of the report. I’m sure we’ll see all 10 issues come up in the runup to the election this fall.

by jhwygirl

Yesterdays very good Missoulian story from reporter Keila Spzaller contained lots of interesting quotes from political observers and lawyers and stuff like that. Good read, if you haven’t hit it already.

What I found funny was this quote from one of Ward 5’s Lawsuiters, Dick Haines (Ward 5’s other Lawsuiter is Renee Mitchell). Haines is, apparently, already feeling a need to reply to challenger Mike O’Herron:

I don’t want people to think that we take this lightly. I don’t want people to think that we’re suing our employer.

Why would he say that? Because at last weeks candidate forum, Mike O’Herron was asked, specifically, what he thought about about the current lawsuit filed by council members – two of ’em being from Ward 5. O’Herron first pledged not to sue the city for his first term (which drew laughter) and then went on to say that he couldn’t understand why someone would want to sue their employer.

So Haines has, obviously, gotten some feedback on that – and clearly, it’s on his mind.

Mike O’Herron is an Independent – something he reiterated a couple of times during Tuesday’s forum. He said that he’d be glad to get the endorsement of the County Dems – and noted that he’d be equally pleased to get the endorsement of the local Republicans, too.

Red Tape notes that O’Herron did get the endorsement.

Several organizations give out endorsements in the cities non-partisan races. Next up will be the Missoula Building Industry Association’s forum, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel.

Schedule is as follows (from their website):
3:30 – 4:00 Meet and greet
4:00 – 4:10 Overview of the importance of Business Development in Missoula and introduction of candidates with Dr. Patrick Barkey with the Bureau of Business and Economic Development – UM
4:10 – 5:00 Q&A to Present Their Goals for Business Development in Missoula
5:00 – 5:30 Networking with Candidates

Beer, Wine and Snacks provided
Cash Bar

There is no charge to attend!

by jhwygirl

Directly from the Missoula County Democrats website:

Candidates for Missoula City Council will participate in a forum sponsored by Missoula County Democrats at the regularly scheduled July Central Committee meeting, taking place at 7pm in City Council Chambers, 140 W. Pine St.

All candidates for City Council have been invited to participate in the forum, which will include questions from the audience. All candidates have also been asked to complete a written questionnaire by July 10. Members of Missoula County Democrats Central Committee and Executive Board will consider endorsing candidates who have requested an endorsement at the meeting.

Some – not all – of the candidates completed the questionnaire. Not completing the questions were two candidates from Ward 2 – Cynthia Wolken and incumbent John Hendrickson; Ward 3 challenger John Quandt; Ward 4’s Jon Wilkins (who was unchallenged) and Ward 5’s (incumbent) Dick Haines.

Click on each name to go to each candidates questionnaire answers:

Ward 1
Dave Strohmaier, incumbent
Ryan Morton

Ward 2
Roy Houseman

Ward 3
Bob Jaffe, incumbent

Ward 5
Mike O’Herron

Ward 6
Marilyn Marler, incumbent
Kathy Greathouse

See ya’all Tuesday, 7 p.m., in city council chambers.

by jhwygirl

Roy Houseman, Jr., 28, filed for Ward 2’s City Council seat today. He is challenging sitting councilman John Hendrickson. Ward 2 is a 3-way race, with Cynthia Wolken also having filed

The name should be familiar to most – Houseman is President of United Steelworkers Local 885, the union shop for Smurfit-Stone. He’s a Great Falls native who moved to Missoula in 1999, attended and graduated from UM in 2003 with a degree in English Literature and Psychology.

Houseman is just the type of person we need on council: Young and energetic – full of ideas, and willing to work hard. I mean – how many 20-somethings do you know that would run for president of their union local? How many 20-somethings would run for council? Houseman certainly is no slacker – and I certainly look forward to someone with a vision towards a better future for Missoula.

Why is Houseman running?

“I love Missoula. It’s a great community that has given me a wonderful life. I met my wife here. We bought a house in October and the community has afforded me opportunities I would never have thought imaginable. If I can give back to a growing and changing city by assisting in the administration and oversight of Missoula, well I see no reason not to run.”

Sounds about right by me…

The other races?

In Ward 1, incumbent Dave Strohmaier is being challenged by Ryan Mortan, government affairs director for the Missoula Building Industry Association.

In Ward 3, incumbent Bob Jaffe is being challenged by John Quandt.

In Ward 4, Councilman Jon Wilkins goes unchallenged. That doesn’t surprise me much…even the great curmudgeon (me) has come to kinda like the guy. Not all the time, mind you – but clearly, Wilkins isn’t operating on his own personal agenda 100% of the time or even 50% of the time – and that is a good thing.

In Ward 5, incumbent Dick Haines is being challenged by Mike O’Herron.

In Ward 6, incumbent Marilyn Marler is being challenged by Kathy Greathouse.

by jhwygirl

I must say I’ve been remiss in my normal scrutiny of city council’s doin’s – for some time now – but I did happen to catch the ‘comments from council’ portion of last Monday’s public hearing, and I was left wondering a couple of things…

There were some comments criticizing the anonymous zoning petition. What I heard was a criticism of the anonymous nature of the thing…but the thing is, the Indy’s Jesse Froehling revealed about a month ago that Dick Haines, John Hendrickson, and about 3 or 4 more (as in “probably 5 or 6 of us”) were involved in the now not-so-anonymous petition.

That wasn’t the first time I had heard about the “anonymous” petition. People don’t read the Indy? I’ve had, probably all told, at least 5 people approach me about that anonymous petition. People: Read the Indy! I do, and I’m smarter for it.

Pete did a post on the anonymous petition, which included a link to the office of planning & grants’ response to the petition.

I also caught some ranting by Ward 2’s John Hendrickson, on the subject of last year’s budget – the semantics of whether he had proposed specific cuts or whether he had proposed some sort of concerted plan or talking points. First my mind went to “last year’s budget???” but then as he continued, I wondered how he could put forth such a blatant untruth. We blogged here last year about the specific randomness of Hendrickson’s proposed cuts….and even live-blogged the FY2009 budget approval hearing – much of which is verbatim – which illustrates the thoughtfulness behind Ward 2 Councilperson John Hendrickson’s approach to last years budget.

John Hendrickson has, too, an issue with the Indy, but as this past week’s editorial points out, Hendrickson’s issue is likely one that is in search of his own political capital via bashing on the feigned inaccuracies of the Indy more so than it is about the budget or actually getting some work done.

If anything, Hendrickson’s mayoral bubble has been burst – not that he ever had a chance – and quite possibly his own re-election. Someone is to blame, and for Hendrickson, that someone is the Indy.

On the other hand – it’s budget season, everyone! That means, it’s time for John Hendrickson to shine. Gonna free me up some room on that DVR, ’cause we’re always up for some good quotes during budget discussions!

by Pete Talbot

(As usual, jhwygirl beat me to the punch here. I have some additional links and comments, though, on the petition drive.)

Please, before signing the anonymous petition that’s spreading fear and misinformation about Missoula’s zoning rewrite, get the facts. Here is an information sheet from the Office of Planning and Grants. Here’s the petition (note the clever graphic of the small boy mowing the lawn while a skyscraper is erected in his backyard). Fact One: no person or group is taking responsibility for the petition. That should be a clue.

One of the comments on the Missoula City listserve was this:

Bob (Jaffe, Ward 3 Councilman), I suggest the petition is nothing more than politics-as-usual…and has little to do with the proposed zoning code. Roger (Millar, of OPG) and OPG and Duncan Associates needn’t spend time and energy in responding.

There’s an election coming up. Wedge issues are being formed. The petition is quite explicit about who’s being set up as targets: “Mayor Engen, city planners, and City Council members who advocate greater density.” Those who sign the petition are simply being asked (a) to invest themselves into political positions and (b) to provide contact information to political campaigns.

This statement is very accurate, but I’d also suggest that whoever is circulating this petition believes that the zoning rewrite is the death knell for neighborhoods and is trying to get others just as scared. OPG, the mayor’s office and council should respond.

In her post, jhwygirl poses the question as to whether the anonymous petition is violating campaign law. I’m no lawyer (collective sigh of relief) but I’ve been involved in a few campaigns. At this point, since the petition isn’t aimed at a candidate or issue that’s on any ballot, I’d say no. However, if it is used as an organizing tool to raise money, elect or defeat candidates, or sway opinion on a ballot issue in the upcoming municipal elections, then whoever is behind the petition would need to file as a political action committee.

by Pete Talbot

After a pitcher of Badlander IPA, the mayor and the planners relaxed, and then gave a concise and passionate argument for the Missoula Zoning Rewrite.

The title of the event sucked me in: “Everybody Must Get Zoned.” But it turned out to be a straight-forward look at the zoning process and policy, and what Missoula could be in the future.

Missoula’s zoning laws, except for some tweaking here-and-there, are 30-to-50-years-old — based on an Ozzie and Harriet family model. The demographics in Missoula, however, have changed.  Now, 22 percent are single family, and then there’s the rest of us (mixed families, singles, empty-nesters, students, retired) but we’re still zoned like it’s the 1950’s.

OPG Director Roger Millar and senior planner Mike Barton were with the mayor at the invitation of Forward Montana. It was informal, about 35 people at the Badlander: politicos, seniors, organizers, students and folks like me.

Mayor Engen reminded everyone that it’s been a two-year, open-to-the-public, process. All points of view are in play and there are no deal breakers. Millar spoke to the history of zoning — laws that basically said ‘no’ to how we develop instead of ‘yes’ to what we’d like to see. Barton talked about specifics and how the rewrites would make laws clearer.

All three speakers have been around the block, understand Missoula, and have a vision for what’s going to sustain and enhance our community.

To hear the critics, the proposed zoning changes would have a radical impact on our neighborhoods. What I heard seemed pretty mild to me: minor changes in lot size and density calculations and height allowance, etc.; maybe some B&B’s, and accessory dwelling units here-and-there. The kind of things forward-looking cities have been doing for awhile.

I didn’t take my notebook, again, so I’m paraphrasing at best. I needed to get out of the house, have a beverage and catch up on local stuff, so this was a good diversion on a late March, wintry evening. I’m glad I went and was encouraged by what I heard.

Please folks, get involved. Here’s the info, and if you can’t make it to a planning meeting or talk to your ward representative or go to a PAZ committee meeting, at least you can comment. This is an opportunity to shape the future of Missoula.

by jhwygirl

From the press release:

Nominating petitions are now available for four seats that are up for election on the Missoula County Public Schools’ Board of Trustees. The election will be held on Tuesday, May 5.

Petitions can be obtained from Pat McHugh, director of business services, at the District’s Business Building, 915 South Avenue W., in Missoula. The Building is open at 7:30 a.m. Petitions should be returned to the District by 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 26.

The terms of four trustees will expire in May; two positions represent the elementary and high school districts on the Board, and two positions represent only the high school district.

Joseph F. Knapp, Jr. and Nancy L. Pickhardt currently hold the expiring elementary seats on the board. Anyone interested in these positions must live within the MCPS Elementary District boundary. Knapp was appointed by trustees on March 5 to assume a vacant trustee seat which had been filled by Jenda Hemphill, a longtime trustee who resigned because of health concerns.

James H. Sadler currently holds the expiring high school district seat that represents the Target Range and Bonner school districts, and Rick Johns holds the expiring high school district seat that represents Hellgate Elementary District on the MCPS Board.

Here is a list of the current trustees along with their terms and expirations.

by Pete Talbot

Over at Missoula Red Tape, Keila Szpaller hints that Missoula Councilman John Hendickson might make a run for mayor.

Please, please let it be true. We’ve posted on Ward Two’s Councilor a few times here, here and here, for starters.

I can’t think of a more divisive, thoughtless, regressive and downright mean-spirited member on city council. This would be a cakewalk for sitting Mayor Engen.

Szpaller notes that Hendrickson did refile for his old ward seat and may actually be happy in that position. So if he’s not running for mayor, I’m praying someone will take him on in Ward Two. They’d be doing that ward and the city a huge favor.

The municipal primary election is Tuesday, Sept. 8 and the general election is Tuesday, Nov. 3. It may seem early to talk about local elections but before you know it, they’re upon us.

by jhwygirl

School Board trustee Jenda Hemphill has resigned her district-wide board position for health reasons and the school board will be appointing a replacement. There are 10 applicants for the position.

Interviews will be conducted during a public meeting, to be held Thursday, March 5, in the Business Building Board Room, 915 South Avenue West. The meeting begins at 5 p.m.

Below is a list of the applicants (taken from the Missoula County Public School District website). If you click on their names, it will take you to the letter they submitted for the position, which includes the questionnaire that they needed to complete. The questions were formulated by the board. Names are in alphabetical order. The MCPSD website link also provides contact information for each of the candidates.

Carol Bellin
John Fletcher
Chris Jones
Joseph F. Knapp, Jr.
Theresa A. Martinosky
Shannon O’Brien
Patricia O’Keefe
Mike Ramsey
Christian M. Whalen
Shelly Wills

The successful applicant needs to hit the ground running – they are expected to be sworn in at the March 10th meeting. The interim position is only for 3 months – election for the seat will occur in May. I consider that experience is a plus..and I feel obligated to note that I do not know any of the candidates.

Given those considerations, several applicants stuck out to me:

Carol Bellin is a former school board member – and she’s been an active volunteer in the school district forever. Carol has also made numerous trips to the legislature testifying on behalf of Missoula schools.

John Fletcher is another active volunteer in the school district – having participated in various capacities since the late 70’s. John is also an active community member, having served on numerous boards, including the Public Library Board of Trustees.

Mike Ramsey, in his own words, would “openly and unapologetically (sic) represent a conservative perspective.” He continued, in answer to his main objectives: “To be willing to stand by any decision I make without any misgivings,” and “to listen carefully to all issued being discussed, and carefully consider the solution to my best ability.” I could go on – but really – just go read it yourself.

Patricia O’Keefe is a former teacher, who has also worked for the U.S. Department of Education.

Shannon O’Brien has held public office before, is a former educator, and has significant experience working in various community capacities.

When it comes down to it, Missoula voters have quite the list here – with all of the applicants obviously concerned what happens in our schools – and many of them very well qualified.

I urge all of you to read through the cover letters and questionnaire answers. Then I urge all of you to contact the sitting board members and let them know who you support. You might even consider clearing your calendars for Thursday evening and heading over to the Business Building Board Room at 915 South Avenue West and speaking in favor of a candidate.

By Montana state law, all public meetings must include an opportunity for public comment.

This is not an appointed board – all members of the school board are elected officials who are elected to represent you. Contacting them to tell them who you want to represent YOU on the board is a smart thing to do.

by Ana J. Beard

Looking at the recent actions of the MCPS school board, it is clear to me that this upcoming election is going to be VERY important. Sure, I may be graduating in a few months, but I have a ten year-old sister, I have friends who are underclassmen, I know little siblings of friends and depending on this upcoming election, it could make their education a well-rounded, interesting one…

Or it could make it a cookie-cutter, text-book, snoresville, sheltered education.

Now, nothing has yet proved my theory, but there’s a name that keeps popping up in the community that I’d rather not see on the ballots, or being the puppet master to other candidates.

Tei Nash.

He is a Hellgate graduate (class of ’69 I believe), played basketball and football and from what I hear, was even in some sort of rock band. Pretty neat, huh?

It is. Until you hear about what that jock/musician grew up to be.

He shows up at the University of Montana when there are meetings dealing with same-sex housing and insurance issues (even going as far as taking it to Supreme Court for “improper” notification of upcoming meetings), he comes to school board meetings to put his-very loud, right-wing-two cents in. In 2003, he even addressed the Montana legislature on HB 294 and was quoted saying, “Gay men think they are doing children a favor by sodomizing them.”  HB 294 was a bill that would have removed same-sex contact from the same line as bestiality in the Montana Code.

He has also commented on a number of other proposed bills (such as HB 449 which deals with school districts’ harassment/intimidation/bullying policies, saying he was concerned with the mention of sexual orientation being included in the policy).

Nash was on the board of Head Start, a part of the governing body of Head Start Inc. that forms policies and helps families. He was even the head of the board at one point. Head Start is a low-income pre-school – a PRE-SCHOOL.

He also strongly opposed bringing Diversity Week into schools saying that it didn’t show both sides [of homosexuality]. Flagship coordinators took his complaints, in my opinion, very respectfully. Big Sky’s Diversity Week this year even had a speaker who identified herself as a lesbian until God saved her from homosexuality.

While this is something many people would say is complete bull, it’s still another perspective and it’s showing (as Nash puts it,) “the other side”.  To say the least, I’m sure her presentation was a very interesting one and it probably sparked some great discussions and I’m sad Hellgate didn’t have the chance to see her presentation.

Anyways, to get back on track, what if Nash sees this upcoming school board election and decides to run or to influence one of his cronies to run? If he puts his mind to it, what’s stopping him?

So this is my cry for help. Please, someone step up and run. If you care about your children’s and the community’s youths’ education, you won’t let someone like Nash take a seat on the school board.

by jhwygirl

2006’s Initiative 151 raised Montana’s minimum wage and tied its increases, annually, to inflation.

Donald J Steinbeisser, of Sidney, has proposed SB254 that would remove the inflation indexing and stall minimum wage at $6.90 an hour.

I am shocked that a legislator would be working to subvert the will of the voters. I-151 passed with a huge majority – 285,535 to 107,294.

Also proposed by Steinbeisser – a real friend to the working guy, I have to say /snark – is SB253, which would allow an employer tip credit against the minimum wage.

This one is horrible in that it doesn’t even state a minimum of how low that wage would go.

Both of these are in Senate Business, Labor & Economic Affairs, on Wednesday. University kids working at minimum wage? Motivate here – tell your friends. Pat Murdo is the staffer for the committee, If sending comment, be sure to mention the bill by number and to note that you are submitting public comment.

Here is a list of committee members:

Balyeat, Joe (Ch)
Jackson, Verdell (V Ch)
Barkus, Gregory
Brown, Roy
Keane, Jim
Peterson, Jim
Squires, Carolyn
Steinbeisser, Donald
Stewart-Peregoy, Sharon
Tropila, Joseph
Windy Boy, Jonathan

You can find information on how to contact these legislators directly HERE.

by Pete Talbot

Jhwygirl is all over the city’s budget, particularly John Hendrickson’s (and the other “conservatives'”) proposed budget cuts.

Since I’m getting close to “senior” status myself and know quite a few seniors, this one item caused some concern:

Eliminate the Missoula Urban Transportation District’s (MUTD) Senior bus line

I actually received an unsolicited call today from a senior who said this:

“So, those council people want the seniors out there driving around? Or maybe they just want them shut up in their homes, not able to buy groceries or see their doctor?”

This guy was pissed. He said that if the council wanted a room full of angry seniors out for blood, just keep it up.

(It should be noted that the city’s budget passed last night, intact, by a seven-to-five vote. The senior’s bus service will not be cut.)

There was a host of other bad budget-cutting ideas but it’s really dumb to anger Missoula’s senior population and I’m guessing the proposed budget cuts won’t be lost on those who would have been directly affected. I believe that Hendrickson and his cohorts could be in deep doo-doo when they’re up for re-election.

by jhwygirl

Live blogging city council here. Can’t resist, as they just started budge cuts.

Hendrickson just made a motion – to place a hiring freeze on all vacancies. He didn’t even ask what the vacancies were.

Brett Ramharter: Obviously, this isn’t something that could be resolved this evening. This would have to go back to committee, because we have no clue what the real status is of these unfilled positions. I guess I need some clarification. We count on getting 2.85% in savings – the majority of that comes from personnel. That turns into about $1.2 million in savings. We budget for a year-end balance of a little over – approximately – $920,000 and with the $1.2 million in savings, we get about $2.1 million – that’s how we get there. So I guess the question that I’ve got – is this intended to just reduce the size of next years budget? Is that what we’re looking at? As opposed to get savings which are already factored in?

Hendrickson: Yes, if you take 10 positions which are unfilled and have been unfilled and factor in even just $25,000 a year – that’s $250,000, not counting benefits. That would take you well over the $300,000 mark. So instead of raising the property tax 3.5 to 4.82 that would cover the shortfall and the administrative budget of $285,000 and then some.

Brett: So as a point of clarification – this really isn’t focused on the type of savings I was discussing – this is just designed to make the budget smaller by $300,000+.

Hendrickson: OK

Walzer: So if I understand this correctly, Mr. Hendrickson wants to reduce the staff by 10 positions. We don’t know what the positions are. We don’t know how the work is being done now. I know in places I’ve worked before, empty positions are often filled with overtime, which is costly and also difficult on employees – or even worse, being required to get the work done for more than one employee in just 40 hours. I think it’s unwise to just ax 10 employee positions that are open at the moment. That’s what I’m hearing Mr. Hendrickson say. I think the city’s done an overall good job of looking at the turnover rate and incorporating that into the budget. I can not support that.

Childers: Asks the Mayor for clarification about Hendrickson’s continual referal to a city “shorftall” – he says: I am unaware of a city shortfall. Is there a city shortfall that I haven’t been informed about, Mayor?

Mayor: No sir. Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Thought it might be fair to let everyone know exactly what were the sensible budget cuts that John Hendrickson and the “City Council conservatives” proposed – the ones that Missoulapolis spoke about today.

Here it is, folks.

As for the highlights, the “City Council conservatives” wanted to:
>>Gut Parks & Rec by 13 employees (14 if you include the Bike-Ped coordinator) AND eliminate the entire Parks maintenance staff;
>>Charge city employees $60-$100/month for healthcare (but only non-union employees – and I’m pretty sure charging non-union employees and not charging union employees is really illegal);
>>Cut $300,000 in back-up funding for said health insurance (you know, that funding that is needed for them to actually be self-insured);
>>Eliminate the Missoula Urban Transportation District’s (MUTD) Senior bus line; and
>>”Skim” 20% off of OPG (Yeah, that’s how it’s done: Skim ’em.)

Call me crazy – I’m sure some of you actually do – but aren’t the parks we have around town considered infrastructure? Same with those costly pools? Don’t they, umm, need to be maintained?

Now, in all fairness, Hendrickson & Co. suggested we replace the maintenance staff with juvenile delinquents community service volunteers. But ask yourself: Would using juvenile delinquents community service volunteers for park maintenace throughout the city actually be a good idea?

Yeah – cool! Chain gangs in downtown Missoula. What color would they wear? Green? Perhaps purple, so they match the already invading spotted knapweed that is everywhere due to the maintenance budget having been raided for the last 2 or 3 years. Yes. Purple it is!

So, ahh, if you are going to remember names for 2009, perhaps you should remember the names of the persons who wanted to eliminate Parks & Rec, cut transportation options for senior citizens, and risk lawsuits by charging some employees for health insurance and by taking away the funds they need to be self-insured.

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