Archive for the ‘Larry Anderson’ Category

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.

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by jhwygirl

My disdain for the negative reaction thrust upon those seeking public input on issues before the Board of County Commissioners, by the Board of County Commissioners, is something readers of this blog know well. It’s not something new, and goes back, even, to a post I wrote back nearly 2 years ago over at Left in the West.

More recently, the open pit mining issue facing the Lolo area once again raised my ire. The very real possibility of gravel pits being located in residential areas – unzoned as they may be – and the very real possibility of having multiple pits in your neighborhood (or in your backyard, front yard, side yard) has existed now for more than 2 years, and our County Commissioners have failed to act.

When one was proposed in the Lolo community, our Board of County Commissioners once again failed to act until they were backed into a corner. For months they ignored crowded public meetings and stacks of papers submitted by the neighbors, instead saying that they could rely on DEQ to do its job. Or perhaps I should say that the BCC failed to its job, granted to them through the zoning powers of the Montana Constitution, that allowed them to protect the health safety and welfare of its citizens.

One Lolo resident at the forefront was Michele Landquist, a 35 year resident of Missoula County, advocating for both her and her neighbors, but more importantly, the air and water quality of the neighborhood.

Much of Michele’s campaigning has been out in the rural areas of the county – not just Lolo, but Evaro, Clinton-Bonner, Miller Creek, Orchard Homes, Big Flat, Target Range, Grass Valley, Seeley and Frenchtown. She tells me that she has been well received.

Landquist has been a supporter of trying to find solutions through the Board of County Commissioners to create opportunities for more jobs in Missoula – which is one reason why the Indy’s endorsement of Larry Anderson has perplexed me. Saying we need to have a voice for business on the BCC (as if one doesn’t exist with both Jean Curtiss and Bill Carey.) Please!

Read between the lines there, and the suggestion by the Indy is that Curtiss and Carey are not voice for the business community. Does anyone who read this think that is true? That Jean Curtiss and Bill Carey are anti-business?

In Michele’s own words, she is running because:

I am running to make sure everyone’s voice is heard and everyone is treated with the respect they and their issues deserve. People bring problems to the BCC to solved. I want to work harder and think outside the normal box to find more win-win solutions for ALL the people.

Maybe Landquist isn’t the seasoned poltico that Anderson is, but everyone has to jump into the water somewhere to take that swim. Michele has been on the Lolo Watershed Committee (or whatever that is called), and any landowner with water rights knows that those committees aren’t exactly the most docile things going – Michele will give a fresh face to a good ole’ boys-and-gals club that has been the BCC for wayyyy too long.

I did, in fact, ask Landquist about the reasoning in the Indy, that she wasn’t experienced enough. Here’s what she said:

I would very much like the opportunity to swim. Living out in the county, how many choices/opportunities do I have to get involved politically? The future is now, this is a six year term and it will effect our future. The H20 work I did was with both the Watershed Education Network (WEN) as a Field Coordinator and with the Lolo Watershed Group (LWG) where I served with in a number a capacities the last title was Interim Executive Director. I worked myself through to that position by first being Co-coordinator, Coordinator, Project Manger and finally Interim Executive Director.

That’s not small potatoes in terms of experience now, is it?

County Commissioners are elected to office for 6 years. Ask yourself – do you want more of the same? Have you been happy with what has occurred over, say, the last 5 years? Did Anderson do anything different since he’s been on the BCC for more than a year now?

Do you want to be stuck with more of the same for the next 6 years?

Do you want to know that your voice will be heard when you want to speak?

2008 is looking to be the year of big change. Let’s make 2008 the year that the citizens and communities and neighborhoods of Missoula County get a true voice – and an open ear – on county issues.

Vote Michele Landquist for County Commissioner.

by jhwygirl

Republican candidate for County Commissioner Larry Anderson had a lovely advertisement in Sunday’s Missoulian, listing all of his ‘supporters’ – including Democrat Diane Sands, state house representative for HD-95.

Apparently, though, Diane Sands did not endorse Larry Anderson.

Her comment at this post:

I was surprised to see my name in the Sunday Missoulian endorsement ad for Larry Anderson. I have not been involved in the County Commissioner race on either side and will not for many reasons, including the fact that I am a county employee, and I have my own race to run for re-election to the legislature in HD 95. My name was used without my permission and I called Larry Anderson this morning to object. Larry apologized profusely for the oversight and took total responsibility for the mistake.

The opinions of my partner, Ann Mary Dussault, are her own and should not be considered to automatically be mine. If you are interested my opinion email me instead of this anonymous blogger stuff.

After calling Larry Anderson I immediately called Michele Landquist to correct the record.

I repeat. I have not endorsed any candidate in the race for County Commissioner and I don’t intend to. Period.

Rep. Diane Sands
hdsands@aol.com

I guess this is just another Pullin’ a Lewie from another Missoula County Republican, who feels he has to lie and exaggerate his Democratic Party ties to get elected.

Partisanship of the worse kind.

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

by Collin Behan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Pete Talbot

I hate polls

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

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

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

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

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

Bait and switch

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

Here’s hoping nice guys finish last

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

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

.

by Pete Talbot

Odds-on favorite Dennis Daneke lost to political neophyte Michele Landquist in the race for Missoula County Commissioner. Albeit by only 42 votes, but that’s all it takes.

Daneke ran a strong campaign with direct mail, voter ID, fund raisers, phone banks, etc. I didn’t see much out of the Landquist camp.

So, armchair analysis abounds. Some say it was Landquist’s staunch opposition to the proposed gravel pit just north of Lolo. Daneke was lukewarm in his opposition and that cost him votes in that area of the county.

Others say it was all the newly registered voters who came out to vote for Obama but had no idea who the players were in the commissioner race, and casting a vote for Michele Landquist because the name had a nice ring to it.

A few folks said that having Mayor John Engen as treasurer and advisor to the Daneke campaign could have cost some votes. While Engen is popular in many Missoula circles, outside the city limits the last thing the majority of voters want is the progressive (I use that word loosely) politics that they seem to think rule the city of Missoula.

I’m guessing it was a combination of all three of the above scenarios.

Finally, there was a conversation overheard by two Republican voters on election night at an unnamed watering hole. They were saying that they crossed over to the Democratic ballot to vote against Daneke because they felt he would be the strongest candidate to go against incumbent Republican candidate Larry Anderson in the general election.

This last reason (cross over voting) is a little hard to prove. One could go to a strong Republican precinct and see if there were an abnormally high number of Democratic ballots cast but since Republicans stayed away from the polls in droves this primary, it’s hard to tell.

I also have to wonder if Larry Anderson supporters were really that well organized to swing an election. And if so, why not cross over for the other Democratic primary candidate, Jeff Patterson? That way, they’d have a win-win situation going into the November election.

Patterson, the third candidate for the commission in the primary, came in, well, third. Thank God. After reading his guest column in the Missoulian about his distaste for “Smart Growth,” I am eternally grateful.

In Patterson’s column, he quotes often from the Montana Policy Institute – a Libertarian “think tank” out of Bozeman. Funding for the institute comes from big bucks ‘free marketeers,” the far, far right and their ilk.

Now it’s time to learn about Michele Landquist, her isssues and campaign. You’ll definitely be reading more about her here at 4&20.

by Pete Talbot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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