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!