Quick Hits, July Edition

by William Skink

Since I don’t have time to write more involved posts about the myriad issues swirling around that concern me, I’ll try to touch on a few of the issues briefly with the hope of writing more down the road.

The first issue I’ll mention is the problem of homeless camps around the Reserve Street bridge. After the fall clean-up last year homeless campers returned in numbers not seen since the first clean-up in 2013. In response, a clean-up is scheduled for August and from one of my contacts on this issue, police are having to more frequently go out there. Driving home today I saw a fire truck and two police cruisers parked along the Reserve Street bridge.

This week Missoula approved another annual tax increase. While Emily and Jon traded barbs, what isn’t being talked about by council members is the role of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) in keeping the benefit of development from expanding the value of the tax base. Dan Brooks has a good piece on the TIF scheme as it relates to the Marriott project downtown, but it just barely scratches the surface of TIF shenanigans. I definitely hope to write more on this topic soon.

At the state level, low revenue is going to trigger brutal cuts to DPHHS. How badly this is going to hurt people is not quite clear yet, but it’s going to be bad. Meanwhile, Montana’s Governor and the stupid partisans who support him seem to think it’s a good thing Steve is grooming himself for higher office. This ridiculous piece at Cowgirl made me want to puke. Here’s a taste:

News came last week that Steve Bullock has started a political action group to amplify his voice nationally and perhaps even lay groundwork for a run for president or senate. This welcome news to democrats in Montana and nationally. Bullock is one of the most popular governors in the nation and could also bring red-state progressive chops to the 2020 contest.

Amid this news, it’s hard to imagine how utterly frustrated Republicans must be by now, given that Democrats in Montana seem always to be led by star power, by politicians who get strong mention as presidential timber or otherwise are able capture the country’s imagination (Bullock, Schweitzer, Tester). The GOP, meanwhile, now must settle for Steve Daines and Greg Gianforte. Can you imagine any of these duds trying form a national PAC and get 2020 buzz?

When will the Governor find time to do his actual job while he travels around the country and makes cable news appearances? Montana Democrats sacrificed a lot to ensure Steve won his reelection. Beyond that election, Democrats in Montana got their asses kicked. With the State of Montana on fire and the most vulnerable getting hit with budget cuts, anything that takes the Governor away from his duties to the people of this state is going to be a dangerous distraction.

There is so much more I would like to delve into right now, but I just don’t have the time. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the contributors at Logicosity, a great blog turning out posts almost daily.

I’ll leave it there for now. Thanks for reading.

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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17 Responses to Quick Hits, July Edition

  1. steve kelly says:

    He is doing his “actual job,” which is convincing Montanans that Democrats aren’t fascists, like Republicans. Actor/governor. The “Red-State” bs is a nice touch, don’t you think? We’re a slave state, if a state at all. Resource colony is more like it. We export lots of unprocessed, natural materials to Asian markets on Buffett’s railroad, and guide, wine and dine tourists. The rest are government agents.

  2. Eric says:

    Gun owners have a memory as long as an elephant – does Bullock think we are ready to elect an anti-gunner to a national seat?

  3. Having Jon and Steve in charge of top national organizations cost us a lot during the lost election- think Lindeen, Romano, Laslovich. I can see Bullock challenge Daines in 2020, but we need our governor to stay focused on being our governor.

    That brings me back to the question of why isn’t the revenue pouring into the state’s bank account? Construction is completely nuts in the Flathead, unemployment is low and the tourists are packed in tight. Where is the money?

    • JC says:

      Republican legislators used inflated revenue projections to set the budget, and building in the cuts to be triggered if income was lower than projections. Easy way to do automatic cuts down the road and not have to pay a political price during the session. I think they learned this trick from the “sequestration” ploy Congress used.

      Basically, austerity voodoo has come home to roost in montana.

    • steve kelly says:

      Will Amanda Curtis challenge Sen. Tester in the primary?

      • Eric Coobs says:

        Nope. Unless she just wants to act the part of a primary challenger.

        The Montana Dems don’t grumble about Tester nearly as much as they did Max, yet when there was talk of running BS against him anybody doing the talking was slapped down.

  4. steve kelly says:

    Free will does not require the party’s blessing. This is not 2006, and Tester has never reached 50% in the general. I understand why Republicans vote for Tester. What’s more puzzling, is why urban Democrats do. Curtis certainly has a shot if she’s so inclined.

  5. Eric says:

    It’s an interesting scenario – but the HDIC – (Head Dems In Charge) of the party will never allow a serious primary challenge to Tester.

    And if Amanda Curtis pulled off a Kelleher and got the nomination, all her weird videos and anti-gun / anti late hunt votes, etc would sink her.

    Do you really think she’d do better here than Hillary did?

  6. steve kelly says:

    Bernie beat Hillary in the 2016 Montana presidential primary. Curtis vs. Tester in the 2018 Democratic primary is what I’m thinking, nothing more.

    • Eric Coobs says:

      I honestly think she could beat Tester in the primary.
      But I’d also bet she’s already been told to leave him alone.

      • steve kelly says:

        This is where Curtis fans could apply significant pressure to expose whatever’s being hidden in plain sight. Ask, and don’t stop until you get an answer. For God’s sake, even the circus elephants have been relieved of their duties to march — nose to butt — around in circles, single-file. What is wrong with the donkeys?

  7. The Timber Lobby did a nice feint, replacing Burns with Tester, making it seem like there had been a change of power. Will Timber allow a challenge to Tester? Perhaps a perfunctory run for sheep-dogging purposes, nothing more. Tester is too valuable an asset to Timber at this time.

  8. Eric says:

    I have changed my mind – according to Politico the Dems, the party of the rich, have already got $4.7 million dollars in Jon Testers re-election campaign.

    This means they haven’t learned a thing about policy, and there have been no leadership or direction changes.

    Tester will not have a serious primary challenger. He’s getting Baucus-type money now, and those donors expect him to keep his seat. As soon as they figure out who the GOP frontrunner is, the smear campaign will begin.

    • JC says:

      Well, tester could have one if the Dems didn’t stomp on one. As to GOP frontrunners, you don’t think that Rosendale is the front runner? Is there someone front-er than he that could come out of the shadows? You think Gianforte is stupid enough to test fate now that he’s going to have his mug shot pasted all over the next election?

  9. Eric says:

    JC it’s just too far out. Matt Rosendale just polled well in a State Election. But I expect the Dems will again promote a Libertarian candidate too, to get him under 50% along with Tester. Damn ! We just finished an election – its too soon!

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