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.