Lots Of Deceit With No Accountability…Are You As Tired Of This Shit As I Am, Missoula?

by Travis Mateer

I am so fucking tired of our elected officials. From our County Commissioners to our City Council members to our Mayor, they scheme, deceive, and when called out by desperate members of our community regarding housing, they shrug their shoulders and lament how fucking powerless they are.

Councilor Gwen Jones expressed discontent with the state Legislature, as did Engen.

“I would say the entire time I’ve been on council, we’ve been talking about affordable housing,” Jones said. “And I think there are many councilors who are beyond concerned about this and highly aware of the fact that we simply don’t have a lot of tools to address this.”

Yes, Gwen, you sure have been TALKING a lot, but what has any of that talking done to actually help people? My favorite part of Jones’ statement is when this lawyer who moved to Missoula from California tells her desperate constituents how TONE DEAF state legislators were this session:

“It’s beyond frustrating and frankly pretty tone deaf, if you ask me, of the Legislature to not give us more to work with when we’ve had this affordable housing issue continuing to be more and more serious and then have it simply blow up in front of our eyes with the pandemic,” she added.

And that’s how the article ends, with California Gwen scapegoating the pandemic and state legislators because accountability is for the plebes.

At the County level, our three Commissioners are probably hoping this amazing op-ed from Missoula citizen Mackenzie Smith doesn’t get too much traction because, if it does, there is going to be BIG TROUBLE for our scheming public officials.

Here is how the op-ed begins:

Emails released in a Freedom of Information Act request appear to show Missoula County commissioners using private partnerships to advance their projects in an effort to intentionally keep plans out of public view.

“We asked United Way to start convening to try to tackle this issue outride the public/media eye,” wrote Commissioners’ Office Chief Administrative Officer Chris Lounsbury to the three Missoula County commissioners in a March 27 email.

“We definitely want to structure this in a way to avoid media parachuting in and derailing product staff conversations,” replied District 2 Commissioner David Strohmaier.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Smith got hundreds of emails from her FOIA public records request and it exposes a level of deceit I’m actually impressed with. This is one of the TRUE functions of the public/private partnerships we keep hearing our elected officials touting. Here’s more from the op-ed:

The commissioners’ emails regarding the TSOS are riddled with this type of language and blatant desire to conceal their actions from the public and media. And with the aid of United Way of Missoula County, it appears they are able to do it.

I strongly encourage you to read the whole piece, it’s VERY illuminating, especially the last part:

Commissioner Strohmaier points out in a November 2020 email to his colleagues, that the constituents’ time to affect change is at the ballot box. The District 2 commissioner continues, “Folks can vote me out of office in two years!”

While Missoula County voters will have to wait until next year for the chance to put Dave Strohmaier in the unemployment line, our Mayor can be sent packing in just a few months, along with several of his Team Gentrify enablers.

My goal in the next few months is to make sure voters are AS INFORMED AS POSSIBLE regarding the Gentrification Dream Team and their plans to continue transforming Missoula into a playground for wealth.

So stay tuned…

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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4 Responses to Lots Of Deceit With No Accountability…Are You As Tired Of This Shit As I Am, Missoula?

  1. J. Kevin Hunt says:

    As our current POTUS, as Vice, was captured by a microphone saying to Mr. Obama just before a presser on passage of the ACA, “This is a big f*cking deal.”. As you are aware, I have been investigating Missoula government’s rather opaque handling of the housing emergency, and I recently propounded the hypothesis that the Engen/Nugent “no sleep, no lie, no loiter” ordinance may be part of a much larger scheme to line pockets of big development consortia, banksters, multimillionaires, et al,. That ordinance is facially unconstitutional but for one thing: the official non-enforcement of several ordinances on the TSOS site, thereby providing one place for houseless persons to sleep. The Engen/Nugent city ordinance serves to funnel houseless residents to the TSOS. It is at that point — the TSOS – that numerous enticing paths for investigation have a common trailhead. I very much desire to examine the documents. One question: the FOIA is a federal statute pertaining solely to federal documents. Many states, including Montana, have their own versions applicable to state government and political subdivisional bodies. Was this treasure trove of documents actually procured via request under the Montana Public Records Act – a statutory implementation of our state Constitution’s ‘Right to Know’ provision?

  2. John Wolverton says:

    However – I know this is not the point of the post – another take on the actions of the OpEd author is representative of a demographic that has the capacity for powerful and frequent NIMBY-ist responses that in essence are drives to keep poor people away from certain neighborhoods. Liberals of this town’s outer and wealthier neighborhoods are failing to recognize or are complicit in the corralling of affordable housing projects and social services into a narrow zone where they don’t have to see it or experience the uncomfortable effects. In a sense, setting a course to ghetto-ization.

    • you’re right, this post isn’t about NIMBYism, it’s about public officials hiding what they’re doing, and the reason they are hiding shit is NOT because they’re scared of NIMBYs, it’s because they know the optics of their public/private partnerships, like the incestuousness of who is involved and who benefits financially, is terrible and will get politicians voted OUT if the public actually knew what was really going on.

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