Archive for the ‘Missoula City Council’ Category

by jhwygirl

The sheer disregard that this proposal has for what is one of the more scenic drives and accessible recreational and prime fishing corridors in western Montana blows my mind.

There are so many things wrong with this proposal as it is now – a weak environmental analysis, prepared by Exxon, without any scoping. You can count on hearing more about that as I attempt to delve into the nearly 200 page (plus 12 addendums) document….by May 14th!

That’s right – public comment, which opened April 8th – closes on May 14th on a proposal to establish a permanent “High and Wide Corridor” from Lewistown Idaho, over and across Lolo Pass and 300 miles of western Montana on to Canada and Exxon’s oil tar sands in Fort McMurray in Alberta.

You can access the full Kearl Module transportation Project here, from MDOT’s EIS and EA public notice page.

I think we got lucky last winter, but how many trucks and 18-wheelers end up in the drink down there on the Idaho side? Because that road is so narrow?

Are they going to have to blast some of those cliffs to widen the road? Along what is a pretty darn scenic corridor?

Two pieces of equipment are expected to move through Montana every day for a year. 24-feet wide, 30-feet high, 210-feet long, and weighing up to 334,568 pounds.

Do you recreate Lolo Pass? I do in the summer. Several times a week….and then with occasional weekends. Imagine the delays! They say 15 minutes? No frickin’ way – not with stuff as largw as what they’re proposing to move.

Of all choices, Lolo Pass was best? Well, guess what? We really don’t know – the environmental review done by Exxon included four alternatives: four Canandian highway routes and one US Interstate route. Those 4 alternatives? Dismissed in four paragraphs with no analysis of the so-called impassable barriers, while the Idaho/Montana route is extensive in the number of turnouts needing to be constructed, the number of small bridges needing crossed, and the extent of modifications needed to complete the route.

That was before Exxon tried to say that this project was “categorically excluded” from analysis.

In some circles, this is called a “pre-determined analysis of the preferred pre-chosen alternative.”

It’s bad enough when they don’t scope the thing to first see what types of alternatives come from the public…but when they don’t even bother to fully analyze the alternatives, well, folks, that’s just about bordering on violating some of our Montana Environmental Policy Act laws and rules.

ARM 18.2.251 requires a programmatic analysis “whenever the agency is contemplating a series of agency-initiated actions, programs, or policies which in part or in total may constitute a major state action significantly affecting the human environment,” and “whenever a series of actions under the jurisdiction of the agency warrant such an analysis as determined by the agency, or whenever prepared as a joint effort with a federal agency requiring a programmatic review.”

Did I mention that last July, MDOT Director Jim Lynch testified before the joint legislative Revenue and Transportation interim committee of the large impacts of this proposal? He said that the very nature of the project required an EIS..and yet, despite that testimony, MDOT chose to direct Exxon forward with an environmental review that didn’t even include scoping (a process in which initial outreach is made to the public for comments in an effort to determine alternatives and the scope and scale of analysis. Here is a link to Director Lynch’s presentation to the committee

You can watch the July committee hearing here. Lynch’s testimony starts about 18 minutes in. You can also review the minutes here.

What to do? Email MDOT public comment saying that the scope of this project requires a public scoping process to better assess alternatives; that all alternatives should be fully any thoroughly analyzed equally; that potential risk to important fisheries and other natural resources must be taken into consideration and weighed against other alternatives; that an assessment of risk to the public along what is a narrow secondary route used primarily for recreation should be considered; and that consideration of permanent impacts to scenic and historic corridors should be afforded the maximum protection necessary for future generations.

Just wait ’til I get to the economic impacts (or lack thereof) of having these things shipped nearly whole, after assembly in North Korea or China or wherever….

Advertisements

By CFS

While hundreds of people gathered in front of Missoula City Council Chambers for Monday night’s meeting a local homeless man died only a block from all the commotion.  The Missoulian reports that police found a 46-year-old man behind 130 W. Broadway, the location of La Parrilla and Fed Ex, at around 7:10 in the evening.  An autopsy concluded that the man died from injuries sustained from an assault and police are ruling this a homicide.

Any death like this is a tragedy, but given the situation and timing of the incident the man’s death seems even more tragic to me.

The irony bound in a member of Missoula’s most vulnerable population being killed only blocks away from where our generation’s civil rights issue just got resolved is amazing.  No time for the assault has been published, but the police found the man in the alley just an hour after City Council started up and with so many eyes on the streets it seems implausible that this incident went unnoticed.  If you happened to be downtown last night attending the rallies and might have seen something please come forward.

Is the contradictory dichotomy of our community’s laws towards these two different populations apparent to anyone else?    Have people already forgotten last years debate over the pedestrian interference ordinance when the council legislated moving the transient population off of downtown sidewalks so that people could got about shopping in downtown without being harassed (I over simplify).  We tossed a group of people who only a very small fragment of our population really cares about aside and out of public view.  Now here we are, patting ourselves on our backs for passing the anti-discrimination ordinance and proclaiming we are the bastion of minority rights in Montana.  Does anyone else see the contradictions apparent in the two city council resolutions?  We protect one group of people while purposefully marginalizing another group of people who already live on the fringes of society.

A 2007 survey of Missoula found that 551 homeless people lived in Missoula and that number has surely grown in the intervening three years as the economic collapse took hold.  Hell, in the thirty minutes I’ve spent writing this in Break Espresso I’ve seen more than a dozen transients wander aimlessly by.  And for a marginalized population do we really want to be pushing them out of public view?  I’ve noticed recently that large groups of homeless congregate in downtown alleyways where they won’t be harassed by cops and be out of public view.  Is this situation somehow safer than having them on city streets where multiple eyes can act as a regulation on behavior?

This assault happened away from the prying eyes of the public even with a large crowd near by.  Homelessness will continue to be an issue that Missoula must deal with or ignore at its own peril, just as discrimination against minority populations will continue to be a social ill that refuses to disappear regardless of our Constitutional rights or local laws.

by Pete Talbot

(UPDATE: City Council passes anti-discrimination ordinance on a 10-2 vote. Renee Mitchell and Lyn Hellegard were the two council members to vote against it. Jhwygirl blogged live from council chambers here and here. I went to the rally at Caras Park and then marched to council chambers with the masses.)

It’s been a half-dozen years, since George W.’s war in Iraq, that this many took to the streets of Missoula. City Council is voting on an anti-discrimination ordinance tonight that says people, despite their sexual orientation, still have rights. Amazing concept.

It’s a local issue but I believe it’s more. It’s also about what the Missoula community stands for, and that isn’t the fear and hate that the “Christian” right advances. It’s not the Tea Party rhetoric, either. It’s the opposite of that stuff. It’s about mutual respect and tolerance.

I was impressed by the number of Missoula clergymen and woman who spoke in favor of the ordinance; talking about real Christian values.

I will give the opposition credit, though. It showed up in the face of overwhelming numbers; I’d say 60 pro-discrimination folks to around 500 anti-discrimination folks.

The crowd at the rally and march was diverse, to say the least. Many, many younger people in attendance, which gives me hope.

But it’s late and jhwygirl is capturing the moment better than I so I’ll just leave you with some pictures.

by jhwygirl

Picking this up where Taryn Nash, daughter of Tei Nash speaks:

Hello members of the city council, the Missoula community and my friends. My name is Taryn Nash. I am a Missoula native and I’m currently in Spokane right now attending physicians assistant’s school, but will be coming back in 3 months.

I am also Tei Nash’s daughter. Tei Nash, if you don’t know already, is chairman of notmybathroom.com.

I am also a member of the LGBT community. I am here for two very important reasons tonight and I appreciate you listening to my short statements. The first is to address my father – he just left, I don’t know if you saw that, but it was because of my presence I believe he left.

Dad – I strongly disagree with the way you have been portraying the LGBT community who are my friends. You have gone too far. I will not sit back anylonger and be quiet. I love you because you are my dad, but I have lost respect for you. Your blanket judgements and irrational conclusions are ignorant and hurtful, and you need to realize that this crusade you are on is wrong, and it affects me personally.

It makes me sad to say this, but Dad? Right now I am ashamed to call you my father. I am asking you to stop your ridiculous agenda of battling the LGBT rights or you will lose me forever.

The second reason I am here tonight is to encourage the council members to pass this very important ordinance. I plan to practice medicine, with an emphasis in geriatric care in the Missoula community. And I hope to live in a community where I won’t be discriminated based upon my orientation.

I also encourage you to pass this ordinance because these wonderful people of the LGBT community deserve protection against discrimination in all areas. They are hard-working, trustworthy, loving and respectable people and I am proud to call them my family.

Thank you for your time.

{Wow. Hug.}

by jhwygirl

We’ll be giving this my best girl scout try…..

Good lord – we’ve not even gotten to the purpose of tonight, and Halverson is out there calling the city the Soviet Union.

Mayor Engen is saying that no one is going to applaud tonight – because what it does is ramps up emotions. He points out that there is going to be people on both sides of the aisle of this issue that have never spoken before in public, and he wants to make sure that everyone is able to be heard.

Amen to that, Mr. Mayor!

Mayor now reads the Diversity Day proclamation.

Hearing is now beginning. Presentations from sponsors of the ordinance will speak, along with certain opponents to start.

Councilperson Stacy Rye begins, and says that this is the most packed that she has ever seen it. Dave Strohmaier and her have sponsored this bill – it will extend protection to sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression. Missoula will hopefully join 129 other cities and Washington DC. She goes on to dispell some myths. There is nothing in this ordinance about bathrooms – there are no laws governing who uses what bathroom – and she notes that despite this, there has not been chaos in Missoula bathrooms over the years.

She points out that in any of the 129 other cities, there has not been an outbreak of crime.

Housing would be protected for sexual orientation just as it is protected for race sex and religion. Businesses like Missoula like Walmart and Costco are but two that already have protections such as the ones proposed already in place. Who you are or who you love should have no effect on your employment and should not cause you to loose housing or services.

Dave Strohmaier begins – and notes what a historic steps this is for Missoula. He reviews the framework – there are two main sections – a new chapter being added which sets the legal framework for discrimination and non-discrimination. It contains an intent section, and other sections with deal with multiple aspects.

The City of Missoula will not be prosecuting the first through third offenses – people would have to obtain their own counsel. Only the 4th offense will be prosecuted as a misdemeanor. That is the first main chunk. The second part amends existing code that already contains language related to discrimination – and amends the protected classes.

He speaks to the origin – he says that there is a very real history of discrimination existing in Missoula. He says that last fall both he and Stacy Rye began looking at the issue individually, and found that many places were looking at doing the same and they joined forces with the MT Human Rights Network.

Why not do a referendum? Refer it to the voters? I think that we were elected as representatives – that we have a representative government and that we were elected to make hard choices. It is our responsibility to deal with it.

A few misconceptions: This ordinance will infringe upon rights to exercise religion – Dave says that the Montana Constitution does not allow this, as does the U.S. Constitution. We have – to make it clear – have amended language in the intent section to make it clear that this ordinance does to ensure on the free exercise of religion.

Churches are free to hire – and he cites ministers and day care workers – anyone they wish.

No local government has the authority to alter Montana’s Constitution.

Nicky Zupanic, public policy director for the ACLU. Has had a chance to speak with many of the council to address many of the concerns as the ordinance was drafted and redrafted. Is happy to respond to any other questions that come up, especially as they related to new amendments to clarify protections under the 1st Amendment.

She says that the ACLU has worked hard to ensure that people are not discriminated against. There are reasons that we protect against discrimination because certain traits are inherent – they can not be changed. There is a history of discrimination that certain people have been subject to. At the end of the day, the question is whether the LGBT community belongs in that class.

Passing this ordinance allows for people to come forth with complaints. She notes that many similar ordinances have been in place for 10, 15 years. For many that have been told that state laws do not include you – for these people, this ordinance is a big deal. For people that believe in fairness and equality – who believes is fostering and inclusive, welcoming community – for these citizens of Missoula, this is a very big deal.

Jamee Greer, of the Montana Human Rights Network speaks. He notes the strong support of the Missoula community. Following the kick-off of the campaign, the network organized a large group of supporters to support LGBT. He provides 3,200 petitions that he’s gathered. He is speeding through the huge numbers of organizations – Poverello, Jeanette Ranking, Blue Mountain Clinic…..

One of the newer groups that was created was FlushTheFear. He gives thanks to Quality Supply and her support offered as a business with multiple locations throughout Montana. He reads from her letter – calling for Missoula public policy to reflect values that ensure that everyone is treated with respect and humanity.

Jamee shares a personal story – and talks about coming out in the 8th grade. His father would classify himself as a conservative – a Baptist. When he told his dad, he said that his dad told him that he was proud of him, but that he was afraid for him – that Jamee’s life would face discrimination and an uphill battle.

Bob Lucino, a Missoula resident for 32 years. A former city council rep – says that what he is about to say is not easy. He risks friendships following his words. I don’t hate anybody. People that speak in opposition are not hateful – they are reasonable thoughtful citizens…we respect your office and we pray for you all on a regular basis. We respect your authority. I come tonight as a citizen to state my opposition to this ordinance. There is strong opposition for this ordinance. The latest count is that council has received 439 letters and emails in opposition.

What is there to discuss? By sheer coincidence, and proclamation is read, represented by students who were invited to Caras Park and they marched here. What’s really to discuss? This ordinance is artfully crafted and is very clearly sandwiched between civil rights images. What the vast majority of Montana’s think of as self-destructive, deviant and destructive behaviors. This has been cloaked behind race, creed, veterans – who can argue with that?

What would JFK say? LBJ? I don’t recall any of them ever talking about these groups? The ordinance language and the proclamation infers that it is our duty to protect these people. I don’t wish anyone harm – if people choose to have a dysfunctional lifestyle, that’s OK – but when you take it into this forum, and you cloak it in civil rights imagery, I have a problem with that.

Council reps Rye and Strohmaier is asking their colleagues to go where council has dared not go before. Legislating morality. Goes back to when he was finishing up his term 1991/92 – said that constituents came to him asking look into Mulligans and Fantasy for Adults – that people had family members dragged into a certain lifestyle…said that he didn’t want to deal with it, but he did. He said that from the first review committee – he said that people said that it is not the cities job to deal with moral issues. This discussion had a curious way of advancing until it got to a full public hearing – 350 people showed up. Spill over crowd. Council could have set a high moral standard regarding obscenity – precedent had allowed it, yet they voted 8-3 against it.

Now we come 18 years later, and he considers this as great an issue as hard-core porn and obscenity. He said that he doesn’t want to open up a slipper slope of legislating every little issue. Here we are tonight with a great moral issue and this time the council is considering setting another community standard. In the majority opinion, it is against the majority to get involved in this moral issue.

He turns to Strohmaier and Wiener and asks them about a bike path.

In conclusion, he wants council to take up all the other peoples issues in this town – and notes that we don’t need to go ths far.

Tei Nash gets up to speak. Resident of Missoula – 5 children, 2 businesses. This ordinance is purposely constructed to give no protections to rights of conscience. It will force a change in the moral compass of this community. The ACLU and the MHRN do not represent the will of a majority of Missoula citizens.

This ordinance is not simple. It is written purposely vague. Has consequences to business and encroaches upon the safety protections needed by the women and children of this county.

Under the non-government created 3rd sex, gender identity, the male experiencing this will be able to use any bathroom or services and if he is denied and if he perceives that his gender expression is discrimination, businesses are subject to penalties. Businesses are deemed guilty – there is no recourse except for expensive litigation. Given the absence of scientific or tangible proof of innate sense of one’s gender – it is impossible to protect people.

This ordinance is barbaric. It is irresponsible to expect to be told that increased opportunity for crimes to be committed by peeping Tom cross-dressing pedophiles and other sexual predators that use gender identity to gain access won’t be fully prosecuted until after the fact.

Should this ordinance pass, for every council member who votes for this ordinance, your aspirations will be severely impeded in the next election.

Reverend Hymes, of the Alliance Defense Fund – and wanted to address some legal concerns. It is fair to say that the old saying that one mans cup of tea is another’s draft of poison. There is a clash of two world views. As soon as we read this in the preamble – that there will be no discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation – when you give that, you automatically discrimination to those that have a religious view in opposition.

The fact that there is a newly added disclaimer reminds me of many of the promises coming out of Washington. Right now I see that disclaimer, it is simply stating the obvious, but it does not remove the poison that is in the words that follow. SCOTUS says that it will look at the words the law employs. The SCOTUS also says that we can not construe statutory phrases in isolation – that we have to look at the design of the ordnance in the whole.

He is concerned that one of the items that will be brought up is a judicial settlement is that the city of Missoula is going have to pay something – while many of you on this council will disagree with my world view, what I’m really talking about is the potential for many lawsuits – lawsuits of very many different natures. The ordinance infringes upon churches – because the very definition of a church has it dealing with non-members – and as such, we’d be subject to this ordinance.

Courts will look at how this law is applied. Under public accommodations, it says that anyone who sells food is a public accommodation – and that means that they can not discrimination. He notes that he has pastors in this audience that sells food. SHEC does – Youth for Christ sells food – those churches will be forced to hire people in strict disagreement with their religious principles.

Incidentally, 15A uses the word “bathroom.”

A public accommodation has to open up its services and activities. That means that the services that a church has to provide – nurseries, weddings – that means that they can not discriminate. That means that the Pastor of a church will be forced to conduct a homosexual marriage. Nonetheless, despite what Strohmaier says that this is not legal because of the Montana laws – this ordinance is illegal.

Let me describe to you what happens when a case happens under 1st Amendment expression – that will immediately go to Judge Molloy and then to the 9th Circuit. I want to talk to you about money and what it will cost the city of Missoula – and then what will happen when the city looses – and I don’t have to be a prophet to say that – it will cost a lot. Is this something you really want?

I do not want the epitaph of this city council to be the city council that bankrupted the City of Missoula. The first time a gender-identity man walks into a women’s restroom and does something that strikes psychological fear and apprehension in a child, that lawsuit will come against this city and you will know real litigation costs.

I beg you to remember – for the sake of your soul’s – this is a sin and you should not support it.

Public comment begins. Mayor will enforce the 3-minute rule.

Pastor Ron Theisen to stand in opposition. Doesn’t believe there are problems – but sees on minimal evidence and it does not warrant action. Says the ordinance is advancing a political agenda. It’s poorly written. Said he had to contact lawyers to see what certain phrases mean. Why is it so ambiguous? Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

The Missoulian and Keila Szpaller have been doing a great job of covering the city’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance since it’s very inception. Today I noticed a story Myths and facts of Missoula’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance, which takes down, amongst them, the whole “bathroom issue” craziness.

Keith McHenry writes writes an especially direct letter addressing the “bathroom issue” which really should embarass those who think that an ordinance is going to cause kids or women or people in general to be attacked in public restrooms.

As Szpaller points out in the Missoulian – there currently is no law in place preventing women from using mens bathrooms and vise-versa.

Frankly, this over-obsession with sex amongst these pro-discrimination people is a little creepy, if you ask me.

Wanna check out the reality these people create? The city website posts city council’s email, and you can read letters that came in through Thursday.

For really really offensive, start with one councilperson’s exchange with a Bob Pond, of unknown local, who begins with a crude picture of a moose and a statue. That email series is at 04/07/10 11:15:47 P.M.

If anything makes me sad about this ordinance it is that there is such a loud ugly group of people opposed to treating everyone equally. That this loud ugly group of people is willing to spread lies and fear – that they are advocating for the right to treat a particular group of people, based on perception in some cases, differently.

City council takes up the anti-discrimination ordinance Monday night. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

In addition, Missoula will celebrate its first Diversity Day, beginning at 6 p.m. down at Caras Park. Here’s the scoop, from their Facebook page:

NCBI Respect Club students designate April 12 as Missoula’s 1st Annual Diversity Day! Join us at Caras Park April 12 at 6pm to celebrate and bring awareness to Missoula’s unique and diverse community. Rally will feature youth and community speakers & Mayor John Engen will make an official proclamation. Join our parade to the City Council Chambers where our city officials will be voting on the non-discrimination ordinance. One 7th grader from Meadow Hill said: “I want a diversity day because being different is important. Diversity Day could help bring our community together, and we all need to be recognized.” The students hope that the Diversity Day celebration will be a new Missoula tradition that will continue for years to come.

by jhwygirl

In April, Missoula City Council will take up a proposed city ordinance that will ensure equal protection for everyone regardless of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity.

See? Is that a big deal? Or maybe the question is Why is this a big deal?

This is such a no-brainer for me to support, my mind sometimes has a hard time “supporting” stuff like this because I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people can want to treat certain people differently based on who they are. How can people can think that way? Where to begin with such ignorance?

Tonight I first came across this. I’m reading the comments there, and frankly, I’m amazed at the openly bigoted and blatantly ignorant things people will publicly say and put their name and face to it.

Then I get to Missoula Red Tape where I read about a website titled NotMyBathroom.com, where the lies and misinformation continue. They purport – and notice the careful wording there – to be “an alliance of 17 organizations with members within the City Limits of Missoula as well as dozens of concerned citizens.”

Could that mean “An alliance of 17 organizations spread out over North and South American, with 2 members with the city limits as well as dozens of concerned citizens living in northern Idaho”?

These Mel Gibson fans even had the gumption to send out a press release.

I truly hope that the press picks up on that…someone like that, going through all that trouble to create two webpages and issue a press release deserves all the attention their little twisted brain desires.

by CarFreeStupidity

There has been a string of DUI arrests, drunk driving incidents/accidents and news of late.  But the latest is certainly unexpected.  The Missoulian is reporting that Missoula City Councilwoman Pamela J. Walzer was, “arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol early Wednesday morning and has pleaded not guilty.”  Given the timing of this incident and Dave Strohmaier’s push for making refusal of a breath test a an offense worthy of a $300 fine, Councilwoman Walzer should recuse herself from any discussion and voting on the issue regardless of her guilt.  Missoula wants to take a step forward… not stagger backwards.  Many commentators on the Missoulian story are even calling for her resignation immediately, but that should only happen if its found that she truly was drunk while driving, although I’m skeptical about a blood alcohol content number being published.

I know I’m tired of constantly reading about fatalities caused from drunk driving and the flood a DUIs that occur on a weekly basis.  Its about time Montana enters into the 21st century and actually do something about our state’s little, err…big, drinking problem.  One recent DUI offender even proudly stated he was, “contributing to the reason that this state is number one in the nation for drinking and driving.

Unfortunately our state’s culture won’t easily change, many of us can remember, probably even fondly, the days when an open container in a vehicle was legal.  Hell, I’ve been in a truck when a boss of mine was driving while he was driving a company vehicle.

Why doesn’t the state do something really drastic like a lifetime suspension for a license?  Force all these drunks to walk, bike, or take (often nonexistent) transit.  I don’t think there is anything to dissuade someone from drink like the possibility of hours spent on a Greyhound bus.  Drunk driving already costs the state of Montana $642 million a year and another $131 million in lost economic productivity.  In that case drunk driving is already having a major impact on our state, and its not the cost that is the worst, but the emotional and family tragedy that drunk driving that is the greatest cost.

Or we could all do nothing and just enjoy the fact that Billings is the third most drunkest city in America.  Why stop at the bronze… always go for gold.

by jhwygirl

Since when did Renee Mitchell ever give a ^#&* whether a developer was going to be able to “stay afloat”?

Good lord, the false trolling that woman will go through trying to scare up a big green ugly monster on something like a $5,000,000 grant to a developer who is going to rehab blight (increase tax revenues for the city) and provide essential housing for working class folk here in Missoula.

The Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller has the rundown on the grant, which passed after as much wrenching around as most of council could muster…the vote coming down 7-3 on the side of bringing $5,000,000 influx of economic development into Missoula.

I’m sure Jon Wilkins is so proud he’s aligned himself with these bitter petty individuals.

by jhwygirl

Conrad Burns?

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.


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

Ward 5 candidate Mike O’Herron scored a major endorsement with former Republican county commissioner Barbara Evans and community activist and past president of the Upper Linda Vista Homeowners Association Charlie Brown telling voters to vote O’Herron:

As Miller Creek residents, we need a representative from Ward 5 who has common sense, works with others in a collaborative manner, calmly listens to our concerns, and who can provide a realistic perspective to our problems and our future. For that reason, we ask for your support for Mike O’Herron for City Council, Ward 5.

Oh no they didn’t!

Did Queen Missoula Republican just say that Dick Haines was obstructive and unrealistic? The duly-signed letter details a short history of “the bridge” that Dick Haines has dithered about for nearly 5 years now, and the support it now has (or doesn’t) despite the rhetoric being put out by Dick Haines as of late.

In other words – misrepresenting an issue and the support it has isn’t really a nice thing to do.

Haines’ pet project has been that bridge. He ran on the issue back in 2005. He claims to be a fiscally responsible guy yet he continues to advocate for a bridge that would cost upward of $30 million dollars. The double-talk is worthy to point out.

What Evans and Brown were really saying – or asking – was this: Do you want solutions, or do you want someone who is going to continue to make unrealistic promises?

Here’s a link to Mike O’Herron for Ward 5 website. The main thing I see in O’Herron is that he shows a strong desire to move forward – to find solutions. Inaction does not appear to be an option for him. That is a good thing.

Voters in Ward 5 should take note of that endorsement. Barbara has been long active in local Republican politics, and Charlie has a long history of supporting Democratic party causes, while working bipartisan-style on many issues with Barbara Evans….endorsing O’Herron should give even the most diehard Republicans good reason to cast that vote for Mike O’Herron.

Charlie Brown is Mike O’Herron’s treasurer.

by jhwygirl

Have you filled out your ballot yet? Get ‘er done. Why wait until tomorrow? Or next week.

The Missoula Independent has its endorsements out today – and (as usual) I am in full agreement.

Dave Strohmaier for Ward 1
Roy Houseman for Ward 2
Bob Jaffe for Ward 3
Jon Wilkins for Ward 4
Mike O’Herron for Ward 5
Marilyn Marler for Ward 6
John Engen for Mayor

Both John Engen and Jon Wilkins are unchallenged. Far as I can tell, Wilkins doesn’t have a website.

If you haven’t gotten your ballot yet (this is a mail-in only election), you might want to contact the County Elections Office at 258-4751 to verify your address. If you are at a different address from your registration or if you haven’t registered to vote yet, you’ll have to be heading to the fairgrounds to vote.

That’s why it’s important to vote early and get it done. If you wait until election day and can’t find your ballot or you find out your not registered, you’ll be having to venture down to the fairgrounds.

meh.

Anyone not able to get what I’m trying to convey about the voting-at-the-fairgrounds thing?

by jhwygirl

First the Ward 3’s Vote for Bob Jaffe video, which comes to 4&20, not by Bob Jaffee, but via Skylar Browning’s Indy Blog post:

Browning’s brief remarks are funny, and I agree. I also think that Badenoch was funny, saying “I think Bob Jaffe represents a lot of things I support. He’s progressive…but at the same time (my emphasis), he’s reasonable. I can tell that thinks about issues very seriously. He’s not a knee-jerk kind of guy. He’s thoughtful and I appreciate that.”

Council goddess Rye is hilarious, and so is Bob Clark, Missoula citizen.

Oh – and credit definitely has to go to “Bob Jaffe fan” Paul Wheaton – at minimum, he has a future in campaign election videos, for sure.

On the other topic…

Some HOW TO VOTE information…

Deadline is past for voter’s (pre)registration. If you want to vote now and haven’t registered, you have to head down to the fairgrounds, where the County Election’s Office has set up (due to high turnout in previous elections, and limited facilities/crowded halls).

This move has few, happy (maybe the county elections staff). Even Missoulian reporter Keila Szpaller lamented the move in a tweet.

Even the results. {sigh}

Can we maintain no tradition?

City elections are mail-in only. No polling stations will be open.

Mail-in ballots are coming out in a few days. There’s Mayor (unchallenged), the Municipal Judge (unchallenged), then your councilperson vote (of which Ward 4 is unchallenged too). It looks like if you live in Seeley Lake, there’s an election there, and another in the Evaro/Finley/O’Keefe area to form a community council – at least what I can see of the sample ballot.

So when you get that ballot, fill it in ENGEN LOUDEN and, depending on which ward, STROHMAEIR or HOUSEMAN or JAFFE or WILKINS or O’HERRON or MARLER and get it back in the mail.

Voting early helps all the candidates, no matter who they are. Their effort will be to get you to vote – if you get it done early, you allow your candidate the potential to round themselves up even more votes.

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

Don’t miss Bunk the West’s review of Tuesday’s candidate forum held by the Missoula Area Chamber of Commerce, the Missoula Organization of Realtors and the Missoula Building Industry Association at the Broadway Inn.

Ward 1 challenger Ryan Morton takes Bunk to task for restating that which the Missoulian reported. I suppose that means he’s requested a correction from the paper?

I do, though, especially love Ward 3 candidate John Quandt’s suggestion (as taken from the Missoulian) for maintaining our neglected city park system:

‘Community members who care about their neighborhood can volunteer to mow the lawn, for instance.’

I guess that means if you won’t (or can’t) mow the lawn of your neighborhood park, you just don’t care.

Bunk’s last paragraph is fab. Go read it.

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

Tuesday night is an opportunity to meet Ward 2 candidate Roy Houseman, Jr. – if you haven’t already.

I can say enough about how much I really like this guy. He’s wise beyond his late-20something years, is union representative for Smurfit-Stone, married and owner of his first home with his lovely wife Andrea.

We’ve mentioned him ’round these parts at least 4 times, including this piece and another one which linked to The Independent’s profile of Roy Houseman, done by Skylar Browning back in January.

Ward 2 is a funky ward – encompassing the Northside, the Westside, Grant Creek, and north of Wyoming Street and generally east of Reserve. It’s a tough ward – I mean – imagine door-knocking Grant Creek..but Roy’s been at it. So much so that I hear that his wife is calling herself an campaign widow.

Houseman is a great progressive candidate, focused on moving Missoula forward on the important issues of affordable housing, reasonable and bigger picture transportation solutions and managing Missoula’s growth with a vision towards the long-term,

Have I said how much I just absolutely adore Roy Houseman? ‘Cause I do…

Regardless of which ward you live in here in the City proper – you will be fortunate to have Roy Houseman sitting in Ward 2’s council seat..which leads me to the following:

Cynthia Wolken and LaNette Diaz are hosting a “Meet Roy Houseman” event. It’s at 1316B Cooper St (which is Ms. Wolken’s house), 6:30 to 9. This is, of course, a fundraiser – so any spare bucks you have would be a big help…but of course, offering up your time for calls or literature drops and door knocking would also be greatly appreciated.

For some additional information about Roy Houseman, check out his website

VOTE ROY HOUSEMAN FOR WARD 2

by Pete Talbot

Zoning Rewrite

University-area homeowner Ian Lange had an erroneous op-ed in Sunday’s Missoulian. Fortunately, Ward 3’s Bob Jaffe debunks Lange’s misinformation, point-by-point.

The short version is that Lange thinks Missoula’s zoning rewrite will stifle economic growth by turning established neighborhoods into ghettos (by allowing more density). Lange suggests that ADUs — little apartments in backyards or over garages — will chase businesses away. He believes that more density in the urban core is a bad thing, and favors suburban sprawl and long commutes.

IMHO the zoning rewrite doesn’t go far enough in allowing infill in Missoula, but the majority on city council felt it had to compromise with the noisy zoning naysayers, and lawsuit-happy minority on council. Still, Lange and his cadre continue to spread half-truths and fear.

Endorsements

These endorsements have been out for awhile but I thought I’d recap. First, Montana Conservation Voters have endorsed the following candidates for Missoula City Council:

Mayor – John Engen

Ward 1 -Dave Strohmaeir

Ward 2 – Roy Houseman

Ward 3 – Bob Jaffe

Ward 5 – Mike O’Herron

Ward 6 – Marilyn Marler

The Missoula County Democrats also endorsed. Same as the list above, with two exceptions: the Dems didn’t endorse the mayor, which I’m assuming was just an oversight, but they did endorse Ward 4’s Jon Wilkins. The Wilkins’ endorsement surprised me because as often as not, he votes with the conservatives on council. I guess they figured that because he’s running unopposed, they might as well — no reason to go out of their way to piss him off. On the other hand, the mayor is running unopposed, too, so why not endorse him? Hmmm.


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 JC

Rick Gold over at at Montana Legal Eagle reminds us today that the Montana Constitution also guarantees “the rights of pursuing life’s basic necessities” to all people in the state. His recent article, “Security vs Liberty in Missoula MT” gets right to the point:

So maybe, the real issue is this: Missoulians giving up more of our essential liberties on the pretext that our police don’t have enough laws at their disposal to deal with aggressive and/or intimidating behaviors, downtown (only during the summer, of course).

Well, in Missoula, we simply call this situation mere political bull pucky playing ….

Bull pucky indead! Add a Montana State Constitution violation to the list of travesties that the proposed ordinances are going to foist on Montanans. So not only is the sleeping in public ordinance an 8th Amendment violation, it most likely violates the state Constitution.

And welcome to the local blogosphere, Rick. I’ve seen your emails come across the intertubes over the years, but hadn’t seen your digs yet. For those who don’t know Rick, he’s been waging a personal battle here for quite a while:

“My purpose with this blog is to help flesh out the issues in equal protection in Montana’s Court system for low income people in protecting Montanan’s Civil Rights.”

And you can read all about it over at Montana Legal Eagle’s Blog.

And don’t forget that Aug. 12th is the next date for the City Council to take up its two new ordinances in Committee, I believe. Nothing up on the city website yet.

by JC

Really??? And just how does the two new ordinances under consideration accomplish that?

“The working group aims to protect and improve quality of life in downtown Missoula for all people who use the area, including business owners, people who live and work downtown, shoppers and patrons of professional offices, and people who are without means and depend on social services,” said city communications director Ginny Merriam

When the Panhandling Work Group and its town crier resort to this sort of political, nonsensical happy speak, you know that they are worried about perceptions more than they are about reality. And Councilman Strohmaier aims to pick up the battle on August 12th, with a renewed attempt to move the ordinance.

Much better would be finding some more solutions for the homelessness we have in Missoula and Montana. Somehow, I don’t think the number of beds available in local shelters is anywhere near able to meet the numbers of homeless in Missoula, judging by what I’ve seen in encampments and car sleeping around town.

So I have a nice resource for those who want to combat these immoral ordinances:

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has a a 12 page booklet entitled “Combating the Criminalization of Homelessness.” Here’s an excerpt:

——–
What Are the Problems with Criminalization?

Besides the clear moral problem of punishing someone for carrying out life-sustaining activities in public when there are no other alternatives, there are also legal concerns. Criminalization may violate at least four Constitutional amendments.

For example, when a city creates a prohibition against panhandling but allows firefighters to solicit donations, First Amendment concerns are raised because the government is permitting one type of oral expression but not another.

The Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable search and seizure of property, is implicated when a city decides to destroy homeless persons’ tents and personal possessions without giving either notice of its plans or a process for allowing the people to first claim their property.

The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. If a court punishes a homeless person for performing life-sustaining activities in public, like sleeping, there could be an Eighth Amendment violation if the homeless person had no where else to perform the activity (necessary for survival).

The Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause may be violated if police routinely only cite homeless people for sleeping in a public park but allow business people to nap in the park undisturbed.

These are only some of the constitutional concerns raised by criminalization ordinances.
———

Oh, and I would be remiss here if I didn’t provide a nice link to the ACLU’s press release where they won an 8th Amendment case against the city of LA’s criminalization of homelessness laws:

“The Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles,” Judge Wardlaw wrote [for the 9th U.S. Circuit].

I hope someone at the Montana ACLU or Montana Human Rights Network is paying attention here. And a hat tip to Klemz for referring to this case!

by JC

The Panhandling Working Group, of “Real Change, Not Spare Change” fame, is bringing its newest brainchildren, the “Missoula Aggressive Solicitation Act” and its companion “Pedestrian Interference Act” before City Council for a hearing this Monday night in Council chambers.

Not satisfied with the regular process, where approved ordinances become effective after 30 days, Councilman Strohmaier believes that because:

“the summer months are the time of year when aggressive panhandling has typically been identified as a problem in downtown Missoula–hence, the desire for the ordinance to take effect as soon as possible”

the ordinances should be emergencies demanding immediate implementation. Never mind the fact that there are serious constitutional questions about both ordinances, as they attempt to define speech and behavior in public and on the public rights-of-way.

While the PWG should be commended for its efforts to raise funds for nonprofits serving Missoula’s less fortunate, I fear these ordinances will have a backlash that may undo much of the goodwill that has been fostered.

Even though the ordinances have built-in disclaimers about constitutionality:

Severability. If… this ordinance is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this ordinance.

if Council is shown to have screwed up (and the law will surely be tested and challenged), they want to keep on enforcing as much of the ordinance as possible.  Looking at the next ordinance, it becomes clear that much of the entire Pedestrian Interference ordinance is suspect, also:

It is unlawful for any person to lay or sleep upon any street, sidewalk or other public right-of-way within the city limits.

So much for chillin’ at the park, or Farmer’s Market. How about freedom of speech?

“Soliciting” shall mean asking for money or objects of value, with the intention that the money or object be transferred at that time and at that place. Soliciting shall include using the spoken, written or printed word, bodily gestures, signs or other means for the purpose of urging, requesting, commanding or obtaining an immediate donation of money or other thing of value or soliciting the sale of goods or services.

The solicitation ordinance then goes on to prohibit soliciting in a long list of ways, including if the person engages in:

“Intentionally touching or causing physical contact with another person without that person’s consent in the course of soliciting;”

Like, putting out your hand to shake someone else’s before you ask them to throw a quarter in the “Real Change, not Spare Change” bucket. This is but one of a long line of ridiculous scenarios that can be raised that will become illegal in Missoula.

There is no emergency demanding that these ordinances be rushed through council, and implemented the next day. While the PWG may mean well, they should go back to the drawing boards on this one, and start over.

Ellie Hill had this to say about the ordinances over at Missoula Red Tape:

Pov director Ellie Hill said the nonprofit supports defining inappropriate behaviors and creating consequences for those actions. That’s as long as the rules in the ordinance apply as equally to the aggressive Girl Scout cookie seller as they do to a bellligerent old dude.

But Hill said the Pov isn’t going to get behind the ordinance that bans sleeping or snoozing on streets and sidewalks. She said one Pov supporter called her and wanted to remind her of the story of the Good Samaritan. That good guy was helping the person on the streets — not slapping him with a misdemeanor as the ordinance proposes.

“To me, that’s the very definition of criminalizing poverty,” Hill said. “It’s wrong. How can you provide criminal consequences for being poor? Or having nowhere else to sit? Or nowhere else to sleep at night?”

Right on Ellie!

Head on over to CC Chambers Monday night, or give your local councilors a call or email to let them know how you feel about Missoula’s newest foray into restricting basic human rights and freedom of speech!


Update:

The Missoulian ran an article about the issue today, in prep for tomorrow’s hearings. Here is what one person who may be affected by the ordinances had to say about the fines ($100) for breaking them:

“It’s pretty ridiculous to give tickets to guys like us when you know we can’t pay them”

Duh. So what does Missoula Police Department Chief Mark Muir have to say? That “he won’t consider the rules successful if police have to write a lot of tickets.”

So what’s the point of having an ordinance with a fine for tickets that the perps can’t pay, and the Police Chief deems unsuccessful if they have to write many? Think about that. It leads me to some pretty ugly outcomes.

by jhwygirl

Yesterdays very good Missoulian story from reporter Keila Spzaller contained lots of interesting quotes from political observers and lawyers and stuff like that. Good read, if you haven’t hit it already.

What I found funny was this quote from one of Ward 5’s Lawsuiters, Dick Haines (Ward 5’s other Lawsuiter is Renee Mitchell). Haines is, apparently, already feeling a need to reply to challenger Mike O’Herron:

I don’t want people to think that we take this lightly. I don’t want people to think that we’re suing our employer.

Why would he say that? Because at last weeks candidate forum, Mike O’Herron was asked, specifically, what he thought about about the current lawsuit filed by council members – two of ’em being from Ward 5. O’Herron first pledged not to sue the city for his first term (which drew laughter) and then went on to say that he couldn’t understand why someone would want to sue their employer.

So Haines has, obviously, gotten some feedback on that – and clearly, it’s on his mind.

~~~~~
Mike O’Herron is an Independent – something he reiterated a couple of times during Tuesday’s forum. He said that he’d be glad to get the endorsement of the County Dems – and noted that he’d be equally pleased to get the endorsement of the local Republicans, too.

Red Tape notes that O’Herron did get the endorsement.

Several organizations give out endorsements in the cities non-partisan races. Next up will be the Missoula Building Industry Association’s forum, Tuesday, 3:30 p.m. at the Doubletree Hotel.

Schedule is as follows (from their website):
3:30 – 4:00 Meet and greet
4:00 – 4:10 Overview of the importance of Business Development in Missoula and introduction of candidates with Dr. Patrick Barkey with the Bureau of Business and Economic Development – UM
4:10 – 5:00 Q&A to Present Their Goals for Business Development in Missoula
5:00 – 5:30 Networking with Candidates

Beer, Wine and Snacks provided
Cash Bar

There is no charge to attend!

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

Directly from the Missoula County Democrats website:

Candidates for Missoula City Council will participate in a forum sponsored by Missoula County Democrats at the regularly scheduled July Central Committee meeting, taking place at 7pm in City Council Chambers, 140 W. Pine St.

All candidates for City Council have been invited to participate in the forum, which will include questions from the audience. All candidates have also been asked to complete a written questionnaire by July 10. Members of Missoula County Democrats Central Committee and Executive Board will consider endorsing candidates who have requested an endorsement at the meeting.

Some – not all – of the candidates completed the questionnaire. Not completing the questions were two candidates from Ward 2 – Cynthia Wolken and incumbent John Hendrickson; Ward 3 challenger John Quandt; Ward 4’s Jon Wilkins (who was unchallenged) and Ward 5’s (incumbent) Dick Haines.

Click on each name to go to each candidates questionnaire answers:

Ward 1
Dave Strohmaier, incumbent
Ryan Morton

Ward 2
Roy Houseman

Ward 3
Bob Jaffe, incumbent

Ward 5
Mike O’Herron

Ward 6
Marilyn Marler, incumbent
Kathy Greathouse

See ya’all Tuesday, 7 p.m., in city council chambers.




  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,670,764 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,737 other followers

  • July 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Oct    
     123456
    78910111213
    14151617181920
    21222324252627
    28293031  
  • Categories