Archive for the ‘Carol Minjares’ Category

by Pete Talbot

I read this Mallard Fillmore cartoon in the local paper last Saturday.

First, it was not based on fact. A quick look at the news that day had many stories on the Dow Jones industrial average. I couldn’t find one story or column on America being a racist nation. But more troubling is the strip’s denial of racism. Mallard Fillmore is the Rush Limbaugh of comics: inaccurate as hell, shallow and mean-spirited.

But it got me thinking. Having elected Barack Obama as president, are we no longer a racist nation?

Unfortunately, my experiences over the past few days would suggest otherwise.

First, there were comments I heard during Thanksgiving in Billings, hosted by in-laws, that were deeply derisive of blacks, Indians and our president-elect. I’m sure these folks don’t consider themselves racist but their language was thoughtless and hurtful. Then there was this conversation overheard in Caldwell, Mont. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit in the piece I’ve linked to. It’s under An unpleasant aside.)

But the most telling was this thread over at Missoulapolis that concerns the holiday stampede and employee death at Wal-Mart. I visit the conservative sites from time-to-time to glean other perspectives. Often, the debate is articulate and civil, but not always, and in this particular case it was downright nasty.

What I found exceptionally disappointing was the fact that so few people challenged an obviously racist remark.

I won’t be visiting that site for quite awhile. It’s too painful.

Racism dead in America? We’ve got a ways to go yet, folks.

by Pete Talbot

Dear President-elect Obama,

I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver our three electoral votes to you. You worked hard for them. You visited the state and talked western policy. You set up offices and hired staff and had the best ground game I’ve ever seen. John McCain never set foot in Montana.

You came close — only 12,136 votes separated you from McCain. And compared to the 20-point win that George W. Bush had here four years ago, what you did was miraculous.

I’m still scratching my head, though. In almost every other statewide category, Montana went blue: senator, governor and all four tier b’s (unseating the sole Republican incumbent with a new secretary of state). And two-out-of-three newly-elected PSC commissioners are Democrats.

Another confusing example is Gallatin County. I hoped for better numbers from there. It did, after all, almost go for Sen. Tester in 2006 (Burns won by less than 200 votes). But this year, Obama goes down by over 1400. Perhaps Barack should work on a flattop haircut for 2012. Even Gallatin County voted for you, by a 1609 vote margin.

I don’t believe race was a factor. I think most Montanans who voted for McCain did so because of issues like taxes or defense or the “experience” card or some ingrained conservative Christian belief.

And guns played a role. Even though you came to Montana and assured us you wouldn’t take away our guns, ugly rumors persisted. Next time through, make sure to get that ubiquitous firearm photo op.

We wish you well, Mr. President, and may you bring people together to help solve the numerous problems facing our country. Godspeed.

An unpleasant aside

After saying race wasn’t a factor, well, you still run into this: On my way to Bozeman on election day, I stopped by the Cardwell Store, there between Whitehall and Three Forks, for a cup of coffee and a Slim Jim. Two good-old-boys were at the counter and one said, “I better go vote.” To which the other said, “Yeah, I’d hate to see this election get nigger-rigged.”

I’m not even sure what he meant but I left my merchandise on the counter and walked out. Came up with some really choice things I should have said about five miles down the road.

Now I’m sure that everyone in Cardwell isn’t an ignorant racist pig but I won’t be stopping by again, ever, to find out.

It’s a sad anecdote, but there’s one good thing about it; the guy was old and will soon be dead.

I love Missoula

On a more upbeat note: Missoula delivers. One or two flies in the ointment: that HD-100 race where Willis Curdy is losing by a measly 33 votes to Republican incumbent Bill Nooney (provisional votes still being counted, final results Monday). But that’s democracy; you can choose the anti-education, anti-senior, anti-young person, anti-environment candidate if you want.

Same with SD-7, which has a little bit of Missoula County in it and where veteran lawmaker Paul Clark lost to anti-government zealot Greg Hinkle.

Otherwise it was a sweep: Gutsche over Mood for the PSC, the improbable county commissioner outcome, nine-out-of-ten state reps, and two state senators.

The Emergency Operations Center Bond going down wasn’t really a surprise. With property taxes in the mail and it being a slow economy and all, folks are tightening their belts. In better times, I think it would have passed. It also wasn’t one of the strongest campaigns I’ve seen run in this town.

Ravalli County blues

Is it too harsh to recommend a toll booth at the Ravalli/Missoula County line? Those Bitterrooters should pay extra to come and visit an eclectic town that values education and planning. Maybe we could funnel the toll revenue into preserving Ravalli County open space, while there’s still some left.

I know that there are progressives in Ravalli County but time-and-time again their issues and candidates get hammered.

Both West Fork Blues and Rebecca have excellent comments on the results in the Bitterroot.

Statewide conundrum

Despite Democratic wins in most of the big-ticket races, the Montana House is tied and the senate losses seats (R’s 27-D’s 23). Throw in a Democratic governor and I smell gridlock. But maybe not, lots of talk from candidates of all stripes wanting to “reach across the aisle.” We’ll see.

I, like Jay and others, have to wonder about this split ticket voting. How can our Democratic governor win by an almost two-to-one margin and still have the Montana Senate lose its Democratic majority? Did the Republican Party focus on legislative races because it knew most of the others were hopeless? Any insights?

We’re a two party country

Third parties didn’t fare well. Libertarian Don Eisenmenger received about 7 percent in the OPI race, which I believe was the party’s best showing. Presidential candidate Bob Barr got 0.3 percent. In the U.S. House race, perennial candidate Mike Fellows got 3 percent, and Stan Jones got 2 percent in the governor’s race.

For Constitution Party candidates, Ron Paul got slightly over 2 percent in the presidential race. That party’s best showing was in Missoula County with Kandi Matthew-Jenkins getting a little better than one-third of the votes against Cliff Larson in SD 50 (there was no Republican in that contest). And in the SOS race, Sieglinde Sharbono received around 3.5 percent.

Nadar’s Independent ticket garnered slightly less than 1 percent.

And finally

Who ever thought we’d have a president with a name like Barack Obama? It pales in comparison, though, to the candidate from HD-15 — my favorite name on the ballot — Frosty Boss Calf Ribs. I’ve met some of the Boss Calf Ribs clan up in the Browning area but don’t know Frosty, who was unopposed. Kind of makes our Anglo names like John Smith and Jane Doe seem rather lame. Congratulations, Frosty.

by jhwygirl

One thing startlingly strange and missing in all the Montana Republican Party voter suppression activities of this past week is the name Erik Iverson.

You know – Erik Iverson, chair of the Montana Republican Party? Chief of Staff for Denny Rehberg? The guy who’s front and center of just about everything Republican in Montana?

One can only assume that he’s fine-and-dandy with his party’s fraudulent voter suppression activities. Just the same as the local Missoula GOP seems to be, including local bloggers and local state house candidates Steve Dogiakos (HD-93), Carol Minjares (HD-97) and Steve Eschenbacher (HD-96).

Crickets, anyone? {chirp} {chirp}

College Republicans have nothing to say? Nothing? Nothing from local Republican bloggers? Bloggers who are also candidates? The same people who were 24/7 with glee over their 15 minutes of fame over a pseudo-scandal because Schweitzer told a joke?

Your silence demonstrates your approval.

by jhwygirl

Now, rules are rules, right? I mean, if you’re gonna have ’em, enforce them for everyone – not selectively. Or don’t have rules at all.

I say that about lots of things, actually.

So last Tuesday, The Good Guv’s amicable pooch Jag was booted from the county fair, even though Gary Marbut’s pup, Lia – a lovable pooch too, by all descriptions – was allowed to have run of the place.

When the Governor noted that he had called ahead and that Jag was even on a leash, Asst. Police Chief Mike Brady pointed to a sign which noted that no horses/skateboards/bikes or dogs were allowed.

The Good Guv then turned to an assistant at the fair and asked if she could watch. She obliged, and later said that he was very well-behaved.

Meanwhile, Marbut’s Lia had “run of the fairgrounds” and was later seen hanging at the Montana Shooting Sports Association’s tent. Marbut is President of the MSSA.

Dave Fowlkes, a Missoula County detective, said that Lia had a permit to be at the fair.

Later, apparently, as Carol reports, some folks pointed out the hypocrisy of the deal, and Marbut and Lia packed up and left. And he wasn’t too happy, either.

Hey – what’s good for one is good for the other.

It would have been a non-story, had Marbut’s dog not been there – but clearly, someone was playing favorites.


by jhwygirl

Don’t want our readers to miss it: In an attempt to avoid the weekend news dump, at 4:30 p.m. MST yesterday federal bank regulators seized Indymac Bank. It is the largest bank collapse in United States history.

The second most largest bank collapse, incidentally, was in 1984, when Continental Illinois collapsed. The two most expensive failures (so far – we have yet to see what this current one is going to ultimately cost) were both in 1988: the American Savings and Loan Institution of California and First Republic Bank in Texas.

Gee, who was President of the United States in 1984? That would be Ronald Reagan.

And who was President of the United States in 1988? That would be Ronald Reagan also.

The U.S. has been racking up quite a list of failed banks since ole’ George Jr. took office. Take a look.

Indymac specialized in Alt-A loans – loans in which the buyers didn’t need to produce little, if any, evidence of income or assets other than the home they were buying.

That arrangement was peachy-keen, until what-is-now-today’s mortgage crisis began a little over 2 years ago. As homes began to loose value, with creditors owing more than the home was worth, investors in Indymac began to worry about those mortgage-backed securities. The rest is history in the making.

Meanwhile, on the larger front, Wall Street firmly implanted itself yesterday as a bear market: Investors fled from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac securities. Here’s Piper Jaffray analyst Rober Napoli, on the collapse of Fannie and Freddie shares:

“Investors have lost total confidence in Fannie and Freddie and are looking for a government bailout. If Fannie and Freddie have to pull back substantially in their lending, we’re taking another leg down in the market and housing prices. There are no other lenders right now in the U.S. mortgage market other than Fannie and Freddie.”

Fannie and Freddie are backing $5.2 trillion in mortgages. That’s half of all U.S. mortgages.1 year freddie and fannie securitiesWith investors calling their stock worthless, we’re in deep doo-doo here, given even U.S. Treasure Secretary Henry Paulson is feeding the flames. And while that statement on Paulson might not seem fair consider this: He regulates these damned banks for God’s sake. What is he doing, just sitting back and watching the paperwork float through? We have banks that won’t do Stafford Loans – and given the confidence level in Freddie and Fannie, it’s going to be real soon that mortgages – given the magnitude of what Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans provide in mortgage backings – may simply to cease or at least be nearly impossible to obtain for virtually everyone.

Neocons, it seems are rejoicing in this stuff. Look – I read Missoulapolis just like she reads 4&20 – and her reports on the mortgage crisis, especially her local stats reporting, is good stuff to know – but it is the joy that she takes in reporting it and the gleeful comments that I can do without. Does she talk about this stuff with her neighbors and friends? Man, I try, with those that own homes – and it is downright uncomfortable. They don’t want to talk about it. I mean, start talking about housing or real estate and bring up the current stats and conversation screeches to a halt. People not only simply don’t want to believe it, they think it isn’t going to happen here in Missoula. No wonder – look at Carol’s June report on the local market. The year’s sales are down by 35%, and June sales are half of 2006’s – yet the prices haven’t dropped by even 1%. Realtors are feeding a whole bunch of real sweet kool-aid out there, folks. But make sure to check the comments to her posts – because that’s where the “gleeful” comes in, not only from her, but her readers. Then there’s May, and April.

She tags it all with “affordable housing” too. That’s the real kicker. She seems to forget the definition of affordable housing and is thinking that the median price of homes here in Missoula are going to dump to or below 3 times the median income. I doubt that is going to happen, considering that home values have been rising for more than a decade here – long before all those funky loans ever came around.

Then there’s Missoula’s other neocon, Dave Budge. Linking to a WSJ piece calling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac socialism. There’s a 2nd piece – seems Budge couldn’t contain himself.

It shows some difference here….I hate bailouts, but at a point where the whole damned U.S. economy is going to collapse, something needs to be done – and having both sides work together instead of each side saying “my way or the highway” leads us to paths of extremes. Moderating the solution – and I agree, corrections based solely on the market certainly need to be made – would be better, no?

Of course, what I suggest above requires some regulating of the market that sent these real estate prices soaring. Easy money feeds on the greed of not only investors and CEO’s, it feeds on the greed of buyers who bite off more that they should.

I guess what I’m saying is that I’ll go for minimal bailout if neocons will go for reasonable banking regulations.

The free market and Ayn Rand be damned.

by jhwygirl

The Missoulian has a common-sense editorial in Sunday’s paper, chastising Bonner Milltown Community Council (BMCC) for turning down a $75,000 grant for smart growth the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Earlier this month, the BMCC withdrew its support of application for the grant – while refusing to take public comment from the 40+ people present, including Director of Missoula Office of Planning & Grants’ Roger Millar. One member, Gary Matson, resigned.

Withdrawal was based on a BMCC subcommittee’s recommendation.

Jeff Patterson, candidate for Missoula County Board of County Commission and member of the BMCC submcommittee, described Roger Millar and the group of 40+ people that attended the meeting as “mob of people” solicited by Matson “who have not been educated on what it is we are pursuing.”

Yeah, if Planning Director Roger Millar hasn’t been edumicated yet, he sure has been now, right Jeff Patterson?

Jeff Patterson, you might recall, was on the short list of Republicans to replace Barbara Evans and has filed for the current county commission race as a Democrat. He’s also an often hypercritical participant in the Milltown Redevelopment Working Group.

Fellow Republican and candidate for HD-97 Carol Minjares jumped on that local republican anti-smart growth bandwagon immediately – calling Millar “disingenuous” and defining city planners as anti-property rights:

It is the passion of the city planners, the ones who restrict future property rights based on flawed models and faulty data.

uh-huh. Nice. Let’s just keep it growth as usual and see where that gets us in traffic and air quality and taxes for basic services. And if there are any perspective pig farmers out there, I highly recommend you propose moving your facilities next to her property and see where she lands on property rights then. If she’s really a hypocrite, she hates planners but lives in a zoned part of the county..

One wonders what point she was trying to make with this post, titled Downtown Planning: Geniuses at Work – because she quickly digresses into criticizing real estate investment downtown – investment is a bad thing? – and bemoaning the number of poorly run condo projects downtown – and poorly run condo associations are the blame of planners?


Gotta love those Missoula Republicans – at least they’re consistent.

by jhwygirl

The release says temporarily – up to 12 months. Yeah, right.

It gets nastier – KPAX is reporting that Jeff Weber, Stimson’s Vice-President of Manufacturing, said that “a shortage of raw logs and a slumping U.S. housing market are to blame for the closing of the mill.”

A shortage of raw logs? He’s still going to slip that lie in on his way out the door? A slumping housing market isn’t enough?

Always serving the corporate interests first. Thank you Ma Stimson.


DEQ should start looking, now, into the state’s next EPA cleanup site before Stimson breaks ground and runs. Decades of chemicals stored and soaked onto timbers in those yards out there – God knows why Scott Cooney wants the land.

Talk to any old timer and they’ll tell you stories of barrels of crap sprayed and poured on timbers and logs out there for supplying the mining and railroads.

Perhaps Cooney and Stimson have a plan for hiding all the crap there in the ground?

On the other hand, Cooney is already raising the rents on the homes in Bonner.

Wasn’t he championing his development plans as those that will provide affordable housing for Missoula’s workforce? I’m too disgusted to go looking for the story – I remember Missoulapolis also championing Cooney’s “affordable housing” plans.

100 more Missoula workers are out of a job tonight, folks.

My heart goes out to those families.

Other 4&20 posts on Stimson:
Why Stimson Lumber Mill Matters
The Mysteries of Stimson
Stimson Needs a Bigger Yard?
On Regurgitating Stimson Lies, False Economic Development and Affordable Housing
A Short Thought on the Bitteroot Resort

by jhwygirl

A long-term free fall of the Missoula housing market along with all the foreclosures, collapse of the mortgage and banking industry and recession that goes along with it.

Long term.

She says “Missoulapolis continues to see the glass as half-full, portending free-market affordable housing in Missoula in five years. Yes, it can happen here.”

Yeah, that’s a candidate I can get behind!

I wonder if she’s going to wheel out those blue Minjares HD 97 signs she used last-time around, with that tiny tiny barely visible little elephant?

Minjares also offered this solution to affordable housing last September.

Folks, this is your local GOP in action. Carol Minjares is Vice-Chair of the Missoula County Repubicans and Secretary of the Five Valleys Pachyderm.

by jhwygirl

GeeGuy at Electric City Weblog has a piece up that essentially defends Rehberg’s inexcusable homophobic behavior during a Middle East congressional delegation trip in February.

The problem is that his whole piece fails to recognize how damned offensive Rehberg’s actions were to the LGBT community. He equates my piece purely with Senator Larry Craig (R-ID) – I never even mention Idaho’s soon-to-be-gone and recently chastised by the Senate Ethic’ Committee Senator – and provides a link to 4&20 by saying “Only liberals can make fun of Larry Craig.”

Carol, our lovely conserva-a-blogger from Missoulapolis, and perennial 4&20 commenter, dips further into the defense of Rehberg by telling us that Rehberg’s behavior really wasn’t homophobic because he was making fun of homosexuals.

Can they really be that dense?

With that convoluted logic, I’m guessing that they think people who tell jokes with the n-word aren’t racist.

But now that GeeGuy opened the door on Senator Craig….

Even now – nearly a year later, they don’t understand that all of the Larry Craig stuff being said in 100’s of places, on television (that link from right-winger’s favorite Chris Matthews, has one great comment: “I just wonder how far hypocrisy can go in this business. I thought ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman’ was the high mark, but I think he’s just surpassed it.”), on the web, in print, in newspapers in his own state (plenty of media interviews there with Larry, too), and in blogs, are being said not to make fun of Larry Craig being gay – they’re being said to drive home the overwhelming hypocrisy of Idaho’s Senator Larry Craig.

Craig knew his party would bail on him – which is why he withdrew his guilty plea. He thought that by pleading guilty he’d keep the incident from public purview. In the end, he became the embarrassment that he knew he would become – all because he didn’t want anyone to know he was gay.

I didn’t categorize the previous piece with Republicans before, but I am now.

by jhwygirl

Which is why I have been so absolutely perplexed about the bullcrap recently blogged over at Carol Minjares’ website, attacking Forward Montana.

At first I went looking for the “Humor” tag, given her propensity towards bad jokes.

But alas, it was missing.

She frames the Roosevelt Institute as a “Soros-funded conglomeration of think tanks.”

The Roosevelt Institution has an annual budget of around $150,000. Can’t much fund a conglomeration of think tanks with that kind of budget, now can we? (But honestly, if you want to see who’s funded well, check out that link.)

Google is your friend.

She disses on his 2 year communications director gig at Progressive States Network because they were funded with $30,000 ($30,000! The horror!!) grant from the Proteus Fund, which is separated by how many degrees? Three? Six? Fifty? to George Soros?


Then she goes on to connect the $250,000 grant that Forward Montana got to “Jon and Peter Lewis of Skyline Public Works.”

Skyline Public Works is the baby of Deborah and Andy Rappaport – and hell, Google is your friend on that one too..

From there she takes that lie and ties the Lewis’ false connection to Soros – which she admits didn’t work out too well – and connects Matt to Soros.

But wait! It gets better! She then takes an anonymous post to that first lie-filled post and creates another post about how Matt supposedly had a conversation with a group of strangers, in a public place, bragging about his connections to Soros!

Look – I’ve been around ‘think tank’ people on both sides of the aisle – if you want to believe me – and I sure don’t go throwing around the names of who I’ve hung out with and how much money they spent on whatever they’re spending they’re money on. You just don’t get to be around people like that if you’re going to do stuff like that. Period. You wouldn’t last 3 minutes – they’d nullify you in a heartbeat.

Even The Montana Misanthrope, I’m sure, would back me up on that one.

But it shows the gumption of wanna-be’s who will print anything to drive up traffic on their site.

Now aside from Forward Montana’s mission statement that basically reads:

Forward Montana is:

Cultural Politics – combining music, art and political activism

Mobilizing for Change – using media, email, and the masses to make our voices heard

A New Generation of Leaders – recruiting and training young Montanans to lead in the 21st century.

What does all this stuff mean? In short – a new model for political participation that recognizes that we can make serious change and have a little fun at the same time.

And aside that, as I’ve noted above, just about everything she tried to smear Forward Montana, and in turn, my friend Matt Singer with was lies and bullcrap….

I don’t give one rat’s ass over where in the hell that organization is getting it’s cash.

I know some of it is from me. And I will be calling them tomorrow to up that meager donation I make to them a meager amount more. Yep. That’s right. THIS WHOLE DIRTY AFFAIR IS MAKING ME WANT TO GIVE THEM MORE MONEY!


But back to the topic at hand:

I know lawyers are supposed to twist the facts to make the best case they can for their clients…but are they really supposed to lie?

{Now I really feel dirty. I’ve said what I’ve had to say – so don’t expect me to say anything more. Ugh.}

by jhwygirl

Not only do they continue to try and paint Lewie Schneller a Democrat, but apparently they’re touting a fake Bin Laden Democratic Presidential campaign.


And we’re supposed to take them seriously? A reasonable voice for conservative politics?

They’re making it a bit difficult, I say.

If you want to go straight to the good stuff from the right, may I recommend for your reading pleasure the following:

The Montana Misanthrope, and Montana Politics.

– all blogs that I enjoy, and where I can count on reading a thoughtfully presented conservative viewpoint.

by jhwygirl

It’s not like we didn’t notice him there in the GOP annual picnic photos Missoulapolis linked to in this post, back on September 12th.

Seems like they’ve taken that photo out, though.

Wonder how long it will be before his name is removed from her post – which, for posterity, currently says:

We had perfect weather, great turnout, interesting talk. Special guests included Congressman Denny Rehberg, Secretary of State Brad Johnson, Public Service Commissioner Doug Mood, City Councilmen Dick Haines and John Hendrickson, County Commissioner Larry Anderson, and Ward 6 candidate Lewie Schneller.


But wait! Google to the rescue!


by jhwygirl

In a recent post on affordable housing – a rising crisis we face here in Missoula – Vice-Chair of the Missoula GOP and former candidate for House District 97 (I remember those lovely blue signs around the neighborhood – the ones that didn’t mention her party affiliation) offers her solution to a 30-year old public school teacher who can’t afford the rent in the city where she works.

Clue: Get a husband with a job, then have the kids, and live somewhere other than The City.

Nice. Now there are about 10 different things wrong with that solution, but I’ll only snipe at one: I don’t know that it is really in the best interests of the community and its children to have their teachers commuting in from other communities. I know I want my schoolteachers living in my neighborhood.

Now Missoulapolis has also come down firmly against (no surprises there) inclusionary housing. She comments in her solution-to-affordable-housing post:

I have a cousin who is an ESL teacher there and she make it only because she’s in an old rent-controlled unit and she hangs on for dear life. But the control mechanism distorts the market beyond all manageability so it’s no wonder a teacher can’t get her own place there now. The more the govt tries to manipulate the problem the worse it gets.

What conservatives don’t seem to get is that the market is already screwed. Filled with speculators – she’s even acknowledged this in another previous post – that artificially manipulate the market.

But I guess it’s OK for the private market sector to artificially manipulate the market.

Further – inclusionary housing isn’t meant to manipulate the market – it’s meant to provide economic stability and certainty to the community. The market is already screwed. And in places where it’s done, the market has been screwed for a long, long time, with no signs of reversal. It is not a knee-jerk reaction or a quick solution to a recent problem.

Mark Tokarski, a fellow curmudgeon and contributor to Montana Netroots and frequent blog commentor places this comment at an unrelated (but excellent) post of Shane Mason’s on healthcare. Just substitute the principle of healthcare for affordable housing, and Mark precisely says what I’m trying to say:

Market-based solutions are a joke, since it is the market that got us into this mess. (The market by its very definition has to avoid sick people.)

Mark and I, BTW, rarely agree.

Areas that have done it, such as Vail, Aspen and Jackson Hole – and areas that are considering it – like Whitefish – are doing it to ensure that there are enough employees around to keep business and government up and running with warm bodies. And also to help avoid having to pay policemen and teachers $100,000 a year and dishwashers $25.00 an hour. You don’t have to be an Einstein to figure out what $100,000/year teachers will do to your taxes or what $25.00/hour dishwashers will do to your restaurant bill.

Missoulapolis is also against sprawl and infill – or maybe not….her blog is filled with pieces (lately, it seems) on housing, affordable housing, real estate (boom or bust?), new subdivisions, etc. In one piece she laments the “gash on the mountain above Farviews” but in another posts she seemingly champions the $59,000 – .29 acre lots adjacent to her self-proclaimed Casa del Minjares, (as an example, perhaps, of the wealth of affordable housing opportunities available in Missoula?)

What I do see is someone who offers no solution and no insight to an issue that is very real here in Missoula.

There are many ways to get about to dealing with the problems of affordable housing – inclusionary housing, infill, and yes, in some areas willing to accept traffic and poor air quality and higher taxes – sprawl. The solution, hopefully, should be something the community should come together with…and the longer it waits, the more drastic the solution.

Missoulapolis, oddly enough, self-describes herself as a blogger with “social-con tendencies.” Shouldn’t that come with some omnipotent solution? A solution of all solutions?

And I ponder how we – people like Missoulapolis and I – can come together with the beginnings of a solution to the problem. Myself, I’d rather avoid the drastic solution – but sitting around badmouthing every possible ‘tool’ while offering nothing of substance isn’t the way to do it.

by jhwygirl

No surprises here – Jerry Ballas is once again attempting to throw a wrench into the already-approved-back-in-2005 Hill/Beckwith/Higgins traffic circle – so discussion will once again move two steps backwards regarding final authorization for construction of the traffic circle.

Ballas voted against it the first time around (back in 2005), and even attempted, after being in the minority, to call back the approval through a bitter childish attempt at twisting Council rules. A battle he lost. The guy just can not let things go. Note this little tidbit from the August 1, 2005 City Council Agenda:

Review rule and Heidi Kendall’s decision to rule out of order, the referral to “Reconsider roundabout at Higgins/Hill/Beckwith.”—Regular Agenda (Jerry Ballas)

That attempt was after nearly 6 months of public hearings and meetings in 2005 – in city hall and in the neighborhoods…discussions and agreements with property owners – one being a whole church’s congregation – and review of numerous traffic studies regarding safety of traffic circles and impacts on air quality.

So his actions last week at the Public Works committee are yet another example of how he clusters up City Council with bitter personal agenda maneuvers without regard to the safety of Missoula citizens, the cost to Missoula’s taxpayers, and the waste in time of City employees (even more taxpayer $ down the drain.)

For whatever reason, Ballas, along with his cohorts in wrench-throwing Hendrickson, Wilkins, Haines and Nicholson, don’t seem to like traffic circles. Or at least they don’t like them there at Hill/Beckwith/Higgins – because for some reason they were OK with the traffic circle at Miller Creek.

Now, Hill/Beckwith/Higgins is problematic area. Paxson School is nearby, and a child from that school was killed there last year. It is a intersection bringing traffic into and out of the University. And with Grizzly Grocery and its other businesses nearby, a difficult area to manage for both pedestrian and vehicular and business concerns.

Approvals for this project – the proper term is roundabout – were set in motion in June 2005. More than 2 years ago, City Council made the decision to contract with Morrison-Mierle for design of a roundabout. Commitments were made, citizen tax dollars were spent.

Now that work is done, and the city has the final steps of authorizing construction. The city has a few options in how to do it – they can do it by themselves (i.e., no state or federal funding) for about $500,000. They can do it with state and federal funding – in that scenario, the cost for the project will total out at $1,000,000 BUT the city’s share would only be approximately $50,000. I’m not missing a zero there, folks. The already-3/4-of-the-way-down-the-pike project would cost the city $50,000. (Missoulapolis, it seems, is missing part of the story.)

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