Archive for the ‘2011 Local Election’ Category

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.


I received the follwoing note from Forward Montana in my inbox today:

There are two days left until election day.

You may be asking, “isn’t election day on November 8th?” You’re half right. While that is the day that votes will be counted up it’s not when the vast majority of Missoulians will be voting.

For city council elections the city of Missoula closes down the polling locations and sends everyone a ballot in the mail. That means that across this city voting will be happening as early as Tuesday morning. Which is why we need your help on Monday to ensure folks are ready to vote for our pro-equality, progressive candidates.

CALL NIGHT: If you like it then you shoulda put a RING on it.
Monday, October 24th – 5:00pm
Forward Montana HQ
(500 N Higgins Ste 107 – Across from the Iron Horse)

RSVP on Facebook

Everyone in town is getting a mail-in ballot which means that election day in 2011 will last for two weeks straight. Studies have show us that most people vote in a big wave shortly after they recieve their ballots.

And if you’d like to hear some interviews with the candidates, MCAT has posted up interviews with 12 of the candidates running.

And Cynthia Wolken’s Referendum on Corporate Personhood also is on the ballot. There’s a great story in the Missoula Independent a few weeks ago about Cynthia and the ballot issue that we reported on back in August.

“This is a question of whether American democracy itself can beat back a corporate takeover”
— Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula


I’ll let the voices of a few of Missoula’s leaders in support of amending the U.S. Constitution to restrict corporate “personhood” tell the story (from behind the paywall at a local chapter of a national corporate newspaper chain):

University of Montana professor Vicki Watson thanked the council for bringing the referendum forward and said she wanted the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an official message it erred. She said extending civil rights to corporations “makes a mockery of our sacred human rights.”

“Corporations do not bleed or feel pain. They can’t die in an unsafe workplace,” Watson said.

Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, said she pitched a similar piece of legislation in Helena, and she heard support from Democrats and Republicans all across the state. Hill noted Montana history is laced with stories of big money, such as the Copper Kings, buying influence.

“This is a question of whether American democracy itself can beat back a corporate takeover,” Hill said.

Mary Stranahan… said putting power back into the hands of the people is a huge matter. She encouraged people to seek more information about the national movement from The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund,

“I think this is one of the most important issues we as a country face in trying to preserve what democracy we have,” Stranahan said.

And to those of you who complained in the comments of my last post on this issue, that the City Council should attend to more important matters, you got your wish: they also approved spending $188,829 on a machine to fill pot holes.

I’m just back from several days of vacation on a (mostly) deserted lake somewhere in NW Montana (and aching legs to prove it), and I’ll have much more to say about this issue in the future. One point I’d like to focus on is the stance that Missoula’s other newspaper publisher (and I presume many other newspapers) has taken in opposition to the movement to amend the U.S. Constitution to reserve 1st Amendment rights to the flesh and blooded. That somehow that would affect the 1st Amendment’s bedrock protection of freedom of the press.

I think that debate is a very worthy one to have. What is at stake is not just the fallout from Citizen’s United, but future fallout from a concerted effort by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his activist wife Virginia to reconstruct the Constitution to adhere to an originalist’s (and Tea Party) view that is more in concert with the will of the “Founders.”

by jhwygirl

Mike O’Herron, candidate for Ward 5’s city council seat is holding a meet & greet this Wednesday. This is an excellent opportunity to meet a candidate who is an independent, committed to bringing balanced leadership and representation to Ward 5.

I really like Mike. Off the top of my head, O’Herron was the original Chicago Hot Dog stand micro-business owner that any downtown dweller is well-familiar. He and his wife have put together a scholarship program themselves. At the city council forum last week – and darn if I don’t have my notes here – he spoke of recently acting as an ambassador, of sorts, escorting two potential business investors around the area in an effort to do his part to bring better jobs to Missoula.

I do believe one of the two have committed to bringing their business here. It’s one of the things I intend to pick his brain about on Wednesday.

If you read the most recent Missoulian article that mentioned Mike, you’ll know he’s committed to creating an environment here in Missoula for good-paying jobs. When you listen to him speak, he talks about finding out what kind of future Missoulians want – and from there, he wants to help make that happen.

I really like Mike’s commitment to public involvement. I also appreciate his commitment to policy, not politics. Mike O’Herron wants solutions. He feels Ward 5 has been essentially unrepresented due to the lack of leadership of its current representation. Mike wants to bring a real voice and true representation back to Ward 5 constituents.

Here’s the info on Mike O’Herron’s meet and greet:

The Mike O’Herron for City Council Campaign invites you to our Campaign Kickoff Event

What: Meet & Greet with Mike O’Herron, Candidate for City Council
Where: Linda Vista Golf Course Clubhouse
When: Wednesday July 20
Time: 5:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Contributions welcome, but come no matter what!

Reasons to attend:
· It’s an excellent networking opportunity – Meet Mayor John Engen!
· There will be refreshing cold drinks and plenty of hors d’oeuvres
· It’s an easy event to attend — Can pop in for a few minutes or stay longer
· I need your support to help me win this election!

5:30 on a Wednesday with refreshing cold drinks at Linda Vista? Seriously people – take the time to go meet Mike O’Herron and find out what real leadership would mean for Ward 5.

We’ve written a number of times about Mike – as has Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller, at her blog Missoula Red Tape.

by jhwygirl

Missoula County Democrats will be hosting the city’s first candidate forum Tuesday night, 7 p.m., at City Council chambers on W. Pine, next to Sean Kelly’s pub.

Boy – they’ve done quite an update of their website and that link provides you with lots of information on the candidates – including links to a questionnaire that they were asked to return.

This is the first opportunity Missoulian have – and the candidates too – to meet and interact in a public forum. As new chair Starla Gade note on their website “ALL CANDIDATES were offered the opportunity to attend and to complete and turn in a Candidate Questionnaire. The candidates that stated they wern’t available were also offered an opportunity to speak at our September Central Committee Meeting.”

As of this posting, only Caitlin Copple (Ward 4) and Alex Taft (Ward 3) have accepted that offer at this time.

I look forward to seeing what the candidates have to say on all kinds of issues.

by Pete Talbot

(Jhwygirl beat me to the draw, as usual, but here’s my perspective on some of her Various & Sundry observations, plus some other stuff.  Also, I changed my original Denny Rehberg headline (a strike through wouldn’t cut it) because it lacked class.  And while I have no respect for the man, I still have some for the office.)

Disingenuous Denny

I had forgotten that Rep. Denny Rehberg was going to be the speaker at Missoula’s City Club luncheon on Thursday.  I didn’t miss much, though, according to the Missoulian.  The same old: lower taxes, cut programs, reduce regulation.  Then there was this gem:

He also claimed that family planning services were losing billions of dollars by duplication between Medicaid and Title X services.

Missoula Planned Parenthood volunteer coordinator Tannis Hargrove, who asked about the family planning spending, disputed Rehberg’s duplication claim. She said Title X services were not available to Montanans eligible for Medicaid, and that Medicaid eligibility was too strict to allow that kind of double-dipping.

Rehberg also said it was the fault of the federal government that the housing market collapsed, leading to the Great Recession.  It had nothing to do with the credit default swaps of JPMorgan, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Goldman-Sachs, etc.  Thank God those markets aren’t better regulated.

And you can blame those pesky regulations for your $4-a-gallon gas.  That’s what’s keeping the petroleum industry from modernizing its gasoline infrastructure, which is keeping consumer gas prices high, says Denny.  I guess it’s hard to invest in new infrastructure when your first quarter profits are only $10.7 billion.

The rest of the Rehberg story is here.  Read it and weep.  KECI also has a story but I’m boycotting NBC because of that stupid Celebrity Apprentice show, which leads me to …

Rob Trump, Donald Natelson?

I like things easy and Rob Natelson makes finding a topic to post so easy.  This time, he’s picking up where The Donald left off. Couched in some historical nonsense about the English monarchy, Rob’s worried that a U.S. President could hand our country over to some foreign power.  I’m pretty sure he’s targeting Obama and the President’s penchant for all things Kenyan.  I’m surprised he didn’t raise this issue about Reagan’s Mexican proclivities.  He should also be worried about Gov. Schwarzenegger selling California to Austria.  There are just too many examples to cite. Be afraid, be very afraid.

“Extremely far-right extremists”

That’s a quote from former Sanders County Republican Chairman Mike Hashisaki.  But it looks like it’s the extremists who are running things now that state party chairman Will Deschamps says the new Sanders County Republican Central Committee will be certified at the Montana GOP convention in June.  How far to the right is the new committee?  Well, Denny Rehberg is a socialist.  According to the Missoulian:

The convention then chose Katy French of Paradise chairwoman. Her husband Mark, who unsuccessfully challenged U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg for the Republican nomination to Congress in 2010 – charging that Rehberg had backed “irresponsible, unconstitutional and socialist issues” – was elected state committeeman.

It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.

I guess the 62nd Montana Legislature could have been worse, but not much.  One of the major disappointments for me — the failure to pass a bonding bill that would have paid for a new UM College of Technology building, among other buildings around the state.  It would have pumped $29 million into the Missoula economy, and would be an investment in Montana’s future by educating and training Montanans.  There was plenty of other bad stuff, too, some of it yet to reach the governor’s desk.  The Associated Press has a round-up.

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