Archive for the ‘Michele Landquist’ Category

by jhwygirl

Today, after the not-so-regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioner’s regular weekly public hearing (normally it’s on Wednesday but this week it’s moved to Monday because of the Christmas holiday), Michele Landquist will be sworn in as Missoula County’s newest County Commissioner.

The ceremony starts around 3 (so the flier says). Come join the festivities.

Congratulations Michele – A whole bunch of us are looking forward to the new perspective that we’re sure you’re going to bring to Missoula County politics.

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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

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.

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

by Will Melton

Michele Landquist is running for Missoula County commissioner because she has “witnessed citizens walking away after participating in the public process feeling distraught, as though their concerns, opinions and ideas were being heard by not listened to.”

She says that she will listen to the people of the county and feels that her experiences as a resident of Lolo, rather than Missoula, make her better attuned to the problems facing rural Montanans. She says her experiences as a farmer and her work on watershed and land-use planning issues will be a beneficial addition to the commission.

Her victory in the Democratic primary over much better-known candidate Dennis Daneke by 42 votes caught many political observers by surprise.

Landquist rejects the notion that her victory was a surprise and says she won by using her standing and popularity in Lolo and other rural areas along with a strong grassroots campaign to springboard her to victory.

Landquist said that her main priority is creating more affordable housing and that the key is to create more jobs that pay better.

In order to create more of these jobs, Landquist would create tax incentives for companies that pay more than the living wage and offer health care and other benefits.

Landuqist said now is not the time for the county to be asking for more bonds for anything, including the new 911 call center, a $16 million issue that is on the November ballot. While she doesn’t oppose the center, she doesn’t think taxpayers should have to pay more for it. When asked how she would pay for the center, she said that without delving into county budgets it’s difficult to say how to come up with the money.

Landquist also supports county-wide recycling, increased open space, improvements to watershed management and hiring an information officer for the county.

Landquist fits in a Schweitzer-esque mold of a rural famer with populist tendencies. Despite her insistence that she isn’t a political nobody, she knows how to play the outsider, populist card: “I don’t think you should try to be this well-known name out there to be a public servant and that you shouldn’t need to have some haughty-taughty education to serve the people.”

posted by jhwygirl

Note: I supported Michele Landquist in the primary, and I will cast my ballot for her in the general. I believe our Board of County Commissioners needs change, and someone who will question the establishment. Michele Landquist will do that. Michele has billed herself as the non-partisan candidate. I believe her when she says that, and as an affirmation of that, she has spoken to issues, not her party affiliation.

From Michele Landquist:

I have just finished reading some of the recent 4&20 blogs about my race for the BCC. All I can say is I have been very humbled by the amount of support I have. It seems like everywhere I go folks are telling me that they voted for me. Plenty of people continue to email and telephone me on particular issues of concern to them to see where I stand on issues that are important to them and then afterwards they tell me I have their support.

I have also seen Larry’s supporter list and I am very concerned because of the amount of support he has from some developers and some large land owners (who are most likely protecting their own self-serving-interests). This is only natural of course because Larry boasts that he supports private property rights.

I support private property rights too but I do not subscribe to the always mentioned highest and best use philosophy. We all have an obligation to be respectful neighbors and most especially we have the responsibility to be good stewards of this earth and in essence we are only on this planet a very short period of time. In short it is called “land ethics” and it has been in short supply for too long in Western Montana. Therefore, I believe it is imperative to know and understand the difference between our Montana constitutional rights of “clean and healthy environment” and “reasonable use” verses “highest and best use” so that our decisions will stand the test of time-leaving us with clean air, clean and abundant water, local agriculture opportunities and decent employment options-not just for the here and now but for many future generations.

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

The polls close in South Dakota at 7 p.m. (that’s 6 p.m. Montana time). Our polls stay open until 8 p.m.

Montana has the final word in this country’s presidential primary election season.

Montana is rivaled only by Iowa and New Hampshire in the number of visits by presidential candidates and their retinues. Are we becoming jaded?

Overheard at the Missoula Club Saturday night:

“Who’s that guy down at the end of the bar?”

“Oh, that’s just Bill Clinton.”

Not really but you get my drift. In all seriousness, this is Montana politics at its best. Bill really was at the Club, as reported in the Missoulian, and it was good old-fashioned Butte politics — he bought a round of shots for the bar.*

Montana, which is usually considered a wasteland on the national political scene, will be sending a final message to the rest of the country: here’s who we think will be the best (Democratic) presidential candidate.

If Obama beats Clinton by 20 points, as predicted, it sort of puts the race issue to bed. I mean, it doesn’t get much whiter than Montana.

(The exception to this is the Montana Indian vote and both campaigns have worked Indian Country. Obama has the edge with Indian leadership, but Clinton has some strong support from a few influential, elected Indian officials. Reservation numbers will be worth watching.)

If Hillary can make a run at Barack’s lead and pick up more delegates than expected here in Montana, she’ll have additional ammunition to keep her plugging away right up to the convention.

All eyes are on Montana.

State and county

There are some great Democratic primary contests in Montana and Missoula. Statewide, there’s a race for Montana’s lone U.S. House of Representatives seat, a contested governors race, a three-way attorney general race, four-way superintendent of public instruction contest, a PSC race in Eastern Montana, and a herd of legislative contests.

In Missoula of interest: the Rosie Buzzas/Ron Erickson Senate District 47 race, the House District 100 primary between Gary Brown and Willis Curdy, and a couple of races where sitting legislators are being challenged (incumbent Michele Reinhart v. James Boone in HD 97, and incumbent Tim Furey against Dustin Hankinson in HD 91).

And we have an important Missoula County Commissioner race with three in the Democratic primary: Dennis Daneke, Jeff Patterson and Michele Landquist.

Out of the area but close to our hearts is the Helena primary between Christine Kaufmann and Hal Jacobson (SD 41), and Paul Clark and Judy Stang (SD 7, which is made up of a huge slice of Western Montana).

We’ll be there

I, and I hope, others will be posting returns and comments on election night. There are events planned for Obama (the Wilma Theater), a Forward Montana gig at the Badlander, election returns at the courthouse, happenings at the Union and Missoula Clubs, and the Clinton camp is doing something at the Shack.  Not sure where the Republicans are gathering (yawn).

New voters will be turning out in huge numbers. On the coattails of the presidential primary, and with the incumbent governor and senator looking unbeatable, and with many strong down-ticket races — it doesn’t get much better than this for Montana Democrats.

*(A correction on Page Two of Tuesday’s Missoulian has the Mo’ Club picking up the round, not Bill Clinton. Darn.)

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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