by Travis Mateer
Yesterday I stopped by Montana Glass to talk with Shawn Knopp, the fourth candidate who beat the filing deadline on Monday to run for Mayor. It had been years since I last spoke with Knopp in my capacity as the coordinator for the Poverello Center’s Homeless Outreach Team program, but he recognized me and greeted me with a smile and a handshake.
Back then the Poverello Center had something called a “good neighbor policy”. This policy extended the behavior-based rules to the immediate surrounding around the Poverello property, so if clients were causing repeated problems for neighbors they ran the risk of temporarily losing services.
When I parked my car outside Montana Glass I noted the activity bordering on chaos in and around the street between Knopp’s employer and the Pov. Since relocating to West Broadway in 2015, Knopp and his co-workers have had a front row seat witnessing the failure of our community to address addiction, mental illness and homelessness.
Here is how proximity to what Poverello clients are experiencing is ALREADY being viewed by one partisan as a potential indicator of Knopp’s politics:
In preparation to run against Engen’s political machine, Knopp took down his personal Facebook page precisely for the reason Pete Talbot exemplifies; sniveling partisans like Pete salivate over the prospect of finding a shared Qanon post or anything that can be depicted as racist. Sorry Pete!
In my conversation with Knopp, I offered to educate his campaign on the failures of Missoula’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, and which public officials and non-profit leaders are most responsible. Hello Susan Hay Patrick!
I also offered Knopp’s campaign my powers of vocalization when it comes to personally validating the challenges businesses like Montana Glass are facing BECAUSE OF their proximity to the homeless shelter, and if anyone wants to accuse me of hating on the homeless, well, they will get a VERY informed response.
If you want to hear my lovely voice articulate this kind of stuff with an EVEN MORE knowledgeable co-host on matters of the media and political campaigns, then please tune in to my podcast Zoom Town. Here is the latest episode, recorded and released yesterday.
I know it’s hard to pay attention to politics in such a beautiful place during the season we endure 9 months of winter for, but this local election cycle has the possibility of being engaging in some unexpected ways, so stay tuned.
And if you’re feeling generous, you can learn about how to support my work here.