Archive for the ‘John Hendrickson’ Category

by Pete Talbot

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

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

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

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

Bull-ony.

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

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

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

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


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by jhwygirl

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

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

How amazing low is that? Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*With a wink to klemz on that one…

by jhwygirl

Good Fantastic news this afternoon for pro zoning reform in the City of Missoula. Judge Sherlock has released his 9 page opinion which denies Lawsuiters Dick Haines & Renee Mitchell (Councilpersons for Ward 5) and Ward 4’s Lyn Hellegaard their Writ of Mandate, seeking the city to comply with public noticing requirements.

At the heart of their complaint was the idea that the city should send an individualized notice to each and every property owner in the city telling them precisely how they would be affected by the zoning rewrite.

The scores of public meetings, of stakeholder meetings, of public notices, of public information put on on the cities website, the public hearings themselves – and even the scores of stories written by Missoulian reporters was not enough for these Lawsuiters…..but apparently, was enough for Judge Sherlock.

If you see any of these people this weekend? Thank them for wasting taxpayer time and money (in the form of City Attorney and his staff Jim Nugent, along with the Office of Planning & Grant’s staff time…plus the reams of paper generated).

Now let’s see what they do. The core of their complaint – as they state it – is the lack of public involvement. Since that legal question has been asked and answered – by a judge – let’s see how they vote now that the issue has all been cleared up for them.

by jhwygirl

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

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

I am not joking.

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

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

Another City Council Resolution

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

Council Antics Buried in the Financial Folly of this Past Monday

Great Minds Think Alike

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

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

Hendrickson Hates Seniors

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

Live Blogging City Council Zoning Rewrite

What Murky Mess the City Council Curmudgeons Have Weaved for Themselves

Do These People Not Resemble Brown Shirts?

and finally?

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

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

by jhwygirl

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

And so it appears that is exactly what the lawsuiters are thinking with this past Monday’s op-ed in the Missoulian, what with the first paragraph:

A June 18 guest column contains inadequacies we would like to address. None of the signors of the June 16 guest column ever said to scrap Title 20. In fact, at the June 17 Planning and Zoning Committee meeting, we publicly stated that fact. We all agree that Missoula needs an updated, more coherent document. Some of us who were on council and some of those who are no longer voted for a rewrite of the municipal code, not a rezoning of the entire city. Big difference.

Sounds a bit overly defensive to me….

It continues: “No one is arguing that Office of Planning and Grants staff held many meetings and tried to reach out to the citizens,” and “It is not our claim that the efforts to update the ordinance is illegal,” and “The fact that the city attorney wrote six legal opinions still does not get us there.”

They attempt to justify the lawsuit that they’ve filed:

Some council members asked for a second opinion to get clarification as to whether Title 20 was a rezoning of the city. We were refused and stonewalled. At the March 3 Planning Board meeting, some members also called for a second opinion so all their hard work would not end in a lawsuit. The Planning Board did approve its version of the rezone unanimously, with three members absent.

Seriously? Not only do they have Nugent’s 6 opinions, they’ve got the opinion of attorney Alan McCormick (who hasn’t exactly been friendly to some of city council’s decisions) and even the Missoula Building Industry Association’s attorney kicked in with some sort of an opinion, too, that the rewrite wasn’t a rezoning.

Methinks that cracks are appearing in some of the curmudgeon’s re-elections…which is why the “clarifying” op-ed appeared on Monday.

Hear the laughs? I do.

The Republican’s have Teabaggers, Missoulians have Lawsuiters.

Ward 6 councilor Ed Childers summed it up pretty well at this past Monday’s weekly public hearing (and I’m working off of memory here) – that the ones that have filed the lawsuit and the ones that have been critical of it simply don’t understand zoning – and that the very potentially unfortunate thing of it is that it may result in a scraping of Title 20 because the level of remediation it seeks. That contact to each and every landowner in the city informing them, specifically, of how the re-write will affect them, specifically – is an impracticable and extremely costly mitigation.

And somewhere in there Childers mentioned the consultant’s cost of (what I think was) $250,000.

(Title 19 is our current code, Title 20 being the re-write.)

Pretty spot on – I’ve watched Renee Mitchell, week after week after week after month calling for people to come to the meetings; saying it was an upzoning (accessory dwelling units, which currently exist all over – including the university district); and saying that it increased heights of buildings (patently false).

Mitchell has all the trepidation of a 98-year old woman navigating an unpaved parking lot with a walker. She’d rather not go there, and so she is attempting to find any way possible to do exactly that.

The source of her pleas and Wilkins’ and Hendrickson’s and Haines’ and Hellegaard’s – let’s be real here – is based on what they have all clearly been seeing: That the public was in support of the zoning rewrite. Renee (and others) don’t like that – and so, for them, it was easier to ignore that reality and instead act as if this whole rewrite process was going on in some sort of vacuum.

– and you know how ignorant Missoulians are to what is going on in zoning, right? /snark

Have any of these malcontents (Ward 2’s John Hendrickson, Ward 5’s Renee Mitchell and Dick Haines, and Ward 4’s Lyn Hellegaard and Jon Wilkins) bothered to check out that big ole’ 5 inch think zoning book that OPG’s planner Jen Gress carries with her to each Planning and Annexation Committee hearing each week? It’s right there across the table from them. Every week. That is the current zoning book that OPG has to work with – filled with interpretations, it is result of an outdated and poorly written Title 19. That 5 inch thick book represents the murkiness that is Missoula’s current zoning code. That 5 inch thick book represents uncertainty for neighborhoods and builders and businesses.

It’s unreal that these city councilors have taken us in this direction.

And let’s be clear, here – Hendrickson didn’t sign on to this thing because he’s running for re-election. Hendrickson had tried for months trying to round up support in his neighborhood against the zoning rewrite – he tried to get people to sign that anonymous petition – and he got no where.

It was politically expedient for Hendrickson to attempt to remove himself from the lawsuit, but people aren’t buying it. Which is clear by his signature this week on the first post-lawsuit-filing op-ed.

Haines, who’s also running for re-election, at least had the guts to stick to his convictions, miscalculated as they are.

Wilkins, I suspect, isn’t a lawsuit type of guy – but he has signed on to the recent editorial, along with the previous one to which they were seeking to clarify.

Wait – did these guys and gals just want to clarify that which they previously wrote? Rewrite their past inadequate column?

Hypocrites.

Hypocrites that are going to stagnate this city, perpetuating uncertainty for neighborhoods and business.

Hypocrites that are going to cost Missoulians over a year of lost OPG staff time, significant community investment in time and involvement – and a cool $250,000 in the process.

Not to mention the staff and attorney time it’s going to take to defend this thing. Hell, I bet the city’s insurance that kicks in to help defend these kinds of things is going to end up costing us more, too.

Pro-business fiscal conservatives my ass.

by jhwygirl

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

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

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

Why is Houseman running?

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

Sounds about right by me…

~~~~~
The other races?

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

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

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

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

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

by jhwygirl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Pete Talbot

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

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

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

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

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

by Pete Talbot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by jhwygirl

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

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

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

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

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

Hendrickson: OK

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

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

Mayor: No sir. Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

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

Here it is, folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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 jhwygirl

Buried in the financial folly of the Performing Arts Center and the Hillview SID vote this past Monday – of which only ONE city councilperson was consistent in their fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers – Ward 3’s Stacy Rye – was a vote on the final authorization for construction and funding of the Hill/Higgins/Beckwith roundabout.

Now, this roundabout moved forward after a lengthy debate that was held for several meetings back in 2005. There have been several interim votes since then, all related to authorizing finance related matters – contracts, federal funding paperwork, etc.

All sitting councilmembers have voted on this project at one time or another.

Failing to approve final authorization of construction and the $55,000 in funding for the Hill/Higgins/Beckwith roundabout would have resulted in the city loosing $180,000 in previously spent engineering fees along with a delay of 20 years to obtain state funding to improve a poorly designed (thanks to feuding developers from back in the late 1800’s) intersections.

Let me repeat that – failing to approve final authorization of construction of the Hill/Higgins/Beckwith roundabout would have resulted in the city loosing $180,000 in previously spend taxpayer funds and a delay of 20 years in fixing a dangerous intersection.

There was only one “nay” vote Monday night – Ward 2’s Don Nicholson.

At least he was fiscally consistent – he voted against the Hillview SID too.

Notably, though, there were 4 councilmen who abstained. Yep. Abstained.

Now, the 4 that abstained – Ballas, Reidy, Wilkins and Hendrickson – have all voted on this project before. Consistently voted “nay” whenever anything vote related to the Hill/Higgins/Beckwith roundabout came up – but hell, at least they voted, right? (or wrong, as it were, right?)

Abstaining from this vote was childish. They can’t stick to their guns? They can’t show a little backbone?

At least they were semi-consistent with their consistency related to their lack of fiscal responsibility to the citizens – these same “Fab 4” voted against the Hillview SID.

Maybe they knew that voting against the funding would show them to be irresponsible with taxpayer money?

Sorry “Fab 4” – bowing out of the vote all together, especially when you have all voted on this thing before, makes you weasels. And fiscally irresponsible.

So nestled in the Engen-inspired chaos of Monday night was a third issue that helps illustrate how fiscally responsible a councilperson is to the citizens.

Above, when I mentioned that only Ward 3’s Stacy Rye was fiscally consistent with her vote to deny any extension to the Performing Arts Committee and to approve the Hillview SID (she voted ‘nay’ to the motion to deny the SID), I was wrong.

I should have added that Ward 3’s Stacy Rye was the only one consistent on all 3 votes.

by jhwygirl

Big HUGE congratulations go out to Ward 1’s winner Jason Weiner. Jason takes a decisive win over Justin Armintrout, with over 64% of the vote! Jason will be a big supporter of the issues that are important to voters in Ward 1 – transportation and affordable housing. Welcome aboard Jason!

In Ward 2 – an important race due to incumbent Don “Just say No all the time” Nicholson – Pam Walzer campaigned a nearly 52% win out of what was a very tight race. A progressive having picking up that seat will be key in breaking up the clogged up council of the soon-to-be past. Way to go Pam!

Ward 3 – which holds what I believe some of the best large blocks of lands suitable for what can bring us real solutions to Missoula’s affordable housing problem – brings Missoula a very decisive victory with incumbent Stacy Rye beating out Doug Harrison, a former councilperson himself. Stacy took over 57% of the votes in Ward 3. Her experience and understanding of the economic impacts of affordable housing will be key, I believe, in bringing forward and keeping moving solutions for that important issue. (No pressure there, huh?) Big kudos to Stacy and the voters of Ward 3 in making the forward choice for Ward 3 and the City of Missoula.

Incumbent Ed Childers also brought Missoula progressives a win in Ward 6. That was – surprising to me and many others here in the ‘hood – the tightest race, with Ed taking it by 40 votes. Only 1,767 voters voted in Ward 6…Shame. Shame. Shame. Congrats to you too Mr. Childers! Ed coined the word “Regressives” (at least as I know it), and if only for that, I have lot’s of love for him. Plus that cute little Cooper he drives just makes him look “Oh So Cool!”

Disappointing, of course, was Christine Prescott’s loss in Ward 5. A lawyer and a minister, Christine would have done a lot to bring back civility and reasonableness to city council. Council doesn’t seem to get much help from Nugent, either, when it comes to ensuring that new ordinances and regulations are easily enforced and understood – and Christine would have helped immensely with that. Christine deserves a huge THANK YOU, though, for having run. It’s not easy – and demonstrates a dedication to community that not all of us are willing to do at such a level. Thank You Christine Prescott!

Also disappointing was Jerry Ballas’ loss in Ward 4. I don’t expect Lyn Hellegaard – who is apparently aligned with Jon Wilkins, John Hendrickson, and Dick Haines – to provide us anything more different than that which we are getting currently from that group of regressives. Jerry will be missed, as he has served this community well.

~~~~

Now clean up those election signs – get some rest – do your homework – and get ready to bring Missoula some PROGRESS!

Yippee!!

by Rebecca Schmitz

Salon.com has an interesting article today about the Bush Administration blaming the Minneapolis bridge collapse on…wait for it…bike paths.  Yes, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters claims that money wasted on bike paths nationwide, as well as other projects, could have saved those poor commuters’ lives last month.

“There are museums that are being built with that money, bike paths, trails, repairing lighthouses. Those are some of the kind of things that that money is being spent on, as opposed to our infrastructure,” she said. The secretary added that projects like bike paths and trails “are really not transportation.”

I think it’s relevant in light of the ongoing debate in Missoula about bike paths, sharing the road, traffic congestion, the Broadway Diet, and the battles in Ward Two over moving that stretch of Broadway in and out of the larger neighborhood plan created by the local residents. Most of the City Council candidates specifically addressed transportation concerns in the questionnaires published in the Missoulian. Our town has to keep traffic flowing smoothly if we want to be a regional hub with a thriving economy. However, can government officials and private citizens seriously argue that spending money on bike paths endangers commuter safety? This is my favorite quote from the Salon article:

“The guy in his Humvee taking his videos back to the video store isn’t any more legitimate a trip than the guy on the Raleigh taking his videos back,” says Andy Thornley, program director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

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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