Archive for the ‘Bob Jaffe’ Category

by jhwygirl

It’s so bassackwards that I just have to ask: How could cops and fire personnel that live outside of the community be a good thing? And OK thing?

I ask that in the context of the what seems to be the current pressing issue for the City of Missoula right now. And while I say that a little snarky, I actually do think it important that city employees live in the city. Especially department heads and…dare I say it…police and fire.

The Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller went to work immediately after Wednesday’s committee meeting, it seems, as this morning’s paper brought us the news that the majority of the city’s top cops live outside of the city.

Below I’m going to print Bob Jaffe’s listserv committee report, a sort of informal – but still public – discussion on city issues.

I’ll also point out that while Jaffe retells City of Missoula Police Chief Muir comments in committee on Wednesday by saying “Police chief Muir spoke against the proposal telling us he moved to the county for the higher quality of life and likely would not have taken the job as police chief if this rule were in place,” he takes no effort to dispel Muir’s contention.

Jaffe continues, seemingly acknowledging the superior quality of life in the county – which is a little peculiar coming from a city councilor, no? I mean, is it not an odd public introspection of his and his fellow councilor’s work? Bob’s been on council for more than 6 years now, I’m pretty sure.

Anyways……Jaffe’s full report below the fold, to make sure you have the full context. Continue Reading »


Seems that Missoula Councilor Bob Jaffe let loose his true feelings in a post to his listserve yesterday. I guess it’s time for our annual bash the homeless prattle from town hall, now that Missoula is at it’s seasonal height for transient migration, coupled with a burgeoning local homeless population including far too many Missoula families.

So I thought I’d poke my nose in Jaffe’s business and bring to light what he really thinks about Missoula’s less fortunate. Here’s the relevant part of his post for your reading [dis]pleasure. Feel free to leave your comments about homelessness in Missoula, and the way our public servants think and talk about it:

“Next we had a presentation in Public Safety regarding our new full time downtown officer. Her name is Nicole Pifari and she has decided to leave the police force to go to law school. The plan is that she will continue to work for the force during the summers while she is in school. She has been at it for about six weeks now and the response from downtown business owners and patrons has been extremely positive. Assigning an officer to this beat full time creates continuity. She sees the same folks over and over and gets to know what’s going on.

The presentation was from Assistant Chief Brady and BID director Rod Austin. I wanted to hear what Officer Pifari had to say so I asked her up to come up and answer some questions. She had a few comments that I thought were important. She clarified that the work was primarily about dealing with the homeless population. She was clear that her job is not about solving homelessness or vagrancy. It is about keeping it out of downtown. She lets the folks know they need to find a more socially acceptable place to throw up and piss themselves. She knows that Missoula is a very friendly and empathetic place. Her job is to make it a little less friendly and comfortable for the least among us.

I had the impression she was fully aware of the unfortunate and tragic nature of this assignment. We have a very friendly and accepting community and a population of destitute people who survive by manipulating and taking advantage of this kindness. There is a critical mass or threshold that gets crossed and then the community starts to feel victimized. Our response is to dial down the love these folks feel when they come to Missoula. This is Nicole’s job.

On the up side, she provides the rest of us with a sense of security, safety and order. In general, the odds that a shopper will suffer any actual harm from a homeless person is incredibly small. But the perception of danger is real. An officer in uniform creates a perception of safety. Folks love it. Her presence is a huge benefit to the health and future of our downtown. I got the feeling that she had the perfect disposition to serve the community in this role. Hopefully the plans to retain her during the summers will pan out.

Jon Wilkins also pointed out that we can’t just arrest these folks because our judge just lets them go free. He wants to see them go to jail and be given an orange jump suit and be put to work picking up trash along the highway. I’m actually intrigued by the idea of instituting a chain gang in Missoula. Nothing wrong with a little community service and clearly these folks aren’t concerned with being humiliated in public. We would need to find a big tobacco chewing officer with a shotgun to oversee the crew to get the full effect. I think the word would get out pretty quick that maybe Missoula isn’t the best place to be sprawled out on the sidewalk. There is a major issue with funding and liability. One of the reasons we don’t put transients in jail is they have all sorts of medical problems that become our responsibility once they are incarcerated. I can’t imagine what would happen if we actually made them perform physical labor. If we could come up with a funding mechanism I would be curious if we could try this. I’m wondering if anyone north of Texas has attempted it and whether folks would be horrified or happy the trash was being picked up.”

P.S., hat tip to Duganz and lizard for bringing this topic up today on another blog post

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 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 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 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

Not really. But Ward 3 Councilman Bob Jaffe employed his wry wit to kick off a serious discussion of Missoula’s marijuana laws.

This morning we started the day at 8:00 am with alcohol and marijuana. First we approved the purchase of a bunch of field sobriety kits, motorcycle and in-car video camera systems, and funding for the underage drinking prevention program … “

Jaffe then went on to explain that Initiative 2, which was passed by Missoula voters in 2006 and was meant to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a low priority for law enforcement, didn’t affect city (or university) police.

And he gave a well-reasoned explanation as to why this initiative should also apply to city law enforcement. First, his entire comment is below the fold. Second, at the end of his comment, he has a cool map you can click on that shows how Missoula’s precincts voted on this initiative. Third, and I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, if you’re interested in Missoula politics, you have to subscribe to this site (which covers city council committee meetings and other city business).

Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

As reported by the Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller, city council conservatives are all aflutter over a recent post on the list serve called MissoulaGov. The first thing to note is this is not an organ of Missoula’s city government but a private list serve created by Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe to keep citizens informed on Missoula City Council issues.

Ward 1’s Jason Weiner Wiener wrote the most recent post as Jaffe was out of town. Wiener revealed how committees would be run if the conservatives were in the majority (which they happened to be on the Public Safety and Health Committee because a bunch of committee members were out of town for work, vacations, etc.). From Wiener’s report:

“With the self-style conservative minority firmly in control of the votes, I’d venture to guess we got a taste of their governing style.”

That style included questioning contracts without good reason and also some vote changing that went so fast a minute-taker couldn’t keep track, plus the meeting cut into the following Plat, Annexation and Zoning Committee because of the PS&H Committee’s “pile-up.”

Well, John Hendrickson (Ward 2) and Jon Wilkins (Ward 4) got their panties in a knot over Wiener’s report. Sometimes the truth can hurt.

So, John and Jon, you don’t like Jaffe’s list serve? Start your own.

by Pete Talbot

I often refer readers to Bob Jaffe’s (Ward 3) excellent city government list serve/blog. It gives you the news from city council committees, where most of the work gets done.

Well, Bob is out of town, so Jason Weiner (Ward 1) is doing the writing this week. Jason has more of a conversational style, which I enjoy. Lots of nuggets of info — from parks to planning to budgets.

Jason offers some insights into how the conservative element on council deals with issues when they’re in the majority which, thank god, isn’t often. He also gives an update on the Higgins-Hill-Beckwith roundabout and asks for input from the list serve’s readers. As of this writing, eight respondents are in favor of constructing the roundabout ASAP and two are for postponing.  You have to subscribe to the list serve if you want to view comments.

So, if you’re interested in city government, a subscription is a must.  I wish the county provided the same sort of service.

by jhwygirl

Bob Jaffee’s listserv made mention the other day of the city council’s desire to possibly have a presentation put together that would help them better understand the economics of subdivision and development in Missoula.

How much money are these guys really making? When they tell us a particular variance is needed to make the project pencil we really don’t know when they are BSing us. It would be nice to organize a meeting with some builders and developers and planners to help give us some perspective.

Now, aside from wondering why or how much the profit of a developer should factor into any particular decision made by the city council or the planning board or the Board of Adjustment, etc., I got stuck on the “meeting with some builders and developers and planners” part.

Aren’t these the guys whining? (I’m assuming that the “planners” he speaks of are from the private sector.)

If council wants to get a full picture of the economics of development here in Missoula, perhaps looking at all those involved and contributing to the development process from the beginning might get them a better more complete picture. First there’s the realtor who sold the land to the buyer. Then there’s those planners, developers, surveyors and buildings. Then there’s the realtor that sells the finished product, and then there’s the mortgage lender.

In fact, the mortgage lender I spoke with a few weeks ago had quite an insight into the development and subdivision activity in Missoula – after all, they not only finance the purchase of the land, they finance the purchase of the houses that were built on the land that they financed.

OR, another option might be to sit down with HomeWORD or someone from the Housing Authority. They buy land at market rates, they hire planners, surveyors, builders, and then they sell the finished product. Obviously, they utilize some subsidized funding for the sale – but talking to those agencies that buy the land, pay the bill, and then sell might get City Council a bigger, better picture of development and subdivision in Missoula.

I’m a cynic, I know, but wouldn’t talking to all of those people also get a more honest picture then just getting the picture from developers, planners and builders who are, rightfully, trying to make as much money as possible?

by jhwygirl

Calling back my hero worship, sadly.

Seems Jaffe is waffling on what seemed to be his lack of support for extending the hold on the city-owned riverfront triangle property for the proposed $60,000,000 performing arts center.

The one that wants to ask the citizens for a $20,000,000 bond and donation of the land itself – worth in the several million dollar price range if not more? Anyone, please, kick in there with a value on that prime piece of real estate….

He’s now saying “If the PAC committee can find a $20,000,000 donor, and if they can raise an additional $20,000,000, and if the voters approve a $20,000,000 bond, they will be good to go.”

That’s a whole lot of ifs there Bob. And last I looked, there really isn’t any pie in the sky. In fact, there’s just a whole bunch of storm clouds lately.

We have an very worthy organization, Missoula Community Radio, that is seeking to obtain an FCC license for the last FM radio signal here in Missoula – a radio station that would be an “unfiltered media source” – which I think most of us all would agree is very worthy. It would provide an venue for local musicians and the local community organizations and promote communication. All in a non-profit setting.

They aren’t asking for free land – and hell, they haven’t even gone to the city and ask them to donate the $8,000 that they need to pay the attorney they had to hire to help them through the complicated FCC license application process.

You can donate to this worthy cause – I know they’d appreciate it. Even if everyone that reads this blog today donates just 5 bucks, that would be a hell of a nice chunk off of that $8,000 bill.

Instead, we have a Public Arts Committee (PAC) that seems to think it is entitled to a piece of city-owned prime real estate, entitled to a $20,000,000 taxpayer bond, and entitled to a $20,000,000 jump-start donor – – all because they are a “worthy cause”.

Well – Missoula Community Radio is a worthy community cause. HomeWORD is a worthy community cause, United Way Missoula is a worthy community cause – the list goes on and on.

We have more important things to do than to deal with this – and if the extension passes, we will continue to have to deal with this time-sucking cash-sucking venture.

Ward 3’s Stacy Rye kicked in with some common sense after Jaffe’s waffling began last night:

On one hand the Council is told we’re not doing anything but supporting a reservation of land. On the other hand, we’re told that if we don’t support it, we’re doing away with the project because they can’t find a major donor without public (City of Missoula) buy-in. I do not like being put in that kind of position, and yes, it’s fairly clear to me that if we do support this, we are giving a stamp of approval, not simply an extension of a land reservation.

Amen Stacy.

So I may not have a hero on City Council – but it does look like I have a shero.

City Council has no business, whatsoever, giving away a piece of prime real estate to anyone. Lease it, yes. Sell it, yes. But giving it away is wrong.

City Council has no business reserving a piece of property for an entity that is asking for it to be given to them. Again – lease it to them or make ’em pay for a reservation – it’s done all the time in real estate…called a “right of first refusal”…but they’ve had quite a bit of time already with absolutely no takers on their offer to have someone give them a $20,000,000 check.

Does anyone think that, if sent to the voters, a referendum to give the multi-million dollar property away would pass muster? Doesn’t council have a fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers to act more prudently with city-owned property? Hell – maybe I should check the law on that one.

And having already had that prime piece of riverfront property in their hands, reserved, fee-free, for two years now is telling. They say they need the reservation to get a donor, and yet it hasn’t happened.

It ain’t gonna happen – and the City needs to move on.

There’s more important things at task.

by jhwygirl

Yesterday, Ward 2’s Bob Jaffe posted an open letter on the MissoulaGov listserv (created by Jaffe) which outlined his concerns regarding the proposed $60,000,000 Performing Arts Center.

Overall, he expressed concerns on a number of levels – the limited amount of public money available; the recent failure of the $10,000,000 school bond coupled with the need for a $20,000,000 bond for the proposed arts facility; and the inability of other similar arts facilities to maintain affordability despite being able to increase attendance and revenue.

He also called into question the overall ability of the arts community to be able to fund the project when they weren’t/aren’t able to support the art museum’s shortage on last season’s heating bill.

The City had to kick in $100,000 to pay that bill.

He also cited other examples of the city having to bail out these types of ventures – naming specifically Swim Missoula and the stadium bail out.

(I may have a new hero!)

Jaffe’s initial post garnered only support – former city administrator Janet Donahue comment summed up well the voice of all of the initial posts.

Bob, as much as I love the cultural aspects of Missoula and have participated musically on many levels, I don’t believe the city and I can afford to foot the bill.
I believe we would have to subsidize the Performing Arts Center which will take resources from many basic needs facing Missoula, such as bike/ped/auto infrastructure, police facilities, fire stations, equipment needs, and parks development to name a few.

Then late (11:12 p.m) last night, Geoff Badenoch, former head of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency and previous candidate for Mayor, posted comments from the Performing Arts Committee – citing

I was contacted by the Committee of Missoulians working on the performing arts center project. Since they are not members of the list serve, they asked me to submit the following comments on their behalf. These comments were put together in haste due to the late hour and because they felt at a disadvantage in not being involved in this exchange of information from the outset.

(Like the listserve is some sort of exclusive group.)

What followed were two replies to the listserv, by Badenoch, filled with a collection sniping remarks disputing the numbers put forth by Jaffe – who apparently had done quite a bit of homework, contacting other communities to gather information – and citations of recent concert attendance at the Rolling Stones and Elton John events as illustrating a need for another arts facility.

(It’d be worth it to point out that Badenoch’s posts, garnered from comments he gathered, appeared to be cut-and-paste — so apparently, these comments were gathered by email, further shredding the cries of the critics who felt “at a disadvantage of not being involved in this exchange of information from the outset.”)

Talk about apples to oranges – just because some concerts sell-out at the Adam’s Center doesn’t mean that we need another facility. It’s not like the Adam’s Center is holding concerts every night and turning away venues.

Today, the 12-member Administration & Finance Committee dealt the proposed arts facility its death blow – voting 9-3 against holding on to the riverfront triangle property for an additional 18 months while the PAC attempted to gather its magical sugar daddy (or mama) that would ‘spark’ the project with a check for $15,000,000 to $20,000,000.

That’s a whole lot of zeroes.

Bob Jaffe and the 8 others who used some good old common sense and fiscal responsibility to the City of Missoula should be lauded for their brave stance. It’s not easy to say “No” – I think it needs to be done more often – and it definitely needed to be done in this case.

Let’s hope that the PAC’s sour grapes aren’t so sour that they they call on the end to the listserv. If they do it’ll be shame on them.

(In full disclosure, I have not been a fan of the arts center. I have previously posted this at Montana Netroots.)

by jhwygirl

In the latest MissoulaGov listserv Ward 3 Councilman Bob Jaffe reports that Ward 4 Councilman Jon Wilkins spoke about sprawl and his theories behind it. Bob wrote:

During the discussion (in today’s committee meetings) there were some comments about encouraging sprawl. Jon Wilkins said something to the effect that we shouldn’t be complaining about sprawl because those of us that have supported infill have done more to create sprawl than anything else that has happened. This infill has caused people to flee the neighborhoods and build in the outskirts of town.

Bob went on to muse:

Personally I think this argument is bunk. But I have heard it repeated a lot. Does anyone know if there is any data that supports or refutes this position?

I don’t know about data Bob, but my thought is that Missoula’s sprawl can be directly attributed to people trying to get away from Councilman Jon Wilkins.

But that’s just my NSHO.

by jhwygirl

Ward 2 incumbent Don Nicholson, towards the end of yesterday’s council meeting, asked all council members to take a good look at the work that Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe has done on amending the deferral resolution for the proposed Hillview SID.

Jaffe has proposed changes that are aimed at reducing the possibility of the SID fees creating a situation where larger undeveloped tracts would succumb to the pressure of development.

Some owners of larger undeveloped tracts – the Craigheads come to mind – said that they would be faced with a choice of either paying what they felt were extraordinary fees or selling the property (resulting in likely development.)

Jaffe’s proposed changes include the addition of common area lots 10 acres or more in size to the criteria for eligibility.

It eliminates the requirement of the payment of the deferral when the buyer accepts the deferral upon signature. Previously, the deferral was not transferrable – if a property owner had obtained a deferral, upon sale payment was due.

It also allows for reconstruction of an exisiting structure for owners that have a deferral. So in the event of a fire, for example, the home could be reconstructed without having to pay the SID.

Further, Jaffee’s proposal also has an accommodation for minor changes to property boundaries, keeping, again, the deferral intact.

Bob Jaffe has been a good problem-solver on council – his questions exhibit his desire to understand the issues.

Don Nicholson has shown himself, also, on occasion willing to compromise and seek solutions rather than to “just say no” to every possible proposal. Yesterday’s comments illustrate that.

I say good for both of them. Missoula needs more of exactly this type of ‘get ‘er done’ attitutude.

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