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

Sports Xtra: Scores and Video for Oct 25

High School Football Scores

 

Belgrade 35, Frenchtown 14

Bigfork 48, Thompson Falls 0

Billings Central 46, Hardin 7

Billings Skyview 35, Helena Capital 14

Bozeman 43, Missoula Hellgate 0

Butte Central 41, Hamilton 6

Choteau 38, Cut Bank 8

Colstrip 28, Baker/Plevna 22

Columbia Falls 43, Polson 6

Columbus 25, Red Lodge 24

Custer-Hysham 52, Reed Point-Rapelje 0

Dillon 48, Corvallis 21

Ennis 58, Twin Bridges 21

Fairfield 43, Shelby 0

Flint Creek 46, Arlee 16

Glasgow/Hinsdale/Nashua 34, Conrad 12

Great Falls CMR 42, Billings West 31

Havre 62, Browning 0

Huntley Project 21, Shepherd 19

Jefferson (Boulder) 33, Manhattan 12

Kalispell Glacier 58, Great Falls 0

Laurel 39, Glendive 7

Lewistown (Fergus) 49, Livingston 14

Miles City 20, Sidney 7

Missoula Loyola 13, Deer Lodge 7

Missoula Sentinel 28, Kalispell Flathead 14

Mon-Dak 58, Froid/Medicine Lake 12

Park City 42, Absarokee 12

Power-Dutton-Brady 35, Gardiner 26

Ronan 41, Florence 6

Roundup 48, Joliet 13

Simms 98, Centerville 8

Sunburst 48, Valier 33

Townsend 54, Whitehall 7

Wallace, Idaho 52, Superior 30

Whitefish 45, Libby 0



KRTV 10pm Top Stories-Fri Oct 24

Washington school shooting: A suburban Seattle high school student is dead, several classmates critically hurt after a fellow student opened fire in a cafeteria Friday.   Click here to read more.

Barry Beach case: Attorney for convicted killer Barry Beach are asking the Montana Supreme Court to toss out Beach's original sentence.   Click here to read more.

SUPCO mailer update: Senator Jon Tester is calling for investigations into whether the mailers regarding Montana's Supreme Court races violated federal law.   Click here to read more.

Election office relocation: The general election is prompting the Cascade County Elections Office to temporarily move its headquarters to Montana ExpoPark.

 



KRTV Evening Top News - Fri Oct 24

GREAT FALLS -- Top news on KRTV for the evening of Friday, October 24, 2014:

- Attorneys for Barry Beach have started a new legal effort on behalf of the 52-year-old Montana State Prison inmate, who is serving a 100 year sentence for the 1979 murder of Poplar teen Kimberly Nees; they assert that the sentence imposed in 1984 was unconstitutional because Beach was a juvenile when Nees was murdered. Click here to read more.

- Jaylen Fryberg has been identified as the teen who opened fire at a high school near Seattle; he shot five people, killing one. Fryberg then shot and killed himself. Click here to read more.

- U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) weighed in on campaign mailers that that arrived in Montana this week under the guise of voter information guides. Tester said the mailers "apparently (are) part of a so-called research project that uses Montana elections as a political laboratory experiment." Click here for details.

- A court challenge to many of Montana's campaign laws has failed, at least for now. A group called Montanans For Community Development filed suit in September challenging several laws. Federal judge Dana Christenson denied an injunction that would have suspended the laws. The Indiana and Bozeman lawyers behind the lawsuit filed notice Thursday they would appeal the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Christensen said in his order that the lawsuit's demands were "breathtaking" in scope, and that public's right to know who is financing campaigns outweighs the burdens imposed by the campaign laws.

- Farmers from across the state are gathered in Great Falls for the 99th annual Montana Farmers Union meeting. On the agenda: transportation issues, food labeling, and the federal farm bill. Click here to read more.

- The Farm Bill was the focus of a listening session for farmers and ranchers at the Montana Grain Growers Association in Great Falls. MGGA vice president Lola Raska says gatherings like such as this are important to help grain growers understand the new bill and how it applies to their farms. She says the Montana Grain Growers Association played an active role in developing the new commodity programs in the bill, and an especially big role in the individual Agriculture Risk Coverage Program or ARC.

 



GFHS Delphian Choir wins 2nd place in national competition

GREAT FALLS -- Years of hard work for the the Delphian Choir of Great Falls High School is paying off as they are getting some national recognition.

For the last few years, choir director Patrick Ryan and the students have been working hard at making this choir what it is today.

They are dedicated to building quality of character in its members through experiences in music.

Ryan decided to take some of the recordings the choir has done and submitted them for The American Prize - and they earned second place in their division.

Delphian Choir assistant director Kathleen Brown says that when the group found out they had made it all the way to finals, they were shocked and thrilled.

Brown said, "It's kind of like the Grammys for choir and they have choir, orchestra, band, and I believe they have opera. But it's for not only high school, but we also competed with colleges and universities as well. And so to get second place we were just thrilled. I mean it's a very big honor."

The group hopes to be able to put in for more awards and be able to perform at some more national competitions.

Delphian Choir's next performance will be December 8 and 9 at 7pm at Great Falls High School.


(October 21, 2014) The Delphian Choir of Great Falls High School won second place in the youth and high school chorus division of The American Prize competition.

A press release from American Choir Directors Association says that the choir was selected from applications reviewed during the summer from across the United States.

The American Prize is a series competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings.

The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually in several areas of the performing arts.

The Delphian Choir consists of 40 students, sophomores through seniors, and membership is by audition.

Among the judges' comments about the Delphian Choir performance: ".... wonderful maturity, connectivity, and sensitivity...evident in this submission."

The Young Women's Chorus of San Francisco took the top spot in the competition.

 



"Campaign mailers" for Montana Supreme Court race continue to cause controversy

HELENA -- U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) on Friday weighed in on a campaign mailer that that arrived in Montana this week under the guise of voter information guides.

The mailers were part of a research project organized by political science professors at Dartmouth College and Stanford University.

Tester said the mailers "apparently (are) part of a so-called research project that uses Montana elections as a political laboratory experiment."

In a letter to the presidents of Dartmouth College and Stanford University, Tester calls the mailers "misleading" and seeking to "inject partisanship into non-partisan Montana Supreme Court elections."

The mailers arrived in mailboxes this week and are labeled as "2014 Montana General Election Voter Information Guide" and use the official Seal of the State of Montana.

Tester says that the schools may have violated state and federal law, and wants the universities disclose all funding sources for the mailers.

"Your academic institutions apparently approved and sponsored this project, which was apparently undertaken without the knowledge or consent of the people of Montana or its state and local election officials," Tester wrote to Stanford president John Hennessy and Dartmouth president Philip Hanlon.

The flyers say they are referencing an academic database to identify the ideologies of the four candidates in Montana's two Supreme Court races.

One of the races, between incumbent Justice Michael Wheat and challenger Lawrence VanDyke, is widely regarded in the state as a potentially close contest.

A Stanford spokeswoman apologized Thursday for any confusion the mailers may have caused.

Stanford Associate and Vice President for University Communications Lisa Lapin said the university is investigating the project and is "conducting an inquiry into the facts of the matter" and whether proper academic protocols were followed.

She did not explain how the project was funded, but noted the project approved by the Dartmouth Institutional Review Board.

MTN asked Dartmouth about the mailer Friday morning, including how it was funded and whether Dartmouth would join in Stanford's apology and investigation. Dartmouth has not yet responded.

Lapin said the project intended to gauge voter response to such mailers, in this case, giving information in a non-partisan race by sending the mailers only to selected precincts, and then comparing voter turnout and behavior in the precincts that received the mailers against those that did not.

The flyers reference Stanford's Database on Ideology, Money in Politics, and Elections (DIME).

The professors named on DIME's website in connection with the experiment are Adam Bonica and Jonathan Rodden of Stanford and Kyle Dropp of Dartmouth.

Lapin, the Stanford spokeswoman, said about 100,000 fliers were sent to Montana and another 210,000 to voters in New Hampshire and California.

It was not clear Friday afternoon exactly who paid for the printing and postage for the mailers.

Tester also wrote to the nation's chief postal inspector, asking for an investigation into whether the mailers violate the federal Deceptive Mailings Prevention Act of 1990.

Also Friday, Montana Secretary of State Linda McCulloch filed a complaint with the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices over the use of the state seal, which would be a violation of state law. Her complaint notes that individuals or groups engaging in political activity must register with the Commissioner of Political Practices, which this group has not done.

McCulloch also accuses the project organizers of impersonating a public servant with the mailer that she says resembles an official state document; another law she cites prohibits the dissemination of misleading or incorrect election procedures information.



Martinez charged with raping drunk teen

GREAT FALLS -- Joseph John Martinez, 18 years old, has been charged with sexual intercourse without consent, a felony, after police officers found him partially clothed with a drunk and nearly-naked 15-year-old girl passed out in the bed next to him.

Police were called to the house on 7th Avenue NW for a noise complaint on Thursday night; officers found a juvenile male trying to hide in the house, but he eventually came out and spoke to them, and said that he was the owner of the residence.

Charging documents say the juvenile male told police he was having a "small gathering of friends" and that noise was caused by several girls who had just left. He told police that everything was fine, but there were still a few people in the home, including one girl who was passed out inside.

Police reported that is when they noticed Martinez in the bedroom with the girl who was "very incoherent and very intoxicated."

Martinez was lying next to the girl and was not wearing pants. Officers also noted that there was vomit on the floor nearby.

A witness told police that he found Martinez and the girl in the bedroom earlier and that they appeared to be having sex; he said that he tried to intervene, but Martinez would not stop. The witness told officers that the girl was in no condition to consent to sex due to how drunk she was.

The girl was taken to Benefis hospital by ambulance for treatment of alcohol poisoning.

Martinez reportedly told officers that he did not know the girl and "hoped that she was at least sixteen."

The charging document states that Martinez has convictions for criminal possession of drug paraphernalia and obstructing a peace officer.

He also had warrants out for his arrest on a failure to appear in court.



Blog: A week of solar activity

Thank you for dropping into the STORMTracker Weather blog.

After a partial solar eclipse yesterday, the big yellow ball had more activity up it's sleeve. This week, a large sunspot (roughly the size of Jupiter), has ammassed 27 C-class flares, 9 M-class flares, and 2 X-class flares (for the categorization of solar flare groups check out the Richter Scale of Solar Flares ).

The most intense of these flares came between 10 and 11 a.m. EDT according to the Associated Press. Although it posed no threat to humans, the X1.6 flare did disrupt certain radio communications earlier today.

Solar Flare

The sunspot, AR2192, is becoming large enough to be seen by the naked eye...however, if planning to obtain pictures or simply try to see it, be sure to take precautionary measures such as filtered glasses and lenses.

Sun Spot

Have a great evening!

-Zack



Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center hosting "Voices In The Shadows"

GREAT FALLS -- The Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center is turning down the lights for its 13th annual "Voices In The Shadows" presentation.

This year's presentation, called "Coming Home," focuses on the last few months of the expedition during 1806 after the Corps of Discovery reached the Pacific Ocean.

Guests will be guided through the interpretive center exhibits by candle-light, where they will meet various members of the expedition helping to bring history to life.

"It's a chance to get a personal angle on the story of Lewis and Clark," explained Jeff LaRock, Interpretive Center interim manager. "You can read history, we can tell you about history, but when you've got the person there telling you, it adds a little bit of an extra piece to it, and when you're doing it in the dark by candle-light it gives you a very special atmosphere"

Tours are running on Friday and Saturday night, and again on October 29th and November 1st.

The event is free but guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Great Falls Community Food Bank.

For more information or to reserve a spot, call 727-8733.



Great Falls is hosting annual Montana Farmers Union meeting

GREAT FALLS -- Farmers from across the state are gathered in Great Falls for the 99th annual Montana Farmers Union meeting.

Montana Farmers Union vice president Rollie Schlepp says that they will be taking care of some normal organization business with developing policy and resolutions. These will be used throughout the next year to lobby in the state and national legislatures.

A few of the topics that will be discussed at this year's meeting will be transportation issues, food labeling, and the federal farm bill.

Schlepp explained, "The farm bill is passed by Congress and it usually spans a three, four, or five-year period. It outlines all the programs that are available to all the farms and ranchers. They sign up their farms and ranches to participate in the program. Things have changed and it is going to be a learning process for all farmers and ranchers in the near-term because we have deadlines to sign up. It helps us to plan for the future and at this state what's coming."

The meeting will continue Saturday at the Heritage Inn;  members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Here is the schedule for Saturday:

Jeff & Katie Bangs, Farmers Union Enterprises Leadership couple, share their experiences of the past year.

MT Lieutenant Governor Angela McLean keynotes the Education Luncheon.

Workshops:

Ron de Yong, Director of MT Department of Agriculture, will share Past Accomplishments & Future Endeavors.

Dr. Nate Bickford, University of Great Falls and Mike Dalton, Sunburst Unlimited, will discuss their individual work in expanding local food availability and beginning farmer opportunities through community gardening and aquaculture growing experiments.

Bill Evans, Director of the Chouteau County FSA, will discuss the Nuts & Bolts of the Farm Bill.

Hertha Lund, Lund Law, will present a White Paper on Fracking in Montana, and Melissa Hornbein, attorney for the Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation, will relate the latest information about water compacts in the state.

Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union president, keynotes the MFU members banquet that will feature Montana grown and raised food.

In addition to the extensive educational opportunities offered by the convention, MFU youth will be recognized for their leadership development throughout the year, a carnival and silent auction will benefit MFU educational programs and scholarships, and the Ringling 5 will top off Saturday evening.

 



Surveillance video released of suspect in Bozeman school fire

BOZEMAN -- An early morning fire at Heritage Christian School in Bozeman on Friday is being investigated as "suspicious."

The Gallatin County Sheriff's Office has released video and photos from surveillance cameras of a possible suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 406-582-2121 or Crime Stoppers at 406-586-1131.

The fire was located in the same area of the gym as a fire that damaged the school in 2012, according to the superintendent of Heritage Christian School.

School officials cancelled classes for the day. They will continue assessing the scene over the weekend to determine if classes will be held on Monday.

Rae-Sourdough and Bozeman Fire Department were called to the scene of the fire, which was reported between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.

The Heritage Christian School superintendent says the fire was small and located in the gym; it is not yet known how much damage the fire caused.

The 2012 fire was investigated as arson and closed the school for several months.



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!

Bloof Witzer & Walsh in a Sityourbuttdown Room interview

Recently Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People John Walsh, Democrat from Montana, sat down with CNN’s Bloof Witzer on his show “The Sityourbuttdown Room” to discuss revelations that Walsh plagiarized a research paper required for his masters degree.

Bloof: Thank you for coming on the show Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People Walsh.

Walsh: I want to thank you for letting me be myself again.

Bloof: Sure. Tell us a little about yourself.

Walsh: My home’s in Montana I wear a bandana my spurs are of silver my pony is gray While riding the ranges my luck never changes.

Bloof: Well, your luck may have changed a little here recently, but before we get into that please tell our viewers a little about your political beliefs.

Walsh: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Bloof: Okay. Tell us a little about your philosophy on life and how it is that you have become a successful Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People.

Walsh: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day. Oh, and he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

Bloof: A recent New York Times piece has revealed that you apparently plagiarized a large portion of a research paper required to get your masters degree. What do you say to those who criticize you for doing that?

Walsh: To err is human, to forgive divine and God helps them that help themselves. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

Bloof: But some say that plagiarism is a dis-qualifier for a Senate candidate, what say you?

Walsh: It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

Bloof: Okay, let’s talk about a few issues. Ukraine; what are your views concerning the rebel separatists there and their attempt to break from Ukraine.

Walsh: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Bloof: How about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel?

Walsh: Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

Bloof: Wait a minute, are you saying that Palestine is actually the ancient homeland of the Jews and is their possession by birthright?

Walsh: It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

Bloof: Hmmm…well, let’s talk about the crisis on our southern border, what would you do to solve the problems down there?

Walsh: You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas. God bless Texas. Ay carumba and uhm, er…out in the west Texas town of El Paso I fell in love with a Mexican girl.

Bloof: What? Okay, ahhh..what are your own personal thoughts about allegations that the President has overreached and is violating the Constitution through executive fiat?

Walsh: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Bloof: Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before. Oh well, wrapping things up now, how do you intend to handle these latest revelations that you plagiarized to earn a degree and what do you say to allegations coming from some that it proves that you’re either too dumb, lazy, dishonest or all three to be a U.S. Senator?

Walsh: Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! I have not yet begun to fight! Give me liberty or give me death! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you like pina coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain! Hey macarena!

Bloof: Wow, sounds like you have some real deeply held convictions here, straight from the heart. Care to leave our viewers with a final word?

Walsh: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time…er oops, I mean NO COMMENT.

Bloof: Thank you for joining us today on “The Sityourbuttdown Room” Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People Walsh.

Walsh: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal….

Bloof: Cut his microphone, cut it…

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.

 

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