It’s A Small World, Missoula County Communications Edition

by Travis Mateer

UPDATE: Well, this is embarrassing. I got the relationship between Justin Franz and Alison Franz wrong, which is the whole point of the post. I apologize for the incorrect, sloppy work and will leave this here as a reminder to double check details before hitting the publish button.

While Montana is a BIG state, geographically speaking, we are tiny when it comes to the population department. Even with Missoula’s gentrification/development trends on steroids (thanks to an inland migration of people fleeing west coast cities) we are still a small community.

Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.

Before starting my own podcast, which features an interview that brings up disturbing questions regarding the death of Sean Stevenson, I was interviewed for the Project 7 Podcast about David Burgert, the still at-large (and presumed dead, by some) fugitive on the FBI’s most wanted list.

One of the creators of this podcast, Justin Franz, is a former Flathead Beacon reporter and current freelance writer for the Montana Free Press. Here is his journalistic pedigree from the MFP website:

Justin Franz is a freelance writer, photographer and editor based in Whitefish. Originally from Maine, he is a graduate of the University of Montana’s School of Journalism and worked for the Flathead Beacon for nine years. His work has appeared in the Washington Post, Seattle Times and New York Times.

If you follow Franz on Twitter you will discover he LOVES trains. Why would this be a significant detail to mention? Well, because another guy who loves trains, and is aggressively pushing Missoula County to get behind passenger rail, is Missoula County Commissioner, Dave Strohmaier.

And who does Dave Strohmaier rely on for communications coordination? That would be Alison Franz, Missoula County’s Communication Coordinator, a believer in government transparency, and wife of train enthusiast, Justin Franz.

I ALSO think trains are interesting, like the history of Chinese labor exploitation and political corruption that came west with the rails. The Germans also loved trains, and many good Germans worked hard to make sure those trains were effective in transporting…stuff. What kind of stuff? Good Germans knew not to ask too many questions.

Corruption and trains are so closely intertwined that season 2 of True Detective built its entire storyline around a shady, billion dollar California high-speed rail project. In that show, which is totally just dramatized fiction and nothing like the real world, cops are just as disposable as the woman who work the sex parties.

In the real world, if homeless people were being used as disposable humans for larger political aims, I’m sure a believer in government transparency and her “free press” freelancer husband would want to help a reluctant citizen journalist get to the truth of what happened and what is happening in their community.


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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3 Responses to It’s A Small World, Missoula County Communications Edition

  1. James House says:

    That’s a fascinating tale you’ve spun, but you missed one important detail. Justin is married to a woman named Ashley. It was a fun wedding.

    • I don’t usually make such big mistakes, so thank you for correcting my incorrect assumption which I failed to double check. I have updated the post to reflect my screw up.

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