City Council Member Daniel Carlino Is Hopping On The Citizen Anger Over Riverfront Development, But To What End?

by Travis Mateer

Daniel Carlino, fresh off his razor-thin victory for City Council, hasn’t even been sworn in yet, but that isn’t stopping him from leaping into rhetorical action over the controversy that has erupted over the redevelopment of the Missoulian property, where hard copies of our pathetic newspaper once rolled off the presses.

Here’s how the Missoulian is framing Carlino’s insertion of himself into this controversy:

Daniel Carlino, who won a seat on the city council in the November election but hasn’t been sworn in yet posted on social media over the weekend about his opposition to the project.

“This development proposal doesn’t seem to match our community’s character or Missoulians’ values, so we must not let this be the start of a new wave of gentrification,” Carlino wrote on Instagram. “Although the City Council has already approved the rezone of this area and the developer has purchased the old Missoulian building, it’s not too late to stop this wave. It’s a great time to speak up!”

Before getting to the reaction from shameless gentrifiers like Gwen Jones, I’d like to know where Daniel Carlino was between October 2019 and February 2020 as Missoula locals, like drone whistleblower Brandon Bryant, flooded City Council chambers with their opposition to the use of Tax Increment Financing to enrich a Wisconsin transplant like Nick Checota while also exacerbating the housing crisis.

Actually, I know precisely what Daniel Carlino was doing during this uprising against TIF, he was hanging out with high school kids and railing against the ravages of climate change:

“We were lied to by our country. We’ve been ignored by the media, and all of our politicians have failed us,” said 22-year-old University of Montana Environmental Studies Student and Public Service Commission candidate Dan Carlino said.

“We’re in a war with the United States government for climate justice.”

See? Carlino couldn’t be bothered with gentrification in 2019 because he was busy waging a war with the United States government for climate justice, so even though he might have made an appearance before City Council, it certainly wasn’t to get into the nitty gritty of Tax Increment Financing and the abuses of the Engen regime.

Now that Carlino is chomping at the bit to stop what he claims is a “new wave of gentrification”, why criticize his approach? Shouldn’t I be happy to have another ally in the fight against an entrenched political elite?

Daniel Carlino was far from being an ally during the time period I referenced because one of the main voices in opposition to the use of TIF was Jesse Ramos, a conservative City Council member. Developing leftist bonafides seemed more important to Carlino than finding common cause with a conservative at that time.

Another politically active individual from that time period (by the name of J. Kevin Hunt) was NOT afraid to make common cause with Jesse Ramos, but he paid a price for this strategic alliance. Ironically, the vessel who brought political retribution to Hunt during his City Council run was Daniel Carlino’s girlfriend, Maggie Bornstein.

I tried providing a teachable moment for young activists like Maggie Bornstein, but I don’t think my perspective was well received. Oh well.

Now, with all that context out of the way, let’s take a look at the responses to Carlino’s political exploitation of citizen anger on this issue. First, here’s a little perspective from Gwen Jones, the infamous ice queen who uses her time on Council to look up dirt on activists in the hopes of putting the scary ones in jail:

Councilor Gwen Jones, who represents Ward 3–which includes the Missoulian property–said many people appear to think that the council somehow has the power to block the development.

She’s received 40 emails and many of her fellow council members spent the weekend responding to people, she said.

“Our focus is that there is a lot of misinformation regarding what council can and cannot do, and how these projects come about,” she said. “We have no tool to change the design, change the developer or require affordable housing. He have no tool to do that.”

At this point, with this particular development, Gwen Jones is probably correct that there is nothing that can be done to stop a piece of shit like Aaron Wagner from building luxury condos on the Hip Strip. Even when City Council DID HAVE LEVERAGE for another Bergquist-connected development down the street from this condo-atrocity in-the-making, they squandered the opportunity and any remaining goodwill from Missoula citizens who have come to understand their precarious position in this increasingly unaffordable Zoom Town.

If Carlino wasn’t paying attention to what was happening back then, he should have been, because now he’s in the crosshairs of propagandists like Gomer Kidston, the creator of the online news journal, the Missoula Current, who wrote this (emphasis mine):

Opponents have waged a small social media campaign in recent days pushing to stop the development. Among them, the area’s newly elected member to the City Council, Daniel Carlino, has posted misleading information out on social media, suggesting the project could be stopped.

In a tweet, he suggested “our community can stop this wave of gentrification.” Carlino, who has not been sworn into office but claims on his Twitter account to already represent Ward 3, included the mayor’s office number and the email contact of the developer in an attempt to drum up opposition to the project ahead of Monday night.

Engen on Monday said state law – not emotions – guide the city’s decisions.

“Rezoning of that property has been done. The prior zoning only allowed for a newspaper to operate at that site. When the council approved new zoning, it created opportunities for redevelopment,” Engen said.

Mayor Engen and his enablers have been at this game for 16 years. When Engen was first sworn in, Daniel Carlino was just 8 years old, and now this DSA acolyte is assuming he can lead local opposition to combat the gentrification schemes of his fellow Democrats.

Opposing gentrification isn’t just some opportunity for a young politician to bolster his resume for his next campaign, it’s an ACTUAL THREAT to the lives of thousands of Missoulians who are barely making it now, and can’t continue absorbing the spiraling costs of living in a highly desirable Zoom Town like Missoula.

I hope Carlino remembers that as he wages his little anti-gentrification campaign on social media.

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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5 Responses to City Council Member Daniel Carlino Is Hopping On The Citizen Anger Over Riverfront Development, But To What End?

  1. TC says:

    Like a soothing lullaby it was comforting to read Gomer immediately defending the Mayor/Council gentrifiers. It had to come as a shock to Young Carlino that a local media outlet would accuse him of propagating falsehoods. Im sure Carlino assumed that he would have allies among the local liberal media. Welcome to Missoula Danny.
    The ship has sailed on this project – it will happen. Perhaps Carlino can turn his attention to ensuring that Ellen (MRA) doesnt rush in with millions of TIF dollars to help it happen. We both know thats coming and we both know Gwen will be right there with justifications why Missoula needs to pay for its further demise (to the commoners I mean)

    • I wish we had time for Daniel to learn that leftists only exist at the behest of their neoliberal backers, but we don’t. If I could only package my decade + of disillusionment into a consumable product, like a documentary, then maybe a broader audience will finally see what’s been happening here, and who benefits.

      • says:

        it’s not the project… It’s the investor group. Not sure how Carlino comes in to play with an investor group that are nothing but Trump like grifters …. look up WagsCapital…. if you think this is the kind of money you want in Missoula. Look at all his projects for a large construction of this type ….. there are zero. Do your homework

  2. You don’t know Daniel Carlino, weren’t privy to his thoughts and positions, had no contact with him during the last election, and this hit piece belittling him due to his youth is yellow journalism.

    I appreciate your referrence to the price I paid for friendship and strategic alliance with Jesse Ramos on common concerns such as dishonest use of TIF, and yes, there is irony in the leadership of the defamation campaign against me having been promoted by one half of a couple, the other half who is a friend an ally.

    I likewise took a great deal of bashing over my friendship, acquaintanceship and blog correspondence with you. That arose when I respectfully criticized you for swatting a fly with an atomic flyswatter, and the fly took my comments as misogyny and demeaning bullying. In no time, I was the number one target of the Hillary Clinton gaggle of the Msla. Dems and I was subjected to harassment, trolling, libel, slander, false light privacy invasion and the most outrageous breach of decorum I’ve ever witnessed in any Democratic Central Committee. My political crucifixion by the Dems was sparked by the swatted fly but as it happens was fueled by my friendship and alliance with a Sanders Democrat who fought to reform the party and end the improprieties of Third Way Clintonites supported by K Street who took over the central committee E-Board. A long and very acrimonious internecine struggle ensued during which my friend and his ally sued the Msla Dems and its Chair. After I lost endorsement by the Dems for the Ward 1 race (they endorsed the Checota-supported candidate and the ultimate winner Ms. Savage) by oine vote following a proceeding in which the defamer Hilbots voted against my enodorsement in a roll call by yelling such thihgs as “HELL, NO” and otherwise behaved like hyenas, I was informed by one of the entrenched elites that if anyone other than that frioend of miine had made the motion to endorse me, I would have been endorsed. My comrades in DSA then declined to endorse me, which I was informed was in large part due to my being associated with you. (Six out of 93 DSA members attended the virtual meeting at which my endorsement was rejected).

    So you see, Travis, whereas you lament “cancel culture,” it seems that you may be egaging in it by making your demeaning anti-Carlino statements here. I know him fairly well, and had canvassing help from his team. He is not a Johnny-come-lately to the gentrification/economic cleansing issue, became very educated about it during the campaign, and stands ready and willing to be an independent voice on the Council, supportive of this cause.

    And now that such a person has been elected (SO WHAT that it was a close race?), here you are insulting him. Cashhoyt is correct: you didn’t do your homework on this one.

    You turned tail on my campaign because I don’t subscribe to your rejection of the pandemic and the response thereto. That’s your prerogative. I’ve seen fit, despite that, to re-engage with you here, and to praise and encourage your work unmasking the oligarchs.

    Knowing that Mr. Carlino and I are allies, you could have at least ventured an attempt to seek my take on him; but more to the point, you could have asked him, directly. In view of all of the complicated “cancel culture” BS in the background, he might have declined to speak with you. I’ve no idea. I only know that you’ve quite inaccurately and unfairly demeaned him here. Given that we’ve had only one, part-time ally on the council during this struggle and that he didn’t run for re-election, it’s a drag that a new councilperson willing to stand up even if he stands alone, now has to put up with bashing from someone purporting to champion the same cause.

    • I’m glad you are enjoying your commenting privileges, which I re-instated despite your inability to call me and engage in a direct conversation with me. And kudos for defending little Danny and his little girlfriend, who kicked your ass, figuratively speaking. I’m sure they will return the favor when you need it 😉

      What I know about Danny is that he also couldn’t be bothered to directly communicate with me, instead choosing to message me in May, asking me to remove a post that reflected poorly on his girlfriend. Remember that, Kevin? That was back when you still saw value in speaking with me like an adult, and not some long-winded blog critic.

      And, just to be clear, it’s more than a disagreement that we have over the pandemic. You support the power of the state to coerce me and my family into a medical intervention we DO NOT WANT, while I support my right to JUST SAY NO.

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