Montana pictures
Politics Montana | Rick Tryon | 406-788-8904 | ricktryon@msn.com
home
Radio Show
elected officials
great falls tribune
billings gazette
Missoulian
daily inter lake
bozeman daily chronicle
helena independent record
Montana Government

 Subscribe to Politics Montana Blog in a reader

 

KRTV.com

3-vehicle crash in Billings sends 3 people to hospital

BILLINGS -- A three-vehicle crash near the intersection of South Frontage Road and Wise Lane sent three young adults to the hospital on Saturday afternoon.

The occupants of a Saab convertible vehicle -- a male driver, approximately 20, and two females, age 17 and 19 -- were taken to Billings hospitals for "extensive injuries" including broken bones, said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Jerald Perman.

Perman said the Saab convertible was headed east on South Frontage Road en route to Billings.

As it approached two other vehicles traveling the opposite direction, the Saab swerved across the center line and overcorrected, but struck the two oncoming vehicles.

It is unknown why the vehicle swerved, said Perman.

A Ford Taurus was hit by the Saab but received minor damage. The vehicle following the Taurus, a Ford F-350, struck the Saab nearly head-on.

Perman said the injuries sustained by the occupants could have been much worse; "It looked better than what the cars would suggest," he said.

The 17-year-old female occupant of the Saab was the most seriously injured, but emergency responders did not believe her injuries were life-threatening, according to Perman.

No citations have been issued as the investigation of the crash is ongoing.



Great Falls is no exception for second-busiest shopping day of the season

GREAT FALLS -- With only four days until Christmas, many people are out and about at stores across the nation and things are getting busy.

Here in north central Montana, the story is no different for this Super Saturday.

Other than Black Friday, the last Saturday before Christmas is considered one of the busiest shopping days of the season.

Shoppers filled the halls of Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls looking for last-minute gifts.

Holiday Village Mall General Manger Shane Etzwiler says the mall has seen steady traffic throughout the 2014 holiday shopping season.

Most stores have either met or exceeded sales plans they have in place.

Santa has even extended his hours at the mall so he can hear every child's Christmas list.

"Mall hours today, we are going to be open until 10:00 pm tonight. Then tomorrow is Sunday, we'll open up at 9:00 am and we will be open until 9:00 pm. And we do that for the conveniance and ease for definitely our guests and our local shoppers but also people traveling out of town and also our Canadian guests," Etzwiler said.

There is also a gift-wrapping station on the upper level at the mall.

All the money collected at the station will go to the Children's Receiving Home.

You can find the extended holiday hours for the Holiday Village Mall here.




2 NYPD police officers 'assassinated'; shooter dead

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Officer Rafael Ramos sat in the driver's seat. Officer Wenjian Liu was at his side.

The two cops weren't at their usual precinct -- normally, the pair was assigned to downtown Brooklyn, but they were working a "critical response" detail in an area with higher crime, police said.

That's where they were slain, ambush-style -- Saturday afternoon as they sat in their patrol car, New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said at an evening news conference.

The gunman approached the passenger side of the patrol car and took a shooting stance, witnesses told police. He opened fire several times, striking both officers in the head, Bratton said.

They were "shot and killed with no warning, no provocation," Bratton told reporters. "They were quite simply, assassinated."

The gunman was found dead in a nearby subway station from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The thin blue line

The families of the fallen officers rushed to Woodhull Medical Center on Saturday, as dozens of their comrades gathered in a show of support.

Ramos had just turned 40 this month; Liu got married two months ago.

Both dreamed of being police officers, Bratton said.

"One of the unfortunate realities of policing is that you put that blue uniform on and you become part of the thin blue line between us and anarchy," Bratton said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bratton met with the families of the victims. De Blasio said that Ramos' 13-year-old son couldn't comprehend what had happened to his father.

"When a police officer is murdered, it tears at the foundation of our society," the mayor said. "It is an attack on the very concept of decency."

The suspect

Police identified the shooter as Ismaaiyl Brinsley.

He arrived in New York from Baltimore, but had a residence in Atlanta. Bratton said that Brinsley was somehow connected to Brooklyn, but would not discuss that information.

Bratton said at this time, there was no indication Brinsley was connected to any terrorist groups or organized entity.

Police were investigating posts Brinsley allegedly made on social media. Bratton said that the suspect had earlier shot and seriously wounded a woman believed to be his ex-girlfriend in Baltimore.

Baltimore police received information that Brinsley had made threatening comments about police, and sent a warning to police in New York, Bratton said.

That message came almost the same time the ambush happened.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the attack "an unspeakable act of barbarism."

De Blasio also called the shootings an "assassination."

"It is an attack on all of us," he said. "It is an attack on everything we hold dear."

A White House official says President Barack Obama was briefed on the shooting.

"This can't happen"

The shooting jolted residents in the neighborhood.

"This can't happen. If you mad at somebody, be mad at the person that you are mad at. Now, we have two families that (are) missing somebody for the holidays," Shaniqua Pervis told CNN affiliate WABC.

"Where is your humanity? I know it's a war going on and shoutout to Eric Garner's family and everybody else who lost somebody, but you're not at his house, on his lawn. This is two (officers). You don't even know if (they were) good or bad. I don't condone this, and I'm not with it."

The woman was referring to the controversial July death of the unarmed black man after New York police officers on Staten Island wrestled him to the ground, with one of the officers wrapping his arm around Garner's neck in a chokehold.

A grand jury's decision not to indict the police officer in the Garner case, as well as a separate grand jury's refusal to indict an officer in a controversial police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, led to nationwide protests against the police.

Brown's family condemned Saturday's slayings.

"We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement. It cannot be tolerated. We must work together to bring peace to our communities," they said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers' families during this incredibly difficult time."

In a statement, activist the Rev. Al Sharpton said the Garner family was outraged by news of the shootings.

"Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases," the statement said. "We have stressed at every rally and march that anyone engaged in any violence is an enemy to the pursuit of justice for Eric Garner and Michael Brown."

Tensions between the community and police have heightened around the country since the deaths of Brown and Garner.

"This could not have come at a worse time," City Councilman Robert Cornegy told CNN affiliate PIX.

So far, police have not commented on the motive for the Brooklyn shootings, except to say the officers were not engaging the shooter in any way when they were shot.

-- CNN's David Shortell, Mariano Castillo and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

-- The-CNN-Wire™ & © Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.



KRTV Evening Top Stories - Sat Dec 20

Top stories on KRTV for the evening of Saturday, December 20:

-A 48-year-old Great Falls man died in a one-vehicle rollover on Friday near Winnett in Petroleum County. Click here for details.

-Another crash in the Flathead area left a 27-year-old Whitefish woman dead Friday night. Click here for the story.

-Gasoline prices in Montana are now down by about 50 cents per gallon as compared to this time last year. Experts say this is due partly to dropping crude oil prices as well as normal gasoline production. Officials expect prices to drop another 10 cents per gallon.

-With only four days until Christmas, many people are out and about at stores across the nation and things are getting busy. Click here for the story.

-Volunteers came together in Great Falls Saturday to hand out toys and food to 500 families in need. Click here to read more.

-The sixth annual Pet Paw-see Food Drive took place Saturday at PetCo in Great Falls. Click here for details.

 



Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Meet the 2015 class

(CNN) -- Drumroll, please: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced its 2015 class of honored musicians.

Green Day; Bill Withers; Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble; Lou Reed; Joan Jett and the Blackhearts; and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band will all be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next spring.

Those six were selected from a list of 15 nominees, which also included acts like N.W.A., Nine Inch Nails, Sting, The Smiths and Chic.

The Beatles' Ringo Starr will also be honored at the 2015 induction ceremony with the award for musical excellence, while R&B quintet The "5" Royales will be recognized for their early influence.

In order to be eligible for induction into the Rock Hall's 2015 class, an act had to release its first recording in 1989 or earlier. That means Green Day, which dropped its EP "1,000 Hours" in April 1989, has the distinction of being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the band's first year of eligibility.

"The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has always held something for me because my heroes were in there," Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone. So when he heard the news that the band's being inducted, "I had to go for a walk," Armstrong continued. "I wound up at this cafe and I sat down and my son met up with me. I told him and he was like, 'Oh my God. No way.' It just took some time to sink in. We're in incredible company and I'm still trying to make sense of this. It's just incredible."

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held in Cleveland on April 18, 2015.


The-CNN-Wire  TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

 



STORMTracker Weather Blog: Wintry mix possible for some areas

GREAT FALLS -- Thanks for stopping by the STORMTracker Weather Page.

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect until 5 a.m. on Monday for elevations above 5,500 feet.

An area of low pressure will arrive this evening bringing with it a wintry mix of precipitation at lower elevations and mountain snow for higher elevations.

Traveling could become hazardous in certain areas for the remainder of the weekend. It is likely mountain passes will become snow-covered and icy until early Monday.

In addition, areas of blowing snow will be a concern as strong winds will accompany this storm system. Therefore, visibilities could be very restricted at times. 

For those of you traveling the remainder of the weekend, please be very careful and check with STORMTracker Weather for the latest updates.

- Meteorologist Ross Giarratana


Additional winter weather resources from KRTV:

--> Interactive Radar

--> MTN Eyecam Network

--> On Demand Video Forecast

--> STORMTracker Weather on Facebook

--> STORMTracker Weather on Twitter

--> STORMTracker Weather on Google+


Here is information from the Montana Department of Transportation about winter driving safety:

Winter Driving Checklist
- Allow extra time to get to your destination.
- Clean off your car. Keep windows, mirrors and lights clear of snow and ice.
- Always buckle up.
- Slow down in poor visibility conditions.
- Maintain a safe distance behind other vehicles.
- Expect ice on bridges and in shady spots.
- Don't pass snowplows or spreaders unless it's absolutely necessary.
- Prepare your vehicle for winter driving at the start of the season.
- Check to be sure all four tires are in good condition.
- Keep an emergency travel kit in your car.

Snow Plows

- Our snowplows are on the road for your safety. When you encounter a snowplow, remember:
- Plows travel slowly, usually 25-30 miles per hour. If you have to pass, keep in mind the snowplow driver may have a difficult time seeing you, especially while clearing the road ahead.
- Never pass a plow on the right. Some snowplows are equipped with a wing plow-an eight foot extension off the right side of the truck.
- Plows aren't just removing snow. They may also be spreading sand or deicer on the road. Maintain a safe distance behind the snowplow to avoid being sprayed.

MDT recommended items for vehicles:

Winter Kit for Vehicles

 



Sixth annual Pet Paw-See food drive held in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- The sixth annual Pet Paw-see Food Drive took place Saturday at PetCo in Great Falls.

Volunteers gathered at PetCo to hand out bags of food for cats and dogs to low income families.

Pet Paw-see President Leslie Raynes says the group collected food from the community and PetCo also helped by donating as well.

The mission was to make sure animals were also being taken care of this holiday season.

Volunteers, including some from Malmstrom Air Force Base, dropped off pet food at homes of seniors who could not make it to the event.

"I was just thrilled that this year we were able to provide the meals on wheels, 39 different homes, with families that could use that food. And that’s the seniors that are unable to come to PetCo,” said Raynes.

The group was able to help about 200 families with cats or dogs.



Salvation Army in Great Falls hands out food and toys to 500 families

GREAT FALLS -- Volunteers came together in Great Falls Saturday to hand out toys and food to 500 families in need.

The Salvation Army has been collecting the items for the past few weeks.

Salvation Army Corps Officer Capitan Mark King says that each family gets a bag full of food so they can cook a special holiday meal.

Along with the food, kids were able to pick out a few toys as well.

All of this was made possible through community donations, the Angel Tree organizations, and holiday contributions collected through the bell-ringing program.

"We feel that it is very important, epically during this holiday season," said King. "There are a lot of folks who are struggling for whatever reason. Weather it's a lost job, a sickness, or just some tragic event in the family. And so we want every child, every family, to be able to enjoy the holiday season."

The Salvation Army Women's Auxiliary was also there giving out stocking stuffers and a bag with some hygiene essentials.

They also had jackets, shoes, and PJ's for the kids.

 



Great Falls Vet Center hosted a Children of Veterans Christmas party

GREAT FALLS -- Children of veterans in the Great Falls area came together Saturday for a little Christmas party.

The Great Falls Vet Center put the event together, giving these military kids a chance to celebrate the season.

Kids were able to make Christmas Ornaments, color, and play with toys.

They were also treated to pizza and cookies.

 



Space-based solar power: the energy of the future?

Editor's note: Tomorrow Transformed explores innovative approaches and opportunities available in business and society through technology.

(CNN) -- In space there's no atmosphere, it's never cloudy, and in geosynchronous orbits it's never night: a perfect place for a solar power station to harvest uninterrupted power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The concept has been around since the 1940s when science fiction writer Isaac Asimov posited the idea of a robot-manned space station that delivered energy to Earth via microwaves.

Today, the idea is less science fiction than a steadily advancing reality.

Clean energy from above

The United States, China, India and Japan all have projects at various stages of development that would see robots assemble solar arrays that could provide the Earth with massive amounts of clean and renewable energy delivered wirelessly.

Some variants of the idea could even see as much as 1GW of energy beamed to receivers on Earth -- enough to power a large city.

According to Dr Paul Jaffe, spacecraft engineer at the US Naval Research Laboratory, the concept is scientifically sound.

"NASA and the US Department of Energy did a study in the late 70s that cost $20 million at the time and looked at it in pretty great depth," Dr Jaffe told CNN. "The conclusion at that time was that there was nothing wrong with the physics but the real question is the economics."

The cost lies in the number of space launches required to build the power-transmitting satellite. With costs as high as $40,000 per kilogram for some space launches, the final price-tag for the first space-based solar power station could be as high as $20 billion.

Private contractors

While the recent entry of private space companies stands significantly to cut costs, basic physics dictates that getting payloads into space is still an expensive undertaking.

"The subject is revisited every 10 years when the technology changes and some of the factors affecting the economics change."

He said the wars in the Middle East gave new impetus to the space-based solar power as scientific researchers with the military wrestled with the problems of delivering energy to troops in hostile areas.

Multiple, and potentially hidden, receivers could tap space-based solar power and relieve the military of the expensive and often dangerous task of supplying troops with generator diesel by either road or air, he said.

"If you could deliver electricity from space, that would be kind of attractive," he said.

Safety concerns

Two proven ways of getting the power to Earth exist in the form of either laser beams or microwaves.

The laser beam option would involve sending small laser-transmitting satellites into space at the relatively low cost of between $500 million and $1 billion. The self-assembling satellite would lower costs and the small diameter of the laser beam would make it easier to collect on the ground.

But at just 1MW to 10MW per satellite, many satellites would be needed to provide enough energy. As well as this, laser transmitting satellites would have difficulty beaming power through clouds and rain.

The microwave option would have the advantage of uninterrupted transmission through rain, hail or any other atmospheric conditions and could provide gigawatts of power.

Microwave technology, Dr Jaffe explained, has been established for decades: as early as 1964, scientists were able to power a helicopter using microwaves. Dr Jaffe said with a large receiving area the energy from the microwaves was so dissipated that it would present no danger to life.

The chief disadvantage, however, is the fact that as many as 100 launches into space would be required to construct the space stations with costs running into tens of billions.

"Unfortunately, too, from a public relations standpoint, both microwaves and lasers have negative connotations for most people because they associate microwaves with the oven in their kitchen and lasers with science fiction space battles," Dr Jaffe said.

The power sandwich

His research is currently concentrated on the so-called "sandwich module" -- the part of the solar array that actually converts the sunlight into power.

One side of the 'sandwich' receives solar energy with a photovoltaic panel, electronics in the middle convert the current into a radio frequency and the other side has an antenna to beam it away.

"People might not associate radio waves with carrying energy," says Jaffe, "because they think of them for communications, like radio, TV, or cell phones. They don't think about them as carrying usable amounts of power."

Despite the technology already being available for space-based solar power, Dr Jaffe believes the first space power station is still decades away even though the Japanese have already made it one of the pillars of their space program.

"Without the similar research base that we have in the United States for, say, fusion energy it's unlikely to make meaningful progress," he said. "If the Japanese make progress in the next five years people might start notice and say 'Why aren't we doing that here.'

Ultimately, he said, space-based solar energy is like most novel ideas.

"It's hard to tell if it's nuts until you've actually tried."


The-CNN-Wire TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.




2014 Predictions

As promised here are my 2014 mid-term election predictions. Just a reminder, I was 100% in 2012 predicting Obama’s re-election, Tester beating Rehberg, the GOP not gaining U.S. Senate control, Bullock winning the governorship and Daines winning the House seat. So without further adieu or a-don’t:

THE GOP WILL WIN THE U.S. SENATE taking at least 6 seats away from the Dems; Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa and Arkansas. The GOP could flip as many as 10 states adding Alaska, Louisiana, Colorado and New Hampshire to the mix. Oregon, Michigan and Minnesota are in play according to some but I doubt those will go red.

STATUS QUO IN THE HOUSE. No significant change in the U.S. House unless the GOP wins 8-12 Senate seats, then it’s a wave similar to 2010 and they’ll pick up an additional 10 or so House seats.

Daines will easily beat Curtis for the open Montana Senate seat by 10-20 percentage points or more. The Zinke-Lewis House race will be much tighter, though I think Zinke pulls it out by 3-5 points due to the big Republican voter enthusiasm advantage. The Dems have the President to thank for that.

The GOP will maintain it’s big majority in the Montana House and a slimmer majority in the state Senate, though it’s hard to predict due to this being the first election with new state legislative districts. The entrance of Amanda Curtis into the Senate race is likely to hurt down-ticket Democratic candidates statewide unless she crafts and communicates a much more middle-of-the-road, positive message. So far she is not inspiring independents and is angering conservatives who will take it out on Dems at the ballot box. The only constituency she is currently energizing is the far, far left who would turn out and vote anyway.

It looks like a very good year for the GOP statewide and nationally but things could change pretty quickly. There’s only about 9 weeks until Election Day and actually in MT folks will begin to vote in about 5 weeks. Not a lot of time to change the positive GOP trajectory but here are a few wild cards that could change things either way:

1.) Obama could take executive action on immigration that would anger and energize a bigger conservative turnout OR energize a bigger Dem turnout. I’m sure the White House is calculating and polling on that as we speak.

2.) When the GOP led House comes back next week they could form the circular firing squad they’re so famous for and decide to “shut down the government” in response to an Obama action like the one mentioned above. If they do that then they will not retake the Senate and will LOSE House seats.

3.) It’s possible that Louisiana will have a run-off election in December to determine which party will control the U.S. Senate. They have a weird set of procedures down there and if a candidate doesn’t get at least 50% in the general then it goes to a run-off. I don’t think this scenario is likely to determine Senate control but you never know…

4.) International problems could get very ugly and much, much worse in the coming days and weeks. If so, it will most likely make things much worse for Dems, but could benefit them if the President shows some exceptional leadership and courage.

There you have it friends, and delivered before Labor Day. Have a great holiday weekend!

Fair questions about fairgrounds

Good observations and questions about Expo Park here in Cascade County from a listener to the radio show:

“The financial situation at the Fairgrounds is very concerning. It seems the most fundamental  accounting procedures to ensure employee accountability and prevent theft have not traditionally been in place. Since the Fairgrounds is a public entity, this is very surprising. Along with proper daily procedures of cash handling, an annual audit is the rule.

I applaud whoever “blew the horn” on the situation and brought these unfortunate circumstances to light. I can only hope that as we move forward, the County continues to remain transparent, and inform and reassure the public that the correct procedures are in place.

Will we see an annual audit from a private accounting firm, and will the audit be publicly noticed and available to voters? And has anyone estimated the total amount of loss to taxpayers from this situation?”

Worse than Nixon? Wow!

Obama is the worst President since WWII.
Worse than Bush.
Worse than Nixon.
According to FOX News? No, according to 1446 registered voters in a new Quinnipiac poll. And the numbers get worse and worse as you look further into the poll. It’s devastating for the President and his party.

The President could turn it around though if he would stop behaving like a third grader with the taunting, mocking, “so sue me” cocky attitude and start behaving like the adult in the room.

Democrats will start jumping ship pretty quickly now because the Presidents antics and woeful lack of anything remotely resembling leadership will not yield the intended results of sufficiently firing up the base for November. Captain Obama is steering the Titanic directly at the iceberg and will sink his party and this country if not checked. Apparently he’s too arrogant and confident in his golden lifeboat waiting in 2016 to give a rip.

Wednesday radio show featuring former GOP state senator Jerry Black

This Wednesday, June 25th live in the studio will be former GOP state senator and longtime north central Montana broadcaster Jerry Black. Topics will include state and local politics and issues, political polarization and the state of the Montana Republican Party.
As always the show features listener call-ins and emails. The call-in number is 452-1073 and the email is ricktryon@msn.com.

Two good reasons for war no more

We should all hope and pray that our great country is not sucked into another foreign war for two reasons:

First, we should have all learned the lesson that nation building and trying to solve ancient feuds when the people directly involved don’t want us to is impossible and not worth even one drop of American blood or one penny of American treasure. Thanks to the blindness and ignorance of neo-cons like Cheney and the inept prosecution of the war by the then CINC G.W. Bush that lesson was learned at the expense of our brave young soldiers and an economic debt we may never pay off.

Second, the notion of engaging in another war under the “leadership” of Obama should frighten the crap out of all of us. The weakness, indecision and incompetence of the current CINC would make W look like a military genius by comparison. Just imagine a war-time president like Obama who thinks global warming or climate change or whatever they’re calling it this week is the greatest threat facing us and who can’t even manage a web site…or his own State Department. Imagine a CINC who has no idea whats going on in the world, or his own administration for that matter, until he learns about it from the newspaper after it’s too late.

Yikes!

Let’s bake a bigger pie

It’s distressing to see this community being divided once again over a school levy vote. Political vendettas, personal attacks, name calling and disrespect on all sides. Folks who oppose the levy have legitimate reasons and aren’t trying to hurt the community and those who support the levy do so for noble reasons as well and aren’t trying to rip off taxpayers.

Instead of squabbling over how to divide up the crumbs and thin slices of a shrinking pie we should be WORKING TOGETHER TO GROW THE PIE. I want to hear the sound of hammer and saw building new homes, businesses and infrastructure. I want to see a thriving economy where lot’s of people have good full time jobs, where shops and restaurants are so busy they can barely keep up.

We can have a growing community where we don’t even think twice about paying a little more for public schools because we’re prosperous and student enrollment is expanding because people want to move here and live here and raise their kids here.

We CAN be that. Why not here? Let’s get to work!

GFPS levy issue: BOTH sides need to compromise

When it comes to funding our schools at the local district level we need to find common ground and make arguments based on facts rather than casting aspersions on those we disagree with. We have to come to some kind of a consensus on funding education so we can build and maintain a prosperous economy and attract and keep good jobs here. It’s not rocket science; unless we show we are able to agree and make a commitment to excellence in public education we have little chance of growing and developing a thriving economy in Cascade County. Unfortunately many levy proponents always make the same silly mistake: they just can’t seem to stop themselves from referring to levy opponents as “haters” and “gripers” etc. This kind of name-calling really hurts the pro-levy cause. I’m not sure why those who favor a levy don’t seem to understand that most of those who oppose a levy have good reasons for doing so and are not “against kids” or “cheapskates” or “selfish” or “vandals” or “naysayers” – all terms I’ve heard and read recently referring to the “anti-levy crowd” which recently has been the majority “crowd”. Instead of characterizing opponents negatively try understanding their point of view. Instead of putting all of the responsibility on local taxpayers to buck up and just “hand over the money because it’s for the kids”, why not suggest, no DEMAND, that administrators and teachers also make some sacrifices. Most levy opponents I’ve spoken with are FOR more transparency, FOR more accountability, FOR more frugality, FOR more shared responsibility between taxpayers and district employees.

The district is asking for about $500,000 of this levy request to pay for the increase in health insurance premiums for district employees which is largely due to ObamaCare mandates. A 2% raise was just approved for teachers. The GFPS Athletic Director makes $96,569 per year. Where are the sacrifices being made by district employees? Where is the compromise and attempt to find common ground? We’re still waiting for information on how much of our property and money was stolen from OUR school district by a district employee. How can we be expected to give more money to an administration that doesn’t do everything possible to account for the money we have already given?

I want to make sure we provide a world class education to our kids, my own daughters got that education here and I am proud of our community and school system. That’s why I am urging the pro-levy voices, along with their advocacy for good public education, to ask for some accountability, responsibility and shared sacrifice by the GFPS and employees. I believe this is the key. If we want to see the levy pass there has to be a GENUINE attempt by the school board, the administration and the teachers union to compromise, find solutions and work together, otherwise everyone will suffer the consequences. I stand ready to help in the effort in any way I can.

A couple of random musings

Cynical political tip #113:  Draft a bill, it can have anything at all in it as long as you’re sure the opposing party will vote against it, then call it either the “Fairness and Equality For The Kids Act” or the “America Super Patriot Hero of the Republic Act”. Then when all of your political foes vote against it because of the actual content of the bill (if they actually read it) you can say that they’re against “Fairness and equality for children” or they’re against “American patriotism” in your stupid, lying-ass, hypocritical, selfish, evil, cynical, expensive campaign ads.

Cost of the ACA – According to Great Falls Public Schools Superintendent Tammy Lacey about $500,000 of the proposed $1.6 million dollar school funding levy will be used for increased health insurance premiums for district employees. The increase, according to Lacey, is mostly due to the ACA mandates which lead to more claims thus requiring the districts insurance provider, Signa, to raise premiums. You can hear all of Ms. Laceys remarks on my radio show podcast here.  This is not necessarily a reason to vote against the levy but it is necessarily a reason to question all of the pie-in-sky claims originally made to sell ObamaCare

 

 

Local & Montana Blogs
Greater Falls
A.J. Tooley
Cataract City
Dave Budge
Electric City Weblog
2 Helena Handbaskets
Left in the West
Montana Headlines
Missoulapolis
ECW Archives