Archive for the ‘Barbara Evans’ Category

Via Missoula’s Choice 2008, the University of Montana School of Journalism online publication covering both local and statewide candidates.

by Collin Behan

It had been almost 20 years since Larry Anderson had lived in Missoula when he passed through on a road trip to visit in-laws in Butte. He stopped to visit an old college friend, who encouraged him to apply for a job as Missoula’s city administrator. That was in 1986 and the friend was the recently elected mayor of Missoula, Bob Lovegrove.

“I knew absolutely nothing about local government, so I thought I’d give it a try,” Anderson said. He got that job, served as city administrator for four years and has remained close to Missoula and local government ever since.

Anderson is now running for reelection after being appointed a Missoula County Commissioner in 2007. He was born in Omaha, Neb., and came to the University of Montana in 1963. After graduating with a degree in forestry and range management, Anderson entered the Army and served as an executive officer of an artillery unit in Vietnam. He received a master’s degree in business administration from Oregon State University in 1975.

In 1991, Anderson and his wife Linda, his college sweetheart, opened the Eastgate Rental and Party Center. They sold the company 11 years later and Anderson went to work as a Field Representative for former Sen. Conrad Burns and, later, Rep. Denny Rehberg.

County Commissioner Barbara Evens retired in 2007 after nearly 30 years as a county commissioner and Anderson was named to replace her for the final year of her term. Anderson said he has tried to maintain Evans’ policy of allowing people to drop in to visit with commissioners.

“Her motto, and I think it’s one that I carry on, was ‘Serve all the people,’” Anderson said.

Evans was well respected by the people of Missoula and replacing her was difficult, Anderson said. At the same time, Anderson thinks he brought a fresh perspective to the commissioner’s office as a former business owner and fiscal conservative. He was familiar with the people and workings of local government from his time as city administrator and having serving one term as a Missoula city councilman for Ward 4 in 1995.

As the only Republican on the board of commissioners, Anderson said he brings a crucial balance of perspectives to the county. His experience in city, county and federal government and business can help push Missoula through the current rough economic times, Anderson said.

If elected, he would like to continue working with outlying towns like Seeley Lake, Frenchtown and Bonner on their community plans.

“I think the majority of people (in those towns) want to see those communities maintain a personality and the uniqueness that they have,” Anderson said. Commissioners respond to a diverse range of needs, goals and opinions. The county’s constituents range from people living on country roads around Seeley Lake to students living in apartments in downtown Missoula to seniors in rapidly growing towns like Lolo or Frenchtown.

Land use planning and transportation are of key importance to the future of the county and his own plans for the commissioner’s office, Anderson said. Over a billion dollars in funding requests have been made for transportation projects in the next 20 years. Less than $480 million in federal and county funding is projected during that time, he said.

“So, as an elected official I’m going to have to try to find ways to compromise and get people to set aside their personal feelings and look at the larger picture,” he said.

by Pete Talbot

I hate polls

“Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor and polling authority, said variation between polls occurs, in part, because pollsters interview random samples of people.”

That quote comes from an Associated Press story and poll that has McCain and Obama basically tied. But talk about “random,” the story continues with these stats:

Obama and McCain were essentially tied among likely voters in the latest George Washington University Battleground Poll, conducted by Republican strategist Ed Goeas and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. In other surveys focusing on likely voters, a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama up by 9 percentage points, while a poll by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center had Obama leading by 14. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, among the broader category of people registered to vote, found Obama ahead by 10 points.

That’s a 14 point spread. I think I’ll wait for Jimmy the Greek to give odds before really believing any of the numbers I’ve seen.

UPDATE: Latest MSU-Billings poll has Obama at 44% and McCain at 40% IN MONTANA! There’s a 5% margin of error, but still … maybe I’ll forego my cynicism about polls for the evening.

Bait and switch

The Missoula Independent had an interesting piece on the Ravalli Republic. Apparently, Ravalli County Democrats contracted with the paper to put those little sticky ads on the Republic that you see from time-to-time on the front page of many newspapers. These pro-Democrat ads riled up a herd of Ravalli County Republicans, who threatened to cancel their subscriptions. The Republic then moved the stickers to the inside of the paper. The publisher claimed this wasn’t done to placate Republicans but because of a corporate rule that says political ads can’t appear on front pages. Funny thing is, I remember getting my daily dead-tree edition delivered to me in a plastic bag with “Vote for Conrad Burns” printed on it about two days before the 2006 election. So, bags are OK but stickers aren’t?

Here’s hoping nice guys finish last

I’ve heard there are a few “Democrats” out there pushing County Commissioner Larry Anderson’s election bid. The Republican incumbent is running against Michele Landquist for the six-year position. Incumbent is a little misleading, though, as Anderson wasn’t elected to the seat but anointed by retiring Republican Commissioner Barbara Evans.

These folks are endorsing Larry for different reasons but the recurrent theme is, “he’s a nice guy.” That may well be but I want more than a “nice guy” as our third commissioner. I want someone who will be innovative and progressive. Considering Larry served on the staffs of both Rep. Denny Rehberg and Sen. Conrad Burns, I’m guessing he’s neither. And I remember his tenure on city council as being a conservative obstructionist, to say the least.


by Pete Talbot

Ms. Evans, we hardly knew you

Commissioner Barbara Evans retired about a year ago. While the media and others were fawning over the commissioner’s 30 years of service to Missoula County, it’s good to remember her roots. She was the Missoula campaign coordinator for George Wallace when he made his unsuccessful (thank God) bid for the White House in 1968.

Y’all remember George Wallace, right? Racist Alabama governor and four-time presidential candidate. He was probably most famous for personally blocking school entrances so that black kids couldn’t go inside.

(Tip o’ the hat to Chris Walterskirchen whose “Flashback” column in the Missoulian is one of my favorite reads.)

Thanks a bunch Montana DNRC

I’m extremely disappointed with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, and Director Mary Sexton, for rolling over for Plum Creek.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, the department has granted the former lumber company (and current real estate developer) expanded right of way deeds and additional rights to easements. This will certainly make it easier for Plum Creek to develop those hard to get to places.

Maybe the state should take the word ‘conservation’ out of the DNRC title.

The surge is working?

The pundits say that we’re winning the war in Iraq. Well, not soon enough for Kevin Furey. The former Montana legislator (two terms in H.D. 91) will be headed back to Iraq later this year and is leaving Montana tomorrow for additional training.

Now Kevin would be the last person to shirk his duty or complain about the redeployment. So let me just say this: goddamn you George Bush for putting so many Montanans in harm’s way.

(There will be a going away party Monday, Aug. 11 at the Badlander, 208 Ryman St., between 5 and 7 p.m. for well wishers. Sorry about the last-minute notice — I just received my emails from the weekend.)

Our thoughts are with Kevin and his parents here in Missoula. Be careful over there and Godspeed.

And another farewell

While Pennsylvania doesn’t offer the perils of Iraq, it certainly isn’t Montana. 4&20 Blackbirds founder and Left in the West contributor Jay Stevens is moving with his family to the Keystone State (where in the hell did they come up with that nickname?).

It’s not often that a thirty-something becomes a mentor to a fifty-something but that’s what Jay has been to me. He offered me the opportunity (for better or worse, dear reader) to comment at this site. He explained the nuances of blogging, increased my knowledge of computers by about 200 percent and has taught me a lot about political writing — mostly by example. He’s also just a real nice guy. The Montana blogosphere will be the poorer for his leaving.

by Pete Talbot

One of the candidates in the Democratic primary for Missoula County Commissioner is having a few public relations problems.

The first strike against Jeff Patterson is his party affiliation — whatever it is. He was one of the Republicans nominated to fill Barbara Evans’ seat when she resigned after serving something like 100 years (he didn’t get the job, Larry Anderson did). Patterson then filed for the commission race as a Democrat. Here’s what he said at the Candidates Gone Wild event hosted by Forward Montana:

“Missoula County is primarily Democratic. The majority of the people I’d represent are Democrats, so it’d be the appropriate party to run for.”

Interesting strategy. Run in the party that has the most voters.

His second strike occurred a few days ago. Patterson was against going after funds for “smart growth” planning in the Bonner and Milltown area. He also said it wasn’t appropriate for the public to comment at a recent Bonner Milltown Community Council meeting.

Again, interesting. We have a county commissioner candidate who doesn’t like public input. Also, in the words of Missoula’s OPG director, Roger Millar, “I mean, who’s in favor of dumb growth?” The Missoulian has the blow-by-blow.

The third strike came yesterday when Patterson’s campaign filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices against Missoula Mayor John Engen. Now Engen, who could be mayor for life if he wanted to be, is also the treasurer for one of Patterson’s primary foes, Dennis Daneke.

The story unfolds thusly: Patterson’s son is a contractor working on a sewer project downtown and festooned the site with political signs for his old man. Now that’s not a big deal but it is against the law. I should know, I got a call from the city when I put some signs up in a city-owned boulevard. It was my first campaign and I didn’t know any better. The city told me, nicely, to take them down. I didn’t file a complaint against the mayor.

Anyway, Engen saw the Patterson signs and asked someone from the city to inform the candidate that they must be removed. In doing so, Patterson’s complaint alleges that Engen “abused his power.” The complaint also alleges that the city employee wasn’t quite so nice in removing the signs from the construction site, but that’s not the point. Filing a complaint against our beloved (by most) mayor, especially if Patterson is the one who violated the law, just doesn’t make much sense.

(I wish I could link you to the Missoulian story but it’s nowhere to be found online.)

Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

There’s no disclaimer or mention of who’s responsible for the event. And it’s the second quarter-page ad I’ve seen in the Missoulian for Commissioner Barbara Evans’ retirement party.

Someone has deep pockets. Those ads don’t come cheap nor does renting space at the Double Tree (that’s where the event is going to be, 5:30-8 p.m., Thursday, August 30, public invited).

I called some folks at the county courthouse and they’re not sure who’s behind it, although they say it isn’t the county. Missoula County is throwing a little going-away soiree, also today, after the swearing in of new County Commissioner Larry Anderson, but on a much smaller scale.

I got along reasonably well with Ms. Evans during her tenure at the commission. I would have liked to have seen more long-range county planning and more focus on growth issues from her. A better grasp of Missoula’s transportation problems would have been nice, too. (I remember her famous quote about being proud to drive her car from the county courthouse to the Bon [now Macy’s] when she wanted to go shopping.)

Evans did provide some pork for the county — much of it in the form of asphalt and concrete — so I imagine there are a few people in that industry who want to show their thanks.

Also, lately she’s been canonized on the editorial pages and by community leaders for her long service to the county. This retirement party must be an extension of that tribute.

I’ve got no problem with friends and associates wanting to throw a Barb bash, I’m just curious who’s behind it all.

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