by Travis Mateer
This week’s episode of Zoom Town, which I will post later this morning, is a continued conversation about the Reserve Street homeless camps and how this issue could impact local elections.
Since the filing period for candidates goes through June, the dynamics could change a lot between now and summer. For example, according to the Missoulian, Rebecca Dawson is challenging Jordan Hess for representation of Ward 2, and a member of law enforcement, Bob Campbell, is now challenging incumbent Stacie Anderson for Ward 5.
Here is quote from Campbell about why he’s running:
“The controlling city leadership insists on a path that is set to work against working families–an insatiable appetite to grow government, stifle small business in the midst of a pandemic, and the gentrification of an entire generation of Missoulians–hardly a Missoula that works for everyone,” Campbell said in an op-ed to the Missoulian announcing his run.
In Ward 4 Alan Ault announced he’ll be running against Jim Nugent’s son, Mike Nugent, who works for Berkshire Hathaway home services AND is Vice President of United Way’s board:
One of the races I’ll be most interested in covering is the battle for Ward 1 between J. Kevin Hunt and Jennifer Savage. Savage, a communication specialist (propagandist?), will have her hands full crafting a viable message to successfully counter Hunt’s articulate concern about what his hometown has experienced during Engen’s reign. Here is Hunt in his own words from the Missoulian:
“Those very wealthy and powerful interests are well-represented on the City Council and their influence has depressed local wages, displaced people from affordable apartments and mobile homes, threatened to dispossess older Missoulians from their homes due to skyrocketing property taxes driven by TIF projects, decimated urban farmland and open space, and too often entailed secretive dealings, little oversight and Orwellian double-speak,” Hunt said in an email. “I am running to end that influence over the Council and to foster local government that is clean, lean and green.
This election cycle is going to be unlike any Missoula has ever experienced. People are scared and financially squeezed in ways they never could have imagined a year and a half ago.
And what have our community leaders done during this difficult time? Have they adjusted their development goals during this supposed crisis, or have they continued business as usual, throwing public money at butterfly houses and Covid cash at strapped State Senators like Ellie Boldman (no longer) Smith?
I hope a reckoning is coming for the Mayor and his stable of enablers, but I’m not going to sit around twiddling my thumbs waiting for that to happen. Instead I’m going to make sure my fellow Missouians have AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE regarding how these political players have been operating over the past decade.
So stay tuned…