City Water Company Story-Dump On The Eve Of Christmas Eve

by Travis Mateer

In Missoula we didn’t always own our water infrastructure, but we’re sure paying for our water company now. And paying. And paying. And paying.

Why? Is it because the multinational entity that owned the company–the Carlyle Group–were a bunch of BIG MEANIES that punished Missoula unnecessarily? Or was our drunk-ass Mayor engaging in a totally fucked “negotiation” that resulted in a MORE costly process of acquiring this critical community asset?

In support of that latter scenario, here’s what Adam Hertz said on Facebook. For those who don’t remember, Hertz was the ONLY City Councilperson to vote NO at the time.

It’s VERY convenient that this story came out yesterday, or the eve of Christmas eve. Even though locals are busy with holiday preparations, I doubt this story will be memory-holed, especially considering we don’t even know the financial damage yet.

What is the cost of NOT owning our water company, our illuminated braintrust will say? I don’t know, what’s the cost of NOT helping some of the most difficult-to-help homeless people?

That latter topic will be a special podcast episode I’ll be publishing tomorrow, on Christmas Day. Not only will I be providing my perspective, I’ll also be including a 20 minute conversation I recorded yesterday evening with “Harley”, an infamous street character who spent five years in prison after stabbing “Mud Duck” in 2015.

Here’s the story from the incident:

A transient who nearly killed a man in a Reserve Street Bridge camp stabbing in February is back on the streets after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor assault. 

The initial felony assault charge against Glen Harley Stephens, 57, was amended to the lesser charge after prosecutors tracked down the victim, Arthur Halks, and discovered he could not remember the Feb. 21 stabbing that almost ended his life.

Halks, nicknamed “Mud Duck,” was stabbed three times – once in the bicep, once in the chest and once in the groin. Emergency doctors later said the groin wound was a mere inch away from his femoral artery.

Chief Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks explained that Stephens said the stabbing was in self-defense and prosecutors couldn’t prove it was unprovoked if the victim – the only witness in the case – couldn’t remember the attack. 

“I don’t know what is causing his memory issues, but he couldn’t remember,” Marks said.

Harley and I don’t discuss this incident specifically, even though he DOES tell a completely different story about why he was sent to prison, but the conversation is an interesting peek into the mindset of a street person nonetheless.

It’s also worth asking, what happens to the people who the Poverello Center CANNOT serve? If Harley got into a fight at the shelter, resulting in his being kicked out, then what are his options?

The Poverello Center recently held a vigil for those who died while homeless in Missoula in 2021. While the number of people varied between 21 and 22 people, I couldn’t find a list of actual names.

Harley’s plan was to sleep outside last night. More than likely he’ll be spending some time in the hospital. Or maybe he’ll commit a crime serious enough to get three hots and a cot for Christmas.

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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3 Responses to City Water Company Story-Dump On The Eve Of Christmas Eve

  1. TC says:

    I agree with you that this story (water drama) will be difficult to ghost. Doesn’t mean that an effort won’t be made though. It has not yet been reported by the “paper of record” Missoulian. Since there is no paper tomorrow it will be Sunday, at the earliest, that the Missoulian will divulge this story. That at least gives Merriam/Strauss a few days to craft the proper narrative. It will burnish Engen’s credentials of benevolent leadership and will stress how John “Everyman” fought the evil Corporation on our behalf. This is important as the Missoulian is the only local media that accepts citizen comments on articles. Therefore, it is very important that the message be crafted just so to try to limit blow-back.
    Finally, I laughed then and laugh now at the narcissistic arrogance Engen displayed during these “negotiations” (perhaps they included liquid courage?). His thought that his J School education and a few years leading a small town would put him on equal footing as a global corp (w/former US SOS on board) was absurdly naive! He, at one point, even alluded to the Old West trope that a handshake (or arm around the shoulder) was as good as a contract. And that this whole affair would only cost about $400 K in the legal battle. Hilarious!
    Merry Christmas !

    • Merry Christmas! I hope all the lawyers who made shit-tons of money have remembered to give their mistresses and pocket-politicians some extra gifts this year in honor of the public/private relationships that keep our fair town thriving for the right people.

  2. Ulrigg Johnnie says:

    I see his plan here he was holding his breath until this 300 million was going to be awarded to the city and he would have had a big parade talking about how fantastic his negotiating skills were but he would have come out 300 million that would have more than paid the water company did and then gave them a nice flat chunk of money to split up between all the contingency payments for the lawyers

    Again eight lawyers on staff I don’t believe they use them for this water case Natasha printing Jones or Tasha Jones as she goes by now

    What is 30% of 300 million

    So you see how he was going to fat in the pockets of everyone and look like the hero when he won his lawsuit but unfortunately Karen Townsend didn’t make this decision

    I’m all for us owning the water company too but I’d like to see a transparent accountability of how the money was spent especially when they do Klondike crap like this

    If these lawyers are truly being paid on the contingency it won’t cost us anything right

    Except the payments to take care of Carlisle’s lawyers

    Can negotiated from a power position because he knew Karen towns and would give him exactly what he wanted the fix was in before they spent the millions and millions and millions and he thought he was going to get this lawsuit he would look like the biggest hero on Earth sued the big mean bully and one 300 million dollars

    Can anybody tell me what Missoula cities intrinsic value monetarily is because I like my 10% of that

    Cuz God knows 20 years of psyops and abuse of a citizen should be worth $300 million at least

    On the red-headed stepchild beating to a pope but it’s fat drunken bastard and his girlfriend Miriam

    You know occurred to me that she’s a codependent she took care of her guy who was a drunk and she took care of her friend the mayor who’s a drunk so maybe the problem really is the codependence that allows these self-indulgent overhead below theaters to consider themselves better than the rest of us

    He’s made more people rich in this town than any of these other state developers

    Now you look blue eyes stretching their legs and abuse home bases building basically the song of district in the middle of a residential neighborhood in Bozeman

    You talk about blue line blue line was paid to own that property out there by the tsos

    And now they want to use that money to swap for Larchmont wow double dip anybody

    There’s no accountability from these people none to none of your business if they drink too excess it’s none of your business of they eat to excess

    All of this isn’t their father in his tax lifting scheme he doesn’t give a shit where the citizens of Missouri are successful all he gives a crap about is how much tax money he can bring in to support his cronies and his ideas

    I think I have enough evidence to start a recall petition

    Let’s just adds to the reasonability of recalling the bloviator in Chief

    What’s tally of everything he’s cost us ignorant narcissistic self-obsession

    Maybe the people who love him so much can pay for his narcissistic self aggrandizing love of life

    The people around him continue to allow him to abuse citizens and behave as though he’s something that doesn’t have to be accountable and then it spread through all of our government over the last 20 years that’s because you have Jim Nugent the 50 year dinosaur

    This man single-handedly removed the law and justice review committee from the city council in his 50-year terror reign

    Remember minions if you don’t know what the hell’s going on you’re not smart enough to figure it out so shut the hell up and let those people do what they do even if it cost you

    Yet the psychopathic narcissist has convinced everyone that he deserves to be treated as some sort of deity

    When all he’s done is your light on his friends and his lies to keep himself in a power position these are all spin Doctors trained at the camp Missoulian

    Let’s just start calling him the 300 million man

    I’m sure he’ll drink himself into silliness because he didn’t get it away

    Say that’s the anonymous part of alcoholics anonymous you don’t tell people so when you fall off the wagon the world doesn’t ridicule alcoholics anonymous but obviously if you’re a mayor you have a right to anonymity accepted unless you want to wear it as a feather in your cap and tell everyone how you’re so hurting as a human being cuz you have alcoholism and then just don’t treat it so people feel sorry for you that’s a pathetic narcissistic manipulation

    This man won’t even address the public’s questions in public I told him that the city owes me $240,000 which they do any point it to the courtroom and you municipal Court building has the municipal Court had anything to do with it so see he thinks the court is his personal playground and he can bend anybody over in that room

    He still has delusions of grandeur from having judge towns and steal the water company for him and act like he did a great thing when the fix was in and only was trying to do was fat in the pockets of all those lawyers yeah that’s what he’s into fattening the pockets I’ve ever went around him so they can give him an LLC splint a perpetuity payment as a silent partner shows your tax return John again we know you’re stealing

    And this would have distracted everyone from the giant Seth that you’re pulling off to give people Tiff money that don’t need it that put you on an LLC and your life goes forward in a fantastic fashion because you’re a fucking everybody in your town I have a hard time calling you may or there big boy

    This town is accountability hell this town is transparency hell and this time when it wants to play out of vendetta against someone who speaks the truth they make their life hell and there’s nobody to make them account not the city not the state not the FED it’s fucking bullshit fucking bullshit you hear me this mother fucker is not above accountability but yet he walks the Earth as though he is that makes them an arrogant narcissistic self absorb psychopathic sociopath

    Yeah that bastard got on the elevator the other day when I was in the courthouse and face the back wall the elevator I didn’t have to look at me because he knows what he’s doing to me and he can’t face me first into person because he knows I know the truth this guy is a worthless piece of shit that’s scraping money off of everybody and everything to put in his own pocket and it’s fat Rich fucking friends

    Which this won’t do and boy would he have not gotten a hero laud

    Give me directions I want to recall I’ll stand at Walmart and have people sign the petition to get his ass out of the office

    After this disgrace this gives me more reason and more motivation him as a thief for good to play himself as a hero in the theory well guess what Robin Hood you feel flat on your face and little John await you can call a little John

    But currently rewriting the words to You’re a mean One Mr Grinch too You’re a mean one Mr Tiff

    Not my mayor

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