Archive for the ‘Justin Armintrout’ Category

by Rebecca Schmitz

I would like to offer my congratulations to all the winners of yesterday’s City Council election. (The Iraq War referendum outcome? The maraschino cherry atop this sundae of progressive values.) J-school students at UM have tallied the results on their blog:

Ward 1
X Jason Wiener: 1,676, 64%
Justin Armintrout: 887, 34%
Ward 2
X Pam Walzer: 998, 52%
Don Nicholson (incumbent) : 906, 47%
Ward 3
X Stacy Rye (incumbent) : 1,504, 57%
Doug Harrison: 1,089, 42%
Ward 4
X Lyn Hellegaard: 1,506, 53%
Jerry Ballas (incumbent) : 1,282, 45%
Ward 5
X Renee Mitchell: 1,220, 54%
Christine Prescott: 1,026, 45%
Ward 6
X Ed Childers (incumbent) : 892, 50.48%
Lewie Schneller: 852, 48.22%

The big winners here, of course, are the voters themselves. Forty-six percent of them returned their ballots to the Election Office. Not an ideal 100% in a perfect world to be sure, but still proof that the new mail-in ballots and successful local voter drives can work for the betterment of our city’s political system. The Missoulian summed up the election nicely in today’s editorial:

More than Flag Day or Independence Day or any other show of devotion to this nation, Election Day – and the day after – are the true test of our commitment to democracy.

That’s so true. The simple act of voting itself–whether it’s at the dining room table or in a curtained booth–is more patriotic than all the hollow chest-thumping displays of the same, from enforced recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to plastering “In God We Trust” across school classrooms.  Young voters, same-day voting and fictitious liberal “machines” are not a menace to Missoula.  Apathy is.  Everyone who voted and everyone who ran, whether they won or not, deserves to be called a patriot.


by Jay Stevens

Jason Wiener: Philosopher, journalist, editor, former investment banker, and friend.

I should start off by acknowledging that Jason Wiener is a friend. We shared an office when I was in the University’s writing program and he was in the philosophy department, and are still pretty close. Well…as close as you can be when you’ve got three-year-old twins.

That said, Jason is an excellent candidate for the city council. I don’t say that because of any ideological or partisan allegiance: while Jason won the endorsement of the Missoula County Democrats and endorsements from folks like John Engen and Heidi Kendall and Dave Strohmeier and Robin Hamilton and Ron Erickson, etc & co, Jason is utterly and completely his own man with his own, unique view of the world. He started out as a New Hampshire libertarian – and oh man! did we have some fun conversations in our cramped little office – but he’s since adopted some progressive ideas and policies. Still, he’s hardly what I would call a typical progressive candidate. If anything, I’d call him practical, in that he’s wickedly informed on city policies and issues and will make decisions on what works for Missoula, not necessarily what subscribes to his pet ideology.

In short, you won’t find a smarter, more competent choice for the Missoula city council anywhere.

As for his opponent, Justin Armintrout, I admit I know considerably less. Still, like Jason, he’s an advocate of smart growth and affordable housing, and a Democrat — who failed to win the Missoula County Democrats’ endorsement largely because he missed the candidates’ forum (and the subsequent special meeting held for him failed to achieve a quorum). And that’s despite the kiss of death levied on him by Missoula Republicans, an endorsement by their county central committee.

But like Pete, I’m troubled by Justin’s opposition to impact fees and his claim that the city department that oversees zoning, etc, is overfunded – that, combined with his background as a realtor, makes me worried that he’d be too closely allied with Missoula developers in a city where we need smarter planning to control how growth occurs. (Else we’ll end up – not like Berkeley or Portland, as Missoula righties fear – but like LA or Vegas or Phoenix with suburbs and box stores spread out over the valley floor.)

And, while I certainly find Armintrout’s fears that Jason’s relationship with the Missoula Independent might compromise its endorsement for the Ward 1 race, his walkout during his interview suggests that he’s not ready to step into the contention and divisiveness of the current city council, where qualities of civility and diplomacy are perhaps more called for. Justin had a chance to win over the Independent and sabotaged it.

That, and Jason’s been the harder working and more organized candidate during the election season, and I’ve got no doubt that that energy and dedication will continue into his job as Ward 1’s city council representative.

Here are the relevant links:

Foward Montana’s voter guide for Ward 1.

New West’s interviews with Jason Wiener and Justin Armintrout.

The Missoulian profiles Jason Wiener (plus video) and Justin Armintrout (plus video).

The Missoula Independent on Ward 1: “After paring away the extraneous relationships with each candidate, the Indy confidently offers a strong endorsement of Wiener. For a newcomer to city politics, he’s unusually well informed, with a solid understanding of the fundamental issues. But we especially appreciate his thoughtful perspective on a councilman’s role as a leader who must translate community values into specific policy. For Wiener, the function of council is to listen and lead, as opposed to thrust and parry.”

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